Ten Things We Learned in Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
Week three was very exciting, and thankfully – much easier to watch. The injury bug calmed down for the most part after an absolutely brutal Week two that left most of us feeling lost with our start/sit decisions, and potentially lost for the remainder of the season. Things weren’t completely peachy though, as Tarik Cohen suffered an ACL tear and Diontae Johnson exited early with a concussion. Things look good when put in perspective, but I have to assume we’re not out of the woods yet. Let’s take a look at a much more positive Week three, and what we learned from it:
1. Russell Wilson is the MVP Frontrunner
Not only is Russ cooking, but he’s making a gourmet four-course meal for everyone who wants to come get served. He’s tossed 14 touchdowns in three games against solid opponents and has looked phenomenal doing it. I promised on Twitter an article was coming about Russ and Aaron Rodgers in historical context, and I can assure you it’s on its way. Every time Russ has suited up this year, he’s just adding to the argument that he’s in the conversation for the GOAT (yes, I said that). It’s extremely early in the season of course, but right now – Russ is the MVP, and Josh Allen is a few steps behind him.
2. Mike Davis Was Worth the FAAB
Let me state the obvious: Mike Davis is NOT Christian McCaffrey. I’m really sorry if you were under that impression. CMC is in a world all his own and I’d hope no one expected Davis to produce anywhere near the same type of stat line. I was really curious about how they would distribute the touches between Davis, Samuel, and Bonnafon and I was pleasantly surprised. Davis rushed the ball 13 times for 46 yards which lead the team by a wide margin, and he was also second on the team in receptions with 8 for 45. The usage in the passing game is huge for his value going forward and it’s obvious that Davis slid into the CMC role for the offense, albeit with lowered expectations. If you spent up for Davis, bravo, especially if you lost the demigod he replaced. Don’t completely ignore Bonnafon though, as he was a late activation and made the most of his two touches as well.
3. James Conner is Just Fine
After Week one, a lot of people were counting Conner out for injury or a lack of production. Benny Snell looked like the better running back in relief of Conner, and Conner’s injury history didn’t help the narrative. If you were able to trade for him for the cheap, kudos to you. After back to back 100-yard games, he’s right back into the every-week RB2 conversation where he belongs. Snell has lived up to his Snail nickname in the last two weeks and it doesn’t look like anyone will threaten Conner’s workload unless he goes down (which is certainly possible). Don’t look to trade him away right now unless someone is willing to give you full value.
4. The Eagles are a MESS
Carson Wentz can never be accused of being soft, but the discussions around his poor performance are being validated a bit more every week. He started the 2020 season off very slowly, and Week three was a continuation of that trend. He’s thrown twice as many interceptions as touchdowns, and his QB rating is just as ugly as his completion percentage. This week he somehow managed to rush for over 60 yards which isn’t really his game, but his work through the air was rough. I watched most of the game live, and I’d be lying if I said Wentz looked like his normal self. I don’t want to presume an injury based on a lack of information to do so, but something isn’t right. Miles Sanders is in trouble as any running back would be in a stalled offense, so let’s hope they right the ship soon. I still love Sanders’ season-long value, but I’m concerned. More on that below.
5. It’s Panic Time for Joe Mixon
I’m not going to throw anything in the face of my Twitter followers, but I was lit up for posting that I moved Joe Mixon straight up for Jonathan Taylor before Week 2. Although I’m a huge fan of Taylor, I saw the writing on the wall with Mixon right away. His lack of usage in the passing game has been horrendous under Zac Taylor since day one, and after a full offseason of hype and tape to watch, they didn’t change a thing. Even the casual football fan can see how much more dynamic Mixon looks when compared to Gio Bernard, but for some reason, they refuse to use him the way he should be used. The offensive line in Cincinnati is poor, and without a plethora of targets for Mixon, he will continue to disappoint you. If you have a believer in your league who will ship away someone like Josh Jacobs, Austin Ekeler, Miles Sanders, or yes – Jonathan Taylor….. you should do that yesterday.
6. This Was a Week for The Forgotten
That’s the shortlist of people that were panicking owners everywhere for no real reason but a lack of touchdown production. The target share for Robinson was excellent, the touch totals for Ekeler were in RB1 territory, and Henry just needed to find the end zone. Thankfully things went more according to plan this week, as all of these guys had solid games and all of them found the end zone. It’s great news for those of you who invested top-40 picks in any of them, and it’s nice to see things go the way they’re supposed to for at least one week.
7. James Robinson is a Waiver Wire Darling
There’s always one. Sometimes, two. Rarely three. We see someone pop off the waivers out of nowhere every season, and it’s almost always a running back. James Robinson has been seeing workhorse usage for a team that has shown dedication to one back in past seasons, so it’s fair to assume this will continue. He’s not necessarily a dynamite athlete, but he does everything well. The biggest indication of his future usage isn’t even his production, it’s the Jaguar’s preseason decision to ship Leonard Fournette. Even if you believed in Ryquell Armstead or Devine Ozigbo, this is James Robinson‘s backfield for the foreseeable future. Consider him a locked in RB2 each and every week unless something drastically changes.
8. The List of Reliable Running Backs is THIN
This happens most years, but for some reason this season seems even worse. The overwhelmingly popular RB heavy draft strategy seemed perfect, and ironically – it was for this reason. We were all shouting about drafting running backs early since the drop off is huge, but right now even the top ten consensus picks aren’t the anchors we want them to be. If I had to rank the running backs for the rest of the season, the list wouldn’t look anything like it did in the preseason. Obviously losing CMC and Barkley will do that naturally, but even guys like Kenyan Drake, Miles Sanders, Joe Mixon, and Josh Jacobs haven’t been overwhelmingly great. Jacobs had a dynamite Week 1, but the rest have been lineup killers all three weeks. I expect things to move towards the mean more and more each week since the lack of preseason is an outlier, but it’s worth watching when evaluating strategies going forward.
9. The “Trade For” List Changes by The Minute, and Should be Used
With the massive variance we’re seeing through the first three weeks, trading for players that have great numbers outside of their fantasy production should be a practice we are all participating in. Michael Gallup exploded a week early, and Allen Robinson was an obvious candidate, but what about Week Four? Keep a close eye out for the Fantasy Day Trader Series we put out each week, as it’s highlighted these guys and Jonathan Taylor before they actually broke out. My initial look tells me that DJ Moore, Miles Sanders, and Julio Jones should be targets to consider this week (especially Moore), but I’ll defer to Geoff for the more robust discussion. This is a crucial part of fantasy football, and it will be even more crucial this year when uncertainty lurks around every corner.
10. Alvin Kamara is the RB1 Overall
Going into last week this was already a discussion, but his MONSTER game on Sunday night solidified it. Reports in the preseason did say that Kamara suffered through some injuries in 2019 that kept him from being as explosive as he was in his rookie season. Apparently, those reports were accurate. Kamara has dominated in Michael Thomas‘ absence and it’s obvious that he’s the WR2 and the RB1 in one of the better offenses in the league. Kamara should be treated as the overall RB1 from here on out, although his numbers might take a slight dip when Thomas returns. He said he’s eyeing Week four, but I’m not moving Kamara for any reason right now anyway. It’s great to see such an electric player doing the things he’s doing, and his workload and usage in the passing game should keep him healthy and available for our fantasy teams all season long.