Week 3 is complete, and it was a week of upsets, and all around bizarre results. I used to watch NFL games not knowing what a catch was and what wasn’t. This year I am still trying to figure out how to hit or sack a QB without a roughing the passer call and it’s getting to be a little much. There have been 34 roughing the passer calls through the first three weeks of the season. That is more than twice as many at this time last year (16).
This was not the week for your #1 WR;
· Calvin Ridley > Julio Jones
· Sterling Shepard > Odell Beckham Jr.
· Will Fuller > DeAndre Hopkins
· Mike Williams > Keenan Allen
· Sammy Watkins > Tyreek Hill
· Jordy Nelson > Amari Cooper
· Geronimo Allison > Devante Adams
· Tyler Boyd > AJ Green
32 Fantasy Thoughts;
1. The New York Jets started off strong and faded as the game moved along. Quincey Enunwa proved he’s the man in NY, and Robby Anderson is not. Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell continue to split the work with Crowell doing the damage around the goal line. Until the Jets coaching staff takes the reins off Sam Darnold, he will have to rely on Enunwa and the quick hits. Jets are in Jacksonville in week 4. Do your best to leave this offense on the bench.
2. The beer fridges have been unlocked and the Cleveland Browns and their fans woke up Friday morning celebrating a victory for the first time in 636 days. It is Baker Mayfield time in Cleveland to boot! As soon as Tyrod Taylor left this one with a concussion the entire game shifted, and the entire Browns offense stood tall and began to execute. As great as Baker seemed, he ended with only 9.8 fantasy points. The entire offense with the exception of Duke Johnson gets a lift with this QB change. The Browns can’t or won’t seem to find a role for Duke. I like the Browns on the road in Oakland next week. Hyde, Landry are must starts for me. Baker is the starter in Cleveland, but I need to see much more before he’s the starter of my Dynasty team.
3. New Orleans Saints can score points, and it looks like the defense we all got excited about for 2017 is a not the same defense in 2018. This is all leading to Drew Brees force feeding Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas to gain needs yards and score points. Well, they are delivering at an exceptional rate. Through the first three weeks of the season, the trio has combined for 276.5 fantasy points. They enter Monday as the number 1RB (Kamara), 1WR (Thomas), and 3QB (Brees) ranked scorers in PPR. Michael Thomas had another 10 catches on Sunday. He is up to 38 on the season and is on pace for 202 receptions. The NFL record for single-season receptions is 143.
4. Matt Ryan is determined to prove that Week 1 was the exception, not the rule. In the past two weeks, Ryan has posted 71.8 Fantasy points and a line of 48/63/646/7/1. Calvin Ridley posted the first three TD game by a rookie WR since Odell Beckham Jr, and the Falcons continue to put up points despite Julio Jones’ inability to score a TD. The Falcons host the Bengals in week 4. I’m firing up Ryan, Coleman (if Freeman is out), and Julio, will entertain Ridley as well.
5. The Denver Broncos didn’t do much of anything during their loss to Baltimore. Case Keenum struggled again and the run game was held in check. Royce Freeman and Emmanuel Sanders scored rushing TD’s which accounting for all the Broncos scoring. Phillip Lindsay, everyone’s favorite UDFA RB was ejected for throwing a punch during the scramble to recover a Keenum fumble. Denver returns home to host the high-octane Kansas City Chiefs in week 4. The KC defense is as bad as their offense is good, and I am starting all the Broncos I own in this one, this should be a shoot-out.
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6. The Baltimore Ravens took advantage of a depleted Broncos defense and rolled to a rather easy victory. Joe Flacco was 25/40/277/1, Buck Allen scored twice, and Alex Collins added another. Collins got most of the work, but the backfields in Baltimore remains frustrating. Allen got the goal line carry from a yard out and converted, for some reason the Ravens just won’t commit to their best RB. I anticipated this to be a good game for the Ravens TE crew as the Broncos are weak vs the TE. The result was not what I expected as Michael Crabtree led the way with 7 catches for 61 yards on 10 targets. The TE were held in check and only targeted 4 times. Ravens travel to Pittsburgh for a big divisional contest in Week 4. Collins, Crabtree, and John Brown are my starters in that one.
7. With Joe Mixon sidelined, the Cincinnati Bengals limited their rushing attack to 13 carries and threw that ball 46 times vs the Panthers. AJ Green suffered a groin injury and Tyler Boyd stepped up once again. A week after setting a career high in receiving yards with 96, Boyd surpassed that and ended up with 132 yards, securing 6 of 7 targets and scoring for the second straight week. Giovani Bernard got the start in place of the injured Mixon and had 86 total yards on 12 carries and 5 receptions. Gio remains in the RB2 conversation if Mixon remains out. Next week in Atlanta, I am firing up Green (if healthy), Boyd and Bernard. The Falcons are terrible vs pass catching RB’s and Boyd is way too hot to sit right now. If you are in a pinch you can take a flyer on Dalton in this one as well. The Falcons defense is banged up and they have surrendered 67 points, 731 passing yards, and 6 TD over the last two weeks.
8. Carolina is one of two teams on bye in Week 4. In Week 3 the Panthers focused on the ground game with a combined 41 carries for 230 yards and two touchdowns. Cam Newton only attempted 24 passes in this one. Even with the low passing attempts, Cam was efficient throwing for 150 yards and two scores. The Panthers return in week 5 to host the New York Giants. At this point, I am firing up all the usual starters for the Panthers in that one.
9. I certainly did not see the New York Giants defeating the Houston Texans, after watching their ugly effort in Dallas the week before, but hey Sunday was a strange day. Eli Manning threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns and Saquon Barkley added a score as the New York Giants got their first win. The Giants were up 14 at the half but struggled in the second half and had their lead cut to five before Manning threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with about two minutes left. Barkley ended this one with 82 yards on 17 carries and 5 catches for an additional 35 yards. Odell Beckham led the way with 10 targets, catching 9 of them, for 109 yards. TE Evan Engram suffered a sprained MCL and has been listed as week to week. The G-men host the Saints in week 4. Beckham, Barkley, and Shepard are starts in this one as the Giants will be in catch-up mode all afternoon.
10. Houston fell short in its attempt to come back on the Giants and post their first win of the season. The Texans are off to their worst start since they opened 0-4 in 2008. Turnovers were costly in this one. Lamar Miller saved his fantasy day with a TD reception on the final play of the game. Miller posted 10 carries for 10 yards in this one. Deshawn Watson had a good day throwing for 385 and 2 and adding another 36 on 5 carries. As expected Watson targeted his WR Will Fuller and DeAndre Hopkins 21 times, completing 11 of them. Fuller had 5 for 101 and a score and Nuk settled for 6 for 86. Week 4 is a trip to Indianapolis for the Texans, I am starting all my guys in this contest against an average Indy defense.
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11. As I have mentioned, Sunday was a bizarre day, one of the best examples of that was the Tennessee Titans 9-6 win over Jacksonville. The Titans had 15 first downs in this one and a total of 233 yards yet managed to win again. Tennessee has scored a total of 29 points the past two weeks and have won both contests. Blaine Gabbert started and left due to injury, Marcus Mariota (who isn’t 100%) came in, in relief and threw for 100 yards on 18 attempts. You can imagine there wasn’t much to get excited about in this one, Dion Lewis had 40 totals yards, Derrick Henry had 57 and Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis disappointed yet again. The Titans offense that I was so high on coming into the season has been brutal. Tennessee hosts the Eagles in week 4. I will be hard pressed to start any of members of the Titans. If you are stuck, take the flyer on Dion Lewis.
12. In Week 2, Jacksonville looked great defeating the New England Patriots 31-20 and followed that impressive outing with a complete dud vs. the Titans. Prior to Sunday’s loss, the Jags were 4-0 in with a +92-point differential in games that Leonard Fournette had missed since the start of last season. Leonard Fournette missed his second straight game because of a strained right hamstring, and the Jags missed him. Jacksonville ran for 87 yards, with TJ Yeldon leading the way with 44 on 7 attempts. It didn’t help that the team was down two offensive line starters – left tackle Cam Robinson and right guard A.J. Cann. The Jags host the Jets in Week 4. If Fournette is back I am starting him as well as Keenan Cole. The remainder of the team will stay on my bench.
13. San Francisco saw their bid for a comeback in week 4, as well as the remainder of their season, blow up before their eyes when Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ACL injury. Losing your #1 RB is one thing but to lose your franchise quarterback to the same injury a few weeks later in catastrophic. The injury downgrades this entire offense. The two players that may remain in the mix are George Kittle and Matt Brieda. Kittle and CJ Beathard played college together and, last season in 6 starts former Niners RB Carlos Hyde saw 50 targets from Beathard. That role this season is Breida’s. The CJ Beathard 2.0 era starts week 4 in Los Angeles vs. the Chargers. The entire team is on my bench except for Matt Breida in this one.
14. The Kansas City Chiefs have a terrible defense. The good news I that their offense isn’t. Through three weeks, Patrick Mahomes in QB2, Kareem Hunt is RB21, Tyreek Hill is WR4, and Travis Kelce is TE1. The Chiefs are averaging 39 points and 398 yards per game. They are giving up on average 31 points and 474 yards per game. KC is 3-0 and has been outgained by their opponent in all three games this season. The offense is awesome, and it will need to be the remainder of the season. The crazy stat for me is the Chiefs have run the 4th lowest number of offensive plays thus far this season (177). They hit hard and strike fast. KC plays in Denver next Monday night. I am all systems go with Mahomes, Hunt, Hill, Watkins, and Kelce here. The Broncos are a solid defense, but they are banged up. I am also not sitting anything with a fantasy pulse on this offense.
15. The Oakland Raiders have not trailed in any game of their 3 games at any point in the first three quarters, yet they are 0-3. Turnovers have sunk them once again. Derek Carr was decent in this one, and Marshawn Lynch found the end zone for the third straight week. Carr has thrown for 936 yards, 2 TD, and 5 INT. to date this season. He remains a low-end QB2 and currently sits at QB26. The Raiders are a tough one to figure out as different components of their offense have stepped up at times and been irrelevant at others. Heading into a week 4 home game vs the Browns, the entire passing game needs to be faded except for Jared Cook who sits at TE2 through three weeks. Marshawn Lynch is also a start for me in this one, as mentioned he has scored in each game and sits at RB13 in PPR scoring.
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16. The Miami Dolphins are efficient if nothing else. Through three weeks to start the season the Dolphins have run 155 offensive plays, the second lowest in the NFL. Ryan Tannehill has attempted 74 passes and has completed 54 of them (73%). The Dolphins have struggled to run the ball, they have scored a total of 75 points and are 3-0. I am not sure what Kenyan Drake did to Adam Gase, but it is mind boggling at how little work he has gotten to start this season. Drake is averaging 10 carries and 3 catches a game thus far. Miami takes their undefeated record to Foxborough to face the Patriots in week 4. I am worried about the Dolphins in this one, and I would like to err on the side of caution and leave this team on my bench. If you are stuck Tannehill and Drake are low-end guys to plug into your lineup.
17. How about those Buffalo Bills? In his first career start, Josh Allen was running, hurdling, and passing his way to the upset over the Vikings. Allen threw for 2 scores and ran for another. Chris Ivory awoke from the fantasy dead with 56 yards on the ground and an additional 70 thru the air. The Bills played this one without their top offensive weapon and won easily. Makes perfect sense. Buffalo stays in the NFC North with a trip to Green Bay in week 4. LeSean McCoy may or may not play and it will be back to reality for Buffalo. There really isn’t anything here to start. Allen if you are in a pinch in a 2QB or Super-Flex is a desperation add.
18. It’s well known that I am a Minnesota Vikings fan. I cannot recall a game in which the Vikings playing so poorly in all facets of the game like this one. I swear the Vikings played this like it was a Conference Championship or Super Bowl. The offensive line was terrible, and they appeared to quit once down 17-0. With Dalvin Cook not dressed and staring at a 17-0 deficit, the Vikings abandoned the run game making Latavius Murray a terrible start. As a team, the Vikings called 4 running plays. The passing game wasn’t much until garbage time, and Adam Thielen benefited catching 14 of his 19 targets for 105 yards. The Los Angeles Rams await the Vikings in a week 4 Thursday night match-up. My initial reaction was to fade all of the Vikings offense. With the news that the Rams top 2 corners are likely not to play my opinion changes. If they are out I am back to starting Kirk Cousins, Stefon Diggs, and Thielen. Cook is questionable to play on Thursday and if he does I will do my best to avoid him. I realize this is hard to do based on who your options likely are.
19. The Indianapolis Colts fell to 1-2 on the season after the 20-16 loss in Philadelphia. The Colts couldn’t generate much on offense in this one. The run game continues to be a problem for the Colts. They played this one without Marlon Mack, and the duo of Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines combined for 37 yards on 11 carries. Andrew Luck was the Colts leading rusher in this one with 1 carry for 33 yards. Luck wasn’t at his best going 25/40/165/1. Concern for Luck’s throwing shoulder is back after Indianapolis brought Jacoby Brissett to attempt the Hail Mary on the Colts last play. Indy hosts Houston in Week 4. I’d like to avoid Luck in this one but can understand why he may be started. TY Hilton and Eric Ebron will be starters for me in this one. That mess of a running game stays on the bench Marlon Mack included if he is active.
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20. The Philadelphia Eagles welcomed back Carson Wentz for the first time since he tore two knee ligaments on December 10, 2017. On his first drive, Wentz threw a touchdown pass to rookie TE Dallas Goedert. Not much happened for the Eagles in this rainy match up until Wendell Smallwood scored from 4 yards out in the 4th quarter. The Eagles played this one with Alshon Jeffery and Jay Ajayi and replaced them with Jordan Matthews and Josh Adams. In a game that I expected Corey Clement to stand out, he was limited to 56 yards on 16 attempts. This game was all about the TE’s for the Eagles as Zach Ertz and Goedert combined for 12 catches on 17 targets, 146 yards, and a TD. Goedert had the best game of his young career hauling in all 7 targets for 73 yards. Philadelphia travels to Tennessee in week 4. Wentz, Clement (if Ajayi is still out), Ertz and Nelson Agholor are my starters. I anticipate the Eagles offense to move the ball well in this one. Keep your eye on Dallas Goedert, he is potentially going to work his way into a flex spot in the coming weeks.
21. The Green Bay Packers are in a tough spot. They know that their season is likely lost like last year if Aaron Rodgers misses any significant time. Sitting Aaron Rodgers though is what they need to do. He is the best quarterback in the league and possibly one of the best I have ever seen. With that being said he is playing on one leg and the Packers lost to Washington as a result. If Aaron Rodgers was 100% the Packers would be 3-0. Rodgers is QB25 through 3 weeks, clearly, he is not himself. As a result, the entire offense in Green Bay suffers and you can lower your expectations on all of them. The Packers face the Bills in week 4, and they will not experience what the Vikings did last week. This one will be a Packers win and even with one-legged Aaron running the show I don’t think it will be close. I am starting Rodgers, Adams with confidence and will also consider Jimmy Graham and perhaps Geronimo Alison. The backfield is a mess with Aaron Jones back and regardless of the opponent I want no part of it.
22. Part of the bizarre week 3 was the Washington Redskins defeating the Green Bay Packers. I did not see that coming. It’s hard to evaluate this Redskins team after a week 1 win in Arizona and a week 2 loss to Indianapolis. I was down on Adrian Peterson, and I mean way down. All AP did last Sunday was turn 19 touches into 120 yards and 2 TDs. The rest of the Redskins were ok and didn’t really need to do much. It was nice to see Paul Richardson score a TD, he is a WR that I feel will come into his own if given the targets in that offense. The Redskins are on bye in week 4 and will return in week 5 to host the Saints on Monday night.
23. The Los Angeles Chargers took advantage of some key injuries to the Rams secondary to make the battle of LA closer than it likely should have been. Melvin Gordon had a productive day on the ground but was surprisingly ineffective in the passing game. This game was a coming out party for second-year WR Mike Williams. Williams secured 4 of his 7 targets for 81 yards and 2 TDs. The Chargers host the 49ers in week 4. Keenan Allen will bounce back in this one and should be started with confidence along with Phillip Rivers and Melvin Gordon. I was happy to see Williams break out in week 3 but I need to see some more consistency if I am going to feel good about sliding him into my starting lineup.
24. The Los Angeles Rams are one balanced team and an early Super Bowl favorite in my opinion. They have the top running back in the league and a very balanced passing attack with Brandon Cooks, Cooper Kupp and week 3 star Robert Woods. Woods led the way with 10 catches on 13 targets 104 yards and 2 TD. Todd Gurley was his usual self, rushing for 105 yards and a TD with 5 catches for another 51 more. Jared Goff was 29/36 354 yards and 3 TD. The Rams face the Vikings and their top tiered defense on Thursday Night. The Vikings look like an overrated defense through 3 weeks, and I am starting my Rams with confidence.
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25. The Chicago Bears took the field in Arizona on Sunday after watching both the Packers and Vikings lose winnable games. They responded with a sluggish start and 14-0 deficit after 1 quarter. Thankfully for the Bears, they were playing the worst team in the league. Jordan Howard got the work I was expecting, however, 2.5 yards per carry was well below my expectation. It was nice to see Howard get into the end zone. Mitch Trubisky was not good in this one, 24/35 220 yards with an interception. The 24 receptions were evenly spread among the Bears pass catchers. The Bears lost Taylor Gabriel, and rookie Anthony Miller to injury and RB Tarik Cohen is less than 100%. The Bears host the Buccaneers in week 4. Howard and Allen Robinson are my only must start in this one, the remainder of the Bears will remain on my bench.
26. Teams throughout Sam Bradford’s career wished they had a healthy QB to put on the field. After three weeks in Arizona, they likely wish he wasn’t. Regardless the Cardinals have made the switch to rookie QB Josh Rosen for a week 4 match up with Seattle. Changing the QB may help in Arizona but I would not expect many different results. The offense is boring and lacks creativity. The offensive line is weak which also doesn’t help. David Johnson is the hardest one for me to figure out. Johnson had 16 touches in this one after 14 in weeks 1 and 2. Johnson should be getting 20-25 touches a game minimum for the Cardinals to have a chance to turn the corner. They have run the least amount of offensive plays (142) in the league and are also the lowest scoring team with 20 points total on the season. Seattle isn’t what they used to be but with the exception of Johnson the rest of the Cardinals are firmly on my bench in Week 4. I still believe in Johnson, his talent should win out in the end and his touches will increase. If they don’t the Cardinals should be looking for a new Offensive Coordinator.
27. From one weak offense to another, the Dallas Cowboys underwhelmed again this past Sunday. The once potent offensive line is no longer and Dak Prescott is proving to be a borderline QB2/3 as a result. The lone bright spot in this offense is Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott carried the rock 16 times in this one for 127 yards. He added 3 catches for 11 yards. As long as Elliott is getting 20-25 touches a week the Cowboys offense will stand a chance. Zeke’s running ability gives the Cowboys a chance to get this passing game going. Detroit visits Dallas in week 4. Elliott is my only start for Dallas, through three weeks teams have proven you can run on the Lions.
28. Russell Wilson threw for two TD’s and Chris Carson added a rushing TD as the Seattle Seahawks avoided a 0-3 start to the season with a win over Dallas. Wilson’s TD passes went to Jaron Brown and Tyler Lockett. After being sacked 12 times in the previous two contests, Seattle limited the damage in this one to 2 sacks. Chris Carson benefited from the game script and turned his 32 rushing attempts into 102 yards. Rashaad Penny was a non factor in this one, carrying the ball 3 times for 5 yards. The rushing average for Seattle was terrible in this one regardless of the ball carrier. Seattle travels to Arizona in week 4. Wilson, Carson, and Tyler Lockett get the nod for me here.
29. Last week I wrote that watching New England lose was enjoyable for me, well it was so nice they did it twice. The Patriots looked old and disinterested in this one. Brady looked all of his 41 years going 14/26/133/1/1. The receiving core is a mess in New England and opposing teams are doubling and tripling Rob Gronkowski in back to back weeks. Gronk has combined for 7 catches and 66 the past two weeks. Josh Gordon was inactive in this one and Rex Burkhead was injured and is headed to IR. New England goes home to host the division-leading unbeaten Miami Dolphins in week 4. I am starting as many Patriots as I own in this one as long as they are healthy and active. This is a get right game for the Patriots and I see New England destroying Miami.
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30. There are some teams that through the first three weeks have a record that doesn’t justify their performances. Miami and Tennessee come to mind but so do the Detroit Lions. The Lions, in my opinion, should have a better record than the 1-2 start. They had a terrible first half in the season opener that they couldn’t overcome and fell just short in week two in San Francisco. Week 3 it all clicked for the Lions as they soundly beat New England. The offensive line looked to be much improved from previous weeks and Kerryon Johnson rushed for over 100 yards on 16 attempts. KJ became the first Lions RB to reach the 100-yard mark since Reggie Bush’s 117-yard effort on November 28, 2013. I’m not sure how a team can go 70 games between 100-yard rushers.
31. Despite their best efforts in the 2nd half, the Pittsburgh Steelers got their first win of the season in Tampa Bay. Pittsburgh took a 30-10 lead into halftime the beneficiaries of three interceptions. The final interception was returned for a touchdown. Ben Roethlisberger had a good road game throwing for 353 and 32 scores. JuJu Smith-Shuster continues to look like a WR1 in the Steelers offense. JuJu secured 9 of 11 targets for 116 yards. He has gone over 100 yards in all three contested this season and sits at WR5 in PPR scoring. Antonio Brown scored in this one. AB is the league leader in targets this season and sits at WR11 season to date. James Conner turned 15 carries into 61 yards doing most of his damage late. Conner continues to be a relevant fantasy asset. The more weeks that pass and the more I see of James Conner the more I mess Le’Veon Bell. Pittsburgh returns home in Week 4 to host division rival Baltimore. I will look to start Big Ben, AB, and JuJu in this one. If you need to start James Conner go for it, I am sure you could do worse. Personally, I would like to do better. Detroit heads to Dallas to face the Cowboys in week 4. I like Stafford, Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay and especially Kerryon Johnson in a game I feel the Lions win.
32. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the Monday Night Football contest an interesting one with a strong second half. The problem for the Bucs was their first half put them in a hole they couldn’t quite dig out of. Chris Godwin drops, a nonexistent running game and 4 turnovers were the driving forces in a poor first half. Ryan Fitzpatrick flirted with both his true self and FitzMagic in this one. In the end, he became the first QB to have 3 straight games with over 400 passing yards and remains the top QB in fantasy this season. Jameis Winston is back from suspension and the fun starts now in Tampa. Fitz should have done enough in the first three weeks to hold onto the starting job. Mike Evans continued his strong start to the season with 6 catches 137 yards and a TD. Evans is the second highest scoring WR next to Michael Thomas thru 3 weeks. Week 4 the Bucs travel to Chicago to face the Bears and their pass rush. I am hesitant to start Fitzpatrick in this one, the only starters I am confident in are Mike Evans and OJ Howard. I would also lower my typical expectations for those two.

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