If you had told me at the start of last week that Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson would be just one passing touchdown away from matching his total for the entire 2018 season on just 17 pass completions, I would have said that you need your fantasy privileges taken away.
But here we are.
I noted in my column last week that Jackson’s first instinct was to run because he believed in his own playmaking ability, however, Jackson looked incredibly comfortable throwing an absolutely beautiful 89-yard touchdown pass to Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. Not to mention, Jackson had just three carries for six yards. Jackson seems to look comfortable in this new system and with the correct play calling, Jackson can finally flourish as more than just a quarterback who can run the ball.
I think Jackson will develop into a solid QB1 as the season goes on and will be a wonderful addition to any team. That said, do not expect another performance like this out of him. Miami is currently utter garbage and a team of well-coordinated kindergartners could beat the Dolphins.
PLAYERS TO START
■ Anyone who plays for the Patriots: Like I mentioned earlier, Miami looked more porous than a screen door on a submarine, and the Patriots last week took one of the leagues better defenses and turned it upside down. New England will have no trouble racking up lots of yards and points against the porous porpoises.
■ Sammy Watkins, Chiefs: Tyreek Hill came into the season as the undisputed No. 1 receiver for the league best Kansas City offense, but he’s out with an injury. Look for Watkins to have another huge game.
■ Austin Ekeler, Chargers: With Melvin Gordon holding out last week, Ekeler made Henry Ford look like a major pileup on the highway. Ekeler will have another great week against a Raiders defense that only played decently against a mediocre Denver offense. Also, looks to Ekeler to become more important in the passing game as Phillip Rivers will be without a healthy starting tight end since Hunter Henry is questionable with a fracture in his tibia.
■ Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers: After missing the entire last season with a torn ACL, Garoppolo looked less than stellar against Tampa Bay, but he should have an easier task ahead of him this week against the league’s worst defense from a year ago. If he can get going, then expect the rest of his teammates (and not just George Kittle) to be big contributors to fantasy teams.
OFF THE BENCH
■ Aaron Rodgers, Packers: Rodgers looked terrible against Chicago and its No. 3 defense from a year ago. This week, he faces a Minnesota defense which was ranked one spot lower overall, but was the third best team last season against the pass.
■ Jameis Winston, Buccaneers: I’ll be the first to admit that I have never been super high on Winston, but last week’s miserable three interception performance against a defense still working out some kinks just shows that he does not deserve a spot on anyone’s fantasy team.
■ Gardner Minshew, Jacksonville: I feel kind of bad for Nick Foles. He won a Super Bowl as an underrated backup and now that he finally had a chance to start, he broke his clavicle and now has to give the starting job to a man whose grandfather almost named him Beowulf. Minshew looked decent against Kansas City, but look to him to decline against a stout Texans defense since he has no superstar level talent around him.
■ Chris Thompson, Redskins: With Derrius Guice out for the foreseeable future, it’s still questionable the impact Thompson will have against Dallas. There might be some value to him as a pass catching back, but if you have other options I would run those over him in a heartbeat.