Fresh off Sunday’s slate of games, Fantrax looks back at all the good, the bad, and the interesting from the first Sunday of NFL games in the Week 3 fantasy football recap.
Hopefully, we can use what we learned in the first three weeks of fantasy football to help make better lineup decisions moving forward. This weekly column will highlight the week’s slate from a fantasy perspective, while also analyzing what trends to pay attention to in the weeks ahead.
Each week will look back at the fantasy day that was with a theme of a different television show. For Week 3, we highlight some of the players who were good Friends to our fantasy lineups, and others who we might need to take a break from.
Week 2 Fantasy Football Recap
Week 2 Studs
“Isn’t that just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic?”
Could Lamar Jackson BE playing any better football right now? I guess if you want to pick a nit, he only had 218 yards passing in this game. But what is the man supposed to do when the Patriots kept giving the Ravens strong field position? But included in those 218 passing yards were four touchdown passes and he added another 107 yards plus a rushing touchdown on the ground. Lamar made a huge bet on himself before the season after they failed to reach a contract agreement, and now it looks like 14 more games like this and he will see the largest contract ever handed out in the NFL.
Even though he may not have had the massive rushing totals from the past two weeks (28 total attempts for 147 yards and three scores), Hurts was able to easily pick apart the Washington secondary en route to 340 yards passing and three touchdowns. Those 340 yards are now his third-most ever and the first time he has crossed 340 with three touchdowns. If ever Lamar Jackson is unable to wear the crown of MVP, Jalen Hurts shall officially serve as his backup and representative.
Joey! How YOU doin’? Good to see him join the NFL party this year after back-to-back weeks where the Bengals lost and Burrow had a 3/4 touchdown to interception ratio. On this day up in New Yawk, Burrow torched the Jets for 275 passing yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. The loss of Tee Higgins puts a damper on things, but hopefully, he is not suffering from recurring concussion symptoms. For those who drafted Burrow as a top-6 quarterback, these are the types of games you expected.
Today was one of those rare days where it was both a rushing and receiving day for Henry. He totaled 85 yards on the ground with a touchdown plus another five catches for 58 yards receiving. We know the old story with Henry. He seems to get stronger and more punishing as the season goes along. Maybe this is a sign The Yeti is coming out of hibernation early, but it is mainly encouraging to see this much usage in his third game back from a prolonged injury.
Every David Montgomery fantasy manager or DFS owner watched in agonizing pain as Khalil Herbert ran for yard after yard and score after score against the Houston Texans. “Those are supposed to be David Montgomery’s points on my roster!” is something I may or may not have yelled at the TV on Sunday. Herbert demolished the Texans for 157 rushing yards, two scores and 12 receiving yards. Headed into the Sunday night game, he was the highest-scoring running back of the week. With Montgomery’s status up in the air with multiple injuries, run, don’t walk, to your waiver wire to see if he is available.
If Travis Etienne is to ever be a thing for the Jaguars, it’s going to mean something happened to James Robinson. In another strong showing that proves there are no ill side effects of his ruptured Achilles, Robinson rushed for 100 yards and a score along with 16 receiving yards. It was Robinson’s 50-yard touchdown run that was the highlight of their road win against the Chargers.
We were told prior to the time games kicked off on Sunday that D’Andre Swift would have a larger workload than we did last week as he continues his recovery from an ankle injury. What actually happened, however, was far from that reality. Jamaal Williams out-snapped Swift, had 19 carries to Swift’s seven, and only took a backseat to Swift on obvious passing situations and the third downs. The result? A strong 87 rushing yards, two rushing touchdowns, and 20 receiving yards to significantly outpace Swift. Going forward, this is a major situation to watch as the Lions are ultra-careful with their prized running back.
Patterson may be conceding all the work to Drake “We First Hooked Up In” London these days, but who cares if he is getting 141 rushing yards on 17 carries plus getting the goal-line looks for touchdowns? Tyler Allgeier may have played 21 snaps to Patterson’s 35, but Patterson tripled him up in rush attempts and had 50% more routes.
For today, Devonta Smith was “The One With the Embryos.” That is to say, he was the indisputable best. Jalen Hurts hooked him up for 12 targets, 169 receiving yards (with 90% of that in the first half) and a touchdown. Smith may have been shaky in the weeks leading up to today, but I hope you didn’t bet your apartment against him on this slate.
Just another fantasy day with Devonta Smith and Mack Hollins as the top two receivers, just like we all predicted. With the Raiders trying to complete a Dr. Drake Remoray-style comeback, Hollins became the favorite receiver of Derek Carr. Hollins ended the day with 10 targets, 158 receiving yards, and a score. Congrats to anyone who threw the dart in DFS or in your fantasy lineups once Hunter Renfrow was ruled out.
If this was the breakout game for Romeo Doubs, he certainly showed he can gain a lot of usage even when there is not much offense coming from Green Bay. Doubs caught all eight of his targets for 73 yards and a score, and he may have taken his first step in becoming Aaron Rodgers’ new lobster.
On a day where the Arizona Cardinals’ rushing attack was just not working, Marquise “Hollywood” Brown was peppered with 16 targets, which he turned into 14 catches for 140 yards. Kyler Murray force-fed him the whole game and Jalen Ramsey and the Rams’ secondary was helpless to stop it. Even without a touchdown, Brown was the third-highest scoring wide receiver in half-point per reception leagues. When the offseason discourse centered around Brown and Murray having a connection, this is clearly what they meant.
Andrews is just riding the Lamar Jackson wave at this point and must be thanking Ravens’ GM Eric DeCosta every single day for bringing him to this team. Andrews had another two scores and 89 receiving yards to go along with a crazy 13 targets. He may already be pulling away in the TE1 race for the year.
The best Friends comparison I can make for Jelani Woods is that he is Mr. Heckles. Someone who shows up from time to time and steals the scene, but otherwise serves no real purpose. Just like you wanted more Ross, Rachel, Joey, and Chandler, fantasy managers wanted more Taylor, Pittman, Hines, and Pierce. But two touchdowns for Jelani Woods in Week 3 of 2022 will forever be on film.
Week 2 Duds
“Something is wrong with the left phlange.”
All Buccaneers Offense Not Named Russell Gage.
Unless your name is Russell Gage, all other members of the Tampa Bay offense need to come make their amends with fantasy managers. That was a pathetic display of offensive ineptitude, and at home, no less. I understand that Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Julio Jones were out, but this was simply an unwatchable performance by anyone not named Gage. What we must learn now is if this is the end for Brady. Because if it is, we could have all the All-Pro receivers back we want, without an effective Brady, it’s all a “moo-point.”
Tua gets somewhat of a pass for his 186-yard, one-touchdown performance because he is now embroiled in a concussion protocol mini-scandal. But this was a far cry from his 400+ yards and six scores last week. This was billed as the game of the week, and while the end-of-game drama may have lived up to it, the offenses were largely absent.
Let me put it this way. Baker Mayfield passed for just 170 yards and had negative rushing yards in his game and he still outscored Carson Wentz by two fantasy points. For as hyped as I’m sure Carson Wentz was to face his former team in the Eagles, he ended up looking more like a holiday armadillo on the field than the 300-yard, three-touchdown quarterback we had seen the first two weeks of the season. Wentz was lucky to finish the day with 211 receiving yards.
“Now, I need you to be careful and efficient. And remember, if I am harsh with you, it is only because you’re doing it wrong.” I’m sorry we had to have this conversation, Aaron. But after last week when you tore the Bears to shreds, we were expecting so much more than 36 rush yards, 11 receiving yards, no scores, and a lost fumble. He is in a true 50-50 timeshare with A.J. Dillon these days, so the spike games might be slightly harder to predict.
On Sunday, Joe Mixon performed even worse than Joey Tribbiani on Pyramid. Paper?! Snow?! A ghost?! No, Joe. It was just 5.3 fantasy points for you in a game where the Bengals won handily and the lead was never really challenged.
Larger workload, huh? I guess the Lions and I have different definitions of what seven rush attempts and four targets actually is. Swift was immediately labeled questionable again after the Vikings/Lions game was over, so it’s clear he isn’t quite healthy after the ankle injury.
We are quickly learning the type of player Bateman is going to be this season. He is most likely never going to have the 14-catch, massive yard day like Hollywood Brown put up today. Bateman is going to have to live and die by the big play. And in games like today where Lamar Jackson only has eyes for Mark Andrews, Bateman will struggle. He turned his four targets into just two catches for 59 yards and a lost fumble.
“Today, it’s like there’s rock bottom, 50 feet of crap, then me.” -Rachel Green. And Justin Jefferson. Three catches for 14 yards after the Darius Slay treatment.
Cooks may have 30 targets through three games, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that this offense in Houston is so incompetent, there may not be a pass-catcher you can trust every week. Cooks’ yards have dropped three straight weeks, as have his targets. He was able to catch just two of seven targets for 22 yards today in a game that was close throughout.
As Nathan Jahnke points out, Darren Waller is starting to share the field or be replaced on the field by Foster Moreau much more than in years past. It’s now two straight weeks with under 75% of the snaps played by Waller. Even with Hunter Renfrow in the lineup, the Raiders have such a narrow passing tree, so this is likely much ado about nothing. But until then, it’s something.
Just gross so far. Cole Kmet – along with the rest of the Bears’ passing offense – is about as bad as the meat trifle Rachel concocted for Thanksgiving. Justin Fields just may not be ready for the big stage, because he looks hopelessly lost. Kmet was many a fantasy analyst’s sleeper coming into this year after 90 targets and zero touchdowns in 2021. Now he is on pace for 19 targets this season and has 40 total receiving yards.
Situations to Monitor
“Come on, Ross, you’re a paleontologist. Dig a little deeper.”
Backup Running Backs Tied to Injuries
There were a plethora of running back injuries and causes for concern on Sunday. Some might say that it’s time to PIVOT! We already noted David Montgomery leaving with knee and ankle problems. Dalvin Cook was forced to leave his game with a dislocated shoulder, leading to a touchdown and assuredly increased ownership for Alexander Mattison. Justice Hill out-snapped J.K. Dobbins in this Raven’s game and just slightly trailed in carries and routes run. Dobbins may be brought back in slowly.
We can already tell the theme of this week’s waiver run is going to be backup running backs. If any of Herbert, Mattison, Jamaal Williams, or Hill are available in your league, expect to pay the premium for their services.
The Inevitable Breece Hall Takeover
Spoiler alert: The Breece Hall takeover episode may finally be about to air, just three weeks into the new season. On a day where Michael Carter was completely ineffective, the Jets turned to Breece Hall to help with their ill-fated comeback bid against the Bengals. What resulted was a workload distribution that heavily favored Hall.
If Hall is, in fact, getting short yardage, two-minute drills, passing downs, and goal-line work, there really is no reason to go back to Michael Carter in your fantasy lineups unless you just like running backs who gain scoreless yards between the 20’s. The Jets also appear to be on the verge of trailing in a lot of games, which aligns perfectly with Hall’s skill set.
The Chargers’ Backfield Conundrum
When the Chargers spoke in the offseason about wanting to get Austin Ekeler less work so he is fresher later in the season and in the playoffs, I’m not sure any of us expected what was to come next. Even in a game where the Chargers trailed from the opening whistle, Ekeler played a very clear passing-down and two-minute role while the other backs soaked up early downs and goal line work. Here is the Sunday usage, courtesy of Pro Football Focus.
For the many who selected Ekeler with the third through fifth pick in their drafts, this is not good news. Sure, the 26 routes and eight targets are fantastic. But, the Chargers don’t project to be trailing by multiple scores in many games. What happens when it is grind out the clock time in the second half when they have a lead? It appears right now, that will be Sony Michel’s time. I’m not panicking just yet, but I can’t help but think one thing about all my Ekeler shares in season-long and best ball.
“It’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy, and it is a big deal!”