The NFL is back and there are plenty of things to discuss.
The fantasy football is a game that most people enjoy. This week, the NFL had some ups and downs.
Week 3 of the fantasy football season saw some huge performances by receivers who aren’t often thought of as their quarterback’s primary target, but Mike Williams and Emmanuel Sanders provide additional octane for Justin Herbert and Josh Allen’s high-powered offenses. What can we expect from Williams and Sanders for the remainder of the season? Matt Bowen and Tristan H. Cockcroft provide their views on James Robinson, Justin Fields, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense, and other topics.
Williams topped all wide receivers in the early games with 33.2 PPR points in Week 3’s victory against the Chiefs. However, with quarterback Justin Herbert, this is becoming a recurring theme in the Chargers offense. This season, Williams has averaged at least nine targets each game, with three of his four touchdown catches coming on red zone passes. Keep in mind that Herbert’s physical tools are quite comparable to those of Bills quarterback Josh Allen. And when it comes to Williams, his ball placement has been spot on. That’s why the Chargers can keep Williams open on in-breaking plays while also isolating him in one-on-one situations. Given the target numbers for Williams and Herbert’s rising quality of performance, the Chargers WR should be considered a weekly Top 20 option. —Bowen
Williams has now played at least 70% of the snaps with at least a 20% target share in each of his first three weeks, according to Matt. Williams played 72.1 percent of the Chargers’ snaps and had a 25.7 percent target share in this game. To put that in context, he only had four such games the whole previous season. This year, Herbert is paying a lot more attention to Williams, and I believe he has established himself as a weekly top-15 option at his position. —Cockcroft
Josh Allen is back in 2023, as his 37.22 fantasy points led all players at the 1 p.m. ET game block. While his 11.6 percent completion percentage on passes 20-plus yards downfield was lower than his average, it included his 28-yard first-drive touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders. Considering the on-paper matchup, this was still a remarkable game for Allen, despite the fact that the Washington defense has struggled to thus point. With games against the Houston Texans (Week 4), Kansas City Chiefs (Week 5), Jacksonville Jaguars (Week 9) and New York Jets (Week 10) coming up, he’s suddenly in line for an incredibly advantageous stretch of his schedule. —Cockcroft
Tristan, Allen was on the line today. Allen took advantage of a Washington defense that couldn’t apply consistent pressure or secure rush lanes in a Buffalo system that operates through the quarterback and the throw game. Allen was able to move, ascend, and extend plays to the edge of the pocket as a result of this. And he can light you up when he gets those chances against zone-heavy opponents. In Week 4, what’s next for Allen and the Bills? The defense of the Texans. There are more zone windows to plan through – and assault. —Bowen
Emmanuel Sanders’ game is Allen’s benefit.
Sanders’ touchdown was the first of two for the veteran wide receiver on the day, giving him 26.40 PPR fantasy points for the first time since Week 14 of the 2019 season, and his 11th in 161 career games. The performance is a bit of a challenge to read: On the one hand, there’s the aforementioned advantageous schedule, which is ideal for a perimeter receiver like him, who should suddenly be one of the hottest picks of the week (and rightfully so). Sanders’ target share, on the other hand, remained at 14.0 percent, his third consecutive week in the mid-teens, while both Stefon Diggs and slot receiver Cole Beasley saw more targets. This performance had a John Brown vibe to me, which isn’t a criticism on Brown’s efforts to the Bills, as he placed 20th among wide receivers with 219.82 points in 2019 and had a few strong fantasy days in 2019-20. Brown, on the other hand, has had his share of quiet weeks, including two shutouts in 2023, which may be an issue similar to Sanders’ when game flow is against him and/or Allen relies more on his other receivers. Sanders is definitely rosterable, but he belongs in the WR3-4 category. —Cockcroft
James Robinson’s rebounding ability isn’t enough to save him.
Robinson rebounded with 25.4 points in the Jaguars’ Week 3 defeat to the Cardinals after scoring less than 10 PPR points in his first two outings. Remember that if Robinson is given regular run game usage, especially red zone touches, he may be a valuable addition to your team. Additionally, the receiving totals on underneath passes are a plus. Given Robinson’s lack of dynamic characteristics, this partly relies on the Jaguars offensive framework and ability to sustain good game flow. Robinson will be in the RB2 mix in Week 4 against the Bengals, but I need to see more before I’m convinced on his week-to-week worth with this current Jacksonville squad. —Bowen
After Justin Fields’ understated debut, we’ll have to wait and see.
Aren’t we hoping for a lot more here? And that includes Matt Nagy’s offensive game plan for the Bears. Given Fields’ inherent playmaking abilities, we need to see more movement ideas, play-action concepts, schemed passes, and planned rush attempts. In the Browns’ Week 3 defeat, the rookie generated only 3.92 fantasy points while operating behind an offensive line that couldn’t handle the Cleveland pass pressure. Fields will be in my QB2 mix in Week 4 due to a matchup against the Lions, but we need to see a game plan that favors to his dual-threat abilities before we can push him up. —Bowen
Justin Tucker’s record field goal was set up by Marquise Brown’s drops.
Hollywood’s effort was the worst of the week, and if it hadn’t been for Justin Tucker’s 66-yard walk-off field goal that bounced off the crossbar, his team would have lost. Brown caught three of seven targets for 8.3 PPR fantasy points, but the story was about what he didn’t do, specifically that three of those missed targets were ugly drops, two of which would’ve almost certainly been touchdowns if caught, and a third which would’ve almost certainly gone for a score if caught. Normally, it’d be easy to dismiss him as a big-play wide receiver who will bounce back quickly, but given the volume of errors he made in this game, not to mention the fact that it was about the best matchup he could ask for, it’s reasonable to wonder if it will have an impact on his targets in the near future. In the Denver Broncos, he now has one of the toughest opponents at his position. It’ll be difficult to put much faith in him in that game, at least not beyond a boom-or-bust flex play. —Cockcroft
T.J. Hockenson fails to make the cut.
Hockenson had one of the more disappointing Week 3 performances, earning just 3.0 PPR fantasy points while getting only two targets, just as he had won our consensus No. 3 tight end rating for the week (which had previously been George Kittle’s). Yes, the Baltimore Ravens often pressure quarterback Jared Goff, but this is still a defense with a lesser secondary than in previous years, and one would expect Hockenson to see more passes than this. He only scored less fantasy points once during his rookie season, and he never saw so few targets. It’s easy to chalk it up to an anomaly game, but it serves as a warning that the Lions’ offensive problems may hurt Hockenson’s consistency, even in his starting position. —Cockcroft
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger: Roethlisberger will be a mid-tier QB2 in my rankings after another game in which he failed to score more than 14 fantasy points, and with future matchups against the Packers (Week 4) and Broncos (Week 5). His performance has deteriorated since last season, and the Steelers continue to throw one-on-one balls in an effort to generate explosive plays. —Bowen
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris: Another huge usage rate for the rookie, as he played 94.8 percent of the Steelers’ offensive plays this week, but the big news was his 19 targets, the third most by any running back in the 30 seasons for whom we have target statistics (1992 forward). As Matt stated with Roethlisberger, Harris’ role may change depending on how the quarterback’s season unfolds, but I believe the club understands the importance of Harris’ contribution to the offense’s flow. Regardless of who is at the helm, he is a locked-in top-10 fantasy running back. —Cockcroft
Back in the summer, I was all-in on the Washington defense. But have we reached the stage when Washington is better suited as a streaming option based on matchups? Josh Allen ripped apart this unit on Sunday. This season, they haven’t produced more than two fantasy points in a game. The Washington Redskins’ Week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons seems to be a decent one, but we need that pass rush to get going before this team can climb back up the rankings. —Bowen
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