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The Script to Success – Week 2: MNF

@CoachStevenP breaks down the game script expectations for the Monday night double header.

New Orleans Saints vs Carolina Panthers – MNF

Details of the Script

  • MNF – 7:15pm @ Bank of America Stadium
  • Weather – Sunny Evening
  • What Vegas is saying – Line (NO -3.0) & Over/Under39.5

Identifying the Game Script 

We have a doubleheader for Monday Night Football. The first game is between division foes the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers. These teams haven’t been in too many shootouts recently, as in the last five games, their average score has been 30.8 points. The Panthers won both games last year, but this is a new season for both teams.


Derek Carr has sleeper potential in week two. Carr threw up 300 yards with a 70% completion percentage in week two. The Panthers’ secondary wasn’t tested very well against Desmond Ridder, who threw less than 20 times. Their secondary is beat up already heading into week two, which is an excellent opportunity for Carr. Carr fits well into this offense and has a great connection with his receivers. He is a sleeper start in QB1 leagues but a great start as a QB2 in superflex leagues.

Byrce Young didn’t have a great week one performance against the Falcons. He had just nine fantasy points in that game. The young rookie will have some growing pains in his rookie season. The Saints aren’t going to help the cause for him. Overall, they are a pretty strong defense, making Ryan Tannehill’s day terrible in week one. Young started the game okay but looked bad in the second half. He was 10 for 22 for 66 yards with a pick. Young has a bright future but should sit in all superflex leagues for week two.

Running Backs

Here comes a bounce-back week for Jamaal Williams. Willimas had a tough week one against the Titans, and it showed his 2.5 YPC in the game. He saw 18 carries, which is a great opportunity for fantasy. The Panther run defense was shredded in week one, allowing two RB1 performances. If Williams can see that same workload again, he should be able to get RB2 production in week two. Kendre Miller may play in this game, but I’m not afraid the rookie will eat into his workload in his first game. 

The Panthers seem to have themselves a two-man committee in their backfield. Miles Sanders is the starter and did well enough in fantasy in week one. He handled most of the early down runs and goal line carries. He was even on the field, which was great for two-minute offense plays. Sanders wasn’t on the field for third downs and isn’t going to be that three-down back we expected. Chuba Hubbard handled all the third downs, and he did well enough that I don’t expect his role to go away. The Saints held King Henry to 63 yards in week one. The Panthers are going to run more because of their rookie quarterback. Sanders should be considered a low-end RB2 with limited upside this week. Hubbard isn’t on starting radars yet, but he is a RB4. 

Pass Catchers

The Saints pass catchers blew up in week one despite only having one passing touchdown on the day. Chris Olave got off to a slow start but finished with eight receptions for 112 yards. Olave should be a high-end WR2 in a favorable matchup. Michael Thomas is still healthy (knock knock) and looked good with 61 yards. He is the other starter on the team and should continue to see a healthy target share. Thomas is a borderline WR2 in this matchup. Rashid Shaheed is a player you need to stash no matter where you play fantasy. He is outstanding, but Shaheed is the third receiver for now. He plays that deep-threat approach and does well at it. Shaheed could make weekly fantasy noise for our lineups. Shaheed can provide borderline WR3 boom/bust value in week two. 

Juwan Johnson looks like the starting tight end for the Saints. He played the most snaps, ran the most routes, and saw five targets. Johnson getting three receptions for 36 yards will be his floor most weeks. He has had a tough matchup with the Panthers, as they have been in the top 10 against fantasy tight ends since last year. He is likely a TE2 that you shouldn’t start if you don’t have to. Taysom Hill will continue to be annoying at times, but never enough to start him. 

It’s hard to trust any Panthers receiver in week two. They all had under 30 receiver yards in week one. DJ Chark didn’t play but is expected to return, which will likely push Terrace Marshall back down to the bench. I’m sitting Chark, Adam Thielen, and Jonathan Mingo in this game. The Saints have been in the top 10 against fantasy receivers. I’m waiting until one of these receivers separates from the pack. Hayden Hurst was the only decent pass catcher in week one. He had seven targets and had the most snaps and routes run among the tight ends. The Saints are a tough matchup against tight ends. They held the Titan’s tight ends to zero catchers and were the second-best team against them in 2022. Unfortunately, I sit him in this tough matchup. 

Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers – MNF

Details of the Script

  • MNF – 8:15pm @ Acrisure Stadium
  • Weather – Party Cloudy w/ potential rain at night
  • What Vegas is saying – Line (CLE -2.5) & Over/Under 38.

Identifying the Game Script 

We have another division rivalry between the Browns and Steelers in the second Monday Night Football game. Over the last five meetings, these teams have averaged 47.6 points in the game combined. Last year, they split their games as the home team won both matchups.


DeShaun Watson had an uneven week one performance. He managed a QB1 fantasy week, but sometimes made some very questionable throws in the offense. Watson did play the Steelers in week 18 and had good production while still throwing two picks. The Steelers’ secondary was lit up by the 49ers in week one, and they weren’t a great team in 2022 vs. fantasy quarterbacks, either. Watson should be looked at as a borderline QB1 in this matchup. He has the weapons and mobility to play well in week two. 

Kenny Pickett had a week one to forget. He did not play very well against the 49ers. Most of his yardage came in the second half in garbage time while the Steelers were way behind. Pickett has another tough matchup as the Browns have been top three against fantasy quarterbacks for the last two seasons. Last year, Pickett was held under 200 passing yards and had one touchdown. Pickett just lost his best receiver, Diontae Johnson, so it’s going to be hard for Pickett to have a good week two. He is, at best, a borderline QB2 in this matchup. 

Running Backs

Nick Chubb had a solid week one performance for fantasy. He held down the early work in the offense but didn’t lead the third-down work. Chubb still managed four targets, which is nice to see. He has a matchup against the Steelers that allowed 152 rushing yards to CMC last week. Chubb’s career average against the Steelers has been 72 rushing yards but only three touchdowns over nine games. Last year, he averaged 95 yards against them, so he should be fine in this matchup. He will see most of the work and likely have an opportunity for a touchdown. He is an RB1 in this matchup. Jerome Ford handled most of the third-down work, but his production was inefficient, with a 2.4 YPC. He shouldn’t be anywhere near starting lineups for the time being. 

Early DownShort YardageThird DownsTwo Min Drill
Steelers’ RB breakout for week one

The Steelers backfield looks like it will be a two-back committee. Najee Harris led over Jaylen Warren in snaps 33 to 25 overall, and that’s not a big gap. The Browns held Joe Mixon in week one but were bad against fantasy running backs in 2022. Harris has averaged 100 yards per game in four games vs. the Browns, but last year, he only averaged 55 yards a game against them. The Browns’ run defense has stepped over the previous few years. Harris should be looked at as a low-end RB2. He is going to see the early work and goalline opportunity. Jaylen Warren’s usage is encouraging as he was used on third down and saw half the early down work in the offense. In a tough matchup, he is more of a low-end RB3 in this matchup. 

Pass Catchers

The Browns receiver room is very interesting for fantasy. The Steelers secondary was destroyed on Sunday by the 49ers. They were a middle-of-the-road team in 2022. The Browns receiver didn’t do well with Watson in his matchup against the Steelers in 2022. Amari Cooper was third in snaps and routes run due to being in the medical tent for some time. He is someone to monitor moving forward, as his usage could be a concern. He is still a low-end WR 2 in this matchup, hoping to bounce back. 

Donovan Peoples-Jones led the team in snaps but managed only two targets. I’d probably end up sitting him in this matchup. I can’t trust DPJ’s target share. Elijah Moore was used all over the field. He was the best of the Browns’ receivers. He should be considered as a low-end WR3 with upside. David Njoku didn’t have the best week one game, but he should bounce back to a low-end TE1. The Steelers aren’t great at stopping fantasy tight ends, so Njoku should be back as a starter. 

Like Kenny Pickett, the Steelers’ receivers have a tough matchup in week two. Diontae Johnson is likely out for this matchup. Kenny Pickett’s ability caps George Pickens upside. He is likely to get you five catches for 62 yards. Pickens is a borderline WR3 in this matchup because his role won’t change with Johnson out. Allen Robinson played every offensive snap and was the primary slot receiver. It was a surprise he saw eight targets in week one. Robinson should be a borderline WR3 play in week two as well. Calvin Austin will likely fill in as Johnosn’s replacement in this game. He probably isn’t worth a start, but he does have some upside. Austin looked good in the preseason and flashed a little in week one. He is a WR4/5 with upside. Pat Freiermuth is banged up, so I’d likely sit him in this match.

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