The game of fantasy football changes on a dime. Injuries, bye weeks, trades, suspensions, and plenty more play a role in the value of players on our rosters week-to-week. So, I will be identifying risers and fallers in value prior to the week ahead. In addition, I’ll identify one player each week who is on “the hot seat” as far as whether or not we can trust them in lineups moving forward. Let’s take a look at the risers, fallers, and our hot-seat player ahead of Week 3.
Week 3 Risers, Fallers, and Who is on The Hot Seat
Kyren Williams, RB, Los Angeles Rams
It’s no secret that Kyren Williams is a riser ahead of Week 3 after scoring two touchdowns in each of the first two games of the season. He currently sits at RB4 on a points-per-game basis with two top-10 performances each week. Nobody saw this coming. Williams has even seen his opportunities (carries + targets) increase from 17 in Week 1 to 24 in Week 2.
We now know that Williams’ biggest competition for touches in the Rams’ backfield, Cam Akers, is on the move to the Minnesota Vikings via trade. As a result, Williams is a set-and-forget running back until further notice. He gets an excellent Week 3 matchup against a reeling Cincinnati Bengals team whose defense has been better against the pass than the run.
Nico Collins, WR, Houston Texans
After playing through injuries and poor quarterback play in his first two seasons, Nico Collins is finally breaking out before our eyes. Collins has averaged just 12 games played in his first two seasons and just 5.25 targets per game. What makes him an obvious riser this season is his 20 targets through just the first two games.
The Houston Texans are third in offensive players per game. Furthermore, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud is third in pass attempts, as well. They’ve been outscored 56 to 29 so far this season so their pass-heavy approach shouldn’t change much as they likely continue to play from behind. Collins should maintain his healthy target share if he himself remains healthy this season. He is currently the sixth-most targeted wide receiver in the league.
Jerome Ford, RB, Cleveland Browns
I feel it’s necessary to include Jerome Ford on this list of risers ahead of Week 3 following the recent signing of running back Kareem Hunt to the Browns. The loss of Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury always meant the Browns were going to add another running back to the roster. Hunt is an obvious choice having spent four seasons prior with the team. He also played college ball at the University of Toledo and grew up 30 or so miles west of Cleveland. It’s the perfect fit.
For those who used a top waiver claim or spent most, if not all, of their Free Agency Auction Budget (FAAB) on Ford, fear not! He will operate as the Browns’ lead back moving forward. In just his second season, Cleveland turned to Ford to be the primary backup to Chubb after releasing Hunt earlier in the year prior to free agency. Hunt is 28 years old with nearly 1,200 career touches. I expect him to maintain a change-of-pace role behind Ford.
More importantly, do not panic if Ford has a rough Week 3 against a very tough Tennessee Titans run defense. Joshua Kelley had a rough go last week in place of Austin Ekeler, as well, for the Los Angeles Chargers. Ford is an RB2 with weekly RB1 upside depending on the matchup.
Zach Ertz, TE, Arizona Cardinals
Nobody wants to put their faith in many Arizona Cardinals players this season beyond perhaps running back James Conner. However, 33-year-old tight end Zach Ertz is a surprising riser having led all tight ends in targets (18) through the first two weeks of the season. The Cardinals are rarely, if at all, going to be pulling out ahead of most opponents this season. As they look to crawl back into games, Ertz should remain a beneficiary of their game script. He is one of their top receivers making him a volume-based, low-end TE1 option week-to-week.
Alexander Mattison, RB, Minnesota Vikings
As mentioned earlier when discussing Kyren Williams as a riser, former Rams running back, Cam Akers, is joining the Minnesota Vikings. His presence is an obvious reason to list Alexander Mattison as a faller ahead of Week 3. Even prior to the trade, Mattison had logged just 19 carries for 62 rushing yards and has yet to find the end zone. He’s not quite the lead back many expected him to be.
The Minnesota Vikings are a pass-heavy team. Since hiring head coach Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings finished third in pass attempts last season and currently rank fourth in pass attempts per game this season. In Week 3, they host the Los Angeles Chargers who have allowed the most passing yards to opposing teams this season. This is a recipe for Kirk Cousins to continue airing it out to Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and T.J. Hockenson. As a result, Mattison’s usage will continue to suffer even before Cam Akers begins working into the game plan.
Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
When I say “faller” in reference to Chase and Higgins, it’s just a slight knock to their value. They are both still worth starting week-to-week, but I’m less optimistic about their ceilings on any given Sunday. It all has to do with quarterback Joe Burrow’s calf injury. It held him out of the end of their Week 2 loss in which Cincy dropped to an 0-2 record.
Moving forward, we’re going to get Burrow at less than 100% or backup Jake Browning in his place. This reminds me of a less drastic version of New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson catching passes from Zach Wilson instead of Aaron Rodgers. Of course, there’s still hope Burrow plays and finishes the season as the Bengals’ quarterback. However, I’m considering his top two targets, Chase and Higgins, fallers in value anticipating he misses some time, especially if the Bengals continue to lose.
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
It’s early, but maybe my bold prediction about George Kittle from June isn’t so bold after all. So far through two games, Kittle has drawn just nine targets through two games. It’s a crowded offense between him, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, and Brandon Aiyuk. The good news for those who drafted Kittle is that his ceiling is still higher than most other options at the position. However, given his competition for targets, that ceiling is a tad lower than before making him a faller heading into Week 3. It will take an injury to one of the aforementioned 49ers for Kittle to carve out a larger role. We may see him benefit on Thursday Night Football if Brandon Aiyuk rests a shoulder injury.
The Week 3 Hot Seat
Justin Fields, Quarterback, Chicago Bears
I’m not here to point fingers at who’s to blame for Justin Fields’ slow start to the 2023 season. Regardless of who you think deserves it, Fields is on the hot seat for fantasy football. After averaging just 16.14 points per game, Fields’ QB16 rank on a points-per-game basis is way down from his Top 6-8 Average Draft Position amongst quarterbacks.
Fields has more turnovers than total touchdowns in two games. He has yet to eclipse 216 passing yards in a single game, either. What puts Fields on the hot seat the most ahead of Week 3 is his concerning rushing totals. Fields is supposed to be one of the more reliable rushing quarterbacks, especially after racking up over 1,100 yards on the ground last season. He has 62 rushing yards through two games. That puts him on pace for just under half of last year’s total.
Up next for Justin Fields and the Bears is a road trip to the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs. With Pro Bowl defensive tackle, Chris Jones, back for the Chiefs, their defensive unit went on the road and held the Jacksonville Jaguars to just nine points in Week 2. Trevor Lawrence only managed to score 9.24 fantasy points, as well. I don’t trust Fields to start for my fantasy rosters in Week 3. He’s on the hot seat until further notice. I’m not cutting Fields in case he bounces back, but even that makes matters worse as he clogs up my bench. However, if you need a win, there are better options available especially in 1QB leagues.
Check out our Week 3 Fantasy Football Rankings: Quarterback | Running Back | Wide Receiver | Tight End | Half-PPR by Position | Flex Rankings | Positional Ranks w/ K & DST | Dynasty | Superflex Dynasty