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Truths and Lies - Week 3

By Steve Schwarz | 9/22/21

It’s Week 3-of-17 and patterns are starting to form. It’s imperative that you recognize the changes from preseason expectations and adjust to what you are seeing on the field. The faster you recognize these tendencies the faster you can exploit them before your other fantasy owners.


“If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” – Rene Descartes

Daniel Jones

1) Three of the top-nine fantasy quarterbacks to date are running quarterbacks with 100+ rushing yards.

Expected runners Lamar Jackson (31.5) and Jalen Hurts (27.6) are joined unexpectedly with the New York Giants’ Daniel Jones (29.0). And all three have what should be great matchups in Week 3; Jackson sees Detroit, Jones hosts Atlanta and Hurts travels to Dallas to face the Cowboys. All are bottom-11 defenses.

2) Mac Jones may be the future for the New England Patriots, but he is not fantasy-worthy at this time.

True. He’s not a runner (zero attempts) and he’s not throwing the ball deep down the field. The result is he’s averaging just 9.1 yards-per-completion and has one touchdown pass. By comparison, Kyler Murray is averaging 13.8 yards-per-completion on one less catch and even Sam Darnold 11.7 is well ahead of Mac Jones. Only 31 of Jones’ passes are to wide receivers with 18 to running backs and 17 to tight ends. His 13.7 FPts/G ranks 30th among all quarterbacks.

3) Damien Harris should have been better in a 25-6 domination of the New York Jets.

Fact. You would have thought that Harris would have been running the ball down the Jets throat in the second half, but he actually saw nine less touches in Game 2 than in an opening season loss to Miami. It should concern those who have Harris on their roster that backup/third-down back James White has seen 11 touches in each game. And at some point, explosive rookie Rhamondre Stevenson will see part of the workload (when Bill Belichick lets him out of the doghouse for his Game 1 fumble) and it will likely come from Harris’ assignments.

4) Now would be a good time to “buy low” on running back James Robinson.

Sure, the Jaguars have a new quarterback and a completely new coaching staff, but after a scare in the season opener, things returned to normal for Robinson in Week 2. Robinson was the primary running back in Week 2 out-touching Carlos Hyde 14-2 after both saw 11 touches in the opener. Buy now before he becomes the back who averaged 17.9 FPts/G a season ago (or at least something close to that level).

5) The top-10 receiver no one expected through two games is Sterling Shepard (No. 9 averaging 20.9 FPts/G).

True and it might be a great time to “sell high,” but not until after Week 3 when you can reap the benefits of another very good matchup against a weak Falcons’ pass defense. Shepard is “on pace” for 161 targets despite the team bringing in a “big-time” receiver in Kenny Golladay. At some point Golladay will take over as WR1 and Shepard along with Darius Slayton and rookie Kadarius Toney will play second fiddle. Hope for another big game against Atlanta and then sell, sell, sell.


“I do not mind lying, but I hate inaccuracy.” – Samuel Butler

1) Darrell Henderson’s is currently a top-10 running back and is likely to stay there throughout the season.

False. Yes he’s currently ranked No. 10 (16.5 FPts/G), but we saw in Week 2 the “Michel Effect” come to bear. In Week 1 Henderson was on the field for 49-of-52 snaps (94%), but after a week more of playbook study by Michel that fell to 68% (40-of-59). Henderson handled 18 touches and Michel 10 vs. 17-1 in the season opener. This feels like it’s going to be a 65-35 split if both stay healthy – but advantage still to Henderson as the better receiver.

2) You can start Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts every week this season.

I’m going to have to say no. There appears to be a pattern in his six starts (Yes, I know, small sample size but it’s what we have to go on). He plays well against mediocre and bad defenses and average against top-10 defenses. That’s not unexpected and the predictability is actually very good for fantasy owners. That’s an average of 21.9 FPts/G against top-10 and 33.5 against the bottom 22. Monday night’s opponent, Dallas, is No. 27, then Chiefs are No.24, but avoid the Panthers at No.7. Predictability in an unpredictable world is the ultimate gift … the brass ring.

 Jalen Hurts vs. Defense
Starts Defense QB Pts Allowed Rk Hurts Pts
1 New Orleans 8 23.0
2 Arizona 14 41.2
3 Dallas 17 28.0
4 Washington 5 19.0
5 Atlanta 32 31.4
6 San Francisco 10 23.7

3) Teddy Bridgewater is just a game manager.

Not in 2021. In the first two games this season he’s thrown for more than 260 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions and he’s ranked No. 13 averaging 23.8 FPts/G. You know how many times he did that in all of 2020? Twice. In his 51-start career he’s done it just six times. He’s getting better, he’s looking more often down field (career-high 9.6 yards-per-attempt) and gets an injury-riddles Jets this Sunday in the Broncos’ home opener.

4) Najee Harris will play up to his draft position.

I’d like to believe it, but my “eight ball” says all indications are no. He’s getting all of the workload, but he’s averaging just 3.2 ypc because the inferior offensive line in front of him isn’t opening any holes. Last season the Steelers as a team averaged 3.6 ypc and starter James Conner managed 4.3 ypc. The rebuilt line includes two rookies, one second-year player and a second-year starter. “Development is that, its development,” said Tomlin this week. “It doesn’t happen in an instant. It doesn’t happen overnight.” Sorry, but fantasy owners have trouble with patience from a high-round draft pick particularly when it might not be until 2022 when the rookie blossoms into a stud back.

5) Ezekiel Elliott is still a first-round fantasy workhorse.

Oh, if only that were true. He’s not even the most explosive back on his team. Tony Pollard is averaging 15.7 FPts/G on 23 touches (1.36 FPts/touch) while Zeke is averaging 11.8 on 31 touches (.76 FPts/touch). Elliott will continue to be the Cowboys starter, but this is looking like a 60-40 split with Dallas management saying they are just trying to conserve Elliott for later in the season all the while enjoying the backup’s production and not planning any late-season adjustments.