An insane Week 3 in the NFL led to some crazy fantasy matchups from a raw numbers standpoint. This is NFL Takeaways Week 3!
Obviously, the talk is all about the Miami Dolphins and the Kansas City Chiefs, but there were some other numbers around the league that were eye popping. But before we dive into the nitty gritty, here are the “I have to at least mention it” takeaways:
- D.J. Moore officially cannot save Justin Fields.
- Darren Waller is entering 2022 Kyle Pitts territory.
- Devon Achane might be the RB to own going forward.
- Keenan Allen is the alpha everyone forgot about.
- Deshuan Watson might be back.
Takeaway No. 1: Desmond Ridder Cannot Be the Vehicle that leads Kyle Pitts and Drake London to Fantasy Success.
I don’t know if there has ever been a player who has teased fantasy owners more than Kyle Pitts has over the past two years. We have also been a bit teased by Drake London as well, considering the targets share and the plays he had last season.
I was willing to give Ridder a couple games before I reacted one way or the other. However, I don’t think Ridder is the guy who can service London and Pitts to the heights fantasy managers had envisioned for them.
Through three games, Ridder has averaged 155 passing yards per game and has thrown just two touchdowns. Furthermore, there have only been two times in three games where a Falcons player has finished with over 50 receiving yards. Those players were Drake London and Mack Hollins in Week 2 against the Packers.
Additionally, the Falcons have not played any stellar defenses yet either. What’s going to happen when they run up against the Saints, Bucs, and Jets later in the season? The bottom line is you just can’t trust anyone in this offense that’s dependent on the arm of Desmond Ridder. This is a run first team with a below average quarterback at best.
If you are playing redraft, I’d wait for a semi-good game from one of these guys and sell them immediately after. In terms of dynasty, holding them is probably the way to go considering they are both still so young and their value probably can’t get any lower.
Takeaway No. 2: The Chiefs Don’t Have a No. 1 Wide Receiver.
Not including Travis Kelce, because he’s obviously the No. 1 receiving option in this offense, there has not been a Chiefs wide receiver that has established themselves as a consistent option for Patrick Mahomes. Even last year, it felt like Smith-Schuster had a bit of a hold on the No. 1 wide receiver role. It felt like he was start-able every week he was healthy. In 2023, that guy just doesn’t exist right now.
In all three games this season, there has been a different player to lead the Chiefs receiver room in targets, receptions, and yards. Also, Mahomes has thrown just two passing touchdowns to wide receivers. Additionally, no receiver has more than 70 yards in any game this season. Those are great stats if you are a Travis Kelce or even a Jerrick McKinnon owner. However, this is not great if your team was banking on a breakout from one of these Chiefs receivers.
Can the breakout still come from guys like Skyy Moore, Rashee Rice and maybe even Justyn Ross? Yes, it definitely can. However, until we are shown otherwise, I don’t know how you can start guys like Moore and Rice in your flex when you could be starting Devon Achane, Tank Dell, or Gabe Davis.
I know that Andy Reid and Mahomes are the most attractive pairing when it comes to fantasy success. However, they have shown they have no problem spreading the ball around and getting multiple guys involved. It almost feels like it’s a “wide receiver by committee” approach. I know that’s a phrase that gets thrown around more when dealing with running backs, but it feels like it applies perfectly in this situation as well given what the Chiefs have shown through three weeks.
Takeaway #3: This is Still VERY MUCH Kenneth Walker’s Backfield.
Much like Geno Smith, Kenneth Walker did not write back to those who doubted him when Seattle selected Zach Charbonnet in the second round of this year’s draft. As it stands right now, Kenneth Walker has significantly out-snapped and out-produced Charbonnet. This has led him to a really solid start for fantasy football.
Kenneth Walker has 16+ touches in every game this season, including a season high 21 touches in Week 3 against the Panthers. That’s more touches than Charbonnet has the entire season.
Walker’s also averaging 87 total yards per game to go along with four touchdowns in this young season. Now while all of that’s impressive, what’s really been surprising is the work he’s gotten in the receiving game.
A lot of people assumed Walker’s receiving work would be non-existent with the addition of Charbonnet and even Jaxon Smith-Njigba for that matter. However, Walker has already caught eight balls in three games. This puts him on pace for 45 catches for the season. That’s almost double his reception total of 26 from last season.
At the end of the day, I think the big thing to take away from all of this is how Walker should be treated in dynasty formats specifically. If Charbonnet remains as more of a “breather back” and Walker keeps producing like he has been, there’s no reason Walker shouldn’t be treated as a top five running back in dynasty formats.
So go throw out some trade offers and get yourself the DAWG in Kenneth Walker!
Takeaway #4: Go Get Yourself Some Houston Texans!
This message applies to anyone who plays any format of fantasy football:
The Houston Texans could be a fantasy gold mine by the end of 2023.
I know it sounds crazy considering the lackluster options they have given us over the past couple of years. However, C.J. Stroud has played so well to start the season, it has given Tank Dell truthers like myself some hope that Stroud could legitimately turn this thing around long term.
It’s not just that Stroud is averaging 40 passing attempts per game, which is good for third-most in the league, but it looks like he actually belongs in this league and has only gotten better every week. Against the Jaguars in Week 3, Stroud threw for 280 passing yards, two touchdowns, and led the Texans to a 37-13 win. In the process, he’s also given fantasy relevance to a couple of his top receiving options.
Let’s take a look at Nico Collins. This is a guy who didn’t crack more than 500 yards receiving in any of his first three seasons. Then C.J. Stroud comes around and now he’s on pace for almost 1,500 yards.
Let’s not forget about the rookie Tank Dell. Known for his route running and explosiveness, Stroud begged the Texans to draft Dell because he knew their games would complement each other perfectly. And what do you know, Stroud was right. Over the past two weeks, Tank Dell has 12 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. An absolute steal if you drafted him in the last round or picked him up off waivers.
If the trio of Stroud, Collins, and Dell continue to put up these numbers for the rest of 2023, you will regret not having more of them if you don’t buy them while their price is still relatively low. Especially in dynasty, I’d be doing everything I can to get these guys on more of my teams because I don’t think we truly know how high the ceiling could get for this Texan Trio.