Week 3 gave us more information on who these teams really are. Winless teams rose up and early favorites were challenged by scrappy underdogs. Superstars such as Alvin Kamara and DeAndre Hopkins made fantasy players lots of money, and a certain rookie had his coming out party. Let’s take a look at the most important takeaways through the lens of PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats, metrics, and analytics.
Thursday Night Breakdown: James Robinson Prospers in Tough Loss
Gardner Minshew struggled in primetime, completing 30 of 42 passes for 275 yards and one pick. It was an ugly performance by the Jacksonville folk hero after the team had been surprisingly competitive in the prior two weeks. D.J. Chark hasn’t had a hot start this year, but his absence was clearly felt with Minshew struggling to get it going with his secondary receivers. This played into waiver wire hero James Robinson more than doubling the rest of the squad with 83 receiving yards.
Robinson was the lone bright spot for the team, operating as Jacksonville’s all-purpose back outside of a few Chris Thompson-centric drives in hurry-up mode. Robinson fielded dump-offs from Minshew all night, and he saw the goal line looks needed to score twice on the ground.
Action: Next week, Robinson draws a Bengals team that allowed the Eagles to notch 175 yards on the ground in Week 3 after letting the Browns trample them for 215 rushing yards the week before. Combine this with the fact the Bengals played a full extra quarter Sunday in a 23-23 tie and it all adds up to Robinson being a solid Week 4 RB2-FLEX play.
Lesson Two: Welcome to the NFL, Justin Jefferson
The Vikings offense was desperately in need of another playmaker opposite Adam Thielen. Justin Jefferson answered the call. The rookie rolled up 175 yards and a score on seven catches. The highlight was a 71-yard score where Jefferson beat his man and sped to the endzone, dancing all the way. It was what the Vikes needed in the worst way, having no replacement for Stefon Diggs the last couple weeks and with the offense clearly suffering because of it.
The stat line wasn’t easy to come by. Kirk Cousins gave Jefferson chances to prove himself against Malcolm Butler, and the former LSU star consistently got the better of the matchup. In this strange year, rookies should’ve always been afforded a little extra time to get acclimated. Jefferson appears to be ready to contribute in an offense starved for playmakers.
Action: The Vikings head to the 0-3 Bowl against the Houston Texans next week. Houston has allowed an average of 31.6 PPG through three games, albeit against the NFL’s toughest competition. If Minnesota wants to avoid an 0-4 start, they’ll need to keep up with Deshaun Watson in an underrated shootout spot. Jefferson deserves a FLEX start with a litany of fantasy-relevant receivers affected by injury.
Lesson Three: Calvin Ridley is the WR1 in Atlanta
Where to begin with the Falcons? Being a Georgia resident, it’s truly nothing new. The Georgia sports lexicon is built on chokes and letdowns, and Sunday’s second consecutive collapse was almost written in ink at halftime. The good news is that Calvin Ridley is absolutely crushing for the hapless Falcons.
Ridley drew double-digit targets and went over 100 yards for the third week in a row. It’s the production fantasy players dream about. Julio Jones‘ injury woes and ineffectiveness have allowed for Ridley to shine, and Matt Ryan has looked for him at every level of the field. He more than doubled the rest of the team with 13 targets.
Action: Ridley offers the highest floor and ceiling combination in fantasy football right now. Especially (stop me if you’ve heard this before) with Julio Jones hampered by injury. The Packers, Atlanta’s Week 4 opponent, have lit up the scoreboard, and the Falcons defense is essentially nonexistent. Here we go again. Ridley’s multi-touchdown upside and Target Share monopoly lock him as a high value DFS play in both cash games and tournaments. ATL-GB is Week 4’s premier game stack.
Lesson Four: DeAndre Hopkins is Thriving
DeAndre Hopkins has seen 37 targets over 12 quarters. He’s turned those into 32 catches for 356 yards and a touchdown. Needless to say, prophecies of his demise have been greatly exaggerated. Kyler Murray is locked onto his new WR1, targeting him heavily on the outside in both short-yardage situations and downfield. It’s a conglomeration of his past few years in Houston usage-wise, and he’s absolutely thriving.
DeAndre Hopkins (26) has established a franchise record for receptions in the first three games of a season. pic.twitter.com/xIJ1mvDELd
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) September 27, 2020
Action: Hopkins faces the defensively challenged Carolina Panthers next week, who surrendered 330 passing yards to Justin Herbert in his second ever NFL start. Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler destroyed the Panthers in the middle of the field. Deploying Hopkins in the slot would be a successful operation. With unmatched usage, he is a premier pay-up candidate in DFS.
Lesson Five: Alvin Kamara Will Be THE RB1 in Fantasy Football
The headline for tomorrow’s newspaper is printed above. Alvin Kamara‘s monster usage and raw talent has lifted him above every other player in fantasy football through the season’s first three weeks. The Saints have fed him as much as he can handle with Drew Brees‘ arm shot and the offense already missing their only true playmaker on the outside in Michael Thomas. Kamara saw 14 targets on Sunday night and caught 13 of them.
Alvin Kamara gained 57 yards after catch on this 52-yard touchdown, +40 over expected according to our Expected YAC model.
— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) September 28, 2020
Kamara amassed 197 total yards against the Packers, highlighted by a spectacular screen pass catch-and-run through the defense, breaking and evading tackles throughout. He has peak Le’Veon Bell vision, with even more speed and agility. His video game-level moves have helped him put up video game numbers. Even when Thomas returns, Kamara is full-steam ahead to be THE RB1 in fantasy football with Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffrey out of the race.
Action: Kamara is the premier RB to pay up for at a surprisingly affordable $8000 on DraftKings. Kamara is CMC in a better offense, and at a reduced cost. A Week 4 contest against the Lions is a lock button spot for fantasy’s most involved running back.