It’s still early in the NFL season, but by Week 3, we begin to see trends forming around the league.
These trends and stats can help us correctly identify which players are great plays moving forward and who should sound the panic alarm within our brains to move in another direction.
These six stats can help you win your leagues in Week 3 and dominate your opponents for the long haul.
- Waiver Wire Advice
- Weekly Fantasy Football Expert Rankings
- Fantasy Football Start/Sit Advice
- Fantasy Football Trade Tools
Six Stats To Know Before Setting Your Week 3 Lineup
1. Are We COOKing in the Kitchen, or Is That Just the Microwave?
James Cook is RB12 on the season, and for someone like me who was pushing him this offseason, it’s a beautiful thing. However, are we looking at the future, or is this a mirage? My fear is this trend may not continue. Latavius Murray and Damien Harris significantly eat into James Cook’s production by handling 80% of the red zone work for the Buffalo Bills. We also see more of Murray than we would like during four-minute and two-minute drills for this Bills offense.
Cook has seen 59% of the snaps each week and is averaging 18.5 touches, so you can label him the “workhorse”. The concern around Cook is that he has become the “between-the-20s” running back, which steals the high-value touches, aka the ability to score touchdowns. Cook does not hit my markers regarding weight, as he only weighs in at 190 pounds.
There is a good chance this continues, and his size keeps him from the endzone. While his name is “hot” in the trade market, you should try to upgrade your team.
2. The New Look Running Back Room in Cleveland
Sadly, we have lost Nick Chubb for the season in Cleveland. When you lose one of the best running backs in the league, you have to question what will happen moving forward regarding the run game for the Browns. We now have Jerome Ford and newly-signed Kareem Hunt leading the pack.
So, who is the player you want to grab? Well, that would be Ford. We know this team can create holes for the running back. Ford is fourth in yards before contact among RBs, and Nick Chubb was third. This shows us that the vision of the running back, plus the offensive line, is a productive combination for your fantasy lineup.
Hunt was brought back to Cleveland because he has a comfort level within this offensive scheme. However, he should only become the breather back for Jerome Ford, as he averaged his lowest yards per attempt last year at just 3.8 yards. At 28, Hunt becomes more of a “body” within the running back room than a star.
3. The New England Patriots Are Providing Fantasy Football Value?
Did you know Hunter Henry is the No. 1 tight end on the season? That is shocking, even if we are only two weeks in. However, when you think about this development, should it truly shock us? Mac Jones‘ wide receiver options are putrid, and Henry received a competent offensive coordinator this offseason. With Bill O’Brien taking over the offensive reigns, Henry has flourished. He leads the NFL in yards before catch and air yards. He also has 13 overall targets, tied for third in the NFL among tight ends. The Patriots also target Henry at the sixth-highest clip for tight ends in the red zone.
The O’Brien magic doesn’t end with Henry, as he also put his spell on Jones. Did you know Jones has attempted and completed the most passes in the NFL? Well, now you do! When you can get a quarterback slinging the rock at this clip, you should consider him a streaming option, depending on the matchup.
4. Puka Nacua Is the Heading, But Tutu Atwell Is the Subheading
Puka Nacua has all the headlines, and rightfully so. However, let’s not forget about Tutu Atwell. Atwell is only 5-foot-9 and 165 pounds. By NFL standards, it is easy to overlook him, especially after the slow start to his career. However, Atwell has stepped up this year during Cooper Kupp‘s injury. Atwell has more air yards than Nacua and is the second-highest targeted passing option for the Los Angeles Rams. If you missed out on Nacua, take a look at Tutu Atwell.
5. It May Not Be Pretty, but the Opportunity Is There for This RB
No one will say that Rachaad White is one of the best running backs in the NFL. However, he escaped the Cam Akers trade rumors, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have yet to sign any running backs off free agency and Chase Edmonds is out with an injury. In 2023, White has the seventh-highest rushing attempts, tied for fourth-most broken tackles and the ninth-most receptions. He is the Walmart version of a “workhorse” back for your fantasy football team. It may not be pretty, but pretty doesn’t matter if the fantasy points are still there by the end of the game.
6. The Pot at the End of the Rainbow Is a TE Against the Philadelphia Eagles
To say the Eagles are struggling against the tight end in 2023 is an understatement. Philadelphia currently allows the most fantasy points to the tight end position with 17.6 points. They have allowed the most receptions, the second-most yards and the most touchdowns to the tight end position.
Enter Cade Otton.
Otton caught all six targets in Week 2 for 41 yards. Otton has also been on the field for 97% of snaps in both weeks this season. My rule of thumb regarding tight ends: I want someone who plays a ton of snaps, is a top-three option on passing plays and has a great matchup. Otton’s picture should be next to the word “Smash” in the dictionary this week.