NFL Fantasy Picks: Herbert should electrify against Chiefs
With Week 3 beckoning, Stats Perform looks at four players and a defense well-placed to help you win your fantasy matchup.
Is it Week 3 already? The advent of a 17th game means the regular season will stretch further into January, but the NFL campaign always seems to fly by at breakneck speed.
In the world of fantasy football, plenty of managers may be seeing things spiral out of control in a hurry after an 0-2 start.
Or maybe you're on the other end of things, with at least one win on the board and feeling satisfied that your draft-day decisions were the right ones.
Either way, it's important to remember that fantasy is a weekly game, and success hinges on the selection calls made each weekend.
Stats Perform is here to try to help you make the correct calls. Here's this week's look at four players and a defense in strong spots to produce matchup-winning fantasy scores.
Quarterback: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Herbert was frustrated in Week 2 as the Chargers let opportunities go begging in their defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, with two interceptions undermining an otherwise impressive display that saw him throw for 338 yards and a touchdown.
However, Herbert should be enticed by a matchup with a Chiefs defense that has produced turnovers but has proved extremely hospitable to opposing offenses.
Indeed, the Chiefs are allowing a league-worst 7.56 yards per play through two games. Only the Detroit Lions (9.44) are allowing more yards per pass play than the Chiefs (9.37).
Going against a porous defense and with Patrick Mahomes a near-certainty to deliver points on the other side, Herbert has a clear opportunity to record his third successive 300-yard game to start the season and put up a massive fantasy performance in a potential shootout.
Running Back: Ty'Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens @ Detroit Lions
Despite seeing their running back depth decimated by injuries, the Ravens saw their backfield get going in a huge way in their stunning Week 2 win over the Chiefs.
Baltimore gashed Kansas City for 251 yards on the ground at an average of 6.1 yards per carry. The complexity that quarterback Lamar Jackson's running threat brings to their rushing attack played a significant role, but the Ravens will have been extremely encouraged by Williams' performance.
Williams averaged 5.9 yards per carry as he put up 77 yards on 13 carries, and he now gets the opportunity to go against a Lions defense that has been relatively stout against the run but has given up a league-high nine offensive touchdowns.
For fantasy managers light at running back, Williams could be an intriguing option.
Wide Receiver: D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers @ Houston Texans
On the surface, there is not much intrigue in Thursday's primetime clash between the Panthers and Texans.
However, with Sam Darnold showing signs of improvement in Carolina following his departure from the New York Jets, potential fantasy matchup winners can be found among their passing game options.
Aside from Christian McCaffrey, Moore is the top threat on the Panthers' offense. He had eight catches for 79 yards and a touchdown last week against a New Orleans Saints defense that is superior to that of the Texans, which allowed Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield to complete 90 per cent of his passes in Week 2.
Targeted 19 times across his first two games, if Moore gets a double-digit share as he did versus New Orleans, he will be set up perfectly to deliver another productive performance.
.@Lions TE @TheeHOCK8 is the only @NFL player with 8+ receptions in the first two games of the 2021 season.— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) September 22, 2021
He is also the 3rd TE in #NFL history to produce 8 receptions & a TD in each of the first 2 games of a season, joining Mark Andrews (2019) & Ben Coates (1994).#OnePride pic.twitter.com/ThTbAtCtxz
Tight End: T.J. Hockenson, Detroit Lions vs. Baltimore Ravens
While the Lions may be in a rebuilding year, Hockenson is constructing an excellent case for him to be considered among the NFL's premier players at the tight end position.
He has 163 yards and two touchdowns in his first two games and now gets to face a Ravens defense giving up the most fantasy points per game in the league to opposing tight ends.
Shredded for 109 yards and a touchdown by Travis Kelce in Week 2 and for 105 yards and a score by Darren Waller in Week 1, the odds of the Ravens preventing Hockenson from producing a similar statline appear slim.
Defense: Arizona Cardinals @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Backing a defense to excel after a game in which that unit gave up 26 points in a 34-33 shootout win may seem foolhardy.
While the Cardinals' defense is certainly vulnerable, as the Minnesota Vikings proved last week, Arizona could hardly ask for a better matchup in which to bounce back on that side of the ball.
Rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence is tied for the league lead in interceptions having tossed five already this season. His air yards per attempt average of 10.49 is second among quarterbacks with at least 10 passes, but he is delivering an accurate, well-thrown ball just 66.3 per cent of the time.
That combination of aggressiveness and inaccuracy is a recipe for a bounce-back performance from the Arizona defense.
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