The Top 10: Week 3

Matt Waldman opens his film notebook and examines the emerging stars, emergency replacements, and lingering concerns from Week 2.  


The mission of this column—and a lot of my work—is to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality of football analysis. Football analysis—fantasy and reality—is often dramatized because there's a core belief that it's more important to entertain than to educate.

I don't live by the idea that it's better to be lucky than good. While I want to give you actionable recommendations that will help you get results, I prefer to get the process right. There will be a lot of people talking about how they were right to draft or start specific players. Many of them got the right result but with the wrong process.

Much of Week 3's Top 10 will cover topics that attempt to get the process right (reality) while understanding that fantasy owners may not have time to wait for the necessary data to determine the best course of action (fantasy).

As always I recommend Sigmund Bloom's Waiver Wire piece which you'll find available on this page, Monday night. Bloom and I are not always going to agree on players—he errs more often towards players who flash elite athletic ability and I err more towards players who are more technically skilled and assignment-sound.

Straight, No Chaser: Week 2 Cliff's Notes

The article below will provide expanded thoughts and supporting visuals for the following points:

  1. Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are legitimate fantasy options until Tyreek Hill returns. Robinson has more NFL skill, but Hardman's athletic trump cards are compelling enough in this offense to make him an equal or greater difference-maker, any given week.
  2. The Lamar Jackson-Marquise Brown connection is strong and a huge moment on several levels for the advancement of Jackson's career.
  3. D.J. Chark Jr is an emerging fantasy wide receiver because he has improved his technical prowess as a pass catcher and route runner.
  4. Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott's offensive scheme puts a lot of pressure on its offensive line, which will lead to boom-bust value for Buffalo's fantasy options—even with signs of growth from Josh Allen.
  5. Miles Sanders lacks refined vision as a ballcarrier and it's something you shouldn't write off as automatically getting better this year. Jordan Wilkins backs up Marlon Mack and has refined vision, which makes him worth monitoring in case of a Mack injury.
  6. Teddy Bridgewater should keep the Saints competitive. He will drop the fantasy value of his teammates across the board, but he'll be good enough to sustain fantasy value for Mike Thomas and Jared Cook. Mason Rudolph has the arm talent, pocket presence, and line play to become a garbage-time fantasy value.
  7. The Cardinals offense is productive between the 20s and on the verge of gassing its opponents with its play volume and hurry-up, but the lack of offensive line depth, the Air Raid offense, and Kyler Murray's inexperience is hurting Arizona inside the 20s.
  8. Lamar Jackson's work in the ground game is wise and if not for odd scenarios that lead to injury, health concerns aren't an elevated issue.
  9. Marcus Mariota and Carson Wentz are elevated health concerns at the position.
  10. Players and units who performed poorly in Week 1:
    1. Arizona's reserve right tackle.
    2. Adam Vinatieri
    3. Steelers' linebacker Devin Bush against tight ends.
    4. Chris Carson's ball security.
    5. Gardner Minshew's ball security.

For those of you who wish to learn the why's, the details are below.

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