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Freedman’s Favorites: Week 3 (2022 Fantasy Football)

Sep 21, 2022
Week 3 Freedman's Favorites

If you’ve been a FantasyPros follower for a while, you know who Mike Tagliere is.

He’s the guy who started The Primer. He’s a fantasy Hall of Famer. He’s Tags.

This upcoming Sunday — Sept. 25, 2022 — marks one year since Tags’ wife, Tabbie, announced his passing.

Although Tags and I never worked together at FantasyPros — I was at another company at the time of his death — we were friendly. I believe we had great mutual respect for each other.

Here’s what I had to say about him a year ago.

I don’t think I could say it any better now.

Please do me a favor: This weekend, when you’re hanging out with your friends and family and watching some football, please take a minute — maybe even just a few seconds — to reflect on and appreciate how wonderful it is, how beautiful, how sad and surprising, chaotic and remarkable. How majestic and magical it is. How miraculous. How terrific it is, how fragile it is.

Life.

Check out all of our Week 3 fantasy football content >>

Freedman’s Favorites

The guys in this piece are my favorites for Week 3.

They’re the guys I think I’ll like more than the expert consensus rankings (ECR). The guys I’m probably starting in season-long leagues. The guys with underappreciated upside. The guys with advantageous matchups. The guys I’ll have in my DFS player pool for main slates and single-game lineups for primetime slates. The guys I’d like to acquire in dynasty. The guys whose teams have player-friendly Week 3 betting odds. The guys who stand out in our industry-leading BettingPros NFL Prop Bet Analyzer. The guys with Week 3 projections that catch my eye.

The guys I want to write about.

Throughout the week, follow our NFL news desk. On Sunday, consult our NFL inactives list. If you see something there that 1) is published after my piece here and 2) goes against what I’ve written, then privilege the new information.

And always check out my rankings for my most recent thoughts on players. By Saturday night I’ll update this piece with notes based on the week’s injury reports and news items, but after that any changing opinions I have will be reflected in my rankings, not this article.

So, again, consult the Week 3 rankings before setting your lineups.

Also, for what it’s worth, I finished last week No. 3 in the FantasyPros rankings contest. So it’s probably best to assume that my advice will suck this week.

One more item: A couple readers told me after my Week 2 piece that they felt I included too many players in my list of favorites. Fair enough. I’m a big fan of doing less work. Starting now, I’ll (try to) highlight fewer players. Feedback received. I’m nothing if not a Freedman of the people.

Here are my Week 3 favorites.

Note: All fantasy points are half-PPR scoring unless otherwise stated. Players are ordered within position roughly (but probably not precisely) according to my rankings.

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – that allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 3 Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes (KC) at IND: Through two games, Mahomes has 595 yards and seven touchdowns passing to zero interceptions with a 73.0% completion rate and elite 9.9 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A). Since his 5,000-yard, 50-touchdown MVP 2018 campaign, Mahomes is the No. 1 quarterback with a 0.179 composite expected points added (EPA) and completion percentage over expectation (CPOE, per RBs Don’t Matter). Despite facing the Texans and Jaguars, the Colts defense allowed 475-4-0 passing and an 8.3 AY/A in Weeks 1-2, ranking No. 28 with a 54.7% dropback success rate (SR). Imagine Mahomes against a defense that just made QBs Davis Mills and Trevor Lawrence look like polished professionals. This week, we won’t need to imagine it.

Mahomes Update (Sat., 9/24): Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (back) is out and EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (back) is questionable. A good matchup looks even better.

Lamar Jackson (BAL) at NE: Entering the season, Jackson was the No. 1 quarterback with 26.1 fantasy points per game (FPPG) since 2019 — his unrivaled MVP campaign — and he has kicked off 2022 with 531-6-1 passing and 15-136-1 rushing in two games. In Week 2, he lit up our FantasyPros Game Day Tracker with a slate-high 42.6 FPPG.

Every game, Jackson is a candidate to do something historic.

The matchup for Jackson isn’t great: HC John Harbaugh is 1-5-1 against the spread (ATS) against the Patriots (per Action Network), who have allowed only two offensive touchdowns this year. But with a player like Jackson, matchup is almost irrelevant.

Jackson Update (Sat., 9/24): LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) is technically doubtful but almost certain not to play. I have not downgraded Jackson, but he is riskier without Stanley.

Check out my Week 3 early betting breakdown on Ravens at Patriots as well as our BettingPros matchups page, where you can see the percentage distributions of spread, over/under and moneyline bets tracked in the BettingPros App.

Matthew Stafford (LAR) at ARI: Last year, Stafford threw a league-high 17 interceptions. Through two weeks, he has a league-high five interceptions. Stafford is volatile — but in his 23 games with the Rams (including playoffs) he has thrown for either 300-plus yards or multiple touchdowns 19 times. The Cardinals defense is No. 32 in dropback SR (59.1%), and Rams HC Sean McVay is 4-1-1 ATS vs. Cardinals HC Kliff Kingsbury.

Stafford Update (Sat., 9/24): C Brian Allen (knee) and WR Van Jefferson (knee) are out, but their absence was expected. I haven’t changed Stafford’s ranking.

Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs. DET: In his four years with the Vikings, Cousins has three 4,000-yard, 30-touchdown seasons. He’s underappreciated … perhaps because he’s so boring.

It also doesn’t help that he just threw three interceptions on Monday Night Football — but the Lions are the perfect bounceback team to face: They’re No. 3 in most FPPG allowed to quarterbacks (26.3), and they might have the league’s worst pair of perimeter cover men in CBs Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye. The Vikings have a slate-high implied total of 30 points in our Week 3 DFS Cheat Sheet.

Cousins Update (Sat., 9/24): Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (thigh, questionable) seems likely to play after a limited practice on Friday, but DL John Cominsky is out. No change for Cousins.

Check out our DFS lineup optimizer, which is just one of our many FantasyPros DFS tools.

Carson Wentz (WAS) vs. PHI: Wentz has a league-high 10 pass attempts of 20-plus yards downfield (per our Advanced QB Stats Report) as well as back-to-back games with 300 yards and multiple touchdowns passing. He could have a pass-heavy game script as a +4 underdog (at BetMGM) in the long-awaited #RevengeGame against his former team.

Hamlet: “How all occasions do inform against me and spur my dull revenge. What is a man, if his chief good and market of his time be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more. Witness this army of such mass and charge, led by a delicate and tender prince, whose spirit with divine ambition puffed makes mouths at the invisible event, exposing what is mortal and unsure to all that fortune, death, and danger dare, even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great is not to stir without great argument, but greatly to find quarrel in a straw when honor’s at the stake. Oh, from this time forth, my thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!”

Marcus Mariota (ATL) at SEA: Although the Falcons are 0-2, they have scored 26.5 points per game, and Mariota has racked up a better-than-bad 411-2-2 passing and 18-88-1 rushing against two good defenses (Saints, Rams). He has a notable edge against the Seahawks defense and secondary in our FantasyPros unit power rankings.

RANK QUARTERBACK OFFENSE OPP DEFENSE DEFENSE RANK SECONDARY RANK QB-DEF EDGE QB-SEC EDGE
24 Marcus Mariota ATL SEA 30 32 6 8

The Seahawks defense is No. 32 in dropback EPA (0.400). Earning 26% of his fantasy production via rushing yardage (tied for No. 2 with Jalen Hurts, per our Fantasy Football Points Distribution Report), Mariota has a high Konami Code ceiling/floor combination.

Mariota Update (Sat., 9/24): LG Elijah Wilkinson (personal) is out. The Seahawks will be without DT Shelby Harris (glute, personal) and will likely be without CB Justin Coleman (calf, doubtful). I have slightly upgraded Mariota.

Jimmy Garoppolo (SF) at DEN: Since joining the 49ers in 2017, Garoppolo is No. 4 with a 0.144 EPA + CPOE — behind only Patrick Mahomes, Drew Brees and Deshaun Watson and directly ahead of Aaron Rodgers — and last year he was No. 4 with an 8.1 AY/A. In the secondary, the Broncos could be without No. 1 CB Patrick Surtain (shoulder) and will definitely be without No. 1 S Justin Simmons (quad, IR). The 49ers are +1 underdogs (at Caesars) …

… but Garoppolo has consistently outperformed expectations when getting points.

Garoppolo Update (Sat., 9/24): The 49ers are now favored but will be without C Daniel Brunskill (hamstring), RB Tyrion Davis-Price (ankle) and TE Tyler Kroft (knee). The Broncos might be without DT Dre’Mont Jones (neck, questionable), but Surtain, LB Josey Jewell (calf, knee) and NT Mike Purcell all seem likely to play through their questionable tags. I have slightly downgraded Garoppolo.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 3 Running Backs

Austin Ekeler (LAC) vs. JAX: Ekeler has underwhelmed with just 166 scrimmage yards and no touchdowns this year, but he has still averaged 14 carries and seven targets per game. Eventually, his elite usage …

… will translate into fantasy production. Why not this week? The Chargers are -7 favorites (at DraftKings), they have three extra days of rest, and the Jaguars are traveling to the West Coast for an afternoon game. The situation is ideal.

Ekeler Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers are highly likely to be without C Corey Linsley (knee, doubtful) and might be without WR Keenan Allen (hamstring, questionable), although I am optimistic that QB Justin Herbert (ribs) and RT Trey Pipkins (foot) will play through their questionable tags.

Still, I have slightly downgraded Ekeler, who will likely be downgraded more if Herbert is out.

Dalvin Cook (MIN) vs. DET: Cook has back-to-back-to-back seasons with 1,300-plus yards from scrimmage, but last year he had just six touchdowns vs. 30 in the two years prior. Barring injury, Cook should score more in 2022 (per our Touchdown Regression Report).

Last week he had just 36 scoreless yards, but that came in a 24-7 road loss to the Eagles. In Week 1, he had a more representative 108 yards on 20 carries and five targets, and this week he faces a Lions defense that has allowed a league-high 34.2 FPPG to opposing backfields (per our Fantasy Points Allowed Report). The onslaught is nigh: This is literally a five-star matchup.

Cook Update (Sat., 9/24): Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (thigh, questionable) seems likely to play after a limited practice on Friday, but DL John Cominsky is out. No change for Cook.

Nick Chubb (CLE) vs. PIT: With QB Jacoby Brissett starting, the Browns have ranked No. 3 in rush rate (54.7%) this season, and I expect them to rely on the running game this week as -5 favorites (at UniBet) at home against the Steelers. Last year the Browns were No. 1 in rush DVOA (11.5%) and adjusted line yards (4.85, per Football Outsiders), and Chubb has averaged 104.6 yards on 17.2 and 2.3 targets per game since his first start in Week 7 of 2018. Through two weeks, Chubb is 39-228-3 rushing and 4-28-0 receiving on four targets and is the No. 1 fantasy back with 21.8 FPPG (per our Fantasy Football Leaders Report). He’s probably the best pure runner in the league.

Chubb is No. 1 with +1.52 rushing yards over expected (per Tej Seth’s RYOE)

Leonard Fournette (TB) vs. GB: After scoring 10 touchdowns last year and getting six targets per game, Fournette has disappointed this year with zero touchdowns and an average of three targets. But the touchdowns will come, given that he has 22.5 carries per game through Weeks 1-2 (vs. 12.9 in 2021), and he could see extra targets, as the Buccaneers this week will be without No. 1 WR Mike Evans (suspension) and maybe also No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (hamstring, knee) and No. 3 WR Julio Jones (knee). Fournette could have a run-heavy game script as a home favorite (-2.5 at FanDuel), and the Packers defense last year was No. 28 in rush DVOA (-0.2%, per Football Outsiders). He is one of our top Week 3 DFS value plays.

Fournette Update (Sat., 9/24): Fournette (hamstring, questionable) seems likely to play after getting in three consecutive limited practices this week. Godwin is out and Jones and WRs Russell Gage (hamstring) and Breshad Perriman (knee) are questionable. But the Buccaneers are likely to be without LT Donovan Smith (elbow, doubtful), whose backup — OT Josh Wells (calf, IR) — is also out. I have slightly upgraded Fournette.

DVOA (Defense-Adjusted Value Over Average) is an efficiency metric that accounts for situation and opponent.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) at IND: On the one hand, Edwards-Helaire has just 15 carries and seven targets this year. On the other hand, he also has 192 yards and two touchdowns from scrimmage and is the No. 1 back on a team averaged 35.5 points per game. The Colts will likely get back All-Pro LB Shaquille Leonard (back) this week … but that’s what we all thought the past two weeks. Of all starting backs, Edwards-Helaire is No. 1 with 5.6 yards after contact per carry (per our Advanced RB Stats Report).

Edwards-Helaire Update (Sat., 9/24): Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (back) is out and EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (back) is questionable. I have slightly upgraded Edwards-Helaire.

David Montgomery (CHI) vs. HOU: The Bears will almost never be favored this year — but they are this week (-3 at PointsBet), and the preseason concerns about Montgomery’s usage were overstated. In Weeks 1-2, he had 186 yards on 16 carries and three targets per game. While his receiving usage might not seem significant at first glance …

… it accounts for 21.4% of QB Justin Fields’ pass attempts. Montgomery is the Bears offense.

Montgomery Update (Sat., 9/24): The Texans could be without run-stuffing DTs Maliek Collins (knee) and Kurt Hinish (foot), both of whom are questionable after missing practice on Friday. I have slightly upgraded Montgomery.

Kareem Hunt (CLE) vs. PIT: Even with No. 1 RB Nick Chubb dominating opponents, Hunt has managed in each of the past two games to carve out 15 carries and targets combined, which he has leveraged into 144 yards and two touchdowns. Given that the Steelers are without All-Pro EDGE T.J. Watt (pectoral), the Browns backs have a significant matchup edge in our unit power rankings.

RANK RBS OPP DEFENSE DL RANK LBS RANK RB-DL EDGE RB-LB EDGE
1 CLE PIT 15 21 14 20

Both Chubb and Hunt can go off in Week 3.

Miles Sanders (PHI) at WAS: Over the past two weeks, Sanders had snap rates of just 52% and 53%, and that’s not great, but he still amassed 30 carries and five targets for 191 yards and a touchdown — and that’s good enough. The Commanders are No. 2 in most FPPG allowed to opposing backfields (26.3). This is a random third sentence, just because.

Sanders Update (Sat., 9/24): The Eagles could be without LG Landon Dickerson (foot, questionable), but the Commanders will be without EDGE Casey Toohill (concussion) and DT Daniel Wise (ankle) and maybe EDGE James Smith-Williams (abdomen) and LB David Mayo (ankle), both of whom are questionable. I have slightly upgraded Sanders.

James Robinson (JAX) at LAC: Robinson has a great matchup against a Chargers defense that last year ranked No. 32 in rush defense SR (47.2%), and he has dominated usage in the Jaguars backfield, totaling 147 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries and four targets.

To my eye, Robinson looks unspeakably slow in his post-Achilles state …

… but he has always been slow — and that didn’t stop him from putting up 2,403 yards and 18 touchdowns in his first two seasons as an undrafted free agent.

Robinson Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers could be without QB Justin Herbert (ribs). If he’s out, the Jaguars could have the ball more often and might have more of a run-heavy game script. I have slightly upgraded Robinson.

Jeff Wilson (SF) at DEN: No. 1 RB Elijah Mitchell (knee, IR) exited Week 1 early and in his absence Wilson had 105 yards on 18 carries and two targets in Week 2. Other than Wilson and FB Kyle Juszczyk, rookie RB Tyrion Davis-Price was the only other 49ers back to get a touch — but now Davis-Price (ankle) and running QB Trey Lance (ankle, IR) are out, so Wilson could dominate backfield usage in Week 3. In his 11 career games with 15-plus opportunities, Wilson has averaged 17.1 FPPG (per FTN).

Wilson Update (Sat., 9/24): The 49ers are without C Daniel Brunskill (hamstring) and TE Tyler Kroft (knee). The Broncos might be without DT Dre’Mont Jones (neck, questionable), but Surtain, LB Josey Jewell (calf, knee) and NT Mike Purcell all seem likely to play through their questionable tags. I have slightly downgraded Wilson.

Jamaal Williams (DET) at MIN: I’m currently nine spots higher than the consensus on Williams in our Dissenting Opinions Tool, but I’m fine with the divergence. He’s just the No. 2 back, but Williams has a league-high seven carries inside the 10-yard line (per Andrew Erickson’s Usage Report) as well as a respectable 13 opportunities (carries plus targets) in each of the past two weeks. The Vikings defense is No. 32 in rush SR (53.2%) and rush DVOA (30.7%).

Williams Update (Sat., 9/24): LG Jonah Jackson (finger) is out, but C Frank Ragnow (foot), RB D’Andre Swift (ankle) and TE T.J. Hockenson (hip) all seem likely to play through their questionable tags after practicing (albeit limitedly) on Friday. The Vikings will be without S Harrison Smith (concussion) and maybe LB Eric Kendricks (toe, questionable). I have slightly upgraded Williams.

Check out my Week 3 early betting breakdown on Lions at Vikings.

Dameon Pierce (HOU) at CHI: After splitting carries with veteran Rex Burkhead in Week 1, Pierce was the only Texans back to get a carry in Week 2, transforming his 15 carries into a nice 69 yards and adding eight yards on one target. The Bears defense is No. 31 in rush SR (51.4%).

Pierce Update (Sat., 9/24): The Bears are without S Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) and LB Matt Adams (hamstring), and they might also be without LB Roquan Smith (hip) and CB Jaylon Johnson (quad), both of whom are questionable after missing practice on Friday. I have slightly upgraded Pierce.

Tony Pollard (DAL) at NYG: Coming off his 1,056-yard campaign last year, Pollard disappointed in Week 1 with only 22 yards on eight opportunities, but he flipped the switch in Week 2, converting his nine carries and seven targets into 98 yards and an “Ezekiel Elliott can’t do this” touchdown.

Last year the Giants defense was No. 32 in rush DVOA (2.7%), and in Week 3 they could be without three defensive line starters in EDGEs Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) and DT Leonard Williams (knee).

Pollard Update (Sat., 9/24): The Giants seem likely to be without Williams, who missed practice on Thursday and Friday, but Thibodeaux and Ojulari both got in limited sessions and (right now) seem likelier than not to play on Monday Night Football.

Raheem Mostert (MIA) vs. BUF: The Dolphins are +5.5 underdogs (at FOX Bet), so they’re not likely to have a run-heavy game script, but even though they trailed 28-7 at halftime in Week 2 they still gave Mostert 11 carries and three targets, which he converted into 79 yards. Mostert might not play ahead of Chase Edmonds every week, but as of now he looks like the lead back on a team averaging 31 points per game.

Mostert Update (Sat., 9/24): LT Terron Armstead (toe) seems unlikely to play through his questionable tag after missing practice every day this week. The Bills will be without DTs Ed Oliver (ankle) and Jordan Phillips (hamstring), CB Dane Jackson (neck) and S Micah Hyde (neck). Additionally, they could be without DT Tim Settle (calf) and S Jordan Poyer (foot). I have upgraded Mostert.

Tyler Allgeier (ATL) at SEA: I’m skeptical about Allgeier for the long term, but last week he tied No. 1 RB Cordarrelle Patterson with 10 carries in a game in which the Falcons trailed 28-3 in the third quarter. If you’re desperate and looking for a guy who at least has a chance to get some touches, he might be your Allguy … er.

Allgeier Update (Sat., 9/24): LG Elijah Wilkinson (personal) is out. The Seahawks will be without DT Shelby Harris (glute, personal). I have upgraded Allgeier.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 3 Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp (LAR) at ARI: Last year Kupp had a position-high 56% boom rate with his Triple Crown 145-1,947-16 receiving performance (per our Boom/Bust Report), and he has continued to dominate in 2022, ranking No. 1 in the league with 29 targets and a 38.2% target share (per our Weekly Target Report and Advanced WR Stats Report). With that usage, he has balled out with 24-236-3 receiving, putting up 100 yards and a touchdown in back-to-back games.

The Cardinals defense is No. 32 in dropback SR (59.1%). The football gods are good.

Kupp Update (Sat., 9/24): C Brian Allen (knee) and WR Van Jefferson (knee) are out, but their absence was expected. I haven’t changed Kupp’s ranking — because he can’t get any higher than the No. 1 wide receiver.

Justin Jefferson (MIN) vs. DET: Jefferson entered the season rankings No. 1 among all-time NFL players with 3,016 yards receiving in his first two seasons …

… and then he went off in Week 1 with 9-184-2 receiving on 11 targets against the Packers, whose secondary is No. 2 in our FantasyPros unit power rankings. In Week 2 he managed just 48 scoreless yards, but he still had a robust 12 targets, and now he gets a matchup with the Lions, against whom he had 18-306-1 receiving on 22 targets last year.

Jefferson Update (Sat., 9/24): Lions EDGE Aidan Hutchinson (thigh, questionable) seems likely to play after a limited practice on Friday, but DL John Cominsky is out. No change for Jefferson.

Stefon Diggs (BUF) at MIA: Diggs is the only NFL player with 160-plus targets in each of the past two years, and in Weeks 1-2 he dominated with 20-270-4 receiving on four targets, ranking No. 1 at the position with 30.5 FPPG (per our Fantasy Football Stats Report). For the season, Diggs is the No. 1 wide receiver with a 28% target rate on snaps played, and he has an advantageous matchup against the Dolphins defense, which is No. 31 in pass DVOA (48.2%) and without starting CB Byron Jones (ankle, PUP).

Printing press.

Diggs Update (Sat., 9/24): WR Gabe Davis (ankle), TE Dawson Knox (foot) and C Mitch More (elbow) all seem likely to play through their questionable tags after practicing limitedly on Friday.

Tyreek Hill (MIA) vs. BUF: For the first six years of his career with the Chiefs, Hill averaged 1,105 yards receiving, 119.8 yards rushing and 11.2 all-purpose touchdowns per season. New team, no problem. In his first game with QB Tua Tagovailoa, Hill had 100 scrimmage yards on 12 targets and one carry … and then he had 11-190-2 receiving on 13 targets in the next game.

The Bills are without No. 1 CB Tre’Davious White (knee, PUP) and could be without No. 2 CB Dane Jackson (head/neck) as well.

Hill Update (Sat., 9/24): LT Terron Armstead (toe) seems unlikely to play through his questionable tag after missing practice every day this week. The Bills will be without Jackson, DTs Ed Oliver (ankle) and Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and S Micah Hyde (neck). Additionally, they could be without DT Tim Settle (calf) and S Jordan Poyer (foot). I have slightly upgraded Hill.

A.J. Brown (PHI) at WAS: Brown’s Week 2 stat line of 5-69-0 receiving wasn’t so nice, but through two games he has 224 yards on 21 targets, and now he faces a Commanders defense that last year was No. 28 in dropback EPA per play (0.182). For a player as good as Brown is — he’s No. 5 with 10.1 yards per target since entering the league — a bounceback is likely.

Brown Update (Sat., 9/24): The Eagles could be without LG Landon Dickerson (foot, questionable), but the Commanders will be without EDGE Casey Toohill (concussion) and DT Daniel Wise (ankle) and maybe EDGE James Smith-Williams (abdomen) and LB David Mayo (ankle), both of whom are questionable.

Amon-Ra St. Brown (DET) at MIN: St. Brown closed his 2021 rookie campaign with 51-560-5 receiving on 67 targets and 7-61-1 rushing (with a 2-point conversion) in six games, and he has picked up where he left off, putting up 17-180-3 receiving on 24 targets and adding 2-68-1 rushing in Weeks 1-2. This dude is just built differently.

The DFS sites have aggressively raised St. Brown’s price, just in time for his matchup against the Vikings defense, which last year was No. 1 in most FPPG allowed to wide receivers (26.9).

St. Brown Update (Sat., 9/24): LG Jonah Jackson (finger) is out, but C Frank Ragnow (foot), RB D’Andre Swift (ankle) and TE T.J. Hockenson (hip) all seem likely to play through their questionable tags after practicing (albeit limitedly) on Friday. The Vikings will be without S Harrison Smith (concussion) and maybe LB Eric Kendricks (toe, questionable).

Jaylen Waddle (MIA) vs. BUF: In the offseason, I wrote something I regret.

I don’t see a strong reason to invest in the No. 2 receiver in an offense that might want to limit the number of times QB Tua Tagovailoa throws the ball.

Two games, 24 targets, 15 receptions, 240 yards and three touchdowns later … I’m willing to concede that I might’ve been misguided with my anti-Waddle thesis. Probably a mistake.

Waddle Update (Sat., 9/24): LT Terron Armstead (toe) seems unlikely to play through his questionable tag after missing practice every day this week. The Bills will be without CB Dane Jackson (neck), DTs Ed Oliver (ankle) and Jordan Phillips (hamstring) and S Micah Hyde (neck). Additionally, they could be without DT Tim Settle (calf) and S Jordan Poyer (foot). I have slightly upgraded Waddle.

Gabe Davis (BUF) at MIA: Davis (ankle) missed Monday Night Football due to a late-week injury he suffered, but there has been no indication yet that he’s at risk of missing Week 3, and if he’s on the field he could ball out. After serving as a rotational backup for the first two years of his career — and racking up a promising 9.9 yards per target and a 12.1% touchdown rate in the process (including the playoffs, when he went off for 8-201-4 receiving on 10 targets in the Divisional Round) — Davis had 4-88-1 receiving on five targets, a 100% route rate and 98% snap rate in Week 1. The Dolphins are No. 29 in dropback SR (56.5%).

Diggs Update (Sat., 9/24): Davis, TE Dawson Knox (foot) and C Mitch More (elbow) all seem likely to play through their questionable tags after practicing limitedly on Friday. I have slightly upgraded Davis.

Christian Kirk (JAX) at LAC: Kirk has never been a No. 1 receiver. In his seven games last year without WR DeAndre Hopkins, he managed just 64.9 yards and 0.14 touchdowns on 7.3 targets per game. But with the Jaguars he is 12-195-2 receiving on 18 targets through two weeks. As a heavy road underdog (+7 at Bet Rivers), Kirk could benefit from a pass-heavy game script in a dome.

Kirk Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers could be without QB Justin Herbert (ribs). If he’s out, the Jaguars could have the ball more often, but they could also have more of a run-heavy game script. In the end, it probably balances out.

Michael Thomas (NO) at CAR: After missing half of the 2020 and all of the 2021 campaigns, Thomas returned to action with 11-122-3 receiving on 17 targets in Weeks 1-2. He looked like himself.

The Panthers could be without No. 1 CB Donte Jackson (hamstring).

Thomas Update (Sat., 9/24): Jackson will probably play through his questionable tag after practicing fully on Friday. QB Jameis Winson (back, ankle), RB Alvin Kamara and RT Ryan Ramczyk (elbow) all have positive questionable statuses after practicing every day this week.

D.K. Metcalf (SEA) vs. ATL: Metcalf is still a big, dominant receiver with the ability to outmuscle any cornerback for a jump ball downfield.

Unfortunately, he’s surrounded by incompetence. But maybe this will be the week he gets his mojo back: The Falcons defense is No. 3 in most FPPG allowed to wide receivers (42.2).

Diontae Johnson (PIT) at CLE: Look, just tell me now if you’re too good — if you think too highly of yourself — to have any interest in a wide receiver who has averaged 10.2 targets per game since 2020 and 11 targets per game this year. If that’s the case, you and I might not be compatible — and then I won’t tell you about the 14 targets per game Johnson had against the Browns last year. Because that sort of thing won’t interest you.

Check out my Week 3 early betting breakdown on Steelers at Browns.

JuJu Smith-Schuster (KC) at IND: If you want to focus on the fact that Smith-Schuster had just three targets for 10 yards last week, do it. I’ll be over here, sitting at my computer and watching highlights of the guy who leads QB Patrick Mahomes’ wide receiver unit in targets (11), receptions (9) and yards (89). Yeah, they’ll be highlights of him dancing on TikTok …

… but that ain’t nothing. Colts slot CB Kenny Moore — the defender Smith-Schuster will likely face the most — has allowed 1.48 yards per coverage snap, 9.6 yards per target and two touchdowns this year (per PFF).

Smith-Schuster Update (Sat., 9/24): Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (back) is out and EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (back) is questionable.

Drake London (ATL) at SEA: Entering the NFL, London had everything I’d want in a rookie receiver, given his size (6-4, 219 pounds), age (21 years old), NFL draft capital (No. 8 overall) and college production (88-1,084-7 receiving in eight games as a junior). At the time, I compared him to Larry Fitzgerald and Mike Evans, and through two NFL games he has lived up to the hype with 13-160-1 receiving on 19 targets (and a 2-point conversion). The Seahawks defense is No. 30 in pass DVOA (47.2%): London could go off.

London Update (Sat., 9/24): LG Elijah Wilkinson (personal) is out. The Seahawks will be without DT Shelby Harris (glute, personal) and will likely be without CB Justin Coleman (calf, doubtful). I have slightly upgraded London.

Curtis Samuel (WAS) vs. PHI: Samuel is at risk of tweaking a hamstring every time he steps onto the field, but when he’s healthy — fully healthy — he has impressed. While his 2021 season was a lost campaign plagued by injuries, in 2020 he had 1,051 yards and five touchdowns on 97 targets and 41 carries, and Samuel has brought that same playmaking ability to bear this year with 171 yards and two touchdowns on a team-high 20 targets and five carries. With that kind of usage, matchup doesn’t matter.

Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs. ATL: It’s not enough for me to highlight just one Seahawks receiver. Given that they haven’t scored a touchdown in six quarters, I must touch on another one. Lockett impressed with 9-107-0 receiving on 11 targets last week, and he has averaged 1,081 scrimmage yards per year over the past four seasons. The Falcons defense is No. 30 in dropback SR (56.6%).

Garrett Wilson (NYJ) vs. CIN: In Week 1, Wilson earned eight targets, but he had just 52 scoreless yards. In Week 2, the first-rounder’s performance was thoroughly unmixed: A delicious 8-102-2 receiving on 14 targets. With an NFL-high seven targets inside the 10-yard line (per our Red Zone Stats Report), Wilson has the potential to produce as both a touchdown scorer and a yardage accumulator.

Chris Olave (NO) at CAR: In Week 2, Olave led the NFL with six deep targets of 20-plus yards — and that number honestly feels low after digging into his usage.

Through two games, Olave has almost matched No. 1 WR Michael Thomas in routes (75 to 73), targets (17 to 16) and yards receiving (122 to 121). The breakout is a question of when, not if.

Olave Update (Sat., 9/24): Jackson will probably play through his questionable tag after practicing fully on Friday. QB Jameis Winson (back, ankle), RB Alvin Kamara and RT Ryan Ramczyk (elbow) all have positive questionable statuses after practicing every day this week.

Jahan Dotson (WAS) vs. PHI: Through two games, Dotson has lined up all across the formation (59 snaps wide right, 45 in the slot, 37 wide left), and he has been the No. 4 wide receiver in the NFL with 141 snaps played (per our Snap Count Report). He hasn’t dominated with only 10 targets — but he has leveraged those opportunities into 9.9 yards per target and three touchdowns. His upside is significant.

Russell Gage (TB) vs. GB: The Buccaneers might be without No. 1 WR Mike Evans (suspension), No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (hamstring, knee) and No. 3 WR Julio Jones (knee). In the words of Benedick: “The world must be peopled.” Perhaps Gage and QB Tom Brady will people it with touchdowns.

Gage Update (Sat., 9/24): Gage (hamstring) was downgraded on the injury report on Friday when he missed practice, so he now has a highly uncertain questionable status. He’s no longer a favorite.

Julio Jones (TB) vs. GB: The odds are high that both No. 1 WR Mike Evans (suspension) and No. 2 WR Chris Godwin (hamstring, knee) will be out — but Jones (knee) might play after practicing last week on Friday and getting a questionable (instead of a doubtful) injury designation. In Week 1 he had a nice 3-69-0 receiving on five targets (as well as 2-17-0 rushing). In the words of the poet …

I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel.

If you haven’t felt the pain of starting an injured Jones in any given fantasy season, are you even alive?

Jones Update (Sat., 9/24): Jones got in a limited practice on Friday after sitting out Wednesday and Thursday. Evans and Godwin are both out, and Gage (hamstring) was downgraded to questionable on Friday after missing practice. If Jones plays, he could have a big role. I have upgraded Jones.

Joshua Palmer (LAC) vs. JAX: No. 1 WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) missed Week 2, and in his absence Palmer was a predictable 4-30-1 receiving on eight targets.

If Allen is once again out, Palmer will be in line for a similar role, and in his five games with a snap rate of at least 60% he has put up 10.8 FPPG with an average of 6.8 targets.

Allen Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers are highly likely to be without C Corey Linsley (knee, doubtful) and might be without WR Keenan Allen (hamstring, questionable), although I am optimistic that QB Justin Herbert (ribs) and RT Trey Pipkins (foot) will play through their questionable tags. Still, I have downgraded Palmer, who will not be a favorite if Allen plays or if Herbert doesn’t play.

Treylon Burks (TEN) vs. LV: Despite ranking No. 4 on the Titans with 30 routes and No. 6 with 31 pass play snaps, Burks is No. 1 on the team with 11 targets, seven receptions and 102 yards receiving. His 96.8% route per snap rate, 36.7% target per route rate and 9.3 yards per target speak to his overall playmaking ability. The Raiders defense is No. 26 in dropback SR (50.5%).

Burks Update (Sat., 9/24): WR Kyle Philips (shoulder) is doubtful to play, so I have upgraded Burks.

Noah Brown (DAL) at NYG: The Cowboys will likely need to throw as road underdogs (+2.5 at Sugar House), and Brown has been the No. 2 wide receiver on the Cowboys through two weeks with 113 snaps, 71 routes and 14 targets … and he has actually outproduced No. 1 WR CeeDee Lamb with 10-159-1 receiving. He could be the No. 2 option yet once more if WRs Michael Gallup (knee) and Jalen Tolbert (inactive) are out. In our FantasyPros unit power rankings, we give the Cowboys pass catchers a significant edge over the Giants secondary.

Rank WRs & TEs Opp Secondary Secondary Rank Edge
18 DAL NYG 27 9

Brown Update (Sat., 9/24): The Giants seem likely to be without DT Leonard Williams (knee), who missed practice on Thursday and Friday, but EDGEs Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) both got in limited sessions and (right now) seem likelier than not to play on Monday Night Football.

Richie James (NYG) vs. DAL: No. 1 WR Kadarius Toney has just three targets on the season. No. 2 WR Kenny Golladay played just two snaps in Week 2 and looks like he could be on the outs with the team.

Slot WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee) left Week 1 early and didn’t play in Week 2. As a result, James is No. 1 on the Giants with 10 receptions and 110 yards and No. 2 with 12 targets. For his career, James has a strong 11.3 yards per target, so he at least has some theoretical upside. He’s a desperation play — but sometimes the only option is the best option.

James Update (Sat., 9/24): The Giants seem likely to be without Robinson and Toney (hamstring), both of whom missed practice on Friday.

Freedman’s Favorite Week 3 Tight Ends

Travis Kelce (KC) at IND: With a rebuilt wide receiver unit, Kelce has predictably been the top pass catcher for the Chiefs this year, ranking No. 1 on the team with 16 targets, 13 receptions and 172 yards receiving and No. 1 at the position with 14.9 FPPG. He’s got a great matchup against the Colts defense, which lost SS Khari Willis and FSs Andew Sendejo and George Odum this offseason and is No. 31 in pass DVOA against tight ends (61.3%). I’m betting over 14.0 points for Kelce in the Week 3 No House Advantage Over/Under Challenge.

Kelce Update (Sat., 9/24): Colts LB Shaquille Leonard (back) is out and EDGE Yannick Ngakoue (back) is questionable.

Mark Andrews (BAL) at NE: Last year Andrews was the No. 1 tight end with 153 targets and a 25.8% target share (per our Advanced Tight End Stats Report), and he shows no signs of slowing down this year, putting up 14-156-1 receiving on 18 targets in Weeks 1-2. The Patriots last year allowed the fewest FPPG to tight ends (4.2), so the matchup is undesirable — but QB Lamar Jackson needs to throw the ball to someone, and that guy will likely be Andrews: The Ravens have an NFL-high 46.6% tight end target share (per our Target Distribution Report). If by chance Andrews is on waivers in your league …

… pick him up. I’m joking, of course. But that statement is also 100% good advice. Also, I think that No. 2 TE Isaiah Likely is a viable flyer in deep leagues and DFS: He has nine targets on the year. One blurb, two players: Great value for the consumer.

Andrews Update (Sat., 9/24): LT Ronnie Stanley (ankle) is technically doubtful but almost certain not to play. I have not downgraded Andrews, but he is riskier without Stanley.

Dallas Goedert (PHI) at WAS: In his 13 games since TE Zach Ertz left the Eagles (including playoffs), Goedert is 55-848-2 receiving on 79 targets with an explosive 10.7 yards per target. Commanders SS Kamren Curl (thumb) missed Weeks 1-2 with an injury and is uncertain for Week 3.

Goedert Update (Sat., 9/24): The Eagles could be without LG Landon Dickerson (foot, questionable), but the Commanders will be without EDGE Casey Toohill (concussion) and DT Daniel Wise (ankle) and maybe EDGE James Smith-Williams (abdomen) and LB David Mayo (ankle), both of whom are questionable.

Gerald Everett (LAC) vs. JAX: Some blurbs are tweets …

… and sometimes those tweets are written by someone else. Without No. 1 WR Keenan Allen (hamstring), Everett was 6-71-0 receiving on 10 targets last week, and Allen might miss Week 3.

Everett Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers are highly likely to be without C Corey Linsley (knee, doubtful) and might be without WR Keenan Allen (hamstring, questionable), although I am optimistic that QB Justin Herbert (ribs) and RT Trey Pipkins (foot) will play through their questionable tags. Still, I have slightly downgraded Everett, who will not be a favorite if Herbert doesn’t play.

Tyler Higbee (LAR) at ARI: Higbee has a position-high 20 targets, which he has leveraged into a respectable 12 receptions and 110 yards. And the Cardinals defense has allowed an NFL-high 24.4 FPPG to tight ends this year. There’s no way this ends well for Higbee investors — but this is a perfect setup.

Higbee Update (Sat., 9/24): C Brian Allen (knee) and WR Van Jefferson (knee) are out. I have slightly upgraded Higbee.

Hayden Hurst (CIN) at NYJ: Hurst is No. 3 on the team with 90 routes and No. 2 with 15 targets and 10 receptions. The Jets defense last year was No. 31 in pass DVOA against tight ends (26.7%). If I cared enough about this blurb, this is where I’d write a third sentence.

Hurst Update (Sat., 9/24): Hurst (groin) is questionable but seems likely to play after practicing limitedly on Friday.

Evan Engram (JAX) at LAC: Even though he has a snap rate of just 70.2%, Engram — compared to WRs Marvin Jones and Zay Jones — is functionally the co-No. 2 receiver for the Jaguars on the basis of routes (61 vs. 68, 66), targets (12 vs. 11, 13) and yards receiving (74 vs. 71, 88). Last year, the Chargers defense allowed the most FPGG to tight ends (10.9).

Robinson Update (Sat., 9/24): The Chargers could be without QB Justin Herbert (ribs). If he’s out, the Jaguars could have the ball more often. I have slightly upgraded Engram.

Tyler Conklin (NYJ) vs. CIN: The Jets have an NFL-high 103 pass attempt with QB Joe Flacco, who is starting once again in Week 3, and TE C.J. Uzomah (hamstring) missed Week 2 with a doubtful injury designation and is uncertain to play this week. With his every-down role (95.5% snap rate), Conklin is No. 2 on the Jets with 92 routes and 16 targets, which he has leveraged into a respectable 10-56-1 receiving.

Juwan Johnson (NO) at CAR: So the Johnson thing seems to be real. On the basis of routes and targets, Johnson (65, 12) is in the same peer group with starting WRs Michael Thomas (75, 17), Chris Olave (73, 16) and Jarvis Landry (68, 14). Johnson — not Taysom Hill, and not Adam Trautman — is the receiving tight end for the Saints, and he has 83 yards on six receptions. A hungry human won’t mind the taste of that bread.

Johnson Update (Sat., 9/24): Jackson will probably play through his questionable tag after practicing fully on Friday. QB Jameis Winson (back, ankle), RB Alvin Kamara and RT Ryan Ramczyk (elbow) all have positive questionable statuses after practicing every day this week.

Freedman’s Former Favorites

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