Week Three was a busy one with tons of scoring, some unfortunate injuries and a few surprising upsets. Here’s your weekly summary covering all of Sunday’s NFL slate.
The Vikings were without starting RB Dalvin Cook as they hosted the Bills, but most agreed it wouldn’t much matter. After all, it’s the Bills. Well, rookie QB Josh Allen played the game of his young career, making the Vikings defense look silly on multiple occasions. Buffalo got out to an early lead and never looked back. The Vikings never threatened and barely avoided the shutout with a late touchdown.
Allen threw for 196 yards and a touchdown and also added 39 rushing yards and two more scores to post the first QB1 game of his career. With veteran RB LeSean McCoy (ribs) out, the Bills used a backfield committee of Chris Ivory and Marcus Murphy. Ivory also led the Bills in receiving and totaled 126 yards for the game. WR Zay Jones had led the team in receiving in each of the first two contests but saw just one target.
A week after this Vikings offense put up video game numbers that included WRs Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs finishing as the top two fantasy wideouts in the week, they were entirely shut down by the Bills hungry defense. QB Kirk Cousins ended with 296 yards and a touchdown, thanks to some late garbage time and Thielen saw 19 targets, good for 14 receptions and 105 scoreless yards. Diggs was not so fortunate, catching four balls for 17 yards. Cooks replacement, veteran RB Latavius Murray, was a chalky DFS pick this week but managed only 31 total yards, including one single rushing yard as he was game-scripted out of carries. TE Kyle Rudolph scored the Vikings lone touchdown, one of his five receptions for 48 yards.
The Titans outlasted the Jaguars in an ugly AFC South battle that saw Tennessee QB Marcus Mariota make his return to the field, just not the way his coaching staff planned. After an early huge hit to QB Blaine Gabbert, Mariota and his injured elbow were forced into action. We’ve heard much about how Mariota lacked feeling in his arm and struggled to grip the ball. This likely played a role in the game plan once Mariota entered the game. He attempted 18 passes, completing 12 for exactly 100 yards. Playing in a positive game script, RB Derrick Henry matched or set modest season-high totals with 18 carries for 57 yards. We can expect to see this moving forward with the usage of Henry and RB Dion Lewis determined by the score. Lewis totaled 34 yards on 12 touches.
The Jaguars were again without RB Leonard Fournette but they weren’t able to play the same up-tempo game in their win over the Patriots in Week Three. QB Blake Bortles managed 155 scoreless yards, while RB T.J. Yeldon, Fournette’s replacement, posted 90 total yards, leading the team in rushing and receiving. The Jags uneven pass-catching corps continued with WRs Keelan Cole (5/40), Dede Westbrook (3/31), Donte Moncrief (2/16) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (3/18) all disappointing. We can rarely count on this offense to produce big fantasy performances.
Green Bay- 17
The host Redskins jumped out to a two-touchdown lead in the first quarter and were never really threatened by the typically high-powered Packers offense. QB Alex Smith was his normal game-manager self, throwing for 220 yards and two scores, though he did connect on three passes of 30+ yards to TE Vernon Davis (2/70), TE Jordan Reed (4/65) and WR Paul Richardson (1/46/1). WR Jamison Crowder finally contributed too, catching his first touchdown of the season among his four catches for 39 yards. Once Washington had the lead, they relied on veteran RB Adrian Peterson, who carried 19 times for 120 yards and two scores. Adversely, pass-catching back Chris Thompson wasn’t really needed in this one and totaled 17 yards on seven touches. After catching 13 passes in Week Two, Thompson had just one.
The Packers welcomed sophomore RB Aaron Jones back to the field and he promptly led the team in rushing with 42 yards on just six carries. Jones played just 17 snaps, compared to 20 for Ty Montgomery and 30 for Jamaal Williams. After falling behind, the rushing opportunities for the Pack just weren’t there. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers entered with a questionable tag and was at times noticeably hobbled, but still threw for 265 yards and two touchdowns as the offense was in comeback mode throughout.
Rodgers spread the ball around with four pass-catchers drawing at least seven targets, including WR Davante Adams (7/52/1) RB Ty Montgomery (6/48), TE Jimmy Graham (5/45) and WR Randall Cobb (4/23), but it was WR Geronimo Allison who led the Packers with 76 yards, thanks in part to a 64-yard score.
The Broncos and Ravens traded blows early in the game before the Ravens extended their lead and Denver simply had no answer. RB Alex Collins finally took command of the backfield, but still finished with a pedestrian 68 yards on 18 carries. QB Joe Flacco spread his 277 yards around with WR John Brown (5/86) once again serving as his top performer. Veteran WR Michael Crabtree (7/61) led the team with ten targets, while rookie TE Mark Andrews chipped in two receptions for 59 yards.
The hot streak for rookie RB Phillip Lindsay ended early and it was due to the Ravens stingy defense. Lindsay got caught on the bottom of the pile in a post-whistle scuffle and got busted for throwing a punch. Lindsay was given the boot after gaining just 20 yards. This led to increased usage for RB Royce Freeman, though that opportunity vanished after the Broncos fell behind. Freeman ended with 58 total yards and a touchdown. Baltimore did shut down the Denver passing game as QB Case Keenum threw for a season-low 192 yards and failed to throw a touchdown for the second consecutive game. WR Demaryius Thomas did bounce back, catching all five targets for 63 yards to lead the team. WR Emmanuel Sanders posted a quiet 38 yards on five receptions.
New Orleans- 43
This game delivered all the fantasy goodness we were hoping for, but the stats just came from some surprising players. The back and forth game ended with an overtime rushing score from QB Drew Brees, his second of the game. Brees was his usual efficient self, racking up 396 yards and three scores against the Falcons deflated defense. As always, Brees’ top weapons were RB Alvin Kamara who saw a career-high 30 touches for 190 yards but couldn’t get into the end zone. WR Michael Thomas caught all ten balls thrown in his direction for 129 scoreless yards. He now has 38 receptions on 40 targets for 398 yards and three scores through three games. Both Thomas and Kamara are on pace to break the single-season reception record of 143 held by Marvin Harrison. Former Bears WR Cameron Meredith made his Saints debut after being inactive the first two weeks. Meredith got the start but drew just one target. He made it count for an 11-yard touchdown.
Falcons QB Matt Ryan enjoyed the best game of his season even in a losing effort, throwing for 374 yards and five scores. ESPN shared the statistic that Ryan became the second quarterback in the past 30 years to throw for 350 yards, five scores, zero interceptions and still lose. The other was QB Eli Manning and both players lost to Brees. Atlanta was still without RB Devonta Freeman but his replacement RB Tevin Coleman was not as impressive as he was a week ago. Coleman totaled 47 yards but did score a touchdown to pad his fantasy numbers. The top story for the Falcons today was the emergence of rookie WR Calvin Ridley. After scoring his first career touchdown a week ago, Ridley seemed due for a bump in opportunity and he got it. Ridley saw a team-high eight targets, catching seven for 146 yards and three touchdowns. WR Julio Jones added a 5/96 line, while veteran WR Mohamed Sanu posted a 4/36/1 line.
The Raiders faced a tall task Sunday, traveling across the country to face the undefeated Dolphins with their struggling offense. By the early part of the third quarter, the Raiders had built a ten-point lead thanks to huge early players from veterans WR Jordy Nelson and RB Marshawn Lynch. Nelson finished the game with 173 yards and a touchdown on six receptions, while Lynch totaled 86 yards and a score. Star WR Amari Cooper was again invisible, catching just two of five looks for 17 yards, while QB Derek Carr finished with 345 yards, his highest total since Week Seven of last season.
Beginning late in the third quarter, the Dolphins opened up the playbook and that resulted in 21 unanswered points to take the lead and ultimately win the game. Tannehill found WR Jakeem Grant for an 18-yard score to get things started. In the fourth, Grant caught another score, this time on a “Philly Special” play with the 52-yard pass coming from WR Albert Wilson. Wilson would finish things off when he caught a short pass from Tannehill and did the rest of the work for a 74-yard score. Wilson ended with 126 all-purpose yards and two scores, while Grant caught two balls for 70 yards and two touchdowns of his own. It was a frustrating day for the Dolphins backfield as they played from behind most of the game. RB Kenyan Drake earned just five carries for three yards, while veteran RB Frank Gore carried six times for 12 yards. WR DeVante Parker made his 2018 debut, recording two receptions for 40 yards.
Another punch/counterpunch game, the Panthers put this one away after gaining a two-score, second-half lead. Most of the damage was done on the ground as RB Christian McCaffrey set a new career-high with 184 rushing yards on 28 carries. He was targeted only twice but caught both. QB Cam Newton scored twice on the ground and threw for two more, along with his 150 yards passing. WR Devin Funchess continued to serve as the top wideout, catching four of seven targets for 67 yards and a touchdown. After suggesting rookie WR D.J. Moore would get more involved in the offense, he drew just two targets, resulting in one three-yard reception.
The Bengals were playing without RB Joe Mixon (knee) and lost WR A.J. Green (groin) early in the second half and did not return. Veteran RB Giovani Bernard saw 17 touches for 86 yards and a touchdown. Once Green left the game, slow WR Tyler Boyd became the focal point of the offense and he delivered. Boyd continued his breakout season, catching six passes for 132 yards and a score. TE Tyler Eifert also continued to impress with a 6/74 line. Green wasn’t a total bust, hauling in five receptions for 58 yards before he suffered the injury.
The Colts went into Philly and nearly pulled off the huge win but fell short as QB Jacoby Brissett’s Hail Mary pass just missed. That’s right. With the game on the line and the Colts down to their final play, they had to replace starting QB Andrew Luck with Brissett to attempt the 50+ yard heave. Luck finished with just 164 passing yards on 25 completions and a disgusting 4.1 yards per attempt. With RB Marlon Mack (foot) out, Luck also led the Colts in rushing. WR T.Y. Hilton got his, catching five passes for 50 yards and TE Eric Ebron saw a team-high 11 targets with TE Jack Doyle (hip) out of the lineup. Ebron only caught five for 33 yards. Rookie RBs Jordan Wilkins (20 total yards) and Nyheim Hines (43) was largely ineffective.
QB Carson Wentz is back! Wentz returned to the field for this first time Since Week Fourteen last season, now recovered from the knee injury that ended his year. Even with RB Jay Ajayi and WR Alshon Jeffery out, Wentz had a successful outing, throwing for 255 yards and a touchdown. RB Corey Clement was a popular inexpensive DFS choice but finished with 19 touches for 75 yards. The 19 touches are the most by any Eagles running back since the beginning of the 2017 season. It can be argued that RB Wendell Smallwood was the more effective back, totaling 91 yards and a touchdown on 13 touches. Wentz went right back to his favorite target, TE Zach Ertz, who caught five passes for 73 yards on a team-high 10 targets.
Kansas City- 38
San Francisco- 27
The most anticipated game of the day did not disappoint as the 49ers and Chiefs combined for 65 points and QB Patrick Mahomes continued his record-breaking touchdown pace. Mahomes got the Chiefs off to an early lead, as has been the theme through three games. Kansas City took a 14-0 lead on a pair of rushing scores from RB Kareem Hunt before the 49ers answered. In the second-quarter, Mahomes took over, throwing three touchdowns and nearly 300 yards before the intermission. By halftime, the Chiefs led 35-10 and then cruised in the second half, holding off the 49ers comeback attempt.
The Chiefs offensive weapons were again impressive with TE Travis Kelce leading the way. Kelce caught eight passes for 114 yards, while WR Sammy Watkins posted a 5/55/1 line. It was bound to happen but WR Tyreek Hill had a quiet game, catching two passes for 51 scoreless yards. Hunt did get the two early scores but continued to be a non-factor in the passing game with one target. He also managed just 44 yards on 18 carries.
The day was not so great for the Niners. On top of the score, it is feared the team has suffered an even more significant loss as QB Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a late-game non-contact knee injury. Even HC Kyle Shanahan himself admitted there are fears the injury is a season-ending torn ACL. The backup and presumed successor to Garoppolo is C.J. Beathard, who saw action in seven games as a rookie last season.
The Niners also got a scare early in the game when RB Matt Breida went down with a non-contact knee injury of his own but was somehow able to return. He ended with 90 rushing yards and is tied with Dallas RB Ezekiel Elliott for the NFL lead. WR Marquise Goodwin returned to the field, catching three passes for 30 yards and a touchdown. TE George Kittle bounced back from last week’s disappointment to record five receptions for 79 yards. If Garoppolo is done for the season, this entire offense could be one for fantasy players to avoid.
NY Giants- 27
The New York Giants earned their first win of the year and kept the Houston Texans winless. QB Eli Manning looked like a different player at times in this game, finishing with an efficient 25/29 for 297 yards and two scores. Rookie RB Saquon Barkley totaled 117 yards and a touchdown and WR Odell Beckham finally enjoyed a big game, with nine receptions for 109 yards, though he was held out of the end zone again. WR Sterling Shepard even got in on the act with a 6/80/1 line. The bad news for the Giants was the potentially serious knee injury to TE Evan Engram. He’s scheduled for an MRI today and we’ll know more.
The Texans continue to struggle despite impressive playmakers on both sides of the ball. QB Deshaun Watson threw for 385 yards, his highest total since Week Eight of last year. Watson also led the team in rushing, which is bad news for RB Lamar Miller, who totaled only ten yards on ten carries but did add a 5/41/1 receiving line to save his fantasy day. Here’s no surprise. WR Will Fuller scored a touchdown. He’s now done that in all six career games he’s played with Watson. Fuller finished with five receptions for 101 yards, while teammate WR DeAndre Hopkins posted a 6/86 box score.
LA Rams- 35
LA Chargers- 23
This game, called the “Battle of LA” was easily won by the Rams in a game that was not as close as the score appears. QB Jared Goff methodically picked the defense apart all day, throwing for 354 yards and three scores, making use of all three of his top receivers. WR Robert Woods finally had the big game that we all saw coming. He caught ten of 11 targets for 104 yards and two touchdowns, while WRs Brandin Cooks (7/90) and Cooper Kupp (4/71/1) both had big games as well. RB Todd Gurley continued his ridiculous pace under HC Sean McVay, totaling 156 yards and a score on 28 touches.
Second-year WR Mike Williams had a bit of a breakout day, catching both touchdown passes thrown by QB Philip Rivers as part of his four receptions for 81 yards. WR Keenan Allen had a slow day with only three receptions for 44 yards. Rivers pivoted to his wideouts rather than relying on RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler to catch the ball, as they had in the first two weeks. Gordon did finish with 84 total yards and another touchdown.
After witnessing the Browns end their long losing streak on Thursday and then the shocking Bills win earlier in the day, it seemed fitting that the Cardinals would surprise one of the league’s best defenses. Arizona scored a pair of early touchdowns, as QB Sam Bradford found wide open TE Ricky Seals-Jones for 35 yards and then RB David Johnson for 21 yards. The Bears offense was struggling and the upset was brewing.
The Bears chipped away with field goals and an extended drive that concluded with a Jordan Howard short touchdown run. After Chicago overtook the Cardinals for the lead late in the fourth quarter, Arizona HC Steve Wilks finally made the move so many had been calling for, benching veteran QB Sam Bradford for rookie QB Josh Rosen. After a promising start to his opening drive, Rosen threw an interception. He somehow got one more chance as time expired, but a sack ended the game and the Bears pulled off the come from behind win. Regardless of the final result, it is safe to assume Rosen is the Cardinals starter moving forward.
The Bears entire offense was a bit disappointing as Howard totaled 81 yards but backup RB Tarik Cohen played his best game of the short season, totaling 68 yards. TE Trey Burton led the way with four grabs for 55 yards and WR Allen Robinson was limited to three catches for 50 yards. Rookie WR Anthony Miller caught four passes for 35 yards before exiting the game with an injury. Following the game, Miller claimed to be okay but we’ll wait for an official report later in the week.
Cardinals RB David Johnson was slightly more involved in the passing game but still not to the same level as his magical 2016 season. Johnson totaled 61 yards, while WR Christian Kirk led the team with 90 yards on seven catches. WR Larry Fitzgerald was limited to only two receptions for nine yards.
Somehow tabbed as the “game of the week” by some outlets, we suffered through the Cowboys and Seahawks matchup. Once again, Dallas made a poor team look good as the Seahawks got their first win of the season. QB Russell Wilson threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns, hitting WRs Tyler Lockett deep to seal the win. Playing with the lead for much of the game, the Seahawks established the run, giving RB Chris Carson 32 carries. He gained 102 yards and a touchdown a week after reportedly being gassed on limited carries and special team work. Rookie backup Rashaad Penny was a non-factor, rushing three times for five yards. Lockett finished with a 4/77/1 line but did most of his damage on the 52-yard touchdown.
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott continued to rack up yardage despite being the only real threat on the offense. Zeke ran 16 times for 127 yards to gain a share of the league lead for rushing yards. The entire passing offense continues to be disastrous as QB Dak Prescott threw for 168 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. TE Geoff Swaim led the team with 47 receiving yards and that tells you all you need to know. Stay away from this passing game.
New England- 10
The Lions took an early lead at home against the Patriots and it was 13-0 before the Patriots got on the board. A third-quarter touchdown pass from QB Tom Brady to RB James White looked like it would ignite the New England offense but the Lions quickly answered and the Patriots never truly threatened again.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw for 262 yards and a pair of scores, finding WRs Kenny Golladay (6/53/1) and Marvin Jones (4/69/1), while WR Golden Tate added 6/69 on eight targets. Rookie RB Kerryon Johnson ended the long streak of Lions backs failing to crack the 100-yard barrier. It took over four years but Johnson rushed 16 times for 101 yards.
The Patriots couldn’t get much going as Brady ended with just 133 passing yards, along with one score and one pick. They tried to feed rookie RB Sony Michel but he managed just 50 rushing yards on 14 carries. TE Rob Gronkowski led the team in receiving, but that only took 51 yards on four receptions. The Pats also lost RB Rex Burkhead (neck) to an injury. Former Browns WR Josh Gordon, whom the Patriots traded for earlier in the week, was inactive for this game.