Fantasy NFL Week 3: Do you believe in Fitzmagic?
The offenses in Kansas City and Tampa Bay are still good but who else should you target or bench before Sunday's games? Neil Monnery tells all...
The Jacksonville dismantling of New England was also a big eyeopener. When the Jags have been without star running back Leonard Fournette, they have averaged over 30 points a game.
What did we learn from Week 1?
Last week I opened with just how explosive the Kansas City offense is. Well on Sunday they only went and scored six touchdowns on the road. So just to reiterate my point from seven days ago, grab any Chiefs skill player you can.
My second point was about the Buccaneers and once more they followed up a great week one with a fantastic second game. Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown for back-to-back games with four scores and 400+ yards. He is still available in many leagues!
The Jacksonville dismantling of New England was also a big eyeopener. When the Jags have been without star running back Leonard Fournette, they have averaged over 30 points a game. That is a startling stat and seems to suggest that if you put the game in Blake Bortles' hands then the former first round pick will not let you down.
Keelan Cole led the team with 116 yards catching and a touchdown, including the catch that everyone is talking about (embedded below). I think it is clear this team is for real and has some upside in fantasy terms.
It was nice to see first-round pick Calvin Ridley snag his first touchdown as a professional. Matt Ryan spread the ball around in the 31-24 win over the Panthers and this could lead to fewer targets for Julio Jones down the road.
On the negative front we once more saw the wretched performance of the New York Giants offensive-line. Unless they can give Eli Manning a chance to set himself to find Odell Beckham Jnr. or give Saquon Barkley a hole to run into, those two potential superstar fantasy players will struggle to live up to their lofty expectations. Both would have been picked in the first two rounds and owners will be starting to get a little bit jittery.
The impact of the Josh Gordon trade
Pairing one of the most talented wide receivers with Tom Brady seems like a slam dunk net positive for the New England Patriots. Fantasy GM's will be drooling at the possibility of the future Hall of Famer having a legitimate WR1 deep threat to find. Memories of that glorious season with Randy Moss may be fading but someone in your league will be ready to trade for him.
If you are a Gordon owner then this is the ideal time to dangle him to your fellow owners. Find that manager (most likely a rabid Pats fan) who is willing to buy him at peak value. When you consider that he's a mid-season trade and he'll have to learn a very different offense in New England compared to Cleveland, he is not a player who you should be targeting on the waiver wire this week or the near future.
Week three injury news
We'll start with two players who have outstanding fantasy pedigree and will probably suit up this weekend. Yet if you have LeSean McCoy or Larry Fitzgerald then I'd be benching them even if they are active.
The Buffalo Bills are shocking, not only that, they face the vaunted Minnesota Vikings defense this week. Find a better option on your waiver wire, someone like Phillip Lindsay will be available in most leagues.
As for the future first-round Canton inductee Fitzgerald, like McCoy above he finds himself on a team that are going absolutely nowhere. It is crazy to think we are a decade removed from Kurt Warner flinging it deep to number 11 and the Cardinals run to Super Bowl XLIII.
Having been kept out of the end zone through his first two games of the season to go along with only 104 receiving yards, he is struggling to be fantasy relevant. Given that he has a hamstring strain, time to bench or even cut completely.
One player who is out but shouldn't be cut is Joe Mixon. The Ravens running back had arthroscopic knee surgery and is expected to miss 3-4 games. Clearly not a play in one-week leagues but should be benched and kept in standard season-long ones.
Leonard Fournette is expected to return after missing Jacksonville's win over New England, he's clearly a RB1 play if you own him.
It is going to be a very rare occurrence to write about kickers but with Greg Zuerlein going down with a groin injury, it is worth a word or two. If you need to replace him you should start with Dan Bailey. The former Cowboys man joined the Vikings on Monday after they cut Daniel Carlson. He's got a big and very accurate leg. Having joined Minnesota, he now plays for a team with a strong offense.
Who to avoid this week
Antonio Brown might be the number one wide receiver on most people's charts but something smells in Pittsburgh. The Steelers scored 37 points last week but none of those came due to a catch from number 84. Nine receptions for 67 yards is nowhere near what you expect.
The star man was disciplined for not turning up for work on Monday and even tweeted about being traded. Usually in these situations, I'd love a player to come back with a big game to shove the words of all the talking heads down their throats but not this time. It just seems like it is going to be a lost season for Mike Tomlin's men.
Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon are obvious starters in season-long leagues but with a tough match-up with the LA Rams this week, in one-week games they are not viable plays.