Week Three proved to be a wacky one, with surprising performances from players and teams many fans and fantasy players had given up on, as well as more disappointing games from some of the biggest names in the league. Here’s all you need to know about every Sunday game.
The first London game of the year was a surprising blowout as the Jags dominated the Ravens in every aspect of the game. Baltimore entered the game with one of the more feared defenses of the early season, but it was somehow carved up by Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, who threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns, the first time he’s accomplished that feat since Week 16, 2015. Bortles top target was TE Marcedes Lewis, of course, who entered the game with zero receptions on the season, but caught three scores on the day. He’ll be a hot waiver wire pickup with this stat line, but shouldn’t be a serious target. WR Marqise Lee once again led the team in receiving, catching four of his seven targets for 65 yards. As long as he can stay healthy, he should be a volume-based WR3 moving forward. The Ravens did somewhat keep Jacksonville’s running game in check as rookie RB Leonard Fournette totaled 59 yards on 17 carries, including a touchdown. He also chipped in with three receptions for 21 yards.
The Ravens offense was as bad as you might think, based on the scoreboard. QB Joe Flacco threw for only 28 yards, along with a pair of interceptions, before being put out of his misery as the fourth quarter began. Flacco gave his fantasy owners negative points on the day and the rest of the offense wasn’t much better. RB Buck Allen was a hot name after his impressive performance in Week Two, but he managed just 28 total yards, while backfield-mate Terrance West rushed for 26 yards. It was Alex Collins who led the team in rushing with 82 yards on nine carries. We might not be able to count on any of these backs from week to week.
New England- 36
One of the more entertaining games of the day was the back-and-forth affair between the Super Bowl champion Patriots and Houston, led by rookie QB Deshaun Watson. The two teams traded blows all day and when the Texans kicked a field goal with just over two minutes remaining, it looked like they might pull off the upset win. Patriots QB Tom Brady had other ideas though and quickly drove his team downfield, capping off the drive with his second scoring pass of the day to WR Brandin Cooks, who finished with five receptions for 131 yards. Brady spread the ball around all day, feeding his key receivers as fantasy owners of TE Rob Gronkowski (8/89/1) and WR Chris Hogan (4/68/2) all left satisfied. This was not a game for the New England RBs though as Mike Gillislee, James White and Dion Lewis combined to rush for just 53 yards on 19 carries. White was also not heavily involved in the pass game, as he had been last week.
Despite the loss, Watson was highly impressive, throwing for 301 yards and a pair of touchdowns, yet continuing to make the mistakes you would expect from a rookie. He tossed a pair of interceptions, including one to seal the game. While RB Lamar Miller was just so so, rookie D’Onta Foreman had another nice game. He managed just 25 rushing yards, but his pair of receptions for 65 yards lifted his fantasy day. He continues to be a player to monitor in all formats and would be a weekly start if Miller were to miss any time. WR DeAndre Hopkins saw plenty of volume, but didn’t do a lot with it, catching seven passes for 76 yards.
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In a “someone has to win” game, Colts QB Jacoby Brissett carried his team to a narrow victory as he threw for a touchdown and ran for two more. It was easily the best game of the short season for Brissett, not coincidently coming against the Browns defense. Brissett relied heavily on the Colts best offensive weapon, WR T.Y. Hilton, who caught seven of nine targets for 153 yards and a score. Fantasy owners had grown uneasy about using Hilton after the first two weeks, but he showed he can still produce, again, facing the Browns secondary. WR Donte Moncrief, who has apparently lost his starting job, continues to disappoint, posting a 2/44 line on the day.
The Browns offensive players were key targets for fantasy players this week as well, as they matched up against a poor Indy defense. Rookie DeShone Kizer started slowly, but finished with a nice box score. Kizer threw for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while running for 44 yards and a touchdown. The rookie also tossed a trio of interceptions. Kizer’s rushing total matched that of disappointing Browns starter Isaiah Crowell, who had been projected for a big game. Instead, it was RB Duke Johnson, splitting time between the backfield and lining up as a receiver, who produced. Johnson led the Browns in receiving with 81 yards on six receptions and added 23 rushing yards and a touchdown. Finally, veteran WR Kenny Britt woke up from his early-season slump to catch three balls for 54 yards and a touchdown. Don’t get too excited though. He needed 10 targets to post those numbers and also had a couple of drops.
New York Jets- 20
In one of the more surprising games of the day, the Jets got their first win of the season over division-rival Miami, nearly shutting out the Dolphins before QB Jay Cutler hit WR DeVante Parker for a short score in the game’s final minutes. Cutler played very poorly against a Jets defense that had not showed much of a fight against anyone, but the other key contributors didn’t do much to help. RB Jay Ajayi was primed for a huge game, but had just 16 rushing yards on 11 carries as his team fell behind early. It’s a huge disappointment that Ajayi, who was reportedly bothered by a sore knee, couldn’t dominate the Jets defense. Parker’s 8/76/1 line was certainly respectable, but target hog Jarvis Landry caught just six of the 11 balls thrown his way for 48 yards.
Meanwhile, the Jets offense actually showed some signs of life and was more in line with what we expected to see before the season began. WR Robby Anderson led the way with 95 yards and a score on three catches, while former Seahawk WR Jermaine Kearse took a backseat, seeing only three targets on the day. TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins returned from his suspension and was instantly the best option at his position. He caught five passes for 31 yards, while RB Bilal Powell took hold of the backfield, rushing for 37 yards on 15 rushes and a touchdown. It’s not an impressive line, but it still represents his best game of the season. Strangely, the Jets are still not getting Powell involved in the passing game as he didn’t even draw a Week Three target.
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New York Giants- 24
It looked like the Eagles were going to run away with this game, a low-scoring affair for much of the contest. Finally, the Giants awoke in the fourth quarter as QB Eli Manning threw back-to-back touchdown passes to WR Odell Beckham, who made amazing plays on both receptions. That tied the game and then the Giants took the lead on a long Manning to WR Sterling Shepard touchdown connection. After that, it was all Eagles as rookie RB Corey Clement scored and PK Jake Elliott made a pair of huge kicks, including a 61-yarder as time expired.
For the Giants, it was their best offensive game in some time. Manning threw for 366 yards and threw scores, though still mixed in a pair of interceptions. Shepard (7/133/1), Beckham (9/79/2) and even veteran WR Brandon Marshall (8/66) benefitted from the Giants’ fierce comeback attempt.
The Eagles offense was overall a disappointment as QB Carson Wentz struggled and RB Darren Sproles left the game with an injury, later revealed to be a broken arm. He’s out indefinitely. TE Zach Ertz did continue his hot streak with an 8/55/1 effort.
Both of these backfields are situations to avoid as the pieces either cancel each other out, or simply aren’t that good. Eagles RB LeGarrette Blount didn’t get a single carry in Week Two, but ran 12 times for 67 yards and a score against the Giants. Wendell Smallwood (12/71) and Corey Clement (6/22/1) also saw key touches throughout the game. We heard reports that Orleans Darkwa could see an increased role for the Giants and he did carry seven times for 22 yards, but he’s far from a fantasy option. As usual, the New York running game was non-existent with Paul Perkins (9/22) and Shane Vereen (1/5) doing next to nothing.
For the second consecutive week, the Falcons found themselves trying to hold off a high-scoring opponent, and they once again succeeded. After holding on to defeat the Packers a week ago, Atlanta needed a replay overturned touchdown to knock off the Lions. The key players for the Falcons were clicking, for the most part. QB Matt Ryan threw for 294 yards and a pair of touchdown, though he also threw a trio of interceptions to the Lions suddenly strong secondary. RB Devonta Freeman totaled 138 yards and a touchdown and his running mate, Tevin Coleman notched 89 total yards. WR Julio Jones posted a respectable 91 yards on seven targets but still has yet to go off this season.
The Lions were quiet for much of the day, but as they have done over and over again, caught fire late in the game. QB Matthew Stafford finished with 264 passing yards and just one score. That went to his reliable WR Golden Tate, who caught seven passes for 58 yards. The remaining Detroit pass-catchers – WR Marvin Jones (3/24), TE Eric Ebron (2/9) and WR Kenny Golladay (2/25) – disappointed fantasy players with their performance.
Tampa Bay- 17
This one was tough to predict! After a pathetic Week Two showing, QB Case Keenum was back under center for the Vikings as starter Sam Bradford once again sat out with a knee injury. This game was quite different though as Keenum slung the ball all over the field and made heavy use of his best two receivers, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. After burning fantasy players a week ago, Diggs dominated the Bucs solid secondary, catching eight passes for 173 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Thielen chipped in with five grabs for 98 yards. The Vikes running game was also strong as rookie RB Dalvin Cook scored his first career touchdown as part of a 169 total yard effort.
As you’d expect, the Tampa Bay offense wasn’t nearly as effective, though WRs Mike Evans (7/67) and DeSean Jackson (4/84/1) did post respectable lines. In a game in which the Bucs were thoroughly dominated, it was good to see these two still produce.
New Orleans- 34
This home game for the Panthers was viewed as a get right game for QB Cam Newton, who had struggled with his passing accuracy in the first two weeks. Surely he could light up the terrible Saints defense, right? If Newton can’t post big numbers against the Saints, when will he? These are questions fantasy players, and maybe even the Panthers, are left to ask themselves as Newton posted one of the worst performances of his career. He finished with just 167 passing yards and three interceptions. If it wasn’t for a late touchdown run, he was in danger of finishing with negative fantasy points. Part of his struggles are clearly related to the loss of TE Greg Olsen a week ago, as well as missing WR Kelvin Benjamin, who was forced from Sunday’s game with an injury. The good news there is Benjamin is thought to have avoided a major injury. Newton made rookie RB Christian McCaffrey his primary target and the former Stanford RB finished with 101 receiving yards on nine catches. He will likely remain only a minor factor as a runner, but a major threat as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Oh, if you thought WR Devin Funchess was the answer, he needed 10 targets to rack up four receptions and 58 yards.
The Saints offense was clicking though as QB Drew Brees played uncharacteristically well against the Panthers, throwing for 220 yards and three scores. WR Michael Thomas played easily his best game of the season, doing most of his damage in the first half, but finishing with seven receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. The New Orleans backfield remains a difficult one for fantasy players to master. Rookie Alvin Kamara looks to have the highest upside, but saw limited touches. He did score a touchdown and total 42 yards on five touches. Starter Mark Ingram put up 86 scoreless yards while the ghost of Adrian Peterson managed 37 yards on 11 touches.
Kansas City- 24
Los Angeles Chargers- 10
Well, he did it again. Chiefs rookie RB Kareem Hunt just continues to put up monster games. The Chargers actually managed to contain Hunt for much of the game before he broke off a 69-yard touchdown run to seal the game. Hunt totaled 183 yards on the day, but was not as involved in the passing game as he had been in the past two weeks. Hunt can be viewed as a top three fantasy RB for the remainder of the season. Also not very involved was TE Travis Kelce, who caught the only ball thrown his way for one measly yard. That is still better than his opposition, Chargers TE Hunter Henry failed to even draw a target for the second time in three games this season. WR Tyreek Hill did bounce back from his disappointing Week Two with a 5/77/1 stat line.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers struggled as did most of the team’s offense. Rivers did throw for 237 yards, but also sent three interceptions to the Chiefs stingy defense. WR Travis Benjamin led the Chargers in receiving with five grabs for 108 yards, while RB Melvin Gordon rushed for 79 yards and a touchdown despite missing the majority of the second half with a knee injury.
This was another “I didn’t see that coming” game, for a couple of different reasons. First, the final result was quite surprising, even with the known struggles for some key Steelers players when away from home. The Bears took the early lead and then relied on their running keep to keep it, which is did for much of the contest. Another surprise in this game was Bears RB Jordan Howard, who played through an injury, left the field multiple times with the same shoulder injury and still finished off the Steelers with a long scoring run. Howard finished with 164 total yards, leading the Bears in both rushing and receiving. His backup Tarik Cohen also totaled over 100 yards, but played a clear second fiddle to Howard. Bears WRs combined for just one catch for nine yards.
Steelers WR Antonio Brown once again put up a huge stat line, catching 10 passes for 110 yards and a score, but the rest of the Pittsburgh offense was disappointing. WR Martavis Bryant caught just two of his eight targets for 30 yards, while RB Le’Veon Bell has yet to break through with a huge game, totaling 98 yards and a touchdown.
QB Trevor Siemian and the Denver offense regressed back to our expectation on Sunday as the traveled to Buffalo to face an underrated Bills team. Siemian was coming off back-to-back top five fantasy performances, but failed to throw a touchdown among his 259 yards on the day. RB C.J. Anderson entered the week as a clear RB1, but also struggled against the Bills defense, rushing for 36 yards on eight carries. Veteran WRs Demaryius Thomas (6/98) and Emmanuel Sanders (7/75) continue to be the only options in the Broncos passing offense, meaning they can produce fantasy points in games like this based on volume alone.
The Bills offense wasn’t exactly humming on all cylinders either. RB LeSean McCoy posted his second consecutive poor game as big Mike Tolbert led the team in rushing. McCoy totaled 69 yards and his action in the receiving game salvaged his fantasy day. TE Charles Clay remained a key cog, catching another touchdown among his six receptions for 39 yards. Former Eagle WR Jordan Matthews posted his best game as a Bill and all it took was three catches for 61 yards. Finally, rookie WR Zay Jones, once presumed to be the team’s WR1, failed to record a reception on two targets.
We knew the Seahawks didn’t travel well, but they did put up a strong fight in Nashville, eventually coming up short and falling by less than a touchdown. We did see a resurgent Russell Wilson though, breaking an early-season cold streak. Wilson threw for 373 yards and four touchdowns on the day, and also added 26 rushing yards. His prime target was of course WR Doug Baldwin who caught 10 of 15 targets for 105 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game with a groin injury. TE Jimmy Graham was iffy entering the game, but looked better than he has all season, catching seven passes for 72 yards.
Just as little was expected from Graham in this game, the same can be said of Titans RB DeMarco Murray, whom many expected to sit out this week. Not only did he play, but he looked in 2016 form, rushing for 115 yards on just 14 touches, including a 75-yard touchdown run. His backup, RB Derrick Henry was a trendy topic after he had a big Week Two, but he was the clear second option in this game. He did get some late carries and totaled 64 yards. QB Marcus Mariota played well and spread the ball around, throwing for 225 yards and a pair of scores. With rookie WR Corey Davis missing the game, WR Rishard Matthews, WR Eric Decker and TE Delanie Walker all caught at least four passes. The Titans continue to sprinkle in rookies WR Taywan Taylor and TE Jonnu Smith, and both have been impressive in limited action.
Green Bay- 27
The Packers were in danger of losing their second consecutive game before a ferocious comeback pushed the game to overtime. The Bengals made a change on their coaching staff following Week Two, swapping offensive coordinators, and it paid off as they put up 24 points. QB Andy Dalton was more active, targeting WR A.J. Green early and often. Green finished with 10 receptions for 111 yards and a score. Also, rookie RB Joe Mixon looks to have staked his claim to the backfield as he totaled 101 yards on the day. Starter Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard combined to rush for 50 yards on 10 carries.
After falling behind by a halftime score of 21-7, the Packers came roaring back. QB Aaron Rodgers ended with over 300 passing yards and three scores, spreading the ball around to WR Jordy Nelson (6/52/2), WR Davante Adams (3/60), WR Geronimo Allison (6/122) and RB Ty Montgomery (8/15), while the Pack was without WR Randall Cobb.
Many brushed off the big Week Two performance of Redskins RB Chris Thompson off as a fluke, but that proved to be a mistake. Thompson looked like the best player on the field Sunday night as the Redskins rather easily dispatched the Raiders. Thompson, of course, did most of his damage as a receiver, catching six passes for 150 yards. With starter Rob Kelley out with a rib injury, the other Redskins RB wasn’t as impressive. Rookie RB Samaje Perine ran for 49 yards on 19 carries before leaving the game with an injury. TE Jordan Reed also missed the game, but as he usually does, veteran TE Vernon Davis filled in admirably, catching five passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Even the often disappointing WR Josh Doctson made an amazing leaping catch for a score, helping QB Kirk Cousins to his best stat line of the year, throwing for 365 yards and three scores.
The Oakland offense never really got on track as QB Derek Carr and his top WRs Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were each shut down for much of the game by the Skins defense. Carr totaled just 85 passing yards and a score, along with a pair of interceptions. RB Marshawn Lynch rushed for only 18 yards on six carries. Crabtree and Cooper each caught one pass for a combined 13 yards as Josh Norman and the rest of the Washington defense had their way with the Oakland offense. Crabtree was also forced to leave the game with an injury, which will be something to monitor this week.
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