Every Monday of the NFL regular season, we will showcase exceptional player performances from the weekend and analyze their potential for sustained success in fantasy football. We will rank these performances from 🔥 to 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 based on whether we believe they are momentary or long-term options for your fantasy teams.
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Fantasy Football Heat Index
Stats: 34/58, 361 yards, 2 TD
Position Rank (pre-MNF): QB7 (23.54 points)
Analysis: With 2023 No.1 overall pick Bryce Young sidelined with an ankle injury, veteran Andy Dalton showed why he’s one of the best backup quarterbacks in the league. To no one’s surprise, Dalton looked more poised and decisive than the first-year pro.
A back-and-forth affair in the first half, Panthers at Seahawks morphed into a bit of a shootout in the second half. With Carolina chasing points all afternoon, Dalton finished with 361 passing yards and two touchdowns on a whopping 58 pass attempts.
These types of game scripts don’t happen every week, but a struggling Panthers team should face a deficit more often than not. The bigger issue with Dalton’s long-term viability is Young’s impending return. Dalton might start another week or two, but he’s headed to the bench sooner rather than later. Dalton is a QB2 starter in superflex formats until Young returns, but I’d be hesitant to trust him in 1QB leagues.
Heat Index: 🔥
Stats: 18 carries, 203 yards, 2 rushing TD, 4 receptions, 30 yards, 2 TD, 4 targets
Position Rank (pre-MNF): RB1 (49.3 points)
Analysis: After easing in the rookie running back last week, head coach Mike McDaniel fully unleashed and introduced De’Von Achane to the rest of the NFL on Sunday afternoon. What an introduction it was.
Achane had 233 total yards and four total touchdowns in Miami’s shocking 70-20 victory over the Denver Broncos. No, that isn’t a typo. The Miami Dolphins really scored 70 points in the modern era. That’s the second-most in NFL regular season history, trailing only the 1966 Washington football franchise.
With Achane working as the backup to Raheem Mostert, you might be thinking he racked up points in garbage time. Not exactly. Achane scored his first two touchdowns in the game’s first 20 minutes as Miami raced out to a 35-13 halftime lead.
Achane scored two more times in the final quarter, including a 67-yard run with 8:00 remaining to give Miami their 10th and final touchdown of the game. Technically, half of his touchdown production came in garbage time.
The impending returns of Salvon Ahmed and Jeff Wilson Jr. (eligible to return from IR in Week 5) make this a difficult situation to read, but it’s hard to imagine a near 50-point fantasy scorer just disappearing from the offensive game plan.
If Achane is available in your league, he becomes one of the week’s top waiver wire pickups. Before today, Achane had one career rush and one career reception in the NFL. Now he’s the RB4 (PPR) after his RB1 performance in Week 3.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Stats: 5 receptions, 145 yards, 1 TD, 7 targets
Position Rank (pre-MNF): WR6 (23 points)
Analysis: In last week’s blurb on Nico Collins, I mentioned Tank Dell as another Houston Texans wide receiver with massive potential. The rookie paid off that belief with a top-six (pre-MNF) wide receiver performance in Week 3.
In Houston’s 37-17 victory over Jacksonville, Dell led the Texans with 145 receiving yards, five receptions, and seven targets despite playing only 34 snaps, compared to Woods’ 43 and Collins’ 37.
I still like Collins’ upside in this offense, but Dell is dominating target share at the moment. After receiving 20.9% of targets last week, Dell’s target share rose to 24.1% in Week 3. Meanwhile, Collins saw his target share drop from 20.9% in Week 2 to 10.3% on Sunday.
Dell is smaller than most wide receivers, but he very much looks the part right now. He moves at a different speed than most players and is dynamic in the open field. With Houston opening it up more with C.J. Stroud under center, Dell should be a flex option for the foreseeable future.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥🔥🔥
Stats: 3 receptions, 73 yards, 1 rush, 3 yards, 5 targets, 1 return TD
Position Rank (pre-MNF): WR14 (15.1 points)
Analysis: Another week, another Marvin Mims Jr. breakout game. Last week, Mims Jr. finished as the WR13 on the week thanks to a 2-113-1 TD stat line. Touchdowns on two targets (more on that in the tight end section) won’t happen very often, so people were understandably skeptical of Mims Jr.’s ability to repeat that production.
What did Mims Jr. do for an encore? He’s currently the WR14 on the week thanks to 73 receiving yards, three receptions and a special teams touchdown. He still isn’t getting consistent enough playing time (15 snaps, 11 routes), making him a risky bet to repeat this success weekly.
Despite that, Mims Jr. should be rostered everywhere. The rookie is making the most out of his opportunities, and it’s easy to project an uptick in usage as the season progresses.
Heat Index: 🔥🔥
Stats: 2 receptions, 4 yards, 2 TD, 2 targets
Position Rank (pre-MNF): TE4 (13.4 points)
Analysis: A story as old as time. Tight end scores a touchdown. Tight end finishes the week as a TE1. Double that production to two touchdown receptions, and we’re really cooking with gas.
Two touchdown receptions must mean Los Angeles tight end Donald Parham Jr. is a must-start moving forward then? Not so fast, my friend. Parham Jr. trailed fellow Chargers tight end Gerald Everett Jr. in snaps (38-34), routes run (24-17) and targets (6-2) on Sunday.
Scoring two touchdowns on two targets is the very definition of fluky, and betting on that to repeat for a part-time player is a risky proposition. Let someone else chase the points and target wide receivers Joshua Palmer and Quentin Johnston if wide receiver Mike Williams misses significant time with his knee injury.
Heat Index: 🔥