Fantasy Focus: Week 3 Hot & Not
Week 3 heralded a particularly large slate of "Hot and Not" options, as quite a few fantasy owners were either very thankful or sorely disappointed with how some of their teams' key players performed. This week saw some of the highest scoring performances of the season so far, as well as a couple of widely owned players who were entirely shut out. With that, let's look at some of the best and worst performances of the week.
Hot Fantasy Updates
Greg Olsen- TE- Carolina- The big Panthers tight end had a slow start to the season for the first two weeks, but finally found some efficiency in Week 3. Olsen found the end zone for the first time this season on an 11-yard catch from QB Cam Newton and then decided to do so again on another 11-yard TD catch. Newton relied heavily on Olsen, who caught eight of Newton’s 20 completions and accounted for 134 of Newton’s 315 yards. Olsen re-asserted himself as one of the only receiving options in the Panthers’ offense, and looks to have found his stride this season after an inauspicious start.
Steve Smith Sr.- WR- Baltimore- Steve Smith Sr. has become the focal point of the Ravens receiving corps. After a 150-yard, 10-catch Week 2, Smith Sr. caught 13 of 17 targets with 186 receiving yards while also finding the end zone twice in Sunday’s game vs. the Bengals. Those two TD’s were the first two of the season for Smith, including one late in the 4th quarter that gave the Ravens the lead. The veteran receiver has become the primary target for QB Joe Flacco, as his 20 catches in the last two games shows. Smith may not be a week-to-week top wideout for most teams, but should be treated as a solid starter now.
A.J. Green- WR- Cincinnati- Green put up “video game numbers” this week vs. Baltimore, evidently envious of Steve Smith Sr.’s performance on the other side. Green hauled in 10 of 13 targets for 227 yards and two receiving touchdowns in an incredible performance. Green was responsible for over half of the Bengals’ total yards in the Week 3 victory vs. the Ravens. There’s a very good reason Green went in the first or second round of many drafts, and he provided an exceptional return on investment this week. It’s doubtful Green will have a weekend this good every week, but he will still serve as the top target for QB Andy Dalton and should put up solid WR1 numbers going forward.
Devonta Freeman- RB- Atlanta- Freeman took advantage of his first career start after Tevin Coleman went down in Week 2, with Freeman dominating fantasy news by scoring three touchdowns on 141 yards rushing and 30 carries. Freeman’s day was even better for PPR owners, as he caught all five of his targets for 52 receiving yards. Freeman’s long-term outlook may not match his performance today, but with Sunday’s performance, he may have supplanted Tevin Coleman as the top rushing option for the Falcons. Freeman should be the lead back from next week onward, even with Coleman’s eventual return.
Not Fantasy Updates
Colin Kaepernick- QB- San Francisco- You can paraphrase LeBron James when describing how miserable Colin Kaepernick’s performance was vs. the Cardinals. He threw not one, not two, not three, but four interceptions, including two pick-sixes. Meanwhile, Kaepernick had only nine completions on 19 attempts and 67 passing yards. There was a slight silver lining for the 49ers’ QB, though, as he rushed for 46 yards and contributed a rushing touchdown, but there’s no overlooking his terrible day through the air. He has lost his fantasy relevancy, and may need to take care to avoid losing his real-life starting gig.
Marshawn Lynch- RB- Seattle- Everyone knows why Lynch is here, but owners were left unsure as to why he wasn’t there Sunday until the third drive of the game. Lynch had been listed as active after dealing with a calf injury in advance of this week’s matchup, but missed the first two series on offense and then left not long after with a hamstring injury. “Beast Mode” did not look very beastly against the Bears, rushing for only 14 yards on five carries and making only one reception for nine yards before his injury. It will be worth monitoring Lynch’s health in advance of next week’s matchup vs. the Lions. If Lynch can’t go, look for Thomas Rawls or Fred Jackson to get the bulk of the carries.
Andre Johnson- WR- Indianapolis- Johnson was brought into Indianapolis to be another target for QB Andrew Luck, but in a season that has gone mostly wrong for the Colts, Johnson went silent in Week 3. Johnson had no catches and only received one target all game even as the Colts managed to pull off the win over the Titans. Johnson has aged quickly with the Colts, having only seven catches and 51 yards over three games this season. Johnson still has an opportunity to make plays assuming Andrew Luck improves after his slow start, but it might be time to start consider dropping him in shallower leagues.
Tyler Eifert- TE- Cincinnati- The Bengals’ tight end’s hot start came to a screeching halt Sunday against the Ravens, as after leading the Bengals in targets in both Week 1 and Week 2, Eifert failed to haul in any of the three targets that came his way against the Ravens Sunday. This can be chalked up to Andy Dalton’s connection with receiver AJ Green (see the Hot list above) and his reliance on the deep ball. Eifert was robbed of a touchdown in the first half, however, but had it overturned on review after it was ruled that he did not have possession. This is one of those cases where it just wasn’t the week for Eifert. Expect him to be more involved next week vs. Kansas City.
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