Samulski’s Arbitrary Fantasy Football Awards for Week 3
Welcome to another edition of the SAF (Samulski’s Arbitrary Fantasy) Awards! I’m your host, Eric Samulski, and we’ve come to the second week of this weekly awards segment where we shine a light on the best performances, the disappointing performances, and the most misleading performances in the week of NFL action.
As the name states, the SAF Awards are totally arbitrary but no less valid and desirable awards given out by me based on the committee of voices in my head. Some awards will carry over every week while others will emerge from the ether based on my mood or the mercurial winds of pop culture trends.
While you will find plenty of actionable fantasy football information here, you’re not likely to get many of the fantasy football acronyms that make me feel like a real estate agent: EPA, aDOT, YACON, etc. Those are all valuable and have their place, but that place is not here. This is the place where we give out awards, talk some trash, and have some fun.
If you have players you believe are deserving of awards or want to suggest awards for the next week, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@SamskiNYC). But without further ado, let’s hand out some hardware that doesn’t exist and people wouldn’t really want if it did!
Star of the Week: Keenan Allen - WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Keenan Allen was the third leading scorer in half-PPR leagues on Sunday, but he gets the nod here because not only did he catch 18-of-20 targets for 215 yards, but e also completed one pass for a 49 yard touchdown. Maybe he should play QB for the Jets?
We’ve always known Keenan Allen was good; it was just a matter of him staying on the field. Through three games, he’s hauled in 32-of-39 targets for 402 yards and two touchdowns. My money is in him keeping it going on Sunday against the Raiders.
There’s no pop culture phenomenon quite like the pairing of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce . It’s a pairing that has caused Kelce’s jersey sales to go up 400% and has pissed off Fantasy Baseball Twitter for some odd reason.
However, while Swiftce is filling up tabloids and social media scrolls, the pairing of Achane and Mostert is filling up box scores. After Achane got just one carry in his NFL debut against the Patriots, the rookie exploded right out of the gate with some monster runs against the Broncos on Sunday, finishing with 203 yards rushing and two touchdowns. He was so good that he got to tell people how to correctly pronounce this last name!
Yet, Raheem Mostert wasn’t going to be denied. He also rushed for 82 yards on just 13 carries and scored three touchdowns of his own. Even people like me whose brain freezes when presented with numbers, can see that the pair accounted for an absurd 285 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
Even somebody named Chris Brooks ran for 66 yards, but he’s just the third wheel in this relationship. Kind of like Cooper Manning.
The Office Space Award: Joshua Kelley - RB Los Angeles Chargers
This award highlights a player who we’re all looking at on our rosters and thinking:
We had Kelley as the Friend Zone Award winner last year, but this week he moves to another category. Despite getting yet another start for Austin Ekeler in a positive matchup in which he took 11 of the 14 team carries, Kelley did absolutely nothing, gaining 12 yards on those 11 carries and seeing just one target in the passing game. Kelley now has 51 yards on 24 carries and one catch for five yards in the two games he’s started for Ekeler.
Yes, he’s likely to start one more game. No, he won’t be near any of my rosters.
Looking for more fantasy football content? Rotoworld has you covered. Watch Fantasy Football Happy Hour with Matthew Berry weekdays at noon ET LIVE on Peacock and the Rotoworld Football Show on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays wherever you get your podcasts.
Everybody knows the GIF. Some of us were alive to see it live. But this award is given to a player who we left for dead who simply came roaring back.
Most people thought that Thielen was washed in Minnesota. Then he battled an ankle injury in Week 1 and did nothing, and many assumed it was more of the same thing. However, over the last two games, he has 29% and 25% target shares, both of which have led the team and he’s put up over 50 combined fantasy points. The Panthers look like they’re going to trail often, and Thielen is on the field for almost all passing plays, which means he could volume his way to another solid fantasy season. It’s honestly probably better for him if Andy Dalton is the starting quarterback, but I don’t see that happening.
The Friend Zone Award is where we honor the player who leads us on the most heading into a matchup only to crush our dreams and give us nothing on Sunday.
In Week 3, that was Rashid Shaheed . I mean, it was really Joshua Kelley , but we can’t be giving him every single award.
Shaheed had at least four catches and 60 yards in each of the first two games and scored a touchdown in Week 1. He was now facing a banged up Packers secondary that didn’t have Jaire Alexander . This was the “Shaheed to the moon” game. Instead, the Saints sent him to the moon and totally forgot about him. He had just two targets all game and finished with no catches. Hopefully it’s not that Jameis Winston doesn’t like him because we could see Jameis for a few more weeks.
Did you know George Clooney was originally cast as the lead in “The Notebook”? Did you know he was going to play a younger version of Paul Newman? Eventually, George Clooney decided not to go through with it, and Ryan Gosling was cast in the role, and the rest is history.
In the spirit of that moment, we give this award to the player who is set to take over a role vacated by a notable player ahead of them. In this instance, it appears that Josh Palmer will move into the starting lineup to replace Mike Williams after Big Mike suffered a season-ending knee injury in the Week 3 win over the Vikings. While many people will want to anoint rookie Quentin Johnston as the big pick up here, Palmer has played ahead of Johnston all season. After Williams went down, Palmer played 100% of passing downs while the Johnston played just 25%. We know that can change in the future, but in the immediate, Palmer has a chance to prove himself in the number two role in Los Angeles and create a romance with Justin Herbert that matches Gosling and Rachel McAdams.
David Blaine Illusion Award: Jerick McKinnon - RB, Kansas City Chiefs
The David Blaine Award is a weekly award where we highlight stats that are really an illusion. Sometimes that will be when a player has an appealing role but the production isn’t there and other times, like today, it will be when stats can mislead us to a player’s true role.
In Week 3, Jerick McKinnon scored 18 fantasy points in PPR formats, but he had three catches for nine yards and two carries for nine yards. He just caught two short touchdowns to prop up his fantasy day. However, McKinnon played just 22 snaps and had just three targets all game. When this game was competitive in the first half, it was almost all Isiah Pacheco , who played 32 of a possible 55 snaps when Patrick Mahomes was still in the game. These are not stats you want to chase.
Pay no attention to the illusion.
Milk Carton Award: Calvin Ridley - WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
In Week 1 we went searching for Joe Burrow , and then in Week 2 we were looking for his buddy Ja’Marr Chase . We kind of found them on Monday; although, they appear slightly different then they were before.
However, now we need to know what happened to Calvin Ridley .
After torching the Colts for 101 yards and a touchdown in Week 1, Ridley has a combined five catches for 72 yards over the next two games. That’s pretty poor output for a player who was working his way into the WR1 conversation at the tail end of draft season. Now, he has seen 15 targets over those two games and also gotten dinged up in both of them. But Trevor Lawrence has not good looked, which is a bit of a concern for Ridley putting up consistent value week in and week out.
I know a lot of my fantasy teams would appreciate if the Week 1 version of Ridley came back. Otherwise, we should all maybe start betting on the under on his performance.
Marlon Brando may have been a well-known stage actor, but he came out of nowhere in terms of movie stardom. Just his second movie ever was A Streetcar Named Desire, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. As a result, this award is given to a player who may have been talented before but is now putting people on notice.
Tank Dell played behind Noah Brown in Week 1, but when Brown when on the IR, he was given a chance to see the field alongside Nico Collins and Robert Woods . Dell ran 82% of the routes and say 23% of the targets in Week 2 and delivered. However, he took it to another level in Week 3, running 84% of the routes and seeing 25% of the targets while also being used more on deeper routes with 54% of the team’s air yards. Dell was really good in college at Houston, but he’s a small player and most people didn’t expect it to translate to the NFL this quickly. However, Dell has made the transition, and he needs to be viewed as a legitimate fantasy weapon.
That’s it for this week; we’ll see you next Wednesday for another edition of the SAF Awards!