Frank Stampfl offers his Week Three Fantasy Football lineup ranks
Frank’s High Five
Peyton Barber has not been great, rushing for just 91 yards on 35 carries (2.6 YPC). With that being said, he’s faced two tough run defenses in the New Orleans Saints and the Philadelphia Eagles. Yes, the Saints have been torched via the pass, but they’ve actually been stout against the run, allowing just 3.4 yards per carry this season. Additionally, the Eagles have allowed a league-low 2.9 yards per carry 58.5 rushing yards per game. Volume is king for running backs, and Barber has 35 carries so far, fifth-most among running backs. He’ll get a much easier matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week Three, a defense that is allowing 4.8 yards per carry this season. Consider Barber a high-end flex play.
It’s become evident that the Detroit Lions are the team you want to target at the running back position. Last week I told you to use Alfred Morris against Lions. The thought process was on point. However, it was Matt Breida who went off in that matchup. This week it’s the New England Patriots. Good luck figuring out who to start. In Week Two, James White played 56 percent of the snaps, Rex Burkhead played 23 percent and rookie Sony Michel played 21 percent. The matchup is too good, though, which means all three are in flex consideration. The Lions have allowed 5.6 yards per carry and 359 rushing yards to this point, both marks being the highest in the NFL. While all are in play, I think Michel is the sneakiest of the lot. In his first game, he was tied for the team lead in touches with 11 (10 carries, one reception). What better way for Bill Belichick to introduce his rookie to the world than primetime Sunday Night Football.
There are two arrows trending in the right direction for Sammy Watkins heading into Week Three. First off, he finally showed a rapport with phenom quarterback Patrick Mahomes, something he hadn’t done ever… literally since the start of Training Camp. In Week Two against the Steelers, he was second on the team in targets (seven), receptions (six) and receiving yards (100), also adding in a nifty end-around for 31 rushing yards. The other arrow trending up for Watkins is his Week Three matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. Vegas has this game’s over/under at 56! That’s the highest of any single game so far this season. Additionally, the 49ers defense allowed 17 receptions, 252 receiving yards and two touchdowns to Lions receivers one week ago. Watkins is a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 this week.
I never thought I’d be singing the praises of John “Smokey” Brown but you have to give credit where it’s due. He’s put the injuries behind him and he’s ballin’ out for the Baltimore Ravens. What’s most notable for Brown is the way he’s being used on the team. He’s second in target share with 15 percent, but those targets are coming both down the field and in the red zone. His 268 air yards and 19.1 aDOT are most on the team by far, plus he leads the Ravens in targets inside the 20 and 10-yard lines. In Week Three, he’ll face a Broncos secondary which is not as daunting as it once was. Just last week they allowed 19 receptions, 219 yards and a touchdown to Raiders wide receivers. Brown is a low-end WR3 option this week.
If I’m buying one hot wide receiver from the Thursday night game a week ago, why not buy the other!? Tyler Boyd has clearly stepped up as the second option in the passing game, being used both on the outside and in the slot. Boyd was tied for the team lead in targets last week with nine, pushing his target share on the season to 20 percent. The next highest target share is Giovani Bernard with 11 percent. It’s clear both Tyler Eifert and John Ross are further down the pecking order. Boyd will be matched up against Captain Munnerlyn in the slot, but really it doesn’t matter where he lines up against that Panthers secondary. He’s a sneaky option in deeper leagues as a WR3 or flex play.