I woke up Sunday morning with the idea that the most enjoyable part of my day was going to be the 5 hours of smoking pork chops (they were fantastic, thank you for asking) and spare ribs throughout the Bills-Vikings game that was surely to be a blowout. Then the game started and Josh Allen did his Superman TD dive for the opening score. Then the Bills forced a turnover and scored again. And again. And again. Eventually I was so enamored with Allen that I forgot to put more wood chips on the charcoal (Applewood for you smoking enthusiasts who were dying to know what wood I was using). I still am in shock as to what happened in that game and how it all unfolded, but let’s dive into that one to start and go through a couple other games afterwards.
What in the hell happened here? The Vikings were 16.5 point favorites and end up losing the game by 21 points. No LeSean McCoy in this game either. It obviously starts with Josh Allen for Buffalo as he amassed 196 yards passing (130 of them in the first half) with 1 throwing TD and 2 rushing TD’s (38 yards on 10 carries). To fill in for McCoy, Chris Ivory actually outsnapped Marcus Murphy by a significant amount and had 70 yards receiving in the game with 56 yards on the ground. Receiving wise, the big takeaway from the Bills is that Kelvin Benjamin stinks and is dropping too many passes for Josh Allen to continue trusting him. I’m curious to see how Benjamin, in a contract year, will perform against the Packers in Week 4. The Bills D/ST was the top performing unit in Week 3 (There is not a single person on this planet who predicted that) with a pass rush that actually delivered. One thing that needs to be taken more seriously is the ability of Tre White to shut down opposing WR1’s. Give me another week of White shutting down whoever he is covering (next week should be Davonte Adams) and we will likely need to considering benching whatever WR he gets matched up against. For those of you who are really desperate, Jason Croom for deeper leagues in need of a TE could find some boom-or-bust potential there. He and Allen have a good chemistry going and Croom is much more athletic than people give him credit for.
For the Vikings, this was pretty much just an Adam Theilen show, amassing 19 targets for 14 catches and 104 yards receiving as the only Vikings player to really do anything of substance in this one. Latavious Murray was useless for those of us who went hard on him in DFS. Kirk Cousins was terrible for 45 minutes of this game and salvaged some semblance of production. As I was mentioning Tre White before, he was guarding Stefon Diggs this week and Diggs managed only 4 catches for 17 yards. Just an ugly week for the Vikings who have to travel to LA to face the unstoppable force that is the Rams.
Starting with the 49ers, RIP their season if the reports of an ACL and MCL tear for Jimmy Garoppolo are true. Matt Breida continues to be the lead back for this team after an injury scare earlier in the game. Breida still ended up with 90 yards on only 10 carries. Alfred Morris was more than serviceable in the time that Breida was getting looked at on the bench. Morris ended his Week 3 campaign with 67 yards on 14 carries and a TD. Marquis Goodwin returned and found the end zone thankfully. George Kittle gave a little redemption for last week with a 7 target, 5 reception and 79 yard performance. The problem going forward with the Niners is that C.J. Beathard will be taking the snaps now and good God I would only really want Kittle, Breida, and maybe Morris going forward. I have no faith in Beathard to find Goodwin or Dante Pettis or Pierre Garcon down the field.
For the Chiefs, well, this one was just another Pat Mahomes show and we’re just the spectators. Mahomes finished with 314 yards and 3 TD’s and no INT’s. Travis Kelce showed up with 114 yards on 10 targets. Sammy Watkins found the end zone in this one as the Chiefs offense is spreading the ball around, but with everyone getting value if you start them. Kareem Hunt had a stat line at one point of 5 carries for 9 yards and 2 TD’s. He’s been a bit slower running the ball this year, but you got the TD’s out of him so really, who cares?
Biggest news out of this game is that Houston likes to tackle at the knees and now Evan Engram is out for at least a week and will be week-to-week on the injury report. Eli Manning summoned the power of the crypt-keeper to find Odell Beckham Jr and Sterling Shepard a combined 15 times on 17 targets and 189 yards. Generational RB Saquon Barkley had 84 yards rushing and a TD in this game, as the Giants got a lead early on and capitalized on the ineptness of Bill O’Brien and the Houston offense. Going forward, Rhett Ellison will be getting the TE reps and looks but I cannot in good faith recommend that you start him ever.
Houston is a hot mess. Bill O’Brien stinks as a HC, and Deshaun Watson is regressing. If only somebody called that before the season… Anyways, back to the game at hand. Watson was able to feed his main weapon on the outside in DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller V getting a combined 22 targets in this one. Fuller went over 100 yards and Hopkins still had 86 yards. The rushing attack from Lamar Miller was completely nonexistent in this one as he only was able to muster 10 yards on 10 carries, with 13 yards after contact (That… that is not a good number to have if you’re the OL there). Miller was targeted in the passing game 6 times for 41 yards and a TD as the game script here had Houston in pass-only for most of the second half. As I have stated before, stats do not discriminate based on when the points are scored, but this is not a good look for Watson and Co. if they’re constantly having to air it out in the 4th quarter. Watson added 36 yards on the ground to help supplement his passing numbers.
Mitchell Trubisky is still the Derek Zoolander of NFL QB’s and opposing defenses are starting to take notice. Trubisky went 34/35 for 220 yards and an INT in this one. Allen Robinson had 7 targets which only turned into 3 receptions for 50 yards. Robinson has been lining up in the slot more and more each week in an effort to get him more touches. The 7 targets are encouraging for Robinson and his fantasy prospects going forward. Taylor Gabriel had 10 targets in this game for only 34 yards and 6 receptions. Matt Nagy is clearly using Gabriel as the underneath WR and safety net for Trubisky to throw the ball to when pressure comes. Jordan Howard had 24 carries in this game, but was only able to muster 2.5 YPC and a TD. Tarik Cohen had 53 yards on the ground in only 5 carries, but make no mistake about it, Howard is the bell cow here.
God this Arizona team stinks. Sam Bradford was 13/19 for 157 yards, with 2 TD, 2 INT’s and a fumble lost. Steve Wilks seems to be in over his head coaching this team and Mike McCoy is just an atrocious OC. The Bird Gang ended up throwing Josh Rosen to the bears (… get it? The bears. Because they played the Bears. O.K I’ll stop now) and it did not go well. David Johnson again had nowhere to run as he only tallied 31 yards on 12 carries, but was able to bring in all 4 targets he had in the passing game for 30 yards and a TD. Chase Edmonds had 5 carries in this game, which is roughly 5 too many when you have a RB of David Johnson’s caliber on the roster. Both Rosen and Bradford were all about throwing to Christian Kirk, who had 8 targets in this game. Kirk converted that target share into 7 receptions for 90 yards in this one. Keep an eye on Kirk in your waiver wire as I expect him to get a bunch of targets ROS. Larry Fitzgerald was only targeted twice in this game as it’s becoming evermore difficult to start Cardinal players in fantasy.
My biggest takeaway in this one is how good the Colts defense has been this year. The offense is very much the weak link on this team and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say that in the 28 years I’ve been on this planet. For fantasy purposes through, Andrew Luck averaged 4.1 YPA by going 25/40 for a whopping 161 yards and a TD, adding 33 yards on the ground with a single scramble. TY Hilton recorded 10 targets in this game for 5 catches and 50 yards, with only Eric Ebron getting more targets (11 targets for 5 receptions and 33 yards). The running game in Indy was a non-factor (again) with Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins each failing to get over 20 yards on the ground. Hines was able to bring in 5 catches for 25 yards in the passing game that was almost exclusively short throws. It is somewhat notable that Jacoby Brissett was brought in at the end of the game for the miracle bomb, making me wonder just how strong Andrew Luck’s shoulder really is.
The Eagles went back to 2017 with their heavy TE usage and that should be a more consistent thing going forward. Alshon Jeffrey is close to returning, but this was all about Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz, the latter of which again had 10+ targets for the 3rd consecutive week. Goedert receiving 7 targets shouldn’t be swept under the rug as he had 7 catches for 73 yards and a TD in this one. Running the ball this game went a little better for the Eagles as both Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement were able to obtain 56 yards on the ground, with Smallwood finding the endzone once. Nelson Agholor had 5 targets in this game which he converted for 24 yards on 4 catches. The big story for the Eagles is obviously that Carson Wentz looked somewhat comfortable in the rainy conditions on Sunday and should be good to go ROS, despite having the 2nd toughest pass defense schedule moving forward. Again, if you think Goedert was a 1-off or that two TE’s on the same team cannot be fantasy relevant, look at how Trey Burton did last year. Doug Pederson LOVES throwing to his TE’s as they prove to be major matchup problems for opposing defenses.
The Chargers had a tough go in this one. Philip Rivers went 18/30 for 226 and 2 TD’s, both of which went to Mike Williams who is finally showing up to be worthy of the 7th overall pick last year in the draft. Williams had 7 targets in this one for 81 yards. Keenan Allen also had 7 targets, but was only able to muster 44 yards and a lost fumble with that target share. Melvin Gordon did Melvin Gordon things with 80 yards on the ground with a TD. Fantasy darling Austin Ekeler had 47 yards on 4 carries and another 24 yards through the air and a lost fumble. Very interesting to see Antonio Gates have 5 targets in this one compared to the 1 target that Virgil Green received. I’ll be keeping my eye on the TE target shares for LAC moving forward. This is an offense that has very few difficult defenses left on the schedule and most players here should be trade targets for you moving forward.
The Rams were surgical in how they attacked a injury-plagued Chargers defense. Jared Goff had 354 yards through the air with 3 TD’s and an INT. Todd Gurley II was doing Todd Gurley II things with 23 carries, 105 yards and a TD on the ground, supplementing that with 5 receptions for 51 yards in the passing game. The 44% air yard share that Robert Woods had coming into this game (With 20 targets through the first two weeks) finally paid off for fantasy owners. Woods had another 11 targets and converted those for 10-104-2TD statline that made me a very happy fantasy owner this week. What is scary about this offense is that Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp also produced with Cooks sporting a 7-90-0 and Kupp a 4-71-1 statline respectively. Each of them saw over 6 targets and clearly are a Big 3 that is rivaled only by Detroit (Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr, Golden Tate).