Week 3 Sleepers and Busts
Finding the Week 3 Sleepers And Busts could be crucial in 2019. Week 2 of the NFL season was, to say the least, memorable. We saw some spectacular performances that could have put a death nail in your hopes of a victory from some of the usual suspects like Dalvin Cook, Travis Kelce, Aaron Jones, Patrick Mahomes, Julio Jones, and Saquon Barkley. From players that are asserting themselves into weekly must start range like Chris Godwin, Kenny Golladay, Mark Andrews, Lamar Jackson, Dak Prescott, and Calvin Ridley and there were also some surprise studs such as Demarcus Robinson, Raheem Mostert, and Nelson Agholor.
Every coin has a flip side though and Week 2 was no different. A multitude of big-time injuries to players like Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, James Conner, Michael Gallup, and David Johnson. All these to go with some very unexpected Week 2 duds like DeAndre Hopkins, O.J. Howard, Deshaun Watson, Alvin Kamara, Cam Newton, Devante Freeman, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Mike Evans, Allen Robinson, and a whole lotta other tight ends. That is a quick example. Let us see if we can find you some winning plays for Week 3 that can get you back on track if need be. Or just get another win but either way, it is time for sleepers and busts.
Frank Gore vs Cincinnati Bengals
The ageless wonder that is Frank Gore might just be in line for a decent fantasy day when the Buffalo Bills host the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 3. Gore is coming off a game in which he scored a rushing touchdown for the first time since November 26th, 2017. That is 20 games played for the future Hall Of Famer without a touchdown. There is a very good chance that he crosses the goal line for a second straight week on the ground. Gore will be getting a boost in volume assuming the hamstring injury to rookie running back Devin Singletary keeps him out for Week 3.
So far in 2019, the Cincinnati Bengals just got done letting the San Francisco run around, over, and through them in Week 2. They gave up 238 yards on the ground on 35 attempts (6.8 Y/A) and 2 TDs while catching 4 of 5 targets for 79 yards and another TD. They were much more effective in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks but still allowed a pair of scores (1 Rush/ 1 Pass) to Chris Carson. The Bills are one of the most run-heavy teams in the league (the ninth most attempts through two games 59, tied for sixth in 2018) and yes, Josh Allen will add to this and potentially vulture a TD but there is plenty of volume to be had for the running backs.
Gore has not been what one would call impressive so far this season (2.9 Y/A) but if Singletary is not going to be active, that frees up 7.5 touches (15 total through two weeks, 5 receptions) for the other RBs. Following the injury to Singletary in the fourth quarter, Gore was the only running back to get touches. The 15-year vet was heavily out-snapped in Week 1 thanks in large part to the injury. Remember though, Singletary did not get injured until the fourth quarter.
Snaps (Week 1/ Week 2/ Total)
TJ Yeldon played on only 5 total snaps during the game. Gore also snagged 2 receptions in Week 2. Only the running backs third multi-catch game since the start of 2018. The Bengals have now allowed a total of 10 receptions on 12 targets for 114 for 2 touchdowns.
Certainly, Yeldon will garner more of a role in Week 3. Gore has not been a highly used back in the passing game in a few years but only in 2018 and 2014 did Gore fail to reach at least five multi-catch games so the ability is there. Josh Allen is a definite running threat and will always take some touches away. But, not nearly to the extent or a quarterback like Lamar Jackson. Jackson’s rush attempts are more often intentional and Allen is more of a scrambling threat. If Singletary plays, Gore still could get a solid workload but if the rookie is out, the ol’ man will be in line for a big workload.
Nelson Agholor vs Detroit Lions
To say that the Eagles pass-catching corps is depleted is an understatement. In Week 2, they lost Alshon Jeffery, Desean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert to injury. We know who will likely get the targets that Goedert would have received in Zack Ertz. We need to now figure out which WR gets the biggest bump. The first place to look is Week 2 because all three pass catchers missed the majority of the game. If Week 2 told us anything, it is that Agholor looks like the guy. He had 11 targets as you can see below. By comparison, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins totaled 1 more target combined (12).
Week 1 Targets/ Week 2 Targets/ Total Targets/ % Of WR Targets
|DeSean Jackson (injured Week 2)||9||/||0||/||9||/||20.4%|
|Mack Hollins (all healthy Week 1)||0||/||8||/||8||/||18.2%|
|Alshon Jeffery (injured Week 2)||7||/||0||/||7||/||16%|
|J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (all healthy Week 1)||0||/||4||/||4||/||9%|
The Eagles and Agholor will take on the 1-0-1 Detroit Lions in Week 3. So far in 2019, Detroit has been highly vulnerable to wide receivers coming out of the slot. The most effective spot for Agholor just happens to be the slot and he should not see a massive decrease in his slot snaps but with the injuries, he might go outside a bit more. Below you can see how Detroit has done against the main slot WR from each of their first two games. Looking further down, the FFStatistics splits tool shows us what Agholor has done in the three seasons with Jeffery on the team in games where Jeffery missed time.
Detroit Vs The Slot Through 2 Weeks
(Receptions/ Targets (Catch Rate)/ Yards Receiving/ TDs)
- 8/13 (61.5%)/113/1 Larry Fitzgerald
- 8/15 (53.3%)/98/0 Keenan Allen
- 16/28 (57.1%)/211/1 Totals
- 8/14 (57.1%)/105.5/0.5 Avg per game
Agholor Splits Since Alshon’s Arrived
The opportunity should certainly be there and along with that, the chance for a very solid fantasy day.
Teddy Bridgewater at Seattle Seahawks
It is looking like Teddy Two Gloves made the right choice to stay with the New Orleans Saints this offseason. He knew he had an aging Hall Of Famer to learn from and one of the best offensive-minded head coaches in the league. Let us not forget the skill position weapons like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara, and Jared Cook. The setup was there if things played into his hand and, well, they did. We lost so many QBs already and if your choice is Mason Rudolph, Luke Falk, Gardner Minshew, or Teddy Bridgewater, you may want to go with the latter. Or maybe he is just the only QB available in a Super-Flex or 2QB league.
The Seattle Seahawks have traditionally been very good against the pass but lately and in particular, the first two games of 2019, they have been far less than what we were accustomed too in the Legion Of Boom days. When considering injuries to players like A.J. Green and Big Ben, Bridgewater is coming in with the established supporting cast and is likely not far behind Andy Dalton at this point on the talent scale. You can see below what the Seahawks have done against the pass thus far in 2019.
Seattle Pass Defense
- 20/34/187/2/1 PIT Quarterbacks
- 35/51/418/2/0 Andy Dalton
- 55/85/605/2/1 Totals
- 27.5/42.5/302.5/2/0.5 Avg Per Game
Bridgewater will need to rely heavily on his weapons as he is more of a dink and dunk type of quarterbacks, not the sling it downfield kind. Fortunately for him, the Saints skill position players are all good with the ball in their hands. Ted Ginn Jr might have to make his day on some WR screenplays instead of the deep bomb but let us remember that Brees is not the strongest armed QBs, he is just one of the smartest.
Players like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara do not need deep balls to make plays, They both work very well in short areas and Sean Payton will certainly game plan around everyone’s skill sets. You definitely should not be looking for Teddy Two Gloves to win you a week but if you are one of the many that lost a QB early in the season, Bridgewater might provide some value for the next few weeks. Starting with the Bengals.
Terry McLaurin has been one of the biggest surprises from the NFL draft until now. Nowhere near the top of any fantasy analysts WR list and when he was selected in the third round as the 76th overall pick. The former Ohio State Buckeye did not have near the production of some of the bigger names that went before and even after himself in the draft but he is highly athletic and has shown so far in the young season to be the Washington Redskins WR1. McLaurin has caught 10/16 targets for 187 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Week 3 might be a little different.
The Washington Redskins will take on the Chicago Bears in Week 3 and although both of the teams they have played (Dallas, Philadelphia) have quality defenses, neither is on the level of the Bears. First off, the Redskins will have to worry about Khalil Mack and the Bears pass rush. Chicago has 7 sacks so far in 2019 which is the third-most in the league. Washington has only been sacked twice thus far but this will be a new test and routes that take time to develop may be hard to come by.
If there is a spot that the Bears pass defense is vulnerable, it is in the slot. Chicago brought in Buster Skrine to manage slot receivers and heading into the season there was a concern as Skrine was not exactly good last season. He was relatively untested in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers but in Week 2, Emmanuel Sanders hauled in 11/13 targets for 98 yards and a score. Trey Quinn, the Redskins primary slot receiver could be in line for the biggest day amongst WRs. Chicago shut down the Broncos primary outside threat, Courtland Sutton who caught 4/7 targets for 40 yards. In Week 1, the challenge was Davante Adams who totaled 4 receptions on 8 targets for 36 yards. You can see below that even last season, the slot and short was the way to go against this defense.
In Week 2 the production was not as easy to come by in comparison to Week 1 and his TD came very late in the game when it was all but over. Week 3 could be the first real bump in the road for the emerging star.
Kerryon Johnson at Philadelphia Eagles
You have not exactly been happy with the production from the Detroit Lions starting running back. Unfortunately, Week 3 is probably not going to be the week that this turns around. He and the Lions take on the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. So far in 2019, the Eagles have been very beatable through the passing game but as solid as can be on the ground. Whether this is due to their complete inability to cover WRs or because they are legitimately good against the run does not really matter in this case. The likelihood that Detroit gets into a position to run clock is slim with the Eagles offense being able to keep pace even with the injuries. You can see below how the Eagles Defense has performed in both a win and a loss.
|Rec||Opp||Lions Score||Opp Score||Defense||TotYd||PassY||RushY||TO|
Sometimes, a running back can overcome this by producing in the passing game. Johnson’s only TD this year was even through the passing game but 5 total targets (4 receptions) in two weeks for 60 total yards receiving is not the kind of passing game work that you would hope for in today’s NFL. There is not necessarily even the targets to be had. Matt Stafford has only thrown to the running back four other times (Ty Johnson 2, J.D. McKissic 2). Kerryon is likely a flex play at best this week.
Delanie Walker at Jacksonville Jaguars
The last time Delanie Walker had a good game in terms of fantasy against the Jacksonville Jaguars was December 6th, 2015. Walker has been someone that has defied the age limitations most players deal with for years as you can see below. Walker has been better in his later years.
You can see that in 2015, Walker was at his fantasy peak. That was the last time he had a game vs JAX that you can feel really good about. Since that time, Walker has played four games against the Jags (Did not play in 2018 due to injury) and in all four, Walker failed to surpass 4 receptions or 75 yards and has only scored once. In the game that Walker scored, he totaled 23 yards receiving. The Titans tight end did have a 1 yard TD run but that is not something I would bet on. The last time he faced Jacksonville, Walker caught 3/5 targets for 19 yards.
Jacksonville’s defense was exposed in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs but KC does that to everyone. Week 2, the Jags took on another very good offense in Houston and they completely shut them down. Deshaun Watson, a very mobile QB and much more of a passing threat than Marcus Mariota, was rendered ineffective and the rest of the team felt the effects including the QB/matchup-proof WR “Nuk” Hopkins. I think we would all agree that Houston is a far better offense than Tennessee.
There is also that little thing called Week 14, 2018. That is the day that Derrick Henry singlehandedly demoralized the Jags with a 99 yard TD run as well as a lot of other plays that pounded the team from Duvall into submission. Something tells me that Jacksonville’s defense has not forgotten this and may be a little extra motivated to prove they are still one of the toughest matchups in the league. With the news that Jalen Ramsey has requested a trade, this could turn into a bad call as losing him would make things just a bit easier on the Titans offense but we will have to see what happens as the week moves forward.
Week 2 was definitely one that a lot of us want to forget. Getting back on track in Week 3 is a good way to make yourself forget all about what happened seven days prior. Hopefully, your team was not effected greatly by all the major injuries that took place last week but if you were, remember that the season is not over. Making the right waiver wire moves early in the week and making the right start and sit choices later in the week and yes, even finding those Week 3 Sleepers And Busts is a good way to start. Good luck everyone!