The book is now closed on a wild Week 3 of the NFL season which saw seven teams, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Chicago, Tennessee, Kansas City, and Seattle improve to 3-0. Fourth quarter leads were not safe — looking at you Atlanta — and the Bengals and Eagles gave us our first tie of the season.
In the fantasy world, it was not as damaging as last week, thankfully. Several players went down with what look like minor injuries, as it appears only Tarik Cohen (ACL) has been placed on the injured reserve with a season-ending injury.
As always, we’ll be breaking down the best and worst fantasy performances from the weekend, as well as looking at injuries and waiver wire targets. Waiver wire targets are becoming more and more important as we go throughout the season. It is always vital to be looking ahead as a fantasy manager and with bye weeks looming, you and your opponents will be looking for key starters in free agency.
So enough talk, let’s break it down:
Note: All fantasy points and percentages are from ESPN.com.
Stud: Josh Allen (319 total yards, 5 total TDs, 1 INT, 1 FUML, 31.24 fantasy points)
Yes, Russell Wilson and Patrick Mahomes tore it up, but they always do. Allen continued to build his early MVP case with a five-touchdown performance over the Los Angeles Rams. Throwing for 311 yards and adding eight on the ground, the Bills got out to a 28-3 lead — looking at you again, Atlanta — before allowing the Rams to come back and take the lead. Allen turned the ball over twice in the second half and took a boneheaded sack late in the game, but was able to finish off a game-winning drive with a touchdown pass. The chaotic and talented QB will look to continue his scorching start to the year against the Raiders next week.
Dud: Cam Newton (189 total yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 11.18 fantasy points)
Newton started off slow before watching running backs Rex Burkhead, Sony Michel, and J.J. Taylor take over the game. Newton completed just 17 passes, seven of those going to Burkhead who also caught his lone touchdown pass. There was little room for Newton to find in the air or on the ground and his interception came on a forced pass. He had a chance for more production if it wasn't for Burkhead, who salvaged both touchdowns inside the five-yard line. Expect a better performance next week in what should be a high scoring game against the Chiefs.
No injuries at the position this week but there remained plenty of movement. Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky and Denver’s Jeff Driskel were benched in their respective games.
Updating last week’s injuries, Jimmy Garoppolo (high ankle sprain) appears to have a shot to play Week 4. Drew Lock (shoulder) will be reevaluated after this week while Chargers’ head coach Anthony Lynn stated he’s “not in a position” to rule Tyrod Taylor (ribs) out for next week.
Waiver Wire: Nick Foles (185 total yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT, 17.22 fantasy points)
Rostered: 0.9 percent
It’s Christmas in Chicago as Ole’ Saint Nick replaced Mitch Trubisky in the second half and immediately led the Bears to a comeback victory over the Falcons. Foles tossed for 188 yards and three touchdowns in yet another magical Foles performance. He also had an additional score overturned on replay and another dropped. In no surprise, head coach Matt Nagy declared Foles the starter for Week 4 “and beyond” on Monday.
Jared Goff (325 total yards, 3 total TDs, 1 INT, 27.24 fantasy points)
Rostered: 37.4 percent
The 2018 version of Jared Goff appears to be back and should be back on fantasy radars. It was his second straight week with a three touchdown performance, this week with one coming on the ground. He has been efficient and effective this season and should have another big day next week against the winless Giants.
Stud: Alvin Kamara (197 total yards, 2 total TDs, 44.7 fantasy points)
Perhaps Kamara should be listed under wide receivers as the dual threat caught 13 of his 14 targets Sunday Night. With Michael Thomas out and Drew Brees not attempting a pass beyond 20-yards, it was all Kamara for the Saints. Both of his touchdowns came through the air, one being a check down that he took 52-yards to the house. Even when Thomas returns, Kamara will be a top option at the position every week.
Alvin Kamara forced 4 missed tackles on this 52 yard TD.— PFF (@PFF) September 28, 2020
Most on any single play this season
Dud: Leonard Fournette (22 total yards, 4.2 fantasy points)
Fournette landed on our Week 3 “Sit ‘Em” list, so I hope you listened. After rumbling for 100-plus yards last week, Fournette took a back seat to Ronald Jones this week. Even with a big lead, Fournette totaled just seven carries, averaging 2.1 yards per carry, and added two receptions for 22 yards. The Buccaneers backfield remains a fantasy nightmare.
Injuries: Tarik Cohen, Jerick McKinnon, Chris Carson
As mentioned earlier, Cohen is done for the season after tearing his ACL. After never missing a game in his career, Cohen was placed on season-ending injured reserve Monday.
Filling in for an injured Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman, McKinnon got off to a big start accounting for 17 touches totaling 77 yards and a touchdown. However, McKinnon suffered a rib contusion and saw just one touch in the fourth quarter (which could have been precautionary as San Fransisco held a large lead). Fantasy managers most monitor his situation throughout the week.
Waiver Wire: Myles Gaskin (95 total yards, 14.5 fantasy points)
Rostered: 45.8 percent
In what once appeared as a committee backfield, Gaskin dominated the snaps and touches in Miami’s Thursday Night victory. He featured a 75 percent snap share as the clear lead back over Jordan Howard (7 percent) and Matt Breida (18 percent). Howard did steal the goal-line touchdown, but the volume of touches bodes well as Gaskin now hopes more touches will lead to better efficiency.
Jeff Wilson Jr. (69 total yards, 2 total TDs, 21.9 fantasy points)
Rostered: 14.5 percent
With McKinnon (and Mostert and Coleman) going down, the Niners turned to Wilson. Managing just 15 yards on 12 carries, Wilson flashed in the passing game turning three receptions into 54 yards and a score. He added another goal-line touchdown on the ground in the fourth quarter. Even if McKinnon suits up next week, Wilson will be a solid flex option, if Mostert is out, against a struggling Eagles defense.
Stud: Tyler Lockett (9 catches, 100 yards, 3 TDs, 37.0 fantasy points)
As the #LetRussCook campaign rolled on Sunday as Wilson tossed five more touchdowns against Dallas, Lockett was the beneficiary of three of those. Lockett’s first touchdown came on a 43-yard bomb which he then followed up with a pair of one-yard scores. With Wilson off to a historic start, Lockett will continue to be a top-tier WR.
Dud: Julian Edelman (2 catches, 22 total yards, 4.2 fantasy points)
After a career best performance last weekend, Edelman struggled against the Raiders secondary this week. Like Newton, his fantasy production was minimal due to the Patriots running back trio carrying the load for the majority of the day. Edelman should be busy next weekend in a big matchup against the Chiefs.
Injuries: Chris Godwin, Russell Gage, Diontae Johnson
Godwin was ruled out of Tampa’s game after catching five passes and a score with a hamstring injury. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reported Monday that the Buccaneers expect him to miss some time.
With Julio Jones (hamstring) sidelined, Gage was in line for a big day before being sidelined with a head injury. He was originally listed as questionable to return but (not surprisingly) did not. It is expected to be a concussion and a situation to monitor.
Similar to Gage, Johnson was removed from Pittsburgh game with a concussion after catching just one pass. He’ll look to clear concussion protocol before Sunday’s matchup against Tennessee.
Waiver Wire: Justin Jefferson (7 catches, 175 yards, 1 TD, 30.5 fantasy points)
Rostered: 33.5 percent
A breakout game for Minnesota’s 2020 first-round pick, who led the Vikings in targets (9) on Sunday. Jefferson consistently broke free downfield, recording 33 and 31-yard receptions while adding a 71-yard touchdown for his first career score. With this explosive performance and the Vikings making it clear before the game his role would continue to expand as the season progresses, consistent production for Jefferson could be on the radar.
Allen Lazard (6 catches, 144 total yards, 1 TD, 26.4 fantasy points)
Rostered: 39.0 percent
With Davante Adams (hamstring) out, it was the Allen Lazard show for the Packers. His six receptions and 146 yards were both career highs and his touchdown came off a five-yard play-action pass from Aaron Rodgers. Lazard consistently got behind the Saints defense, posting receptions of 48 and 72-yards. Even when Adams returns, Lazard has established himself as the No. 2 wideout in Green Bay.
Tee Higgins (5 catches, 40 yards, 2 TDs, 21.0 fantasy points)
Rostered: 7.0 percent
The 33rd overall pick from April has seen his playing time increase every week. His Week 3 performance could be the start of his breakout, as he hauled in five of nine targets for 40 yards and two scores. Burrow consistently looked for Higgins in the red zone, connecting with him three times, leading to both of his scores inside the five-yard line. He did have some mental mistakes, stepping out of bounds before receiving a pass and letting a defender break up a pass in overtime, but it appears Higgins has taken over the No. 3 wide receiver duties in Cincinnati.
Stud: Jimmy Graham (6 catches, 60 yards, 2 TDs, 24.0 fantasy points)
The change to Nick Foles did wonders for Graham, who saw seven of his nine targets after the QB change. Graham has now piled up 17 targets so far this season and continues to be frequently used in the red zone. With Foles being named the starter, Graham’s an encouraging option at a relatively weak fantasy position.
Dud: Darren Waller (2 catches, 9 yards, 2.9 fantasy points)
Coming off a monstrous 16-target, 100-plus yard game, Waller was invisible on Sunday in Foxboro. A classic Belichick performance, the Patriots took away Oakland’s best playmaker. New England often doubled Waller wherever he lined, even in the flat. His two catches came in garbage time when the game was already out of reach. He’ll look for a bounce back next week against Buffalo.
Injuries: Dallas Goedert, Jared Cook, Jordan Reed
Goedert left Sunday’s eventual tie in the first quarter with an ankle injury. Head coach Doug Pederson said on Monday that Goedert will miss “some time”. Another key injury to the beat-up Eagles, as Goedert, 13 receptions, 131 yards and a score this season, has been a major contributor.
Cook was taken to the locker room in the second half of Sunday night’s game after having a noticeable limp following a catch. It appears to be a groin injury that will have to be monitored throughout the week.
A tough break for Reed who has been productive filling in for the injured George Kittle. Reed now lands on the injured reserve with a left knee sprain in which head coach Kyle Shanahan said will keep him sidelined for 6-to-8 weeks.
Waiver Wire: Mo Alie-Cox (3 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD, 14.0 fantasy points)
Rostered: 8.6 percent
Mo Alie-Cox will not and can not stop appearing on our recaps and previews. Even with Jack Doyle back this week, it was Cox who caught the one-yard touchdown in his second-straight productive game. Indianapolis didn't have to pass much, resulting in just three catches on three targets, but Cox appears to be a legit weapon at Rivers disposal.
Eric Ebron (5 catches, 52 yards, 1 TD, 16.2 fantasy points)
Rostered: 24.4 percent
Ebron was rumored to have a great training camp in Pittsburgh but was quiet through the first two weeks. He finally broke through here on a team high 10 targets and a highlight reel touchdown catch in the second quarter. Perhaps this was the game he needed to kick start his Pittsburgh career.
Indianapolis Colts DEF (7 PA, 2 sacks, 3 INTs, 1 safety, 2 TD, 27.0 fantasy points)
I had to give props to the Colts defense this week, who was one of the best fantasy performers of Week 3. Their 27.0 fantasy points was the 15th highest point total this week, a remarkable total for a defense. Through three weeks, the Colts have the NFL’s top overall defense, top pass defense, No. 4 run defense and the No. 3 scoring defense. They’re tied for third in takeaways and sixth in sacks and have scored 18 points in the past two weeks. They’ve been a dominant bunch so far that certainly capitalized against playing the Jets.
Patriots Player of the Week
Rex Burkhead (98 total yards, 3 TDs, 34.8 fantasy points)
I told you I know what I'm talking about (sometimes). Allow myself to bump a snippet of the “Patriots Play of the Week” from the Week 3 Preview:
As White did indeed sit out, Burkhead, along with all the other Patriot running backs, led the way for New England’s offense Sunday. Burkhead’s three scores were his first of the year, as one came through the air and two came on the ground from five and two-yards out. Burkhead was the Patriots leading receiver, hauling in seven receptions for 49 yards. New England will continue to rotate their backs as always but if White remains out, Burkhead will have the highest ceiling due to his pass catching skills.
Questions about your fantasy team? Reach out on Twitter @iambrianhines