Wed Sep 18 9:50am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
Mike Evans set to get it going
It was quite the interesting week in fantasy land. Several top quarterbacks went down with injury, guys that rarely have missed games throughout their career. This is going to cause some headaches for fantasy owners. Hopefully, you have a good backup option to replace these guys. And don’t hesitate to work the waiver wire for a replacement. There are some capable options out there on a lot of waiver wires. Here is to hoping you can survive these injuries.
Here are my random thoughts for the week. . . .
The Daniel Jones era is finally here. You knew it was coming. I’m happy to see Jones getting his chance, especially with Eli Manning doing little with his chances. Jones could breathe some life into the offense and help players like Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram have more success. I don’t see Jones being much of a fantasy option, but his move to starter should be a positive for those around him.
A couple good buy-low candidates in my view are Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette. Both are off to slow starts and their stock is low. If you can get them for a cheaper price, I say go for it. Evans was sick the first week and had a tough matchup last week, so I look for him to ramp it up going forward. Fournette is off to a slow start as well but is getting the work. He has at least 17 touches and four receptions each of the first two games.
If I’m an Antonio Brown owner, I try to trade him. I just think it is a matter of time before a suspension is thrown down, especially with new stories about him coming out nearly every day. He played last week and did pretty well, so his value isn’t totally in the tank and some owners think he might be worth the risk. I’m not saying give him away for nothing but if you can get some value in return, I would dump Brown. I just don’t trust that situation.
The Chiefs running back situation is really starting to concern me. Neither of those backs are doing much right now. I still like Damien Williams more, mainly because I think he gets more targets in the passing game. I just don’t like the way things have played out with their running game these first two games. I would be concerned if I owned either of those guys. Plus, both are battling injury right now, which is another concern.
I’m starting to become a believer in the Ravens passing game. I’m just shocked at how much progress Lamar Jackson has made in a season. He has been lights out these first two games. I know they have come against poor defenses but you still have to give him credit for making plays. And it has to be a nightmare for opposing defenses to game plan against this unit right now. The Ravens already have a very good rushing attack, but the passing game is now becoming very dangerous. This offense is scary good.
Three passing games that have surprised me some this year and I think could be very helpful to fantasy teams the rest of the way are the Cardinals, Bengals and Redskins. These three teams are posting some big weekly passing numbers right now. And these units have some good potential going forward. None of these teams have very good rushing games, so I expect a lot of passing from all three teams the rest of the way. These might be some units to target if you need help through the air and would like to make a trade or need to pickup a player. I don’t think the first two weeks are a fluke.
Emmanuel Sanders is looking like a great draft day value. He had 11 receptions last week and was targeted 13 times in the game. He has scores each of his first two games and been targeted 20 times overall. Sanders looks completely healthy, recovered from his Achilles’ injury. I’m not sure Sanders can keep his current pace, but he is going to be a productive fantasy player the rest of the way. It is good to see him back to his old ways.
You have to worry about Carson Wentz a little. His receivers are dropping like flies and his start to the year hasn't gone quite as expected. He had two interceptions to one touchdown pass last week and struggled some throughout the game, especially after his starting receivers got injured. He missed on some throws he should have made. Wentz still has a high weekly ceiling, but he needs his receivers healthy and to start showing more consistency throwing the ball.
As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 3 rankings.
News and Notes: The Giants finally made a move at quarterback, benching Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. Expect Jones to start the rest of the year for the Giants. . . . .The Lions released running back C.J. Anderson on Tuesday. The team signed running back Paul Perkins to take his roster spot. . . . .The Chargers added some depth at tight end, signing Lance Kendricks on Tuesday. He could move up the depth chart in a hurry if he picks up the offense quickly.
Mike Evans, WR, Bucs. Evans is off to a slow start to his season. He was sick Week 1 but played and did little. He was better in Week 2, catching four passes for 61 yards on eight targets. That was a little more like it for Evans. Expect his best game of the season this week against the Giants. New York is 30th overall against the pass and allows the third most fantasy points to receivers. Evans is ready to breakout in this one.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys. Prescott is off to the best start of his career. He has seven touchdowns to just one interception in two games. He is third overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, less than a point behind the great Patrick Mahomes. He is excelling in the Cowboys new offense, an offense that takes more chances down the field. Expect more success this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami allows the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass.
Nick Chubb, RB, Browns. Chubb showed his big potential last week, having 98 total yards and a score. He didn’t run wild but got the work and produced for fantasy teams. The good news is Chubb has 20 or more touches each of the first two games. He is getting a lot of weekly work. He should get a workout again this week against the Rams. Los Angeles allows the sixth most fantasy points to running backs.
Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens. Andrews is first overall in fantasy tight end scoring after two games. He has 100-yards games in each of his two games. He also has touchdowns in each of those games and been targeted 17 times. All the talk of Andrews having a big second season seem to be coming true. He can continue his good play this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City allows the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends and rank 20th overall against the pass.
LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets. Bell is getting a workout for the Jets to start his season. He already has 54 touches in two games. He had 10 receptions last week, getting a ton of work in the passing game with the Jets trailing big. Bell is fifth overall in fantasy running back scoring. Expect him to get another workout this week against the Patriots. He could get a similar workload in the passing game with the Jets trailing by a lot. As long as Bell keeps catching a lot of passes, fantasy owners won’t care that his yardage and touchdown numbers aren’t off the charts.
Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray had 349-passing yards last week and has 300-yard games each of his first two games. The issue is he has just two scores in two games. He failed to score a touchdown last week. Murray also isn’t doing a lot on the ground, which is a bit of a surprise. He has just 17-rushing yards in two games. Murray has another tough matchup for this week, getting the Panthers. Carolina allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and are third overall against the pass. You might want to leave Murray on your bench for this one.
Damien Williams/LeSean McCoy, RB, Chiefs. Williams had nine carries for eight yards last week and also hurt his knee in the game. For the season, Williams has run the ball 22 times for 34 yards. McCoy hasn't been much better. He ran 11 times for 23 yards last week and caught there passes for no gain. McCoy hurt his ankle in the game, so both backs are hobbled some and doing little with their work. Their matchup this week is a terrible one, playing the Ravens. Baltimore is first overall against the run and have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs. We would just avoid both backs in this one.
Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers. Allison had a much better showing last week than his opener, finding the end zone on five targets. The problem is Allison totaled just 25 yards on his four receptions. It was good to see him score but his overall numbers weren’t very impressive. He probably isn’t worth plugging into your lineup just yet, especially this week against the Broncos. Denver has been solid against the pass to start the season, ranking fourth overall against the pass. The Broncos allow the second fewest fantasy points to receivers.
Any Jet receivers. The Jets are down to their third-string quarterback. New York has some usable fantasy receivers on their roster, including Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson, but neither are worth using as long as Sam Darnold is out. These guys are just going to be too inconsistent to trust. And a matchup this week agains the Patriots is a terrible one for the passing game. New England is eighth overall against the pass and allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Just avoid all Jets receivers at this point. They aren’t worth the risk.
Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray had a solid opener but really struggled last week. He ran five times for just seven yards. He isn’t getting quite as many touches as expected through two games, having 14 touches. You were expecting around double-digit touches per week, but that hasn’t been the case. He isn’t worth using until his usage goes up, especially whites week against the Seahawks. Seattle is fourth overall agains the rush and allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to running backs.
Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams. Brown is getting his work in the Rams offense as the top backup to Toddy Gurley. He had double-digit carries and two scores in Week 1, and had 47 total yards last week. His numbers aren’t flashy but consistent, making him a guy to consider as a flex play in the right matchup. And this week could be a time to play Brown. The Rams play the Browns, a team that is struggling to stop the run to start the year. Cleveland allows the fourth most fantasy points to running backs.
Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers. Samuel was more involved in the offense Week 2, catching five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He also ran the ball twice, giving him seven total touches. Samuel is an exciting talent that can lead the 49ers receivers in receptions, so last week wasn't a fluke. He should get a lot of targets again this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers and are 29th overall against the pass.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford is off to a much better start this year. He looks healthy and is producing, ranking fifth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring after two games. He has five touchdowns and thrown for at least 245 yards in both contests. He is setup for another solid game this week against the Eagles, a team that has struggled to stop the pass. Philadelphia allows the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks.
Frank Gore, RB, Bills. Gore has double-digit carries each of his first two games. He found the end zone last week and totaled 83 yards in the game. He is getting his work and could get even more work this week if Devin Singletary is not able to play, which is possible. This makes Gore a player to consider as a flex play. He gets the Bengals, a team that allows the most fantasy points to running backs to start the season.
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson was kind of quiet last week but played a good Broncos defense. He was still targeted seven times in the game and caught four of those targets for 40 yards. He had a 100-yard game in the opener, so the potential is always there for Robinson to have the big week. And this week against the Redskins is a great matchup for Robinson to have success. Washington has really struggled against the pass, ranking 25th overall against the pass. The Redskins allow the most fantasy points to receivers.
High/Low Scoring Games
Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.
High Scoring Games: Ravens/Chiefs, Giants/Bucs, Texans/Chargers, Rams/Browns.
Low Scoring Games: Titans/Jaguars.
Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Five Fantasy Takeaways from Week 3
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown was incredibly quiet in Monday's loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, catching two of his six targets and finishing with 13 yards. With Baltimore finishing with under 100 passing yards, Brown's numbers still put him third on the team in receiving yards, if you're looking for a positive to take away from this game. Brown's a high-ceiling and low-floor fantasy receiver who'll have a lot better performances than this one, and he probably won't have any worse ones either.
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Devin Duvernay showed off his speed on Monday night, taking a kickoff 93 yards to the house for the first kick return touchdown of the 2020 NFL season. He was less effective as a receiver, catching two passes for seven yards. Duvernay is an intriguing young player who should see his role grow as the year progresses, but who also has his upside capped by the fact that Ravens throw so little. It's too early to add him in redraft leagues, but if you have a chance to get him at a low cost in dynasty, you might want to.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Nick Boyle caught the team's only offensive touchdown in the team's Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, with a five-yard grab on his only target of the game. Boyle has just four receptions through three games and while the touchdown was nice for anyone using him as a punt play in DFS, it didn't really help anyone in season-long leagues, and it shouldn't lead to you rushing out and putting a waiver claim in for a guy who just caught his third career touchdown in his sixth NFL season.
Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews led the team in targets on Monday against the Chiefs. Unfortunately, he couldn't bring most of them in, finishing with three receptions for 22 yards. Andrews had trouble with his hands all night. Usually a reliable tight end, we can probably chalk this one up to the struggles of the entire Ravens offense. Andrews remains a weekly TE1 play in season-long leagues.
Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram II couldn't find any room in Monday night's loss to the Chiefs, rushing seven times for 30 yards and failing to bring in his only target. Not a great showing from the veteran back, but he did have seven of the 12 carries for running backs on the night and remains the lead back. He's a solid RB2/3 option most weeks in a run-centric offense, but does have risk in games like this one where the game script takes the running backs out of the game. Thankfully for Ingram, the Ravens don't play many games like that.
On a night where the passing game never materialized, it was Baltimore Ravens running back J.K. Dobbins who led the team in targets and yards, catching four passes for 38 yards. He added six rushing yards on one carry. The takeaways from this one are a bit of a mixed bag for fantasy managers. You like to see the targets, but who viable of an option can Dobbins really be if he's barely getting carries? He's still the highest upside back on this roster, but expect some uneven performances in the short term.
San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. had a fantastic fantasy game in Week 3 against the New York Giants. Wilson carried the ball 12 times for 15 yards and a touchdown and added three catches on three targets for 54 yards and a touchdown. Wilson saw extended opportunities with both Raheem Mostert (knee) and Tevin Coleman (knee) out. Jerick McKinnonhad two more carries and one more target than Wilson, but both players should see a lot of action for however long both Mostert and Coleman remain out.
Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver K.J. Hamler caught three of his five targets for only 30 yards in the 28-10 Week 3 loss to the Buccaneers. Hamler ran the ball once but lost two yards in the process. The speedy youngster has big-play ability, but it'll probably be few and far between that he can take advantage of that with backup quarterback Jeff Driskel leading the team right now with Drew Lock (shoulder) injured. Hamler could do some damage against a poor Jets Defense on Thursday night in Week 4, but he'll be a hail mary in terms of DFS and season-long leagues as long as Driskel remains the starter.
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff and the team's offense couldn't get anything going in the first half against the Buffalo Bills, but they never stopped. They ran up 29 straight points against the Bills, and Goff was a major part of that. He finished the game 22-for-31 for 309 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also added two carries for four yards and a touchdown. Goff has given solid production in back-to-back weeks, and he's beginning to creep into the QB1 conversation with his safe floor on a weekly basis.
Los Angeles Rams running back Darrell Henderson had a big game in Week 2, and he followed it up with another great performance in Week 3. He finished the week against the Buffalo Bills with 20 carries for 114 yards and a touchdown. He also caught one of his three targets for six yards. Henderson is solidifying his role as the lead back for this team, and he has a lot of a fantasy value in that role. If you have Henderson on your roster, he looks poised to give you RB2 production on a weekly basis with the way he's playing right now.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp made the most of his opportunities in Week 3, and he finally cashed in on the draft capital you had invested in him. He caught nine of his 10 targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. After failing to score in Weeks 1 and 2, he got into the end zone in Week 3 to give himself a huge day. Kupp gets a fair amount of targets every week, and you should have him locked into your lineups on the majority of occasions. This is the type of production that I would be expecting from moving forward.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods had a tough matchup in Week 3 against Buffalo Bills' cornerback Tre'Davious White, but that didn't stop him from turning in a solid performance. He caught four of his five targets for 62 yards and a touchdown. He also added three carries for 30 yards. This was a good bounceback game after a mostly quiet game in Week 2. The production we've seen from Woods in Week 1 and Week 3 is more indicative of what you can expect from him on a weekly basis.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Josh Reynolds is his team's third option at receiver, but he had a solid game in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He caught four of his five targets for 60 yards. While this performance was good to see, it's not like he's been doing this on a regular basis. It's unclear if he's going to be able to produce at this level moving forward, and he's nothing more than a desperation option in uber-deep leagues as things stand right now.
Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee was unable to replicate his tremendous performance from Week 2 in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He caught both of his targets for 40 yards and zero touchdowns. In an offense that's loaded with weapons, Higbee is going to have weeks where he's quiet like this. He's still a consistent TE1 option, but you will need him to snag some touchdowns to truly elevate himself into the upper tier of players at the position.
The Los Angeles Rams Defense got torched in Week 3. The Buffalo Bills' offense ran up 35 points on them en route to their Week 3 win. They were able to get after quarterback Josh Allen a little bit, and they came away with four sacks, a fumble and an interception. They played extremely well through the first two weeks, and they are looking like they might be better than initially expected coming into the season. In the right matchup, they might give you a reasonable streaming option on a week-to-week basis.
Los Angeles Rams kicker Samuel Sloman started the day slow, but he was able to turn things on as the game wore on in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He went 1-of-2 on field goals while going 3-of-3 on his extra point attempts. This offense looks like it's going to return to their explosive ways that we've seen since head coach Sean McVay arrived, and that's going to give him value on a weekly basis. He might not have the highest ceiling among kickers, but he's a safe option to get you points every week.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson continued his quest for his first MVP trophy with an explosive performance in Week 3. He completed 27-of-40 passes for 315 yards and five touchdowns. He also added six carries for 22 yards. His day could have been even better if it weren't for a huge mental mistake by wide receiver D.K. Metcalf. Wilson is on the hottest pace that we've ever seen out of him, and he's going to continue to put up incredible numbers. He will be locked in as a top-five QB on a weekly basis barring extremely unforeseen circumstances.
Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller had a tough day against the Patriots, catching just two balls for nine yards on four targets. The Patriots clearly took notes after Waller's performance last week against the Saints. Waller was a non-factor, which is the complete opposite of what he did in Week 2. This performance is going to be more the exception than the rule for Waller going forward. Fantasy owners can chalk it up as an off day and look to next week. Waller remains one of the top tight ends in the league, and he will look to bounce back in Week 4 against the Bills. The Bills have one of the top defenses in the league, but don't expect to see the same performance from Waller.
Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson had been an RB1 through the first two weeks of the season, but that pace came to an end in Week 3. He finished with 14 carries for 64 yards to go with three catches for 12 yards. He was unable to get into the end zone despite three short opportunities, and that limited his ceiling against the Dallas Cowboys. Late in the fourth quarter, he sustained a leg injury that caused him to miss the remainder of the game. It will be important to pay attention to the news regarding that injury moving forward. If he were to miss any time, teammate Carlos Hyde would be the immediate beneficiary.
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf had an exceptional game in Week 3, but it could have been even better. He caught four of his eight targets for 110 yards and a touchdown, but he should have had another. After catching an easy ball at the eight-yard line, he coasted to the one-yard line where he was stripped by Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs. Metcalf was nearly uncoverable on the afternoon, and that's going to continue thanks to his supreme size and athleticism. Moving forward, he is a near-lock for your lineups on a weekly basis.