11 Interesting Stats from Week 3

Joe Mixon

Interesting NFL Stats

11 Interesting Stats from Week 3It was a great week of football as we got games that came down to the wire and a lot of teams started to find their groove after stumbling through the first two weeks. The fantasy landscape saw its fair share of really weird performances. Jay Ajayi, Martavis Bryant, and the entire Oakland offense took the weekend off. Meanwhile, Kareem Hunt continued to destroy any team he’s come up against, Tom Brady did Tom Brady things and Odell Beckham is back healthy. These were some of my takeaways from Week 3.

 

1. Josh Doctson is playing more for Washington

This is very notable for two reasons. First, Doctson was a high pick for Washington and while he’s lost a ton of time to injury in his young career, Washington obviously has very high hopes for him. They want him to be a go-to receiver for QB Kirk Cousins. Second, through three games, the signing of Terrelle Pryor has been a total bust. That doesn’t mean he can’t turn it around. However, watching the game Sunday night wasn’t promising. Cousins barely looked at him and there were times when Pryor didn’t seem very involved in the game. Cousins threw for over 350 yards without having to get Pryor involved basically at all. That’s not the best sign for Pryor moving forward. Doctson is definitely worth picking up and putting on your bench because there’s a reasonable chance he could leapfrog Pryor and Jamison Crowder by the end of the season.

2. Kareem Hunt makes history by eclipsing 400 yards rushing in his first 3 games

The list of players I’d be willing to trade Hunt for grows shorter every week. If we were holding fantasy drafts for Week 4 on, I’d bet he’d be the first or second player off the board in every single draft. While I will say these results almost certainly can’t continue at this pace, I’ve been very wrong about Hunt all off-season. He’s exactly what Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson are: excellent backs who shoulder almost all of the rushes and is still heavily involved in the passing game. Since the Chiefs really only have Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce as their main weapons, there’s no reason to think this doesn’t continue. Hunt is a locked in top 5-10 player the rest of the way.

3. Tom Brady is still one of the best QBs to ever walk the Earth

Remember when the Chiefs went into New England and smoked the Patriots on Opening Night? Tom Brady remembers, and he didn’t much care for that result. Here’s what he’s done in the past two games-

While Brady did get to play the hapless Saints defense for one of those games, he played the Texans in the other. All he did in that game was rack up 378 yards passing and 5 TDs. Brady is just relentless, even at age 40. There was a worry after the first game that the loss of Julian Edelman was going to be a huge blow to the offense, but those concerns have been put to bed. The combination of Rob Gronkowski, Brandin Cooks, and Chris Hogan is doing just fine. Brady is actually leading the NFL in deep balls thrown.

It may actually be possible to start both WR every week and not have to worry as much about targets like you have in the past. There are only so many players to catch the ball in New England, and Brady is making the most of them right now.

4. Cam Newton can be dropped in a 1 QB league

This past week was a make or break game for Newton. There’s been plenty written about how he’s probably not healthy from off-season shoulder surgery and the Panthers not wanting him to run near as much anymore. That last part is smart for the real-life Carolina football team, but it absolutely kills Cam’s fantasy value. Newton has never been the league’s most accurate passer. It’s being compounded by the loss of TE Greg Olsen, but Newton with no rushing floor is going to be volatile at best. His schedule couldn’t have been much easier for the first three weeks either. If you’re playing in a redraft style league, you don’t need to hold onto Newton. Just to illustrate this point, you wouldn’t want to hold onto the QB he’s being compared to by Scott Barrett.

 

5. You have a very short window to buy Bengals RB Joe Mixon

When news broke last week that the Bengals had named Bill Lazor offensive coordinator, the hope in fantasy football circles was that he would pick a running back and stick with them. That happened in Green Bay this past Sunday.

While Mixon didn’t make any ridiculous highlight reel plays, he did hog the touches. Now, I wouldn’t fall all over myself trying to pull Mixon from another owner. He is still going to be in a timeshare with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Mixon might be the most talented in the backfield, but that hasn’t mattered yet. Don’t discount the chance that the Bengals could make more coaching changes if they don’t start winning games. The running back position is once again a tough spot to fill for owners. Mixon is worth the ask to see what the price is.

6. The Rams are the highest scoring team in football

No, that’s not a typo. The Los Angeles Rams have is the only team to hit the 100 point plateau through three weeks.

Many, many people gave up on QB Jared Goff and I can understand why. He was historically bad last season. While it’s important to understand this is just a three-game sample size, Coach Sean McVay has produced some fantastic results. RB Todd Gurley has been outspoken about how happy he is to be involved in the passing game and how it’s much nicer to get a defender in a one on one rather than running up the middle constantly. WR Sammy Watkins finally broke out in Week 3, and the combo of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods make for decent complimentary receivers. There’s been plenty of noise to sell high on this offense, but I think I would hold. The defenses in their division don’t look as intimidating as we thought and the out of division schedule only has one really bad matchup left(at Jacksonville). The Rams have something good cooking, in real life and in fantasy.

7. The Chargers offense isn’t what you think

Coming into the season, many sharp fantasy minds gave the advice of waiting on QB and selecting a player like Philip Rivers. I was totally behind that idea and there’s still plenty of time for Rivers to pay off. He’s already gone into Denver and faced Kansas City, which are difficult matchups. Here’s the not so small sample size with Rivers lately.

Now, we can explain 13 games of this sample size from the 2016 season as Rivers had lost WR Keenan Allen for the season and his offensive line was a MASH unit. These excuses aren’t really there this season, and Rivers has a 4/4 TD/INT ratio and is only averaging a touch over 250 yards per game. He’s outside the top 20 in both standard and six-point passing TD leagues. Right now, the only two usable players for fantasy are RB Melvin Gordon and Allen. This “high-powered offense” is only averaging 16 points a game. Even TE Hunter Henry has been a massive bust.

I’m not in the Chargers locker room, but this just doesn’t make sense to me. The Chargers selected Henry 35th overall in 2016. He’s now averaging only 2.3 targets a game on an offense that needs to score points. He had a very good rookie season. I wonder if there’s something going on that we don’t know about, but Henry cannot be trusted at all at this point.

8. Martavis Bryant runs fewer routes than JuJu Smith-Schuster

So, my top 12 WR prediction for Bryant doesn’t look great right now. He’s 42nd in standard and 47th in PPR after three weeks. The Steelers offense doesn’t look great yet, and there is time for Bryant to shoot up the board. This past Sunday was Bryant in a nutshell. He saw the first target of the game and dropped a long TD pass. It went right through his hands and he stumbled through the rest of the game. I chalked up the mental errors that showed up in his game during the first years of his career to his off-field issues. If that’s not the case and he still struggles with consistency, he’s going to be a difficult player to own this year. My big fear is the Steelers needed points Sunday. They were behind or tied for the whole game basically, and JuJu still ran the second most routes. If this was a blowout one way or the other, it would make sense the Steelers would want to get the rookie some work. This is definitely a development that needs to be monitored.

9. Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey needs to be avoided

Last week, we talked about Minnesota Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes being a shutdown corner and that fantasy players need to be aware when their best WR would play the Vikings. It came to fruition yet again in Week 3, when he contained Buccaneers WR Mike Evans. The next young gun corner that owners need to be aware of is Jags CB Jaen Ramsey. He’s been off the charts this year and is a big reason why the Jacksonville defense is one of the better units in the league.

Ramsey and the Jags still play Indy twice, Pittsburgh, the Rams, Houston again, and Cincinnati. As we watch the Jacksonville defense grow as a unit, it’s going to be important to realize what expectations should be when your star WR plays the Jaguars.

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10. Which player is better?

I saw a very interesting tweet that made me react a certain way when I first read it. Before I share it with you, I want you to pick which player you think is better.

  • Player A – 23 years old, 285 targets, 165 receptions, 2,324 yards, 12 TDs, 57.9% catch rate, 35 games
  • Player B – 23 years old, 221 targets, 153 receptions, 1,916 yards, 11 TDs,  69.2% catch rate, 29 games

Ok, does everyone have their answer?

 

Player A is Raiders WR Amari Cooper, player B is Vikings WR Stefon Diggs. This is the tweet that caught my eye.

When I first read this, I felt it was pretty reactionary. Cooper is off to a slow start after it looked like he would have a big season after Week 1. Cooper saw 13 targets including red zone targets. Diggs has had one bad game and two MONSTER games and is the WR1 in fantasy. After doing research, this tweet isn’t a hot take at all. I actually think Jacob is 100% right.

Cooper has worked with Derek Carr his entire career. Diggs has rotated between Teddy Bridgewater, Shaun Hill, Sam Bradford, and Case Keenum. Yet, the career statistics are very close. In fact, if Diggs had the same amount of games played, he would have a good chance to have more receptions, yards, and TDs. Diggs is an equal to Cooper and could overtake Cooper in production this season.

11. Listen to the smart analysts around you

I’m going to finish by advocating a piece of advice after all the stats I threw out there in this article.

This is excellent advice from Scott. Fantasy football is a crowded place, especially on Twitter. Everyone has something to say, from the network TV giants all the way to your neighbor across the street. The best thing you can do is form a core group of analysts who you respect and enjoy and listen to them. I don’t mean just plug in players when they answer your question, I mean actually listen to them and learn.

Here’s a case in point: I loved Redskins WR Terrelle Pryor in the off-season and I still hold out hope he can turn it around. I thought the combination of DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon leaving the team, Pryor having success in Cleveland, and the upgrade in QB play with Kirk Cousins made Pryor a slam dunk third round pick. However, NFL Network’s Matt Harmon cautioned players to pump the brakes at that draft price. He felt Pryor could be up and down through the season and his targets were far from guaranteed.

I disagreed with Matt, and it looks like that was a mistake. Now, it wasn’t a mistake to disagree with him. Matt is a very smart guy, but he’ll be the first one to say he won’t get everything right. My mistake was totally blowing off Matt’s reasons for caution. Had I listened to him a bit more carefully, I wouldn’t be stuck with Pryor in a lot of leagues. I would have diversified in my drafts. Listen to the WHY they’re saying something you don’t agree with. You might learn a better way to think about fantasy football.

About the author

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Adam Strangis

I'm a sports fanatic who wears it on my sleeve (seriously, I have a Pittsburgh sports tattoo). I'm just a big scruffy looking nerf-herder who somehow managed to marry an incredible and supportive woman, have a wonderful family and a sweetheart dog. When I'm not at work, odds are I'm watching sports or the latest comic book movie. Life is good, it's just much better with fantasy football in it. The sarcastic and above it all fantasy analysis is overdone, I'm here to bring it back to what you need to know with a terrible sense of humor. Let's win some fantasy titles!

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