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FANTASY IMPACT: Week 3

With a second week of sample size, the overreactions can stop. We have a much clearer picture of who will be the leaders in the league for targets, carries, and yards. We thought John Ross, Sammy Watkins, and DeSean Jackson were stars after one week in other seasons, also because of their insane stats. A wide range of injuries happened which yielded a disappointing amount of new starters. Let us go through the updated information that we do have.

Quarterback

Quarterbacks usually do not matter and can be streamed on a weekly basis. Some quarterbacks this year would be worth a trade if you can find someone who does not value the position highly. Josh Allen, Cam Newton, and Kyler Murray all are averaging at least 30 fantasy points this year with no hint of stopping. They all have mostly cupcake schedules with Kyler Murray, then Josh Allen having the easiest opponents. Both have a tougher playoff schedule if planning that far ahead but they could both easily be started the next 10 weeks. Just for reference, their average is killing Lamar Jackson by 8 points per game and Deshaun Watson by 12 points per game.

Usual streamers average ~16 PPG during the year and the hope is to hit 20 points while starting. For reference, this is like having a free Odell Beckham (9.6 PPG), D.J. Chark (10  PPG), or Robert Woods (12.6 PPG). Yes, these players will be better throughout the year but the point is, that it is a free player with a large gap. Trading for these top QBs would be the low-key win of the week. Gardner Minshew (23 PPG) is also worth trading for at a very low cost but after 4 weeks his schedule stiffens up.

Running Backs

These situations have mostly gone back to normal but some major changes need to be noted. David Johnson disappointed many this week and he will again in his Week 3 based on his difficult matchup with Pittsburgh. He did however, lead all running backs this week with a 95% snap percentage. I will admit to not being a  fan this past offseason, but he is a flex start and the ultimate buy-low candidate after this week against the Steelers. Other low-key trade targets are Joshua Kelley, James Robinson, and David Montgomery.

Kelley has racked up the touches even with Ekeler in town with 23 this past week. Kelley still has a 52% snap share to Ekeler’s 57%. This is more than Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon for reference but he has a brutal schedule the next 4 weeks. James Robinson is also above these players with a 51% snap share. Robinson had 16 carries in each of the games with 3 catches the last game. It gets much easier facing MIA, CIN, HOU, and DET the next 4 weeks. David Montgomery was 7th this week in points for RBs (1/2PPR) on 16 carries. He is much more efficient than last year (5.0 versus 3.7 YPC) while also seeing 3 targets in each of his last two games. His schedule is very hit or miss this whole year so I hope you have depth if trading for him as he is very matchup dependent.

The new running backs have emerged after the first string of injuries. New signing Devonta Freeman has the clearest path to being a starter on the Giants. He is Dion Lewis but better in every way. Lewis would be a wasted waiver wire outside of maybe the next 2 weeks. With the gigantic amount of negative game scripts, Freeman would see targets. If we expect Engram to be hurt like every year, it only helps as TE and RB directly compete for targets. He is still only a low end RB2/FLEX at best so do not burn all your FAAB dollars. Saquon Barkley did not have a lot for production even when healthy and he is better than Freeman. Mike Davis is the biggest winner for a few weeks until CMC comes back. While only being able to play 33% of the snaps in a terrible matchup (TB) he was able to have 8 catches for 74 yards. The usage stayed about the same between players. Jerick McKinnon will be a decent RB2/FLEX starter for a few weeks until Mostert comes back as he essentially takes over all roles of Mostert. He is however, a much riskier start until we know more about his usage. Jeff Wilson is a low-key pickup that could silently take some duties with the top RBs being injured. Stash him for a week if you have the space.

Most running backs returned to baseline usage and we can back away from the fear. Austin Ekeler, Nick Chubb, James Conner, and Miles Sanders showed they are not busts so far. Chubb is still game script dependent and will not produce well when playing from behind. The Bengals were the pinnacle matchup so sell high if you can. Ekeler is highly dependent on Herbert being the quarterback. Kenyan Drake is a hard evaluation so far. He has not been used nearly to the same extent of last year but he is still becoming matchup dependent. Detroit and Carolina will be much better indicators to his usage moving forward so do not trade quite yet.

About Justin Weigal

Medical professional turned fantasy football pro... I hope. Love best ball and the Packers.