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The Hurry Up Offense: Quick Hits Before Gametime-Week 3

By Jared Clifton

Speaking to all those with significant others out there, with a special emphasis on those that are the primary caretakers of our children.  They have a tougher job than opposing defensive coordinators trying to corral Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray ever imagined. My wife got a much deserved weekend away and I’m here to tell you; try writing and researching a weekly piece covering 30 teams with a 5, 2 and 1 year old roaming around like the monkeys from Jumanji. It was an insane task and eye opening to see what she faces to get even the most menial of task done around the house. Well, we got it done and only a few of the blurbs were directly written by my five year old daughter.  It’s of no consequence if you don’t appreciate my thoughts for this weekend ahead, but please do appreciate your wives, husbands and partners for the support, as they allow us to provide the best content possible to our readers.


Two weeks in and two touchdowns for tight ends against the Falcons. Is that a good sign for Jimmy Graham this week? After a healthy 7 targets and a touchdown in week one, a sloppy and conservative game plan for Chicago left Graham with just one target and catch.  This is a good matchup for Graham to get back involved.

There are certain organizations that seem cursed and much like after the wheels came off for Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, this game will tell us a lot about the team and how they react to the meltdown in Dallas last Sunday. It’s important the Falcons get some balance to their offense, to keep their lackluster defense off the field and fresh.  The touches have been there for Todd Gurley, but this should be a week where they can focus on getting him going, as they shouldn’t have to let it fly in a shootout for the first time this season. 


Darrell Henderson Jr. excelled in his largest usage of his young career and with both Cam Akers and Malcolm Brown both nursing injuries, he should be in for another game as the focal point of the backfield.  Buffalo allowed eight catches to Miami running backs, so Henderson Jr. has an attractive floor in an otherwise tough match up.

Something has to give this week, as Josh Allen faces a Rams team that has yet to have a QB break 300 yards passing against them this season.  Allen is coming off two straight career high setting performances in the first two weeks of the season, but a return to normalcy could be in play this week.  Allen remains a top of the line QB1, but one with a lower ceiling this week.


Logan Thomas had a relatively quiet day with 4 catches for 26 yards against Arizona, but he was targeted nine times and the Browns have given up 17 catches for 148 yards and three TDs to tight ends through two games.  Thomas is a solid play in both season long and DFS this week.

Washington’s front seven has looked great so far, with 11 sacks on the year.  Baker Mayfield looked much better in week two, but when under pressure he is completing less than 17% of his passes. Cleveland will need to establish the run, as they did against Cincinnati, in order to provide play action and clean pocket opportunities for Baker to succeed. 


With AJ Brown already out for Sunday, Corey Davis gets another chance to be the number one WR for Tennessee against the Vikings, but it’s Adam Humphries that has a chance to really do damage to a secondary that has given up 5 passing TD’s so far this season.  Both are solid floor plays this week.

Dalvin Cook hasn’t really gotten it going in 2020, but rookie early season star, James Robinson, averaged 6.6 ypc last week against the Titans and they allowed six catches to running backs.  This should be a catalyst game to get him back on the RB1 track.


Coming off a resounding victory against New Orleans, Derek Carr is now 7th in the NFL in QB rating and has yet to throw a pick, while completing nearly 74% of his passes and has only taken 3 sacks.  Facing a New England defense who leads the league in interceptions, another mistake free game could put the Raiders in prime position to give the Chiefs a run in the AFC West.

It’s been two weeks post-Brady in New England and we’ve seen two vastly different offensive game plans. This would have been a prime opportunity for James White, but the unfortunate family tragedy he faced last week, he will be inactive Sunday.  That leaves an opening for Rex Burkhead to take advantage of a defense that has struggled against pass catching running backs in their first two games.  Even if those RB’s were named Kamara and McCaffrey.


In a game that will be missing multiple fantasy relevant players, this is prime real estate for Evan Engram to be heavily involved.  There are ample targets available with Saquon Barkley down for the year and Sterling Sheperd out for multiple games. If he can’t get it done in the coming weeks, the Engram hype may fade into oblivion.

The boisterous offensive numbers have been largely based on huge chunk plays and the remainder has been just ok.  With Nick Mullens under center now, a conservative game plan downgrades nearly all remaining offensive weapons, so touchdowns will be key to getting points out of this team, this week.  My bet is on Jeff Wilson and Jordan Reed for touchdowns, but middling stat lines otherwise.


The Eagles are in desperate need of a win, so a match against the Bengals should provide that medicine.  That begins with heavy usage to Miles Sanders, against a Bengals defense that is currently 28th against the run. If the Eagles can get that part of their offense rolling, it should open up clearer passing lanes to get Carson Wentz out of his early season funk.

Speaking of getting the running game going, the Bengals will need to deploy the same strategy against an Eagles defense that has been stingy on total yards, but have given their opponents short fields too often, with a -5 turnover differential. If Joe Mixon can get established early, then it will take some pressure off the rookie Joe Burrow, who has thrown the ball nearly 50 times a game in the early going.


Pittsburgh has been dominant against the run this year, but has allowed 9 catches for 88 yards to running backs.  David Johnson is a risky play in a game that the Texans could play from behind all day. The Steelers have allowed big plays in the passing game, so Brandin Cooks remains a risky, but valuable Flex option.

While the Texans have faced a brutal schedule to start the season, they have not fared well against the run.  Giving up nearly 200 yards per game, makes James Conner a must start RB2 and even provides some Flex appeal for Benny Snell, in a game where a lot of carries should happen in the second half.


No Jamison Crowder. No Breshad Perriman. Braxton Berrios a game time decision. It seems logical that Chris Herndon should see plenty of looks, in a game that will require the Jets to throw quite a bit, but who else?  Chris Hogan and Josh Malone, will get obligatory targets, but this could be a chance for La’Mical Perine to show his talent as a pass catcher out of the backfield (72 catches for 674 and 8 TDs at Florida). 

A week after Nyheim Hines broke FAB hearts with a 1 catch for 4 yard efforts, he gets an opportunity to make up for it against a Jets team that has allowed 14 catches to running backs so far. Despite an auspicious start to the year in rush defense, the Jets ranked second last season and Hines should benefit if Jonathan Taylor gets bottled up early.


The Chargers put together a nice defensive effort against the Chiefs last week, so losing do-everything back, Christian McCaffrey, comes at a bad time.  Lots of FAB dollars were spent to acquire Mike Davis this week, but something tells me that the boost actually goes to Curtis Samuel.  He can do a lot of things that CMC does for the Panthers and he’s been largely underused as a receiver.  This is an ideal opportunity for Matt Rhule to get a dynamic weapon some touches, that otherwise were locked down by McCaffrey.

After the baddest of breaks for Tyrod Taylor, the Justin Herbert era looks to be upon us in LA. Herbert brings an added layer to the offense that Taylor didn’t and gives a boost to all pass catchers. This becomes the rare offense, where 2 running backs, two wide receivers and a tight end are viable. It’s not without risk, but now is the time to try to grab some Chargers while Herbert is still getting acclimated.


It was just a matter of time before Leonard Fournette took the lead job from Ronald Jones III, but it’s now ok to plug Fournette in as your RB2, in an offense that is starting to gel. If Jones usage continues to drop this week, he becomes droppable in most leagues.

Two huge blows to Denver’s offense occurred last week and now KJ Hamler gets an opportunity to be new starting QB Jeff Driskel’s slot safety blanket.  Hamler has the speed to beat nearly anyone deep, but that’s not Driskel’s strong suit.  He can be a heavily targeted underneath PPR machine, with the speed to get huge chunk plays.


The Lions and Cardinals are teams going two very different directions, but the Lions offense is still capable of huge fantasy point totals, with a healthy Kenny Golladay back in the lineup. His 2020 debut is not set in stone, but it looks to be more likely than not this weekend. It’s not an ideal match-up against Patrick Peterson, but Golladay is largely match-up proof when healthy.

Kenyan Drake is up there with Miles Sanders, as my plays of the week. The Lions just just got torched by Aaron Jones and Drake has been better than fantasy managers have given him credit, in an offense that uses him as the third option.  In a game that should feature a lot of points (2nd highest O/U of the week at 53), Drake is a good bet to find the end zone and to be used frequently in both aspects of the offense.


In the highest projected point total of the week, the Cowboys look to build momentum from their miraculous comeback against the Falcons last week. Seattle has given up a whopping 415 passing yards per game, so this is a game that starting any Cowboy receiver is highly advised. Michael Gallup has largely disappointed to start the season, but he and Dalton Schultz both have prime match-ups to score big days.

Only the Packers have scored more points than the Seahawks this year and against a depleted Cowboys offense, they should easily get into the 30’s on Sunday. DK Metcalf is nearly unrecoverable against good CB’s and he gets rookie Trevon Diggs this week. Metcalf is in line for a huge multi TD line this week.  Start him as a WR1 with confidence.


In yet another anticipated high scoring match-up, the Packers will have to operate their league leading offense without their best player, in Davante Adams. Marquez Valdes-Scantling may draw the Marshon Lattimore treatment now, but he’s poised for big usage when he gets matched up against Janoris Jenkins. Jace Sternberger has been a zero through two weeks, but if Matt Lafleur watched Darren Waller go nuts on Monday, he’s at least a low owned DFS play this week.

In what may be a symptom of losing his best receiver for some time, Drew Brees has not looked like himself to begin the year.  He’s a risky QB1 for the season, but this should be a game that requires plenty of passes to be thrown.  Volume alone will allow him to enjoy a solid week amongst the top half of QB1’s.


In a potential preview of the AFC Championship this year, the Chiefs look to get going again after a middling performance against the upstart Chargers. The Chiefs didn’t struggle to throw the ball last week, but the Chargers made it their goal to bottle up Clyde Edwards-Hellaire and succeeded greatly after his dominant debut. Expect the Chiefs to try their best to dial that back up, to keep the Ravens possessions to a minimum.

The longer no one claims the lead running back spot in Baltimore, the more likely it is that JK Dobbins value grows.  He’s shown true playmaking ability and if Mark Ingram or even Gus Edwards don’t move out in front of him, his talent will rise.  This is a good week against a bottom third Chiefs run defense, for that to start to sort itself out.


Now get out there and put this to use and remember, don’t tinker. Set it and forget it!

Jared Clifton –  Host of Cover 3 Podcast, Editor, Writer
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