Fantasy Football Realities and Illusions: Week Three
Welcome back Realities and Illusions, Week Three edition. This week was full of #WeirdFootball, so I am here to help you try and make sense of it.
Week Three was full of #WeirdFootball, so I am here to help you try and make some sense of it.
Deshaun Watson loves to throw to Will Fuller. In fact, every time the two have played together, Fuller has scored a touchdown. While that touchdown rate shouldn’t be expected to continue, Fuller seeing as many—or, in this week’s case, one more—targets than DeAndre Hopkins. He’s an easy start at WR2 going forward.
Royce Rolls Back
After Week Two, it looked like Phillip Lindsay may have supplanted Royce Freeman as the rookie running back to start in Denver. Well, Lindsay threw a punch going after a fumble and was ejected late in the first half Sunday, giving Freeman sole control of the backfield in the second half. He showed his own explosiveness, rushing for gains of 11, nine and 12. Overall, he had already been featured more than Lindsay in the first half, including a touchdown on the Broncos first offensive play. Those of you that invested draft stock in Freeman, breathe a sigh of relief; both he and Lindsay will see ample touches.
Collins You Back
The Ravens made a concerted effort on Sunday to get Alex Collins more involved, putting the ball in his hands 21 times (three of which were catches) for 74 total yards and a touchdown. This was the solid play Fantasy owners and the Ravens were both expecting, and both should feel more optimistic about him going forward. Javorious Allen did frustrate Collins’ owners with two short TDs, but he only had nine touches, and it appears Collins is starting to regain the confidence of the coaching staff again.
Wentz Away, Now He Has Returned
The Eagles threw the ball a lot in Carson Wentz’s return, but the fact that tight ends Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz combined for 17 targets should tell you a lot about their game one plan for Wentz. More importantly, he didn’t seem cautious about his knee. If you drafted and stashed Wentz but wanted to see him in action first, feel comfortable using him against the Titans next week if you must, even if he’s going to be slightly more conservative than usual for the next few games.
Derrick Henry Ain’t It
It was an ugly, weird, 9-6 win for the Titans over the Jaguars, and Derrick Henry had a hand in that, picking up just 57 yards on 18 carries. Yes, this is partly the Jaguars defense’s fault, but Henry has disappointed so far. This is the second week in a row he’s had 18 carries, but he’s had just 113 yards over these two weeks. Volume is a hot commodity in Fantasy, but when it comes in an offense an anemic as Tennessee’s, it might not be worth it. Plus, Dion Lewis should continue to be a threat to eat into that volume.
Cardinals OL Will Hold Everyone Back
David Johnson has been a disappointment, but there was a (reasonable) belief that this was partially Sam Bradford’s fault. And while defenses certainly felt comfortable stacking the box instead of worrying about Bradford and a Larry Fitzgerald-less receiving corps, the Cardinals offensive line struggles even with light pressure. Johnson has shown flashes of being his old self this season, but the chances of a bounce-back behind this line are dwindling. Hopefully Josh Rosen is better than his fourth quarter showed and can alleviate some pressure, but for now I’d let Johnson ride the bench, which is a huge blow to your team. If you try to trade him now, you are not going to get much of a return.
I Remember These Jaguars
The Jaguars offense that scored six points this week is much closer to their reality than the one we saw in Week Two, when Blake Bortles picked apart the Patriots’ defense and threw for 376 yards. Having just 232 yards of total offense sounds Jaguars-ian enough. Hot waiver pickup Keelan Cole had five catches for 40 yards, which is probably the floor for him going forward. Leonard Fournette’s return might revitalize the offense, but don’t expect too much.
Breida Weathered a Scare
Those of you who have stock in Matt Breida probably threw your hands up in “of course” fashion when he went down with what seemed like a serious knee injury. Well, he was able to shake it off and come back in the second half, logging a 13-yard reception and 13-yard rush. Jimmy Garoppolo’s knee injury could see San Francisco turn to a heavy rushing attack, and Breida appears to be distinguishing himself, making him an interesting Flex option.
The Death of Tom Brady Has Been Greatly Exaggerated
It wasn’t a good night for Tom Brady, who completed 14 of his 26 passes for just 133 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception. It looked like the Pats’ lack of weapons finally got to them, with the Lions double teaming Rob Gronkowski all night. But with Josh Gordon likely to make his debut next week and then Julian Edelman returning the week after, things should be looking up for the Patriots. Don’t panic on Brady just yet, and maybe try and buy low on him.
Tyler Boyd is Good, but Not That Good
In my Flexpert column last week, I called Tyler Boyd a “deep league” flex play because I was worried about the sustainability of his volume. Well, he saw seven targets, pulling in six for 132 yards and a touchdown. While I think the volume might be sustainable, don’t go starting him as your WR2 or trading the farm for him; Andy Dalton is still his quarterback, John Ross is still getting targets (he saw seven, catching just three for 17 yards) and oh, A.J. Green is still on the roster, as well. I see him more as a solid-to-low WR3 going forward.
No One Liked That
Kirk Cousins—and all of the Vikings outside of Adam Thielen—disappointed during their 27-6 loss to the Bills. The Bills are supposed to be the kind of matchup where you start everyone you have against them, and instead the offense never really got going. Cousins, in particular, had a rough day, fumbling thrice (two recovered by Buffalo) and throwing a fluky interception. The Bills’ big early lead allowed them to concede short routes to Cousins, as he actually completed 40 passes on Sunday, but for just 296 yards. The Vikings defense should do better going forward, allowing Cousins to get back to his gunslinging ways. It’s one loss; the Vikings are still among the Super Bowl favorites and their studs should still start for you on Thursday.
Sell Your Adrian Peterson Stock Before It’s Too Late
Adrian Peterson’s first three weeks are not just an illusion; they’ve got to be black magic. Whatever Lazarus Pit 2018 Adrian Peterson crawled out of has to dry out some time, right? Especially if Washington is going to keep giving him the lion’s share of touches out of the backfield. I’m fairly certain this isn’t going to last for the 33-year-old. After a 120-yard game in absolutely ugly weather against a bad Packers’ run defense, there is no better time to sell on Adrian Peterson, especially if you use their week off to let people forget about the conditions.
Buy Chris Thompson (at Least in PPR)
Also in my Flexpert column, I called Thompson such a lock that he’s elevated from a Flex to a RB2. Well, he had just one catch for three yards on Sunday in that aforementioned ugly weather. Alex Smith attempted just 20 passes. Washington has a bye week in Week Four, but Thompson should be integrated back into the offense heavily in Week Five.
Aaron Rodgers Played in That Weather, Too
Okay, maybe we shouldn’t believe anything that happened in the Washington-Green Bay game. Rodgers struggled to get something going all game, completing 27 of 44 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns. The rough weather didn’t help the knee, and neither did taking four sacks. The newly-returned Aaron Jones looked great in a small sample size (six carries for 42 yards), so hopefully his return and a game against the Bills gets Rodgers back on track next week.
Miller Low Lites
Lamar Miller has been a frustrating RB to own this year, and owners are probably grousing over him after a 10-carry, 10-yard week. But he was more involved in the passing game this week, reeling in five catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Plus, he averaged almost five yards per carry over the first two games of the season. His ceiling may be more of a mid-level RB2, but that’s valuable. Stay patient if you’re a Miller owner, and try and buy low if you are not and could use some depth.
Dion Lewis Will Do His Thing
Dion Lewis’ 12 total touches on Sunday will be his low for the season. He’s too electric with the ball in his hands and Derrick Henry is too disappointing for Lewis to not see a heavy share of touches. His first two weeks—21 touches against the Dolphins, 15 against the Texans—are much more likely results. He should also become more involved in the passing game than he has been the last two weeks. He’s another buy-low candidate.