THE SHADOW KNOWS Week 3 2020
On November 19, 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles played in arguably the best Monday Night Football game in history-a 54-51 brouhaha that was the shootout to end all shootouts. It was the second-highest scoring NFL game ever and the first time in NFL history that two teams scored over 50 points in the same game.
Tyreek Hill and Marcus Peters both played major roles in that game, and Monday in Baltimore the two will cross paths yet again.
From a statistical perspective, Round 1 definitely went to Hill. With Peters on him in coverage much of the night, Hill went nuts-the Chiefs speedster was targeted 14 times, hauling in 10 of them for 215 yards and two touchdowns. Peters himself was the first to admit that he was lit up by his former teammates while speaking to reporters this week.
"(Mahomes) was my teammate for a year before I played against him," Peters said, via Todd Karpovich of Raven Country. "He's a Super Bowl champ. He was the MVP of this league. He's a helluva a player and a guy like that, you just have to respect his game, man. I remember when he first started throwing the no-look passes at practice. The dude is amazing. ... I respect somebody who loves the game like Mahomes does."
Peters hadn't yet joined the Ravens when these teams met in Week 3 last year, but Mahomes had a day in that one, too-374 passing yards and three touchdowns in a five-point Chiefs win in Kansas City. But Hill missed that game too with an injury, so Week 3 will be the first time the pair has locked horns since that night in Los Angeles.
It promises to be one hell of a game with fireworks galore-and while Peters and Marlon Humphrey are perhaps the best CB duo in the game, Hill had better be in fantasy lineups.
In fact, I don't know that there's any player of any fantasy significance I wouldn't start in this game.
It will make watching the regular season game of the year that much more fun to watch.
Here's a look at the other WR vs. CB matchups around the NFL in Week 3.
Cincinnati Bengals at Philadelphia Eagles (A.J. Green vs. Darius Slay)
A.J. Green's first two games in 2020 have been relatively quiet-eight catches for 80 yards. But the veteran wide receiver told Ben Baby of ESPN that after hardly playing the past two seasons, there's more than a little rust to knock off.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I didn't think about it the first game," Green said. "For me, it's just going out there and having full confidence in myself that I'm not going to get hurt again. Each week, I get better and better and more comfortable. I knew there were going to be growing pains, but I want to be great and I accept the challenge. For me, all I know is to keep working, and I know I'll get better each week."
The good news for Green's fantasy managers is that the target volume has at least been solid-he's averaging 11 looks a game and has nine more through two weeks than any other Bengal. The bad news is that Sunday Green will get Darius Slay, who has actually been one of the few Eagles who has played well. In two games, he's given up just 56 yards and a passer rating against of just 63.2. Unless he gets in the end zone, middling WR3 numbers are probably a best-case scenario.
Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills (Robert Woods vs. Tre'Davious White)
Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White is one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, and he'll be the first to tell you that. As Maddy Glab reported for the Bills' website, the 26-year-old believes he checks all the boxes where elite players at his position are concerned.
"A guy that knows the whole defense, pretty much knowing the weakness of the defense and knowing where his help is going to be," White said. "A guy that pretty much can play within the scheme and play off, can play press, can come in and tackle at the line. The total cornerback is the guy that can pretty much do it all.
Mind you, White isn't so much boasting-he absolutely is one of the best in the NFL at what he does. He has allowed a touchdown this year, but White has also surrendered all of five catches for 50 yards on 10 targets. With White on Woods Sunday, the Rams wideout gets a bump down the rankings at the position, while Cooper Kupp and Tyler Higbee could see a bump in target share.
Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills (Jalen Ramsey vs. Stefon Diggs)
To say that Diggs has fit in nicely in his new home is one mother of an understatement-his 239 receiving yards leads the NFL, and he's fourth in PPR fantasy points among wide receivers. As Matt Parrino wrote for New York Upstate, Bills quarterback Josh Allen is having all kinds of fun with his new No. 1 receiver.
"We're very highly competitive," Allen said. "We just want to win no matter what it takes. He's a very good route runner, we know that, but he's also good in scramble drills and reaction. That's kind of how I play the game. I think the style he plays just kind of fits in with the style of how I play."
There's a reason the Rams gave up two first-round picks to get Jalen Ramsey-he can be absolutely smothering in man coverage. But Allen, Diggs and the Bills offense are so nova-hot right now that it makes slim to no difference who Buffalo is playing. Roll him out, if only because you have to.
Carolina Panthers at Los Angeles Chargers (Robby Anderson vs. Casey Hayward)
D.J. Moore remains the No. 1 wide receiver in Carolina, leading the team in targets with 22. But it's Anderson who has been the most productive-he's caught 15 of 18 targets this season for 223 yards and two scores in his first two games as a Panther. But as Mike Tagliere of Fantasy Pros pointed out, the party might be about to end Sunday in Los Angeles.
"Unfortunately," he said, "the Chargers are not a defense to attack with wide receivers, as they've allowed the 10th-fewest points to them in 2020, and that's coming off last season's No. 4 finish. They added Chris Harris Jr. to the mix, which certainly helps compensate for the loss of safety Derwin James on the back end, though that's where Tyreek Hill beat them last week. He'd totaled just four catches for 45 scoreless yards on 10 targets before that fourth-quarter bomb that went for a 45-yard touchdown."
The possibility of a long score offers some room for optimism with Anderson-he already has a 75-yard catch this season. So is the possibility that the Bolts might flip Hayward and use him to shadow Moore. But if the Bolts play the Panthers straight-up, then Anderson will get Hayward, who was the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after putting the clamps on A.J. Green in Week 1."
Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals (Kenny Golladay vs. Patrick Peterson)
Per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, after missing the first two games of the 2020 season, Golladay appears in line to start Sunday in Arizona-welcome news for fantasy managers hard-up at wide receiver. However, as Evan Macy cautioned for the Philly Voice, just because you can start Golladay in Week 3 doesn't mean you should.
"Golladay has yet to play for the Lions and has been limited in practice thus far this week. For a player coming off an injury, especially a nagging one like a hamstring, it's hard to tell just how he will feel on game day," he said. "There is a pretty good chance, if the usual WR1 for Detroit suits up for Week 3, it will be as a decoy and he will receive very limited targets. There are better ways to use the wide receiver slot on your roster this week unless you are desperate and have no other options."
It's tempting to imagine Golladay blowing up in his first week back, but with a hammy it's no more likely (and quite possibly less so) than the odds of the decoy role he mentioned. The matchup with Peterson is also a concern, but not the one it once was-Peterson has already allowed a touchdown and a passer rating against of over 100, although he has also given up just four catches for 66 yards on nine targets.
Green Bay Packers at New Orleans Saints (Davante Adams vs. Marshon Lattimore)
Playing in the NFC South, Marshon Lattimore of the Saints sees no shortage of elite wide receivers on the regular. As the fourth-year veteran and 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year told John DeShazier of the team's website, his mentality against Davante Adams Sunday will be the same as always-win the individual battle, and with it the game.
"I just gotta win," he said. "By any means necessary, I've just got to win when it comes to that. Big-time receivers, I'm a big-time corner. For me, and everybody in the (defensive backs) room, we just know we've got to go out there and battle, no matter what. So, you've got to win. That's all that's on my mind."
It's possible this matchup won't happen at all-Adams hasn't practiced this week due to a hamstring pull that kept him out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. If fantasy's No. 3 PPR receiver plays on Sunday night, you have to start him. But a combination of dinged-up and a corner who hasn't allowed 30 yards a game this season in coverage doesn't inspire a lot of smiling.
I'm so freaking sick of injuries-in Week freaking 3.