The Numbers You Need to Know for Week Three
Week Three tends to place Fantasy owners into a thick fog of hubris and uncertainty. First round pick off to a slow start? Hell yeah, let’s talk about trading him (and not getting equal value). Late round selection playing above expectations? Steal of the Year. Mark it down. Saquon Barkley for Ryan Fitzpatrick (an actual proposal someone sent me)? Why by all means, Fitzpatrick owner, let the rest of the league know you’re smoking mop heads and drinking dishwater.
Two weeks is too small a sample size to suggest your team is bound for glory or that you’ll be known as the Patron Saint of the Waiver Wire. The landscape becomes smooth this week. In the meantime, try not to panic.
The Hunt for Chief #23
Yes, it’s a Patrick Mahomes world that we should all be grateful to live in. That is, except the Kareem Hunt owners who’ve had to take a back seat to Mahomes’ record-shattering start. His ADP of 9.0 feels damn hollow considering Hunt is averaging a depressing 3.6 yards per carry and has been targeted twice in the first two games.
The rushing numbers will improve, but it’s the way Hunt is on the back of milk cartons when it comes to the Chiefs’ passing game that should concern his owners. If Mahomes is averaging 10.6 yards per attempt and the trio of Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins comprise 69 percent of the targets, Hunt’s value takes a considerable hit in PPR leagues and banishes him to RB2 status against the 49ers on Sunday. If there is a glimmer of hope for Hunt, it’s the fact San Francisco leads the league in opponent’s passes targeted to running backs (28).
Eagles Forced to Go to Plan C
Carson Wentz returns to the Eagles lineup on Sunday but — at least for now — there shouldn’t be a rush to plug him into the lineup. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz have combined for 54.2 percent of the team’s targets and there is no one currently on the active roster who shows signs of stepping up giving Wentz a needed third target.
Enter Corey Clement, who should get a stream of touches against the Colts as both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles will be sidelined. Indianapolis is 26th in Fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs due in part that they have allowed 11 completions and 93.5 yards per game to them in the first two weeks, fitting perfectly with the strengths of Clement, who caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown in last week’s loss to the Buccaneers. Clement is a good Flex play in PPR formats.
Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas has 11 receptions in the first two weeks yet has managed only 81 yards, tying him for 80th overall. That’s quite a dip for a wideout who has five 1,000-yard seasons and a career 13.6 yards per catch.
Thomas makes for a tough WR2 call as the Broncos take on a Ravens pass defense that has done a solid job in locking down receivers thus far. B-More is one of only five teams that have allowed less than 10 completions to wideouts in the first two games while holding them to 10.4 yards per catch. In what will likely be a low-scoring game, Thomas will have some value in non-PPR leagues, but if you have a receiver with a better matchup, then you might want to consider shying away from Thomas.
Yes, No, Maybe (Subtitled: My Last Weekend in a Nutshell)
Yes: Give me lots of Matt Breida against the Chiefs’ paper cup-thin defense. Breida should get 15-18 touches on a D that is 30th in Fantasy points allowed per game to opposing running backs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with 4-6 catches when you consider the Chiefs are allowing 10.5 catches for 130.5 yards to opposing backs. That game screams “shootout!” and Breida will be a big part of it.
No: Josh Gordon will likely get some snaps against the Lions on Sunday night, but I don’t suspect he’ll get more than 15-20 plays. Expect Tom Brady to give him 3-5 targets, including a downfield shot, but I’d wait a couple of games before deploying the Patriots’ newest weapon.
Maybe: The Seahawks are 25th in FPs allowed to opposing receivers, and while the Cowboys’ WR corps is…well…um…not good, I do think one of them will step up and have a good afternoon in the Pacific Northwest (Hi, Amy Peterson!!). You may need to shake the Magic 8-ball a couple of times, but in the end, I’d run with Cole Beasley, the closest thing Dallas has to an identifiable WR1 among their group.
Come On, Come On, Come On, Come On and Touch (and Target) Me, Baby
Calvin Ridley, WR, Falcons: The Saints secondary has returned to their old, Must-Start-Every-Receiver Against Them ways, as they have allowed 558 yards and five touchdowns to opposing wideouts. Julio Jones will get his, but this will be the game Ridley establishes himself as a viable Fantasy option.
Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers: Second to Mike Evans in targets, Godwin is pulling them in at an 80 percent rate in the early going. The Steelers are 22nd in FP allowed per game to the opposition’s wideouts, which means Godwin will continue to partake in the feast that is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s arm.
Virgil Green, TE, Chargers: If there is a soft spot in the Rams’ defense, it’s how athletic TEs can exploit the middle of the field against them. Green is getting equal snaps with Antonio Gates but is younger, faster and can stretch the middle enough to allow Philip Rivers to eventually take downfield shots with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Tyrell Williams.
Kerryon Johnson, RB, Lions: The Pats allow 4.7 yards per carry, and if Detroit wants to pull off a Sunday night shocker, giving the ball to Johnson would be a good Step One. Johnson saw his workload increase last week and will be a better option than Theo Riddick. There’s sleeper potential for Johnson in non-PPR formats.
Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins: Only Christian McCaffrey (24) and Saquon Barkley (22) have more targets among running backs than Thompson’s 21. He’s a solid RB2 for his receiving skills, but Thompson is also averaging better than seven yards per carry. Something tells me he’s going to explode for at least 2-3 big plays against the Packers, who struggled to contain Dalvin Cook out of the backfield last week.
Evan Engram, TE, Giants: The Texans are 23rd in FP allowed per game to TEs. With their focus on Odell Beckham Jr and the Barkley, Engram will become Eli Manning’s best friend when Houston’s pass rush attempts to impose its will.
Gimme A Sleeper!
Niners rookie receiver Dante Pettis has just three catches, yet all three have been for better than 30 yards. If Marquise Goodwin is out again or limited, Pettis could put up an impressive afternoon at the expense of a weak Chiefs secondary.