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Week 3 Fantasy Football Recap: Surprises, Disappointments, Key Stats & Takeaways (2021)

Week 3 was another doozy capped by a fantastic Sunday Night Football game between Green Bay and San Francisco.

Who were the studs and duds from the weekend? Let’s dive into the Week 3 fantasy football recap.

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The Surprises 

BMW does it again 

Other than Josh Allen, nobody else scored more fantasy points than Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams. Williams posted his best game against Kansas City, hauling in seven passes for 122 yards and two scores. For the third straight week, Williams caught at least seven passes and a touchdown.

What do we do from here? 
Williams should be a weekly fixture in your starting lineups at this point. Yes, Keenan Allen is still around and will get his, but Williams is Justin Herbert’s primary target in the red zone, and that’s where the money is made. If Williams stays healthy, he could finish the season as a WR1. Start him, try to acquire him. He’s here to stay.

Najee Harris’ unconventional performance 

Najee Harris was the RB1 in PPR formats this week, but he did it unconventionally. Harris only had 40 rushing yards on 14 carries. He didn’t score a touchdown. But he caught 14 passes for 102 yards as Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was content with checking the ball down to avoid hits. It’s not how we drew up Harris racking up fantasy points, but we’ll take it.

What do we do from here?
This is a tough one. On the one hand, Harris’ performance as a pass-catcher was encouraging. Harris can play all three downs at the next level. But this could be a sell-high opportunity for Harris, who has just 123 rushing yards on 40 attempts. This Steelers offense is bad. Roethlisberger is washed up. Maybe the check-downs will keep coming. But if Harris’ fantasy relevance is tied to his pass-catching, then I’m worried.

Peyton Barber

The Las Vegas Raiders made do without Josh Jacobs in Week 3, as Peyton Barber rushed for 111 yards and a touchdown while catching three passes for 31 yards. Barber finished as the RB5 in PPR formats.

What do we do from here? 
This Raiders backfield could become a messy committee. I don’t trust Jon Gruden at all and suspect we’ll see more of Barber even when Jacobs returns from a toe injury. And we can’t forget about Kenyan Drake, who got 11 touches against Miami. Knowing Gruden, he’ll split this backfield between Jacobs – an excellent player – and two mediocre backs. And yes, Barber and Drake are the definition of mediocre.

Your TE1… Tyler Conklin

The Vikings tight end had a solid game, catching seven passes for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks.

What do we do from here? 
I’m not buying this as a breakout performance from Conklin, who had six catches for 56 yards going into Week 3. If you’re in a pinch at tight end, Conklin is maybe worth a streaming shot. But the Vikings have too many other weapons in this passing game to expect this kind of production weekly.

The Disappointments 

All of the rookie quarterbacks 

Woof. Bark. Howl. The 2021 rookie quarterback class has looked awful in this young season. Trevor Lawrence has thrown multiple interceptions in each of his first three games. When Zach Wilson isn’t throwing sacks, he’s likely throwing a pick. In his first two games, Mac Jones was sheltered by the Patriots coaching staff but threw three interceptions in Week 3 while trying to rally out of a deficit. And Justin Fields was sacked nine times and had 68 passing yards in his first career start.

Hey, at least Trey Lance scored a touchdown!

What do we do from here? 
Don’t roster any of these rookie quarterbacks. They aren’t worth roster spots unless you’re in a dire situation at QB.

Christian McCaffrey’s injury 

Ugh. Since CMC’s injury was a massive storyline of Week 1, it’s worth acknowledging here. McCaffrey will miss a few weeks with a hamstring injury. It’s a devastating blow to many fantasy teams, but hopefully not the nail in the coffin.

What do we do from here? 
Do your best to get Chuba Hubbard, who carried the ball 11 times for 52 yards in Week 3. While Hubbard isn’t an exceptional player, he’s likely the next man up in the Panthers backfield. However, if you miss out on Hubbard, I don’t mind picking up Royce Freeman as a contingency plan. Freeman got five carries for 17 yards after McCaffrey went out of the game. He could factor in more going forward.

Damien Harris and Ty’Son Williams 

Harris and Williams were two gigantic duds at tailback. Let’s start with Harris, who had just six carries for 14 yards and caught two passes for -3 yards. This game got away from the Patriots early, and that rendered Harris useless. Even worse, Harris was barely used even after James White was carted off with a hip injury. J.J. Taylor served as White’s replacement in chase mode.

Meanwhile, Williams carried the ball just five times for 22 yards in what was supposed to be an enticing matchup against Detroit. Latavius Murray got two more carries, and Devonta Freeman also got a few carries.

What do we do from here? 
Harris appears highly game script dependent and might only be worth FLEX consideration in games New England is expected to win. As for Williams, I wouldn’t be starting him any time soon. This Ravens backfield is a complete mess.

Sorry, Stefon 

The Buffalo Bills had two top-10 receivers in PPR formats last week! Yay! Surely Stefon Diggs was one of them… wait, I’m being told Stefon Diggs was the WR36, finishing behind Kalif Raymond and some guy named Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. Josh Allen went bananas, tossing 358 yards and four touchdowns. Sadly, only 62 of those yards and none of those scores went to Diggs. Meanwhile, Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley finished as the WR5 and WR10, respectively.

What do we do from here? 
While this is disappointing, I’m not panicking if I have Diggs. He’s still very clearly the No. 1 receiver in Buffalo, and opponents are scheming against him as such. Allen owners should be very encouraged by this showing, and Sanders and Beasley are nice starting options in a pinch. Anyone looking for help at receiver should approach the Diggs owner in their league today and see if they’re panicked.

Week 3 By the Numbers

4: Number of catches made by Brandon Aiyuk! I’m mainly just documenting this to prove he exists. And it’s encouraging to see his usage tick up by the week. It was also great to see Aiyuk get a touchdown Sunday night.

18: The number of targets thrown by Aaron Rodgers to Davante Adams during Green Bay’s primetime victory. The 49ers couldn’t cover him. It was an eventful night for Adams, as he took a big hit and exited the game momentarily before coming back in and catching a critical pass on Green Bay’s game-winning drive. This connection is still lethal.

10o: Number of rushing yards posted by Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 3 against the Chargers. Has CEH turned a corner? Or is this a blip on the radar? I need more time to decide.

120: DeSean Jackson’s receiving yards in Week 3. The veteran Jackson put up a vintage performance against a susceptible Bucs secondary. But don’t go adding him onto your rosters.

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Matt Barbato is a featured writer for FantasyPros. For more from Matt, check out his archive and follow him @RealMattBarbato

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