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 email@example.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.
Sunday Morning Update: Week 3
Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic handled five carries for 15 yards and added 37 receiving yards on three catches. McKissic was out-carried by Antonio Gibson nine to five on the ground but was more involved in the passing game than the rookie. While McKissic has a role in the passing game carved out, he's not a name to chase in fantasy on a bad Washington offense. He shouldn't be started in a tough Week 4 matchup versus the Ravens.
The New York Giants Defense was torn apart by backup quarterback Nick Mullens and the rest of the 49ers offense en route to a 36-9 beatdown in MetLife Stadium. They sacked Mullens only twice and were not able to force a turnover. New York has another tough matchup in Week 4 at the Rams and are not a unit to target in fantasy.
New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton caught three passes on seven targets for 53 yards in a loss to the 49ers on Sunday. Slayton led the Giants in receiving yards and was tied with Golden Tate for the team lead in targets. Slayton had a huge game in Week 1, but has not found the end zone since. He has a decent floor as the number-one receiving option on a bad offense, but his upside is limited with QB Daniel Jones struggling. He'll have a tough matchup in Week 4 at the Rams.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Dontrelle Inman caught three passes on six targets for 38 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to the Browns on Sunday. Inman was QB Dwayne Haskins' go-to option in the red zone as Inman caught touchdowns from 11 and 17 yards out. Despite the good game, Inman isn't a name to chase in most fantasy leagues. He has just seven catches through three games and the 38 yards Sunday is his high for the season. He should not be started in a tough Week 4 matchup versus the Ravens.
Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin caught four passes for 83 scoreless yards in a loss to the Browns on Sunday. McLaurin added one carry for three yards. It was a typical game for McLaurin who was the most targeted receiver on a below-average offense that struggled to move the football. McLaurin is a safe receiver as he has a strong target floor so he is a good bet for at least a few catches every week. Smash-games will be few and far between on this offense, but McLaurin is a stable WR2 in fantasy.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard recorded three receptions for 49 yards on four targets in the Week 3 win over Denver. Howard posted his best yards of the season, but that doesn't mean he should be a weekly TE starter going forward. The presence of Rob Gronkowski will always be a factor along with the wide receivers. Howard's role is not expected to be large each week as well, meaning he's best considered a TE2 going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Scotty Miller saw five targets in the Week 3 win against the Broncos and capitalized with three receptions for 83 yards, pacing the team. Miller has been streaky this season, considering he did well in Week 1 and had a dud in Week 2. With Chris Godwin now dealing with a hamstring injury, Miller could see flex value if Godwin misses time. Other than that, the inconsistency of Miller only makes him intriguing for deep leagues.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski finally showed some semblance of himself in Week 3's win, seeing seven targets and getting six receptions for 48 yards. Gronk finally had a bit of meaningful production this week after only seeing four targets, two receptions, and 11 yards in the first two weeks. The tight end's name holds more fantasy value at this point. He should be considered more of a TE2 for now, at least until he shows some consistency in his numbers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Leonard Fournette only had 15 rushing yards on seven carries in Week 3. This was a major head-scratcher considering the back rushed for over 100 yards last week and had 12 carries. It's clear the Bucs are splitting carries between Ronald Jones II and Fournette, meaning the consistency is not there. With much uncertainty regarding his role, Fournette should remain the RB3 tier for now, at least until the roles between him and Jones are solidified.
New York Jets running back Frank Gore was used as the workhorse back once again this week. He carried the ball 15 times for 57 yards in the loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3. The veteran back is likely going to be asked to carry the ball quite often until Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) returns. He has been unable to get much going on the ground this season. At this point, Gore is basically a desperation flex option and it'll likely stay that way versus the Denver Broncos next week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans recorded two receptions for two yards on four targets in Week 3. Nevertheless, both of his receptions went for touchdowns. Evans salvaged his value this week with those touchdowns. With Chris Godwin injured in the game, Evans could once again see more targets come his way. Regardless of Godwin's presence, his strong role on this offense keeps him as a WR1 going forward.
New York Jets running back La'Mical Perine made his NFL debut last week, but wasn't able to do much damage. He was expected to see a higher volume of touches during the Week 3 matchup versus the Indianapolis Colts. Perine saw seven carries for 24 yards in the loss. Veteran running back Frank Gore continues to be the workhorse back with Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) sidelined. Perine has some upside, but probably won't be able to find much room to run in New York. He belongs on the waiver wire in 12-team formats.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Chris Godwin recorded five receptions on six targets for 64 yards and a touchdown in Week 3's win against the Broncos. Despite the productive day after returning from a Week 2 absence, this was overshadowed by the wideout suffering a hamstring injury during the game. Now, managers will have to monitor the status of the receiver going into Week 4. It's fair to say the start to Godwin's season hasn't been as smooth as hoped. If he's ultimately able to play next week, he remains a starter given his rich role in this offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady went 25-for-38 for 297 yards and three touchdowns in the Week 3 win over Denver. Brady has slowly grown more comfortable in this offense and he took full advantage against an ailing Broncos squad. Brady should remain in the QB1 tier most weeks considering his talent and the weapons around him.
Arizona Cardinals tight end Dan Arnold caught just one pass for 11 yards on two targets in Week 3 against the Detroit Lions. The Cardinals offense struggled overall in the game. Three Kyler Murray interceptions held the team back significantly. Still, Arnold has just five catches through three games this year. He's the team's clear No. 1 pass-catching tight end, but he's going to need to really see an increase in usage in order to be considered for fantasy rosters.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Ronald Jones II had 13 carries for 53 yards and two receptions for 20 yards in the Week 3 win over Denver. At this point, the Bucs' backfield is simply too confusing considering Jones was the leading back in Weeks 1 and 3, but not Week 2. Though it's encouraging to see this back get the carries, the consistency is not there and the presence of Leonard Fournette will always loom. Jones is not an RB1 in fantasy, and is more in the RB3 tier considering his sporadic usage.
New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold continued his awful 2020 campaign during the Week 3 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. He completed 17 of 29 passing attempts for 168 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. Darnold started off the game with a pick-6 on the opening drive. It honestly didn't get much better from there. To be fair, he had backup receivers, but it wouldn't have made much of a difference. Maybe he can rebound versus the Denver Broncos on Thursday night. However, Darnold belongs on the waiver wire or bench in basically all formats.
The Cardinals Defense wasn't able to put together a very substantial fantasy day against the Detroit Lions in Week 3. They yielded 26 points and a total of 322 yards while failing to record a single turnover. They did, however, record four sacks on Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Cardinals Defense was put in a bit of a tough spot in the game as Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray threw three interceptions. Next week, the Cardinals Defense faces a Carolina Panthers offense that should be without star running back Christian McCaffrey. Once again, they could be considered as a low-end starting option.
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk had a rebound performance versus the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 3. Folk missed one field goal in each of the first two weeks, but had a solid performance here. He connected on all three field goal attempts during the victory. He finished with a total of 12 points in this contest. Folk isn't the most trustworthy kicker, but the Patriots continue to give him chances. He's probably not worth owning in 12-team formats, but he could be useful when other kickers have bye weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry put together a solid performance on Sunday versus the Carolina Panthers. Henry was targeted seven times on the afternoon and caught five passes for 50 yards. Henry has been a big part of the Chargers offense this season and should continue to have success, but managers would be wise to test the trade market, because Henry has a tendency to get hurt. Henry remains a TE1 and should be started in Week 4 against the Buccaneers.