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Thursday Night NFC East Showdown and Weekend Betting Prep

Week 2 fantasy player projections and rankings plus player props and picks
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Was your waiver claim on Elijah Mitchell successful? Mine was not. Life goes on. Into another week of football we go!

Essential Reading

Thursday Night Football Betting Breakdown: Giants vs. WFT is a much less enticing game than we had last Thursday. Do you know what could make it more interesting? Betting on it. Jennifer Piacenti has the pick and props for this NFC East showdown.

Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Michael Fabiano’s column is vital for every week of your fantasy season. You’ll want to get to this one today, though — one of the “start ‘em” running backs plays tonight. (Spoiler: It’s not Saquon Barkley.)

Ranking and Projecting Week 2 Performances: A few Week 1 duds are prime for bounce-back performances in Shawn Childs' player projections.

Best College Football Bets: Richard Johnson is coming at you again with CFB picks from his composite model. Week 3 begins tonight with Ohio and Louisiana Lafayette. Buckle up.

Checking in on College Football Futures: Frankie Taddeo offers an early check-in on the College Football Playoff betting landscape. You'll never guess who the favorite is…

Touches, Targets and Regression: I’m not above plugging my own work! I analyzed the volume and efficiency of some Week 1 fantasy performances and the sustainability of each performance going forward.

Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris

Gambling Dictionary: For anyone who’s just getting into sports betting, the SI Betting staff compiled a glossary of important terms for you to know before you take your newfound knowledge to SI Sportsbook.

Post-Week 1 Clarity and Questions I Still Have

Answers:

Antonio Gibson is the featured back. Last season, J.D. McKissic saw an inordinate number of targets for a running back. Fantasy owners with stock in Gibson were hopeful their second-round draft choice would be more involved in the passing game, and McKissic would be phased out. Gibson led the team in targets against the Chargers while McKissic only had one touch. Gibson's point total was nothing special without a touchdown, but he eclipsed 100 total yards on 23 touches and is prime for bigger weeks ahead.

Saquon Barkley still needs time. On a short week, he's listed as questionable against Washington tonight, and he didn't show anything against Denver to inspire a lot of confidence in starting him. One thing that contributed to Barkley's greatness pre-injury was simply how often he was on the field. That won't be the case as he's still being eased back into things — Barkley played 48% of snaps Week 1.

Questions:

How will the 49ers running back situation unfold? Things would be a lot more clear-cut if Trey Sermon were the backup as expected when Raheem Mostert got injured. Sermon being a healthy scratch and Elijah Mitchell going off in relief play fogged up the picture. And what of JaMycal Hasty? Then there's the looming threat of Jeff Wilson Jr. coming off injured reserve midway through the season. At least we always have a good idea of what Kyle Shanahan is thinking, right?

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What's the pecking order in Tampa Bay, and will it even matter? In a shootout with the Cowboys, Mike Evans was left out. Chris Godwin paced the Bucs with 13 targets, Rob Gronkowski saw eight, and Antonio Brown and Leonard Fournette each had seven. Evans's six targets were fourth on the team. Evans had plenty of catch total and yardage duds saved by touchdowns last season, and there's no reason to think he won't continue to be a big part of the offense. But with Brown fully integrated, something has to give.

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Reader Q&A

Someone sent in a question asking for a lineup analysis last night; Jose R., this is for you.

Jose wanted to know something a lot of fantasy managers have been wondering: Can I actually sit Saquon Barkley? The answer that nobody wants to hear is “it depends” but it hinges on who you have behind him. Jose has Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon in at his RB spots and I think that’s the correct call. As for WR2, I wouldn’t overreact to Sterling Shepards’s Week 1. He’s a fine flex play, but Terry McLaurin, even with Taylor Heinicke at QB, needs to be in your starting lineup.

Remember to send in your lineup questions and more to winnersclub@si.com for a chance to be featured in the next edition of the newsletter!

Play of the Day and Games I’m Watching

Play of the Day: It was a long two days without football, but the NFL is back tonight, and I have a pick and a play for you. I like Washington -3.5 at home, which you can get for -105 on SI Sportsbook. The Football Team nearly beat a tough Chargers team last week despite the injury to quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Broncos blew the Giants out, and it's clear Saquon Barkley isn't back to 100%. I believe in Taylor Heinicke, who was close to unseating the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in January.

To go along with the Washington pick, I like Antonio Gibson as my MVP in DFS tonight. The Giants gave up 165 rushing yards to the Broncos last week. Meanwhile, Gibson handled virtually all of the WFT's running back load. But really, this is a bet that Gibson outscores both Daniel Jones, who should turn the ball over against Washington's ferocious defense and Heinicke, who I don't expect to be slinging the ball around the field.

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What I’m Watching: I saw two amazing things in college football games last Saturday. Anthony Richardson was running around the field for the Gators looking like prime Cam Newton in a blowout win (more of that against Alabama, I hope). And I happened to be at the Miami game where a dangling cat nearly broke the internet. Thankfully, it didn’t break anything itself.

Here’s hoping for anything half as exciting as that in the college football games I’m watching this weekend.

No. 8 Cincinnati @ Indiana: 12 P.M. EST (ESPN)

No. 1 Alabama @ No. 11 Florida: 3:30 P.M. EST (CBS)

Tulane @ No. 17 Ole Miss: 8:00 P.M. EST (ESPN2)

That’s all I’ve got for today! Remember to follow me on Twitter @Kkylewood and the SI Fantasy and Gambling pages at @SI_Fantasy and @SI_betting. I’ll talk to you on Sunday.