Stars of Week 3 

QB:                  Russell Wilson, SEA                 32-50, 406 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs

                                                                     7 carries, 51 yards, 2 TDs                                                                                                    

RB:                  Mark Ingram, BAL                   16 carries, 103 yards, 3 TDs                                                          

WR:                 Mike Evans, TB                        8 catches, 190 yards, 3 TDs       

TE:                  Greg Olsen, CAR                      6 catches, 75 yards, 2 TDs               

We’ve got some familiar names dotting the weekly leaderboard this week, starting with Russell Wilson. The Hawks QB had a phenomenal day, but his team couldn’t recover from its self inflicted wounds in its loss to the Saints. Wilson will continue to hover around the top 5 fantasy QB mark. The Ravens’ Lamar Jackson has been a fantasy darling thus far in the early season, but new teammate Mark Ingram has also gotten off to a strong start this year. No longer in the second chair to Alvin Kamara, Ingram has solidified himself as a high end RB2. With the exception of Chris Godwin, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have had a rough start from a fantasy perspective, with Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and OJ Howard having quiet starts to the season. After week 3, both Winston and Evans got back on track, with Howard taking baby steps to usability again. Evans took the top WR award this week, and he’s not someone you should be worried about. We wrap up with Greg Olsen, who found the end zone twice against the Cardinals, notably with Kyle Allen starting in place of Cam Newton. Olsen remains a low end TE1, and he’s been wrongly slept on this season. 

Week 3 Takeaways – A Closer Look 

Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.

- Daniel Jones, QB - NYG: 23-36, 336 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs (4 carries, 28 yards, 2 TDs)

Analysis:         The Giants faced ridicule from all nooks and crannies of the football world, and obviously from all the Twitter experts, when they selected Duke QB Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick in the 2019 draft. Poor general manager Dave Gettleman got bashed incessantly until the preseason, when Jones showed glimpses of great potential. The criticism then rightfully shifted to the coaching staff, and perhaps more appropriately, owner John Mara, who insisted that Eli Manning remain the starting QB, despite clear evidence over the last few years that Manning was done. Kudos to the Giants for finally doing the right thing and getting Jones onto the field. The franchise’s long term outlook has flipped essentially overnight, and Jones looks the part. Obviously one great start doesn’t define a QB as a success, but Jones has very nice touch on his throws, can read the field well and has top level athleticism, as further evidenced by his two TD runs. It appears that Saquon Barkley will be out for a few weeks, but even with this news, Jones will be a part-time play based on matchups. Jones gets the Redskins next week, which will make him a good option in case you need improved QB play.

- Joe Mixon, RB – CIN: 15 carries, 61 yards, 0 TDs  (2 receptions, 34 yards, 1 TD)

Analysis:         Anytime a new coaching regime comes in, there’s a bit of a settling period before determining how a key player’s role will change, if at all. Those who drafted Mixon early have been sweating his usage after the first two games, which saw Mixon collectively rush for 27 yards and 0 TDs. New coach Zac Taylor comes from the newly sprouting Sean McVay coaching tree, which favors 11 lineups, while leaning on the rushing game. So while Mixon has not gotten off to the start one would hope for, it’s too early to give up on him – and certainly too early for a 10 cents on the dollar trade. Mixon had his best game of the year this past Sunday, all while facing a nasty Bills defense. Mixon combined for 95 yards while finding the end zone. Most encouraging was the 15 carries he received, which was a season high. While Mixon’s numbers have largely been short of expectations, don’t overlook the fact that the Bengals have faced a tough slate of rushing defenses this year in the Seahawks, 49ers and Bills, who are all in the top 10 in stinginess of rushing yards allowed. The Bengals will be facing an easier slate of rushing defenses in the coming weeks, and Mixon’s stats will rise as a result. Stay patient if you own Mixon, but you should view him more as a high end RB2 than an RB1.

- Ronald Jones, RB – TB: 14 carries, 80 yards, 0 TDs

Analysis:         The Bucs’ passing game was discussed a bit at the top of this article, and now we take a closer look at the enigmatic Bucs’ running game. Ronald Jones was supposed to be the long term answer at RB after having been selected by the Bucs in the early part of the second round of the 2018 draft. Unfortunately, Jones faced injuries for a significant part of 2018, and otherwise looked slow and immobile in the few times he received any snaps. With a new head coach brings a new opportunity, and Jones has taken a 90 degree turn with his game this year, going from non-factor to sharing half the carries in a tandem with Peyton Barber. Through three games, Jones is averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and has averaged just over 10 yards per carry during the season’s first three games. What’s the outlook for Jones as the season moves forward? Expect the platoon to continue with Barber, although don’t be surprised if Jones gets ahold of a larger portion of the carries – think 60/40 split. At this point, Jones should be viewed as a matchups dependent flex play, with upside to weekly flex play upon securing a few more carries among the platoon. 

- DJ Chark, WR – JAC: 4 catches, 76 yards, 1 TD

Analysis:         Minshew-mania has struck the NFL after the rookie QB’s delightful performance last Thursday night against the Titans. Minshew will undoubtedly find his way as a subject of this column too, but for this week we take a look at his favorite target, wide receiver DJ Chark. The second year WR from LSU has scored a TD in all three games this year, and leads the Jaguars wide receivers in receptions and yardage in addition to TDs. Minshew has targeted Chark 14 times in the two games in which Minshew has started, and look for the Chark to continue to be targeted 7-9 times per game. With Foles out for an extended period, if not relegated to backup duty upon his return, Chark elevates to the top Jaguars WR to own and becomes a WR3/flex option. Dede Westbrook was set to have a big year with Foles, but he now drops to WR4 territory. Chark is a must add in all league formats in case he’s available in your league.

Rapid Fire Pickups 

Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in more than 50% of leagues.

QB:                  Kyle Allen, CAR

RB:                  Wayne Gallman, NYG (he’s the next man up in NYG’s backfield)

RB:                  Rex Burkhead, NE

WR:                 Phillip Dorsett, NE

WR:                 Mecole Hardman, KC

TE:                  Will Dissly, SEA