Fantasy Football Overvalued/Undervalued: Week 3 (2020)
Week 2 was about as bad as it gets for injuries, headlined by Christian McCaffrey and Saquon Barkley, the first two players off the board in most fantasy drafts this summer. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been having some sleepless nights this week thinking about your best players spraining their ankles or tearing their ACLs.
But things are rarely as bad — or as good — as they might seem in this crazy little game of ours, and the best thing you can do is lick your wounds and move forward. The good news is that unlike when a team suffers a stinging playoff loss, we don’t have to wait around for an entire offseason to get back into competing. Football waits for no man or woman, and Week 3 is already here. I hope that you were already able to get some nice reinforcements off the waiver wire, and now it’s time to set those lineups.
Overall, I had a pretty strong showing with my picks in Week 2, producing the 19th-most accurate rankings among 173 fantasy writers across the industry. As far as last week’s column specifically, I really nailed my overvalued and undervalued QB picks (Drew Brees and Cam Newton, respectively), was just about on the nose in my expectations for Mike Evans (WR3) and Devin Singletary (RB34), and correctly predicted that Jared Cook would outscore Zach Ertz at tight end (although neither had what you’d call a banner week).
But enough with the bragging, right? I’ll be the first to admit when I get things wrong, which will even happen in the best weeks. D.J. Moore finished halfway in between my expectation (WR18) and the expert consensus (WR11), so we’ll call that one a draw. But I was way off on recommending Adrian Peterson, who lost out on a one-yard touchdown to Kerryon Johnson and split the carries more evenly with Johnson and D’Andre Swift than I anticipated.
As always, my overvalued and undervalued picks for Week 3 are based on FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings for half PPR formats. I’m available to answer start/sit questions, trade ideas, waiver priorities, and anything else you can think of on Twitter @andrew_seifter. And if that isn’t enough to make you tired of me, you can also check out my new fantasy sports show, MFSN’s The Hub, on YouTube. New episodes air on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but if you click, “subscribe” you won’t even have to remember that.
Overvalued: Aaron Rodgers (GB)
My Rank: QB13
Much like Drew Brees last week, Rodgers is a player who I am not treating as a “set-it-and-forget-it” QB1 heading into Week 3. “Angry Aaron Rodgers” narratives aside, Rodgers’ offensive scheme and surrounding cast have not meaningfully improved from last season when he finished as the QB13 in fantasy points per game (minimum eight games). He exploded for 364 yards and four touchdowns against a collapsing Vikings defense in Week 1, but the 240 yards and two scores he put up against Detroit last week is a more reasonable expectation for him going forward.
While Packers-Saints in the Superdome would normally have the feel of a shootout, both teams may be missing their superstar wide receivers (Davante Adams and Michael Thomas, respectively), which could transform this game into a much more run-heavy affair. Adams has been missing practice this week, and he looks like a dicey bet to play. Even if he can suit up, he will do so at less than 100 percent while likely facing shadow coverage from Marshon Lattimore. Given how heavily Rodgers has leaned on Adams over the last couple seasons, an absent or gimpy Adams makes Rodgers only a borderline starter in 12-team leagues this week.
Undervalued: Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
My Rank: QB10
I’ve constantly been banging the drum for Tannehill on MFSN’s The Hub, so it’s probably time that I do it in these (virtual) pages as well. In fact, you could argue that my QB10 ranking for Tannehill is too low, considering he was second to only Lamar Jackson in fantasy points among quarterbacks from the moment he took over as the Titans’ starter last season. Tannehill has picked up right where he left off this year by tossing six touchdown passes over the first two weeks. A.J. Brown is looking questionable at best for Week 3, but it hardly matters for a signal-caller who spreads the ball around this effectively.
Remarkably, Tannehill has now accounted for two-plus touchdowns in all 12 of his regular-season starts since last October. The guy just doesn’t have a bad game, and I don’t expect that to change this week against that aforementioned Minnesota defense that’s a shell of its former self.
Overvalued: Todd Gurley (ATL)
My Rank: RB26
I identified Gurley as a “bust” before the season, and nothing I’ve seen through two weeks of action has changed my mind. A once-dominant rusher who handled the ball nearly 1,500 times over his first five seasons in the league, Gurley began to show the effects of that wear-and-tear in 2019, as his efficiency plummeted to just 3.8 yards per carry and 6.7 yards per reception. So far this season, he’s averaging an even more meager 3.3 yards per carry, and he has a grand total of two catches for one yard.
Last year, Gurley still managed to pay the bills from a fantasy perspective by scoring 14 touchdowns, but it’s hard to count on him repeating that feat on a Falcons team that typically passes more than it runs near the goal line. Gurley does have 10 red zone rushing attempts so far this season, but he’s averaging just 1.8 yards per carry on those attempts with one score. This week, he’ll face a Bears defense that has been well above average at stopping the run in both 2019 and the early part of 2020. That means he will almost certainly need a touchdown to pay off as an RB2, and the odds of it happening aren’t great.
Undervalued: Jerick McKinnon (SF)
My Rank: RB18
Projecting the 49ers’ clear lead back to produce mid-range RB2 numbers feels like easy money, but I’ll take it. San Francisco’s usual starter, Raheem Mostert, is unlikely to play this week, and backup Tevin Coleman is on injured reserve. That opens the door wide for McKinnon, who 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says is ready for a starter’s workload after missing two full seasons with an ACL injury.
McKinnon has looked explosive on very limited touches so this year — 16.8 yards per carry ain’t too shabby! — and it helps that he is equally capable as both a rusher and receiver. It’s probably unrealistic to expect him to get a true bell-cow workload this week, particularly given the team’s concerns about MetLife Stadium’s turf, so expect to see Jeff Wilson Jr. sprinkled in. But McKinnon is still a strong bet to get around 15-plus touches, and that should be more than enough to produce RB2 numbers in Shanahan’s running back-friendly offense, even if Jimmy Garoppolo is unavailable. It also doesn’t hurt that McKinnon faces the Giants, who have given up over 100 yards to both Benny Snell and David Montgomery over the first two weeks.
Overvalued: Stefon Diggs (BUF)
My Rank: WR26
I was significantly higher on Diggs than the expert consensus coming into the season, so don’t take this as a knock on him for the rest of the season. I just want to take more of a wait-and-see approach to see how he performs against the Rams’ Jalen Ramsey while Josh Allen has to deal with the pass rush generated by Aaron Donald and Co.
Few people expected the Bills to be the number one passing offense in the NFL heading into Week 3. There’s no doubt that Josh Allen has taken a step forward as a passer, and the addition of Diggs has been critical, too. But we also shouldn’t overlook the fact that Buffalo has played the Jets and Dolphins so far. The Rams have given up the third-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers in the early going, so they will present the first big challenge for Allen and Diggs. While Allen’s rushing ability gives him another avenue to fantasy production, the same can’t be said for Diggs. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Allen look away from Ramsey’s coverage and target the Bills’ secondary receivers, or simply hand the ball off more than usual.
Undervalued: DeSean Jackson (PHI)
My Rank: WR23
I’ve already laid out my theory of the case for why the Bengals’ A.J. Green is due to blow up this week, so let’s turn our attention to a receiver on the other side of that same Bengals-Eagles contest, DeSean Jackson.
Through two games, Jackson has 16 targets and the second-most air yards among wide receivers (behind Green), hinting at the massive fantasy numbers he could produce if he can get on the same page with Carson Wentz. With rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor on the shelf with a ligament tear in his thumb, Jackson’s role is further solidified as the team’s top wideout and deep threat. Philadelphia’s passing attack has looked mighty rusty out of the gates, but a home date with Cincinnati is the definition of a get-right matchup. Jackson will never be the most consistent performer, but he always brings a WR1 upside to the table in any given week, and this looks like as good a spot for a boom as any.
Overvalued: Zach Ertz (PHI)
My Rank: TE10
I may have picked an Eagles wide receiver to have a big week, but I’m still going back to the well on this one after it worked out for me last week. On the one hand, I understand why my colleagues are bullish on Ertz this week. He has a lengthy track record of production, should remain an integral part of the offense on a team with a shaky wide receiver depth chart, and gets the Bengals this week.
Let’s take those points one by one. In terms of his history of production, it’s fair to wonder whether he is living off of his past success at this point. His productivity declined late last season as fellow tight end Dallas Goedert emerged, and Ertz isn’t showing any signs that a major bounceback is in store. Regarding his role in the offense, his seven targets per game haven’t been bad at all, but he’s done very little with them, totaling just 60 yards and a touchdown through two games. The volume should keep him in the TE1 range, but it’s not nearly enough to make him a top-five option at the position.
As for the fact that he’s facing the Bengals? Ok, I have nothing for that one.
Undervalued: Noah Fant (DEN)
My Rank: TE4
Tight end is very tough to judge once you get past Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, and (if active) George Kittle, but I’ll put my money on Fant this week. I was the low man on the Broncos’ tight end in Week 1, but after a couple of impressive performances, I’ve changed my tune.
Fant still isn’t seeing a ton of targets, but he’s been incredibly productive when Drew Lock and Jeff Driskel have looked his way, hauling in nine of his 11 targets for 138 yards, two touchdowns, and a two-point conversion. While many folks may be scared off by Driskel, the third-year pro has been more than serviceable when called into action and acquitted himself quite well on the road against a swarming Steelers defense last week. With Courtland Sutton out for the season, it stands to reason that Fant’s role in the offense will grow, especially considering the team’s top two wideouts are now rookies (Jerry Jeudy and KJ Hamler). As six-point underdogs against Tampa Bay, the Broncos may need to frequently take to the air in the second half, which further increases the odds that Fant’s target total rises from the previous two weeks.
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