Fantasy Overview, Week 3

Get yourself caught up on what's going on in the league as we enter Week 3 of the NFL season. Here's my take on the fantasy landscape around the league and how you can benefit. 

We are two weeks into the season and we're starting to get some clarity, which is always a good thing, no matter if it's good news or bad. It's the unknown and making important decisions involving the unknown, that makes this hobby a challenge. The more we know, the better off we are.

so what do we know? we know a lot, actually

The first three weeks of the season are my favorite. So much is being learned at this time. The cream is rising to the top. Opportunities are being presented for players and several have answered the bell with a successful first two games. Injuries are starting to mount, especially for quarterbacks. With every injury comes an opportunity for someone else to fill the void, and the cycle continues. Winning your league is about having key performers and knowing who to target before they rise to power. Although it's not a must, players on winning teams are generally more successful fantasy options.

Teams that are 2-0: Baltimore, Buffalo, Dallas, Green Bay, Kansas City, Los Angeles Rams, New England, San Francisco, and Seattle

Teams that are 0-2: Carolina, Cincinnati, Denver, Jacksonville, Miami, New York Giants, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, Washington

what makes a successful fantasy running back?

1. Opportunity - There is more of a chance to have success if the opportunity for carries is high. The following teams lead the way in running plays per game. You want to have running backs on these teams. These are also the backs you should target for proactive waiver claims.

  • 39.5 Baltimore (Mark Ingram, Justice Hill)
  • 37.0 San Francisco (Matt Breida, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman)
  • 33.5 Indianapolis (Marlon Mack, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines)
  • 32.5 Minnesota (Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison)
  • 32.0 Dallas (Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard)
  • 32.0 New England (Sony Michel, James White, Rex Burkhead, Damien Harris)
  • 31.0 LA Rams (Todd Gurley, Malcolm Brown, Darrell Henderson)
  • 30.0 Detroit (Kerryon Johnson, Ty Johnson, Paul Perkins)
  • 29.5 Buffalo (Devin Singletary, Frank Gore, T.J. Yeldon)
  • 29.0 Seattle (Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, C.J. Prosise

2. Carry Share (the percentage of offensive snaps where the player was on the field)

  • 100% Christian McCaffrey, CAR
  • 100% LeVeon Bell, NYJ
  • 97.1% Leonard Fournette, JAC
  • 87.7% Saquon Barkley, NYG
  • 78.4% Austin Ekeler, LAC
  • 77.3% David Johnson, ARI
  • 76.2% Marlon Mack, IND
  • 74.6% Nick Chubb, CLE
  • 70.6% Alvin Kamara, NO
  • 70.1% Dalvin Cook, MIN

3. Receptions Per Game

  • 8.0 LeVeon Bell, NYJ
  • 6.0 Christian McCaffrey, CAR
  • 6.0 Austin Ekeler, LAC
  • 6.0 Chris Thompson, WAS
  • 5.0 Tarik Cohen, CHI
  • 4.5 Damien Williams, KC
  • 4.5 Chris Carson, SEA
  • 4.0 Phillip Lindsay, DEN
  • 4.0 Leonard Fournette, JAC
  • 4.0 James White, NE
  • 4.0 Alvin Kamara, NO

4. Yards after the first missed tackle per game (also considered yards after contact)

  • 58.0 Dalvin Cook, MIN
  • 50.0 Marlon Mack, IND
  • 43.5 Matt Breida, SF
  • 41.5 Raheem Mostert, SF
  • 40.5 Josh Jacobs, OAK
  • 39.5 Carlos Hyde, HOU
  • 39.0 Peyton Barber, TB
  • 36.0 Todd Gurley, LAR
  • 36.0 Derrick Henry, TEN
  • 34.5 Alvin Kamara, NO
  • 33.0 Mark Ingram, BAL

a key stat for identifying wide receiver success

Target Share % (percentage of targets made towards a particular player)

  • 36.6% Michael Thomas, NO
  • 36.2% Keenan Allen, LAC
  • 36.2% DeAndre Hopkins, HOU
  • 32.4% Jamison Crowder, NYJ
  • 30.8% Sammy Watkins, KC
  • 30.0% Odell Beckham, CLE
  • 29.5% Marquise Brown, BAL
  • 28.8% Cooper Kupp, LAR
  • 28.3% T.Y. Hilton, IND
  • 28.2% Allen Robinson, CHI
  • 28.2% Adam Thielen, MIN

have fantasy players on high scoring teams

Top scoring teams through Week 2 (points scored)

  • 82 BAL
  • 76 NE
  • 72 SF
  • 68 KC
  • 66 DAL
  • 60 TEN
  • 57 LAR
  • 52 PHI
  • 49 SEA
  • 48 WAS
  • 45 BUF

players on my radar

Quarterback

Gardner Minshew, JAC - The injury to Nick Foles opened the door for rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. I like his chances to find success. In just under two games, he has a 77.6% completion percentage, a QB rating of 111.8, he averages 244 yards per game, and he has seen good protection from his offensive line. To make him more intriguing, his supporting cast, led by D.J. Chark, Chris Conley, and Dede Westbrook have produced.

Daniel Jones, NYG - The Eli Manning era appears to be over in New York, which brings the dawn of Daniel Jones. Jones flashed in the preseason and was extremely efficient passing with an impressive 85.3% completion rate with a 137.3 quarterback rating. Jones also added nine pass plays of 20+ yards and averaged 12.2 yards per attempt. If those stats translate to the regular season, he'll not only bring awareness to his own game but also elevate the fantasy potential for his teammates.

Running Back

Devin Singletary, BUF - The Bills rookie rusher is averaging an impressive 10.3 yards per touch this year on 10 carries and 5 receptions. It's only a matter of time before he supplants veteran Frank Gore for the lead role on the team. Buffalo is averaging nearly 30 carries per game, which is plenty of opportunities for Singletary to reach pay dirt. He suffered a hamstring injury last week, but it is not considered to be serious.

Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert, SF - The 49ers backfield is performing well, led by Matt Breida. He is doing everything right, except getting chances inside the red zone. Kyle Shanahan has given Breida only one red zone snap this season compared to Raheem Mostert, who has six. Jeff Wilson is also seeing goal-line carries and cashed in twice on short-yardage scores. San Francisco is one of the higher scoring teams and their game script favors the running game. It's too early to tell who will win out the most from a fantasy perspective, but both Breida and Mostert have a chance to be high performers with one likely coming out on top.

Ito Smith, ATL - Devonta Freeman is struggling to get it going so far this season, but Ito Smith has looked good in his 10 carries averaging 6.3 yards per carry and 4.5 dodged tackles per game. If Smith can keep a similar success rate with increased opportunities, he'll be a coveted fantasy running back.

Wide Receiver

Deebo Samuel, SF - The 49ers rookie may only have 8 catches, but he has shown good ability after the catch, as well as success on contested catches. San Francisco has scored 31 and 41 points in their two games, which points to continued success for the offense. The quarterback rating when Samuel is targeted is an impressive 143.3

Chris Conley, JAC - D.J. Chark may be the top receiver for Jacksonville through two weeks, but Conley appears to be on the verge of joining him or overtaking him. Both receivers have at least 6 targets per game, average at least 17 yards per catch and have a reception percentage of 83% or higher. Chark has 2 scores, while Conley only has 1. If Chark is unavailable on the waiver wire, Conley is an excellent target without as much fanfare.

Golden Tate, NYG - This comes with the belief that Daniel Jones will put up similar numbers to his preseason performance. If that's the case, the Giants receiving corps will surely benefit. The biggest beneficiary is Golden Tate, who won't be eligible to play until Week 5. He's a good waiver stash now if he's still available. Tate has at least 74 receptions in each of the last five years and likely will assume the WR1 role on New York when he returns.

Tight End

Vance McDonald, PIT - After JuJu Smith-Schuster, Vance McDonald is second on the Steelers in targets. He has 9 catches and two touchdowns, both with Mason Rudolph under center. Rudolph's quarterback rating is 92.4, but when he targets McDonald it jumps to 135.8.

IT'S TIME TO FINE-TUNE

If you started off 0-2 or 1-1, it's not too late to turn things around. Sometimes, one player in your lineup with a big game can make the difference between a win and loss. There are plenty of players who have yet to have a big week and some are probably on your roster. Make the right waiver picks and lineup decisions and don't be afraid to make a trade that could change your season for the better if he hits. Sometimes you have to overpay for the player you want, but if it works for your lineup, I say do it.

Questions, suggestions, and comments are always welcome to haseley@footballguys.com

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