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Lineup Prep: Week 3

Wed Sep 23 10:47am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Taylor can produce big again


Here is to hoping this week is a little more calm on the injury front. Last week was devastating for so many fantasy teams, seeing so many top players go down. It was hard to watch. The good news for last week was there were a lot of big fantasy performances. It looks like players and offenses are rounding into form in a hurry. Let’s hope that is the trend going forward and the injuries stop. We can hope, right?

Now for my random thoughts for the week. . . . .

I like the Devonta Freeman signing in New York. Sure, their line is terrible and Freeman isn’t quite the same player as past seasons, but I think he can be somewhat productive for fantasy teams in a starting role. He topped 1,000 total yards in 14 games last year and is 28 years old. Freeman also has 50-plus receptions three of the past five seasons. He is a three-down back with a track record of success. He won’t be Saquon Barkley but he can help ease his loss a little for the Giants and fantasy teams.

I love the way Josh Allen is playing right now. He is throwing the ball with more confidence and seems on the same page with his receivers. Plus, the offense is really doing a great job of utilizing his strengths and receivers in this offense. I just want to temper expectations for him going forward. He played the Jets and Dolphins to open the season, two of the worst defenses in football. He is not going to do this every week. I do think he is a top-10 fantasy quarterback this year, though, and could maybe even be top five. But just don’t get too carried away with his great start.

This year is showing more than ever that staying away from running back committees is good idea for fantasy owners. There are all sorts of situations causing headaches for fantasy teams, including the Ravens, Dolphins, Rams and Lions. Who knows if these situations will sort out any time soon? Keep this in mind when drafting next year. It is better to just let someone else in your league deal with these running back committees.

Sure, he made a few mistakes but I was really impressed with Justin Herbert in his NFL debut. He was thrown into action at the last minute on the road against the defending Super Bowl champs but almost led his team to victory. He just brings a lot more to the Chargers offense, so I hope he gets the nod going forward for the team. He would be a plus for all playmakers on that side of the ball, especially at receiver.

So all the offseason Calvin Ridley hype was warranted. He leads all fantasy receivers in scoring after two games. He has multiple touchdowns and 100-yard performances each of his first two games. Ridley has really taken his game to a new level. Julio Jones and Ridley might be the best receiver duo in football right now. I expect both these players to be top-10 fantasy receivers by the end of the season, especially since this offense throws the ball so often.

I really didn’t think Darren Waller was going to be able to repeat his big season from last year. I don’t have any shares of him. I will be the first to admit a mistake and I made one here. He is still getting tons of looks in this offense despite the team upgrading at receiver. He has 24 targets in two games and already a double-digit reception, 100-yard performance under his belt. Waller is the real deal and should continue to post big numbers in this offense.

I hope the Raiders scale back the usage of Josh Jacobs a little. He already looks beat up and we are just two weeks into the season. He has 25-plus carries each of his first two games, though, and 59 total touches. Jacobs might not hold up at this current rate, especially if you consider how he looked late in the Week 2 game. The Raiders might be wise to manage their franchise back a little better going forward.

So Nyheim Hines scores two touchdowns and has 15 touches in Week 1. The Colts starting back, Marlon Mack, gets hurt in the game and Hines sees his touches actually go down the following week. He has just one touch last week. Yeah, I can’t explain it. I thought he would at least get double-digit touches or near that. It seems the Colts are all in on Jonathan Taylor as their three-down back - at least for now. I would avoid using Hines until you see some steady production from him on a weekly basis.

There are some great games to watch this weekend. I have several that I’m looking forward to watching, including the Raiders/Patriots, Cowboys/Seahawks, Packers/Saints and Chiefs/Ravens. This is shaping up to be a great weekend of football. Hopefully, it plays out that way. Plus, many of these games are setup to be high scoring, which is always good for fantasy owners.

Don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 3 rankings

News and Notes: The Broncos signed Blake Bortles on Tuesday. He should serve as the backup this week but could move into the starting role before long. . . . .The Giants signed running back Devonta Freeman on Tuesday. He could be the starting lineup in a hurry once he gets up to speed in the Giants offense.

HOT PLAYS

Gardner Minshew, QB, Jaguars. Minshew is off to a great start this season, having three touchdowns in each of his first two games. He also topped the 300-yard mark last week. Minshew is playing with confidence and making plenty of plays in an offense that is airing it out more often. He should continue his hot ways this week against Miami, a team that allows the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Minshew is a solid starter for fantasy teams in this one.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Colts. Taylor was the featured back last week for the Colts because of the injury to Marlon Mack and excelled in that role. He got a ton of work and enjoyed his first 100-yard game, rushing 26 times for 101 yards and a touchdown. Taylor has 199 total yards in two games. He should continue to get a lot of chances in this offense and is setup for a big rookie year, especially with Mack hurt. Taylor can produce his best game to date this week against the Jets, a team that allows the seventh most fantasy points to running backs.

D.K. Metcalf, WR, Seahawks. Metcalf has posted similar numbers to start the season. He has four receptions, topped 90 yards and scored a touchdown in each of his first two games. He is off to a solid start, showing his huge ceiling for the coming season. Metcalf might be able to best his first two games this week against the Cowboys. Dallas has been burnt by the pass each of their first two games. The Cowboys allow the seventh most fantasy points to receivers and allow 268-passing yards per game.

Melvin Gordon, RB, Broncos. Gordon is off to a decent start to his Broncos career. He has 80-plus total yards in each of his first two games and scored in both those games. He hasn’t enjoyed the big game just yet but is producing consistent numbers. This week might be his first big fantasy performance of the season. Gordon could be counted on for more work with the Broncos ravaged by injury. He might be the focal point of the offense for the next few weeks. Gordon gets the Bucs, a team that allows the fifth most fantasy points to running backs.

CeeDee Lamb, WR, Cowboys. Lamb had his first 100-yard game as a pro last week, catching six passes for 106 yards. He has at least five receptions each of his first two games. He is getting plenty of chances to make plays his rookie season in the Cowboys offense. Expect more of the same this week against the Seahawks, a team that allows more than 400-passing yards per game. Seattle also allows the most fantasy points to receivers. Look for Lamb to build on his big showing from Week 2.

COLD PLAYS 

David Johnson, RB, Texans. Johnson did very little in a tough matchup last week against the Ravens, running 11 times for 34 yards. He also caught two passes for 16 yards. He had just 50 total yards. He has a similar tough matchup this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to running backs and are first overall against the run after two games. If you have better options, go with them.

Marvin Jones, WR, Lions. Jones has disappointed some to start his season, especially if you consider he was the No. 1 target for the Lions with Kenny Golladay out of the lineup. Jones didn’t take advantage, having 78 yards in two games. He also has just four receptions each of his first two games. Golladay is expected back this week, which could take away a few targets from Jones. Plus, Jones plays the Cardinals, a team that has done well against the pass to start the season. Arizona allows the fewest fantasy points to receivers.

Drew Brees, QB, Saints. Brees is off to a bit of a rough start for his standards, having three touchdowns and an interception in two games. He did top 300-passing yards last week but got many of those yards late with the game in hand. He has struggled to make plays down the field. And the loss of Michael Thomas clearly doesn’t help matters for Brees. He probably is best suited on fantasy benches until Thomas is back in the lineup. Brees gets the Packers this week, a team that is 13th overall against the pass.

Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams. Brown has double-digit carries each of his first two games and produced pretty well with his chances. Darrell Henderson emerged last week, though, and could be cutting into Brown’s playing time. Plus, Brown has limited upside because he doesn’t get a ton of work in the passing game. He did not catch a pass last week. He ran 11 times for 47 yards, giving him fewer than five fantasy points. Brown should be pretty ho hum again this week against the Bills, a team that allows the 14th fewest fantasy points to running backs.

Philip Rivers, QB, Colts. Rivers might have a favorable matchup this week against the Jets, but that doesn’t mean you should use him. He will likely be without two of his favorite targets, Parris Campbell and Jack Doyle. Plus, Rivers had a good matchup last week and did little, throwing for just 214 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings. Rivers also has three interceptions in two games, having more interceptions than touchdowns for the season. Go with other options.

SLEEPERS

Joe Burrow, QB, Bengals. Burrow had a big performance last week, throwing for 316 yards and three touchdowns against the Browns. He has attempted at least 36 passes each of his first two games. The Bengals aren’t a very good team and could be playing from behind often, giving Burrow many chances to air it out. This is a positive for his fantasy value. Burrow might get a chance to win the game this week, though, playing a reeling Eagles team. Philadelphia has allowed four passing touchdowns without getting an interception in their first two games. Burrow is a good spot start for fantasy teams.

Joshua Kelley, RB, Chargers. Kelley has been getting plenty of work as the Chargers backup running back. He had 23 carries last week and 12 in the opener. He has 173 total yards in two games. It also was good to see him getting some work in the passing game last week, catching two passes for 49 yards. But if he gets 23 carries this week against the Panthers, look for Kelley to have a big game. Carolina has really struggled to stop the run, allowing the most fantasy points to running backs. The Panthers allow 127.5-rushing yards per game. Kelley should garner flex consideration for fantasy teams.

Steven Sims, WR, Washington. Sims is off to a decent start to his season. He has three receptions and 50 or more yards each of his first two games. He is getting some work as the slot receiver for Washington. It would not surprise to see him have his best game of the season this week against the Browns. Cleveland is 27th overall against the pass and allow the sixth most fantasy points to receivers.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers. Valdes-Scantling is off to a solid start, having 60-plus yards each of his first two games. He has been targeted 13 times, which is very encouraging for his fantasy value. He is getting a lot of looks on a weekly basis in a suddenly potent passing attack. He should produce another solid game this week against the Saints, a team that allowed the Raiders to throw all over them in Week 2.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Lions. Swift hasn’t done a whole lot running the ball to start his career, but is making plays in the passing game. He has eight receptions in two games, including a five-catch, 60-yard performance last week. He has been targeted five teams each of his first two games. The Lions aren’t getting much from Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson, so it makes sense to see what Swift can do with more chances. Maybe this is the week he gets even more looks. Swift could have a breakout game against the Cardinals if that happens. Arizona allows the sixth most fantasy points to running backs.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Dolphins/Jaguars, Bears/Falcons, Lions/Cardinals, Cowboys/Seahawks, Packers/Saints, Chiefs/Ravens.   

Low Scoring Games: Jets/Colts.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
John Brown Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown returned after a one game absence, but it looks like he took this game off as well. Brown failed to haul in all of his four targets during the Week 6 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Quarterback Josh Allen had a tough time connecting with his receivers in this one. However, both Stefon Diggs and Cole Beasley found the end zone. Brown should have WR4 upside against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Gabriel Davis Oct 19 9:40pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Gabriel Davis was not able to do much damage against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He finished with one reception on his lone target of the game for seven yards in the loss. Quarterback Josh Allen did not have a good game throwing the ball, so that was part of the problem as well. Davis is likely going to get lost in the shuffle with the Bills receivers healthy at the moment. He might have desperation deep league appeal against the awful New York Jets Defense in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Cole Beasley Oct 19 9:30pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley has been reliable all season long and that continued against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in four of his seven targets for 45 yards and one touchdown. The Bills weren't able to get the air attack going well in this game. However, that should change next week against the horrendous New York Jets Defense. Beasley continues to be a reliable PPR option and that should be the case next week as well.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Oct 19 9:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs had a fairly quiet game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He hauled in six of his eight targets for 46 yards and one touchdown in the loss. He led the Bills in all receiving categories, but quarterback Josh Allen finished with a total of 122 passing yards in this game. Diggs salvaged his fantasy value with the touchdown, but he should rebound nicely next week. He'll get a favorable matchup against the New York Jets in Week 7. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on him as a WR1 for that game.

From RotoBaller

Mecole Hardman Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman only received one target on Monday and recorded zero yards against the Buffalo Bills. Hardman is a weekly boom or bust candidate and he had some potential in Week 6 with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) sidelined, but it was Demarcus Robinson who took advantage on Monday. Due to inconsistent performances, Hardman is only WR4/WR5 with upside most weeks. Hardman will look to pick up some stats against the Denver Broncos in a Week 7 matchup.

From RotoBaller

Devin Singletary Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Devin Singletary was the lead back once again, but failed to do much damage on the ground. He rushed 10 times for 32 yards on the ground in the loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Singletary also hauled in one of two targets for 13 yards through the air. Rookie Zack Moss did return in this game, but Singletary still managed to get double digit carries. Fantasy owners should be able to lean on Singletary as a low-end RB2 against the New York Jets next week.

From RotoBaller

Zack Moss Oct 19 9:10pm ET

Buffalo Bills running back Zack Moss (toe) was able to suit up for the Week 6 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs. He missed each of the last three games due to a toe issue, but honestly he could've missed this one too and it wouldn't have changed anything. Moss finished with 10 yards on five carries in the loss to the Chiefs. Devin Singletary remained the lead back and that will probably be the case going forward. Moss should have increased value against the New York Jets next week. He could be worth a stash for that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Josh Allen Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen had arguably his worst game of the season against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6. He completed 14 of 27 passing attempts for 122 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in the loss. He also added 42 yards on the ground with eight rushing attempts. Allen started off red-hot to begin the season, but hasn't looked the same over the last two weeks. He should be a top tier QB1 for the Week 7 matchup against the New York Jets.

From RotoBaller

Darrel Williams Oct 19 9:00pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs running back Darrel Williams rushed six times for 26 yards and a touchdown on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Williams also snagged one reception for 15 yards. The Chiefs ran the ball 46 times and part of that could be because of the bad forecast throughout the game. Despite the nice night, Williams is likely to be demoted to the third running back on the roster with the recent addition of LeVeon Bell. Williams should be avoided in all formats and should only have value if Clyde Edwards-Helaire or Bell were to get hurt.

From RotoBaller

Patrick Mahomes Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes went 20-for-25 for 217 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills. He also rushed eight times for 38 yards. It wasnt the most impressive game for the former MVP, but with rainy weather, the Chiefs elected to favor the run in this matchup versus the pass. The former MVP still put together a solid performance overall and will look to keep it going against an underrated Denver Broncos Defense in Week 7. Mahomes remains a QB1 every week.

From RotoBaller

Clyde Edwards-Helaire Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire put together his most dominant performance of the season on Monday versus the Buffalo Bills. The Chiefs fed their rookie all night long and CEH responded by rushing for 161 yards on 26 carries. The rookie had his longest run of the season for 31 yards and also chipped in with four catches for eight yards. The rookie has looked strong all season and has become a big threat in the Chiefs powerful offense, but the Chiefs recent signing of LeVeon Bell is expected to put a dent in his workload. Even with Bell in the picture, Edwards-Helaire should be considered a high-end RB2 the rest of the year. The rookie will look to keep the momentum going against the Denver Broncos in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Travis Kelce Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce made fantasy managers proud on Monday by scoring touchdowns on five receptions for 65 yards. Kelce did have a fumble, but that was his only error for the night. Kelce continues to operate as a top option for quarterback Patrick Mahomes as part of a 1a/1b option alongside wide receiver Tyreek Hill. The tight end is the best at his position and managers have to be happy with their early investment in him. Kelce should be started every week and will be a TE1 versus the Denver Broncos heading into Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Demarcus Robinson Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson put together his best performance of the season on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Robinson has fallen victim to being on a Chiefs offense with plenty of options, but with Sammy Watkins (hamstring) out, Robinson took advantage by hauling in five catches for 69 yards. Robinson is the model for a boom or bust player and shouldnt be considered more than a WR4/WR5 with upside as long as Watkins is sidelined. Robinson will face the Broncos in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

KJ Hamler Oct 19 8:20pm ET

Denver Broncos tight end Noah Fant (ankle) and wide receiver K.J. Hamler (hamstring) could both potentially return to play in Sundays contest versus Kansas City after missing last Sundays outing due to respective injuries, per head coach Vic Fangio. Fant is the more fantasy relevant of the two, having established a considerable rapport with Drew Lock last season. Fant has hauled in five receptions in three of his four appearances this year, combining for 219 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Hamlers first two contests saw him receive 12 targets, which bodes well for his fantasy upside should he ultimately suit up. Check back throughout the week for updates on both players, whose return would knock Jerry Jeudys appeal down a notch.

From RotoBaller

David Njoku Oct 19 8:10pm ET

Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku is hoping to have a new home prior to the NFL Trade Deadline on Nov. 3 after once again reportedly asking to be traded. Njoku has been lightly used in the passing game this season by the Browns, hauling in five receptions for 63 yards and one touchdown. Back in 2018, Njoku was a staple of the passing game, amassing 639 receiving yards while starting 14 contests; this season, the presence of Austin Hooper has knocked Njokus fantasy outlook out of consideration. What could spark that intrigue again would be a new situation, with teams such as the Eagles and Patriots presumably having openings heading into the second half of the season.

From RotoBaller

Tyreek Hill Oct 19 8:10pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hills five game touchdown streak ended on Monday against the Buffalo Bills. Hill had a rough night overall and was pretty much non-existent in Week 6. The star receiver rushed one time for five yards and caught all three of targets for a season low 20 yards. Hill was outshined by tight end Travis Kelce and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this matchup, but managers should just chalk this matchup up as a bad game. Hill remains a WR1 and should be treated that way going into a Week 7 matchup versus the Broncos.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 19 8:00pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (shoulder) is trending toward a third consecutive absence Sunday when his team takes on the Bills, as head coach Adam Gase was not optimistic Monday that his signal caller would clear the necessary stages to get him back on the field. It seems likely that New York will stick with veteran Joe Flacco for the game in the event that Darnold is unavailable, even as the Jets were shut out Sunday by Miami. So long as Flacco is under center, New Yorks offense can be targeted by fantasy managers attempting to nab opposing defenses. Even upon his activation, Darnold will be in a rough spot from a fantasy perspective due to the Jets offensive line woes and general downturn in production from skill position players.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Oct 19 7:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (foot) and DeSean Jackson (hamstring) were both listed as limited practice participants Monday ahead of Thursdays contest versus the Giants. Both receivers were out of the equation Sunday against Baltimore, with Jackson already expected to suit up come Thursday. As for Jeffery, he would be making his season debut after working his way back from a Lisfranc injury. Having either back in the mix would be a boon for Carson Wentz, who will be without Zach Ertz (ankle) for the foreseeable future. Travis Fulgham has become a breakout fantasy sensation over the past three weeks, and while his stock would take a dip with Jeffery or Jackson back, any of the three are season-long options against a shaky Giants secondary.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slayton Oct 19 7:40pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton (foot) was a limited participant in Mondays practice after having sustained a foot injury during Sundays contest versus Washington. Slayton hauled in his first touchdown since Week 1 in the game, but came down awkwardly on his foot after the grab. With little time to recover before Thursdays outing against the Eagles, the fact that he was able to practice in any capacity bodes well for his odds of suiting up. Fantasy managers interested in Slayton will want to keep an eye on Sterling Shepards (toe) status as well, as the latter returning to the mix would zap some of Slaytons intrigue, even if he were fully healthy.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Oct 19 7:30pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman (knee) is not expected to return to the field in time for Sundays game against the Patriots, with a likely return set for Week 8 versus Seattle. Colemans role in the offense took an increased interest Monday with the announcement that Raheem Mostert (ankle) would be headed toward injured reserve, paving the way for Coleman to see an uptick in usage upon his return. Across just 18 carries this season, Coleman is averaging 1.7 yards per rush, which will at least leave the door open for Jerick McKinnon to battle him for a share of starting rusher duties. But Coleman compiled six rushing scores last season for the 49ers and figures to have an opportunity to compete for top back duties at some point. As for the game versus the Patriots, McKinnon should be a RB2/Flex option.

From RotoBaller