(Photo by Chris Williams/Icon Sportswire)
Week 3 has come and gone, but the talent around the NFL is beginning to take shape. There were just 3 games this week that seemed to be entirely unpredictable.
- The Patriots are not good. They went in to Detroit and looked like the same team that struggled to move the ball and got picked apart in Jacksonville. The next game on this list cements this fact.
- Blake Bortles came back to earth and so did the Jaguars. In a thrilling 9-6 loss to the Titans, Bortles looked mediocre, however, exactly like last year, the Jags defense proved they will keep them in any game.
- Uh…Vikings. WHAT WAS THAT? Maybe Dalvin Cook is THAT important. Maybe the Vikings decided not to practice all week. Maybe Vontae Davis is the most cancerous teammate in existence. This week, in Minnesota, the 17-point favorite, and potential NFC Champion Vikings looked like they should be a 17-point underdog. The Bills came to play.
Outside of those three games, I think the rest of the NFL is settling in. The Saints walked in to Atlanta and looked like the Saints of old. The Browns are a solid team and are two missed field goals away from being 3-0. The Rams and Chiefs are absolutely dominant (if you want to make money just bet them to cover the spread every week). Alas, it is Monday and I am here again to let you know about the players that went nuts yesterday, and if they are capable of sustaining that. Given that it is Week 3 already, I thought I would share some insight as to why certain people are showing up in this article over others. I only select 5 players (or groups) that had exceptional weeks, however, I try to stay away from the players that have stat lines that appear unsustainable (Jakeem Grant with 2 receptions for 2 touchdowns). Additionally, I tend to stay away from superstars or those players you expect to have consistent success (Todd Gurley II rushing for 105 yds and a touchdown). This being said, most of the players you will find on this list are going to be people who had shockingly great weeks, who are potentially viable moving forward.
Carlos Hyde (RB, Cleveland Browns)
BAKER. MAYFIELD. The Browns’ new QB looked good…really good. He unlocked a new, dynamic passing game which in turn unlocked a more successful run game; Carlos Hyde looks like a great option at RB. With Mayfield in the game, Hyde was able to see the end zone twice in 2 quarters; he had scored just 2 touchdowns with Tyrod Taylor as his QB for almost 10 full quarters. Mayfield’s arrival may increase the playing time of Duke Johnson Jr., however, Hyde will be the main RB who will get around 20 touches a game: solid RB 2.
Calvin Ridley (WR, Atlanta Falcons)
Julio who? After being completely nonexistent in Week 1, Calvin Ridley looks like the steal of your fantasy draft. He has completely taken over the Atlanta passing game with 11 receptions for 210 yards and 4 touchdowns over the last two weeks. Of course, you can credit Julio Jones (10 receptions, 160 yards in last 2 games) for taking much of the pressure off of Ridley, but Ridley has been the spark that revived the passing game after an abysmal Week 1. As long as stopping Julio Jones is the opponents #1 goal, Calvin Ridley should be a perennial high-end WR 2.
Tyler Boyd (WR, Cincinnati Bengals)
In a very similar situation to Ridley, Tyler Boyd had a forgettable Week 1, followed by two phenomenal weeks. In the last two weeks, he has more catches on one less target for significantly more yards than AJ Green. Yesterday, Boyd caught 6 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown while Green had 5 receptions for 58 and didn’t find the end zone (he was injured in the 3rd quarter but expects to play next week). Just like Ridley, there is a superstar receiver pulling the attention from a very talented #2 WR. Boyd, who saw 20 more snaps than John Ross (the only other Bengals receiver that could take away from Green or Boyd), has been taking advantage of the lack of attention and is a high-end WR 2 moving forward.
Robert Woods (WR, Los Angeles Rams)
Throughout this 2018 season, Robert Woods has been his quarterback’s most frequented receiver. Week 1 saw Woods and his QB Jared Goff not quite on the same page with just 3 receptions on 9 targets. However, in the last two weeks, the two have made significant improvements: Woods had 6 receptions on 9 targets in Week 2, and 10 receptions on 11 targets yesterday. Additionally, Woods scored 2 touchdowns in Week 3, his first appearances in the end zone this season. If the season continues in this fashion (it should because Sean McVay is a genius), Woods should be a steady WR 2, and an even higher end play in PPR leagues.
Chris Carson (RB, Seattle Seahawks)
FINALLY. OH MY GOD. FINALLY. For the first time since 2014 (Marshawn Lynch had 53% of rushing attempts), it appears the Seahawks have picked JUST ONE RB to lead their rushing attack. In 2015, no RB saw more than 30% of the rushing attempts. In 2016, the rushing attack got even more clustered with the most used RBs separated by just 8 carries. In 2017, RUSSELL WILSON LED THE TEAM IN CARRIES. But, by some miracle, we have arrived in Week 3 of the 2018 NFL Season and the Seattle Seahawks gave Chris Carson 32 rushing attempts. No Seahawk RB has seen 32 attempts since Lynch had 32 in Week 8 of 2011. Moving forward, there is no possible way Carson can continuously lead the league in touches as he did in Week 3. However, if the Seahawks have finally picked a lead running back, Carson sits high atop the RB 2 rankings.