A matchup of two teams that certainly do not lack fantasy football question marks. From how the Ravens will replace J.K. Dobbins to the sustainability of anyone attached to this Colts offense, these are two teams that require weekly attention. Who can you play with confidence this weekend?
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Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens
- Spread: Ravens -7.5
- Total: 45.5
- Colts implied points: 19
- Ravens implied points: 26.5
With great power comes great responsibility. Through one game and two possessions, the rookie had accounted for four touchdowns (one pass and three runs) and emerged as the type of high-floor signal-caller who is capable of winning leagues, given the limited draft capital he carries this summer. Heck, the Colts have started both games in a pass-heavy script — they want Richardson to have the opportunity to show out.
On the second of his early rushing scores against the Texans (both 15+ yards), Richardson’s head bounced off the turf, and he was removed with a concussion. He has been ruled OUT for today’s game, the hope being that he is ready to go next week. Richardson is a top-10 QB for me from Week 4-18.
He’s a fun player and a heck of a backup option, but this Colts team isn’t loaded with playmakers, and Minshew’s skill set cannot overcome that the way Richardson can. He doesn’t hold standalone value for most leagues, but he can elevate Michael Pittman, and that’ll be reflected in our PFN Consensus Rankings this week with Richardson’s production on the ground gone for this week.
Baby steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Slow and steady wins the race. Use whatever saying you want, the point is all the same: the fantasy product of Jackson in this Todd Monken offense is going to be worth your patience.
MORE: QB Power Rankings 2023
He’s completed over 72% of his passes in both games this season and added 12 rush attempts against the Bengals, a usage level that puts him in a position to be the top-scoring QB in all of fantasy when things go just right.
The accuracy is something that I’m encouraged by. In Week 1, he didn’t have Mark Andrews. In Week 2, he had Odell Beckham leave early, along with Zay Flowers trying to find his role, with Andrews returning as the go-to target.
I have Jackson as my QB5 for the week and truly believe he has the upside to lead the position in scoring on Sunday.
There are a handful of running backs that hold a true workhorse role on an offense with limitations, and Moss proved worthy of being included in that tier last week by handling all 18 running back carries for the Colts.
In addition to a few angry runs, Moss hauled in all four of his targets, showing us that he is capable of producing in a variety of ways. I have him ranked near the top of the “nice role on a bad team” running backs: ahead of Dameon Pierce and James Conner.
As for the addition of Trey Sermon to the active roster – I’m not worried about it today, but do believe it’ll be something to monitor with time. Sermon is a fine “free” add now before he is set to hit fantasy waivers when this game kicks off.
We feared that this would be close to a 50/50 committee situation, rendering both backs useless. Edwards was able to produce thanks to a short TD and efficiency, but our train of thought was accurate: the carries were split, and Edwards’ touchdown came after Justice Hill failed to score from a yard out.
Edwards has a track record of efficiency and should continue to be a strong per-carry option in this spread-out offense. Neither RB, however, offers much potential as a pass catcher, and that caps just how high they can climb in the ranks.
I felt good about Edwards over Hill following the injury to JK Dobbins, and while I still have it ranked that way, I feel less good about it than I did a week ago. Edwards is hovering around RB30 this week, making him a Flex option for deeper leagues.
He out-carried Edwards in both the first quarter (5-4) and the game (11-10), though his efficiency isn’t on par with what we’ve come to expect from The Gus Bus. Hill did appear to be the preferred option in the passing game, and he did get the first crack at the goal line work after punching into two such carries in the season opener.
Hill should be on rosters, given he is very much in the mix for the lead role on an explosive offense that isn’t getting their starter back this season. But with him being ruled OUT this week, make sure you’re elevating Edwards a touch and removing Hill from your flex spot in deeper formats.
Michael Pittman Jr.
I’m not sure his value changes in a big way if Richardson plays or sits. For the season, he owns a 30% target share (ranking ahead of Justin Jefferson) and is set to be a target vacuum in an offense that lacks secondary options.
He has eight catches in both games this season, and two very different fantasy box scores are proof of just how fickle production can be in an inconsistent offense. In Week 1, only six receivers outscored him, and in Week 2, despite catching the same number of passes, he was WR46.
I’m splitting the difference and have him ranked as a strong Flex option in all formats. He carries some risk, but the potential reward is well worth it.
The third-round pick has 12 targets through two weeks, but he’s managed just 67 yards. He is an interesting dynasty stash in dynasty formats, given his potential to grow with Anthony Richardson more than he is someone poised to matter in redraft leagues.
You can make better use of a roster stash than using it on an undersized rookie in a below-average passing offense.
Did we get over our skis with the big debut? After posting a 48% target share in Week 1, Flowers saw just 8.3% of the first-half targets last week, his first action with Mark Andrews active. Of course, the true expectation is somewhere between those two results, though he pretty clearly looks like the WR1 in this offense.
Here are Zay flowers highlights
That is all pic.twitter.com/5TRX9HpNm1
— Calvin (@FlockCwood) September 13, 2023
His racking up 155 yards from scrimmage through two career games is one thing, but the style in which he has done it is what has me encouraged. He has three rush attempts, a few screens, and one bomb reception. It’s not rare to see a rookie excel in very specific situations but to see one showcase the ability to do it all from the get-go is special.
Flowers is safely inside my top-30 at the position and approaching WR2 status. He’s the real deal and facing a defense that has allowed 20 fantasy points to a receiver in each of the first two weeks this season (Calvin Ridley and Nico Collins).
Odell Beckham Jr.
Beckham was targeted early, accounting for 28 of Lamar Jackson’s first 57 passing yards, but he was ruled out for the game in the third quarter after suffering an ankle injury. The injury isn’t expected to prevent him from suiting up this week: but I’m still not interested.
He’s not a fantasy starter at full strength until we see consistent usage, and with Nelson Agholor stepping up in his absence last week, the target outlook is underwhelming.
The Beckham injury left a target void in this Todd Monken offense, and the veteran stepped his game up (five catches for 63 yards and a score). This team is going to put the ball in the hands of Jackson, and with that comes the need for a third pass catcher alongside Mark Andrews and Flowers. Could that be Agholor?
It’s unlikely, he hasn’t caught 50 balls in a season since 2018, but not impossible. For his career, one of every 10.8 Agholor catches has resulted in a score, a rate that makes him an interesting bye-week filler when we get to that point. He’s nowhere near starting lineups at the moment, though I don’t think this is the last time we hear from the former first-round pick.
We are talking about a very low-volume option that isn’t even carrying the per reception upside that we thought we knew he had in his bag (53 yards on six catches this season). With Beckham banged up, he had a chance to earn more chances – instead, it was Agholor who doubled him up in the target department and hauled in a touchdown.
If there was any risk about the injury that cost him Week 1, slowing his start to the 2023 season, fuhgetaboutit. In his season debut, Andrews earned a 24.2% target share and found the end zone for the first time in over 11 months.
As good as Flowers looked in Week 1, Andrews assumed the leading option for Jackson, something I don’t see changing any time soon. You’re playing him and not thinking twice about it in all formats.
Who Should You Start in Week 3?
Should You Start Zack Moss or D’Andre Swift?
Pin the tail on the Eagles running back is not a fun game to play and it’s even less fun against a stout Buccaneer run defense. Swift is the better player on the better offense, but with less role clarity and a tough matchup, I’d rather plug in the 16-18 touches that I feel good about getting from Moss.
Should You Start Zay Flowers or Terry McLaurin?
I mentioned Flowers doing a bit of everything in his introduction to the NFL and that skill set is what has me buying in this week. This Colts defense does not scare me and with Lamar Jackson continuing to gain comfort in this Todd Monken offense, I’m willing to invest with confidence.
McLaurin will hold the edge in decision most weeks, but with a Tre’Davious shadow looming, I’m not tempting fate. The Commanders have a secondary receiver capable of making plays in Jahan Dotson and a stable run game that they can count on, leading me to believe that McLaurin’s opportunity count this week could underwhelm.
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