There was a wide variety of projected outcomes for the early games on Sunday. Most of the games had a spread of less than a touchdown and then there were two games with home favorites of 20+ points. Nothing was really a surprise from the standpoint of the scoreboard, but there is always a lot of fantasy tidbits to break down. Going forward, I will be covering the early slate, while Donkey Teeth will be taking care of the later games. In this format, we both can focus on individual games instead of jumping around from player bullet point to player bullet point. We can start with one of the more exciting games for more than one position that took place in Minnesota.
The “nobody believes in us” edge is gone for for the Raiders as they have dropped two straight. To be honest, they didn’t stand a chance against this Minnesota Vikings defense with the pieces that they have. Josh Jacobs faced a negative games script from the beginning and only saw 10 touches. He turned those touches into 44 yards equaling 4.4 yards per carry which isn’t bad. Darren Waller was the story for the Oakland Raider’s offense. Waller caught 13 out of his 14 targets for 134 yards. That is elite volume and fantasy production without even scoring a touchdown. Waller has led the Raiders in targets in each of their first three games and that trend should continue.
Dalvin Cook came into the game leading the league in rushing yards and he didn’t give up that title this week carrying it 16 times for 110 yards and a touchdown. Dalvin’s cutting is probably the best in the league and he’s also helping in the passing game. He tied Adam Thielen with 5 targets and caught 4 of them for 33 yards. The passing game in Minnesota continues to be a non-factor as Cousins only attempted 21 passes for 174 yards. Adam Thielen lucked into a nice fantasy day with a 1 yard touchdown run on top of his touchdown reception, but Stefon Diggs put up a big stinker in a big smash spot against Oakland.
Lamar Jackson met an actual competitive NFL team in week 3, and it brought his production back to Earth. It could have been a completely disastrous day, but he avoided two ugly interceptions by his wide receivers having favorable position on the corner. Jackson ended up running one in late for a touchdown, so his fantasy day was somewhat salvageable. Mark Ingram had a monster day and his execution in the red zone was flawless. Ingram scored three touchdowns on 16 carries for 103 yards. Mark Andrews’s foot was clearly an issue on Sunday. Andrews caught three of his 7 targets for 15 yards. Marquise Brown didn’t have a great fantasy day, but his 9 targets were promising if you are debating whether you or not you should keep him in your lineup next week.
Patrick Mahomes did what Patrick Mahomes does, so we don’t really need to get into it. Darrel Williams led the backfield with 9 carries and executed them for 62 yards. LeSean McCoy had the big fantasy day out of the backfield with a touchdown on the ground and a touchdown catch. Darwin Thompson didn’t figure much into this backfield. Mecole Hardman only caught two passes, but one of them was a massive 83 yard touchdown. Mecole Hardman was moving all around the line up scrimmage and sometimes into the backfield. He was clearly playing the Tyreek Hill role. Demarcus Robinson didn’t have the volume that we expect during the Hill injury, but he did have a nice touchdown catch.
Kerryon Johnson is finding ways to stay in lineups while under performing from a football standpoint. It took him a few attempts to punch one in from 1 yard out and the 1.8 ypc is very concerning. We thought that he would be more involve in the passing game, but that just hasn’t been the case so far. Ty Johnson wasn’t much better during his attempts so Kerryon will remain safe in ownership of this backfield. Kenny Golladay had a quite day, which isn’t surprising to me. He was overrated coming into this season. He will have big games, but these weeks will be plentiful. Welcome back, Marvin Jones! I’ve missed you. Jones caught 6 of his 9 targets for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Miles Sanders did have a fumble on Sunday, the results were positive for the most part. Sanders caught two passes for 73 yards to lead the Eagles in receiving and averaged 4.1 ypc and led the Eagles in rushing attempts and yards. Jordan Howard clearly owns the goal line in the backfield, which is a problem for Sanders, but I think that Sanders is still a flex player. Nelson Agholor caught 8 catches for 50 yards and two touchdowns. Hopefully he plays more snaps going forward, even if Alshon and Jackson are healthy going forward.
New York Jets Vs. New England Patriot
Tom Brady was his usual self throwing for 306 yards and two touchdowns. Rex Burkhead should have been in your lineups with James White not available. Burkhead led the backfield with 6 catches and 11 carries and a touchdown. Josh Gordon started slow, but had a serviceable day with 6 catches for 83 yards and he led the Patriots in targets. If Phillip Dorsett is not owned in your league, you need to pick him up. Brady clearly likes him (7 targets) and Belicheck is drawing up plays for him to find pay dirt. Dorsett is a WR3 play every week. There really isn’t much to say about the Jets. They are useless from a fantasy standpoint until Sam Darnold returns.
Joe Mixon! He’s alive. He fell short of 100 all purpose yards, but he did find the end zone and fantasy relevance against a pretty good defense. I have a friend who is a really big Florida State fan and he never shuts up about Auden Tate. He took him with his last pick of our keeper draft this season, just because. Shout out to Josh, you had your big day, even though you dropped him.
Frank Gore was a solid RB2 on Sunday averaging 5.2 yards per carry on his way to a touchdown on 76 rushing yards. Josh Allen had a solid day, but it definitely should have been bigger against this defense. Dawson Knox was a feel good story getting the touchdown and leading the Bills in receiving yards in front of his family. But, there wasn’t much else here.
Dak Prescott just keeps smashing with 3 touchdowns and over 250 all-purpose yards. Don’t be in a rush to pick up Tony Pollard. His big day was based on the positive game script for the Cowboys in a weak match up. It would have been nice for Ezekiel Elliott to get a touchdown in such a tender match up. Amari Cooper did benefit from an easy day while Devin Smith couldn’t. Nobody on the Dolphins is playable except for Preston Williams and DeVante Parker in deeper leagues. You can confidently drop the entire Miami backfield.
Aaron Jones is living proof that you don’t need a bunch of yards to have a good fantasy day. Aaron Jones gained 19 yards on the ground, but punched in a couple of goal line touchdowns. Jamaal Williams led the backfield in carries and catches, so that is something to keep an eye on moving forward. MVS is becoming the every other week guy in Green Bay. MVS caught 6 of his 10 targets for 99 yards and a touchdown while more than doubling everyone on the team in targets.
It was a Phillip Lindsay week for Denver. This continues the trend of analysts having zero idea what to do when ranking this backfield each week. Royce Freeman did have a better YPC performance and had a touchdown called back because of a penalty, but this was clearly Phillip Lindsay’s day from a volume standpoint. Emmanuel Sanders had his first quiet game of the season, but Courtland Sutton continues to be a nice surprise, even if he didn’t find the end zone.
Garbage time Matt Ryan continued to provide value for his fantasy owners to the tune of over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns. Devonta Freeman finally found some room for yardage, but was not able to punch it in for 6 points for his fantasy owners. Instead, they had to settle for 11 PPR points. Does anybody know where Calvin Ridley was on Sunday? If you find him, let him know that there are a bunch of fantasy football owners that are wondering the same thing. There was nothing to worry about from a Julio Jones standpoint. He now has scored a touchdown in his first three games.
Jacoby Brissett is growing into quiet the quarterback with a 310 yard and 2 touchdown performance against a banged up Falcons defense. Marlon Mack and T.Y. Hilton were both able to overcome being banged up and found the end zone in a Colts win to go to 2-1.