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Favorites & Fades

Week 4

By: Nick Caron | HC Green | Eli Mack | John Fessel
Updated: 10/1/23



Sunday Early:



Sunday Late:

LV @ LAC | NE @ DAL | ARI @ SF




- Green highlight indicates plus matchup (top eight)
- Red highlight indicates negative matchup (bottom eight)
- Lines and totals updated Sunday morning

Lions @ Packers - (Green)
Line: DET -2.5
Total: 45.5

GB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.17
GB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.11
GB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.28
GB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.13

No Brainers: RB Jahmyr Gibbs, WR Amon-Ra St. Brown

Favorites: TE Sam LaPorta

While it’s still far from clear that trading away T.J. Hockenson was the right call, the Lions appear to have found a capable replacement in the person of LaPorta. His 11 targets last Sunday trailed only St. Brown (12), and he had the team’s lone passing touchdown as part of an 8-84-1 day. The Packers allowed 67-year-old Jimmy Graham to find the end zone in their win over the Saints, and last year Detroit’s two passing TDs against Green Bay were scored by tight ends. LaPorta is a TE1.

On the Fence: RB David Montgomery (thigh)

Montgomery was out in Week 3 due to a thigh injury, and it’s still unknown whether he’ll be active this Thursday. For fantasy owners, it might be better if he’s held out another week as it’ll remove the guess work. It seems impossible he’ll be full go, which could mean limited snaps, and the Packers tend to hold up much better against a more physical style of back (like Montgomery) versus speedy ones (Gibbs). Viewing the former Bear as more than a flex is a mistake.

Fade: QB Jared Goff

Goff’s extreme home/road splits have been discussed more than once, so let’s focus on his middling work against the Packers in 2022. In two meetings, Goff threw for just 361 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT -- and the Lions, which averaged 26.6 points per game last year, scored 35 total versus Green Bay. Keep Goff out of your lineup this week.

DET FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.18
DET FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.22
DET FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.23
DET FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.2

No Brainers: RB Aaron Jones (hamstring)

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Christian Watson (hamstring)

All signs point to Watson making his season debut after missing the first three games of 2023 with a hamstring injury. The offense has been up and down thus far, but one thing they’ve absolutely been missing is deep speed, which Watson has in spades. Previously listed as a no brainer, Watson now looks more like a lottery ticket as he’ll be integrated into a group of pass catchers -- led by Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, and Luke Musgrave -- that have been playing with Jordan Love the past three weeks. We could see Watson eased back into things. Or we could see him step right in and deliver big plays down the field. That makes him a risk/reward play.

Fade: RB AJ Dillon

In two games with Jones inactive, Dillon ran the ball 26 times for 88 yards. For the year, he’s averaging 2.7 yards per carry. His inability to excel in short yardage has been a drive killer, and he spent most of last week’s fourth-quarter comeback on the bench watching Patrick Taylor fill in. With Jones expected back, Dillon shifts into a complementary role, and after seeing Detroit stymy Atlanta’s potent ground game it might be smart to keep Dillon out of your lineup completely on TNF. And even if Jones sits, Dillon would be a shaky flex here.

Prediction: Lions 24, Packers 20 ^ Top

Falcons @ Jaguars - (Mack)
Line: JAX -3.5
Total: 42.5

JAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.8
JAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.25
JAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.12
JAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.8

No Brainers: RB Bijan Robinson

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR Drake London, TE Kyle Pitts

Last week’s game at Detroit showed just how much Atlanta’s offense looks like a fish out of water when they are down on the scoreboard. Having to adjust their run-first approach while trailing 20-3 in the second half to a more wide-open attack to get back in the game was painful to watch. Painful still is the degree to which Drake London and Kyle Pitts continue to drive fantasy managers mad. Pitts has 9 catches for 100 yards on the season, and London hasn’t cracked the 100-yard mark through three games on his 8 receptions. Dreadful. DREADFUL! These are players fantasy owners were counting on to do SOMETHING. It’s at a point now that neither can be relied upon for production. If other options are available, go that route till further notice. These two belong on your bench for now.

Fade: RB Tyler Allgeier

Tyler Allgeier is a touchdown-dependent player at this point of the season. He’s not involved in the passing game much, but his potential to vulture a short-yardage score—a la in Week 1 against Carolina—is a possibility each week. Allgeier should only be an option in the deepest of leagues, and even then expectations should be lowered.

ATL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.20
ATL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.28
ATL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.25
ATL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.5

No Brainers: TE Evan Engram

Favorites: QB Trevor Lawrence, RB Travis Etienne, WR Calvin Ridley

Few players have frustrated their fantasy managers more so far in 2023 than QB Trevor Lawrence. Entering the year with some predicting an MVP-type of season, Lawrence has fallen off a bit the last two weeks, with only one TD pass in that span. I’m old enough to remember how highly touted he was at Clemson and how some had him pegged as a generational talent. Outside of the college championship game in 2019 against Alabama and the four TDs he tossed in the second half of last year’s playoff win against the Chargers, Lawrence as a “generational talent” is fiction. He’s done little at this level to warrant such worthy praise. Start him, but keep your fingers crossed.

Lawrence is the leader of a grossly underperforming offense, which has taken Travis Etienne and Calvin Ridley along with it. Ridley has five receptions over the past two games after bursting onto the Jacksonville scene in Week 1 with an 8/101/1 stat line. I mentioned last week how this team is Jekyll and Hyde from week-to -week, and how we don’t know what we’re going to get from this team. I expect a better performance than what they showed against Houston last week. Whether that translates into startable production remains to be seen. Like Lawrence, start ‘em with crossed fingers.

Update: Zay Jones has been ruled out.

On the Fence: WR Christian Kirk, WR Zay Jones (knee)

Zay Jones has yet to practice this week, putting his availability in question. We’ll need to keep an eye on his practice participation to see if he’s trending toward playing. Meanwhile, Christian Kirk is the poster child for Jacksonville’s up and down offense in 2023. He kicked off the season with a one-catch-for-9-yards performance but has turned in solid production over the last two weeks as many of his teammates have struggled: 15 catches for 164 yards and a score in that span. We just don’t know when that one-catch performance will return. While he’s producing, serious consideration must be had to determine if he’s worthy of your starting lineup.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Atlanta 23, Jacksonville 17 ^ Top

Steelers @ Texans - (Mack)
Line: PIT -3.0
Total: 42.5

HOU FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.15
HOU FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.6
HOU FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.24
HOU FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.10

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR George Pickens

I was tempted to put George Pickens in the NO BRAINERS category, but we see too many periods of struggle from Pittsburgh’s offense to have that kind of confidence in Pickens hitting his ceiling. QB Kenny Pickett hasn’t quite turned the corner yet on becoming a consistent threat under center. When he does, Pickens will explode. As it stands now, though, Pickens is in the WR2 category, especially with Diontae Johnson still sidelined with a hamstring. Keep starting Pickens with confidence; that eyepopping breakout game is around the corner.

On the Fence: RB Najee Harris

I remember having such high expectations for Najee Harris coming into the league. He seems to have turned into a “rich man’s version” of Trent Richardson (gulp!)—a heavy-footed, plodding runner who relies solely on brute force. The result for 2023? Harris has yet to crack double-digit scoring through three games. I’m curious why the Steelers don’t give backup Jaylen Warren more time. The eyeball test shows Warren is quicker and more agile. In season’s past, fantasy managers could rely on Harris’s role in the passing game to supplement his pedestrian ground attack. He hauled in 74 receptions his rookie season. Through three games in 2023, he has only three receptions. Ouch. Start him at your own peril.

Fade: QB Kenny Pickett, TE Pat Freiermuth, WR Allen Robinson

In a nutshell, the Steelers passing game just doesn’t have the kind of productive volume to support multiple pass-catchers, nor does it seem to have a player under center who can perform consistently at a high level. It’s Pickens in this offense, then it’s everybody else. Low productive volume plus lack of consistency equals fantasy doldrums. It’s imperative that Pickett develop into the passer the Steelers selected him to be if they desire an offense capable of putting up numbers. So far, he hasn’t, and the offense hasn’t.

PIT FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.16
PIT FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.5
PIT FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.5
PIT FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.29

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Nico Collins

Collins has developed nicely into a solid professional NFL receiver. He’s on pace to shatter his career best numbers across the board in targets, receptions, yards, and TDs. As rookie QB, C.J. Stroud continues to become a mistake-free player with high upside, Collins should be the direct beneficiary. Collins had a rough game last week against Jacksonville, finishing with only a pair of receptions for 34 yards. But he should continue his upward trajectory to become a player we can start with confidence in fantasy football.

On the Fence: WR Tank Dell, QB C.J. Stroud

Despite his solid numbers through three games (15 / 251 / 2), I’m still not quite ready to make Tank Dell a FAVORITE or NO BRAINER fantasy option. Indeed, he’s a threat with the football in his hands, but I look at that slight 165 lbs. frame and I cringe. While few 165 lbs. NFL players become difference makers, one doesn’t need to be a “difference maker” to be viable in fantasy football. The rookie is a nice option as a flex or injury replacement or bye-week fill-in once they start. If nothing else, though, Dell certainly is fun to watch.

And what can we say about Stroud? He’s been impressive so far through the first three games of his career. He’s averaging a little over 300 yards passing per game with four TD tosses and zero picks. On the road last week against the Jags saw the rookie go 20-30 for 280 yards and 2 scores while outplaying his counterpart, Trevor Lawrence. Stroud and fellow rookie Bryce Young will be compared throughout their careers. So far, Stroud is ahead of the first overall pick by quite a bit. We’ll see if he can maintain this level of production throughout the season.

Fade: WR Robert Woods

Woods’ 15 receptions match Nico Collins, and he has two more targets on the season. So why is he in the Fade category? Because this is about as good as Woods is going to be, whereas Collins is on the ascent. I think Woods is a nice locker room guy for a young team with young skill position players playing for a first-time head coach. Woods has never scored more than six TDs and has never been an athletic freak, but he does serve as a nice complement to his up-and-coming teammates. Translation: he’s a better NFL player than fantasy player. Keep him floundering on the waiver wire.

Prediction: Steelers 20, Texans 17 ^ Top

Rams @ Colts - (Mack)
Line: LAR -1.0
Total: 45.5

IND FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.2
IND FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.16
IND FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.7
IND FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.18

No Brainer: WR Puka Nacua

Favorites: RB Kyren Williams, TE Tyler Higbee (Achilles)

The Rams skill position players have all outplayed their draft capital. Kyren Williams leads RBs with a 61.3 percent snap share, and Tyler Higbee is second among TEs with a 67 percent snap share. Translation: these dudes are getting massive playing time and rewarding fantasy managers with stellar production. Williams wasn’t even listed in the top-60 RBs during fantasy draft season; now he’s firmly planted as a RB2 after three weeks of the season. Amazing.

With the unpredictability of TEs, Higbee’s defined role in the passing game makes him a viable option every week, although he’s currently battling an Achilles issue. Keep an eye on his practice availability in the leadup to kickoff. If he gets in a full practice by Friday, he should play, meaning he should be in your lineup.

On the Fence: WR Tutu Atwell

Tutu Atwell’s speed and quickness jump off the television screen. The diminutive speedster who tilts the scales at a “hefty” 165 lbs. is the Swiss Army Knife of this offense. Receptions. End-arounds. Wide receiver screens. Go routes. Head coach Sean McVay will continue adding diversification to this offensive attack, and Atwell should be at the center of it. I would not hesitate putting Atwell in as my flex.

Fade: WR Van Jefferson

I remember how some viewed Van Jefferson as the heir apparent to Cooper Kupp’s role in this offense. That was before Puka Nucua burst onto the scene. But Jefferson seems to be an afterthought in this offense, as he has fewer than half the targets that Atwell has. And for a team that has the third most passing attempts through three weeks, that says all you need to know about Jefferson’s prospects for success. Forget about being in your lineup. Jefferson shouldn’t be on your roster.

LAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.29
LAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.20
LAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.17
LAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.25

No Brainer: WR Michael Pittman Jr., RB Zack Moss

Favorites: QB Anthony Richardson (concussion)

Richardson is trending toward playing after sitting out last week’s OT win in Baltimore with a concussion. He has developed just as his fantasy managers had hoped. No one expected him to come out the gate tossing the rock all over the yard, but expectations were that he’d make up for whatever he lacked through the air with production on the ground. That’s exactly what’s played out. His three TDs in two games is what the doctor ordered, and we should expect more of the same as he smooths the rough edges of his throwing ability.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: WR Josh Downs

The rookie out of North Carolina has quietly carved out a role in this Indy offense. Downs led the team in targets last week, getting 12 of Gardner Minshew’s 44 attempts and turning them into 8 receptions. It doesn’t matter at this point that he only mustered 57 yards. The fact that he’s as involved so early in his career says a lot about how they feel about him. His 24 targets for the season are second only to Pittman, which is nearly twice as many as the next closest player. He’s a roster stash for now but keep an eye on his production. Downs could become a viable WR3 before long if he’s not careful.

Prediction: Colts 23, Rams 21 ^ Top

Vikings @ Panthers - (Mack)
Line: MIN -4.5
Total: 46.5

CAR FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.3
CAR FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.30
CAR FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.12

No Brainers: QB Kirk Cousins; WR Justin Jefferson

Favorites: TE T.J. Hockenson; WR Jordan Addison

In all actuality, Minnesota’s offense is tailor-made for elite fantasy production. Only six defenses have given up more points than the 82 the Vikings have, meaning they have to become a one-dimensional (passing) offense just to be competitive. They have the most pass attempts in the league (138) through three games, leading to fantasy viability for essentially all their top pass catchers. Hockenson leads the league in TE scoring and Addison is a solid WR3 or flex. Even K.J. Osborn is a viable option in deeper leagues. Start ‘em all with confidence.

On the Fence: RB Alexander Mattison

Mattison’s 52 percent snap share is fifth in the league for RBs, but his one TD through three weeks feels like he’s left a lot of points on the table. I believe most of that has to do with Minnesota’s suspect defense and their necessity to throw the ball simply to stay in games. That translates into the team with the fewest rushing attempts in the NFL, although Mattison has made up for a lack of production on the ground with a role in the passing game. His 11 receptions are sixth in the league for RBs. Those who have Mattison on their roster must now be mindful of Cam Akers’ arrival. To what extent his presence will affect Mattison is TBD, but for now, Mattison is a good RB2 with some upside.

Fade: N/A

MIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.4
MIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.24
MIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.3
MIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.14

No Brainers: N/A

Update: Miles Sanders (groin) is listed as Questionable.

Favorites: WR Adam Thielen, RB Miles Sanders

To many, Adam Thielen was an afterthought on draft day. Now three weeks into the season, the 33-year-old is a solid WR2, having hauled in 20 receptions for 211 yards and two scores. Thielen benefited greatly from Andy Dalton replacing the injured Bryce Young at QB in Week 2, as he grabbed 11 of his 14 targets for 145 yards and a TD. Bryce Young is slated to return this week against the shaky Minnesota defense. He will probably have extra motivation going up against his former team, so continue to start Thielen while hoping the clock doesn’t strike midnight anytime soon on the aging wideout.

And while Miles Sanders hasn’t given fantasy managers much production on the ground through three games, his role in the passing game makes him a solid low-end RB2 or flex. Again, Minnesota’s leaky defense could allow the 26-year-old to finally see daylight in the running game. We could see Sanders’ best game of 2023 this week.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Bryce Young, TE Hayden Hurst

The Panthers simply don’t have a surplus of viable fantasy options at this point. Unlike fellow rookie signal-caller C.J. Stroud, Bryce Young has yet to put up the kind of production worthy of rostering, much less placing in your lineup. Young will get there eventually.

And after a stellar Week 1 performance that saw him grab 5 catches for 41 yards and a score, the last two weeks have brought Hursts’ stock way down. Combined, he has 4 receptions for 31 yards and zero TDs in the last two weeks. That’s indicative of the vast majority of TEs in the league not named Kelce or Hockenson.

Prediction: Vikings 27, Panthers 23 ^ Top

Buccaneers @ Saints - (Mack)
Line: NO -3.5
Total: 39.5

NO FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.23
NO FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.26
NO FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.22
NO FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.27

No Brainers: WR Mike Evans

Favorites: RB Rachaad White

Rachaad White is one of the league’s top backs in snap count, turning that playing time into 72 percent of the RB carries. White was considered a low-end RB2/flex option during draft season, and he’s given us that level of production so far. While he receives the lion’s share of carries, he’s also involved in the passing game, as he’s on pace for 60 catches for the year. More than likely, White was a target for those who used the “zero RB” approach during draft season. If so, he’s paying off quite well.

On the Fence: WR Chris Godwin

Full transparency: Chris Godwin is one of my favorite players, so I’ve always tried not to allow my bias to seep into any analysis. Godwin continues his production as the quintessential “possession” receiver who puts up solid, albeit not explosive numbers. He hasn’t scored multiple TDs in a game since 2020, which limits those eyepopping games. That said, you could do a lot worse than Chris Godwin as your flex.

Fade: QB Baker Mayfield, TE Cade Otton

Mayfield hasn’t been a solid fantasy option since the 2020 season with Cleveland when he led the team to an 11-5 record while putting up a 3,563 / 26 / 8 stat line. Since then, he’s been a middling option for Carolina, the Rams, now the Bucs. Two-QB leagues might give Mayfield some consideration. He’s not a viable option in any other league makeup.

The tight end position so far in 2023 has been slow out the gate, as only five TEs have more than one TD on the season. Cade Otton is a middle-of-the-pack option who doesn’t offer much upside. Keep him on the waiver wire.

TB FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.9
TB FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.19
TB FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.10
TB FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.17

Update: Derek Carr (shoulder) is expected to start barring a pre-game setback.

No Brainers: WR Chris Olave

Favorites: WR Michael Thomas

I remain thoroughly impressed with how Michael Thomas has performed so far in 2023. After having perhaps the best four-year start to a career for any receiver in league history, Thomas continues his quest to become fantasy-relevant once again. Certainly, the days of 185 targets like in 2019 are long over, but he remains a startable option as a WR3/flex. That should continue this week because the passing game goes primarily through Thomas and Chris Olave, as they account for 56 percent of the target share.

There’s a good likelihood that starting QB Derek Carr won’t go this week because of his shoulder injury, leaving the offensive controls to Jameis Winston. Winston can certainly hold down the fort until Carr’s return, so Olave and Thomas should not see any discernable decline in production with Winston under center—provided he doesn’t turn the ball over as he was prone to do sometimes while in Tampa.

On the Fence: WR Rashid Shaheed, RB Alvin Kamara

As I mentioned above, with Olave and Thomas being the go-to options in the passing game, all that remains are crumbs for the others. But Shaheed has made the most of his crumbs, scraping together solid production in two of the three games played this season. I anticipate this being a low-scoring affair with two tough defenses causing havoc to the opposing offenses. Consequently, I just don’t think there will be enough to go around to make Shaheed an option. He should most certainly be rostered, because if Thomas or Olave are out, Shaheed’s value skyrockets.

Alvin Kamara returns after his three-game suspension. We’re not sure how involved he will be, but getting a running back who once could get 1,600 scrimmage yards in his sleep, his presence won’t hurt. As we know, RBs get old quick, although Kamara’s skill set as a receiver could prolong his relevance. Some may need Kamara in their lineup, but those with some roster depth, I’d urge caution when determining the extent to which his managers can be comfortable with him in the lineup.

Fade: QB Jameis Winston

Winston is one of the top backup QBs in the league. He’s the perfect player to step in for a game or two and not have the offense take a complete nosedive. That said, Winston is one of those players who is a better NFL option at this stage of his career than a fantasy option. He should keep Olave and Thomas’s productivity above water but won’t do much for his own prospects.

Prediction: Saints 20, Buccaneers 13 ^ Top

Commanders @ Eagles - (Caron)
Line: PHI -9.5
Total: 43.5

PHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.7
PHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.31
PHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.8
PHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.1

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Terry McLaurin

The Eagles are a good defense, but they’ve already given up five touchdowns to opposing wide receivers through three weeks. The top receivers (Justin Jefferson, Mike Evans and Kendrick Bourne) have combined for 22 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns on 34 targets. There was some debate heading into the season about who would be Washington’s top wide receiver, but McLaurin has remained the most productive receiver in a crowded group of pass-catchers.

He’s still not more than a WR2 this week, but he has an opportunity to see double-digit targets in this game, particularly if Washington falls behind on the scoreboard, and that should mean that he’s a strong option despite playing against a tough defense.

On the Fence: RB Brian Robinson Jr.

Robinson only has five targets through three games, but he has consistently been one of the most-utilized backs in the leagues through three weeks. He saw 21 and 20 combined touches in Weeks 1 and 2 before taking a step back in Week 3 during the Commanders’ blowout loss to the Bills.

Robinson would be a “Favorite” in this article if there wasn’t concern about his usage in another potential multi-score loss as the Commanders head on the road to face the Eagles. The running back position is tough right now with so many injuries, so any back who’s seeing double-digit touches even in games where his team loses by 34 points should be considered a strong RB2.

Fade: WR Jahan Dotson

Dotson’s targets have decreased in each of his three games, from seven Week 1 to five in Week 2 and just four in Week 3. This is despite the fact that the Commanders won in Week 1, lost a close game in Week 2, and were blown out in Week 3. His production hasn’t been great on the opportunities he’s had, either, as he’s averaged just 8.3 yards per reception and hasn’t been able to find the end zone yet.

Primary options have performed well against the Eagles thus far in 2023, but secondary wide receiver options like JuJu Smith-Schuster in New England (four catches for 33 yards), Jordan Addison (three catches for 72 yards) and Chris Godwin (three catches for 32 yards) have largely been held in check. Addison did score a touchdown, but he’s the only non-primary wide receiver who has even put up a double-digit fantasy day against this defense so far in 2023.

WAS FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.12
WAS FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.17
WAS FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.9
WAS FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.28

No Brainers: QB Jalen Hurts, WR A.J. Brown

Favorites: RB D’Andre Swift

D’Andre Swift got only one touch in Week 1, but has since seemingly become the lead dog in a crowded Philadelphia backfield, compiling over 300 rushing yards on 44 carries over his past two games. It hasn’t looked fluky, either, as Swift has shown impressive agility and burst in his opportunities. He’d probably be a top-five back right now if he was able to see the type of workload in Week 1 that he saw in Weeks 2 and 3.

Philadelphia still isn’t passing the ball much to their backs, which has actually limited one of Swift’s best attributes, as his five catches through three games are far fewer than we’ve become accustomed to throughout his career. He’s never been a true “bell cow” back in the NFL, so it’s a bit risky to believe that his body will be able to sustain this kind of a workload going forward without sustaining an injury, but he’s still a strong bet to see plenty of touches - and be productive with those touches - here in Week 4.

On the Fence: RB Kenneth Gainwell, TE Dallas Goedert

Gainwell led the Philadelphia backfield by a wide margin in Week 1, playing 62 percent of the team’s offensive snaps while Swift was on the field for just 29 percent. He then missed Week 2 due to a rib injury. He got back on the field in Week 3 and was in a nearly 50-50 split with Swift both from a snaps standpoint as well as touches.

Gainwell is a solid back who has some versatility, but he lacks the explosiveness that Swift does. Still, the coaching staff seems to trust him and it seems unlikely that they’re going to commit to giving Swift a full 20-plus touch-per-game workload, so Gainwell should continue to see valuable touches in one of the league’s best offenses.

Dallas Goedert is currently outside the top 25 scorers at the tight end position in PPR formats. However, don’t panic - he’s played 92 percent or more of Philadelphia’s offensive snaps in all three weeks - he’s not being phased out. The Eagles have just been able to focus on running the ball so much so far that it hasn’t really translated into a lot of success for the pass catchers. Goedert is still 11th in targets at tight end through three weeks, and that’s even after a Week 1 where he saw just one target. Don’t panic yet - better days are ahead.

Fade: WR DeVonta Smith

While they haven’t been a particularly great overall defense when it comes to slowing down opposing wide receivers, there’s been some flukiness to what the Commanders have allowed to the position thus far. Through three weeks, the Commanders have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers, but they’ve actually only allowed two receivers (Stefon Diggs and Courtland Sutton) to catch more than three passes in a game against them.

Smith is the best WR2 they’ve faced thus far, but there’s some concern that his usage has been down in recent weeks. He saw 10 targets come his way in Week 1 and he was able to convert that into seven catches, but he’s since seen just five targets in each of Philadelphia’s past two games. While he’s been relatively productive with the opportunities he’s had, including scoring two touchdowns, his lack of opportunities is really capping his ceiling.

Don’t take this “fade” placement as a recommendation to bench Smith in seasonal formats, but understand that he doesn’t seem to be the focal point of the offense right now, especially given how effective the Eagles have been on the ground to start the season. He’s not as strong of a DFS option right now as he normally is.

Prediction: Eagles 27, Commanders 16 ^ Top

Dolphins @ Bills - (Caron)
Line: BUF -2.5
Total: 53.5

BUF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.21
BUF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.31
BUF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.26

No Brainers: QB Tua Tagovailoa, WR Tyreek Hill

Favorites: RB Raheem Mostert

Dolphins running back Raheem Mostert played nearly 75 percent of Dolphins snaps in Weeks 1 and 2, but that dropped to 51 percent in Week 3. This led to him finishing behind Devon Achane from a fantasy standpoint for the first time in 2023. Of course, no one was complaining as they finished as the RB1 and RB2 and the Dolphins backfield looks like a league-winning combination.

Mostert has already delivered three usable fantasy performances, including two monsters in Weeks 2 and 3. He’s also been a surprisingly active member of the passing game with 10 catches in the first three weeks. He had only 31 receptions with the Dolphins in 2022 and he had never reached 20 receptions in any other season.

Mostert could face a tougher game script against the Bills this week, but should still see a heavy workload as long as the Dolphins don’t surprise us and fall behind by a bunch of points. Continue to view him as an RB1 for now.

On the Fence: RB Devon Achane

Achane played only 10 percent of snaps in Week 2, then surprised everyone by jumping to 41 percent in Week 3. This could be more a case of the game being out of control than that he has earned a guaranteed significant role, but Achane crushed and finished as the RB1 for the week, showing incredible explosiveness and elusiveness.

The game script could mean a significant downtick in touches for Achane this week, but we want pieces of the Dolphins offense so don’t be afraid to give him a shot in Week 3 if you don’t have obvious better options.

Fade: WR Jaylen Waddle

Waddle missed Week 3 due to a concussion but was not seriously missed as the Dolphins still managed to score 70 points. We do expect him to be back in Week 3, but fantasy managers have to be a bit concerned as he has only seen 11 total targets in Weeks 1 and 2 combined.

The Dolphins’ rushing attack has been so dominant and they’ve been hyper-focused on getting the ball to Tyreek Hill in the passing game. Waddle is still a solid fantasy option but may lack the upside that we’re used to from him right now. Don’t bench him for mediocre options, but understand that this could be slow time for Waddle’s production.

MIA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.19
MIA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.9
MIA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.15
MIA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.7

No Brainers: QB Josh Allen, WR Stefon Diggs

Favorites: RB James Cook

Cook saw 17 touches in his team’s dominant Week 3 win over the Commanders. He has now touched the ball at least 16 times in all three games, including 10 receptions.

Cook still hasn’t scored a touchdown or he’d be looking like a sure-fire RB1 right now. Even worse, he’s conceded two touchdowns to Latavius Murray and it’s starting to look like Murray is the team’s goal-line back so Cook’s upside could be limited. This is especially true given that Josh Allen has a propensity to run for touchdowns himself. Still, Cook’s workload has allowed him to be a low-end RB1 for fantasy and we want players in what could be a shootout this week against the Dolphins.

On the Fence: WR Gabriel Davis

Davis has scored touchdowns in back-to-back games which has many fantasy managers excited about getting him back in fantasy lineups. He had just four targets in Weeks 1 and 3, converting those targets for three total catches, though, so this has been a matter of low sample size and high touchdown variance. It’s true that Davis did have a nice Week 2 performance when he saw seven targets, but that just hasn’t been the norm for him.

The Bills may need to pass more this week which could lead to a higher target total but he’s still a risky option. It is worth noting that he torched the Dolphins for six receptions, 113 yards, and a touchdown when these teams last played, in the 2022 playoffs. Otherwise, he has failed to exceed four receptions in any of the other six regular season games he’s played against the Dolphins.

Playing Davis this week is purely a hope that the game will turn into a shootout and that he’ll get into the end zone again on relatively low volume.

Fade: TE Dalton Kincaid

The rookie tight end has been out-snapped, albeit not by much, by Dawson Knox in all three games for the Bills. He has been playing out of the slot in 12-personnel while Knox has been handling the traditional in-line tight-end duties, but it’s, unfortunately, resulted in Just 12 targets so far this season.

His usage in the slot should allow him to get more involved in the passing game as the weeks go on, particularly in potential shoot-outs like this week’s game against the Dolphins, but we haven’t seen enough usage yet to trust the rookie in traditional leagues.

Prediction: Bills 31, Dolphins 28 ^ Top

Bengals @ Titans - (Mack)
Line: CIN -2.5
Total: 40.5

TEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.13
TEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.27
TEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.4
TEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.22

No Brainers: WR Ja’Marr Chase

Favorites: QB Joe Burrow (calf), WR Tee Higgins, RB Joe Mixon

Captain Obvious says Joe Burrow remains limited with the calf injury suffered in training camp. Drafted as one of the top-3 QBs in fantasy, Burrow has left his fantasy managers reeling with only two TD tosses in the first three games, along with a pair of INTs. The Bengals offense is 28th in points scored and 30th in yards gained. We’re all waiting for this team to turn the corner offensively, but who knows how much Burrow’s calf injury will hinder him moving forward. He had a full practice on Thursday, which is a good sign. But it must be frustrating to see one of the league’s best offenses sputter out the gate like this.

Burrow’s struggles have weighed most of this offense down. Tee Higgins seems discombobulated with dropped passes left and right. However, it’s tough to suggest anybody bench one of the top Bengals players. We all must assume that this team will put it all together at some point. It’s too early for a full-on panic, but man. Cincy has gotta get its act together, and quick.

On the Fence: WR Tyler Boyd

As long as this team struggles, it will render the fringe starters bench warmers. Tyler Boyd is one of the top WR3s on an NFL team. He’s firmly planted in that spot, but we know that when this team gets cooking, all three receivers are startable. Boyd should remain on your bench for the time being.

Fade: N/A

CIN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.11
CIN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.23
CIN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.18
CIN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.6

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Derrick Henry

Derrick Henry is part of an offense ranked 29th in points and 31st in yards gained. It’s hard to rubber stamp anybody as a starter who’s part of such a dreadful offense. His 3.2 yards per carry is 1.5 yards less than his career average. That speaks directly to the ineptness of this offense. With little threat on the outside, teams can simply stack the box to defend Henry. Sure, they’ve done that his entire career and he still delivered. But he will turn 30 in January, and the play of aging RBs can be a very unattractive sight, especially one with the skill set of Henry. But Henry is always one long TD run away from putting up 30 fantasy points. Start him, but don’t be surprised if he’s smothered again.

On the Fence: WR DeAndre Hopkins

Everywhere DeAndre Hopkins goes, he commands a high target share. So far this year, Hopkins accounts for 30 percent. But he’s yet to score a TD with all that action coming his way. In fact, they only have one TD pass all season through three games. No one expected this limited Titans offense to be explosive, but they’ve been an incredibly pedestrian unit. What’s more, Hopkins is nursing an ankle injury but should be okay to start. That doesn’t mean he should start on your team, though. Be cautious with relying on anybody on this team.

Fade: QB Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill’s 2020 season, the best of his career, feels like a decade ago. His 33 TDs and 7 INTs that season came as a 32-year-old, and he hasn’t come close to replicating that production. This offense is painful to watch. Leave him on your waiver wire.

Prediction: Bengals 24, Titans 13 ^ Top

Ravens @ Browns - (Green)
Line: CLE -2.5
Total: 38.5

CLE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.32
CLE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.32

No Brainers: QB Lamar Jackson, TE Mark Andrews

Favorites: WR Zay Flowers

Through three games, Flowers easily leads the team in targets (25) and receptions (21) -- where he has more than double anyone else on the roster -- as well as yards (188). Perhaps his workload will dip a bit once Odell Beckham Jr. (ankle) returns, but then again maybe not as his short-area quickness is attractive in the short passing game. His size doesn’t portend red-zone success, which is an issue, but he’s shown enough in the early going to be penciled in as your WR3 this week.

Update: Gus Edwards is expected to play. Justice Hill is a gametime decision.

On the Fence: RBs Gus Edwards (concussion) / Justice Hill (foot)

Hill (foot) was inactive last Sunday with a foot injury, and Edwards (concussion) suffered a concussion during the game. As such, it’s unclear if either/both will be available in the divisional showdown against Cleveland. Those are on top of the season-ending Achilles’ injury J.K. Dobbins endured in Week 1. With the Ravens backfield in disarray, you’re really tossing darts if you insert either back, or veteran Melvin Gordon if both are inactive, into your lineup. At best, consider them fliers as a flex.

Fade: N/A

BAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.24
BAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.18
BAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.11
BAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.31

No Brainers: WR Amari Cooper

Favorites: RB Jerome Ford

After stepping in for an injured Nick Chubb and putting up 131 yards and a touchdown on Monday night in Week 2, Ford managed just 51 yards last Sunday. He still made fantasy managers happy, however, by scoring two of Cleveland’s three TDs. Assuming his shoulder injury isn’t too serious, Ford could carry the load this weekend, which is something Zack Moss did for the Colts last Sunday when he rattled off 145 combined yards and a score versus the Ravens. Ford is a strong RB3 with some upside.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: QB Deshaun Watson (shoulder)

To say it hasn’t been smooth sailing for Watson with the Browns thus far is a bit of an understatement, but the highly paid triggerman put together perhaps his best effort with the club last Sunday: 27-for-33, 289 yards, 2 TDs, and 0 INTs. He’ll be hard pressed to build on it, however, even with the Ravens dealing with several injuries. They always play physical matchups with Cleveland, and last year, Watson managed just 161 yards in a 13-3 win. Don’t be surprised if there’s a heavier emphasis on the ground game in Week 4, making Watson a dicey option as a low-end starter.

Prediction: Browns 17, Ravens 15 ^ Top

Broncos @ Bears - (Green)
Line: DEN -3.0
Total: 46.5

CHI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.6
CHI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.2
CHI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.14
CHI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.9

No Brainers: RB Javonte Williams

Favorites: QB Russell Wilson

At least statistically, Wilson has been better under Sean Payton, throwing for 791 yards, 6 TDs, and 2 INTs through three games. In comparison, Wilson didn’t throw his sixth TD pass until Week 7 a season ago. There’s nothing impressive about Denver’s 0-3 record, though, and the team is coming off a 50-point blowout loss. What better team to face than the Bears? Chicago hasn’t stopped anyone all year, and there’s no reason to think they can stop Wilson, either. He holds top-10 value this Sunday.

On the Fence: WRs Courtland Sutton / Jerry Jeudy (knee)

The Broncos receiving hierarchy still feels like a work in progress. Jeudy figured to be WR1 coming into the year, but he missed Week 1 and has 12 targets in two games since returning. Sutton leads the way with 23 targets and 17 receptions, but he lost a pair of fumbles in Miami, which won’t endear you to the coaching staff. Making things even murkier are Marvin Mims, who leads the team in receiving yardage (195), and Brandon Johnson, who has a 6-109-2 line. With some uncertainty, you’ll have to roll the dice a bit when choosing from Denver’s receivers. Sutton feels like the best bet as a WR3, but Jeudy could match or exceed that, too, against the shoddy Bears secondary.

Fade: N/A

DEN FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.3
DEN FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.1
DEN FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.6
DEN FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.19

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR D.J. Moore

Acquired during the offseason to give the Bears a true No. 1 receiver, Moore is off to a modest start, catching 11 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown in three games. That TD came late last Sunday in a lopsided loss to Kansas City, but it should be viewed as a step in the right direction all the same. Given how much trouble the Broncos had stopping anything against Miami, when they allowed over 700 yards of offense, you can inset Moore into your lineup as a WR3 with some juice.

On the Fence: QB Justin Fields

Fields entered 2023 as a fantasy no brainer. It lasted three weeks. Fields has struggled badly through three games, both with his arm (not a huge surprise) and his legs, running for just 109 yards and one TD thus far. He needs to get going. As fortune would have it, the Ohio State product is set up with a great matchup against a Denver team that had zero answers for Miami’s speed a week ago. Don’t be surprised if Fields breaks some long runs and puts up big fantasy numbers in this one. If he doesn’t deliver as your QB1 this week, it’s fair to wonder when he will.

Fade: N/A

Prediction: Broncos 34, Bears 24 ^ Top

Raiders @ Chargers - (Fessel)
Line: LAC -6.5
Total: 48.5

LAC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.12
LAC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.1
LAC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.11

No Brainers: n/a

Update: QB Aiden O’Connell expected to start for LV.

Favorites: WR Davante Adams

Adams is normally a no brainer, without a doubt. But Jimmy Garoppolo is in the concussion protocol and may not be ready for Week 4’s matchup with the Chargers.

Nonetheless, Adams still seems like a wise player to favor, as it’s hard to imagine second string quarterback Aiden O’Connell not peppering Adams with targets if the 4th round rookie sees his first pro action. O’Connell is unlikely to be nearly as efficient as Garoppolo, but Adams is averaging 12.3 targets per game thus far in 2023 and has averaged about 11 targets per game each and every season prior since 2018.

Quality may be diminished by the quarterback play, but the quantity of targets likely headed Adams way should still produce more than enough results to start him without hesitation.

On the Fence: RB Josh Jacobs, WR Jakobi Meyers

The situation with Jacobs is raising more questions by the week. Was Jacobs adversely affected by his 2022 workload? Was it lack of camp time due to his holdout that has him struggling to produce? Is it a bit of both, or perhaps is it just the mere whims of a three-game sample size? For a running back who has averaged a break tackle every 11 rushes during his first four years to have just 1 in 45 rushing attempts is alarming. To be averaging just 1.4 yards after contact despite never before averaging less than 2 yards after contact is an ugly pairing.

To top off concerns, Jacobs 2.4 yards per carry through three games is the lowest average he’s had over any three-game stretch in his career, and his negative rushing performance against Buffalo was nearly 2 less yards per carry worse than his next poorest showing of his career-to-date. Jacobs also hasn’t reached the endzone, though last year he didn’t score a touchdown till Week 4, and went on the have a career season (though he had a far more effective 4.6 rushing average through the first 3 weeks in 2022).

Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo’s status adds more question marks for Jacobs. While the Raiders may try to lean harder on their RB1 without a veteran QB available, Las Vegas may never the less be unable to lean on the run if they drown in negative game script against the increasingly favored Chargers. Ultimately, this may be the week fantasy owners need to see something, anything from Jacobs to avoid having to make tough start/sit decisions going forward. There’s certainly a chance against a vulnerable Chargers defense that Jacobs breaks out and has a similar performance to his 144-yard 2 TD week a year ago. But right now, it’s hard to say there’s much more than a chance.

As for Jakobi Meyers, after a solid return last week following a concussion in Week 1, his value this week greatly hinges on whether Garoppolo plays. Meyers is seeing excellent volume thus far with Garoppolo (22 targets in two games), but it’s not realistic to expect him to continue having similar volume to Davante Adams – nor does he have nearly Adam’s ability. As such, a downgrade at QB would put him squarley on the fence as a flex option, even against what has been a very beatable Chargers secondary.

Fade: Everyone else

Hunter Renfrow has not been involved in the Raiders offense (just 3 total targets while playing 44% of the offensive snaps). TE’s Austin Hooper and Michael Mayer are splitting time (60% and 46% of snaps, respectively). Hooper has generally been a borderline fantasy starter, at best, during his career - even when he’s played 70-80% of snaps. Mayer is facing the usual hurdles that even early round selections at tight end generally face. Combined, they only have 5 targets in three games. That should improve, as it’s unlikely that 63% of all targets will continue to go to just two receivers, but it’s hard to expect positive regression to be enough.

At quarterback, neither Jimmy Garoppolo - if he somehow clears the concussion protocol - nor especially day-three selection Aiden O’Connell make particularly robust fantasy football options either. Garoppolo has been productive enough to scrape into the top twelve on a given week when he’s healthy (peaking at No.10) and is either really on his game and/or faces a beatable opponent. Yet the looming disaster of him leaving early or in the middle of a game due to injury is always and ever present, without enough ceiling to warrant taking the risk.

LV FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.14
LV FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.8
LV FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.13
LV FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.4

No Brainers: QB Justin Herbert

Favorites: WR Keenan Allen

Allen has produced absolutely elite results, thus far (408 total yards, 32 receptions, 2 TDs and 22.9 fantasy points per game). With Mike Williams landing on IR this Week, there’s some sense that Allen could see even more volume. On the other hand, if neither Josh Palmer nor Quentin Johnson does enough to take away double teams, Allen could be blanketed as much as he’s ever been, reducing his catch rate, intended air yards per target, and yards after catch. The truth is, in either scenario, Allen should get more than enough targets from his talented quarterback to be a quality start, especially against the ever-beatable Raiders.

Update: Austin Ekeler is listed as Doubtful.

On the Fence: RB Austin Ekeler (ankle), WR Josh Palmer, WR Quentin Johnston

Ekeler’s injury status has the lineups of many a fantasy manager hanging in the balance right now. If he’s active, it’s almost impossible not to find a spot for the highly talented three-down back in one’s line up. But, at this moment, it’s still unclear if he’ll will play, and his status needs careful monitoring.

Palmer became a viable fantasy starter last season when the Chargers were dealing with major injuries at wide receiver, scoring double digit fantasy points in Weeks 2, 3, 6, 9 and 11. Week 11 was a big cap off, as Palmer landed a 26.6-point day (8-106-2). But it was Allen rather than Mike Williams who was out for most of that time, and Allen’s receiving style is what Palmer is a replacement for. Still, Palmer did have his big day with Allen returning to the line up but sans Mike Williams, and saw 18 more targets over the ensuing two weeks while Williams continued recuperating.

Enter Quentin Johnston, an added x-factor in the situation. He better fits the profile and shoes of Mike Williams (which is reasonably why he was drafted, considering Williams is a free agent at the end of the season). But Johnston only has 8 targets and 26 yards receiving through three games. Much like the man he is trying to replace, Johnston may need at least a full year under his belt before he’s ready to take on such a big role (Williams only saw 23 targets for 95 yards as a rookie).

It’s very likely that neither Palmer nor Johnston takes on enough of the vacated targets to make a reliable weekly impact, but if you find yourself in position to have to take a Hail Mary this week, Palmer probably fits a manager looking for a decent floor. Johnston is a best fit as an absolute boom-or-bust option.

Fade: n/a

Prediction: Chargers 28 Raiders 20 ^ Top

Patriots @ Cowboys - (Caron)
Line: DAL -6.0
Total: 43.5

DAL FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.25
DAL FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.30
DAL FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.29
DAL FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.23

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Rhamondre Stevenson seems to be struggling to get things going on the ground with just a 2.9 yards per carry average through three games, but he’s still seeing excellent usage overall as he’s seen 18 touches, 18 touches and 20 touches in those contests.

Dallas’ defense has been excellent against opposing running backs so it’s tough to be too excited about anyone facing them, but they did get exposed a bit this past week by Arizona’s James Conner who rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries against them, adding an additional pair of catches for 18 yards in the passing game.

The Cowboys’ offense has been struggling so it’s unlikely that they get out to a big lead, thus Stevenson should remain a major focal point of the offense. It’s a difficult matchup, but Stevenson is still a solid RB2 due to his strong usage both on the ground and through the air.

On the Fence: TE Hunter Henry

Henry has seen at least five targets in all three games for the Patriots and currently sits second on the team in total targets with 18. Three of Mac Jones’ five passing touchdowns have gone to tight ends, including two to Henry.

The Cowboys held Darren Waller to just three catches for 36 yards and Zach Ertz to just two catches for six yards, but there aren’t many tight ends throughout the league who can be truly relied upon right now anyway. Henry looks like a solid low-end TE1 option who has the potential to score in any game.

Fade: RB Ezekiel Elliott

Patriots running back Ezekiel Elliott is facing his former team for the first time. The “revenge game” narrative will be hot in the media, especially after Elliott got 18 carries this past week against the Jets, converting them for 80 yards. He was actually significantly more effective than Stevenson in that contest.

Don’t expect that to be the case going forward, though, as this has been Stevenson’s backfield and Elliott has been on the field for fewer than 40 percent of the Patriots’ offensive snaps in all three games.

The Cowboys smothered both Saquon Barkley and the combination of Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook in Weeks 1 and 2. They did struggle a bit against the Cardinals in Week 3, but that was also a very weird game script that saw them behind throughout the entirety of the contest. Elliott looks like the obvious handcuff for Stevenson, but he shouldn’t be trusted as a fantasy asset himself right now, especially in difficult matchups like the one he faces against the Cowboys.

NE FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.28
NE FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.13
NE FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.20
NE FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.30

No Brainers: RB Tony Pollard

Favorites: N/A

On the Fence: WR CeeDee Lamb

The Cowboys offense has been slow out of the gates, but CeeDee Lamb has still been able to put together three double-digit fantasy games to start the year. He had a huge 11-catch, 143-yard game against an excellent Jets defense in Week 2, but was held to just four receptions for 53 yards against the Cardinals this past week on seven targets.

Lamb does face a potentially difficult matchup this week against rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez who has had an exceptional start to his career. Lamb does move around and into the slot quite often, which could mean that he’s able to avoid Gonzalez a bit, but this is still a potentially difficult matchup and one where we need to temper expectations for a player who’s normally a locked in mid-level WR1.

Fade: QB Dak Prescott

Prescott has had a weird start to the season, with a largely irrelevant game against the Jets in Week 1 wherein he barely needed to throw the ball in what was a complete blowout win over the Giants. Then the Cowboys leaned on him a bit more in Week 2 - another blowout win, this time over the Jets - and he looked like his old self, throwing for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns while being efficient with his passes. But most recently, when the Cowboys needed him most to dig themselves out of a double-digit deficit on the road against what most believe to be a bad Cardinals team, Prescott fell short and failed to deliver both from an NFL standpoint and from a fantasy standpoint. It wasn’t a complete disaster as he still threw for 249 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw an ugly, game-sealing interception.

Now he faces a Patriots defense that has been excellent against opposing quarterbacks thus far, having given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to the position despite having already played games against both Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa.

This is not a good situation for the Cowboys’ passing game and Prescott should be viewed as more of a high-end QB2 this week as opposed to a solid low-end QB1.

Prediction: Cowboys 20, Patriots 17 ^ Top

Cardinals @ 49ers - (Fessel)
Line: SF -14.0
Total: 43.5

SF FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.27
SF FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.15
SF FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.21
SF FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.24

No Brainers: n/a

Favorites: RB James Conner

As a three-down back who can be trusted at the goal line and catch the ball anywhere on the field, Conner has unsurprisingly been the focal point of the Cardinals offense. Perhaps the only surprising fact is that the Cardinals have outscored their opponents (+5), which has meant a lot more positive game script than expected. As a result, Conner has 51 rushes through three games (No.3 in the NFL). Enter the 49ers, who have thus far dominated opponents to such a degree that opposing running backs have altogether “enjoyed” just 31 rushes. It seems that two opposing forces may be collide.

While the Cardinals did stun the Cowboys last week, the 49ers won’t be reeling from the loss of a key player (Dallas Cowboy star corner Trevon Diggs). Neither will they be caught off guard by Arizona’s improved offensive line play – with Dobbs having faced pressure on just 19% of drop backs despite spending a slightly long 2.4 seconds in the pocket and James Conner enjoying a whopping 4.0 yards before contact. In short, the 49ers could dominate again. Yet Conner can win there, too. Whereas the 49ers have given up just 111 rushing yards, they have already surrendered 21 receptions and 3 total touchdowns to running backs. Conner hasn’t quite flexed his receiving chops yet in 2023 despite his strong start – just 7 receptions for 26 yards – but he has averaged 55 receptions and over 400 yards receiving per 17 games during his career.

Currently ranked No.8 among a collection of fantasy football running backs, the well-rounded Conner has a lot of ways to get to no less than RB2 status, even against the Niners.

On the Fence: WR Marquise Brown (thumb)

Brown has been effective thus far (14 receptions, 2 TDs and No.26 among WR in fantasy points per game), and the 49ers allowed double-digit points to the only Top 40 receivers they’ve faced thus far (Nucua and Atwell). But no other wide receiver besides Brown has seen more than 9 targets (Ronalde Moore), while Zach Ertz can be held in check without safety help. Brown could see a whole lot of erasure this game through double teams, and that makes him a sizable risk for a very quiet day.

Fade: QB Joshua Dobbs, TE Zach Ertz

The Cardinals are 1-2 thus far, but have been surprisingly competitive, playing one-score games against both Washington and the New York Giants. Whereas the disappointment of allowing the Giants to rally from a three-score deficit could have sent the Cardinals spiraling down, the team led by Joshua Dobbs responded with shocking victory of the roaring hot Dallas Cowboys, 28-16. Dobbs, for his part, seems to have taken unexpected strides and looks no worse than a relatively competent back up. That’s some degree of good news for weapons James Conner and Marquise Brown, but also for Dobbs’ long-term prospects in the NFL.

That being said, the journeyman quarterback has not made more than 31 pass attempts, thrown for 228 yards, or tossed more than 1 touchdown in any game this season. He has exhibited rushing upside, producing 96 yards on the ground and a touchdown over the last two weeks after -3 rushing yards in the opener, but while he landed at No.9 among quarterbacks in Week 2 performance with 269 totals yards and both a passing and rushing touchdown, he finished outside the top 20 in weeks 1 and 3.

The 49ers, who have allowed just the 27th most points per game to opposing QB’s, look to be Dobbs toughest assignment yet. It will be hard for him to get on the fat side of the 12.6 fantasy points per game that Kenny Pickett, Matthew Stafford and Daniel Jones had previously combined to average against the stiff San Fran defense.

Zach Ertz, meanwhile, has had 20 targets through three games. That should be good news at the tight end position. But Ertz has turned 14 receptions into just 83 yards and no touchdowns. This lack of efficiency may be exponentially worsened by a 49ers defense that has allowed 10 receptions for an even more pedestrian 6.2 yards per reception. San Francisco star Linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have been on their game, and that means a hard fade for Ertz.

ARI FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.5
ARI FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.7
ARI FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.19
ARI FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.16

No Brainers: RB Christian McCaffrey, TE George Kittle

Favorites: n/a

Update: Deebo Samuel is listed as Questionable but expected to play.

On the Fence: WR Deebo Samuel, WR Brandon Aiyuk

Deebo Samuel started the week with a missed practice (ribs, shoulder), and so his status is up in the air. Brandon Aiyuk missed Week 3, but did log a limited practice to start the week and may play. The hurdles don’t stop there, though. The Cardinals have held opposing No.1 receivers Terry McLaurin, Darius Slayton, and CeeDee Lamb to just 4.1, 7.7 and 8.2 fantasy points to start the year. If one of these two stellar receivers is out, the other will surely be facing everything the Cardinals defense can afford to throw at them. Number 2 receivers haven’t fared a lot better. Particularly Jahan Dotson (6.5 points in Week 1) and Brandin Cooks (2.7 points in Week 3).

If both play, Deebo may be the better bet, as he will move around the formation, and the Cardinals did allow Isaiah Hodgins to pick up 12 points in the Week 2, followed by 12.2 from the Cowboy’s Michael Gallup. He can also score points on the ground - already has 8 rushes for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Fade: n/a

Prediction: 49ers 30, Cardinals 17 ^ Top

Chiefs @ Jets - (Caron)
Line: KC -8.5
Total: 41.5

NYJ FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.21
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.14
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.26
NYJ FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.3

No Brainers: QB Patrick Mahomes, TE Travis Kelce

Favorites: WR Rashee Rice

Rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice is quietly ascending the Chiefs’ depth chart, having played 31 percent of snaps in Week 1, 18 percent in Week 2, and then skyrocketing to 51 percent in Week 3. He’s Currently the team’s target leader (14) at wide receiver, as well as their reception leader (10) despite playing the fourth-most snaps among the group.

Rice has been clearly the team’s most impressive receiver thus far and is someone who could be looked at as a low-end Flex option with the potential to have a nice game against a struggling Jets team.

On the Fence: RB Isiah Pacheco

This is still very much a three-headed backfield between Isiah Pacheco, Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but Pacheco has been by far the leader in touches, particularly early in the game. He’s also not losing as much receiving work to McKinnon as we may have originally assumed, as he’s been targeted nine times to McKinnon’s eight through three games.

Pacheco remains by far the most productive runner in one of the league’s best offenses, so he’s always a strong bet to get into the end zone and produce a solid game, even against good defenses like the Jets. However, his true big-game upside remains limited as long as McKinnon and Edwards-Helaire remain as involved as they have been, so he’s still a low-end RB2/Flex.

Fade: WR Skyy Moore

Second-year receiver Skyy Moore Is currently the Chiefs’ leader in yards at wide receiver, but he’s been targeted just 13 times through three games despite roughly matching Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the team leader in snaps played. Moore has been a disappointment and hasn’t caught more than four passes in a game since Week 11 of the 2022 season.

Anyone playing as many snaps as Moore has will have the possibility of getting into the end zone, but he lacks the true upside to make him a strong play in seasonal or DFS formats right now.

KC FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.26
KC FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.29
KC FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.27
KC FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.21

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: WR Garrett Wilson

There’s not much to like in this Zach Wilson-led New York Jets offense, but Garrett Wilson has still been a fairly solid fantasy receiver to start the season. Sure, he’s been extremely disappointing when you consider the hopes we had for him heading into the year, but he’s been targeted 22 times through three games, he’s scored two touchdowns, and he should have a chance to see plenty of opportunities this week in what should be a negative game script against the Chiefs. Fire him up as a WR2.

On the Fence: N/A

Fade: RB Breece Hall, RB Dalvin Cook

We came into the 2023 season with hopes that the Jets might actually have two viable weekly fantasy options out of their backfield, but it turns out that they instead might have zero. Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook have combined for a pathetic 12.7 total PPR fantasy points between them over the past two weeks. Yes, it’s true that they’ve faced some tough defenses in the Cowboys and Patriots. However, still - this is a horrendous situation that doesn’t seem to be getting any better, especially given that the team refuses to commit to either player. Neither Hall nor Cook has played on more than 50 percent of the Jets’ offensive snaps in any one game and as long as that is the case, it’s tough to trust that either one will be usable for fantasy purposes unless the Jets opt to make a significant move to change their offense.

Prediction: Chiefs 26, Jets 13 ^ Top

Seahawks @ Giants
Line: SEA -2.0
Total: 47.5

NYG FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.22
NYG FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.4
NYG FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.16
NYG FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.15

No Brainers: RB Kenneth Walker

Favorites: WR DK Metcalf (ribs)

DK Metcalf has gotten off to a strong start this season and things are looking good for him to continue that success this week against the Giants. The Giants have struggled defensively, particularly against opposing teams’ top passing game weapons. In Week 1 it was CeeDee Lamb who caught four passes for 77 yards in a game where the Cowboys barely even needed to throw the ball in order to win by 40 points, in Week 2 Marquise Brown caught six of the 10 targets that came his way for 54 yards and a touchdown, and in Week 3 Deebo Samuel took advantage of Brandon Aiyuk being sidelined and delivered a six-catch, 129-yard performance with a touchdown on 12 targets. Metcalf has only been targeted 19 times through three contests so his ceiling is actually higher than what we’ve seen thus far, but he’s still produced solid weekly numbers and high efficiency with the opportunities he’s had. He’s a high-end WR2 or low-end WR1 this week.

On the Fence: WR Tyler Lockett

Currently the Seahawks’ team leader in targets, Lockett has struggled to get things going from an efficiency standpoint thus far. He did get into the end zone twice against the Lions in Week 2, but he’s averaging just 7.9 yards per reception which is a far cry from his career average of 13.2 yards per reception. It’d be naive to assume that Lockett has suddenly turned into Jarvis Landry, but we may be seeing the early signs of decline from this once-reliable fantasy WR2. He’s still seeing a strong enough target share to justify giving him a chance this week against a bad Giants defense, but he’s more of a WR3/Flex right now.

Fade: RB Zach Charbonnet

Rookie running back Zach Charbonnet saw his most playing time (43 percent snap share) and received the biggest workload of his young career (nine carries, one reception) this past week against the Panthers. The game was perhaps the most surprising shootout of the week and it allowed a bunch of players on each team to contribute much more than they typically do. Charbonnet was one of those players and despite the fact that he looked solid in his opportunities, there’s been no question thus far that Kenneth Walker has been the better player. The Seahawks will likely continue to ramp up Charbonnet’s touches throughout the season, but we’re not yet to the point where he’s someone who should be started in fantasy.

SEA FPts Allowed vs. QBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. RBs: No.10
SEA FPts Allowed vs. WRs: No.2
SEA FPts Allowed vs. TEs: No.20

No Brainers: N/A

Favorites: TE Darren Waller

Waller was one of the biggest risers on draft boards late in the offseason, but so far things haven’t been so exciting for the veteran tight end in his new offense. He does currently rank inside TE1 range for the season given that the position as a whole has been terrible, but Waller has failed to exceed three catches in two of his three games and he hasn’t yet found the end zone. On a positive note, he has been targeted 20 times already, which leads all Giants pass-catchers, and he now faces a Seahawks defense that gave up five receptions for 63 yards to rookie TE Sam LaPorta back in Week 2 and has a history of struggling to defend tight ends. Seattle gave up 16.3 PPR fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends in 2022. This could be the big week we’ve been waiting for from Waller.

On the Fence: WR Wan’Dale Robinson

Second-year wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson made his 2023 debut this past week, catching four of the five targets that came his way for 21 yards. While those totals aren’t anything to be too excited about, the fact that he was targeted five times on just 11 snaps played has to be an exciting revelation for fantasy managers. It’s noteworthy that Parris Campbell, who typically plays most of his snaps out of the slot, saw a significant drop in playing time with Robinson coming back - perhaps a sign that the Giants intend to make the transition. If he sees an uptick in playing time, as we should expect as he gets his body back into playing condition, we could see him become a viable deep option at Flex as early as this week.

Fade: RB Matt Breida

Giants running back Matt Breida played 82 percent of the Giants’ offensive snaps this past week, but only touched the ball seven times in the Giants’ blowout loss to the 49ers. It’s true that his fantasy day was saved when he scored the team’s only touchdown for the day, but that kind of usage should be extremely concerning for fantasy managers.

On the bright side, the Seahawks are not nearly as good defensively as the 49ers are and this game should be more competitive, but the Giants have shown us that they’d much prefer to spread the ball out through the air than rely on their running game without Saquon Barkley. Perhaps we’ll see something that inspires us to play Breida next week, but the risk is just too strong here to justify putting Brieda in lineups in Week 4.

Prediction: Seahawks 24, Giants 23 ^ Top