Ten Things We Learned in Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
Week 3 of the NFL season has ended after some surprising performances from key players, both good and bad, and some exciting endings to games. Unfortunately, we have to plan for what to do with some of the injury news as we did last week. Let’s take a look at some of the things that we learned this week.
1. Brandin Cooks is QB-Proof
The Houston Texans have started both Tyrod Taylor and rookie Davis Mills at quarterback, yet Brandin Cooks is still dominating. Cooks was an afterthought in most drafts this season due to his situation in Houston. Through three games this year, Cooks has 32 targets, turning that into 23 receptions for 322 yards and a touchdown. His target share is what is going to keep Cooks fantasy relevant. So far, Cooks has a 37.6% target share, and he doesn’t have much competition to take those targets away.
2. Terrace Marshall Jr‘s Snaps are Increasing
Terrace Marshall Jr‘s snaps have increased every week, and he played 62% of snaps in Week 3. On the other side, Robby Andersons’ snaps have decreased every week, and he played on 64% of snaps in Week 3. Marshall also has more targets than Anderson so far this season (14-to-11). We also know that Christian McCaffrey suffered an unfortunate hamstring injury that will likely keep him out for a few weeks. Marshall may see an opportunity to have an increased role in CMC’s absence, especially in the RedZone. Marshall scored 23 touchdowns in his final 19 games at LSU, and he has the potential to be a touchdown monster in the NFL as well.
3. Justin Fields Flopped
The Chicago Bears were a mess against the Cleveland Browns, and it’s a longshot that Justin Fields will keep the starting job when Andy Dalton returns from his injury. Fields completed 6-of-20 passes and threw for 68 yards. Part of the reason that Fields seemed to struggle was the Bears’ offensive line issues. Fields was constantly pressured and was sacked nine times. Playcalling seemed odd as it didn’t seem that Nagy tried to get Fields in space or away from the pocket. Fields only ran for 12 yards, which is telling. Fields may still have a bright future, but with Dalton likely coming back soon, it doesn’t seem like Fields will be fantasy-relevant any time soon.
4. Najee Harris will get a Ton of Passing Work
Najee Harris had 19 targets against the Bengals in Week 3, turning that into 14 receptions for 102 yards. While his rushing was less than stellar (14 attempts for 40 yards), Harris will likely get a lot of passing work going forward. Now, he may not receive 19 targets every week, but it’s clear that Ben Roethlisberger uses him as a safety blanket as his arm isn’t what it once was. JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a rib injury, and Diontae Johnson is still injured with a knee injury; however, Harris will be heavily used in the passing game even when they are back.
5. The Ravens Need Rashod Bateman
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown struggled against the Lions with three big-time drops in the first half of the game. Each drop was a nice pass from Lamar Jackson that could have led to a touchdown. Although Brown has found success this season, the Ravens need their first-round draft pick, Rashod Bateman, to get healthy. They need a true number one option in that offense, and Bateman can bring that. The Ravens snuck by the Lions (more on that next), but Bateman should help get this offense to a new level and help this team.
6. Justin Tucker Breaks a Record
As previously mentioned, the Ravens barely snuck by the Lions in Week 3. Justin Tucker was given the opportunity to win the game with a 66-yard field goal attempt, and he ended up making it, breaking the record for the longest field goal ever. The kick barely made it in, as it hit the bottom bar on the field goal post and then bounced into the net, winning the game. The previous record for the longest field goal ever made was 64-yards by Matt Prater in 2013. Justin Tucker now holds the record and did it in a dramatic fashion by making it a game-winning kick.
7. Kyle Pitts was a trap at his ADP
Kyle Pitts was a hot topic in the off-season as he was being drafted frequently as the TE4. Some analysts thought that he would come in and wreck the league and break previous rookie records and that he would find his way to fantasy relevance like no rookie tight end has before. While there are many games to be played this season, and there will surely be ups and downs, it seems that Pitts won’t live up to the hype in his rookie season. Pitts’ had a quiet day in Week 3, only catching two passes for 35 yards. The Falcons don’t seem to be feeding Pitts the way we all had hoped yet, so Pitts will likely be a wildcard from week to week in fantasy production.
8. Barkley is Back
The long wait for those who took the risk on Saquon Barkley finally ended in Week 3. Barkley did have a scare as he was seen limping off the field, but he returned to the game and looked fine. Barkley had 16 rushing attempts for 51 yards and a touchdown and caught 6-of-7 targets for another 43 yards. Barkley’s usage could grow even more going forward as the Giants don’t seem to be holding him back anymore, at least snap-wise; the offense as a whole may still hold him back.
9. Joe Mixon is Irrelevant in the Passing Game
Joe Mixon is having an excellent year on the ground; however, he is not being utilized in the passing game. Mixon only received one target in Week 3 and only had two targets the week before. The lack of usage in the passing game is going to cap Mixon’s upside for fantasy purposes. Joe Burrow seems to be getting the ball downfield, and the Bengals don’t seem to be drawing up many plays to get Mixon the ball through the air.
10. D’Andre Swift is the Real Deal
This year, there were real arguments that D’Andre Swift wouldn’t be productive simply because he played for the Lions. Swift proved that talent could trump situations again in Week 3. Swift had 14 rushing attempts for 47 yards and a touchdown and caught 7-of-7 targets for 60 yards. Swift’s production through the air will keep him fantasy relevant, even on a bad team. Head Coach Dan Campbell mentioned getting the ball in Swift’s hands more, so they plan to use him as much as they can. If you took the risk on a Lions’ running back by drafting Swift this year, you should be ecstatic.