Things We Learned: Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
Here is what we learned from Week 3 of the fantasy football season.
Eli and the Giants’ offense awaken late in Week 3
It could just be a fluke, but maybe the Giants offense finally has it figured out. For about a six-minute span in the fourth quarter, Eli Manning and the offense showed off the high-powered passing attack that had disappeared to start the season. Manning threw for 366 yards while the trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and Brandon Marshall each caught at least seven passes and over 65 yards with three scores between them. Beckham finally looked like his old self, hauling in a pair of spectacular TD catches, and his return to health has likely injected new life into the offense that can keep rolling into Week 4. Manning will likely hover around high-end QB2 status, while a healthy Beckham instantly jumps back into elite WR territory. Shepard and Marshall will likely be hit-or-miss from week-to-week, with Shepard having the higher upside.
Cincinnati playmakers finally allowed to touch the ball
The Cincinnati offense finally showed some life today, as was expected to happen with the coaching shakeup. A.J. Green was targeted early and often, finishing with 10 catches on 13 targets, eclipsing 100 yards receiving with a TD. With new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor clearly scheming ways to get him the ball all over the field, going forward Green looks to be the top 5 WR he was drafted as. Joe Mixon was unleashed and got into a rhythm against the Packers, finishing with 21 touches, eight more than Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard combined. While he failed to produce any big plays, he certainly looked the part of an every-down back and showed a shiftiness to avoid would-be tacklers and good hands in the passing game on his way to over 100 total yards on the day. Fantasy owners who were patient with Mixon to start off the year may soon be rewarded with some big performances.
The New Orleans RB situation is starting to take form
While it’s still a work in progress, it appears that the roles of the New Orleans running back trio are taking shape. It still appears as though Adrian Peterson doesn’t quite fit, doesn’t seem thrilled about the crowded backfield, and has yet to establish a flow in any game. Meanwhile, Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara look to have adjusted, seamlessly integrating into the flow of the offense. Ingram found a nice rhythm on the ground in Week 3 and was a part of the passing game. Kamara provides a nice change-of-pace and broke off a nice TD run in the Saints win in Week 3. Ingram has the most value in this group, while Kamara is an interesting stash in deeper PPR leagues. Peterson belongs on waivers. He may have an occasional game where he vultures a TD or two, but his days of being a consistent fantasy producer appear to be in the rear-view mirror.
C.J. Anderson is suddenly in a timeshare
In what may have been the biggest fantasy disappointment of the week, C.J. Anderson found himself in a 50-50 timeshare with Jamaal Charles in Week 3. Each player received 10 touches, with Charles out producing Anderson in yardage and finding the end zone while Anderson was held without a score. No one saw this sort of timeshare coming on the heels of two straight weeks of 20+ carries, including a 118-yard, 2 TD performance last week for Anderson. Charles has earned a continued role in the offense going forward, and fellow RB Devontae Booker, who coaches love to rave about, is scheduled to return to action as early as next week. Those two factors make it difficult to see Anderson maintain his RB1 status that he produced in the first two weeks of the season. He likely drops down to RB2/Flex range going forward.
The Vikings offense has multiple must-start players
Apart from Adrian Peterson, the Vikings offense has been lacking any consistent fantasy production for a long time. After three weeks and two quarterbacks, it’s clear that this post-AP offense has several playmakers worthy of not just of being on fantasy rosters, but to be considered as must-starts. WR Stefon Diggs, as I wrote about in the offseason here, could be a borderline WR1, and proved in Week 3 that he is more than just an adequate PPR receiver. Adam Thielen is one of the most underrated NFL players, and now has at least 98 yards receiving in two of the three games played this year. Dalvin Cook is playing like a seasoned pro, and has opened his career with at least one 25-yard rush in each game, and has more yards rushing in his first three games as a Viking than any other player in team history, breaking Peterson’s former record. The loss of starting QB Sam Bradford caused a one-week hiccup, but Week 3 showed that each of these players are capable of solid fantasy production on a weekly basis regardless of who is under center.