Week 3 was wildly entertaining, even if there were many blowouts. There were explosive offensive performances, defenses destroying their opponents, new head coaches strutting their stuff and a host of other intriguing happenings. This piece will look at some of the most eye-catching developments, with only the Monday Night Football doubleheader left before closing the book on this week’s action.
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Miami’s Backfield Packs a Punch
Per Pro-Football-Reference, Raheem Mostert averaged 88.5 scrimmage yards, 14.0 rush attempts and 1.5 receptions per game with three touchdowns through the first two weeks of the season, dominating Miami’s backfield usage. This week, he torched the Broncos for 82 rushing yards, seven receptions, 60 receiving yards and four touchdowns (three rushing and one receiving). Remarkably, Mostert wasn’t Miami’s top performer in the backfield.
Rookie De’Von Achane lit the Broncos up for 203 rushing yards, four receptions, 30 receiving yards and four touchdowns (two rushing and two receiving). Achane had only two touches before this week. His explosiveness was apparent, and he’s undoubtedly claimed a role in the offense from now on.
Still, even with Achane’s emergence, Mostert is a locked-in RB2 with weekly RB1 upside thanks to Miami’s explosive offense. Achane is in the flex mix with the potential to emerge as a more reliable option in the coming weeks, even with Jeff Wilson‘s return potentially looming. Basically, gamers should be excited about any exposure to players with a role in Miami’s high-octane offense.
Buffalo’s Defense Might be a Juggernaut
The Bills made Sam Howell‘s life hell on Sunday. They sacked him nine times and picked him off four times, with one resulting in a pick-six. They also had a fumble recovery. It was a herculean effort. Howell has struggled to avoid sacks this year. So, it would be easy to chalk Buffalo’s dominance up to overwhelming an inexperienced passer.
Yet, their pass rush is legit.
The Bills pressured Sam Howell on 27 of 39 dropbacks (69.2%), the 2nd-highest pressure rate in a game in the NGS era.
– Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 24, 2023
Buffalo’s absurd pressure numbers this week were without Von Miller. He could return as soon as Week 5, adding to their already dominant defensive line. Defenses can’t be started against Miami’s elite offense, and the Bills have them on tap. Still, Buffalo’s defense is the rare defense worth stashing on the bench for a week. They have many favorable matchups after facing the Dolphins this week.
Give Philadelphia’s 2022 Top Coordinators Their Flowers
The Colts hired Philadelphia’s 2022 offensive coordinator, Shane Steichen, as their head coach, and the Cardinals hired the Eagles’ 2022 defensive coordinator, Jonathan Gannon, as their head coach. Both coaches won on Sunday. More importantly for this piece, they’re creating fantasy-friendly environments. I tip my cap to them.
Houston Doesn’t Have a Problem.
Houston’s offensive line is ravaged by injuries. Nevertheless, C.J. Stroud is taking care of the football and piling up yardage. Tank Dell followed up an eye-catching showing in Week 2 with a blowup in Week 3, hauling in five receptions for 145 yards and one touchdown on seven targets. Nico Collins had a quiet contest in Week 3. Nevertheless, he had 13 receptions for 226 yards and a touchdown through the first two games and wasn’t completely silent against the Jaguars, catching two passes for 34 yards on three targets.
It’s a stellar start to the year for the Texans, and things can get better as Stroud gains experience and Houston’s line gets healthier. Finally, forward-thinking gamers should be excited about Houston’s passing game during the fantasy season’s most important weeks. They face the pass-funnel Titans in Week 15 and Week 17. Houston, we don’t have a problem, but the rest of the AFC South might.
Press Taylor Doesn’t Have the Midas Touch
The Press Taylor play-calling experience hasn’t gone according to the plan. Doug Pederson ceded play-calling duties to his offensive coordinator to begin the year, but it hasn’t been smooth sailing for the offense.
Fortunately, Pederson might have already had enough.
League source did tell me that Doug took over play-calling in the second half.
– Mia O’Brien (@MiaOBrienTV) September 24, 2023
This might be a fluid situation, but Pederson calling plays could be the lever that needs to be pulled to get the Jaguars back on the upward trajectory they entered the season on.
The Bears are Broken
Justin Fields isn’t playing NFL-caliber football. Period. The third-year quarterback has taken 13 sacks and attempted only 88 passes this season. In addition, despite being in a negative game script almost the entire game in Week 3, Fields passed for just 99 yards. He is cuttable in 12-team leagues or smaller, and none of Chicago’s players should be started in those leagues.
Is There a New Sack-Taking Machine to Stream Defenses Against?
I highlighted Howell as a sack-taking machine after Week 1, but a fellow second-year signal-caller might be in the same boat. Desmond Ridder was sacked seven times by the Lions on Sunday. In Week 2, Detroit sacked Geno Smith only once, and Seattle was without both of their starting tackles.
Ridder has been sacked 21 times on 224 attempts to pass (pass attempts plus sacks). So, using Pro-Football-Reference’s sack rate formula, he has a 9.4% sack rate in his career. Ridder’s sack rate would have been the fourth-highest among qualified quarterbacks in 2022.
The fantasy community has screamed and yelled about Arthur Smith leaning on the run. Yet, it’s easy to see why he’s unwilling to cut Ridder loose. When Atlanta is a betting underdog, their opponent is an exciting defense to use in fantasy leagues.