NFC Recap: Week 3 Preseason Musings
Here we are back for the NFC recap of Week 3 of the NFL preseason. The Week 1 recaps are available by clicking on the conference links for both the AFC and NFC. Week 2 recaps for the AFC and the NFC are here as well. This will be the last of this series as Week 4 does not typically tend to be much use for us for fantasy purposes. It is more for sorting out fringe players on the rosters. There will be an NFC and AFC players to avoid published on Monday and Tuesday so keep an eye out for that over the holiday weekend.
There were a lot of big stories from Week 3 in the AFC, starting with retirement of Andrew Luck and the ACL tear of Lamar Miller. Things were much quieter in the NFC last week. Teams will be broken down by division standings from last year, as usual. Let us get started with our fantasy-relevant news from Week 3 in the NFC.
The Dallas Cowboys blanked the Houston Texans by a final of 34-0 on Saturday night. Obviously, the story in this one was on the AFC side of the ball with Lamar Miller tearing his ACL. For the Cowboys, very few starters played meaningful snaps, if they played any at all.
Michael Gallup came through with 1 reception for 12 yards and a touchdown on 3 targets. Gallup is a name to monitor in the Big D this year. Entering his second year, Gallup flashed at times last year. Surprisingly, Gallup was better with the arrival of Amari Cooper. Maybe having someone in town to take some coverage off of him helped instead of hindered.
The Philadelphia Eagles fell to 1-2 on the preseason with a 26-15 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night. It was a coming-out party for J.J. Arcega-Whiteside who was mentioned as a buy low in this column last week. Hopefully, you heeded the advice and found a nervous owner to part ways. Arcega-Whiteside went off for 8 receptions, 104 yards, and 1 touchdown on 9 targets.
It is likely not a coincidence his performance came with a competent quarterback at the helm. Newly unretired Josh McCown was steady. The line for the veteran quarterback was 17 of 24 for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns. It is a nice get for the Eagles. Should Carson Wentz miss any time, the fantasy players for Philadelphia should not take too much of a hit. Using the QB History Tool from FFStatistics, we can see that if the rookie can achieve WR2 status, having McCown looking his way would not be a terrible thing.
The Washington Redskins easily took care of the Atlanta Falcons by a final of 19-7 on Thursday night. Despite going just 9 of 14 for 101 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions, Case Keenum was named the Week 1 starter by Jay Gruden on Sunday. Dwayne Haskins will likely be starting at some point during the year so this appears to be a situation to avoid in redraft.
Gruden has a solid history with his QB1 as we can see by using our Coaching History Tool. The concern here is we do not know who the QB1 will be on a week to week basis.
New York Giants
Wrapping up the NFC recap of Week 3, we have the New York Giants edged the Cincinnati Bengals by a final of 25-23 on Thursday night. Similar to Jakobi Meyers and James Washington from the AFC, this is the third straight week that the same player is highlighted from a particular team. For the NFC, it is Daniel Jones of the Giants. It is getting hard to ignore the rookie, even though it is only preseason.
Jones was super efficient again, going 9 of 11 for 141 yards. The preseason totals for the rookie from Duke are extremely impressive. Over three games, it is an impressive 25 of 30 (83.3%) for 369 yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. At what point do the Giants move on from Eli Manning? Mike Shula has shown some success with Cam Newton in Carolina over the years. Going back to the Coaching History Tool from FFS, we see some potential for fantasy relevance at the position.
The Chicago Bears defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a final of 27-17 on Saturday night. Once again, the big story out of this one came on the AFC side of the ball as word of Andrew Luck’s retirement was announced mid-game. The Bears rested almost all of their starters in this one, trying to stay healthy for the big opener against the Green Bay Packers in just eight days from now.
With no one really playing for the Monsters of the Midway on Saturday, it is a good time to point out Mitchell Trubisky’s passer rating by receivers to get ready for the 2019 season in the Windy City. It is easy to see why Anthony Miller is a draft darling in some fantasy circles. There could be a lot of value here from someone currently going off the board as the WR50 in redraft leagues.
The Minnesota Vikings easily took care of the Arizona Cardinals by a final of 20-9 on Saturday night. Dalvin Cook showed why many are considering him a sure-fire RB1 this year if he can stay healthy. The soon to be third-year back had 2 carries for 88 yards and a touchdown. The Florida State grad showed off his breakaway speed on an 85-yard touchdown jaunt in the first quarter.
Cook showed some serious juice from Weeks 12 to 16, finishing above league average almost each of those five weeks. Health is a major concern here and Alexander Mattison should be in consideration for a late-round handcuff if you are drafting Cook.
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers were narrowly defeated by the Oakland Raiders with a final of 22-21 on Thursday night. As with many of the teams in Week 3, a lot of starters were rested. This no longer appears to be a “dress rehearsal” week for a lot of head coaches. They are opting instead to keep players healthy to avoid a Lamar Miller type situation.
Matt LaFleur is a first-year head coach and may also be trying to not show his hand as to what type of offense he will be running in 2019. Whatever the case may be, expect to see a different offense from the Packers. Rookie Dexter Williams did rush 11 times, but it was for just 27 yards. Aaron Rodgers ADP has been pretty flat but could be a steal in the fifth round of drafts.
Rounding out the NFC recap for Week 3 in the NFC North, we had the Detroit Lions losing yet again. This time by a final of 24-20 to the Buffalo Bills on Friday night. Matthew Stafford actually played in this one and looked fairly good, finishing 12 of 19 for 137 yards and a touchdown. Rookie T.J. Hockenson also looked sharp. The Iowa grad led or tied for the team lead in targets, receptions, and yardage, catching 3 of 4 looks for 52 yards.
Using the CFB MS Metric Plot, we see that Hockensen held his own in college, finishing only behind teammate Noah Fant in MS Receiving TDs by Age.
New Orleans Saints
The New Orleans Saints handled the New York Jets with ease on Saturday night. The road team won by a final of 28-13. Dan Arnold showed some of the upside we were hoping to get more of last year. The second-year wideout reeled in 5 of 6 targets for 83 yards.
Also of note here was Dwayne Washington leaving with a concussion. This potentially opens up a roster spot for pre-draft favorite Devine Ozigbo. All 32 teams were interested in the prospect, but no one pulled the trigger on him come draft day. A good camp and an injury opportunity could be just the recipe for success needed for the young UDFA. Click on the link above to read TimNFL’s full profile, including this Tweet.
#Nebraska RB Devine Ozigbo Pro Day Results (per source):
• HT: 5-11
• WT: 233
• 40: 4.54
• Vert: 37”
• Bench: 19 reps
All 32 teams were represented.
— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) March 7, 2019
As mentioned above, the Falcons fell to the Redskins by a final of 19-7 on Thursday night. This marked the 12th straight preseason loss for Atlanta. Take it for what it is worth. Expect them to contend for the playoffs this season. Ito Smith found the end zone yet again in this one, signaling that he may be line for quite a bit of goal-line work in 2019.
Smith is actually tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns this preseason with three. The second-year back from Southern Miss had some decent games last season, despite seeing just 90 rushing attempts on the season. This was good enough for a finish of RB50.
The Carolina Panthers fell to the New England Patriots by a final of 10-3 on Thursday night. Cam Newton played but left with an ankle injury. The star quarterback is expected to be ok for Week 1. The Panthers only tallied 99 yards of total offense in this one so there was not a lot of stand out stat lines. If healthy, Newton could contend for the QB1 spot in 2019. Given the every other year pattern to his finishes, we can conclude that he may ready for one of his “on” years.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Closing out the NFC Week 3 recap, we had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers squeaking by the Cleveland Browns with a final of 13-12 on Saturday night. The real concern here was the Tampa line giving up seven sacks on the night. The players we have been salivating over all offseason in this offense may not stand a chance if Jameis Winston cannot stay upright to get them the ball.
Click on the Winston link above to read Luke Bugoni’s great insight on the potential for a top-1o finish for the Florida State grad. The offense as a whole has a chance to be dynamic, but they will not approach this potential if the line does not improve some. Going back to the Coaching History Tool, we see Bruce Arians can coach up his QB1.
Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams held off the Denver Broncos by a final of 10-6 on Saturday night. The Rams played none of their starters so there is really nothing to take away from this one. To no one’s surprise, Todd Gurley has not played a snap this preseason. Does anyone really think he needs to? The stud running back is still being undervalued on draft day. Understandable, given the injury concerns, but let us not forget just how dominant he has been the past few seasons.
The Seattle Seahawks took care of the Los Angeles Chargers with an odd final of 23-15 on Saturday night. The starters played minimally in this one. It was good to see Russell Wilson get his legs back under him and scamper for 31 yards on 3 carries. This is where Wilson’s fantasy bread is buttered. Last season was such a down season because of the lack of add on points from the ground game.
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers got by the Kansas City Chiefs by a final fo 27-17 on Saturday night. Jimmy Garoppolo was much better in this one, finishing 14 of 2o for 188 yards and a touchdown. On the ground, Matt Breida continues to look better than free-agent acquisition Tevin Coleman. Despite the numbers, Coleman is being drafted over three full rounds ahead of the underrated Breida. The logic is understandable, as Coleman was signed to a big contract in the offseason.
Breida has shown he can be equally efficient on a per touch basis than both of the big-money free-agents the 49ers decided to spend on recently.
As mentioned in the NFC North coverage and rounding out the Week 3 recap for the NFC West, we had the Cardinals lost to the Vikings by a final of 20-9 on Saturday night. KeeSean Johnson was the star here yet again, hauling in all 7 of his targets for 85 yards. With the reports coming out of the desert that Andy Isabella still needs work, the opportunity could be there for the rookie to accumulate playing time, despite the crowded receiving corps that recently added Michael Crabtree. A reminder of how good Johnson was relative to some other big-name receivers in MS Receiving Yards By Age.
This concludes the preseason NFC Week 3 recap article. Thank you for coming back for the fourth edition of the training camp fallout and preseason coverage series. This concludes the AFC and NFC preseason coverage for 2019. Next week there will be a special “do not draft” article from each conference instead of the weekly preseason recap. Stay tuned for the AFC on Monday and the NFC on Tuesday. Hopefully, these preseason tidbits help you gain an edge on your league mates come draft day.
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