Best, worst matchups at all fantasy football positions for Week 2

Matchups play a huge part in fantasy managers’ weekly lineup decisions. When choosing between two (or more) similarly talented players, the decision often boils down to: Which one has the best matchup?

We use that word — “matchups” — a lot. But what, exactly, constitutes a favorable or unfavorable matchup?

This is where the “Matchups Map” comes in. Each week, I’ll provide a schedule-independent method to determine strength of positional matchups, using the most recent, relevant data. Check back for updated numbers each week, including matchups highlights at each position — favorable and unfavorable — based upon those statistics. For these purposes, we will use PPR (point per reception) scoring.

For Week 2, the maps include two measures: The first, “Rk,” is my personal ranking of how favorable/unfavorable I consider that positional matchup; the second, “Adj. FPA,” reflects how far above or below a player’s average that defense held opponents at that position. For Weeks 1-3, 2018 full-season data is used for the latter, so take those with a grain — or several grains — of salt. Beginning in Week 4, we’ll use 2019 data (three weeks in the books at that point), and then, starting in Week 6, we’ll use the most recent five weeks.

Finally, a caveat: Remember that matchups are only one ingredient in my rankings formula. Not every favorable matchup should be exploited; not every unfavorable matchup should be avoided. To get the most complete recipe for whom to start and sit, consult my weekly rankings.

Quarterbacks

Source: Gordon holdout not a LeVeon situation

Running back Melvin Gordon does not believe the Los Angeles Chargers are trading him and will continue his holdout to “protect himself,” but he plans to report to the team in 2019, a source told ESPN.

“This is not a Le’Veon Bell situation,” the source said. “He still wants to be a Charger, but he’s got to protect himself.”

The belief is the Chargers have shown little-to-no flexibility in moving off a high asking price to facilitate a trade, the source said.

After Gordon did not report to training camp in hopes of a new contract, the Chargers never came close to his asking price and shut down any hopes for an extension once the regular season began.

Gordon’s agent, Damarius Bilbo, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson in early August that he requested the Chargers trade his client after the team remained at its initial offer of approximately $10 million per season. Gordon’s fifth-year option was set to pay $5.605 million in 2019.

The top of the running back market begins at around $13 million per year, and discussions about bridging the gap with incentives didn’t work.

ESPN also reported in August that Gordon was considering sitting out until midseason, returning in time to accrue an NFL season toward free agency. That appears to be the play here.

Gordon has subjected himself to fines during his absence.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said he was “pulling for” Gordon but has to progress with the team’s current offense, which put up 435 yards in a 30-24 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.

Gordon has made two Pro Bowls since the Chargers drafted him 15th overall in 2015. His 28 rushing touchdowns over the past three years tied for the league lead with Dallas Cowboys back Ezekiel Elliott, who held out in the preseason before signing a six-year, $90 million extension.

In 12 games last year, Gordon recorded 885 rushing yards on 175 carries (5.1 yards per carry) along with 14 total touchdowns (10 rushing) and 50 receptions for 490 yards.

Bell, now with the New York Jets, sat out the entire 2018 season rather than play for the Pittsburgh Steelers under the franchise tag.

Bama tracking students to check 4-quarter stays

The University of Alabama is offering an incentive for students to stay inside Bryant-Denny Stadium for the entire game by utilizing location tracking through a new phone application.

The app monitors when students enter the stadium for Crimson Tide games — and when they leave.

Students receive 100 Tide Loyalty Points for attending a home football game and 250 points per game for staying all four quarters. Those points can then be used toward priority access to student football tickets.

Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne told the New York Times that privacy concerns have rarely been brought to his attention regarding the Tide Loyalty Points application’s utilization of tracking services. Besides, he said, students can either close the app or delete it altogether to avoid being tracked.

“If anybody has a phone, unless you’re in airplane mode or have it off, the cellular companies know where you are,” Byrne told the paper.

After earlier chiding students for leaving the stadium too early during last Saturday’s home game against New Mexico State, Alabama coach Nick Saban later changed his tune.

During his weekly radio call-in show Thursday, Saban once again thanked fans for braving the 90-plus-degree heat last Saturday.

“If I asked that whole student section, ‘Do you want to be No. 1?’ Nobody would hold their hand up and say, ‘I want to be No. 4.’ They would all say No. 1,” Saban said Saturday in his postgame remarks. “But are they willing to do everything to be No. 1? That’s another question.”

On Thursday night, Saban acknowledged the difficulty in dealing with such high temperatures.

“I want the stadium to be full,” Saban said. “I want everybody to stay. I want everybody to be there. But I also know that it’s not very comfortable when we play in certain circumstances. From a player’s standpoint, I don’t want to hear any of that. Whenever we play, we play.”

Alabama, which goes on the road to play South Carolina on Saturday, will once again deal with a hot game day on Sept. 21 when it hosts Southern Mississippi at 11 a.m. CT.

Upset with yet another day game, Byrne and university president Stuart Bell released a joint statement earlier this week expressing their displeasure.

“We are disappointed that our game against Southern Miss has been selected as a daytime kickoff at home,” the statement said. “We realize we’ve played more non-conference day games at home in September than any other SEC team since 2014. There have been a number of conversations with our conference office, and they also recognize the challenges these kick times present for our student-athletes and fans.”

Kansas vs. Boston College – Game Recap – September 13, 2019 – ESPN

BOSTON — Kansas coach Les Miles’ return to college football brought him some quick joy.

It also brought the Jayhawks something they haven’t had in a long time — a road win at a Power 5 school.

Carter Stanley threw for three touchdowns, Khalil Herbert rushed for 187 yards on 11 carries, and Kansas stunned Boston College 48-24 on Friday night for its first road win over a Power 5 team in nearly 11 years.

The Jayhawks (2-1), who entered as a three-touchdown underdog, won their first road game against a power conference opponent since a victory at Iowa State on Oct. 4, 2008, a span of 48 straight losses. Pooka Williams ran for 121 yards on 22 attempts with a touchdown, and Herbert added a late score. Stanley was 20-of-27 for 238 yards with an interception on his first attempt.

“If anybody wants to know why a guy would come back to college football, this tells you how fun and how important college football is,” said Miles, hired by the school in November after being fired from LSU two years ago.

“It shows the Jayhawks are coming,” he added. “I think it’s very realistic that we can be a great program and have real quality football teams year after year — not today, not tomorrow. Shortly in the future.”

AJ Dillon ran for 151 yards on 27 carries and Anthony Brown went 18-for-36 for 195 yards and a touchdown for the Eagles (2-1). Brown also caught a touchdown pass.

“We didn’t play very well,” Boston College coach Steve Addazio said. “I think we saw a few signs of this last week. I think today that we didn’t play well at all, and that’s my responsibility.”

Kansas went into the locker room with a 28-24 lead at the end of a wide-open first half that saw the teams combine for 623 yards (BC 313, Kansas 310). They also totaled 17 plays of 10 yards or more.

“I’ve been a Kansas fan my whole life and I can’t remember when it was,” Kansas linebacker Jay Dineen said of the last Power 5 road win. “It’s huge having it off our shoulders.”

Trailing 24-21, Kansas ran a simple pitch play at its own 15 with 40 seconds left. Herbert broke up the middle and headed down the right sideline for 82 yards before being knocked out of bounds.

“We needed to get this win,” Stanley said. “The manner that we got it was huge.”

Two plays later, Stanley hit Andrew Parchment — his second of two touchdown catches — for a 3-yard score.

Midway into the third quarter, the Jayhawks increased the lead to 38-24 when Williams had a 12-yard scoring run, capping an 87-yard drive.

Boston College had taken a 24-21 edge when Brown caught his 12-yard score from wide receiver CJ Lewis.

The Eagles scored on their first two drives and led 10-0 before the Jayhawks scored on six straight possessions.

THE TAKEAWAY

Kansas: The Jayhawks rebounded from a miserable loss at home against Coastal Carolina when they collected only 280 total yards by putting up 567 yards Friday. … They beat Central Michigan on the road last season. Before that, their last road win was at UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009.

Boston College: It’s the worst home — and probably overall — loss in Addazio’s seven seasons at the school. Unless the defense gets fixed quickly, it could lead to a rough year when conference play and a tough late schedule loaded with road games at Clemson, Syracuse and Pittsburgh — and a nonconference matchup at Notre Dame — kicks in.

FLYING QB

On a third-and-4 at BC’s 28 early in the second quarter, Stanley rolled to his left on a keeper and hurdled over Eagles DB Nolan Borgersen for a first down.

Miles was fired up on the sideline.

“It shows everybody that he cares as much as they do to put your body at risk for his teammates. They realize that,” Miles said before joking. “There’s somethings that I’d like to take back — like the jump over the top of the guy.”

BIG CHUNKS

Kansas had five scoring drives of 78 yards or more, finding big holes through BC’s defense on numerous plays.

ERASE THE PAIN

“Moving forward, I think you’re going to see a hungrier team — a team that’s not really taking any of these shots for granted,” Dillon said.

UP NEXT

Kansas: Hosts West Virginia in its first Big 12 matchup next Saturday.

Boston College: Travels to Rutgers next Saturday for its first road game.

Pop: Team USA critics are immature, arrogant

BEIJING — After finishing seventh in the FIBA World Cup with a victory over Poland on Saturday, Team USA coach Gregg Popovich issued a rebuke for those criticizing his team for its worst-ever showing in a major event.

“Some people want to play the blame game. There’s no blame to be placed anywhere,” Popovich said. “They want to play the shame game, like we should be ashamed because we didn’t win a gold medal? That’s a ridiculous attitude. It’s immature, it’s arrogant, and it shows that whoever thinks that doesn’t respect all the other teams in the world and doesn’t respect that these guys did the best they could.”

Team USA played with just nine players in the 87-74 win after Kemba Walker missed the game with a neck injury. Walker said he thinks he will be ready for Boston Celtics training camp at the end of the month. His Celtics teammates Jayson Tatum (ankle) and Marcus Smart (leg injuries) also did not play. Tatum missed six of the eight games in the tournament, Smart missed three.

Much has been made about 31 of the 35 players who started last summer on Team USA’s roster pulling out of playing for the team. Another handful pulled out after being added to the roster. From 2018, when the group was announced as Popovich took over as coach, only Walker, Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes and Myles Turner were in China.

“Their effort was fantastic. They allowed us to coach them,” Popovich said of his team. “You give people credit for what they did, and that’s it. But it’s not a blame and shame game. That’s ridiculous.”

After the team flies home Sunday, the players and coaches will return to focus on their NBA teams. But the clock is already ticking on USA Basketball. The Tokyo Olympics are in July, and significant changes to the roster are likely.

“This isn’t really the time to even think about that,” Popovich said of the Olympics. “It’s 10 months away.”

Terry Bradshaw says he cant stand guys like AB

Pittsburgh Steelers great Terry Bradshaw said he is happy Antonio Brown is no longer with the Steelers and that he would have never thrown to the wide receiver had they been teammates.

“I’m glad they got rid of him, and I’m upset now that I know how he got away … [what] he was doing there,” the Hall of Fame quarterback told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I wish the heck they would have gotten rid of him a long time ago.”

“I had no idea they catered to Brown as much as they supposedly did,” Bradshaw said, intimating that Brown got preferential treatment from the Steelers. “I can’t stand players like Antonio Brown.”

Brown forced a trade out of Pittsburgh this offseason, landing with the Oakland Raiders before being released from there and signing with the New England Patriots. In between, he dealt with frostbite on his feet, an extended problem with his helmet, a blowup with Oakland general manager Mike Mayock and two separate fines from the Raiders before he was released last Saturday.

“I cannot emphasize how I cannot stand and have a disdain totally for players like that,” said Bradshaw, a four-time Super Bowl winner with the Steelers. “I don’t want any part of them. I wouldn’t like them. They would hate me if they were on our team. They would hate me because I wouldn’t throw to him.

“I will not put up with that kind of behavior. You don’t win with it. Why haven’t we won more Super Bowls? There is talent, [but] it’s just guys like him. Let him go and his brand and whatever it is he’s doing.”

In nine seasons with the Steelers, Brown reached the 1,000-yard receiving mark seven times, including in each of his final six years in Pittsburgh.

“Winning football games is all about the team and all about players caring about one another and everybody pulling together, not pulling apart,” said Bradshaw, an NFL analyst for Fox. “You can’t have Antonio Brown for all the greatness that they are, do you want the baggage that goes with that crap? I wouldn’t.”

In addition to his on-field, offseason issues, Brown also is facing a civil lawsuit in which a woman says he sexually assaulted her on three occasions. Despite the suit, Brown has not been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

Brown is still waiting to make his 2019 debut. He was not eligible to play for the Patriots in Week 1, and coach Bill Belichick has not revealed whether the wideout will play Sunday against Brown’s hometown Miami Dolphins.

Asked Bradshaw: “What’s the over/under of him lasting in New England?”

Raptors launch branded hijabs in fan outreach

TORONTO — The Raptors say a new line of team-branded hijabs is part of an effort to be more inclusive to fans of all cultures.

The team’s parent company, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, unveiled the Nike Pro hijabs emblazoned with the team logo in a social media post Friday. The Raptors say they are the first NBA team to offer an athletic hijab for Muslim women.

MLSE senior marketing director Jerry Ferguson says the organization was inspired to create the hijabs by a local Muslim women’s organization known as the Hijabi Ballers. The women regularly play basketball at a community court associated with the team.

Ferguson told The Canadian Press the Raptors organization wants to send a message of inclusion to its diverse fan base, which grew substantially during last season’s run to the team’s first NBA title.

“One of the things that we are very interested in is moving from saying we are just about inclusivity and accessibility, and finding ways to bring products and ideas to market that actually prove that,” he said by phone.

The International Basketball Federation and FIFA lifted bans on head coverings in recent years.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims praised the Hijabi Ballers for spurring the Raptors to act. Mustafa Farooq, the council’s executive director, acknowledged that the issue of hijabs in sports has proved divisive. Opponents have called them a symbol of oppression.

“It’s hard for me to understand that,” Farooq said. “One of the beautiful things about sports is that everyone can play. Highlighting that … everyone should get a shot is such a beautiful thing to do, so obviously we thank the Raptors for taking this step.”