Week 3 Observations

Week 3 Observations

This article is part of our NFL Observations series.

For God knows what reason I had more equanimity when watching things go wrong for me yesterday than in recent memory. I lost my best bet (Saints), was 6-9 ATS and while I got my Survivor pick, the Patriots, correct, it didn't do me much good because my fade, the Colts, won easily. I think part of it is having my best fantasy team (NFFC Primetime) be my highest stakes one. I don't know how I lucked into Alvin Kamara with the sixth pick, but he's the best player in fantasy, and it's not especially close. 

  • Kamara actually dropped a pass in garbage time, but finished 14-13-139-2 as a receiver and also carried six times for 58 yards. His 52-yard TD catch and run, while keeping his balance, tiptoeing down the sideline, breaking tackles and cutting back in traffic was one of the best I've ever seen.
  • Drew Brees looks old. I know he misses Michael Thomas, but there's nothing more than 10 yards down the field, and even his movement in the pocket seems slower.
  • Emmanuel Sanders (5-4-56-1) got involved, but if Thomas is back next week, I doubt Sanders will be useful.
  • Taysom Hill gadget plays are fine when they work, but when you fumble at midfield in the fourth quarter in a tie game... it's all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
  • By contrast, Aaron Rodgers looks like the guy from five years ago – he's attacking down the field, scrambling for first downs, and not making mistakes. Unlike Brees, he didn't seem to miss his top receiver much, if at all.
  • Allen Lazard (8-6-146-1) was the only focal point, while Rodgers spread the ball around to eight other targets. He's the clear No. 2, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling wasn't a factor. Aaron Jones had a modestly productive game against a defense that's tough against pass-catching running backs.
  • Dak Prescott threw for another 472 yards Sunday, giving him 922 over the last two weeks. He'll crack 5,000 if he stays healthy.
  • The Cowboys receivers (and Dalton Schultz) were all involved, but Cedrick Wilson's big game means there's another mouth to feed. Even Ezekiel Elliott caught six passes in an otherwise quiet game.
  • I'm not sure why the Cowboys went into a dink-and-dunk shell, down seven, on the game's last drive. They needed a touchdown to tie, but were playing for the long field goal. Prescott isn't Brees or Philip Rivers – move him around and let him make plays.
  • Russell Wilson now has 14 TD passes in three games, an NFL record. He'll throw 50 easily if he stays healthy, and they stick to the new style, something that's likely given they're 3-0, and Chris Carson just sprained his knee.
  • Unlike Dallas, Seattle has a narrow receiving tree, with Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf getting theirs virtually every week. Metcalf should have had two TDs, but got casual at the one-yard line and didn't realize Trevon Diggs, who popped the ball out, was right behind him. It was obviously a gaffe by Metcalf, but how quiet Diggs must have been for Metcalf not to know he was right behind him?
  • Kyler Murray is a strange player. Don't get me wrong, he's great for fantasy, but he's running and darting every which way and unleashing throws erratically. I used to think he was Russell Wilson 2.0, but Wilson is much smoother and calmer. Murray showed great touch on the first TD to Andy Isabella, and amazing quickness on his rushing TD, but he also had three picks, and the offense isn't consistent.
  • DeAndre Hopkins (12-10-137) had a nice game, but his longest catch was 30 yards. That's about his limit these days.
  • I started D'Andre Swift in a league, and he barely saw the field. It's all Adrian Peterson now.
  • Kenny Golladay was back, but a reason I avoided him in drafts was how much Matthew Stafford spreads the ball around. Golladay is good, but I'd prorate him for 130 targets, not 150.
  • The Broncos had backup quarterbacks, but the Buccaneers defense might be top-five.
  • Tom Brady spread the ball around, and his leading target was actually Rob Gronkowski (7), though the game was largely in hand the entire second half.
  • Chris Godwin got a TD, but left in the second half with a hamstring injury. Even if he were to miss time, it's not obvious who would get the bulk of the targets. Mike Evans (4-2-2-2) scored two TDs, but he's being used like the Seattle version of Jimmy Graham.
  • Ronald Jones out-carried and out-produced Leonard Fournette. This looks like a year-long headache where the guy you sit will usually have the better game.
  • Justin Herbert didn't have a great game (though he is the third QB ever to open his career with back to back 300 yard games), but he looks the part to me. He moves well for a big man, and throws a nice ball.
  • Austin Ekeler had his first monster game (12-59-1, 11-11-84.) Herbert instead of Taylor is a game-changer for him.
  • Keenan Allen (19-13-132-1) is the other major beneficiary of Herbert taking over. Hunter Henry saw seven targets and Mike Williams (hamstring) only one.
  • Mike Davis isn't quite Christian McCaffrey, but he's got the role for now – 13 carries and eight catches, including a TD.
  • I drafted the Indy D everywhere, dropped them after week one and was the second highest bid on them this week in a key league.
  • Sam Darnold makes amazing plays most weeks, but also a ton of mistakes. He has almost nothing with which to work, but I don't see development in Year 3. The Jets are squandering his rookie contract.
  • The defensive TDs killed Jonathan Taylor's value – he was fine, but wasn't needed and saw only 13 carries. And Philip Rivers is spreading the ball around, rather than just dink and dunking to his backs.
  • The Frank Gore-Rivers matchup featured the two of the historically great empty stat compilers.
  • I didn't catch much of PIT-HOU, but James Conner is just fine and well established as the Steelers workhorse.
  • The sequence in overtime where the Eagles punted, rather than try a 64-yard FG with 19 seconds left, and the Bengals knelt on the ball rather than running a play was a fitting summation.
  • Carson Wentz looked shaky as a passer and threw two more picks, but was a beast as a runner, netting 65 yards and a TD, often smashing through defenders to pick up extra ground. But something isn't right in the passing game, and while the NFC East is wide open, the Eagles don't look close to getting it fixed. Losing Dallas Goedert (ankle) probably won't help, either.
  • Joe Mixon had trouble against a stout Eagles front, and Gio Bernard was more effective as a pass catcher.
  • Tyler Boyd (13-10-125) and Tee Higgins (9-5-40-2) were the key targets. A.J. Green has stayed healthy, but he isn't the same guy.
  • Hope you didn't waste FAAB on the Giants running game. They're the second worst team (Jets) in the NFL right now.
  • Daniel Jones is mobile and can make all the throws, but he's not making good decisions, his line is bad and his receivers aren't making plays.
  • Evan Engram had trouble handling a bad pitch from Jones on a gadget play that resulted in a fumble. Jones was mostly at fault, but a player with better hands might have salvaged it. Engram was also targeted on the Fred Warner pick, where Warner came back for the ball more than Engram. Engram is a freak athlete – a TE who runs a 4.4 – but he's not a good football player.
  • Darius Slayton made a nice downfield grab in garbage time then promptly fumbled. He has a big opportunity with Sterling Shepard and Saquon Barkley out, but this was a bad game for him.
  • Jerick McKinnon (ribs) and Jeff Wilson both got theirs, though neither was efficient on the ground. Brandon Aiyuk (8-5-70, 3-31-1) was the offensive star of the game, though keep in mind George Kittle and eventually Deebo Samuel should be back.
  • Cam Newton was mostly a caretaker as the Patriots bludgeoned the Raiders on the ground. The Patriots are tough to count on in fantasy as Bill Belichick/Josh McDaniels often employ vastly different strategies week to week.
  • Sony Michel ran like Nick Chubb, bursting into the open field and breaking tackles for extra yards. Unfortunately for him (and Newton) Rex Beasthead got all three touchdowns and led the team in receiving.
  • The Patriots third-down pass defense is still tough – Derek Carr often had time, but nowhere to go with the ball.
  • The Pats held Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller in check, while Hunter Renfrow, the last decent Raiders WR left standing, got his in garbage time.
  • I didn't watch much of MIN-TEN, so maybe someone has an answer: Is Adam Thielen the old guy giving way to the younger, more athletic rookie Justin Jefferson (9-7-175-1), or did coverages just dictate where Kirk Cousins went with the ball?
  • As one of my Twitter followers points out, Stephen Gostkowski (six FGs) seems to play for an especially FG-heavy team.
  • Dwayne Haskins is a poor man's Jason Campbell. Bypass Kyle Allen and bring in Alex Smith – at least it'll be a good story, and Smith is the caretaker they need right now.
  • Nick Chubb will lose touches and catches to Kareem Hunt all year, and he'll still finish with Derrick Henry's numbers.
  • Devin Singletary was a good running back last year, and he's good again this year, though his ceiling is limited by Josh Allen's goal line rushing and Zach Moss's presence whenever he's healthy again.
  • Darrell Henderson is the Rams feature back, ahead of Malcolm Brown. We'll see what happens if and when Cam Akers gets back, but Henderson might be a league winner.
  • I don't know what happened when the Bills, up 28-3, stalled and the Rams came storming back, but Josh Allen had another four TD passes and a rushing TD, despite losing John Brown to a first-half calf injury. If there's a most-improved player through three games, it's Allen.
  • Apparently the Falcons are the first team ever to blow back to back 15-point fourth-quarter leads in consecutive games. In fact, I read somewhere, but can't find the person to credit,no team has ever blown more than two in an entire season.
  • I'm pretty sure that's the end of the Mitch Trubisky era. Had I known BDN (Nick Foles) was coming in, I would not have laid the points with the Falcons. Allen Robinson (13-10-123-1) finally got his volume and production, something that should continue with Foles. It would be crazy if Jimmy Graham were once again a useful tight end too.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chris Liss
Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.
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