Week 3 Fantasy Football Takeaways: Sink or Swim
The big stories this week are the debuts of rookie and backup quarterbacks across the league. It was the dawn of a new era for some teams and not so much for others. Here are some key Week 3 fantasy football takeaways to apply to Tuesday’s waiver runs and in projecting fantasy production going forward.
Take a look back at Meng’s takeaways from Week 2.
Week 3 Fantasy Football Takeaways
Preparation + Opportunity =
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity, but despite the abrupt retirement of Andrew Luck, Indianapolis remains a legitimate playoff contender with Jacoby Brissett at the helm. Colts GM Chris Ballard has built up the roster with talent at every position, and head coach Frank Reich is an excellent play-caller who won’t hesitate to make gutsy calls if the analytics support them. The strength of the Indianapolis offense is their offensive line, a top unit in the league, which elevates both Brissett and Marlon Mack as fantasy assets.
Brissett has played well thus far in the first two games against tough Chargers and Titans secondaries but failed to put up the yardage for impressive fantasy stats. However, he torched the Falcons’ defense on Sunday, completing 28 of his 37 passes for 310 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. With good matchups against Oakland and Kansas City coming up, Brissett has a high floor and decent ceiling, and he should be a waiver wire target for teams in need of help at quarterback. Mack is a buy-high trade target as well as a fantasy RB1 who might still be acquired for RB2 prices. Through three games, Mack has 61 of the team’s 77 rushing attempts (79%) and six of the team’s 22 targets to running backs (27%). Although Mack cedes some of the passing down snaps, he is involved enough to give him a safe weekly floor, and he is the clear workhorse on the ground.
The Legion of Gloom
The once-vaunted Legion of Boom is no more. The 2019 Seahawks defense has allowed opposing teams to score two passing touchdowns per game to start the season against them. Two of these three games were against backups in Mason Rudolph and Teddy Bridgewater. Poor tackling from Seattle’s defense has also allowed opponents to score rushing touchdowns now in each of the past two weeks. Unless this defense makes significant improvements over the course of the season, this will be a unit to target as a plus fantasy matchup. Kyler Murray, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, and Christian Kirk should all be strong fantasy starts next week.
The silver lining to the shoddy state of Seattle’s defense is that Russell Wilson returns to elite fantasy quarterback status, having already thrown for over 900 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions and rushing for nearly 100 yards and two scores on top of that. He is the top-scoring quarterback this week prior to Monday night and should be a strong QB1 all season if this defense continues requiring him to win in shoot-outs. Tyler Lockett stands to benefit the most if Wilson keeps this up as a strong WR2 rest of season, but D.K. Metcalf will be a weekly boom-or-bust WR3 play as well, as Wilson already trusts him in high-leverage situations and has targeted Metcalf repeatedly downfield with efficiency. It’s likely too late to try and trade for Wilson or Lockett after their monstrous Week 3 performances, but Metcalf may still be attainable for a reasonable price or even available on waivers in some shallow bench formats.
It Turns Out You Can Spell Elite Without Eli
Daniel Jones may bear striking similarities in facial features and expressions to Eli Manning, but they look night and day on the field. Jones dominated in his first career start against Tampa Bay, throwing for 336 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions, though he did lose two fumbles. More importantly though was his mobility, scrambling to buy time to throw as well as rushing for 28 yards and two touchdowns. It’s too early to say that the G-Men have found their future franchise quarterback, but it was certainly an encouraging start. Though it required awful play-calling on the Buccaneers’ part in the second half as well as a botched field goal attempt, a win is a win.
Evan Engram’s season outlook remains mostly unchanged, though his ceiling is now much higher. The biggest impact is to Sterling Shepard, who went from a flex play to now a somewhat safe weekly WR3 with WR2 upside. Saquon Barkley sustained a high ankle injury and will likely be out multiple weeks, but upon his return, fantasy owners should be able to start him with confidence if Jones can continue running the offense more efficiently than Manning did. Wayne Gallman is the likely starter while Barkley is out but should not be a priority waiver add unless you’re in dire need of running back help and in a must-win scenario for Week 4. Gallman is an upside flex play at home against Washington this coming week, but he has little long-term value with Minnesota and New England upcoming after Washington and Barkley likely to return soon thereafter.
Revisiting Takeaways from Week 2
Another MVP Award for Patrick Mahomes?
Patrick Mahomes continues to play lights out and remains a favorite for the MVP award. And as mentioned last week, Mecole Hardman had a big day against the Ravens. Per NFL Next Gen Stats, Hardman reached 21.7 mph on his 83-yard touchdown. Both he and Demarcus Robinson should be considered boom or bust flex options for as long as Tyreek Hill is out. As for the running back situation, both Darrel Williams and rookie Darwin Thompson are worth holding if you added them off waivers last week. Damien Williams missed Week 3 with his knee injury and could be out for longer, and LeSean McCoy exited the game late against Baltimore after aggravating his ankle injury and is questionable for Week 4 at Detroit. Both Darrel Williams and Thompson are potential league-winners if the backs ahead of them were to miss significant time.
Changing of the Guard: Quarterbacks
As expected, both James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster struggled to produce in a stagnant Steelers offense with Mason Rudolph in his first start, though Smith-Schuster came through for fantasy owners with a long touchdown late in the third quarter. Conner owners should be encouraged by his continued workhorse usage in Week 3, though the handcuff situation in Pittsburgh should be monitored after Jaylen Samuels played only a few snaps with no carries or targets while rookie Benny Snell had three rushing attempts. Vance McDonald could’ve been a factor had he not left the game early with a shoulder injury. McDonald can likely be dropped if he’s projected to miss more than a week or two.
On the other hand, Teddy Bridgewater’s first start of the season went far better than Rudolph’s, leading the Saints to a 33-27 victory on the road against the Seahawks. However, this performance was against a poor Seattle defense, and while both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are still good fantasy options, they should be considered somewhat inconsistent based on matchup over the next few weeks. New Orleans will face tough Dallas, Jacksonville, and Chicago defenses in three of their next five games prior to their Week 9 bye.
The Scene in San Francisco
Even though San Francisco held on for their third straight win, it was a disastrous showing for the 49ers offense. Turnovers plagued the offense, with Raheem Mostert, Richie James, and Jimmy Garoppolo each losing a fumble. However, while Garoppolo also threw two interceptions, both came on tipped passes by his own receivers and were not due to poor reads or throws on his part. With a Week 4 bye and then two difficult matchups against the Browns and the Rams in the two weeks following, Garoppolo can be dropped in most one-quarterback formats. However, he’s a great streaming option to add midseason with San Francisco playing against Arizona, Seattle, and then Arizona again in Weeks 9 through 11, with both teams fielding subpar secondaries to target. Tevin Coleman should also be in consideration as a waiver wire target upon his return given the inconsistent play of the other backs on the depth chart this week.
For more fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter @FFA_Meng.
What are your key takeaways from Week 3? Let us know in the comments below!
Fantrax was one of the fastest-growing fantasy sites of 2018 and things are only getting better! With multi-team trades, designated commissioner/league managers, and drag/drop easy click methods, Fantrax is sure to excite the serious fantasy sports fan – sign up now for a free year at Fantrax.com.