Fantasy Football Trust or Bust: Week 3
Matt Noah, Zech Lambert, Andres Madden and Ben Mooney break down the biggest potential fantasy football boom-or-bust candidates for Week 3:
For fans of fantasy football, Week 2 of the NFL season revealed a couple takeaways, like the fact that Lamar Jackson is a legit quarterback for the Ravens and the Patriots offense looks unstoppable. However, there are also some serious concerns for players like Cam Newton and Mitchell Trubisky. Let’s evaluate some of the best and worst performances of Week 2 from a fantasy football perspective and decide whether or not it’s worth trusting these guys to appear on your Week 3 starting roster.
Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
The second-highest scoring quarterback of Week 2, Lamar Jackson proved his beatdown of the Dolphins was not just a fluke. Heading into the season, the Ravens quarterback faced criticism for his throwing ability at an NFL level. This year, he has proved to be a breakout star, continuing his tear into Week 2 by throwing for 272 yards and two touchdowns. On top of that, Jackson flashed his rushing ability, going for 120 yards on 16 carries. With a shootout against the No. 1 scoring QB of the week Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs on the schedule for Week 3, the hype train is still rolling down the tracks. Mark him as a must-start against a Chiefs defense that is averaging over 260 passing yards allowed to opposing quarterbacks through the first two games.
Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The 2011 NFL draft first overall pick and 2015 Most Valuable Player has posted two fantasy duds through the first two weeks. Panthers coach Ron Rivera did come to Newton’s defense, suggesting that his lack of accuracy during the nationally televised loss to the Buccaneers could be related to a midfoot sprain from the preseason. Nonetheless, from a fantasy perspective, Newton’s dual threat ability to pass and run is what has made him so valuable in the past. But through 2019’s first two games, Newton has posted a very concerning -2 rushing yards. Newton's health will be a major story throughout the season, and it is unfortunate to see such a successful QB fall victim to injuries. His running back Christian McCaffrey remains one of the most fantasy-relevant players in the NFL, but if you have Cam Newton on your roster, it’s time to panic.
Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
The highest scoring running back of Week 2 exploded for 27 points in PPR leagues, thanks in large part to a 75-yard run in which Cook ripped through the Packers secondary for a score. He finished the game with 20 carries, resulting in 154 yards, a career high, and the aforementioned touchdown. Everyone has always known about Cook’s potential, but he’s been plagued with injuries in his first two years as a pro. This year, the Florida State product has returned to his college form, showing why he was drafted in the early second round. The Vikings need Cook to stay healthy throughout the entire season, but they are working on load management to keep him from being overexposed. Now facing a Raiders defense ranked 26th in yards allowed per game, it’s safe to slate Cook for an encore performance in Week 3.
Chris Carson, Seattle Seahawks
Seattle’s premier running back finished with 15 rushing for 60 yards and three receptions for 27 yards last week: a middling performance for PPR leagues. However, the reason Carson is here is because he had two fumbles in last Sunday’s game and has three already this season. Carson has had a great deal of hype heading into the season as the unquestioned three-down back for the Seahawks, the team with the second most rushing attempts last year. Carson had a solid Week 1 with 23 points in PPR, but his performance against the Steelers shows that his No. 1 job could be threatened by backup Rashaad Penny. Carson's fumbles gave the Seahawks the opportunity to play Penny, and the second-year back balled out, racking 10 carries and 62 yards as well as a touchdown. Carson will remain the starter next week, but further ball security issues could lead to Penny taking his job. Still, he still poses the opportunity to gain 100+ all-purpose yards and a touchdown against a Saints team that lost Drew Brees to injury, creating a positive game script in which the Seahawks will feed Carson the ball. All he has to do is hold onto the football.
Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs
This wide receiver led his position in Week 2 with 35 points in PPR leagues. Demarcus Robinson caught all six passes thrown his way for 172 yards and two scores in Kansas City's 28-10 win over the Oakland Raiders last Sunday. However, this performance is likely a product of the greatness of his quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who has been spectacular through two games. In Week 1, teammate Sammy Watkins exploded for a monster game, and it was Robinson’s time to shine in Week 2. With star wideout Tyreek Hill expected to miss time because of a shoulder injury, the rest of the Chiefs offense will have to step up. However, Mahomes will likely spread the ball around, making Robinson a big boom-or-bust start. It is unreasonable to expect a similar performance next week despite the historic pace of the Chiefs offense.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
DeAndre Hopkins caught four passes on eight targets for 40 yards on Sunday, as the Texans beat the Jaguars by a 13-12 score. He was much quieter than his typical standards, due largely in part to coverage from cornerback Jalen Ramsey. But Hopkins, who is a consensus top-five wide receiver, will look to bounce back after scoring only nine points in PPR leagues in Week 2. In Week 3, Hopkins will face a Chargers defense that has been very generous to opposing WR1s from the Lions and Colts. Disregard Hopkins’ Week 2 performance and pencil it in as a fluke. He’ll rebound in Week 3.
Matt Noah is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.