Week 3 Fantasy Tips from the Playbook War Room, Part 2

Fantasy Tips, Inside the Game, Playbook War Room

As inspired by studying the All-22 game tape of Week 2, here’s the rest of our breakdown and fantasy tips for Week 3 . . .


  • Minnesota runs a lot of zone coverages on Defense. With Detroit possessing such a talented passing attack, Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson should see a lot of success. Calvin Johnson’s speed and size has to be taken into account by the defense on every play; he will get his catches regardless of defense. We have seen on tape that Nate Burleson has thrived playing off of Johnson; he has had a lot of success in the short passing game and has been Matthew Stafford’s possession receiver.
  • The Minnesota O-Line has struggled to give Donovan McNabb time in the pocket. McNabb, in turn, has put more of his focus on the trenches instead of his WRs downfield. This has caused his anticipation to be slow and his accuracy to falter.
  • This week Minnesota is getting back Kevin Williams from a two game suspension. Tampa Bay had some success against Minnesota’s interior last week, but Detroit does not possess the same talent at the Guard position nor the size at the RB position. Minnesota limited LaGarrette Blount’s yardage last week without Williams, so expect Jahvid Best to have minimal success running the ball.


Darren Sproles (AP)

  • The new Houston D strives to attack the QB. On film, the Saints exploited the blitzing of the Packers by putting Darren Sproles in one-on-one matchups against a LB.  Look for the Saints to do a lot of things to get Sproles the ball in space and allow his quickness to create problems for the Houston D.
  • New Orleans loves to either blitz or play Cover 2. With a player like Andre Johnson at WR, NO is going to have to decide if they want to sit back and bracket Johnson or if they want to try to disrupt Matt Schaub by pressuring him. If they choose the latter, Johnson will have some one-on-one matchups that he will be able to exploit. The film has shown that Schaub can pick apart a zone but he has yet to be blitzed heavily this season; how he reacts to the blitz will determine him and Andre’s success.
  • Houston has the top ranked passing defense in the league. However, the Indianapolis game skews those stats in their favor. They have yet to face a passing attack like the Saints or a QB like Drew Brees. Brees was able to put up 34 points against the Packers attacking D and with more speed on the field (Henderson, Meachem, Graham) they should be able to generate some big plays against a Houston pass D that was last in the league last year.


  • On film, the Eagles have been creating havoc on opposing OTs by utilizing a wide 9 technique by their DEs. By lining up so far outside, the Eagles DEs are committing to pressuring the QB. Sam Baker of the Falcons was driven back into Matt Ryan multiple times throughout the game. The Giants LT William Beatty is not a big physical guy which means Eli Manning could feel a lot of pressure off the edge.  And years of film study has shown us, Eli doesn’t handle pressure well.
  • The Giants are going to have to utilize Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs against the Eagles. They have a lot of injuries at WR and the Eagles’ biggest weakness is their run D.  In Week 1, the Rams exploited the LB core and wide 9 DEs and had a lot of success. The physicality of Jacobs and the elusiveness of Bradshaw should be difficult for the Eagles to contain.
  • The Giants simply have no CBs that can contain the speed the Eagles have at WR. With either Mike Vick or Mike Kaftka starting at QB, the Eagles are going to get the ball to DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. The best way to not only protect the QBs, but limit the Giants pass rush, will be to get these WRs the ball early and in space.

Joe Flacco (AP)


  • Joe Flacco really struggled last week against the Titans. We saw on film that he was late on his reads and was trying to force the ball too much to Anquan Boldin. If Flacco wants to bounce back, he needs to work on distributing the ball better and taking what the defense gives him. Right now it looks like he does not trust any of his younger WRs and TEs.
  • Ray Rice should be able to run the ball against a weak Rams run D. The Giants RBs had a lot of success using cut back lanes and running counters. Rice’s vision has stood out on film, which bodes well for this week’s matchup.
  • If the Rams are going to have success, they are going to have to throw the ball down the field. The Titans showed last week that the Ravens weakness is their secondary. Sam Bradford has a tendency to quickly check down, but with this defense’s ability to swarm to the ball the Rams are going to have to take some shots down the field on that weak Raven secondary.


  • Green Bay struggled in Week 1 to control Darren Sproles out of the backfield. While Matt Forte does not possess the quickness of Sproles, he has a size and speed combo to cause any defense fits. The Packers have yet to prove that they can limit a team from having success catching the ball out of the backfield.
  • Jay Cutler has been sacked more than any other QB in the league through two weeks. On the other side of the ball, the Packers thrive at rushing the passer. With an all but non-existent running game up until this point, the Bears are going to have to rely on the pass. Jay Cutler will be able to find a few seams, but the pressure combined with his poor footwork and gunslinger mentality will lead to some bad throws.
  • Chicago has struggled a bit covering the opposing teams TEs. Aaron Rodgers has seen this Bears team enough that he understands the holes that will open up in their zones. Jermichael Finley should be able to attack the defense up the seam and utilize his size and speed combo to have a productive day.


  • The Seahawks offense has not stood out on paper or film. Tavaris Jackson is really struggling to get the ball out on anything but three-step drops. The young OL has yet to mesh which has limited Marshawn Lynch’s ability to find any open running lanes.
  • Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald finally fell into sync last weekend. Kolb will continue to give Fitzgerald a healthy amount of looks. The Seattle secondary has no CB that can match up against Fitzgerald, especially with a confident Kolb throwing the ball.


Michael Turner (AP)

  • Look for LeGarrette Blount to see some success running the ball if Tampa continues to give him carries. We all saw the Bucs have a lot of success with their interior OL. They finally got back to their power run game and guys like Davin Joseph were able to blow people off the ball. Atlanta is not very big or physical with their interior DL, so the Bucs should be able to run the ball.
  • The Tampa Bay D runs primarily zone. Matt Ryan has stood out on film with his ability to anticipate windows and where his WRs will be. Both of these qualities should help his WRs this week.
  • The Falcons struggled to consistently run the ball last week. If the Eagles had maintained their assignments, Michael Turner does not get a 60+ yard run and his stats would look quite poor. On film the Falcons really struggled to move the Eagles front 4 off the ball. The Bucs have a more disciplined front 7, which should limit Turner’s potential for this week.


  • The Dallas front 7 has been very physical this season against the run. Film has shown that the Cowboys have talent to not only penetrate the line of scrimmage, but size on the outside to control the edge. The Redskins have been dedicated to the run all season, but have yet to take on a defense as talented as the Cowboys. Their zone blocking scheme should allow them to have a few big runs, but the Cowboys talent up front should pose problems for Tim Hightower and Roy Helu.
  • With Miles Austin out, Felix Jones and Dez Bryant banged up, and Tony Romo ailing, the Cowboys are going to lean heavily on Jason Witten. Witten will get a large number of looks in the short passing game, but also down the field.

For more All-22 analysis watch NFL Playbook: Thursdays & Fridays at 8pm ET only on NFL Network.

Send your questions and comments to the Playbook War Room Team at playbook@nfl.com and on Twitter @NFLN_Playbook.

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