Week 3 of the 2023 NFL season is mostly in the books, with two Monday Night Football games remaining, giving us plenty of players to react to from a fantasy football context. There were many stud performances, especially for the Miami Dolphins, who scored 70 points in a lopsided rout of the Denver Broncos. Meanwhile, there were plenty of dud performances to go around, ranging from Breece Hall (RB – Jets) and CeeDee Lamb (WR – Cowboys), to Justin Fields (QB – Bears) and Darren Waller (TE – Giants).
Matt MacKay gives us his latest analysis on some of the best and worst fantasy football performances that occurred in Week 3. Using half-PPR scoring, let’s dive further into the players who won and lost fantasy football league matchups during a highly entertaining weekend in the NFL.
De’Von Achane (RB – Dolphins)
Miami’s rookie running back exploded against Denver in Week 3, handling 18 carries for 203 yards and two touchdowns, while hauling in all four targets for an additional 30 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns. Achane’s blend of speed, vision, and athleticism works perfectly within head coach Mike McDaniel’s scheme, finishing with 49.3 fantasy points. Now that Miami’s developed a strong running game to complement its explosive passing attack, Achane should remain a mid-range RB2 with RB1 upside moving forward.
Raheem Mostert (RB – Dolphins)
Miami’s other running back, Raheem Mostert, who led the Dolphins backfield in touches and fantasy production, still managed to score four touchdowns during Achane’s career day, finishing with 13 carries for three rushing touchdowns, plus hauling in all seven targets for an additional 60 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. Mostert has been more consistent than Achane, although injuries had kept the rookie off the field, so moving forward, we’ll likely see more of the 50/50 split we witnessed during Sunday’s 70-20 rout. Mostert is a high-end RB2, perhaps even a fringe RB1, on the most dynamic, potent offense in the league right now.
Adam Thielen (WR – Panthers)
Andy Dalton’s (QB – Panthers) return to starting quarterback saw the Panthers’ offense take huge steps forward despite a loss in Seattle. Adam Thielen was the biggest beneficiary, catching 11 of 14 targets for 145 yards and a touchdown, averaging 14.3 yards per target and 17.4 yards per reception. These numbers are much better than what we saw from Thielen during Bryce Young’s (QB – Panthers) first two career starts, so if Dalton remains QB1, Thielen should be viewed as a low-end WR2/fringe WR3. If Young returns from his ankle injury, Thielen becomes a WR4 with WR3 upside instead.
Keenan Allen (WR – Chargers)
Keenan Allen has tapped into a different level this season and more should be expected following Mike Williams’ (WR – Chargers) ACL tear suffered during Sunday’s win over Minnesota. Allen caught 18 of 20 targets for 215 yards, which was more than enough to get him into the overall WR1 in half-PPR scoring formats, despite not finding the end zone. Allen is clearly Justin Herbert’s (QB – Chargers) favorite target, and now that Williams is done for the season, expect his target share to rise even more, if that’s even possible. Allen is an unquestionable WR1 with top-five rest of season upside at the wide receiver position.
Sam LaPorta (TE – Lions)
It took a big downfield reception to get to the top of the tight end performances, but rookie tight end Sam LaPorta caught eight of 11 targets for 84 yards and a touchdown in a low-scoring win over the Atlanta Falcons. LaPorta is second on the Lions in target share at 22.7 percent, and he’s caught 18 of 22 balls thrown his way, so LaPorta is looking like a bonafide TE1 in fantasy football moving forward, even when Jameson Williams (WR – Lions) returns from suspension in Week 7.
Lamar Jackson (QB – Ravens)
The Ravens may have lost to the Colts to end their undefeated streak, but Lamar Jackson returned to 2019 MVP form on Sunday, handling 14 carries for 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns as the Ravens’ primary ball carrier. Passing production was more sparse, as Jackson failed to throw a touchdown, but he did complete 71 percent of his pass attempts for 202 yards. The injury-riddled Ravens’ backfield benefits Jackson, so keep him valued as a top-tier fantasy QB1 due to the rushing floor he provides.
Najee Harris (RB – Steelers)
It’s been three weeks now and we’ve yet to see Najee Harris get going. Granted, Jaylen Warren (RB – Steelers) hasn’t fared well on running plays either, but at least the Steelers are feeding him targets. Harris has looked slow, inefficient, and is quickly getting phased out of Pittsburgh’s passing attack. Their ability to win two consecutive games without Harris doing much of anything is concerning for Harris’ fantasy managers, while Warren quietly awaits what feels like an inevitable changing of the guard. Harris is an RB3 with RB2 upside until further notice.
Rhamondre Stevenson (RB – Patriots)
Rhamondre Stevenson has averaged 3.3 YPC or worse in each of New England’s first three games played. His targets have bounced between three and six during this stretch, while his receiving yards have dropped dramatically. One touchdown against the Dolphins late in the Patriots’ Week 2 loss has been Stevenson’s saving grace, along with his usage as a receiver in Week 1 against the Eagles, catching all six targets for 64 receiving yards. Stevenson is still the RB1 despite Ezekiel Elliot’s (RB – Patriots) presence, but the inefficient Patriots offense is concerning. Stevenson is a mid-range RB2 with low-end RB1 upside heading into Week 4.
CeeDee Lamb (WR – Cowboys)
CeeDee Lamb fell out of the top 36 fantasy wide receiver finishes for the first time in Week 3 against a relentless Arizona Cardinals defense. Lamb’s four receptions on seven targets for 53 yards won’t happen every week, but in a run-centric Dallas offense, he’ll need to be hyper efficient when the volume isn’t there like it was in Week 2 against the New York Jets. Don’t panic yet, Lamb is still an unquestioned WR1, but he gets another tough matchup against New England in Week 4, so treat him as a low-end WR1/fringe WR2 until a Week 6 matchup against the Chargers.
Tyler Lockett (WR – Seahawks)
Through three weeks, Tyler Lockett leads the Seahawks with a 21.9 percent target share. Yes, it was a quiet outing for the veteran slot wideout, but he scored a pair of touchdowns against a good Detroit defense in Week 2, so don’t read too much into Lockett’s dud performance. His yards per target have been under six yards, which is standard for Lockett, who is a beast with yards after reception. Seattle’s upcoming matchup against the Giants in Week 4 could see Lockett return to WR1 production, so keep him locked into fantasy football lineups.
Hunter Henry (TE – Patriots)
The most consistent tight end in fantasy football, Hunter Henry, finally saw his touchdown streak end, as Mac Jones (QB – Patriots) turned to Pharaoh Brown (TE – Patriots) for a huge touchdown in an ugly, defensive battle that led to a 15-10 win over the New York Jets. In Week 3, Henry tied the Patriots’ skilled players for the most targets with five. So, despite barely registering any production for fantasy football managers, he’ll bounce back as a focal point of the offense against the Cowboys’ defense, which looked pedestrian against the Cardinals following the loss of star cornerback, Trevon Diggs (CB – Cowboys).
Daniel Jones (QB – Giants)
After a resilient comeback effort that led to a 31-28 win over Arizona in Week 2, erasing a 20-0 halftime deficit, Daniel Jones reverted back to his Week 1 production against San Francisco’s elite defense in Week 3. Jones failed to record a touchdown through the air or on the ground, while finishing with 137 passing yards and an interception. Jones, who typically offers a fantasy floor with his rushing upside, finished the game with two carries for five rushing yards. Fantasy managers can turn to other streaming options at this point, but Jones does get a better matchup against Seattle’s defense in Week 4, which has already been carved up by Matthew Stafford (QB – Rams), Jared Goff (QB – Lions), and Andy Dalton (QB – Panthers). Jones is a high-end QB2 with low-end QB1 upside in non-Super Flex leagues entering Week 4.