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The Primer: Week 3 Edition (2022 Fantasy Football)

by Derek Brown | @dbro_ffb | Featured Writer
Sep 24, 2022
Fantasy Football Week 3 Start/Sit Advice

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Las Vegas Raiders vs. Tennessee Titans

Pace and playcalling notes

  • The pace of this game could crawl. The Raiders are 20th in neutral pace, while the Titans are known slugs ranking 22nd.
  • The Raiders are ninth in neutral passing rate, though, which could climb even higher after this game, considering the matchup. Tennessee still loves their inefficient run-heavy ways ranking seventh in neutral rushing rate.

Quarterbacks

Derek Carr: Carr is the QB12 in fantasy and looks headed for a top-ten performance this week. The Raiders are seventh in pass rate over expected and could climb even higher after this week. Carr faces a Titans’ secondary that’s sixth in fantasy points per game allowed to quarterbacks. They have permitted the highest passing touchdown rate and fourth-highest yards per attempt. Carr should have all day against a team that’s 26th in blitz rate allowing quarterbacks a top-ten success rate (ninth) and EPA (tenth) per dropback.

Ryan Tannehill: If this game shoots out, Tannehill is likely coming along for the ride. His QB11 performance in Week 1 is more indicative of his play than the destruction we witnessed in Week 2 against the Bills. He’s 13th in PFF passing grade, 11th in yards per attempt, and sixth in aDOT. The Raiders rank 24th in pressure rate, which helps Tannehill, who is fifth in clean pocket accuracy, but he falls to 25th under pressure. The Raiders’ secondary is bleeding out the seventh-highest success rate and eighth-highest EPA per dropback. Tannehill could easily pay off as a QB1 in Week 3. If you need a streamer or are debating QB2 options and searching for upside, Tannehill fits the bill.

Running Backs

Josh Jacobs: After getting demolished in Week 1 against Saquon Barkley, the Titan’s run defense bounced back in Week 2. They allowed the fifth-lowest rushing success rate and 11th-lowest rush EPA. These numbers are in line with last year, where they gave up the lowest explosive run rate and rushing yards per game in the NFL. After Josh Jacobs could not take advantage of a cakewalk Arizona run defense last week running behind an offensive line that’s no higher than 17th in any adjusted line yard metric, it doesn’t seem any more promising in Week 3. Jacobs is fifth in opportunity share and 20th in route participation averaging 15.5 touches and 77 total yards. He’s tenth in yards after contact per attempt and fourth in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum ten carries). With 15-20 touch upside in a game that projects for neutral and positive game script, Jacobs is an unspectacular RB2 (if he plays).

Update: Jacobs has been listed as questionable after back-to-back DNPs. He didn’t travel with the team. I seriously doubt he arrives by private hot air balloon to play in this game.

Zamir White: If Jacobs does indeed miss this game as I’m projecting, White will take over the early down work in a tough matchup. White has one carry this season. In the preseason, he was the same get what’s blocked type of rusher that we saw at Georgia. He had 2.56 yards after contact per attempt (25 carries), which ranked 52nd out of 102 running backs with at least ten carries. White’s uninspiring 1.00 yards per route run in the preseason also means he’ll lose passing down work to Brandon Bolden, who looks to be back for Week 3. If Jacobs misses, White is a touchdown-dependent low-end RB3/high-end RB4. 

Brandon Bolden: Bolden looks like he’ll be back this week. He doesn’t carry an injury designation into Week 3. In Week 1, he ran 11 routes vs. Ameer Abdullah’s six routes. Bolden had the highest route run rate (25%) for any back not named Jacobs. He finished with five touches for 28 total yards and a score. Bolden is an RB5/deep league PPR flex. The Titans have ranked tenth and fifth in DVOA against pass-catching backs over the last two seasons.

Derrick Henry: Has the big dog lost his bite? That’s the worry. Running behind an offensive line that’s 16th in adjusted line yards and 21st in second-level yards, Henry has looked like a mere mortal. He’s averaged 17 touches and 53.5 total yards through two games. Among 51 running backs with at least ten carries, he ranks 27th in yards after contact per attempt, 28th in breakaway percentage, and 36th in PFF’s elusive rating. These aren’t the type of numbers you hoped for when you selected him in the first round of drafts. The matchup this week is tough. The Raiders are top six in adjusted line yards, second-level yards, and open field yards allowed. They have permitted the seventh-lowest rush EPA and sixth-lowest explosive run rate. Henry remains a low-end RB1 based on projected volume and goal-line work, but he could be slipping into RB2 territory in the coming weeks.

Update: Taylor Lewan has been ruled out. This can’t possibly help Henry this week.

Wide Receivers

Davante Adams: Adams’ usage has remained tasty with Carr. He’s fifth in target share (32%), fourth in end zone targets per game, and fifth in weighted opportunity. He’s 13th in PFF receiving grade (minimum ten targets). Adams will run about 67% of his routes against Roger McCreary and some combination of Chris Jackson and Caleb Farley (if Kristian Fulton isn’t back). McCreary has allowed all seven targets in his coverage to be secured. Jackson is a wide receiver’s best friend, allowing a 70.9% catch rate and 118.7 passer rating in his career. Farley has also been terrible, with a 70.6% catch rate and 117.0 in his young NFL tenure. Stefon Diggs went nuclear against this secondary, and Adams can do so in Week 3.

Hunter Renfrow: Renfrow has been ruled out. This brings Mack Hollins and Keelan Cole into focus as deep league darts.

Mack Hollins: Hollins has a 12.8% target share this season with 1.08 yards per route run. He should run about 91% of his routes on the perimeter with Adams against McCreary and Fulton. 

Keelan Cole: Cole should take over the slot role after ranking second on the team in the preseason in slot routes. He’ll match up with Ugo Amadi, who gave up an 83.6% catch rate and 101.3 passer rating in coverage last season. If picking one of them, I prefer Cole, although the likely outcome is targets get funneled more to Adams and Waller.

Robert Woods: Woods is just a mediocre WR5/6 at this juncture. He’s seen a 13.5% target share with the highest route run rate among the wide receivers (75.4%). His 1.13 yards per route run and 0.30 weighted opportunity display a wide receiver that’s sadly cooked at this point. He’ll run about 65% of his routes against Nate Hobbs and Rock Ya-Sin. Hobbs has allowed a 69.2% catch rate and 77.7 passer rating. Ya-Sin is playing well with a 45.5% catch rate and a 66.5 passer rating in coverage.

Treylon Burks: Burks is the lone receiver from this team to consider. Burks saw his route run rate increase from 38.2% to 63%. He’s seen a 21.2% target share on limited snaps. His yards per route run rank fourth, and his high target per route run rate is second (minimum ten targets). It’s time for the Titans to unleash the breast. Burks will run about 80% of his routes against Hobbs and Ya-Sin. Burks is a mega upside WR4 this week.

Nick Westbrook-Ikhine: Westbrook-Ikhine shouldn’t be anywhere near your starting lineup or roster, for that matter. He’s garnered a 9.6% target share on a run-first team with 0.24 weighted opportunity and 0.32 yards per route run. Don’t start him. Drop him. Now.

Tight Ends

Darren Waller: Darren Waller remains a top-five tight end despite the arrival of Adams in terms of usage. Waller is sixth in target share, third in air yard share, and fifth in weighted opportunity (minimum five targets) among tight ends. The only issue for Waller is that his route run rate has dipped to 70.6%, but his targets per route run have remained high (ninth-best, minimum five targets). This is a terrible matchup against a Titans defense that was third in DVOA last year. So far this year, they have given up the eighth-fewest receiving yards and fourth-fewest receptions to tight ends.

Austin Hooper: Hooper falls in the hold your nose and pray streamer category. His 11.5% target share, 64.9% route participation (20th), and 0.68 yards per route run (32nd) don’t inspire confidence, but the matchup is nice. The Raiders are 16th in DVOA against tight ends, but the opposition has fed their tight ends against them. Las Vegas is third in targets, receptions, and receiving yards allowed to tight ends.

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Surprisingly enough, this game could crawl. Despite both teams putting up points in bunches, they are 29th (BUF) and 31st (MIA) in neutral pace.
  • While the play volume looks suspect, at least both teams will take to the sky often. Miami is fourth in neutral passing rate, followed immediately by Buffalo at fifth.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen: Allen is good at this game called football. I don’t have to expand upon his greatness, but I’ll say he’s the QB2 in fantasy scoring, currently ranked inside the top-five in passing yards, yards per attempt, and true passer rating. Allen is looking at another explosion game against a fraudulent Fins secondary. Miami is ninth in passing yards per game with the fifth-highest explosive passing play rate allowed. The Dolphins also have the fourth-highest success rate and seventh-highest EPA per dropback. Allen smash. Smash Allen.

Tua Tagovailoa: Tagovailoa is coming off a mind-blowing performance. As a reward, he now has to face the Bills’ pass defense gauntlet. Buffalo has allowed the fourth-lowest passing touchdown rate, lowest net yards per pass attempt, and lowest passer rating. With Tre-Davious White still out and now Dane Jackson sidelined, this could create an avenue for Tagovailoa to have another solid day. Rookies Chrisitan Benford and Kaiir Elam will be expected to start opposite Taron Johnson and ensure this secondary doesn’t miss a beat. That’s a tall task with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle flying around the field. Buffalo’s pressure has to get home (13th in pressure rate), although Tua has fared decently against it this year. He ranks tenth in pressured yards per attempt and ninth in pressured adjusted completion rate.

Update: Ed Oliver (DT), Jordan Phillips (DT),  Dane Jackson (CB), and Micah Hyde (S) have been ruled out. These are upgrades for this passing attack and Mostert on the ground.

Running Backs

Week 1-2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Devin Singletary 30.4% 8.5% 57.5% 2
Zack Moss 19.6% 9.9% 17.5% 0

 

Devin Singletary: Singletary is a mid-tier RB3. His snap share (55.3%) and opportunity share (40.8%) are meh marks. The Bills simply aren’t a team that prioritizes getting their running backs work in any facet. Singletary has only seen two high-value touches per game and two total red zone opportunities. Neither of these is enough to push him any higher despite residing in one of the league’s best offenses. He’s averaged nine touches and 41.5 total yards. Despite allowing the tenth-highest explosive run rate, the remaining factors I look at regarding the Dolphins’ run defense don’t paint a pretty picture for Singletary. Miami has allowed the fourth-lowest rushing EPA and sixth-lowest rushing success rate.

Zack Moss: After an eyebrow-raising 12 touches in Week 1, Moss fell back to earth with 19% of the snaps played and three touches (17 total yards) in Week 2. Don’t play Moss.

James Cook: Cook received work in garbage time last week with a season-high 11 carries (42 rushing yards) and 26% of the snaps played. For fantasy, we can’t depend on blow-out clock sapping carries in any week. Stash Cook. Sit Cook.

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Raheem Moster 23.8% 3.2% 36.1% 1
Chase Edmonds 57.1% 12.9% 58.3% 0

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Raheem Moster 61.1% 6.1% 48% 0
Chase Edmonds 27.8% 6.1% 48% 0

 

Raheem Mostert: Looking at the above usage rates in Week 1 and 2, the rushing roles for Mostert and Edmonds flipped. Mostert also cut into Edmonds routes. He finished the game with 55% of the snaps played, 14 touches, and 79 total yards. While Mostert may not be as elusive as he once was, he’s still a productive player. He’s 11th in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum ten carries) while also ranking 24th in juke rate and 30th in true yards per carry. The Bills are a tough rushing matchup with the 13th-lowest rushing success rate, fifth-lowest rushing EPA, and second-lowest explosive rush rate allowed. Even through the air, the outlook doesn’t improve much for these backs. Buffalo was 16th in DVOA last year and currently sits at 17th with the second-fewest targets to backs and third-fewest receiving yards permitted. Mostert is a dicey RB3.

Chase Edmonds: With Edmonds losing the rushing work and being regulated to a passing down back splitting half the receiving work, he’s no better than an RB4. He finished last week with six touches and 41 total yards despite 51% of the snaps played. With this being an average to tough matchup for a receiving back, Edmonds is a must-sit in most leagues.

Wide Receivers

Stefon Diggs: Diggs is the WR1 in fantasy averaging a whopping 35.5 fantasy points per game. His numbers are absolutely stupid. He’s third in target share (34.43%) and air yard share (44.3%) while sitting second in yards per route run. Diggs will run about 79% of his routes against Xavien Howard and the committee corner approach of Nik Needham, Kader Kohou, and Keion Crossen. Howard has allowed a 60% catch rate and 143.8 passer rating. Hardly shut down numbers. The three-way committee opposite him has given up a 71.4% catch rate and 137.5 passer rating.

BETTLE MATCHUP OF THE WEEK

Each week, we’ll pick a matchup of the week, presented by Bettle. For Week 2, Stefon Diggs is our Bettle Matchup of the Week.

Beettle, Play the Field

Gabriel Davis: We’ll see if Davis can make his return this week after a late-week injury before last week’s game. If Davis is out, Jake Kumerow will run in two wide sets with Diggs. Last week Kumerow saw an 81% route run rate, 7.5% target share, and 12.7% air yard share. These are not great numbers, but the matchups here dictate that he is deep league flex worthy. He’d run 90% of his routes against Howard and the trio on the perimeter.

Update: Gabriel Davis and Xavien Howard have been listed as questionable.

Isaiah McKenzie and Jamison Crowder: Neither player is startable. They both split the slot role with Khalil Shakir. McKenzie saw a 7.5% target share with a 45.2% route run rate. Crowder had a 5% target share with 35.7% of the routes. Shakir also had a 5% target share with 21.4% of the routes.

Tyreek Hill: Hill hasn’t missed a beat in South Beach. He’s the WR3 averaging 12.5 targets, 9.5 receptions, 142 receiving yards, and a score. He’s seventh in target share (32.5%), 13th in air yard share (37.9%), and third in yards per route run. He’s Tagovailoa’s deep weapon with five deep targets. Christian Benford and Kaiir Elam will have their hands full. The two rookies have combined to allow a 71.4% catch rate and 95.2 passer rating. Elam can turn and run with Hill and Waddle with his 4.39 speed, but Benford could get roasted with his 4.5 speed and 41st percentile burst score. Hill remains a WR1 despite facing the Bills.

Jaylen Waddle: Waddle is also off to a hot start as the WR5 in fantasy. He’s averaging 12 targets, 7.5 receptions, 120 receiving yards, and 1.5 scores. He’s ninth in target share (31.2%) and 23rd in air yard share (33.6%) as he’s worked underneath more (one deep target, 8.6 aDOT). Waddle is sixth in yards per route run. He’ll run 73% of his routes against Benford and Elam. He’s a high-end WR2.

Tight Ends

Dawson Knox: Despite sitting as the TE25 in fantasy, Knox is a top-ten option at the position this week. Knox only has seen a 10.4% target share and 13.2% target per route run rate, both outside the top 25 at the position. His snap and route participation marks are still top 15 at his position and should be higher, but the Bills were blowing out the Titans last week, so everyone was set down early. The Miami Dolphins can’t cover tight ends at all. Last year they were 30th in DVOA, and they are 28th now. They have allowed the second-most receptions and receiving yards to the position.

Update: Knox has been listed as questionable. He was limited in practice the last two days after a DNP on Wednesday. I expect him to play.

Mike Gesicki: Gesicki and his grandpa on speed Griddy should be on the bench this week. Gesicki saw his snaps climb last week (59.4%) running 28 routes, but this matchup is closer to what he saw in Week 1. Buffalo is first in DVOA, allowing the sixth-fewest receptions and ninth-fewest receiving yards. They were 13th in DVOA last year.

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Detroit has turned over a new leaf offensively, ranking eighth in neutral pace. There are still old-school remnants, though, as they are seventh in neutral rushing rate.
  • We were sold a bad set of goods with the Vikings’ “new fast-paced offense.” They are currently 28th in neutral pace while making good on the passing rate (11th in neutral script).

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff: The Motor City point guard. Goff might not be the flashiest quarterback in the league, but he’s done well as an accurate ball distributor. He’s the QB9 in fantasy, ranking 11th in fantasy points per dropback, second in catchable pass rate, and fourth in clean pocket accuracy rating. He’s a mid QB2 with top 12 upside this week. While the Vikings look tough on paper with the tenth-lowest success rate and eighth-lowest EPA per drop back, there are some cracks in the pavement. They are also 23rd in pass defense DVOA, 30th in DVOA against short passing, and have allowed the third-highest yards per attempt. Goff should have time in the pocket as the Vikings are 20th in pressure rate, and his line has allowed him to face the 11th-lowest pressure rate.

Kirk Cousins: Cousins becomes Captain Poop Pants in primetime. We know this. This shouldn’t shock anyone. With Kohl’s cash in hand he has time to grab a new pair of slacks before Week 3. For Cousins’ sake, this game isn’t in primetime, so we should have hope in his fantasy outlook against a burnable Detroit secondary. The Lions are 14th in success rate and ninth in EPA per dropback, with the 12th-highest yards per attempt allowed. Cousins’ day will be decided by his offensive line’s ability to keep him clean. They have allowed him to see the 11th-highest pressure rate. Detroit is 14th in pressure rate blitzing at the fourth-highest rate in the league. Cousins is ninth and 12th in clean pocket completion and accuracy, but he melts in the face of pressure, falling to 17th and 19th in the same metrics against pressure. Cousins is a volatile low-end QB1.

Running Backs

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
D’Andre Swift 55.6% 8.3% 65.8% 2
Jamaal Williams 40.7% 5.6% 26.3% 7

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
D’Andre Swift 22.7% 14.7% 56.8% 0
Jamaal Williams 54.5% 2.9% 16.2% 3

 

D’Andre Swift: Swift saw his workload and snaps drop in Week 2 as he was (is) dealing with an injury. He only garnered seven touches and 51% of the snaps after 18 touches and 67% of the snaps in Week 1. The rushing attempts went to Williams while Swift retained his passing down role. The biggest worry about Swift this week and his long-term outlook is his lack of red zone work. Asking him to break off big plays weekly for touchdowns is not sustainable. Williams has dwarfed him with ten opportunities inside the 20 versus his two. Assuming his health is improved at all, the volume should slide back in his direction on early downs while he has the pass routes on lockdown. The Vikings are a beautiful matchup on the ground with the highest run success rate and fourth-highest rush EPA allowed. They have surrendered the ninth-most rushing yards per game and fifth-highest explosive run rate. The Vikings have been seventh in DVOA in back-to-back seasons against receiving backs, but Swift’s been an elite rusher this year, so even on limited volume at worst, he’s an RB2. Swift is first in yards after contact per attempt, first in breakaway percentage, and third in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum ten carries).

Update: Swift has been listed as questionable after back-to-back limited practices. Monitor news surrounding him up to kickoff. If he misses this game, Williams becomes a solid RB2.

Jamaal Williams: Williams is a touchdown or bust RB3. He’s averaged 12.5 touches and 45 total yards. With his route run rate declining, the reasons to play Williams are clear. His goal-line role doesn’t look to be going away, so there’s dependable touchdown equity. This is also a top 3-5 matchup on the ground, so we could see heightened volume and (or) efficiency from Williams in Week 3. He needs all the help he can get in the efficiency department. Among 51 running backs with ten or more carries, Williams is 47th in yards after contact per attempt and 49th in PFF’s elusive rating with one missed tackle forced.

Dalvin Cook: If Cook can’t take advantage of this matchup, it’s probably time to start worrying. Cook has averaged 73% of the snaps with 16.5 touches and 72 total yards per game. His elusivity numbers are concerning as he’s 26th in yards after contact per attempt and 31st in PFF’s elusive rating (minimum ten carries). His offensive line hasn’t been amazing, but they haven’t been bad. They are 24th in adjusted line yards, seventh in second-level yards, and fourth in open-field yards. Among running backs with ten or more carries, Cook has seen the 25th-highest yards before contact mark, but he’s 16th worst in yards after contact per attempt. The Lions offer a good “get right” matchup as they are ninth in rushing success rate and fifth in rushing EPA while also allowing the 12th-highest explosive run rate. They are also 19th in DVOA with the sixth-most receptions and 11th-most receiving yards permitted to receiving backs. Cook remains a top-ten option at the running back position, but his hold is becoming tenuous.

Alexander Mattison: With only 25.6% of the team’s rushing attempts, three high-value touches, and a 19.3% route run rate, Mattison is a deep league flex at best. He’s a high-end stash, though. If Cook can’t get it together, Mattison could begin to steal more work.

Wide Receivers

Amon-Ra St. Brown: St. Brown has been a revelation about betting on talent. He’s fourth among wideouts in target share (34.3%), 15th in weighted opportunity, and 17th in yards per route run. He has a 25.5% air yard share running about 75% of his routes from the slot. He’ll match up with Chandon Sullivan, who has given up a 90% catch rate and 107.9 passer rating. St. Brown is a top-ten wide receiver until further notice (WR4 in fantasy points currently).

D.J. Chark: After a big Week 1 with 52 receiving yards and a score (WR22), Chark disappeared last week. He was targeted four times while failing to record any receptions. He’s outside the top 50 wide receivers in target share (16.9%) and target per route rate (17.9%). 41.6% of his target volume has been on deep targets. Minnesota is 13th in DVOA against deep passing this season. Chark will see Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler on about 85% of his routes. These two corners have combined to allow a 70% catch rate and 85.6 passer rating in coverage. Chark is a WR5.

Josh Reynolds: Reynolds is a sit. He’s only seen an 8.6% target share despite a route run rate of 86.7%. His 1.02 yards per route run is mediocre.

Justin Jefferson: Jefferson is an elite wide receiver play every time he puts cleats on. He has commanded a 30.3% target share with a whopping 51.8% air yard share and 2.83 yards per route run. He’s averaging 2.5 end zone targets per game. Jefferson will run half of his routes on the perimeter and the other half inside. When he’s on the boundary, he’ll see Jeffery Okudah and Amani Oruwariye (he missed Week 2 with an injury). Okudah has given up a 70% catch rate and 86.7 passer rating. In limited action, Oruwariye has surrendered a 62.5% catch rate and 90.1 passer rating. 

Adam Thielen: Thielen is a WR3 this week because of the matchup. His efficiency and target share are incredibly concerning. He’s only mustered a 14.5% target share with 26.3% of the team’s air yards. His yards per route run and targets per route run are outside the top 70 wide receivers. If there was ever a spot to get him going it’s this week. He’ll run 56% of his routes on the outside against Okudah and Oruwariye. If they move him inside more this week, he can carve up Mike Hughes. Hughes has allied a 90.9% catch rate and 116.3 passer rating.

K.J. Osborn: Osborn is a WR5/6 type. Even with the best corner matchup last week against the Eagles, Cousins barely looked his way. Osborn only has a 7.9% target share with 7.6% of the team’s air yards. His 0.57 yards per route run is ghastly. He’s run nearly half of his routes against Hughes in the slot.

Tight Ends

T.J. Hockenson: Hockensn is a low-end TE1. His volume has remained consistent with seven targets per game (19.7% target share, fifth-highest). The problem is he has done very little with the volume. He’s 15th in receiving yards and 21st in yards per route run. The Vikings offer a plus matchup to get him on track as they are 30th in DVOA against tight ends with the seventh-most receptions and fourth-most receiving yards. Last year in his two games against the Vikings, he averaged 5.5 targets, three receptions, and 35.5 receiving yards. Hockenson needs a touchdown to pay off this week.

Irv Smith: Smith is a top 12 tight end option this week. After the team worked him in slowly (6.5% target share, 42.4% route run rate) in Week 1, he played more in Week 2. Against the Eagles, he saw a 17.8% target share while running a route on 60% of snaps. He also targeted on 27% of his routes run. He now gets a Lions’ defense that’s 11th in receiving yards allowed to tight ends. Last year they were second in receiving yards and fifth in receptions allowed to the position. Smith was the TE4 in fantasy last week.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Jets

Pace and playcalling notes

  • This game could easily surpass the total if both offenses get on track. Each team ranks comfortably inside the top five in neutral pace (CIN second, NYJ third) and neutral passing rate (CIN first, NYJ third).

Quarterbacks

Joe Burrow: Joe Burrow has been struggling. There’s no doubt about it. Among 34 quarterbacks with 20 or more dropbacks, he’s 25th in PFF passing grade and 17th in adjusted completion rate with the fifth-lowest yards per attempt. He has yet to record a big-time throw. It’s time for Burrow to light the cigar and don the shades. Joe Cool is back in Week 3. The Jets have surrendered the sixth-highest success rates and second-highest EPA per dropback. They have given up the fifth-highest passing touchdown rate and seventh-highest yards per attempt. The Jets are only 28th in pressure rate. Burrow will have all day to pick them apart. Burrow is a top-six fantasy quarterback this week.

Joe Flacco: Flacco. Yes, that Flacco is QB10 in fantasy. He’s played some surprisingly good football, ranking fourth in PFF passing grade, 12th in adjusted completion rate, and 14th in passer rating. The Bengals are a tough assignment and push him into QB2 territory despite the stellar play. Cincinnati has allowed the seventh-lowest success rate and 13th-lowest EPA per dropback. They are also seventh in yards per attempt allowed. He should have time to deliver the ball against a Bengals’ front that’s 19th in pressure rate. The Jets’ offensive line is 16th in pressure rate allowed.

Running Backs

Joe Mixon: Mixon has been a volume monster. Despite zero touchdowns on his resume, he’s the RB9 in fantasy. He’s averaged 28 touches and 114 total yards with a 14.8% target share (eighth-best). His efficiency has been good in the passing game (14th in yards per route run) but mediocre as a rusher. He’s 42nd in yards created per touch, 36th in breakaway run rate, and 57th in true yards per carry. Mixon should have another solid day against a plus matchup on the ground. The Jets are second-worst in explosive run rate while also ranking 14th-worst in rush EPA and 12th-worst in rushing yards allowed per game. New York is 22nd and 18th in second-level and open field yards allowed. When Mixon is targeted out of the backfield, he can create some big plays against a team that’s 29th in DVOA against receiving backs. Mixon is a top-ten RB option in Week 3.

Week 1

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Michael Carter 58.8% 15.8% 41.9% 2
Breece Hall 35.3% 15.8% 41.9% 2
Ty Johnson -0

Week 2

Player % of Rushing attempts Target share Route Run % Red zone opportunities
Michael Carter 36.8% 11.9% 53.2% 1
Breece Hall 36.8% 2.4% 14.9% 2
Ty Johnson 0% 7.1% 21.3% 0

 

Michael Carter: Carter remains the leader of this backfield as one of the most underrated backs in the NFL. He’s averaged 14.5 touches and 75 total yards. He’s a top-13 back in yards created per touch, breakaway run rate, and evaded tackles. While his percentage of the rushing attempts dipped that is likely a one week outlier than signal at this point. His pass game role remained. The Bengals are an atrocious matchup for the second-year back. They have surrendered the fifth-lowest rushing success rate, tenth-lowest rushing EPA, and 13th-fewest fantasy points per game. The good thing is they are only average in explosive run rate (15th) and DVOA (15th). Carter is a low-end RB3/high-end RB4.

Breece Hall: Hall has been rendered a middle-of-the-pack RB4. He’s averaged ten touches and 60.5 total yards. The problem for Hall is the two-way split in passing down work has now become a three-way committee, with Hall losing routes to Ty Johnson. While his early down role is unaffected, with a tough matchup on the ground and an offense that is anything but high-flying, Hall is a low-upside flex.

Wide Receivers

Ja’Marr Chase: Even after a “down” Week 2, Chase is the WR11 in fantasy. He’s seen a 28.4% target share (15th) and 29.2% air yard share. His overall efficiency has dipped, but it’s early as his yards per route run sit at 1.87 (42nd). His red zone role has been magnificent as he’s sixth in red zone targets. He’ll run about 74% of his routes against D.J. Reed and Sauce Gardner. Reed has been a stellar offseason addition with a 30% catch rate and 0.0 passer rating allowed. Gardner has been showing some rookie growing pains with a 62.5% catch rate and 115.1 passer rating in coverage. The only time you sit Chase is when he’s on a bye, and even then, the residual swag his name adds to your lineup could still justify a start regardless in order to hype up the fantasy squad.

Tee Higgins: Tee Higgins returned to the lineup in Week 2 (post-concussion) to lead the team with a 27.8% target share, a 49.7% air yard share, and a 0.74 weighted opportunity. As Burrow has struggled, it has dimmed the light for everyone. Higgins sits at 45th in yards per route run. He’ll run about 87% of his routes against Reed and Gardner. Higgins is a top 20 wide receiver.

Tyler Boyd: Boyd has become the forgotten person in this passing attack. He has only a 10.2% target share averaging 4.5 targets, three receptions, and 25 receiving yards. Without his Week 1 touchdown, he’d be much lower than the WR48 in fantasy. His yards per route run have fallen off a table (0.53). Boyd is a WR4/5 as Hurst has passed him as the third/fourth option in this passing attack.

Garrett Wilson: The Wilson breakout happened, and it was beautiful. He saw his target share and route run rate grow from 14% and 56.5% to 33.3% and 76.6% in Week 2. He saw everyone one of Flacco’s end zone targets last week (three). He posted a stellar 2.83 yards per route run with a 39% target per route run rate. He ran nearly 50% of his routes from the slot while leading the team in slot routes. This means he’ll get a heaping dose of Mike Hilton this week. Hilton has allowed a 64.3% catch rate and 76.8 passer rating. This is a small sample variance, as Hilton isn’t a matchup to worry about. Last year he gave up a 69.7% catch rate and 95.1 passer rating in coverage. Wilson is a WR3 with WR2 upside.

Elijah Moore: Moore has been the Jets’ only full-time receiver all year. Last week he led the team with a 93.6% route run rate. The problem is that he hasn’t been productive. Moore has a 12.1% target share with 16.6% of the team’s air yards. His efficiency metrics have been poor so far, with 0.91 yards per route run and a 12% target per route rate. With Moore running about 72% of his routes on the perimeter, he’ll tangle with Eli Apple and Chidobe Awuzie. Apple is a good matchup for any wide receiver with a 58.7% catch rate and 106.5 passer rating allowed. Awuzie, on the other hand, is tough with a 44.4% catch rate and 54.4 passer rating in coverage. Awuzie hasn’t shadowed this year, but that doesn’t mean he can’t. He shadowed six times last season, following receivers on 59-78% of routes. Only Davante Adams and A.J. Brown surpassed 50 receiving yards in his shadow coverage. Moore is a WR4 for Week 3.

Corey Davis: Davis is a dart throw WR5 this week who could offer big-time production if you are searching for a waiver wire play to inject some upside into your lineup. Davis was second with a 76.6% route run rate last week. He’s seen a 14.1% target share while also accounting for a 38.2% team air yard share. Among wide receivers with at least ten targets, he’s 24th in yards per route run and 28th in PFF receiving grade. If Awuzie follows Moore, then Davis will see more Eli Apple while running about 79% of his routes on the perimeter. It’s also possible Awuzie follows Davis. The big takeaway is that outside of Wilson, Flacco could lean on Moore or Davis as well this week.

Update: Davis has been listed as questionable (knee). He practiced in a limited fashion the last two days, so I expect him to play.

Tight Ends

Hayden Hurst: Hurst has been a volume gobbler with the Bengals. He is 12th among tight ends with a 17.0% target share and fourth with an 88.8% route participation. His efficiency is still meh with a 0.89 yards per route run (26th), but he checks the boxes we look for in a streamer that can slide into the top 12 tight ends in any given week. He’s running a ton of routes, has a red zone role (two red zone targets), and has a plus matchup. Last year the Jets were 31st in DVOA against tight ends. This season they are 20th in DVOA with the sixth-most receptions and seventh-most receiving yards allowed to the position.

Update: Hurst has been listed as questionable (groin). He had two limited practices and one full this week. I expect him to play.

Tyler Conklin: Conklin is another ugly tight-end volume streamer that could slide into the top 12 in any week (like he did in Week 1). He ranks top-eight in snap share and route participation. He’s seen a 16.0% target share (15th) with a red zone look. Last year the Bengals were 24th in DVOA against tight ends, and while they are currently 12th, they have also allowed the seventh-most receiving yards to tight ends after two games, so this is likely still a plus matchup.

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