A look at the fantasy players who stood out in Week 3 and who may be poised to put up big numbers moving forward.
Week 3 of the NFL season was eye-opening for plenty of teams across the league. Multiple 0-2 teams were backed into “must-win” contests, a rookie QB that everyone previously laughed at took the league by storm, and two surprising teams remained undefeated (SF/BUF). Let’s take a look at who made the most impact in Week 3:
ALVIN KAMARA (New Orleans Saints)
When Drew Brees got knocked out of last week’s contest against the Rams most fantasy analysts felt justified in lowering the ceiling on Alvin Kamara.
The top-3 pick seemingly took pleasure in proving those doubters wrong on Sunday, gleefully tearing into a hapless Seattle defense en route to a statement road victory for New Orleans. Kamara flipped the assumption that he’d struggle on its head, and actually posted his best performance of the year so far (32 points) with Teddy Bridgewater under center.
You’re starting him every week regardless, but this was a great sign of things to come.
TYLER LOCKETT (Seattle Seahawks)
Sticking with the same game for a moment, how can we not talk about Tyler Lockett? This guy was one of the trendier breakout picks in drafts heading into this year, and he showed exactly why on Sunday.
The speedster routinely beat the Saints defense deep down the field and rounded out his day with (11 Rec/154 yds/TD), good for 26 fantasy points. Lockett’s importance to the Seahawks offense cannot be understated. In an offense that revolves around Russell Wilson’s ability to extend plays to find chunk yardage downfield, Lockett is a lethal weapon. His target share has skyrocketed since Week 1 (2 targets) to a total of 26 in the past two games alone.
Start him with top-10 upside this week against an Arizona secondary that made Kyle Allen look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas.
COOPER KUPP (Los Angeles Rams)
For anyone that ever doubted it, Week 3 cemented it as a fact. Cooper Kupp is a certified baller, and he’s also 100% healthy. Those two factors make him one of the most valuable fantasy wide receivers in the league moving forward.
The Rams offense has become much more reliant on Jared Goff and the air attack with the current hobbled state of Todd Gurley, and Kupp has taken full advantage of that switch. The second-year stud has proven to be Goff’s favorite target, logging double-digit looks in each of the first three games, and he’s made the most of those opportunities.
Kupp has eclipsed 100 yards receiving in back to back games now, and his 2 TD’s this week seem like just the tip of the iceberg for him.
DANIEL JONES (New York Giants)
Pause for raucous laughter…
Okay, okay…in all seriousness…how great was Daniel Jones on Sunday? The ENTIRE NFL WORLD laughed at the Giants for selecting Jones with the 6th overall pick in last year’s draft, and he seemed almost anxious to prove those people wrong in his first start. Jones’ four touchdowns on the day (2 Passing/2 Rushing) paced an offense that had been stale and anemic through the first two weeks.
He rallied the Giants from an 18-point deficit, even without the aid of superstar running back Saquon Barkley (left with an ankle injury).
Time will certainly tell if this was just beginners’ luck, but there’s no denying that Jones brings a different layer to this Giants offense that was sorely lacking under Eli Manning. He’ll be a hot waiver wire pickup this week ahead of a matchup with the winless Washington Redskins.
KYLE ALLEN (Carolina Panthers)
This guy’s ears must have been burning hearing me bring up his name just a few moments ago. Kyle Allen was the second shocking young QB performance of the week, and it was one that the Carolina Panthers desperately needed.
With the threat of 0-3 and the decline of franchise superstar Cam Newton staring them in the face, the Panthers rallied around Allen and dropped 38 points on the Cardinals. While the strength of the opponent was low, Allen looked more than ready for the spotlight in Carolina, tossing a clean game (4 Tds/0 INT) and getting every piece of the Panthers offense involved in the game plan.
He will be a speculative add with upside moving forward considering the week to week nature of Newton’s foot.
PHILIP LINDSAY (Denver Broncos)
The Denver Broncos are 0-3 but they aren’t devoid of playmakers. Names like Emmanuel Sanders, Royce Freeman, and Philip Lindsay have all done their best to win games for Denver through the first three weeks, but they’ve just fallen short in each attempt.
Lindsay, in particular, was spectacular in Week 3 against a stout Green Bay run defense. Lindsay accounted for both of the Broncos touchdowns on the day and saw his highest carry total of the year so far (21 Carries/81 Yds/2 TDs) in this one.
With the barely conscious Joe Flacco under center, the Broncos would be best served to hand the ball off to Lindsay more moving forward. He’s one of the few pieces of their offense that actually works, and when he gets fed like this, he can be a transformative presence for Denver and your fantasy team.
MIKE EVANS (Tampa Bay Bucs)
Mike Evans is really good at football. You know this, we know this, and now the entire world remembers this.
Evans had an extremely limited buy low window in fantasy leagues after two straight forgettable performances, and that window is not firmly locked and shut forever. The Bucs offense took full advantage of a talent-poor Giants secondary all day, and Evans in particular baptized Janoris Jenkins with a final stat line of (8 Rec/190 Yds/3 TDs).
The Giants secondary didn’t stand a chance in this one, and your fantasy opponent likely didn’t either. Evans’ 41 points were by far the highest receiver point total of the week.
DARREN WALLER (Oakland Raiders)
To say the Oakland Raiders season has been interesting so far would be a supreme understatement. The team hosted Hard Knocks, signed/released the traveling circus that is Antonio Brown, won their final home opener, and has cratered ever since. They are truly one of the league’s most confusing franchises, but there has been one constant bright spot on their team, and he deserves recognition.
Rookie tight end Darren Waller was the humble, driven, stand-out player of this year’s season of Hard Knocks, and he’s successfully transitioned into the Raiders premier pass-catching option. Through three weeks Waller has led Oakland in targets twice, and in Week 3 he exploded for his highest target total yet (14 targets), catching 13 of them for 134 yards. Because of the Raiders lack of momentum on offense
Waller has yet to reach the end-zone, but with a target share on the rise and a proven rapport with Derek Carr those TD’s are sure to come. He’s looking like one of the best late-round draft values of the 2019 fantasy season so far.
MY MAIN TAKEAWAY FROM WEEK 3:
Russell Wilson is going to be a top-3 MVP candidate this season.
Russell Wilson is undoubtedly one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. You won’t find anyone disputing the man’s accolades, credentials or track record of success.
One thing he historically hasn’t been great at is starting a fantasy season off strong. Wilson is generally viewed as a second-half quarterback for fantasy purposes, rallying the Seahawks back into wild-card contention seemingly every year over the past half-decade. Seattle is never truly out of any contest with Wilson under center, and he showed off his talents again on Sunday against New Orleans.
Down 27-7 at home going into the 4th quarter, Wilson went nuclear, posting 20 points in the fourth and coming within a single Saints score of pulling off a 20-point comeback. Efforts like this one will push him into strong MVP consideration by seasons end.
“Danger-Russ” has thrown for almost 1,000 yards through three weeks (901 Yards), and his TD/INT ratio is perfect (7 TD/0 INT). That ratio ties his 2018 start for the best of his entire career. His 7 TD’s through three games are a career-high, but he’s reduced his INT total from last year by 3.
Seattle’s superstar is refining his play year after year, and he’s currently on pace to match or exceed his output from 2018 (35 TD/7 INT). Anyone that has read my write-ups before knows how strongly I felt about Wilson’s MVP legitimacy last season, and if he posts similar numbers again this year it will be a crime to not see him amongst the top candidates in 2019.
In a league where we just saw Daniel Jones and Kyle Allen seamlessly step in and win games, Russell Wilson is one of the few legitimately irreplaceable starting quarterbacks. Seattle’s season lives and dies by the guidance of No. 3, and he’s proven to be one of the better captains in the league.
The 12th man will be screaming for this man to get his just due if he continues this until seasons end, and they’ll be completely justified in doing so.