Fantasy Football: 5 Things to Watch for in Week 3

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Welcome back high scoring fantasy football! Last week’s version of this article focused two points on QBs, and we proceeded to have one of the most exciting weeks for Fantasy QBs in quite a while. Week 2 was, for the most part, an exhilarating week for fantasy owners and NFL fans. It felt like you couldn’t blink while watching the RedZone channel or you would miss a TD. Some of our pre-season favorite TEs had bounce back weeks, specifically Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz.

But that was last week. What are we looking forward to in Week 3?

1. Drama in the Steel City?

The Pittsburgh locker-room is giving the daytime soap operas a run for their money in the drama department. While Le’Veon Bell owners continue to regret using their first-round draft pick on him, fellow fantasy owners’ hearts skipped a beat at the beginning of the week when stud WR Antonio Brown replied to a Twitter post with a “Trade me” comment. He followed that up by skipping team meetings on Monday. While this is all likely being blown out of proportion, it was enough to cause an uproar across fantasy football. Don’t do anything rash like trading him away at a discount. A prime-time Monday Night game against a leaky Tampa Bay secondary is also the perfect “squeaky wheel” narrative for a monster game for the NFL’s target leader (33 targets through two games).

2. Return to a Passing League?

Week 2 was a passing bonanza! 65 passing TDs was by far the most in a single week when compared to 2016 and 2017, and far surpassing the 49 TDs thrown in Week 1. The last time the league crested 60 passing TDs was Week 3 of 2017, and it did not happen in 2016. As a result, Week 2 saw some of the highest scoring fantasy performances we’ve seen in a while. Why do we like passing TDs so much for Fantasy Football? Because it results in double points for fantasy owners in many cases. On a passing TD, points are accrued by both the passer and the receiver for the yardage and the TD, whereas a rushing TD only accumulates points for the ball carrier. Will the NFL continue to air it out, or will we see a regression back to the 45 passing TD average of the past two years?

3. Target Hog RBs (A.K.A. ZeroRB isn’t Dead!)

Speaking of a return to a heavy passing league, look at some of the RB names that are tied with big name WRs in targets:

PLAYER POS TEAM TARGETS
Christian McCaffrey  RB CAR 24
Odell Beckham Jr.  WR NYG 24
Saquon Barkley  RB NYG 22
Jarvis Landry  WR CLE 22
DeAndre Hopkins  WR HOU 22
Chris Thompson  RB WAS 21
Demaryius Thomas  WR DEN 21
Allen Robinson  WR CHI 21
Melvin Gordon  RB LAC 20
Davante Adams  WR GB 20
Theo Riddick  RB DET 19
Keenan Allen  WR LAC 19
James White  RB NE 17
A.J. Green  WR CIN 17
4. No Respect I Tell Ya, No Respect

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet.” ~William Shakespeare.

One of the toughest parts of Fantasy Football is being the first to figure out something and exploit it before the rest of the league catches on. While it’s only been two weeks, many players are far outperforming their pre-season expectations and weekly rankings. If we eliminated their name and just shared their stats and offensive role, we’d likely see different rankings, as “name brand” players fall down the list for not performing (Chris Hogan!) while players with lesser brand equity rise up the ranks based on their to-date performance.

QBs

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Blake Bortles – QB8, Week 3 Rank: QB17
I highlighted Bortles in one of my pre-season articles because he has multiple QB1 finishes under his belt and barely missed last year with a QB13 finish. Here he is, smack dab in the middle of the QB1 ranks.

Andy Dalton – QB9, Week 3 Rank: QB20
Andy Dalton had a terrible year in 2017. But before that, has had plenty of useable fantasy weeks, including a season where he was QB1 until he got injured late in the year. When you’re throwing to one of the best receivers in the game, it’s hard not to be fantasy relevant most weeks.

RBs

Chris Thompson RB5, Week 3 Rank: RB14
Through the first 11 Weeks of 2017, Thompson was RB10 in PPR leagues. His draft stock fell with the drafting of Derrius Guice and never rebounded when Thompson stated that he did not expect to be fully healed from his broken leg until November. But through the first two weeks, Thompson has 226 combined yards, 19 receptions on 21 targets and a TD. For a player that was drafted at the end of most benches, Thompson deserves to be ranked the way he’s performed in this offense over the past two seasons…as an RB1.

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James White RB12, Week 3 Rank: 24
I know, I know, you never know when to start a Patriots RB. But through two weeks, White has 9 and 8 targets respectively and has 9 and 11 touches. Clearly a Brady check-down favorite, it’s hard to question benching him for some of the names ahead of him.

WRs

Brandin Cooks WR17, Week 3 Rank: 17
This one is less about this week’s ranking and more about his rest of season projections. Cooks was getting knocked severely in the pre-season. But the fact remains that he’s wracked up three consecutive – 1,000 yards seasons with a low of 7 TDs. It’s time we as a fantasy community embrace the talent and recognize that he’s a back-end WR1. Congrats to those of you who got him at a draft discount.

Quincy Enunwa WR21, Week 3 Rank: 49
Quincy Enunwa was an afterthought for most drafters heading into the season, as many owners avoided Jets players like the plague. OOPS. Enunwa had 22 targets through the first two weeks and added 8 more in Thursday night’s game. It’s obvious that he’s a favorite target for Rookie Sam Darnold and should be treated as a WR2 moving forward.

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TE

Will Dissly TE 4, Week 3 Rank: 17
Most everyone figured Week 1 was a fluke – except the owner who dropped Zach Ertz for Dissly as mentioned on one of last week’s Fantasy Footballers episodes. However, a Week 2 performance that saw Dissly on the receiving end of 5 more targets and another Russell Wilson passing TD, Dissly is looking like a crucial part of the Seahawks passing game. With this usage, especially in the red zone, it’s hard to believe that he’s still not considered a weekly starter at a position that lives and dies by red zone usage.

5. Just Like We All Projected

Tampa Bay, Miami, and Cincinnati are all 2-0 and leading their divisions. The aforementioned Tampa Bay and Cincinnati, along with Baltimore and the New York Jets (before their Week 3 Thursday Night meltdown) are 4 of top 7 scoring teams in the league. We all expected Buffalo to be one of the worst offenses in the league, which they are, ranking 31st with only 23 total points through two games. But no one expected Arizona to have a grand total of just 6 points through two weeks. Let’s not forget the NFC (L)EAST, where defending Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia rank 24th, Washington  27th, and Dallas and New York are tied for 29th in scoring. Come on NFC (L)East (scoring division in the league), get it together!

These are some of the big things to look forward to in Week 3. Tune in next week to see what we’re looking forward to in Week 4!

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