Week 3 Takeaways: The Panic Room
As I said in Week 1, the general rule for evaluating player performances in a new season is to wait three games. Well, now the third week of the season is behind us, the “rule of three” applies.
You know who the studs are (Kareem Hunt, Todd Gurley, Stefon Diggs to name a few) based on their performances so let’s talk about some guys to worry about:
Terrelle Pryor Sr., WR, Washington Redskins
It’s one thing to have a poor stat line when your team isn’t scoring points, it’s a whole different scenario when the team is doing well and an individual player isn’t. Pryor is the latter, in the two games Washington has scored 27 pts and won, Pryor has put up a combined 50 yards receiving on four catches. He’s only seen four targets the last two games, he saw 11 targets in Week 1 where he put up his best stat line. I’m still not giving up on Pryor, as it seems like quarterback Kirk Cousins hit his stride Sunday night, but I don’t believe he’ll be the breakout player fantasy analysts thought he’d be to start the season.
Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers
Something is wrong with Cam. It’s as simple as that. He’s missing practice due to shoulder surgery he had in the offseason and his trademark deep ball has been off target, the Charlotte Observer reports. My take is that the quarterback position is too deep to really be patient with Newton. Consider this, Jared Goff is a top 15 quarterback, Deshaun Watson is a top 20 quarterback, while Newton outside the top 25, per NFL.com. 2015 never looked so far away.
Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cleveland Browns
For all the talk of the Browns' improved offensive line in the offseason,Crowell hasn’t been the guy we thought he’d be with just 114 yards on 39 carries. That’s just 2.9 yards per carry. What’s worse is that Duke Johnson has outperformed him in recent weeks. After another dud in a golden matchup against Indianapolis, Cowell may be headed for the bench. Johnson is owned in a lot of leagues, but he makes for an exciting pickup if he's somehow available in yours.
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers
Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin dodged a bullet Sunday against the Saints. His left knee bent backward during a tackle but he didn’t suffer any structural damage. Even so, Benjamin is in danger of missing Week 4. If he can’t go, Funchess should be on rosters as he had 10 targets in Week 3.
Wendell Smallwood, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
With Darren Sproles on injured reserve, running back Wendell Smallwood should be in for a bigger role within the Eagles’ offense. Sunday, he split carries with LeGarrette Blount, he had 71 yards on 12 carries for 5.9 yards per carry. The Eagles have a pretty big committee going on with Blount and rookie Corey Clement, but Smallwood is worth an add.
Deshaun Watson, QB, Houston Texans
Watson had an eye-opening performance against the Patriots on Sunday, completing 22 of 33 passes for two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed eight times for 41 yards. Watson's rushing ability provides a little extra boost for fantasy owners (or as a bank to cover for his turnovers).
Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams
Through three games, Goff has thrown for 817 yards and five touchdowns, though he’s faced dubious competition with the Colts and 49ers being two of the three teams on the schedule. Even so, Goff has proven that he has some upside as a streaming option for fantasy owners.
Branden Oliver, RB, Los Angeles Chargers
Oliver is a potential spot start if Chargers starting back Melvin Gordon sits out Week 4 with a bone bruise in his knee. Pay attention to Gordon’s status, if he’s okay, Oliver isn’t worth a keeping on a roster.
D’Onta Foreman, RB, Houston Texans
Even though he’s playing behind Lamar Miller, Foreman has carved out a nice role for himself in the Texans backfield. Foreman had just 25 yards on eight carries for a 3.1 yards-per-carry average but also caught two passes for 66 yards against the Patriots. He is a good stash candidate.
Deeper waiver targets
Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders
Alex Collins, RB, Baltimore Ravens
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Jamaal Charles, RB, Denver Broncos