Finding “ten things” won't be any problem as Week 3
produced heartache, surprises, affirmation and much, much more.
It was the weekend when teams most resembled who they will be in
Week 1 of the regular season. So, let's dig in…
1. There was Heartache
The lack of injuries this pre-season to players expected to contribute
significantly during the NFL's regular season had been encouraging.
Two days later, the reality has sunk in. Julian Edelman. Spencer Ware. Cameron Meredith. All three done for the year after being
drafted by many fantasy owners in past weeks.
Edelman and Ware's arrows were starting to point down prior to the
injuries, but they still figured to be viable RB/WR 2/3. Meredith
was unquestionably the best option in the Chicago passing game.
So, who will be forced to step up? Edelman will no doubt be replaced
by a committee of able bodies, while rookie Kareem Hunt and Kevin White will be given opportunities to lead.
Taking off the fantasy goggles for a moment, your heart goes out
to all of these guys. Putting the goggles back in, we learned a
little more about the roles Chris Hogan, Hunt, and White may now
take on from action this weekend. Look for Hunt to benefit the most
as he's in the best situation to excel given offensive scheme and
lack of competition.
DeVante Parker's ADP continues to rise
as many believe Cutler's downfield ability will spike his
2. Time to get Bullish on Miami's Offense
Year 1 of the Adam Gase era brought some respectability to Dolphins
offense. After watching Miami in Week 3 of the pre-season, I think
another jump forward may be forthcoming. Jay Cutler can make the
throws that Ryan Tannehill either cannot, or isn't comfortable making.
That makes DeVante Parker a legit breakout candidate. Parker hauled
in two catches this past weekend, one of them being a 72-yard bomb
that was perfectly executed. Meanwhile, Jay Ajayi ran for two scores,
looked to be in mid-season form, and averaged just under six yards
a carry. If you haven't drafted yet, don't let Ajayi go past the
first 15 overall picks and grab Parker much earlier than most of
the experts are telling you. Upside and intuition demand it.
3. But the Dolphins Didn't Win. How
It feels odd to talk up a team that didn't win their pre-season
game, but fantasy football isnít about team wins and losses.
In this case, Miami got one-upped on the scoreboard by another offense
that looked pretty salty. We mentioned last week that the QB talent
takes a drop after Eli Manning and Andy Dalton. Let me add into
the mix a guy that I think could surpass them both and is looking
like potentially a borderline starter. Carson Wentz. Sure, Wentz
started fast last season and fell back to earth when defensive coordinators
got enough film to better study his tendencies. But, Wentz looks
like the game has slowed down for him and his 2 TD passes on Thursday
to Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith suggest he is quickly learning
how to utilize his new weapons. I'm not predicting Wentz will be
a top ten QB just yet, but I've got him in the 11-13 range now.
Throw in the emergence of Zach Ertz (led all tight ends in fantasy
points in Weeks 8-16 last year) and Fly Eagles Fly is shaping up
to be one of the fall's more surprising themes.
4. Running Back Battles are Hard to
Judge from Week to Week
I have been watching with interest the ADP of DeAngelo Henderson
of Denver these past few weeks. Henderson's draft status seemed
to improve with each passing day while reports that Jamaal Charles
was going to likely be cut before the season started began to surface.
How quickly things can change. Charles was solid in his preseason
debut for Denver (6 touches, 42 yards) and apparently was even more
solid in pass protection. Meanwhile, Henderson fumbled not once,
but twice against the Packers. Ouch. Suddenly, Charles is being
drafted again and Henderson's name is fading to the background.
So it is in fantasy football. It's why you have to pay attention
to everything that happens right up until draft day...and beyond.
5. More Battle Chatter: Kelley vs. Perine
(Part Three); Powell vs. Forte
The fantasy football degenerate doesn't watch the preseason to see
if Tom Brady is looking good or not. We watch to see how rookies
do, how quickly players return from injury, and to see position
This makes three weeks now we've reported on Kelley vs. Perine,
and the pendulum swung back the other way this time around. Kelley
was an effective runner vs. Cincinnati's first string defense (10-57-1)
while Perine picked up a mere 5 yards on 5 carries. Both are likely
to see action early in the year, but Kelley remains the safer pick
for this season.
In New York, the running game is going to have to be good because
there's little else to fall back on. Much like Jamaal Charles, Matt Forte showed he still has some gas in the tank vs. the Giants (10-43)
while Powell exploded for 142 yards and a TD. Powell is clearly
the guy to own in PPR leagues as he'll be catching checkdown passes
right and left, but Forte isn't buried just yet. Powell is looking
like a legit RB2 at this point while Forte is a borderline RB3 or
6. Do Not Draft Lists Shouldn't be Put
Now, we come to the curious case of John Brown of the Arizona Cardinals.
No one knew for sure if he'd even play in the preseason based on
his chronic health issues. So, what does Brown do? He catches two
touchdowns vs. the Falcons and looks great doing so. Anyone who's
ever watched Brown play knows what kind of potential he has. Larry Fitzgerald is going to still be a factor this season due to the
sheer number of receptions he will garner, but getting down field
and making big plays is Brown's job. This weekend's performance
doesn't change the fact that Brown comes with plenty of risk. Just
take him off whatever no-no list you've made. At some point after
the midway point of your draft, the risk is worth the potential
7. No Time to Panic, but Concern in
Atlanta is Warranted
We told you two weeks ago not to be concerned with one lackluster
performance in the pre-season, but to watch for multiple bad outings
as a potential warning sign. Enter Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons.
Sure, Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones have been missing from the
offense, but Ryan's performance (4-11, under 40 yards, 1 INT) was
dismal. Losing Kyle Shanahan is going to hurt this offense a lot
more than some people realize. Everybody is likely to take a step
backwards with Ryan being the most obvious. We're starting to learn
the post-Shanahan era is going to have its growing pains. At worst,
we could be talking multiple fantasy busts from the same team. You've
8. On the Flip Side...
The Seattle Seahawks look ready to soar. They (their defense) were
way too much for a previously hot Kansas City offense to handle
this week. On offense, Russell Wilson lit Kansas City up for 200
yards a touchdown in one half. While teams like the Jets and Bills
seem to turn over their wide receivers every year, Seattle has allowed
their unit to grow together. Now, they resemble a team fully on
the same page in the passing game and need only for the offensive
line to remain stable this year to truly wreak havoc on opposing
defenses. If you haven't drafted yet, consider Wilson as your starting
QB if he's available in the late fourth/early fifth. In QB-friendly
leagues, he's worth picking up much sooner than that.
9. The A Factor
Two veteran players coming off injuries that impressed over the
weekend were Ameer Abdullah and Keenan Allen. Abdullah should have
little competition for carries in Detroit and he looked strong and
decisive over the weekend, gobbling up 60 yards on 13 carries. At
this point, he should be drafted well ahead of his current ADP (5.07,
RB26). Sure, he hasn't proven durable yet, but he's clearly poised
to be a top-15 running back if he stays healthy. Likewise, Allen's
history of heath failures is well documented. But, his 5 first quarter
catches vs. the Rams remind us of what a PPR giant he can be when
on the field. Health is never a guarantee, but the talent is most
10. The Falcons' Loss is The 49ers'
Finally, during the last game of Week 3, the 49ers unveiled a little
bit of what a Shanahan-led offense is going to look like. It will
be the best system Brian Hoyer has played in during his career and
his two first half touchdowns showed that he's ready to assume a
role as a solid fantasy backup quarterback. Also poised to gain
are Pierre Garcon (6-64) and Carlos Hyde (rec. TD). We have all
become accustomed to viewing the 49ers as a place not to target
for fantasy relevancy. Time to re-think that. It's a new era by
Hope you have enjoyed the past three weeks as we examined the pre-season.
Next time you hear from me, I’ll recap the key fantasy highlights
of Week 1.