Let’s take a look at who’s rising in value and who’s falling in dynasty fantasy football leagues as we get ready to conclude Week 3.
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Dynasty Fantasy Football Risers & Fallers (2023)
Realistically, you could include the entire Dolphins offense here after they pummeled the Broncos with 70 points on Sunday. It was a good week for De’Von Achane to get in on the action after missing Week 1 and touching the ball just twice in Week 2. The rookie running back began rotating in with Raheem Mostert on the second drive. He ended up taking 18 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while also adding four receptions for 30 yards and two more scores through the air. His 51.3 fantasy points led all running backs on the week, although Mostert posted 45.2 of his own. Jeff Wilson will likely return from IR soon and Mostert will continue to lead the backfield for now, leaving the extent of Achane’s weekly role in question. Nevertheless, it was promising to see Achane’s electric spark on an NFL Sunday and it will be tough for Coach McDaniel to put the genie back in the bottle following this performance.
The first draft pick of the Sean Payton-era Broncos was Marvin Mims, which brought immediate optimism and expectations for the Oklahoma product. As such, it’s disappointing that Mims is not yet an every-down player. He ran 11 routes on 15 snaps in Week 3, which was the fourth-most for Broncos wide receivers in both categories. He did, however, more than double his target total in this matchup, with five which brings him to nine targets on the season. After catching three passes for 73 yards, Mims has now tallied 195 receiving yards on seven receptions, and he’s averaging nearly 28 yards per catch. Clearly Mims is excelling downfield, but a higher target volume and lower average depth of target will be necessary for him to become a regular in fantasy lineups, along with more snaps overall. One of the lone bright spots for Denver on Sunday was Mims’ 99-yard kick return for a touchdown. As the Broncos search for answers, perhaps one will be getting Mims more involved.
I highlighted Nico Collins and Tank Dell in this column last week, and Dell dialed in another strong performance in Week 3, but somebody is getting them the ball effectively. That somebody is C.J. Stroud, who led Houston to a 20-point victory, upsetting the Jaguars in Jacksonville. The Texans are letting the rookie air it out, as he threw the ball 91 times during the first two weeks as the team played from behind. Stroud was limited to 30 pass attempts this week with the Texans in control, but he still threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He’s now surpassed 20 points in two straight weeks and has yet to throw an interception in his young NFL career. He’s rushed for just 35 yards thus far, something fantasy managers would like to see more of, but he’s been efficient throwing the ball on a high volume of pass attempts.
Sam LaPorta (TE – DET)
Sam LaPorta was featured as a riser on this list last week, and I typically prefer not to double up, but I’ll make an exception here. I stated last week that LaPorta’s usage and performances were eye-catching, and that once he found the end zone, he would pop, making his price tag difficult to afford. I hope you sent out some trade offers last week, because the rookie continued his ascension on Sunday with eight grabs on 11 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. His 22.4 fantasy points make him the top-scoring tight end of the week heading into Monday night. A rookie tight end seeing 11 targets in his third NFL game is unheard of, but the Lions are treating LaPorta as a focal part of the offense and he hasn’t missed a beat in his leap to the NFL. With tight end being such a thin position, LaPorta is shaping up as one of the best fantasy players in this rookie class.
Through three games, Rashod Bateman has caught seven passes for 59 yards. Even with Odell Beckham Jr. out on Sunday, Bateman fell behind Nelson Agholor in snaps, routes, and targets, ending the game with just one catch for six yards. The Ravens’ number one receiver role was constantly debated throughout the offseason, with fantasy managers seemingly split between Beckham, Bateman, and Zay Flowers. If you follow my work, you know my money was on Flowers, which has been the clear answer thus far with the other receivers all working on a rotation. Although Bateman has battled some injuries, the hope for him to take over the top role in this offense has all but dwindled away.
Is the tread on Derrick Henry’s tires finally running thin? Even if your answer is “no,” how does Henry get home in this lackluster Titans offense? Tyjae Spears out-snapped Henry on Sunday as the Titans played from behind, marking the second time in three games Spears has played more snaps than Henry. With just 11 carries on the day, Henry was only able to muster 20 rushing yards and 2 fantasy points. He has yet to top 80 rushing yards in a game this season and unless the Titans are able to play in more favorable game scripts, it seems unlikely that will change any time soon.
The Patriots elected to let Jakobi Meyers walk in favor of JuJu Smith-Schuster. It felt like a questionable decision at the time, but looks like a flat-out mistake at this point. Smith-Schuster saw just three targets on Sunday, catching one for a measly five yards. He’s now caught 10 passes on the season for 66 yards through three games and is consistently rotated out in 11 personnel. The offense is simply not good enough to support a rotational player who doesn’t win downfield. Remember when JuJu was in the discussion for the overall dynasty WR1?
With limited options at tight end, David Njoku will remain a fine play most weeks, but it’s been a disappointing start to the season. He’s still running about three times the amount of routes as Harrison Bryant, so it’s not as if his job is in jeopardy and he will likely have some big games here and there. So far, Njoku has been targeted only 11 times and has yet to top 50 yards in a game. The issue here is that the passing offense has been highly concentrated between Amari Cooper and Elijah Moore, with each of them having a 24.5% target share compared to Njoku’s 9% share. Unless Njoku breaks off a bigger slice of the pie, he’ll operate on an empty stomach for much of the season.