Week 3 Fantasy Preview

Updated: September 23, 2017

Baltimore Ravens (LONDON GAME)  Jacksonville Jaguars (Game Total: 39.5)

Baltimore Ravens (Implied Team Total: 21.5)
Key Injuries: Terrance West-RB (calf), Brandon Williams-DL (foot), Jaylen Hill-DB (hamstring), Bam Bradley-LB (knee), Marshal Yanda-G (ankle)

Fantasy Outlook:
London games are such a crapshoot. In this case, it is even harder because you have two average offenses and then two VERY good defenses. Seeing how this is probably going to be a close game, we should expect the Ravens offense to continue opening things up. Joe Flacco, while having a nice Week 2, has thrown an interception in eight straight games dating back to the 2016 season (longest streak in the NFL). Before I jump into the wide receivers, I think it would be important to recognize Ben Watson (TE) and Javorius Allen (RB). In Week 2 20 out of 25 of Flacco’s passes went to non-wide receiver targets. In this offense, both Watson and Allen are must-starts in PPR leagues. Last but not least, the wide receivers. While Jeremy Maclin has had a great start to the season, two touchdowns in two games, he cannot be expected to keep up this pace and regression is coming. Mike Wallace should only be a dart throw in deeper leagues. Wallace has only managed four total targets this season (two per game) when he had over 100 in 2016 (7.3 targets per game).

Jacksonville Jaguars (Implied Team Total: 18)
Key Injuries: Tashaun Gipson-DB (ankle), Lerentee McCray-LB (knee), Brandon Linder-C (knee), Jalen Ramsey-CB (ankle), Jaelen Strong-WR (hamstring), Michael Bennett-DT (pectoral), Calvin Pryor-S (ankle), Malik Jackson-DT (groin)

Fantasy Outlook
Don’t do it. If you are reading this section, then you are taking a VERY big gamble with the fate of your fantasy team this week. In that case, GOOD LUCK. The reason to play Blake Bortles is if you are hoping the team gets down early and has to rely on garbage time. Bortles has not proven to be even a serviceable game manager and is still VERY turnover prone. At running back, Leonard Fournette is a must-start unless you are loaded with options. Fournette has played on 60% of the team’s total snaps and is also seeing some receiving game work. In a game where volume is king, Fournette cannot be ignored. Value can be mined out of the wide receivers. In Week 2, both Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns were the primary starters. If you are putting money on anyone we should look no further than Allen Hurns. Hurns has previously been a reliable target for Bortles in a non-Robinson receiving group.

Cleveland Browns @ Indianapolis Colts (Game Total: 41)

Cleveland Browns (Implied Team Total: 21.25)
Key Injuries: Myles Garrett-DE (ankle), Jamie Collins-LB (concussion), Sammie Coates-WR (hamstring), Corey Coleman (hand)

Fantasy Outlook:
It is time for a get well game for the Cleveland Browns and we should be ready to go ALL-IN! Starting at the top with DeShone Kizer who is playing against a defense who has allowed an average of 16.1 points per game. If the offensive line can keep holding up (has allowed the most “Time to Throw” in the NFL @ 3.1 seconds). Pay very close attention to Vontae Davis’ status for the week. If he plays then we should downgrade Kizer. A player I will NOT give up on is Isaiah Crowell. We could finally see the OL gel this week against the weakened front seven of the Colts.

Indianapolis Colts (Implied Team Total: 19.75)
Key Injuries: Quincy Wilson-CB (knee), Marlon Mack-RB (shoulder), Vontae Davis-CB (groin), Kamar Aiken-WR (hip), Chester Rogers-WR (hamstring), Andrew Luck-QB (shoulder), Anthony Walker-LB (hamstring)

Fantasy Outlook
There is a reason the game total is low and the Colts have one of the lowest implied team totals of the week. Jacoby Brissett is seeing his second start against a Browns team who has allowed multiple touchdowns to their first two quarterback opponents (Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco). Jack Doyle is the easiest start player of this game for the Colts. The Browns have allowed six or more receptions in consecutive weeks and Doyle has been Brissett’s outlet. To Doyle’s credit, he has caught 10 of his 11 targets through two weeks. The real question of this game comes from what to do with the Colts’ wide receivers? TY Hilton and Donte Moncrief have only managed 10 total receptions this season and will still be without Andrew Luck. Both of these wide receivers are not startable with confidence until Luck returns.

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets (Game Total: 43)

Miami Dolphins (Implied Team Total: 24.5)
Key Injuries: Jordan Phillips-DT (ankle), DeVante Parker-WR (ankle), Jarvis Landry-WR (knee), Jay Ajayi-RB (knee), Rey Maualuga-LB (hamstring)

Fantasy Outlook:
Jay Cutler is my streaming quarterback of the week. Cutler is facing one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and the Jets have allowed the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season. Don’t forget, Cutler may be working with his best set of weapons ever and in Week 1 posted one of his most efficient fantasy games in his career. Going into the match-up, we do have the Jay Ajayi’s knee to worry about. Adam Gase has already come out to say the injury is “not serious” and he is expected to play. Ajayi should be a top-5 fantasy running back for the week in a dream match-up. There is a part of this offense I don’t want and that includes Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker. Landry walked away from Week 2 with a very high target share (45% target share) but a low yardage share (33%). This has been the norm through Landry’s career and you should be plenty happy if you are in a PPR league. Parker, on the other hand, is a more high variance play with a ceiling which could get him to a WR1 for the week. If you have ANY Dolphins (Julius Thomas and Kenny Stills) this week, they should be at least some consideration for a flex play.

New York Jets (Implied Team Total: 18.5)
Key Injuries: Leonard Williams-DL (wrist), Robby Anderson-WR (knee), Neal Sterling-TE (knee), Eric Tomlinson-TE (ankle), Jordan Leggett-TE (knee), Muhammad Wilkerson-DL (shoulder), Edmond Robinson-LB (groin), Brian Winders-G (groin)

Fantasy Outlook
Buckle up, Jets fans, because this is going to be a long season. The positive you can take away from all this is Josh McCown and his never go down attitude. While you may be concerned playing McCown, since he has not topped 200 yards in a game yet this season, I think he could be a sneaky play with the Jets likely to be in catch-up mode. The running backs are a very different story. Matt Forte and Bilal Powell continue to share time in the backfield (in Week 2 neither of them received more than 50% of the snaps). This is another one of those times that I have to say something really uncomfortable. Jermain Kearse is a top-10 wide receiver in PPR leagues. He is already seeing starter-level snaps since arriving three weeks ago and has already seen 15 targets (7.5 targets per game). Finally, we can’t forget the returning Austin Seferian-Jenkins returning from suspension. While he did not flash in the pre-season, we should not sweep aside the constant reports of ASJ being the best player in Jets camp. I don’t like the idea of starting ASJ his first week back, but picking him up would not be a bad idea.

Denver Broncos @ Buffalo Bills (Game Total: 40)

Denver Broncos (Implied Team Total: 21.5)
Key Injuries: Garrett Bolles-OT (lower leg), Bennie Fowler-WR (concussion), Devontae Booker-RB (wrist), Roby Bradley-CB (foot)

Fantasy Outlook:
Don’t discount in this game that the Broncos are flying across country and playing at 1:00 p.m. I think there are plenty of good things in this offense, but the time zone difference and the early game can disrupt things. There may not be a hotter quarterback through two weeks of football than Trevor Siemian. He has carved up the Chargers and Cowboys for six touchdown passes and is facing a Buffalo secondary who allowed Tyrod Taylor to have a solid Week 1. CJ Anderson has been a man on fire and fitting in very well with the new Mike McCoy offense. The question with Anderson has, and will be, if he can stay healthy. If Anderson is healthy then you should feel confident in the workload he will get (45 rush attempts total through two games). Another predictable outcome should be the wide receiver usage. In the 52 games Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders played together, they have accounted for 51% of the teams receptions and 61.8% of the net passing yards. This dynamic pair has never failed to account for less than 57% of the team’s net passing yardage since Sanders arrived. Both Sanders and Thomas should be WR2 considerations at worst.

Buffalo Bills (Implied Team Total: 18.5)
Key Injuries: Shaq Lawson-DE (foot), Cordy Glenn-OT (foot/ankle), Marcell Dareus-DT (ankle), Kaelin Clay-WR (foot), Nick O’Leary-TE (hamstring)

Fantasy Outlook
There will be plenty of room for concern with the fantasy outlook of the Bills this week. The important thing for the Bills will be to get the running game going quickly with LeSean McCoy AND Tyrod Taylor. The Bills should have paid very close attention to what the Broncos did in Week 2 shutting down one of the best running backs in the NFL (Ezekiel Elliott). I don’t see much through the air with Tyrod Taylor this week as he goes against The No Fly. What to say about LeSean McCoy? McCoy will see the volume and he should see decent yardage. Through the first two weeks of the season, it is obvious McCoy will not see goalline work. As far as the wide receivers and tight ends go (Zay Jones, Jordan Matthews and Charles Clay), we should remember they have capped ceilings. Jordan Matthews is still being assimilated into the offense and is due for positive regression as the season continues. Zay Jones is a dart throw. He should only be considered in deeper leagues. The flyer tight end of the week should be Charles Clay. While the Broncos boast one of the best secondaries in the league and will cap Clay’s upside. Don’t forget the Broncos were just destroyed by the dad-running Jason Witten in Week 2 (10 receptions, 97 yards, and a touchdown).

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots (Game Total: 44)

Houston Texans (Implied Team Total: 15.25)
Key Injuries: Alfred Blue-RB (ankle), Jeff Allen-G (ankle), Kevin Johnson-CB (knee), Johnathan Joseph-CB (shoulder), Bruce Ellington-WR (concussion), Will Fuller-WR (shoulder)

Fantasy Outlook:
There are so many narratives in the game as a whole against the Texans. The Patriots are playing at home, the Patriots want to stick it to their former coach, the media has started calling out the Patriots defense, the Texans are tied for 27
th in the NFL in turnover differential and Deshaun Watson is getting his second NFL start. YIKES. With all of these things being said, we should at least take away from this game that the Texans should be down early and they will be in hurry-up mode from the start. This does not mean a good outlook for Deshaun Watson, but it does mean DeAndre Hopkins should continue his volume domination. I would expect the ceiling to be capped for Hopkins without a viable running mate next to him. You CANNOT start Lamar Miller or any other piece of this offense with any level on confidence this week.

New England Patriots (Implied Team Total: 28.75)
Key Injuries: Danny Amendola-WR (concussion/knee), Rob Gronkowski-TE (groin), Rex Burkhead-RB (ribs), Marcus Cannon-OT (ankle/concussion), Dont’a Hightower-LB (knee), Chris Hogan-WR (knee), Phillip Dorsett-WR (knee)

Fantasy Outlook
Fantasy eruption for the Patriots here. I will keep it simple for everyone here and say you should start Tom Brady. The running back position for the Patriots has also formed a level of clarity for us. Mike Gillislee has already scored four touchdowns through two weeks and James White is the clear pass catching back in this offense. Both running backs are at minimum RB2s for your team every week. Lucky for Brandin Cooks, the Texans do not have a lockdown corner like he saw in Week 1 (Marcus Peters) and Week 2 (Marcus Lattimore). If Cooks ended Week 3 as the WR1 overall, I would not be surprised. Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola (if they play) should be strong WR2 or FLEX options in most leagues. Unfortunately, I do not know for sure where Rob Gronkowski stands for the week after suffering a groin injury in Week 2. I do know Gronk has been participating in practice and is looking on track to play. IF Gronk were to sit and I didn’t have another option, I would consider plugging in Dwayne Allen. Finally, with the concerns over the Texans offense you should have the Patriots DST as a really good start for Week 3.

Seattle Seahawks @ Tennessee Titans (Game Total: 42.5)

Seattle Seahawks (Implied Team Total: 19.75)
Key Injuries: Jimmy Graham-TE (ankle), Neiko Thorpe-CB (ankle)

Fantasy Outlook:
Russell Wilson has to be one of the hardest overall quarterbacks for me to figure out from week to week. He has a pieced together offensive line and his scrambling ability help creates plays down the field and can create problems for him. Everything you hear about the atrocious offensive line is true and if it wasn’t for Wilson, this line would look even worse. With that said, I cannot recommend these running backs (Chris Carson and Thomas Rawls). Every week they will be hit and miss. You will be left with two running backs who may or may not get the touches and possibly a goose egg on your line-up if you pick the wrong one. C.J. Prosise has a little more security because of his pass-catching role and could be considered as a RB3/FLEX option in your line-up. The key to the wide receiver group, beyond Doug Baldwin, is health. Both Paul Richardson (finger) and Tyler Lockett are injured and both cannibalize off of each other. Similar to the running backs mentioned above, they both take away from each other and could put up a goose egg for your team. Jimmy Graham’s status for this game is still up in the air. The injury reports says Graham is out with an ankle injury, but the team also acknowledged a knee injury.

Tennessee Titans (Implied Team Total: 22.75)
Key Injuries: DeMarco Murray-RB (hamstring), Aaron Wallace-LB (back), Corey Davis-WR (hamstring)

Fantasy Outlook
Things are not looking much healthier for the Titans as they are dealing with Corey Davis being ruled out and DeMarco Murray slowed by an ankle injury. Also, Marcus Mariota seems to be still shaking off some rust from having an offseason surgery. The best part about having Mariota is the high floor and through the roof ceiling he provides no matter the match-up. In a game against a very talented front seven, I expect to see more rushing opportunities. In the backfield, we are left with a tossup. Is DeMarco Murray going to continue pushing his hamstring and make us bench him or will Murray take a seat and risk Derrick Henry taking over the starting job for the rest of the season? If Murray does sit, Henry becomes an AUTO START RB1 for me. He will see plenty of volume and even an uptick in the passing game. Since we do know Corey Davis is out, Eric Decker and Rishard Mathews become much more reliable plays. I would put my money on Decker seeing the majority of targets, but Mathews has shown to be a viable wide receiver play and is playing the same number of snaps as Decker.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Los Angeles Chargers (Game Total: 47.5)

Kansas City Chiefs (Implied Team Total: 25.25)
Key Injuries: Justin Houston-LB (sick), Mitch Morse-C (foot), Parker Ehinger-G (knee)

Fantasy Outlook:
The key to taking down the Chargers has already been outlined and it is through the running game, but don’t sleep on Alex Smith. Smith has turned in a QB1 start to his season (Week 1: QB1 and Week 2: QB10). Smith should be looked at as a quality streamer this week as he is facing a Chargers defense who has an injured Jason Varrett going against the speedy Tyreek Hill. It doesn’t hurt Smith that he has the Number 1 running back in fantasy football in his backfield in Kareem Hunt. A running back who is producing not only in the run game but also being a quality downfield option for Smith. I would expect for us to see another solid outing for Hunt going against a Chargers defense who allowed 240 yards rushing already this season. When talking about Tyreek Hill the stance I take is you cannot bench him. Hill is a player who has 13 targets and weekly has a plan outlined for him. Similar to Tom Brady, you MUST start Travis Kelce.

Los Angeles Chargers (Implied Team Total: 22.25)
Key Injuries: Melvin Gordon-RB (knee), Denzel Perryman-LB (ankle), Chris Hairston-OT (injury), Mike Williams-WR (back), Jason Varrett-CB (knee)

Fantasy Outlook
As a -3 point road team, you would think I would want to stay away from the Chiefs. In this game I would still want to play ALL my Chargers against a defense who has lost Tamba Hali to the PUP and Eric Berry to the IR. For Philip Rivers, we should have plenty of room for optimism. He has already put up low-end QB1 production through the first two weeks of the season. Be willing to ask yourself the question if Melvin Gordon is worth holding or it is time to shop him in your league. Gordon has kept his value up with volume and receiving game work. The Chiefs are a very tough match-up for Gordon and we shouldn’t expect him to improve his YPC much (2.48). At wide receiver, Keenan Allen has made his presence felt with 10 targets per game. If you remember back to when Allen tore his ACL it was during a match-up between these teams in 2016, where Allen had six receptions for 63 yards before going down. This match-up shouldn’t be as bad because we are seeing Allen play a lot more in the slot this season. The conundrum of the NFL might be which of the Chargers’ tight ends are going to be productive on any given week. I still personally prefer Antonio Gates for the TD upside. It would be hard to bench Hunter Henry if you don’t have any other options.

Follow the author: @TimNFL

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