Fantasy Football Week 3 Recap: Pre-Bye-Week Blitz
RealClearLife fantasy expert Aram Megerian returns for Week 3 analysis and looks ahead to Week 4.
One guy who didn’t share Range’s sentiment? RealClearLife fantasy expert Aram Megerian, who lumped Week 2’s play in with the sloppiness of Week 1. That said, he did sound cautiously optimistic about what went down during Week 3. “Football just got a little bit better this week,” said Megerian, citing big performances by New England Patriots wide receiver Brandin Cooks (131 yards; two touchdowns), as well as the points-happy Thursday night game in London, during which Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (244 yards; four TDs) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (62 yards; three TDs) put up big fantasy numbers.
While Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt continued giving owners a dose of sweetness, Chicago Bears RB Jordan Howard finally showed up. Other major bounce-backs included Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton, and even New York Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr., despite his team’s third straight loss.
Below, we circled back with Megerian on some of his main points going into draft day as they relate to Week 3 and Week 4.
Don’t Waste a Quarter on a Quarterback
Despite big performances from Tom Brady (378 yards; five touchdowns) in Sunday’s matchup against the Houston Texans and Blake Bortles’ London showcase (244 yards; four TDs) on Thursday, Megerian still stands by his pre-draft advice that “quarterbacks are worthless.” (In short, don’t drop a high drafted wide receiver or tight end for a quarterback … ever.) He cites one of his own contending teams on which he’s starting Miami Dolphins’ Jay Cutler and has Carson Palmer on the bench. While some QB’s score a ton of points, they just don’t consistently rack up the type of points a receiver like the Minnesota Vikings Stefon Diggs (who had a huge fantasy showing in Week 3, with 173 yards and two TDs) or a trusty tight end like Philadelphia Eagles’ Zach Ertz (who logged a decent Week 3 performance) would week in and week out. Look, if you got Brady on the cheap and were starting him this past Sunday, congratulations. But all you have to do is look at what he didn’t do in Week 1 for your evidence of why his face value isn’t really that high, fantasy-wise.
On the handcuffs front, it’s been largely quiet—save for Hunt, if you want to even count him as one, says Megerian. For fantasy owners who thought they might be able to fish for value off the waiver wire or in late rounds with Cardinals’ running back Kerwynn Williams—who was reportedly in line to replace the injured Johnson—Megerian says “he’s going to be a dud.” (He carried the ball for a total of three yards on Monday Night Football.) Johnson also may be back as early as Week 10 or Week 11, so his fantasy value hasn’t been completely eighty-sixed. (An Andre Ellington or Chris Johnson might be the best filler before Johnson returns.) The Dallas Cowboys’ Darren McFadden has been a major letdown, too, dropping a big, fat doughnut in the team’s matchup against the Green Bay Packers, as well as one Monday, as he was listed as inactive (more on him below). Other RB’s Megerian sees a lot of upside in include Jamaal Charles (Denver Broncos), Alvin Kamara (New Orleans Saints), Chris Carson (Seattle Seahawks), and D’Onta Foreman (Houston Texans).
When teams lose wide-receiver targets—like the New York Jets did even before Week 1 even went down—there’s always a chance that one or more randos have a breakout season, because well, a quarterback has to throw the ball somewhere. One of those guys is the Jets’ Jermaine Kearse, say Megerian, who the team picked up in a trade in early September. “He didn’t have such a great game this last week, but I think that over the long haul, I love seven-catch, 70-yard guys,” says Megerian. Another example: Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee, who’s seen a major bump in production following the season-ending injury to Allen Robinson. Megerian also likes Cardinals wide receiver J.J. Nelson.
Week 4 Waiver-Wire Targets
“The bye weeks start in week five, so I’m already looking at Week 5 matchups, so that I don’t have to pay up to get my [starting] quarterback,” says Megerian. (Just so we’re all on the same page, the teams who have Week 5 byes are the Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins.) If you, say, have Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins, he suggests starting the Cardinals’ Carson Palmer, Browns’ DeShone Kizer, or Colts’ Jacoby Brissett during the Week 5 bye.
Other solid waiver-wire looks include the Eagles’ running backs Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement, who will see their values rise following the potentially career-ending injuries to Darren Sproles; and the Los Angeles Chargers’ Branden Oliver and Austin Ekeler, who may be getting an uptick in carries if starter Melvin Gordon, who suffered a knee injury in Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs, is out or can’t handle his load. “The other person that is available in over 50 percent of the leagues that people should probably should stash this Wednesday if they’re interested is [Dallas Cowboys running back] Alfred Morris,” advises Mergerian. He will come cheap and might be worth stashing. And hey, if Ezekiel Elliott puts up another stinker like he did at Denver, Morris’ stocks could be on the rise (he didn’t figure into Monday night’s game against the Cardinals).
Now, if you’re scratching your head about Megerian’s bye-week advice, it’s OK: You’ll remember that Week 2 expert, Range, suggested that you not ever worry about future bye weeks. First and foremost, remember that this is a game of opinions. And then listen to Megerian vehemently disagree. “I definitely don’t worry about bye weeks when I draft … never. But now, it’s silly, when you’re not worrying about bye weeks when you’re going through the season. You’re trying to win games and score points. If you’re trying to score points, you can’t take a zero at quarterback,” he advises.
Advice Going Into Week 4
Look, we didn’t tell these guys to say the same thing, they just did. For the third straight week, our fantasy expert said, “Don’t panic.” But Megerian followed that up with “Stay true to your draft spots when you’re picking your starters.” What does he mean? Say you drafted Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wide receiver DeSean Jackson in the ninth round, don’t start Redskins’ WR Josh Doctson in his place just because Doctson caught a TD against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. “Because sooner or later [your draftees] should put up,” he says. That includes players like the Jets’ Bilal Powell, Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch, and Texans’ Lamar Miller. An exception to that rule? Saints RB Mark Ingram, who Megerian says “doesn’t look right; he is definitely the odd man out, so I would stay away from starting [him].”
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