5 Burning Questions For Week 3 (2021 Fantasy Football)
You might be 2-0. You might be 0-2. Either way, even if you’re simply 1-1, this is your reminder to not overreact. The fantasy football season is longer than we give it credit for. Recall that at this time last year, Justin Jefferson wasn’t even a starter on the Vikings yet. A lot is going to change between now and playoff time, especially with the extra game this season.
No matter your record, the best thing you can do right now is keep digesting additional information and making “the next right move.” Let’s start by answering five burning questions for Week 3.
Remember to reach out with questions on Twitter (@toomuchtuma) anytime.
1. Should we be worried about Josh Allen?
During these trying times, JA17 supporters should remember that one of the biggest reasons we liked him entering 2020 was a soft early-season schedule. In ’21, however, Buffalo started with Pittsburgh, Miami, and now Washington. Things were always going to be tough for Allen early on. Through two games, the Bills’ offense is still figuring things out. In Week 1, OC Brian Daboll was simply out-coached. In Week 2, Buffalo stormed out to an early lead and didn’t need Allen late in the game. We should still note that last year’s MVP runner up had a rushing TD taken away late in the contest, which would’ve helped his fantasy box score in a major way.
While the Football Team represents another difficult matchup on paper, fantasy managers should remain calm. R-E-L-A-X. Yes, Allen is only completing 23.5% of 15-plus air yard throws (compared to 48.5% in 2020). That isn’t good, but the matchups have been tough, and some of that drop in efficiency is natural regression.
More importantly, the Bills currently rank fourth in players per minute and ninth in pass% with a lead. Big games are coming for this passing offense, and Allen is still receiving plenty of designed runs. After Week 3, the schedule really lightens up too, with games against the Texans, Chiefs, Titans, Dolphins, Jaguars, and Jets taking place through mid-November. In short, no, we shouldn’t be worried moving forward.
2. Is Justin Fields already a QB1 in fantasy football?
Yes! Okay, fine, maybe we should temper expectations in Fields’ first career start. The Browns aren’t exactly an easy opponent, either. Yet it’s hard not to be excited about the rookie’s floor/ceiling combo thanks to how often he runs the ball. Dual threat quarterbacks aren’t just a cheat code in fake football; they’re becoming a necessity. Unless you’re throwing for outlier touchdown rates (Aaron Rodgers in 2020, Tom Brady in 2021), then you likely need some rushing production to be a difference-maker in our little game.
Enter Fields, who was given designed rushing opportunities at a 21% rate in Week 2, per PFF. There’s your floor. Think 2020 Jalen Hurts, who overcame a questionable offensive environment to finish QB12, QB1, QB12 in his three full-game starts down the stretch. Chicago’s new signal caller is about to be thrust in a similar situation. He’ll need to rely on his rushing upside and playmaking ability to post big fantasy numbers. An 11.6 ADOT in Week 2 is encouraging in this regard. Consider Fields a low-end QB1 with upside entering Week 3 against Cleveland.
JUSTIN FIELDS 🎯
Love that ball placement, followed it up with a rushing TD to end the drive pic.twitter.com/WFHqu2AP8a
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) August 14, 2021
3. Will Derrick Henry continue to be used in the passing game?
Entering 2021, “the Big Dog” had just three career games where he saw 4+ targets as a receiver. Interestingly, he has hit that mark twice in two games this year. In total, Henry has caught 9-of-10 targets for 74 scoreless yards. That might not seem like much, but it’s enormous for his PPR value. The 27-year-old has been held between 11 and 19 receptions in each season he has played with the Titans, so it already seems as if he’ll set a new career-high in ’21.
Week 2 was a monster game even without the catches, but Tennessee might be shakier defensively than they’ve been in quite some time. Factor in Henry’s age and all the touches that he has registered over the years, and it means that more work in the passing game will help raise his floor. It’ll make him less game script dependent. Perhaps these two weeks were an anomaly, but if Henry keeps shredding AND he starts catching passes, then the sky is the limit on what he could do for fantasy managers this fall.
4. Is all hope lost for Clyde Edwards-Helaire?
Sigh. “CEH” was a popular third-round pick this summer, mainly because he seemed destined for positive TD regression in the Chiefs’ high-octane offense. Through two games, however, his role on the team is looking as uncertain as ever. Let this serve as a reminder that Kansas City’s offense runs through Patrick Mahomes, not Edwards-Helaire.
Entering Week 3 against the Chargers, CEH has a measly 5% target share, despite being considered a high-end receiving back coming out of college. He also ranks dead last among qualified RBs in PFF’s rushing grade. The good news is he’s being given 71% of the team’s rushing attempts so far, but that doesn’t mean much if the team doesn’t run that often (33% through two games). He’s looking more and more like a role player moving forward. Treat him as a low-end RB2 until further notice.
5. How are the Bengals’ wideouts being utilized?
Back in August I wrote a piece for FantasyPros titled “Buying The Bengals“, as the offense projected to be high-scoring AND concentrated. While the team is playing pretty slow to begin the season, we at least know who is getting the ball when Joe Burrow drops back to pass, and where he’s going with it (see tweet below).
A Week 3 date with the Steelers might not be pretty, but fantasy managers should remain bullish on this offense for season-long purposes.
Bengals WR usage through two weeks
🟠 27% – Tee Higgins
🟠 24% – Tyler Boyd
🟠 20% – Ja'Marr Chase
🟠 17.9 – Chase
🟠 10.0 – Higgins
🟠 6.3 – Boyd
Pretty close to what we expected. Chase takes the top off, Tee in the intermediate, and Boyd used close to LOS
— Brendan Tuma (@toomuchtuma) September 21, 2021