The Browns got the bounce back Fantasy performance they needed Thursday night, and there's a lot for Fantasy players to take away from it. For the most part, it was good news - especially for those of you who were starting to worry about Nick Chubb. You can breathe easy.
I broke down the Thursday night game below, covering every takeaway you need to know about from both the Bengals and Browns. And then get ready for the rest of Week 2 with a breakdown of the toughest lineup decisions, injuries and what you should keep an eye on for every game. And if that doesn't answer all of your lineup questions, send them my way at Chris.Towers@CBSi.com with the subject line "#AskFFT" and they'll get included in our mailbag this week — plus, you can catch our Twitch channel Sunday morning where Adam Aizer and I will be answering all of your lineup questions.
Get ready for Week 2 with all of our preview content here:
- Week 2 Start 'Em & Sit 'Em: QB | RB | WR
- Starts, sits and sleepers for every game
- Cheat Sheet: PPR | Non-PPR
- Week 2 Position Previews: QB | RB | WR | TE
- Week 2 Rankings
Here's what today's newsletter will cover:
- Thursday Night Football Review: Browns 35, Bengals 30
- Week 2 Game Previews
TNF review: Browns 35, Bengals 30
- The big takeaway: There's room enough in Cleveland for two must-start running backs. There was some panic in the Fantasy community around Nick Chubb after Week 1, when Kareem Hunt had more carries and receptions. Thursday night, Hunt didn't have his first touch until nearly the end of the second quarter, and Chubb finished the game with 124 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, plus one catch for 9 yards. There's no reason to panic about him, but Hunt got his, too, rushing 10 times for 86 yards and a touchdown, and adding 15 yards on two receptions, with another touchdown. Through two games, the Browns backs have combined for 65 touches and carries - or 16.3 per game, per back. Both Hunt and Chubb should be started in all leagues moving forward.
- Rookie review: Through two games, we've seen plenty of reasons to be positive with Joe Burrow, who had 30.5 Fantasy points Thursday night. He continues to show off solid athleticism, but the most impressive thing about him in my eyes so far is the lack of panic you see. However, there have been some notable accuracy issues, especially Thursday, when he was 37 for 61 for 316 yards. But, overall you have to be impressed with his play, especially the ability to make plays with his legs. He's still not at the point where you should feel confident in him as a Fantasy option, but it's not hard envisioning a scenario where Burrow is helping people get into the playoffs with a three-game stretch against Washington, the Giants and Dolphins starting in Week 11.
- Good news, bad news ... A.J. Green got 13 targets! Even on a night when the Bengals threw the ball a whopping 61 times, this is unequivocally good news. In his first two games with Burrow, Green has 22 targets; Tyler Boyd is second on the team with 13, so Green is clearly the No. 1 option. Unfortunately, he's only caught eight of them for 80 yards so far. The 22 targets are what you should focus on, but he and Burrow need to get on the same page to get the most out of this pairing.
- Breathe easy: In previewing the game Thursday morning, I said, "If [Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham] can't get on the same page in this game, it might be time to truly panic." Beckham was targeted six times, connecting on four for 74 yards and a touchdown. It wasn't a huge game, but it didn't need to be in a game where the Browns only threw the ball 23 times. Is everything fixed? Not necessarily, but this should at least stop the panic for one week.
- Mixon, Mix-off: Joe Mixon was unusually active in the passing game in the first half, hauling in four passes for 40 yards. At one point, he ran a nice in-breaking route, beat the linebacker for an 18-yard gain and then motioned out wide on the next play, a C.J. Uzomah touchdown catch. That's exactly what we want to see from Mixon in this offense moving forward. However, when the Bengals were in their two-minute offense late in the first half, it was Giovani Bernard out there for eight snaps in a row. Mixon ultimately played 23 of 42 snaps in the first half and 23 of 50 in the second - the same amount as Bernard. There was a fleeting glimpse of the kind of upside Mixon could have in that first half and it could be special. But Bernard just isn't going away, despite what we might want, which limits Mixon's path to the Fantasy elite.
Week 2 Game Previews
All lines from William Hill Sportsbook.
- Line: Pick; o/u 45.5
- Implied totals: Rams 22.75-Eagles 22.75
The Rams played pretty conservatively in Week 1, relying on short passes and the running game. Is that a new approach from Sean McVay? It could lead to a surprisingly low-scoring game if the Rams dominate the Eagles line like they should.
- Toughest lineup decision: Malcolm Brown — Start. Brown is a start call for both Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard this week, too. It's always good when we can all agree.
- What we're watching for: Whether Brown can remain the go-to back for the Rams is high on the list, but a better showing from the Eagles line than they got in Week 1 would go a long way to increasing confidence in Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders.
- Injuries: WR Alshon Jeffery (foot) — Not expected to play. … Gerald Everett (back) — In doubt for Week 2.
Giants at Bears — 1:00 p.m. Sunday
- Line: Bears -5.5; o/u 42.0
- Implied totals: Giants 18.25-Bears 23.75
I'm probably a bit more optimistic about this Giants offense than the line seems to imply, if only because their rough showing in Week 1 came against what may be the best defense in the NFL. I think Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley break out in this one.
- Toughest lineup decision: David Montgomery — Start. Montgomery looked pretty good in his debut, despite it being on the short end of his expected return from a groin injury, and this should be a good matchup.
- What we're watching for: I want to see if Barkley's struggles in Week 1 were just a result of the Steelers line being that good. Plus, I want to see if he continues to play in the slot as much as he did, or if that was just because they were down and Golden Tate was out.
- Injuries: Golden Tate (hamstring) — Could be a game-time decision. … Robert Quinn (ankle) and Khalil Mack (knee) — Both look like they should play this week.
- Line: Cowboys -4.5; o/u 52.5
- Implied totals: Falcons 24-Cowboys 28.5
The line matches with what logic would dictate — there are going to be a lot of points in this one, and the Falcons will be chasing from behind again. Expect a lot of Matt Ryan pass attempts.
- Toughest lineup decision: Russell Gage — Sit. I made adding Gage a priority this week, and in a 14-team, three-WR league he's definitely in the starting discussion. Anything smaller, and I'd probably steer clear — but another big game would make it hard to keep him on the bench moving forward.
- What we're watching for: For me, it's how the No. 3 receivers — Gage and rookie CeeDee Lamb — get used. There should be enough room in both of these offenses for three viable Fantasy receivers, and they saw enough work in Week 1 to justify that belief. Now, let's see it happen again.
- Injuries: Blake Jarwin (knee) — Out for the season. … Julio Jones (hamstring) — Does not seem like a real concern at this time, but keep an eye on it Friday.
- Line: Jets +7.0; o/u 42.5
- Implied totals: 49ers 24.75-Jets 17.75
I wouldn't be surprised if this line moved even more toward the 49ers with news of Jamison Crowder's hamstring injury. The Jets might be thrilled to score 17 against this defense. The 49ers should have no problem in this one.
- Toughest lineup decision: Tevin Coleman — Sit. This isn't really a tough one, after how little he played in Week 1, though if that was just the result of the low air quality in San Francisco, Coleman could actually have a big enough role in what should be a blowout to put up numbers.
- What we're watching for: Not the Jets offense, please. Sure, there's the question of how they replace Le'Veon Bell, but the most likely answer probably doesn't involve anyone Fantasy players should really care about. If Brandon Aiyuk plays, I want to see how involved he is in his first NFL action. It could be a good spot for him to make an impact — for DFS, if not yearly leagues yet.
- Injuries: George Kittle (knee) — Very much in question for this week. … Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) — On IR. Out until at least Week 5. … Jamison Crowder (hamstring) — Seems like he very well could be out. … Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) — Trending in the right direction.
Panthers at Buccaneers — 1:00 p.m. Sunday
- Line: Buccaneers -9.0; o/u 47.5
- Implied totals: Panthers 19.25-Buccaneers 28.25
Uh … did we watch the same Tom Brady last week? Look, I'm not saying he's done, but I had my doubts coming in, and that was not a good start. Now he may be playing without Chris Godwin? I don't want to say Tampa Bay can't or won't put up these kinds of numbers, but it seems like a lot to expect.
- Toughest lineup decision: Ronald Jones — Start.
- What we're watching for: It'll be that Tampa Bay backfield again. Jones should remain the lead back, but can Leonard Fournette start cutting into his role with a game under his belt? It'll also be worth watching whether the Panthers continue to spread the ball around like they did in Week 1, because that could be bad news for the upside of D.J. Moore and Christian McCaffrey.
- Injuries: Chris Godwin (concussion) — Late-occurring symptoms following a hit to the head Sunday definitely makes his status for Week 2 in doubt. At this point, I'm making alternative plans — and they may include Scotty Miller in deeper leagues.
- Line: Packers -6.0; o/u 49.5
- Implied totals: Lions 21.75-Packers 27.75
Aaron Rodgers looked like his old self in Week 1, which should be terrifying for a team like the Lions that just gave up three passing touchdowns to the Bears. This could be one the Packers run away with, especially if Kenny Golladay is still out.
- Toughest lineup decision: Adrian Peterson — Sit. Maybe I'm suffering from take lock, here, but I just don't have much interest in starting an ancient running back who doesn't catch passes in a game his team is likely to lose by a touchdown.
- What we're watching for: Rodgers' chances of being an elite Fantasy QB hinge on how long Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling can keep his trust. If he's still taking deep shots to both of them again in this one, it might be time to move the whole offense up the rankings. It would also be nice to see more from D'Andre Swift with a game under his belt.
- Injuries: Kenny Golladay (hamstring) — Still not practicing, seems like a long shot at this point.
Bills at Dolphins — 1:00 p.m. Sunday
- Line: Dolphins +5.5; o/u 41.0
- Implied totals: Bills 23.25-Dolphins 17.75
When you're dealing with a team that likes to run the ball, it's a bit harder to build those big leads than if they've got a strong passing offense. However, the Bills did throw the ball early and often in Week 1, so any kind of shift in philosophy could raise this offense's ceiling.
- Toughest lineup decision: Zack Moss/Devin Singletary — Start. Neither is a must-start player, but in a game the Bills should win, expect another fairly even workload and 12-15 touches for each.
- What we're watching for: Miami's backfield has a lot of questions after Myles Gaskin emerged as the primary option unexpectedly in Week 1. Unfortunately, I'm not sure any of the answers will matter much for Fantasy this week. The more interesting thing will be whether Josh Allen drops back to pass as often as he did last week. That would change the whole outlook of this team.
- Injuries: John Brown (foot) — A question mark for Week 1. … DeVante Parker (hamstring) — Expected to play, but I would avoid him for Fantasy.
Broncos at Steelers — 1:00 p.m. Sunday
- Line: Steelers -7.5; o/u 41.5
- Implied totals: Broncos 17-Steelers 24.5
The Steelers looked really impressive on Monday night, while the Broncos looked … just OK. Courtland Sutton's hoped-for return should help, but they might still have trouble moving the ball against this defense.
- Toughest lineup decision: Benny Snell/James Conner — Start … or Sit. If Conner is out, Snell is a start. If Conner plays, you can't trust either of them.
- What we're watching for: If Conner plays, we'll want to see whether Snell really might be coming for his job — Snell didn't play much until Conner's injury in Week 1. If that isn't a concern, then we'll want to see how much Ben Roethlisberger continues to throw to Diontae Johnson, who led the team in targets in Week 1 but did most of his damage on one drive.
- Injuries: Phillip Lindsay (toe) — Not expected to play this week, may miss multiple. … Courtland Sutton (shoulder) — Moving in the right direction, but not guaranteed . … Diontae Johnson (toe) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) — Neither practiced Wednesday, but we weren't given much reason to believe either was likely to miss time.
- Line: Colts -3.0; o/u 48.5
- Implied totals: Vikings 22.75-Colts 25.75
This is a surprisingly high point total for two teams whose ideal game features a lot of rush attempts and short passes. The Vikings defense looked awful in Week 1, but that could be more about how good Aaron Rodgers was. If not, maybe the Colts will be able to put up three-plus touchdowns.
- Toughest lineup decision: T.Y. Hilton — Start. Week 1 wasn't great, and Parris Campbell surprisingly matched him for the team lead in targets. But the Vikings defense was torched by three different receivers last week, and a bounce back game from Hilton seems likely here.
- What we're watching for: It's all about how Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines get used. Taylor will be the starter and figures to be a top-10 RB or something close moving forward, but if Hines can get six to eight carries and five-plus targets every week, he's probably going to be a No. 2 RB playing with Phillip Rivers.
- Injuries: Jack Doyle (ankle) — You should probably steer clear either way.
- Line: Titans -9.0; o/u 42.5
- Implied totals: Jaguars 16.75-Titans 25.75
I'll admit, I'm a bit confused by this line. Sure, the Jaguars are rebuilding, but they didn't look that bad in Week 1 — and the Titans didn't look that good in squeaking past the Broncos. That being said, a game where Gardner Minshew is chasing multiple scores wouldn't be a bad thing for Fantasy.
- Toughest lineup decision: James Robinson — Start. He's not a must-start by any means, but Robinson looks like he's going to be good for a pretty healthy workload each week and looked pretty solid in his NFL debut. As a No. 2 RB, you could do worse.
- What we're watching for: Rather stunningly, Corey Davis dominated in Week 1, catching seven of eight targets for 101 yards, while A.J. Brown went for 5-39 on eight. Unless the Titans are going to throw 40 times every week — they're not — Brown needs to be the clear No. 1 in this offense or he's going to be a big disappointment for Fantasy.
- Injuries: A.J. Brown (knee) — Was limited at practice Wednesday and was then downgraded to no practice Thursday. He's in question for Week 2 at this point.
Washington at Cardinals — 4:25 p.m. Sunday
- Line: Cardinals -6.5; o/u 47.5
- Implied totals: Washington 20.5-Cardinals 27
The Cardinals overcame a tough 49ers pass rush with a ton of quick plays and designed QB runs, and Washington's defense is built around their line. Expect a nice bounce back effort from Terry McLaurin if Washington are chasing points all week.
- Toughest lineup decision: Antonio Gibson — Sit. That goes for everyone else in Washington's backfield. Hopefully Gibson's role grows moving forward, but his usage in both the running and passing game was a significant disappointment in Week 1.
- What we're watching for: The Cardinals threw nearly every other pass to DeAndre Hopkins in Week 1, which wasn't exactly what we were expecting. He should lead them in targets, obviously, but if this is another game where he dominates targets, he's probably going to be a top-three wide receiver for Fantasy — and he may not be third.
- Injuries: Nothing to worry about.
Line: Chargers +8.5; o/u 47.5
Implied totals: Chiefs 28-Chargers 19.5
The line here makes sense, but I might expect more from the Chargers offense in this one. Tyrod Taylor was aggressive in taking deep shots with Mike Williams, but you've gotta think he'll look for Keenan Allen and especially Austin Ekeler in a game where they'll likely be trailing.
- Toughest lineup decision: Mike Williams — Start. Not as a must start, but as a solid No. 3 with significant upside. Williams looked tremendous in Week 1, which isn't surprising except that he was dealing with a shoulder injury that initially seemed like it could cost him the first month of the season. He'll be a high-variance player every week, but if Taylor shows a willingness to take chances, Williams could be a strong Fantasy option.
- What we're watching for: 1) Will Clyde Edwards-Helaire see more looks in the passing game after seeing just two targets in Week 1? 2) If Edwards-Helaire struggles at the goal-line again, do the Chiefs start looking Darrel Williams' way down there?
- Injuries: Justin Jackson (quad) — He seems like a long shot, which should make Joshua Kelley a possible flex option.
Line: Texans +7.0; o/u 51.0
Implied totals: Ravens 29-Texans 22
A game with a high over/under where the Texans are expected to trail? Sign me up for big games from Deshaun Watson, Will Fuller and David Johnson — who actually led all running backs in snaps split wide or in the slot in Week 1.
- Toughest lineup decision: Mark Ingram — Start. I don't think he just lost his job to J.K. Dobbins. The game was well in hand, so why put unnecessary touches on the veteran when you've got a wet-behind-the-ears rookie who needs some low-stress work?
- What we're watching for: But … what if he did lose his job? Or, at least, what if Dobbins really will see something like an even split in work with Ingram moving forward? It probably pushes both of them down into flex starter territory, because Gus Edwards still figures to see a few touches a week, too.
- Injuries: Brandin Cooks (quad) — He played through it in Week 1, so he should be able to do it again. … Duke Johnson (ankle) — He was limited in practice to begin the week, but I would still bet against him missing this one.
- Line: Seahawks -4.0; o/u 45.0
- Implied totals: Patriots 20.5-Seahawks 24.5
I could very easily see both teams leaning on their running games in a low-scoring game, but if that doesn't happen, the Patriots might have trouble keeping it close given their weapons in the passing game.
- Toughest lineup decision: Chris Carson. Start. I don't think this is actually a tough lineup decision — it shouldn't be — but it's the closest thing there is to one in this game. You're starting the Seahawks' big names, you're starting Cam Newton and Julian Edelman, and … that may be it unless you're desperate for RB help and need to throw James White or Sony Michel out there. I wouldn't.
- What we're watching for: Will the Seahawks continue to let Russell Wilson cook? They had a shockingly pass-oriented game plan in Week 1, and if that continues, Wilson will be a top-three QB. I imagine they might prefer to play a bit more conservatively against this Patriots defense, however.
- Injuries: N'Keal Harry (shoulder) and Julian Edelman (knee) will both be limited in practice, but both should be able to play.
- Line: Raiders +5.5; o/u 49.5
- Implied totals: Saints 27.5-Raiders 22
I don't think the Saints will lose this one, but a 27.5 implied total seems awfully aggressive for a team that will almost certainly be missing Michael Thomas. I would think this one stays well under.
- Toughest lineup decision: Emmanuel Sanders — Sit. I would imagine the Saints will try to get Sanders more involved in Thomas' absence, but he was a pretty minimal part of the game plan in Week 1. Let him prove he can step up with Thomas out first.
- What we're watching for: What does the Saints offense do without Thomas? I'd expect more running, and more opportunities for Alvin Kamara in the passing game. And, unfortunately, more Taysom Hill nonsense. We'll also be watching to see how much passing downs work Josh Jacobs gets after he dominated that facet for the Raiders in Week 1. If that's still the case this week, Jacobs is in the upper echelon of Fantasy running backs moving forward.
- Injuries: Michael Thomas (ankle) — Technically, Thomas hasn't been ruled out, but he seems like a huge long shot. Make other plans and don't go into Monday planning on having him unless we get news otherwise.