Jared Goff and Other Options to Replace Trey Lance

Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff
Detroit Lions QB Jared Goff
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

NFL Week 3 - Week 2 was a crazy week in the NFL and there is even more information for us to find conclusions than we had in Week 1. This column will get you up to speed on all 32 teams and prepped for Week 3 with waiver wire suggestions, glimpses at upcoming matchups, and all the stats and facts that matter.

Arizona Cardinals

When the Cardinals made the decision to extend both head coach Kliff Kingsbury and general manager Steve Keim in the offseason, it looked like a strange move given neither was close to needing a new contract and the team was fresh off a playoff collapse against the Los Angeles Rams. Through two games of the season, that decision looks even worse. Kyler Murray won this game for the Cardinals. Time after time the Arizona passing game looked devoid of answers except for when the plays broke down and Murray was required to conjure up some magic. Marquise Brown cost the Cardinals a first-round pick this year, but so far is being out-produced by Greg Dortch. There is little point to trading for a field-stretching wide receiver, also in need of a new contract, if you aren't going to use him that way. Right now Zach Ertz might be the most useful pass-catcher for fantasy purposes after seeing 15 targets in two games, and at least seven targets in seven of his last eight games with Kyler Murray.

Atlanta Falcons

Kyle Pitts was second only to Marcus Mariota in offensive snaps against the Rams. Despite this, Pitts mirrored his Week 1 production with two catches for 19 yards. This kind of production is devastating for managers who took Pitts in the third round of fantasy drafts, and if Pitts can't turn it around soon managers might have to consider benching the prospect that was viewed as matchup-proof coming into the NFL. The good news though is that Pitts faces a Seahawks defense that allowed tight end Ross Dwelley to score a 38-yard touchdown in Week 2 and allowed Broncos tight ends to combine for seven catches and 85 yards in Week 1.

Baltimore Ravens

Lamar Jackson bet on himself this season by declining a contract offer that he deemed to be below his worth, and through two games it seems clear he's ready to pass his way to an even bigger contract in 2023. Jackson has gone 38-of-59 for 531 yards and six touchdowns, not to mention 15 rushing attempts for 136 yards and a touchdown. What is particularly noteworthy is Jackson's downfield throwing; during Week 1 Jackson had the highest average depth of target in the league, and in Week 2 he averaged 11.0 yards per attempt. The Ravens rushing game might look woeful at the moment, but if Jackson can keep defenses worried about the deep pass, the running game should be able to get on track. If Jackson continues to be able to pass like this whilst unleashing his deadly rushing ability, he might be set for another record-breaking MVP season. Lastly, after Week 1, many folks seemed concerned that Rashod Bateman might face a difficult matchup against Xavien Howard in Week 2, and it's fair to say Bateman put that narrative to bed as he set a career-high in yardage (108). It can be easy to get sucked into the idea that top corners can ruin a fantasy outing, but more often than not defenders don't stick to one player, or a team schemes their receiver open. Don't bench top talent just because of an opposing defense.

Buffalo Bills

In last week's edition of this article, I noted that Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder are eating into each other’s ability to be fantasy relevant and that continued in Week 2, with McKenzie seeing 3 targets and Crowder seeing just one, and being more involved as a punt returner. Neither is startable in fantasy leagues until there becomes a clear preference in the way they are utilised. 

Carolina Panthers

Matt Rhule will be feeling hot under the collar for the foreseeable future after the Panthers stumbled to an 0-2 start during what should have been the easy part of their season. Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, who matched up with Baker Mayfield plenty of times when Martindale coached for the Ravens, knew exactly how to flummox Mayfield: send pressure, and when the players don't get home, have them be ready to spike the balls down at the line of scrimmage as Mayfield struggles to see the field of play. Rhule seems answerless to what opposing defenses are doing; for the second straight week only three wide receivers were targeted. Terrace Marshall Jr. became the fourth Panthers receiver to run a route this season, but was only used on two dropbacks. DJ Moore fans were bullish that this might be the year things came together and we saw a top-tier season from him, but with Mayfield not looking remotely like an upgrade and Rhule and Ben McAdoo looking unable to scheme Moore open, this offense could slide into disaster territory. The Panthers face the Saints, Cardinals, and Niners in a run of three home games; fantasy managers won't be blamed if they decide to sit Moore for at least one of those games.

Chicago Bears

Through two games the Bears top two receiving options, Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney have combined for seven targets for two receptions and 4 yards. The Bears aren't running enough passing plays for either to be viable starters right now and whilst 11 pass attempts is unlikely to be a stat they repeat often you cannot trust your fantasy lineups with Bears pass-catchers right now. A Week 3 matchup at home to the Texans is last chance saloon. Don't be surprised if that's a slow pace game.

Cincinnati Bengals

Joe Burrow has been sacked 13 times in just two games to open the season, three more than any other quarterback. The Bengals threw money and resources at the position, but good offensive line play can take time. Burrow's completion rate has dropped to 64.0%, down dramatically from his elite play of 70.6% in 2021. Super Bowl hangovers typically affect the winners more than the runners-up, but there is no doubt that the Bengals aren't in gear at the moment. The Bengals need a kick start and to play more aggressive as they did in 2021 if they are to repay fantasy managers' faith.

Cleveland Browns

Last week I remarked in this space that Browns running backs would be the key to success for this team until Deshaun Watson is reinstated by the league. In Week 2 Jacoby Brissett pushed back slightly against that narrative, completing an impressive 81.5% of his 27 pass attempts. Notably, this led to an increase in Amari Cooper's production. After a disappointing Week 1 where he managed just 17 yards, this week Cooper put up 101 yards on nine receptions. Cooper's production still feels risky going forward and fantasy managers may feel it necessary to sit Cooper for Thursday night's game against the Steelers before a far more friendly matchup in Atlanta in Week 4.

Dallas Cowboys

Tony Pollard bounced back from an embarrassing Week 1 performance against Tampa Bay to show why Pollard Truthers have been begging for him to get more work in recent years, totaling almost 100 yards combined through the ground and receiving game. Pollard was more efficient with his opportunities than Ezekiel Elliott, putting up 4.8 yards per carry to Elliott's 3.5 and seeing seven targets to Elliott's two. With Dak Prescott still weeks away from returning to the starting lineup, the Cowboys will have to lean on the running game and Pollard is a potential start in deeper leagues now.

Denver Broncos

It has not been pretty so far for the Broncos' "Let Russ Cook" era, and the 49ers will certainly be motivated to try and worsen Wilson's mood in Week 3; Wilson has dominated the 49ers with a 16-4 record since coming into the NFL. The Broncos look particularly banged up with Jerry Jeudy suffering a shoulder injury after KJ Hamler missed the Week 2 game with a knee and hip injury. Courtland Sutton should see significant work if this holds through to game time, and Albert Okwuegbunam will be in consideration despite his zero fantasy points in Week 2.

Detroit Lions

The Lions rebuild looked well on track this summer and it looks fully alive now. Jared Goff threw for four touchdowns for the first time since 2018 and continued to show that he can be an able quarterback when protected well. In the coming weeks, Goff and the Lions will face the Vikings in what should be a competitive game before facing the Seahawks in Detroit and then visiting the Patriots. The Lions have every opportunity to reach their bye in Week 6 with a winning record. Whilst Goff is not the type of quarterback you would want to regularly start in fantasy if you have just lost Trey Lance for the season, he will be a cheap option to fill in and potentially give you some breathing room whilst you figure the position out.

Green Bay Packers

Like many veterans who sat out the preseason, Aaron Rodgers looked noticeably rusty in Week 1 against the Vikings. Against the Bears, though, Rodgers showed signs of life. The Bears offered little resistance and it's quite hard to make solid conclusions about the passing game, where Rodgers targeted nine different players, none more than four times. Next up is a tough matchup with the Buccaneers, who haven't allowed much in the way of fantasy points for opposing players so far.

Houston Texans

Head coach Lovie Smith said after the Texans' Week 1 tie with the Colts that the team needed to get Dameon Pierce more involved, and in Week 2 the rookie's opportunity share jumped from 35.3% to 84.2%. The game script will often be against this team, but Pierce currently has the stranglehold on early-down work and a friendly Week 3 matchup against the Bears, who are fresh off allowing the Packers to go 27-180 and a touchdown on Sunday Night Football. Pierce should be a fine play for Week 3.

Indianapolis Colts

It always seemed easy to project where the fantasy points might come from in Indianapolis, simply because there weren't too many options. On Sunday we saw how few options the Colts have when they were forced to play without Michael Pittman (quad injury), and it wasn't pretty. Beyond the dearth at pass-catcher, it's quite concerning how poor Matt Ryan has been after a summer where the team was effusive about him at any opportunity. Outside of Jonathan Taylor and Pittman, nobody else here is consistently startable, barring Nyheim Hines in deeper leagues. Hines' 11 targets are third-highest on the team.

Jacksonville Jaguars

James Robinson continues to defy medical expectations, and despite Doug Pederson and others around the team saying that they wanted to get Travis Etienne more involved, when game time came the team reverted back to heavily favoring Robinson. The time to be bullish on Etienne was for the early part of the season. With no connections to this coaching staff, Etienne needed to take control of the job whilst he could, but now it seems firmly to be Robinson's and the team is giving Robinson all of the goal-to-go work. Trevor Lawrence completed 83.3% of his 30 pass attempts on Sunday. This is the second-highest completion rate of the season so far behind only Josh Allen's Week 1 (83.9%), and Lawrence's career-best in the NFL.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs have made a sizable change to their scheme this offseason, no longer relying on Tyreek Hill's game-breaking ability. It appears tough news for fantasy managers after Marquez Valdes-Scantling and JuJu Smith-Schuster combined for 7.4 PPR points, but there are reasons for hope. Both receivers continue to be heavily used, running more routes than any others. Smith-Schuster in particular picked up a tough matchup in the slot with Chargers cornerback Bryce Callahan, who had shut down fellow slot receiver Hunter Renfrow in Week 1. Next up, the Chiefs play the Colts, who were torched by Jaguars slot receiver Christian Kirk, who racked up 78 yards and two touchdowns.

Los Angeles Chargers

Heading into last Thursday night's matchup against the Chiefs, fantasy managers seemed split on whether Josh Palmer was worthy of a start after DeAndre Carter saw four targets in Week 1. Palmer bounced back, seeing eight targets and securing a late touchdown and doubling Carter's targets per route run of 0.08. Also noteworthy is the fact the Chargers targeted 12 players in Week 1, but this dropped by a third to eight players in Week 2, with four players seeing eight or more targets, as opposed to Week 1 when no player saw more than one target. For fantasy, we need that to continue, and if Keenan Allen should miss another week, Josh Palmer and Gerald Everett are fine starts.

Los Angeles Rams

Through two games, Tyler Higbee leads NFL tight ends in targets with 20 and is fifth at the position in receiving yards (110). With players such as Cole Kmet failing to live up to expectations, fantasy managers should be happy to pick up Higbee off waivers if he's there. In Week 3, Higbee will face up to the Cardinals, who have so far allowed Travis Kelce and Darren Waller to combine for 43.1 PPR points across the opening two weeks.

Las Vegas Raiders

In 10 of Josh Jacobs last 17, games he has failed to put up at least 4 yards per attempt. When the team needed a reliable ground game to take time off the clock in the second half, as they defended a 20-point lead against Arizona, Jacobs rushed for an average of 3.14 yards on seven attempts, picking up just two first downs in the second half. The Raiders don't seem to be ready to turn over more work to rookie Zamir White, but one way or another they need this running game to look better, and fantasy managers need to see a sign of life from Jacobs or we can chalk up another victory to the running back dead zone.

Miami Dolphins

Even whilst Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns on Sunday, it seemed like his deep balls were taking every ounce of his effort, but when Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are able to create magic in the way they are, the Dolphins will remain competitive. Despite head coach Mike McDaniel coming from San Francisco's coaching tree, the running game has yet to impress, going 23-65 against the Patriots and 18-86 against the Ravens. Teams that are built for success can win in multiple ways, and whilst it's brilliant to see the Dolphins start 2-0, it would be great to see their running game take a step forward. Chase Edmonds and Raheem Mostert are risky starts till we see otherwise.

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings opened the season in explosive fashion, demolishing their rivals the Packers, and it was a little surprising to see them crash back down to Earth so heavily in Week 2. Kirk Cousins yards per passing attempt cratered from Week 1’s 8.65 down to 4.8 and he looked likely to be picked off on a high percentage of his second-half throws. The Eagles have a strong secondary, but if the Vikings plan to be contenders then they need to move the ball much better when they fall behind. Alexander Mattison and Irv Smith Jr. both had bad drops and this felt indicative of the game in general. The Vikings face the Lions in Week 3, and their passing offense should bounce back against a defense that hasn’t looked too sharp so far.

New England Patriots

The Patriots offense continues to be a mess under Matt Patricia, and Jonnu Smith's slight improvement since 2021 has butchered any fantasy value Hunter Henry looked to have. Through two games the duo has combined for 53 scoreless yards despite running a healthy amount of routes. Until we see otherwise, neither can be trusted for fantasy purposes, and both can be dropped to waivers in favor of players in clearer situations.

New Orleans Saints

Juwan Johnson has emerged as the TE1 in the Saints offense, running more routes than Adam Trautman or Taysom Hill and seeing 12 targets in two games. If you're in a deep league and in need of help, Johnson is a good pickup ahead of a cupcake matchup with the Panthers, who allowed Giants rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger to score a touchdown in Week 2.

New York Giants

Kenny Golladay's expensive lack of involvement took many of the headlines from Sunday's game as the Giants leapt out to a 2-0 lead for the first time in six years, and whilst Golladay's situation is very noteworthy it still seems perplexing that the Giants aren't trying harder to involve Kadarius Toney more often. On Sunday, Toney had three targets and turned them into two catches for zero yards, which isn't a statline that advocates for more usage, but we have seen how electric Toney can be in the past. With the Giants counting on receivers such as Richie James Jr. and David Sills, they have to figure out how to get more out of Toney. Fantasy managers should sit Toney until better days appear likely.

New York Jets

The Jets pulled off an improbable victory on Sunday as they overcame the Browns to chalk up their first win of the season. There are a lot of positives to take away from this victory, such as Garrett Wilson looking like the receiver they hoped to draft with the 10th overall pick or Breece Hall improving in almost every metric, but the most impressive point might be that this young team seems to be fighting hard. Jets teams in previous years sometimes had an air of resignation about them, but not this team. Wilson particularly shined when lined up outside on the perimeter, where he was targeted on 10 of 16 snaps (via PFF). That kind of hyper-efficiency could be a little fragile to count on till we see it consistently. Both Wilson and Elijah Moore are fine options to consider in a pinch against the Bengals in Week 3, but let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet.

Philadelphia Eagles 

After Week 1’s scoreless season-opener for DeVonta Smith, the signs were there that he would bounce back and it was unlikely he would have no catches on four targets again. In Week 2 the Eagles got Smith involved from the very first play and the receiver went on to lead the team in snaps (72), routes run (38) and receiving yards (80). Smith is an elite receiver and should be started in leagues every week. There may be the occasional down week like Week 1, but we’re playing for ceiling outcomes and this Eagles team looks set to provide plenty of ceiling outcomes this season.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Mitch Trubisky has gone 42-of-71 for 362 yards total in two games to open the season, with an average of 5.1 yards per attempt and a 59.4% completion rate. Before the season opener, it was reported that Mike Tomlin would prefer to stay with Trubisky at quarterback all season long, but unless Trubisky can turn things around it feels like it won't be long before we hear the drumbeat for Kenny Pickett to make starts. Trubisky has to get the offense moving more; even Ben Roethlisberger averaged a higher average attempt in all but two games last year. Najee Harris looks to be in trouble for fantasy managers, as he has yet to see the field for 75% of snaps or more, something he did in all but three games of 2021.

San Francisco 49ers

It seems it was too much to hope for one clean, weather-free game to get a good look at Trey Lance, and now that opportunity is gone for at least this season with his unfortunate ankle injury. When Jimmy Garoppolo entered the game, he seemed more comfortable being aggressive than at times over the last two years. Perhaps it was just a token of coming into the game and the adrenaline flowing, but it felt like good news for Brandon Aiyuk, who led the team in target share (33.3%) and receiving yards (63). From Weeks 10 to 18 of the 2021 season, in games with Garoppolo, Aiyuk averaged 13.2 PPR points. He should be considered an every-week starter unless you're blessed with much better options.

Seattle Seahawks

Last week in this column we noted that only 39.2% of Geno Smith's Week 1 passes went to Tyler Lockett or DK Metcalf, a significant drop from their average of 59.4% in Smith's 2021 starts. Against the 49ers, that percentage jumped back up to 56.6% of the quarterback's passes, which should help fantasy managers have some faith moving forwards with friendly matchups against the Falcons and Lions over the next two weeks.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's not quite panic stations in Tampa Bay, but it's getting a little tricky. Mike Evans will miss Week 3 through suspension after being ejected for fighting long-time nemesis Marshon Lattimore, whilst Chris Godwin will also be sidelined and Julio Jones has picked up two nagging injuries. Russell Gage and Breshad Perriman will likely be relied upon heavily in Tampa Bay's Week 3 matchup with the Packers, and Gage will be the easiest to trust with a defined role in the slot. Perriman will be a dart throw in daily fantasy tournament lineups at best despite his Week 2 touchdown.

Tenessee Titans

The Titans are a talent-depleted offense at the moment and when Derrick Henry fails to get going they seem to have no answers elsewhere. The Bills have had Henry’s number over the years, allowing Henry to have just one game of over 100 yards in five meetings. Outside of that game in 2021, Henry has averaged 15.7 carries for 54 yards per game against the Bills. That’s an average of 3.42 yards per carry, a dramatic drop off from his career average of 4.8. Monday night's 13 attempts for 25 yards was a particularly low point and if the Titans are going to make the playoffs they will need to figure the running game out quickly.

Washington Commanders

Terry McLaurin rolled out a 4-75 performance against the Lions that might have left fantasy managers wondering where the rest of the points were. Carson Wentz seems more comfortable spreading the ball around than Taylor Heinicke was in 2021, or perhaps it's more that Wentz has more weapons than Heinicke did. Either way, the ball is being spread around plenty in Washington, and McLaurin's chances of paying off his ADP look precarious right now, with Jahan Dotson eating into the perimeter and deep passing game that McLaurin has feasted on. Curtis Samuel, meanwhile, should be a priority add if he's on waivers in fantasy leagues. If we remove 2021, when Samuel struggled with injuries, and look at games where Samuel has played 50% of snaps or more, he has averaged 13.1 PPR points and had 14 games of 15 or more PPR points in that period. Whilst McLaurin and Dotson battle it out, take the easy route to points with Samuel absorbing all of Wentz's dink-and-dunk plays near the line of scrimmage.

What did you notice in Week 2? Jump into the Football Outsiders Discord and let us know. The Fantasy Channel is a good place to ask for lineup or trade advice and you can always find me on Twitter @NFL_Tstrack.


8 comments, Last at 20 Sep 2022, 2:32pm

1 That title

Can be massively confusing if fantasy wasn't there. 

I'm going with Burrow in DFS at the Jets

2 Haha! Fair. Goff definitely…

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

Haha! Fair. Goff definitely can be a placeholder for a week or two. DFS looks like a blockbuster slate. Going to be hard to get away from the elite options at QB in Wk3.

4 Agreed

In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…

I thought I was about to read some crazy article explaining why the 49ers should trade for Jared Goff, of all people.

7 Yeha id Loins

In reply to by Tutenkharnage

wanted 48ers to get Goff, the might do that id Getting J. Garoppolo. Not sure about salary situations but maybe trade can make sense. 

Save 10%
& Support the Writers
Support Football Outsiders' independent media. Use promo code TSTRACK to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip the team of writers.