Week 3 of the NFL season is in the books, and some players are starting to show their true colors. Who should we start to worry about and should we be patient with? This is The Good, the Bad, and the Oh So Ugly from Week 3.
1) The entire Kansas City Chiefs offense is a beautiful thing to watch. The Chiefs put up 503 total offensive yards on Sunday against a Baltimore Ravens defense that only allowed 200 and 349 total yards in the first two weeks. It looks like no defense is going to be able to stop a Patrick Mahomes led offense in 2019 (or maybe even in 2029). This offense has not slowed down at all without Tyreek Hill; Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman continue to fill in very nicely. Most of the fantasy community figured this would be a rough game for the Chiefs’ backfield as the Ravens have held opponents to 41 total rushing yards through weeks 1 and 2. A banged-up LeSean McCoy totaled 80 yards and two touchdowns before leaving the game with an ankle injury. Darrel Williams filled in nicely to close out the game, averaging 6.9 yards per attempt and catching five out of five targets for 47 yards. If McCoy and Damien Williams miss Week 4, Darrel Williams will be the back to own.
2) Mike Evans made up for his disappointing start of the 2019 season. After only catching six balls for 89 total yards through weeks 1 and 2, Evans broke out for 190 yards on 15 targets and added three touchdowns to his day. If you played Evans, there is a high probability you won your matchup. We expect more big games from Evans under new head coach Bruce Arians; however, it could be an inconsistent year with ups and downs, but if you stuck it out with Evans in Week 3, he paid off for you. Evans will be a weekly must start to reap the benefits of the “high flying” Bruce Arians offense.
3) Keenan Allen is an absolute target monster. So far through three games, Allen is the WR1 on the season and leads the league in targets with 42 — the next closest is Michael Thomas with 33. Many were hopeful that Mike Williams would get more involved with Melvin Gordon, Tyrell Williams, and Hunter Henry away from this offense, but so far theses absences have just caused Phillip Rivers to put the full workload on Allen and Austin Ekeler. The Chargers get to play the Miami Dolphins next week … Allen owners, prepare yourself for another very fun Sunday.
Allen is the leading WR in targets, receptions, and receiving yards.
1) Leonard Fournette has yet to gain 100 total yards in any game and has not scored a touchdown. His carry count is much lower than you would expect on a team with a dominant defense and backup QB. Fournette has had 15 or fewer rushing attempts in each game, and he is mediocre at best with the carries he has received. Fournette had a 69-yard run on Thursday and ended with 66 rushing yards. Yes, you read that right. That means he averaged -0.2 yards per carry on 14 of his 15 attempts. Gross. Luckily he is being targeted in the passing game, though he has done very little with those opportunities as well. It is going to be hard to trust Fournette moving forward and he should be benched in bad matchups.
2) Todd Gurley has looked like a shell of himself from 2018 to 2019. We were all worried that he might have to share the workload with Darrell Henderson or Malcolm Brown, but that isn’t the case. Gurley is getting the majority of the work on the ground, but he is not performing up to his usual standards. The most concerning part is that Gurley has not been involved in the passing game. Targeted only six times through three games, Gurley only has eight receiving yards on the season. If his target share does not increase, it will be hard for him to provide you with much fantasy value moving forward. He has not looked the same since his knee flared up late last season. Fantasy owners should still plug him into their lineups, but this is something we must monitor over the next couple of weeks.
3) Le’Veon Bell has the workload we all dreamt of but the inefficiency that will give us night sweats. Behind a struggling line, Bell is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry. He has touched the ball 76 times through three weeks, which should equate to fantasy gold, but his yard per touch is a depressing 3.7 yards. The Jets offense as a unit is struggling greatly; they are heading into their bye week and could get back a healthy Sam Darnold in Week 5. Bell owners have to hope this offense opens up once Darnold is back behind center; the passing game needs to start clicking for Bell to see space. Bell is a good buy-low candidate and should see an uptick in efficiency as the season moves forward.
The Oh So Ugly
1) James Conner is breaking my heart so far in 2019. Conner was my ride or die guy this season … so far, we are dying. The strength that he played with last season looks to be non-existent, and the workload isn’t what fantasy owners were hoping to see. Weirdly enough, Conner is averaging the same number of yards per carry, 2.9, and yards per touch, 3.7, as Le’Veon Bell. The difference is that Conner has only received 45 touches to Bell’s 76. With the Steelers offense and defense struggling to put together a good game, I don’t foresee Conner’s workload increasing or any holes opening up for him on the ground. Conner has been banged up since the second half of Week 2, so there is a glimmer of hope that he can start being more productive once fully healthy. Consider me officially nervous. You will probably have to hold for now as trading him will be difficult. He is not a must-start if you have better options.
2) Chris Carson is a ball of confusion. Carson will look like an elite back on one play and then remind you why he was a seventh-round draft pick on the next play. Carson’s workload has been steady on the ground, as he saw 15 carries in each of the first three weeks. That should be a relief to those who were worried about Rashaad Penny stealing carries; however, Carson has been inefficient with that workload. Not only has he struggled to gain yards on the ground, but he has also fumbled each week. If he continues to put the ball on the ground, Carroll will be forced to bench him no matter how much he loves him. Also interesting: Carson’s targets have decreased each week. He started with seven targets in Week 1, which went down to three targets in Week 2, and he only saw one target in Week 3. He ended the day on Sunday with one reception for -2 receiving yards; so much for Carson being the dual-threat that the Seahawks talked up all off-season. Luckily for Carson, there is no one to take his job at the moment while Penny deals with a hamstring injury. Fantasy owners have to be nervous if Penny gets healthy over the next couple of weeks. Carson’s job is in jeopardy if he cannot hold onto the ball. Trade him while you still can.
3) John Ross leads the league with five drops over three games; no other player has more than three so far on the season. Against the Buffalo Bills, Ross dropped an easy deep pass that he likely would have taken to the house if caught. Ross ended the day with two receptions for 22 yards and fumbled the ball on one of those receptions. If you started Ross, he rewarded you with 1.2 fantasy points in half PPR formats — yikes! The good news is that he was playing against a tough Bills secondary that shuts down most WRs they face. The Bengals face the Pittsburgh Steelers secondary in Week 4 that couldn’t stop a snail if it put on cleats and got on the field. Ross should have a monster of a game in Week 4, and owners should continue to plug him into their lineups — at least until A.J. Green gets back.
John Ross has 26 targets on the season and is Andy Dalton’s favorite deep target.