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The Primer: Week 3 Edition (2023 Fantasy Football)

The Primer: Week 3 Edition (2023 Fantasy Football)

Houston Texans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Bobby Slowik is a king. Houston remains a passing and play-volume paradise. The Texans are third and sixth in neutral pace and passing rate.
  • This could be one of the fastest-paced games on the Week 3 slate. Jacksonville will push the pace as well. They are 12th and ninth in neutral pace and passing rate.

Quarterbacks

C.J. Stroud: Stroud is learning on the job, which shows in his numbers. He’s 25th in passing grade, 23rd in adjusted completion rate, and 16th in yards per attempt. Stroud could have a sneaky good day in Week 3. The Jaguars are 16th in yards per attempt, allowing the 13th-lowest passer rating and the seventh-lowest adjusted completion rate. These numbers look scary, but we also have to remind ourselves that they faced Anthony Richardson in his first career start and a “struggling” Patrick Mahomes, who has yet to get on the same page with his receivers. This is the same pass defense that last year allowed the fourth-most passing touchdowns and ranked 15th in adjusted completion rate. Last season, Jacksonville also struggled against the deep ball, giving up the second-highest passer rating and fourth-most deep passing touchdowns. What could throw a wrench in that is if Jacksonville’s pass rush can get home. They are sixth in pressure rate. Stroud hasn’t been good against pressure, with the 18th-lowest adjusted completion rate and second-lowest passing grade against pressure. Week 3 Positional Value: QB2

Trevor Lawrence: Lawrence has been up and down so far, but his highs have been electric. He’s 20th in adjusted completion rate, ranking second in passing grade and first in big-time throw rate. Lawrence is primed for a monster day against Houston’s pass defense. They have given up the ninth-highest yards per attempt, the 11th-highest passer rating, and the second-highest adjusted completion rate. Look for Lawrence to chuck it deep constantly against a secondary, permitting the second-highest adjusted completion rate and third-highest passer rating to deep throws. Week 3 Positional Value: high-end QB1

Running Backs

Dameon Pierce: Pierce has not been the workhorse that I hoped for entering the season. He’s averaged only 46% of the snaps, 15 touches, and 41 total yards. He’s losing routes and snaps to Devon Singletary and Mike Boone weekly. He’s not breaking tackles at the same rate as last season, but I have to mention that his offensive line isn’t helping him out. Among 48 qualifying running backs, Pierce ranks 27th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 26th in yards after contact per attempt. This is behind an offensive line that has managed the fifth-lowest yards before contact. Pierce’s prospects in Week 3 look bleak. He faces a Jacksonville run defense with the second-best stuff rate, missed tackles allowed per attempt, and yards after contact per attempt. Houston will have to move the ball through the air this week. Week 3 Positional Value: RB3

Travis Etienne: Etienne is Jacksonville’s workhorse back. He’s averaged 76% of snaps played with 18.5 touches and 73 total yards as the RB19 in fantasy. Houston is an exploitable run defense. They have the tenth-lowest stuff rate while giving up the 11th-most missed tackles per attempt and sitting at 16th in yards after contact per attempt allowed. Etienne’s had half of his carries come on zone runs where he has been more effective (4.87 ypc vs. 2.93 ypc with gap). Houston is 16th in yards per carry allowed on zone runs. Week 3 Positional Value: RB1

Tank Bigsby: Bigsby is a stash only. He’s averaged only 20% of the snaps and didn’t record a touch last week. Week 3 Positional Value: Stash only

Wide Receivers

HOU vs. zone coverage

Player Target share% TPRR YPRR First-read %
Nico Collins 22.2 27 3.02 29.2
Tank Dell 19.4 25 1.88 20.8
Robert Woods 18.1 23 1.53 20.8

Nico Collins: Collins has been crushing it this season. He’s the WR6 with the fourth-most air yards in the NFL. He has a 22.0% Target share and a 40.7% air yard share. He is eighth in YPRR, immediately behind #PukaJuice. Collins will lead the way again this week against the Jaguars’ zone coverage. He leads the team in Target share, TPRR, YPRR, and first-read share against zone. Collins will run about 80% of his routes against Tyson Campbell (77.8% catch rate and 94.7 passer rating) and Darious Williams (72.7% catch rate and 102.8 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: WR2

Tank Dell: Dell was impressive in his first game as a full-time starter last week. He played 79% of the snaps while leading the team with a 21.3% Target share and ranking second to only Collins with a 21.9% first-read share. Dell also led the team in TPRR against zone coverage with 28% (Collins 24%, Woods 16%). Dell will run about 68% of his routes against Campbell and Williams. Don’t be surprised if he leads the team in targets again in Week 3. Week 3 Positional Value: WR3/4 with WR2 upside

Robert Woods: Woods is the third option in this passing attack. Last week, he took over the slot role from Noah Brown (IR). Woods saw a 19.1% Target share and a 24.4% air-yard share with 1.68 YPRR. He was the first read on 18.8% of passing plays. Woods has also been the third option against zone. He’ll see Tre Herndon (80% catch rate and 98.3 passer rating) on about 61% of his routes. Week 3 Positional Value: WR4

JAC vs. zone coverage

Player Target share% TPRR YPRR First-read %
Calvin Ridley 26.8 31 1.90 29.5
Christian Kirk 19.6 26 2.36 25
Zay Jones 16.1 23 1.28 18.2
Evan Engram 16.1 18 1.33 20.5

Calvin Ridley: Ridley has a 24.3% Target share and a 37.5% air-yard share with 2.05 YPRR. He is second on the team with a 25.9% first-read Target share. Some of that is skewed after last week’s game when Christian Kirk had 31.3% of his targets on designed plays. Ridley has also been the Jaguars zone coverage go-to leading the team by a substantial margin in Target share, TPRR, and first-read share. Ridley is tied with Zay Jones for the team lead in red zone targets. They are the only receiving options that Lawrence has looked at inside the 20 this season. Ridley will be peppered this week as he runs about 84% of his routes against Steven Nelson (66.7% catch rate and 40.3 passer rating) and Shaquill Griffin (2022: 68.8% catch rate and 125.0 passer rating. Week 3 Positional Value: WR1

Christian Kirk: In Week 2, Kirk had a 77.6% route run rate per team drop back, with a 33.3% Target share in Week 2. While his numbers in Week 1 were disappointing, with Zay Jones out this week, Kirk will be a full-time player in two wide receiver sets that likely kicks into the slot when they go three wide. Last year, with Zay Jones out in Week 4, Kirk played 48% of his snaps in the slot and 44% on the perimeter. When he’s outside, he’ll face Nelson and Griffin, but when he runs from the slot, he will see M.J. Stewart in coverage (Career: 75.7% catch rate and 115.6 passer rating). The injuries to this Texans’ secondary will loom large this week. Derek Stingley, Jalen Pitre, and Tavierre Thomas have all been ruled out. Kirk should ball out again this week. Week 3 Positional Value: WR3/4

Zay Jones: Jones has been ruled out (knee). 

Tight Ends

Dalton Schultz: Schultz is an afterthought in this offense. He has a 77.4% route run per team dropback rate, but he’s only drawn a 9.1% Target share and produced 0.10 YPRR. His Target share only climbs to 9.4% against zone (12% TPRR, 0.15 YPRR). This week, Schultz qualifies as a matchup streamer against a Jaguars defense that has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards and ninth-highest yards per reception to tight ends. Week 3 Positional Value: low-end TE2 matchup-based streaming option

Evan Engram: Engram has a 17.6% Target share and a 20.7% first-read share. He ranks third in receiving grade and sixth in YPRR among tight ends (minimum six targets). Engram has been stonewalled in the red zone, as only Ridley and Jones have drawn targets inside the 20. Houston is 17th in receiving yards allowed to tight ends, but they have allowed the sixth-highest yards per reception. Week 3 Positional Value: TE1

NYG vs. SF TEN vs. CLE ATL vs. DET NO vs. GB DEN vs. MIA LAC vs. MIN NE vs. NYJ BUF vs. WAS HOU vs. JAC IND vs. BAL CAR vs. SEA CHI vs. KC DAL vs. ARI PIT vs. LV PHI vs. TB LAR vs. CIN

Indianapolis Colts vs. Baltimore Ravens

Pace and playcalling notes

  • The Colts remain swift and pass-happy. They are fourth and 13th in neutral pace and passing rate.
  • I’m still waiting to see the pass-centric offense we were promised for Baltimore. The Ravens are 17th in neutral pace with the fifth-highest neutral rushing rate.

Quarterbacks

Anthony Richardson: Richardson has been ruled out (concussion).

Gardner Minshew: Minshew Mania is set to start this week for Indy. Minshew has played like a replacement-level backup quarterback over the last two seasons when he’s seen the field. This season, he is ninth in passing grade, but Minshew also ranks 17th in yards per attempt and has the third-lowest aDOT (minimum 20 dropbacks). Last year, among all quarterbacks with at least 75 dropbacks, he had the 12th-lowest passing grade, the fifth-highest turnover-worthy play rate, and the worst adjusted completion rate in the NFL. Even in Superflex leagues, you can likely find a positional player better to roster. Don’t play Minshew this week. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Lamar Jackson: Jackson might be the QB21 in fantasy, but he’s not playing like a scrub by any means. Jackson is eighth in passing grade, ninth in yards per attempt, and sixth in big-time throw rate. Jackson is headed for a ceiling week against Indy’s zone defense (82-83% zone for their starting corners). This season against zone, Jackson has the eighth-highest yards per attempt and sixth-highest passer rating. Indy’s young secondary has struggled to open the season. They have allowed the fifth-highest yards per attempt, third-most passing touchdowns (tied), and the seventh-highest passer rating. Week 3 Positional Value: Top-five QB

Running Backs

Zack Moss: Moss finished as the RB10 last week. He played 98% of the snaps with 22 touches and 107 total yards. Among 48 qualifying running backs, he ranks ninth in missed tackles forced per attempt and 15th in yards after contact per attempt. Moss should get all the volume he can handle this week, but temper your expectations some. Baltimore is only 15th in stuff rate, but they have held opposing backs to the 11th-lowest missed tackles allowed rate and the 12th-lowest yards per carry on zone runs (Moss 77% zone in Week 2). Week 3 Positional Value: RB2

Justice Hill: Hill has been ruled out (foot).

Gus Edwards:Edwards takes over the lead role this week with Hill sidelined. This is not a matchup where I’ll rush to plug Edwards into my lineups. First off, the Baltimore offensive line is banged up. Tyler Linderbaum is out, and so is Ronnie Stanley. Secondly, this is a nightmare matchup for the Gus Bus. The bus has flat tires this year. Among 49 qualifying running backs, Edwards ranks 41st in yards after contact per attempt and tied for dead last in elusive rating with Devin Singletary, Ezekiel Elliott, and Deon Jackson. That’s not good. Not good at all. Indy has been an elite run defense this season. They have allowed the fifth-lowest explosive run rate. They also boast the fourth-best stuff rate and have the eighth-lowest missed tackles allowed per attempt. Week 3 Positional Value: Touchdown or bust flex play

Wide Receivers

Michael Pittman: Pittman has been a target hog. He has a 30.6% Target share, a 36.3% air yard share, and a whopping 39.6% first-read share. Among 60 qualifying receivers, he’s 26th in YPRR. He is second on the team (Downs, three) with two red zone targets. He’ll run about 75% of his routes against Brandon Stephens (57.1% catch rate and 71.7 passer rating) and Ronald Darby (50% catch rate and 99.0 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: WR2/3

Josh Downs: Downs has managed a 15.3% Target share and 68% route run per team drop back rate. He’s only seen a 14.6% first-read share and produced 1.2 YPRR. The matchup is a plus for him this week. He’ll run about 89% of his routes against Arthur Maulet (career: 66.7% catch rate and 85.3 passer rating). Downs leads the team with three red zone targets. Week 3 Positional Value: WR4/5 with a good corner matchup

Alec Pierce: Drop Pierce from your rosters. He has commanded only a 6.9% Target share (nice 🙂 and a 12.4% air yard share despite running a route on 76.8% of dropbacks. This is not good, Bob. Week 3 Positional Value: Droppable

BAL vs. zone coverage *excluding screen passes*

Player TPRR YPRR First Read %
Zay Flowers 9 2.66 18.8
Mark Andrews 33 2.33 45.5
Odell Beckham Jr. 9 0.97 12.5
Rashod Bateman 23 2.00 18.8
Nelson Agholor 21 2.00 6.3

Zay Flowers: Flowers has a 27.3% Target share and a 21.8% air yard share. Among 60 qualifying wide receivers, he’s ranked 16th in receiving grade and YPRR. In Week 1, he drew a ridiculous 45.5% Target share and 60% first read share. Yes, a large portion of that first-read share was related to screens. In Week 2, his usage came crashing back to earth with a 15.2% Target share and a 19.2% first-read share. That first-read share was still good for second-best on the team, though. Against zone coverage (excluding designed or screen targets), Flowers leads the team in YPRR, but he falls down the pecking order in TPRR and first-read share. Flowers will run about 62% of his routes against Dallis Flowers (50% catch rate and 100.0 passer rating) and Darrell Baker Jr. (61.5% catch rate and 125.8 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: WR3

Odell Beckham Jr.: Beckham Jr. has been ruled out (ankle).

Rashod Bateman:With Beckham Jr. out, Bateman likely takes over the starting spot outside opposite Zay Flowers. Nelson Agholor worked in last, but he has run 70.4% of his routes from the slot this season (72.2% last week). Agholor and Bateman play two very different roles in this offense. Last week, Bateman ran 80% of his routes on the perimeter. Bateman could be bumped up into a full-time role this week. He saw his route run per team dropback rate increase from 48.4% in Week 1 to 52.5% in Week 2. If we zoom in further, in the second half of last week’s game, Bateman ran a route on 75% of the team’s dropbacks, which was tied with Mark Andrews for second on the team behind only Flowers. The talent has always been present with Bateman. This week, it looks like we get Bateman finally unleashed in a full-time role. With his 23% TPRR and 2.00 YPRR against zone this year, he could explode this week while running his routes against the burnable perimeter cornerback duo of Flowers and Baker Jr. Week 3 Positional Value: WR3/4 with WR2 upside

Tight Ends

Kylen Granson: Granson has a 64.6% route run per team dropback rate and a 13.9% Target share. These are TE2-worthy streamer-worthy numbers when the right matchup presents itself. Sadly, that is not this week. This season, Baltimore has held tight ends to the fifth-fewest receiving yards and second-lowest yards per reception. They were tough against the position last season as well, holding tight ends to the seventh-fewest receiving yards and ninth-fewest fantasy points. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit TE2

Mark Andrews: Last week, in his first game action, Andrews had a 75% route run per team dropback rate, a 24.2% Target share, 27% TPRR, and 1.50 YPRR. As you can see from the above chart, he’s the clear number-one option for the team against zone coverage. Andrews should feast this week. Last season, Indy allowed the sixth-highest yards per reception to tight ends. This year, they have permitted the ninth-most receiving yards and 11th-highest yards per reception to the position. Week 3 Positional Value: Top-three TE

NYG vs. SF TEN vs. CLE ATL vs. DET NO vs. GB DEN vs. MIA LAC vs. MIN NE vs. NYJ BUF vs. WAS HOU vs. JAC IND vs. BAL CAR vs. SEA CHI vs. KC DAL vs. ARI PIT vs. LV PHI vs. TB LAR vs. CIN

Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

Pace and playcalling notes

  • The Panthers remain in protect Bryce Young mode. They have the third-slowest neutral pace and the 12th-highest neutral rushing rate.
  • Seattle remains a middle-of-the-road pace team that likes to throw the ball. They are 16th in neutral pace and 11th-best in neutral passing rate.

Quarterbacks

Bryce Young: Young has been ruled out (ankle).

Andy Dalton: Dalton will be under center this week as Bryce Young has been ruled out. Dalton is an interesting streaming option. No one wants to hear this, but Dalton played good football last season. He was sixth in passing grade, ninth in yards per attempt, and 11th in adjusted completion rate. Seattle has been a terrible pass defense so far this season. They have surrendered the third-most yards per attempt, the fifth-highest passer rating, and the tenth-highest adjusted completion rate. Seattle has utilized zone coverage on 53-71% of their corners’ snaps this season. Last year, Dalton ranked ninth-best in passer rating, 13th-best in adjusted completion rate, and ninth-best in CPOE against zone coverage. Week 3 Positional Value: QB2 with sneaky upside (don’t underestimate the sneakiness)

Geno Smith: After a rough outing in Week 1, Chef Geno rebounded with a QB8 outing in Week 2. Smith looks like the player who stole our hearts in 2022. He’s 12th in passing grade, first in adjusted completion rate, and seventh in passer rating. As good as those numbers are, this is a week to consider sitting him, depending on your options. Carolina has been tough against quarterbacks, holding them to the fifth-fewest fantasy points per game. The Panthers’ secondary has also held passers to the 13th-lowest yards per attempt, the tenth-lowest passer rating, and the 12th-lowest CPOE on deep passes. Week 3 Positional Value: QB2

Running Backs

Miles Sanders: Sanders is the Panthers’ clear lead back. He’s played 57-62% of the snaps, averaging 19.5 touches and 72.5 total yards. Sanders has not been efficient with his touches, though. Among 48 qualified running backs, he ranks 45th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 42nd in yards after contact per attempt. These numbers are WOOF-worthy. Sanders is headed for a week of uphill sledding against Seattle. The Seahawks have the sixth-best stuff rate while also holding rushers to the 12th-lowest yards after contact per attempt. They have also stifled zone runs, yielding the second-lowest yards per carry (1.45). Sanders has seen 62.5% of his runs on zone plays. Week 3 Positional Value: volume-based RB2/3

Chuba Hubbard: Hubbard has played 36-37% of the snaps, averaging nine touches and 59.5 total yards. With this limited snap rate and volume, you’re praying for efficiency if you’re considering flexing him. That likely doesn’t happen here against Seattle’s tough run defense. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Kenneth Walker: Walker has maintained his firm grip on the starter’s job ahead of Zach Charbonnet. He’s averaged 62% of the snaps with 17 touches and 60.5 total yards. Walker is sixth in missed tackles forced per attempt and 28th in yards after contact per attempt. Carolina is a plus matchup for Walker. They have the fourth-lowest stuff rate, rank 15th in missed tackles allowed per attempt, and are sixth-worst in yards after contact per attempt allowed. Week 3 Positional Value: low-end RB1

Zach Charbonnet: Charbonnet is a handcuff stash only. He’s only averaged 26% of snaps played with 4.5 touches and 20.5 total yards. Week 3 Positional Value: Handcuff only

Wide Receivers

CAR vs. zone coverage

Player TPRR YPRR First Read %
Adam Thielen 7 0.49 14.3
Jonathan Mingo 17 0.58 33.3
Hayden Hurst 20 1.27 19

Adam Thielen: Thielen came alive in Week 2 with a 27.3% Target share, a 32.4% air yard share, and a 25% TPRR. He finished with 1.5 YPRR and a miniscule 6.4 aDOT. Seattle has utilized zone coverage on 53-71% of their corner’s snaps this season. Theilen has shown his age this season against zone with a 7% TPRR, 0.49 YPRR, and 14.2% first-read share. Thielen will run about 76% of his routes against Coby Bryant (85.7% catch rate and 102.4 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: WR4

Jonathan Mingo: Mingo is an interesting dart throw this week. He leads the team with an 18.3% Target share and a 40.5% air yard share. He hasn’t been productive with the volume, with only 0.58 YPRR, but there’s hope that this week will lead to better results. Mingo is tied with Thielen for the team lead with a 30.3% first-read share. Mingo buries Thielen in first read share against zone coverage with 33.3% (Thielen 14.3%). Mingo will run about 67% of his routes against Devon Witherspoon (60% catch rate and 143.8 passer rating) and Tre Brown (66.7% catch rate and 107.2 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: upside WR4

D.J. Chark: With Chark, we’re in wait-and-see mode. Last week, he only ran a route on 56% of the team’s dropbacks with a 3% Target share. We’ll see if his snaps are upgraded this week. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

SEA vs. zone coverage

Player Target share TPRR YPRR First Read %
Tyler Lockett 20 22 1.07 22.2
D.K. Metcalf 14 15 1.98 18.5
Jaxon Smith-Njigba 14 23 1.57 7.4

Tyler Lockett: Lockett leads the team with a 20.9% Target share and a 41.1% air yard share. He remains the team’s preferred weapon against zone coverage (CAR 58-70% zone with their corners), with a 20% Target share and a team-leading 22.2% first-read share. Lockett leads the team with four red zone targets. Lockett will run about 68% of his routes against Donte Jackson (54.5% catch rate and 84.7 passer rating) and C.J. Henderson (85.7% catch rate and 118.8 passer rating). Chef Geno will lean on Lockett this week, especially with D.K. Metcalf banged up. Week 3 Positional Value: WR2

D.K. Metcalf: Metcalf has a 16.4% Target share and a 36.0% air-yard share. Among 60 qualifying wide receivers, he ranks 21st in receiving grade and 26th in YPRR. Metcalf will take a step back this week against the Panther’s zone-heavy defense. This season, the divide versus zone has widened even farther between Lockett and Metcalf. Metcalf only has a 14% Target share and an 18.5% first-read share. Metcalf is a threat for a big play or touchdown in any week (second on the team in red zone targets), so there’s only so far you can drop him in the rankings. Metcalf will run about 77% of his routes against Jackson and Henderson. Metcalf is banged up with a rib issue. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday and has been listed as questionable. Week 3 Positional Value: Low-end WR2/WR3

Jaxon Smith-Njigba: Smith-Njigba remains a sit and hold. He’s only seen a 60% route per team dropback rate. He’s not seeing enough snaps or target volume (16.4%) to overcome his insane 1.6 aDOT. This remains a situation where I believe the team is protecting Smith-Njigba until he’s fully healthy, so for now, we watch and wait. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-Sit

Tight Ends

Hayden Hurst: I feel like cherry-picking. I’m not bothering with Hurst’s usage against the no-fly zone for tight ends known as the Saints’ defense that he encountered in Week 2. No one should have expected Hurst to do anything against that defense. In Week 1, Hurst had a 64.3% route run per team dropback rate with an 18.4% Target share, 26% TPRR, and 1.52 YPRR. Those are excellent numbers, although I do think the route run rate was higher. Hurst should be a focal point of the passing attack against a defense that has struggled against tight ends over the last two seasons. This year, Seattle has allowed the fourth-most receiving yards and the highest yards per reception to the position. Week 3 Positional Value: low-end TE1

SEA TEs: Seattle’s tight-end situation remains a three-headed monster, with no player seeing more than a 42% route run per team drop back rate. That’s not enough route volume to talk yourself into playing anyone.

NYG vs. SF TEN vs. CLE ATL vs. DET NO vs. GB DEN vs. MIA LAC vs. MIN NE vs. NYJ BUF vs. WAS HOU vs. JAC IND vs. BAL CAR vs. SEA CHI vs. KC DAL vs. ARI PIT vs. LV PHI vs. TB LAR vs. CIN

Chicago Bears vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Pace and playcalling notes

  • Chicago has the sixth-slowest neutral pace while ranking 18th in neutral passing rate.
  • The Chiefs are predictably quick and love the passing game. Kansas City is 11th and fifth in neutral pace and passing rate.

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields: It hasn’t been pretty. Fields is struggling. I could go on a long rant about Luke Getsy’s play calling, the offensive play designs, the blocking assignments and protections, the abysmal offensive line play, etc., but I won’t. None of those things will help you decide to risk it or shy away this week with Fields in Fantasy. Fields addressed the media this week, and to quickly paraphrase, he said he will play more like himself, which I interpret as he will grip it, rip it, and run more this week. I’m here for all of that. His numbers are rough but must be mentioned here. Fields has the fifth-lowest passing grade, tenth-lowest yards per attempt, and ninth-lowest adjusted completion rate. The Chiefs are a nasty defense against quarterbacks, allowing the seventh-lowest yards per attempt, eighth-lowest passer rating, and the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game. Outside of producing fantasy points with his legs, Fields can create chunk plays with the deep ball this week against a secondary that was susceptible to it last season. Last year, Kansas City allowed the sixth-highest passer rating and seventh-most (tied) deep passing touchdowns. This is the one area Fields has been able to rise above this season. Among 30 quarterbacks with at least four deep attempts, Fields ranks second in deep passing grade and first in deep adjusted completion rate. Week 3 Positional Value: QB1

Patrick Mahomes: I don’t have to waste my time telling you to start Mahomes. If he has a functioning throwing arm and two legs to move around the pocket, you play Mahomes. Chicago does offer a good spot for Mahomes to post a ceiling performance. The Bears have allowed the second-highest yards per attempt, the highest passer rating, and the tenth-highest CPOE on deep balls. Week 3 Positional Value: Top-five QB weekly

Running Backs

Week 2

Player Rushing attempts Targets Routes
Khalil Herbert 7 3 16
Roschon Johnson 4 2 13

Khalil Herbert: Herbert saw the biggest bump from D’Onta Foreman being a healthy scratch last week. Herbert played 60% of the snaps with eight touches and 58 total yards. Herbert ranks 13th in missed tackles forced per attempt and 22nd in yards after contact per attempt. The Chiefs’ run defense has been pliable with the 12th-lowest stuff rate, the eighth-highest missed tackles allowed rate, and the 12th-highest yards after contact per attempt allowed. The problem for Herbert is that 56% of his runs have been on zone plays. The Chiefs have allowed the sixth-lowest yards per carry to zone runs. Week 3 Positional Value: low-end RB3

Roschon Johnson: Johnson has played 39-42% of the snaps, averaging 8.5 touches and 48.5 total yards. This would be the perfect spot to unleash Johnson, but I don’t have faith in the Chicago coaching staff to do that. Among 53 qualifying running backs, Johnson ranks 30th in missed tackles forced per attempt and ninth-best in yards after contact per attempt. The key for Johnson here is that 60% of his runs have come on gap plays. These are the Chiefs’ kryptonite. They have allowed the 11th-highest yards per carry (4.5) and ninth-highest success rate to gap runs. Week 3 Positional Value: RB3/4

Isiah Pacheco:Pacheco missed practice to open the week before logging limited sessions on Thursday and Friday. He has been listed as questionable. Pacheco has averaged 12.5 touches and 62 total yards while playing 48-51% of the snaps. It’s difficult to imagine that Kansas City will push him into a higher snap role on a gimpy hammy this week. Pacheco ranks 31st in yards after contact per attempt and 19th in elusive rating. The Bears’ run defense has the tenth-highest stuff rate and ranks 16th in yards after contact per attempt allowed. They have limited gap runs to the seventh-lowest yards per carry (Pacheco 60% gap). Week 3 Positional Value: RB3

Jerick McKinnon:Mckinnon has averaged 32% of snaps played with only 2.5 touches and 16 total yards per game. These aren’t exactly sexy numbers. If you’re desperate for a flex play in deep PPR leagues, though, you could do worse than McKinnon this week if you’re tossing darts. Last year, Chicago allowed the eighth-highest yards per reception to running backs. This season, they have given up the most receiving yards and the highest yards per reception to opposing backs. Week 3 Positional Value: deep PPR league flex play

Week 3 Positional Value:

Wide Receivers

D.J. Moore: After being shadowed by Jaire Alexander in Week 1, Moore broke out in Week 2. He has a 20.7% Target share, a 32.6% air yard share, 3.25 YPRR, and a 30% first-read share. Moore is tied for the team lead in deep targets, so if Fields is looking to chuck it deep, Moore will be a part of that game plan. Moore will run about 79% of his routes against L’Jarius Sneed (63.6% catch rate and 90.7 passer rating) and Joshua Williams (25% catch rate and 45.8 passer rating). Week 3 Positional Value: WR2/3

Chase Claypool: Last week, Claypool had a 24.1% Target share, a 41.4% air yard share, and 1.71 YPRR. He was second to only Moore with a 25% first-read share. Claypool has been a disappointing player, with multiple clips of lack-of-effort reps hitting social media. The talent is in there somewhere, but I wonder if we’ll ever see it again flourish on an NFL field. Claypool will run about 82% of his routes against Sneed and Williams. Week 3 Positional Value: WR5

Darnell Mooney:Mooney (knee) had back-to-back limited practices to open the week before practicing in full on Friday. Darnell Mooney has only a 10.6% Target share and a 14% TPRR this season. He’s the third or possibly fourth option on a struggling passing attack. You likely have stronger flex options this week than Mooney. The Chiefs have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Skyy Moore: I wish I could recommend Moore as a start after his 54-yard scamper last week, but I can’t. He only has a 63.3% route run per team dropback rate, a 10% Target share, and an 18% air yard share. Moore is tied for fifth on the team with Noah Gray with an 11.1% first-read share. There’s nothing here to twist or turn to talk yourself into playing Moore. Could he go off against this burnable secondary? Yep. It’s possible, but it’s not probable. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Valdes-Scantling is a must-sit. He’s been supplanted as the team’s deep threat (13.8 aDOT). Last week he had a pretty matchup against a team that struggled against the deep ball and he did nothing. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Justin Watson: I know this is a deep pull, but hear me out. Watson leads the team with a 24.6 aDOT. I understand he only has a 38.9% route run per team dropback rate. He has a 10% Target share and a 23% TPRR. Watson has a 67% TPRR on deep routes and leads the team with four deep targets. Playing Watson in a deep league is praying for him to connect on one or two deep shots from Mahomes, which can happen. Chicago has allowed the seventh-highest passer rating, 13th-highest adjusted completion rate, and the 11th-highest yards per attempt on deep targets this season. Week 3 Positional Value: deep league flex or desperation flex play

Kadarius Toney:Toney is now dealing with a toe injury. He didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday before getting in a limited practice on Friday. Toney has played 25-28% of the snaps weekly, averaging five targets, three receptions, and only 18 receiving yards. He remains banged up, so I doubt his snaps will rise more than previous levels this week. Toney is a touchdown or bust desperation flex play. Even if you’re tossing flex darts this week, there are shinier ones in the box to choose from. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-sit

Tight Ends

Cole Kmet: Kmet has an 18.2% Target share and a 22.6% air yard share. Among 34 qualifying tight ends, he ranks eighth in receiving grade and 11th in YPRR. Kmet faces a Chiefs’ defense that has allowed the eighth-most receiving yards and 11th-most fantasy points to tight ends. Last season, Kansas City gave up the tenth-highest yards per reception and the most fantasy points to slot tight ends (Kmet 51.3% slot rate). Week 3 Positional Value: TE2 with TE1 upside this week

Travis Kelce: Kelce played 64% of the snaps last week, and he still led the team with a 22.0% Target share. He had a 36% TPRR and 1.04 YPRR as he drew nine targets. Hopefully, another week post-injury, we see Kelce closer to a full snap share, but even on limited reps, he’s still a lock for eight or more targets. The lesson is that if Kelce is active, you play him. End of story. Week 3 Positional Value: Must-start always

NYG vs. SF TEN vs. CLE ATL vs. DET NO vs. GB DEN vs. MIA LAC vs. MIN NE vs. NYJ BUF vs. WAS HOU vs. JAC IND vs. BAL CAR vs. SEA CHI vs. KC DAL vs. ARI PIT vs. LV PHI vs. TB LAR vs. CIN

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