Fantasy Football Film Study: Week 3 Wonders

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Editor’s Note: Check out previous Film Studies including Is Julio Jones a Poor Red-Zone WR? and Is Andrew Luck Really Back?

It’s Week 3 and there were a number of eye-popping fantasy performances that we need to take notice of especially heading into placing waiver wire bids. Instead of just watching box scores, we had some of our Footballers Writing Staff do the watching for you. We took a look at Week’s 3 WR1 (Calvin Ridley), WR4 (Tyler Boyd) and TE1 (Dallas Goedert) to see what the tape revealed.

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Calvin Ridley– WR, Atlanta Falcons

The rookie WR went bonkers in Week 3 for 7 catches, 146 yards, and 3 TDs as the main beneficiary of Matt Ryan‘s monster day. Ridley will likely be a popular waiver add this week as owners try to chase the points that were plenty on Sunday. But what can we expect moving forward and what does the tape reveal about Ridley’s big day?

First thing I can tell you is that there was a concerted effort to get Ridley in 1-on-1 coverage consistently against Saints CB P.J. Williams. Ridley caught all four of his targets on Williams all resulting in 1st downs. On his first TD, Ridley roasted Williams selling out on a stop-and-go route for an easy score. In typical I-formation with 2-wide, the deep safety usually shadowed towards Julio’s side giving Ridley more than enough room on his 75-yard bomb in the 2nd quarter. In 11 personnel (3 WRs, 1 RB, 1 TE), Ridley was usually split out wide although he was also utilized on a couple easy underneath drag routes for chunk gains from the slot.

All of this utilization and attention to detail shouldn’t come as a complete surprise as Matt Harmon detailed in Ridley’s Reception Perception profile before the NFL Draft that his precise route-running was his calling card. His 91.1 percent success rate vs. zone coverage at Alabama is the highest score to date among prospects charted for Reception Perception.

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It should be encouraging moving forward that Ridley was running in 2-wide sets opposite Julio and ahead of Mohamed Sanu. He saw 42 offensive snaps good enough for 66.7% in Week 3.  He also will routinely be seeing each team’s 2nd best corner as Julio demands constant attention and double coverage. With Matt Ryan looking more and more like his MVP self, Ridley finds himself in the weekly WR3/FLEX consideration, especially in potential shootout matchups. His usage and routes run were no fluke. –Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

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Tyler Boyd– WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Tyler Boyd’s Week 2 eye-popping stat line of six receptions for 132 yards and a touchdown on seven targets can be summed up in one phrase — He has an uncanny ability to find open space on the field. On the film, it’s clear to me that Boyd places a high priority on working hard on his route running. Also, Boyd never once gave up on a play. He constantly created space for Dalton when the pocket collapsed and the play was extended. His two longest gains (27 & 49 yards) were on broken plays. Per NFL’s NextGenStats, Boyd was the 6th best WR in yards of separation at the catch with an average of 4.0 yards.

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In my opinion, his role is locked in. Many fantasy analysts were expecting ninth overall draft pick John Ross to step into this role during the offseason, but Boyd doesn’t look to be giving it up. Boyd has played 76% or more of the snaps each week thus far. This is his second week in a row with six receptions and a touchdown. Through three weeks he’s averaging seven targets per week. I see no reason why his WR2 production can’t continue and 2018 will be the season that Tyler *Boy*d becomes Tyler *Man*d. –Kent Weyrauch (@kentweyrauch)

Grant Halverson/Getty Images

Dallas Goedert– TE, Philadelphia Eagles

Goedert was supposed to play second fiddle to Zach Ertz and wander into fantasy irrelevance as a God-forsaken rookie TE. Well, in Week 3 Goedert decided to tell everyone to shove it and promptly put up the overall TE1 performance of the week catching all 7 of his targets for 73 yards and a TD. Going back through the film, his early TD was the result of a busted coverage as he basically ran a seam route into the end zone and Carson Wentz found him with ease. He also did not seem to be the 1st read on many of his completions but nevertheless found himself open and available.

The main takeaway was the amount he was on the field. His usage spiked and we need to take notice.

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Per Pro Football Focus, Goedert lined up in the slot 17 times in Week 3 at 42.9% of his total snaps. This should be encouraging as this rate is roughly the same amount Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed were used in the slot in Week 3 as well. We care about slot #s because we like when TEs aren’t required to remain in-line and block, which still consisted of 34 of his snaps.

The Eagles have basically punted the WR position outside of Nelson Agholor as the TEs have seen a league-leading 44.1% of their team targets. While Philadelphia has averaged 26.7% over the last 4 years, their current market share number is astronomical and will certainly take a hit once Alshon Jeffrey returns. There will be weeks he looks like a rookie and others where he gets completely Ertz-ed. Nevertheless, Goedert is a worthy waiver wire add in this garbage heap TE landfill.  –Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg)

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