The Market Report: Week 4

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The Market Report: Week 4

The Market Report is your one-stop Monday shop for all the movement from a big weekend of NFL football.

These are the players who stood out for fantasy-relevant reasons — the good reasons, the bad reasons, and the in-between.

This column will be posted every Monday afternoon.

UPGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling more optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Josh Allen (Buf) — Allen got off to a slow start (for his standards) in Weeks 1-2 with QB19 (17.2 FP) and QB22 (16.7 FP) scoring weeks, but got out of his rut in a hurry in Week 3. Allen went HAM against Washington, completing 32-of-43 for 358 yards and 4 TDs while also adding 4/9/1 on the ground. This marks the eighth time Allen has scored 30+ FP in his last 20 games since the start of the 2020 season. And more good news! Allen gets three cake draws upcoming with the Texans, Chiefs, and Titans next on the docket. (Graham Barfield)

Running Backs

Saquon Barkley (NYG) — It wasn’t a huge game for Saquon in terms of production in Week 3, but it was a good one, and once again the usage was the big takeaway. In a loss to the Falcons, Saquon posted 16/51/1 rushing and 6/43 receiving on 7 targets while playing 86% of the snaps. His 21.4 PPR points is the pre-Monday night RB8 performance of the week. His backup Devontae Booker was a healthy scratch, indicating the team feels great about Saquon’s health, and his 80% route rate on Daniel Jones dropbacks was second among all RBs in Week 3. It’s still like pulling teeth because the Giant offense stinks, but with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both dealing with hamstring injuries that could cost them some time, Barkley is going to need to be a major weapon in the passing game. All indications right now is Saquon will pay off an ADP that consistently fell deep into August. (JD)

Derrick Henry (Ten) — Henry failed to find the end zone in Tennessee’s victory over the Colts in Week 3, but Henry’s floor has been raised this season with three straight games with 3+ catches to open the year. He finished with 28/113 rushing, he caught all three of his targets for 31 yards, and he added a two-point conversion to get to 19.4 FP. King Henry already has 12 catches on 13 targets through three games, and he’s well on pace to smash his previous receiving bests in targets (31) and receptions (19) from last season, as well as his 206 receiving yards from 2019. Henry could stay a little more involved as a receiver in the near future since the Titans could also be without A.J. Brown (hamstring). He’s back to being an elite option at the position after a slow first six quarters to the season, and he’ll have a great chance to get 30+ touches this week against the Jets in a game the Titans should control. (Tom Brolley)

Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) — CEH had his second crippling fumble in two weeks, and for most backs and most coaches, that would be curtains. But Andy Reid did something that might be uncommon of current NFL coaches — he stuck with CEH, and he got rewarded. Before his fumble early in the second quarter against the Chargers, CEH was running better than he had all season, with 6 carries for 36 yards. And after the fumble (and Reid’s vote of confidence by leaving him in the game), CEH ran angrier than we’ve seen him perhaps in his entire career. He finished Sunday’s loss with 17/100 rushing and 2/9/1 receiving on 2 targets while playing 62% of the offensive snaps (Darrel Williams had a 34% snap share). The major problem for Edwards-Helaire remains — Patrick Mahomes simply doesn’t check the ball down. But we’ll take some positives from the fact that he ran his ass off once Reid decided not to bench him. Maybe more coaches should try that. (JD)

Najee Harris (Pit) — Harris’ fantasy production has improved in each of his first three games (5.9<19.1<28.2) and it culminated in a 14-catch performance with JuJu Smith-Schuster (ribs) and Diontae Johnson (knee) out of the lineup. He finished with 14/40 rushing and 14/102 receiving on a ridiculous 19 targets (33% share) while playing 95% of the snaps against the Bengals in Week 3. His 19 targets were the second most ever for a running back behind only Alvin Kamara’s 20 targets in Week 3 of 2018. Ben Roethlisberger is completely cooked and the offensive line remains one of the league’s worst so the Steelers are right back to where they were at the end of last season. The Steelers will continue to try to get Najee and their running game going, but they’re not going to have much success with Harris being hit at or behind the line of scrimmage at a league-high 70% rate (per PFF). The rookie RB is going to have to keep getting it done as a receiver to remain in the RB1 picture with limited scoring opportunities coming his way in one of the league’s worst offenses. (TB)

James Robinson (Jax) — J-Rob is turning the corner as we head into October with Urban Meyer slowly coming to his senses when it comes to Carlos Hyde’s usage. Robinson posted 25.4 FP against the Cardinals in Week 3 with 15/88/1 rushing and 6/46 receiving on six targets. His 21 touches and his 59% snap share dwarfed Hyde’s eight touches and his 34% share, and Robinson’s touches have risen each week (8<14<21). First overall pick Trevor Lawrence is in over his head behind a shaky offensive line, and Meyer should continue to feed Robinson to take some pressure off his young quarterback. Robinson is back in the RB2 picture against the Bengals this week after a bizarre preseason and start to the season. (TB)

Kareem Hunt (Cle) — Hunt has been underwhelming with his production through the first two weeks of the season, but he busted out in Cleveland’s first game without Jarvis Landry (knee, IR). After managing 114 scrimmage yards on 23 touches (5.0 yards per touch) through two weeks, Hunt hung 16/155/1 scrimmage (9.7 YPT) for 27.5 FP while playing 41% of the snaps against the Bears. Nick Chubb is back to being a non-factor in the passing game as he didn’t see a target on just 13 routes in Week 3. Hunt could stay more involved as a receiver while Landry is out of the lineup after running the fourth-most routes (21) in Week 3, and he’ll be in the low-end RB2 range in a potential shootout with the Vikings this week. (TB)

Cordarrelle Patterson (Atl) — It probably says something about the Falcons’ chances this year that they’ve built an offense around Patterson and Mike Davis in the Year of Our Lord 2021, but that doesn’t change the fact that Patterson is really answering the bell in his first season as a full-time running back. Against the Giants in Week 3, Patterson posted 7/20 rushing and 6/82 receiving on 7 targets. His 42% snap share was his highest of the season, and with Matt Ryan exhibiting more and more of a popgun arm every week, checkdowns to the dynamic Patterson might be one of the Falcons’ most explosive offensive plays. Patterson has run 39 routes, which is just 32nd among RBs, but he’s third in receiving yards at the position (153). In overall scoring, he’s 8th at the position. Not bad for a guy who is playing a new position. He’s earned a bigger role. (JD)

D’Andre Swift (Det) — Even though the Lions are going to struggle all year long, it won’t matter for Swift. His usage has been fantastic to start the season and Detroit’s lack of depth at wide receiver has only benefited him. After scoring 23.7 FP (14/47/1 rushing | 7/60 receiving) against Baltimore, Swift is now the RB3 in FPG. Obviously, Swift is highly involved in the passing game – he ranks third in RB target share (19%) behind only Kamara (22%) and Harris (21%) – but he is also getting a ton of work near the goal-line. The Lions have run 16 plays inside of the 10-yard line (red-zone) and Swift has been on the field for 10 of them while Jamaal Williams has played just 5 snaps. With his Alvin Kamara-esque usage, it won’t matter if the Lions have to keep playing from behind – it’ll only continue to help. (GB)

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams (LAR) — We don’t have a category above “upgrades” on the Market Report, but if it did exist, we’d be firing Williams into that category. He has been an absolute monster. Like, Cloverfield level terror. On 9 targets in a huge win over the Chiefs, Williams posted 7/122/2 receiving. His 33.2 fantasy points were the second-best of his career and easily his best game since 2018… when he put three touchdowns on this very same Chief squad. But it’s the consistency that is now defining Williams. After comments from OC Joe Lombardi this off-season that Lombardi (erstwhile of the Saints) envisions Williams as a Michael Thomas-like player… Williams has dominated like Michael Thomas. The 9 targets he saw were actually his fewest of the season, and through three games, only Cooper Kupp has scored more fantasy points at the WR position. The funny part is Williams isn’t even tops on his own team in targets — his 31 rank behind Keenan Allen’s 33. But Justin Herbert is playing well enough to distribute the ball to two fantasy stars. One thing that also makes Williams (and Allen) great for fantasy is how frequently the Chargers throw the ball in tight — both Allen and Williams have 4 targets inside the opponents’ 10-yard line, with Williams scoring 2 TD to Allen’s 1. But Williams also has the deep-threat ability to make him a truly dynamic playmaker for an aggressive QB. If Williams stays healthy, he’s going to win leagues. Simple as that. (JD)

Odell Beckham (Cle) — Odell had a promising first showing in Week 3 in his first action since he tore his ACL 11 months ago. With Jarvis Landry (knee, IR) out of the lineup, OBJ stepped right into the #1 receiver role with Baker Mayfield and he led the Browns with 5/77 receiving on a generous nine targets (29% share). He also played on 64% of the snaps and it would’ve been much closer to a full workload if the Browns weren’t blowing out the Bears in the fourth quarter. OBJ can safely be played as a WR3 going forward, especially while Landry is out of the lineup, and he could have a breakout performance against a vulnerable Vikings’ secondary this week. (TB)

Ja’Marr Chase (Cin) — All Chase does is score touchdowns. He notched his third touchdown of 30+ yards in three games and he added a nine-yard score for good measure in Cincinnati’s victory over the Steelers in Week 3. Chase has now scored 24 touchdowns in his last 17 games dating back to his final season at LSU in 2019 when he tore up SEC competition with Joe Burrow tossing him the rock. The fifth overall pick is sitting as the WR13 with 18.9 FPG through three weeks, and he’s done while seeing just 16 targets. He’s still seeing a 21% target share in Cincinnati’s low-volume passing attack in the early going, but more targets should begin to filter his way as the volume ramps up as Burrow gets more comfortable in his return from his ACL surgery. Chase is a fringe WR1 option this week against Jacksonville’s weak secondary, especially if Tee Higgins is unable to play. (TB)

Michael Pittman (Ind) — Pittman’s quiet Week 1 performance against the Seahawks threw everyone off the scent, but the second-year WR has shown he’s the alpha receiver for Carson Wentz the last two weeks. He saw 12 targets for the second straight week on his way to finishing with 6/68 receiving against the Titans, and Wentz overthrew him for a potential score on a red-zone target. He’s now seen 24 targets over the last two weeks for a 33% target share, and he’s the clear top option for as long as T.Y. Hilton (neck) is out of the lineup. Pittman should be treated like a fringe WR2/3 going forward if he’s going to continue to dominate targets so don’t hold Pittman’s Week 1 performance against him moving forward. (TB)

Jaylen Waddle (Mia) — Hello! 13 targets! Waddle was on the receiving end of 26.5% of Jacoby Brissett’s 49 targeted passes in Week 3’s overtime loss to the Raiders… and he caught 12 of them. That’s the good news. The bad news is that those receptions turned into just 58 yards — with a long of 9 — as Brissett was constantly working to the short area of the field while under siege. As you’ll see below, that’s an NFL record. Believe it or not, Brissett’s aDOT of 8.4 was in the top half of Week 3 QBs, but he just couldn’t connect on anything deep — Brissett was just 1-for-5 on throws of 20+ yards downfield, with his only completion coming to TE Mike Gesicki on a 4th-and-20 in overtime to extend the game (PFF). He and Will Fuller couldn’t get on the same page. Maybe that comes soon, but Brissett clearly favors Waddle when he needs a quick completion. That’s good for fantasy. One thing I would suggest, though… stop completing passes for safeties. (JD)

Brandon Aiyuk (SF) — Aiyuk is back in the realm of the living! After snap shares in each of the 49ers’ first two games below 55%, Aiyuk played 86% of the snaps in Week 3 against the Packers, and he turned in a fantasy-relevant performance with 4/37/1 receiving on 6 targets, and a single 8-yard rush. He also had a touchdown drop before halftime that would have made his game really strong, but this is the kind of performance that could make fantasy players willing to pop Aiyuk back in a lineup. Aiyuk’s 39 routes, per PFF, were also second on the team behind only Deebo Samuel’s 42. It was the first time all season Aiyuk ran more than 20 routes. It appears he’s healthy and/or out of Kyle Shanahan’s now-famous doghouse — the Week 1 “starter” over Aiyuk, Trent Sherfield, played just 2 snaps. (JD)

Tight Ends

Mark Andrews (Bal) — He lives! After putting together just 3/20 in Week 1 and 5/57 in Week 2, Andrews desperately needed to have a solid game and he did just that by putting 5/109 on the Lions. Andrews’ day could have been even bigger had he not gotten turned around on a deep endzone target from Lamar Jackson. This performance marked Andrews’ third career game of 100 or more yards and his first 100-yard game since Week 2 of 2019. This is still a low-volume passing offense – Lamar has thrown 30, 26, and 31 passes in three highly competitive games so far – but Andrews’ role is as secure as it gets. (GB)

{{Tyler Higbee|TE|LAR} (LAR) — Higbee needed a bounceback game after flopping against the Colts and we saw just that with a solid 5/40/1 receiving line against the Bucs. Higbee’s emergence as a full-time player is huge for fantasy and is going to make him one of the best values at the position this year. After running a route on just 53% of the Rams pass plays last season, Higbee has been involved on 80% of their passing snaps so far. Higbee is a top-8 play with top-5 upside at his position in Week 4 in a likely shootout with the Cardinals. (GB)

DOWNGRADES

Players about whom we’re feeling less optimistic based on recent play or news.

Quarterbacks

Justin Fields (Chi) — Fields and HC Matt Nagy set back the game of football with their offensive performance against the Browns in Week 3. The Bears finished with ONE net passing yard as Fields completed just six passes for 68 yards while being sacked nine times for -67 yards. The Bears averaged 1.1 yards per play, which was the second-fewest yards per play in a game this century since the Luke McCown-led Browns averaged .6 yards per play against the Bills in 2004. Fields also suffered a hand injury near the end of the game so the Bears could be down to Nick Foles as their starter with Andy Dalton still week-to-week with his knee injury. It’s unbelievable to say but Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney might be better off with Foles at quarterback for the time being as Fields didn’t look ready for the spotlight in his first major action in Week 3. Chicago’s offense is looking like a fantasy disaster no matter who is at quarterback for the time being. Fields doesn’t need to be rostered in smaller formats but it might be worth giving him more week on your bench to see what he can do in a much easier matchup against the Lions…if he even plays this week. (TB)

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey (Car) — Fantasy’s top pick is on the mend again after he suffered a hamstring injury in the second quarter of Week 3. McCaffrey played in just three games last season because of ankle, shoulder, and thigh injuries, and he’s now dealing with a soft-tissue injury this season. Dr. Mark Adickes told our John Hansen on Friday that the hope is CMC suffered a Grade 1 strain, which gives him an outside shot of being ready for Week 4 since the Panthers have 10 days before they play again. The organization will likely err on the side of caution with their prized back so it would be a pleasant surprise if they play him against the Cowboys. At the very least, HC Matt Rhule said CMC won’t go on the IR, which is a good indication he’ll be back within the next three weeks barring a setback. It’s fair to wonder if the Panthers will pull back a bit on CMC’s usage in the future after his hamstring scare in Week 3, especially coming off his three-game campaign in 2020. McCaffrey saw 29.5 touches per game through the first two weeks and we could see Rhule give CMC a couple of extra breathers per game moving forward. McCaffrey is still a cheat code for fantasy but he may not be head and shoulders above the rest if the Panthers dial back his workload a bit going forward. CMC owners will want to add Chuba Hubbard this week (if they haven’t already) as insurance for their top pick. He should be viewed as an RB2 since he’s an average player and Royce Freeman could steal some work (he stole a carry at the one-yard line). (TB)

Ty’Son Williams (Bal) — The Ravens backfield has devolved into a mess. Even though Williams looks like the best runner they have (by far), he simply isn’t getting that type of usage. This past week, Williams got just 5 carries while Lamar Jackson and Latavius Murray both handled 7 carries and Devonta Freeman had 3. Williams is capped at just 50% of the snaps and is going to continue to have inconsistent usage in the passing game because Lamar rarely checks down. There is no way you can trust Williams in a lineup right now. (GB)

James White (NE) — Unfortunately, it looks like White is going to miss significant time with a hip injury he sustained on his first touch of the game in the Patriots loss to the Saints. White’s legs got crunched on a tackle from behind and he had to be carted off the field as a result. Brutal. At press-time, we don’t know how many weeks White will miss – but look for the Patriots to lean on Damien Harris, play JJ Taylor a bit more, and elevate Rhamondre Stevenson after he was a healthy scratch in Weeks 2-3. (GB)

Wide Receivers

A.J. Brown and Julio Jones (Ten) — Brown played just eight snaps before he left Week 3 with a hamstring injury, and he could be looking at a multi-week absence after being ruled out quickly. Julio looked set to feast for the rest of the game but he managed just 3/47 receiving on four targets while playing on just 50% of the snaps. Julio appears to potentially be back in HC Mike Vrabel’s doghouse — he called him out for a penalty in Week 1 — for not giving enough effort in run blocking. Vrabel tried to sugarcoat the situation after the game by saying they were monitoring his reps, “I tried to manage where he’s at and understand that what the type of game that we thought the end of the game was going to be. And those guys (the backup WRs) were going in there trying to dig safeties out.” Vrabel did some backpedaling on Monday when he said Julio “got tight” in Week 3 and that it wasn’t a performance-based decision to sit him. Anyway you want to dice Vrabel’s comments, he took Julio off the field for half of the snaps in a game when Brown left early with an injury. It’s been an odd opening month for Julio with his new team, and he should be considered a volatile WR3 moving forward no matter what the situation is behind his usage in the early going. (TB)

Robby Anderson (Car) — Anderson’s connection with Sam Darnold in New York clearly hasn’t translated down south, and it’s not completely his fault. D.J. Moore looks like a star in the early going and he’s solidified his status as the clear go-to receiver. He owns a hefty 33% target share (31 targets) through three weeks while Robby sits at a meager 12% share (11) after a two-target game against the lowly Texans in Week 3. Anderson finished with just an eight-yard catch and he dropped his other look, which would’ve gone for a minimal gain. Anderson’s 57-yard touchdown in Week 1, which was his only catch in the contest, is the only play keeping him afloat for fantasy at this point. He’s got one more spot to potentially redeem himself against a shaky Cowboys’ pass defense in Week 4, but he’s no longer a player that must-be rostered in smaller formats. (TB)

Sterling Shepard (NYG) — As has often been the case with Shepard, the only thing derailing him from major production is his own body, and it’s once again betrayed him. Shepard left early in Week 3’s loss to the Falcons with a hamstring injury, after catching just 2 passes. We’ll see if Shepard has to miss any time, and he doesn’t really have any history of hamstring problems — which portend worse outcomes — but Shepard has missed 10 games over the last two seasons and could be on the verge of missing some this year. Additionally, Darius Slayton also left with a hamstring problem, which could leave the Giants very shorthanded at receiver next week against the Saints (keep in mind that Kenny Golladay isn’t 100% either, and Evan Engram is still working his way back from an injury as well). (JD)

Rondale Moore (Ari) — The Cardinals are using Rondale as a part-time player in the #4 WR role, which makes him susceptible to flopping as he did in a golden matchup against the Jaguars in Week 3. Moore saw just two targets that he turned into 2/1 receiving and he added a three-yard carry while playing just 34% of the snaps. His performance was even more disappointing since DeAndre Hopkins clearly wasn’t quite right playing through his rib injury with just 3/21 receiving. Moore had 11/182/1 receiving for 26.2 FP in his first two games so he should bounce with some important matchups looming against the Rams and 49ers, but his Week 3 performance was a good reminder that he has a scary floor since he’s nowhere close to being a full-time player. (TB)

{{Robert Woods|WR|LAR} (LAR) — While Cooper Kupp is looking like a league-winner with 10, 11, and 12 targets for 7/108/1, 9/163/2, and 9/96/2 to start the year, Woods has played a distant second fiddle in the Rams offense. Woods has seen just 19 targets total and turned those looks into 11/124/1 in Weeks 1-3, which is essentially what Kupp is doing on a weekly basis. In fact, Woods has sunk to a 2A / 2B committee with Van Jefferson. Through three games, Woods and Jefferson have run the same number of routes (85). Woods has been one of the best values in fantasy for the last few years, but it seems like that run is over. Kupp is Matthew Stafford’s guy while Woods is just a complementary piece alongside Jefferson and Tyler Higbee. (GB)

Tight Ends

None of note.

WATCH LIST

Players whom we’re not ready to upgrade or downgrade, but their situations demand monitoring based on recent play, injuries, or news.

Quarterbacks

None of note.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook (Min) — Cook sat out in Week 3 with an ankle injury, and the Vikings didn’t miss a beat with Alexander Mattison torching the Seahawks for 26/112 rushing and 6/59 receiving on 8 targets while playing a 69% snap share. Mattison is one of the league’s few true handcuffs, and he did an admirable job keeping Minnesota’s offense on schedule — and beyond — against the Seahawks. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, it’s something they’ve seen before from Mattison. As for the Vikings, it’s possible they use Mattison’s performance to get Cook as much rest as he needs. We’ll keep an eye on Dalvin’s status this week. (JD)

Devin Singletary and Zack Moss (Buf) — Predicting the Bills backfield is about as easy as trying to predict earthquakes. After Moss was scratched in Week 1, it seemed like Singletary had emerged as the clear lead option. And Singletary looked good! In the Bills first two games, Singletary turned his 24 carries into an explosive 154 yards (6.5 YPC). In the Bills blowout win over the Dolphins last week, Moss made his 2021 debut and was out-snapped by Singletary to the tune of a massive 43 to 18 margin. Well, that all changed in Week 3. Moss took over as the Bills No. 1 back against Washington as he played on 44 snaps to Singletary’s 34. Moss (13) and Singletary (11) nearly got the same amount of carries, but Moss was the Bills preferred back in the red-zone. This backfield is shaping up just like last year. Unless one of these backs miss time, neither are trustworthy in your lineups. (GB)

Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake (LV) — Jacobs (toe/foot) missed his second straight game in Week 3, which was the second straight game in which Drake, the Raiders’ $11 million backup RB, could show out. And for the second straight game… Drake didn’t get much early-down work. Indeed, Peyton Barber was the Raiders’ lead back in Week 3, and had a career performance, putting up 23/111/1 rushing and 3/31 receiving on 5 targets while playing 57% of the offensive snaps to Drake’s 43% (Drake played 71% last week against Pittsburgh). Drake has run 76 routes, tied for fourth-most among RBs this year, while his 17 targets are tied for third-most. However, he hasn’t gotten into the end zone, and he’s averaging a pitiful 2.1 YPC on 21 carries (44 yards). That might not be entirely Drake’s fault — the Raiders have negative rushing yards before contact. Given that fact, though, Barber’s success in Week 3 probably will earn him a lot of respect from Jon Gruden, and it’s possible Barber maintains a role even when Jacobs returns. That is worse news for Jacobs than it is Drake, since Drake should maintain passing-down work. But a three-man rotation behind a line that can’t run block is bad news any way you slice it. (JD)

Damien Harris (NE) — The game completely got away from the Patriots in Week 3 as their offense fell behind 14-0 in the first half and struggled mightily to move the ball. As a result, Harris only got 6 carries because the Patriots had to completely abandon the run against the Saints stout front-seven. Better days are ahead… but perhaps not Week 4 when the Patriots take on the Buccaneers league-best run defense. With James White (hip) potentially out for significant time, Harris will just have to be relied on even more. (GB)

Melvin Gordon and {{Javonte Williams|RB|DEN} (Den) — The Broncos 1A / 1B backfield split continued in Week 3 with both Williams and Gordon scoring 15.2 FP apiece in what turned out to be a laugher vs. the Jets. While Gordon led the way in snaps (54% to 40%), the duo was close in touches (19 for Gordon, 15 for Williams). We’ll see if Williams’ late fumble costs him snaps next week, but with the way he’s running, the Broncos shouldn’t punish him. The Broncos have benefited from opening the season against three of the worst teams in the league (Giants / Jaguars / Jets) and their backfield has taken advantage of three-straight positive game-scripts. Denver won’t be able to stomp their next three opponents (Ravens / Steelers / Raiders), so we will learn way more about how this backfield split will evolve in much more competitive games coming up. (GB)

Darrell Henderson and {{Sony Michel|RB|LAR} (LAR) — With Henderson (ribs) sidelined, Michel took over the backfield and dominated both snaps (75%) and touches (23) in his spot start. Even though Michel’s efficiency was unsurprisingly poor against the best run defense in the league (3.4 YPC), you can’t ask for better usage. Michel didn’t have much space to run, but he looked like he has gotten back some of the explosiveness and burst he had in college at Georgia. Michel looked healthy last year, too. Maybe the change of pace is what he needed to resurrect his career. For as long as Henderson is out, we can safely rely on Michel as a RB2 with RB1 upside. And when Henderson does come back, Michel’s play might force a 1A / 1B committee of sorts. (GB)

Trey Sermon and Elijah Mitchell (SF) — With Mitchell (shoulder) out and JaMycal Hasty (ankle) on IR, the rookie Sermon was the only 49ers’ tailback to take a snap in Week 3, and he did OK for you fantasy wise, with 10/31/1 rushing and 3 yards receiving on 2 catches (3 targets). However, despite being the only Niner tailback to take a snap… Sermon played just 59% of the offensive snaps against the Packers, clearly indicating he doesn’t have the full trust of Kyle Shanahan yet. Meanwhile, FB Kyle Juszczyk played a 69% snap share, the first time he’s been over 60% since Week 17 of 2019. If it isn’t evident, trust is a huge factor for Shanahan, and every indication thus far is that Sermon hasn’t completely eaten his way out of the doghouse yet. We’ll see what happens if and when Mitchell can play in Week 4. (JD)

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster and Diontae Johnson (Pit) — JuJu picked up a rib injury and he joined Diontae Johnson (knee) on the sidelines in Pittsburgh’s ugly loss to the Bengals in Week 3. Smith-Schuster and Johnson will be in a race to play this week against the Packers, and Diontae never practiced last week so he may not be particularly close to returning. Ben Roethlisberger is completely cooked and the offensive line remains one of the league’s worst so the Steelers are right back to where they were at the end of last season. Diontae and JuJu will have plenty of short aDOT targets filtered their way moving forward to keep them in the WR2 picture, but they won’t have many ceiling games with few big plays and touchdowns coming their way. (TB)

Marquise Brown (Bal) —There is no way to sugarcoat this: Marquise Brown almost cost the Ravens a win on Sunday. He dropped not 1, not 2, but 3 would-be touchdown passes as he routinely got behind the Lions secondary but lost focus when he tried to reel in the ball. It was absolutely brutal to watch. Brown’s first drop was somewhat excusable – he was running full speed near the back of the end-zone and the ball might have gotten slightly tipped by a defender that was right in front of him. Brown’s second and third drop, however, were simply inexcusable. Brown’s mental lapses cost the Ravens a lead and it cost both him and Lamar in fantasy badly. With Rashod Bateman eligible to come off of IR soon, we’ll see how/if Brown’s role changes. (GB)

Tyler Lockett (Sea) — Lockett had his first underwhelming game of the season in Week 3, posting 4/31 on 4 targets in the Seahawks’ loss to the Vikings. But more notably, he went down late in the contest with what looked to be — at the time — an ugly knee injury. However, breath holders got their wish just a series or two later, when Lockett returned to the field as the Seahawks attempted to make a comeback. It was not something we expected to see, but it’s welcome news nonetheless. We seriously doubt Lockett is 100%, and he might be listed on the practice report this week, but it seems highly likely we avoided disaster here. (JD)

Tight Ends

Kyle Pitts (Atl) — Pitts’ 84% snap share in Week 3 against the Giants was the second-highest among skill players on the Falcons’ roster in Week 2, behind Calvin Ridley (95%). Pitts was a top-5 draft pick, generally regarded as the perfect tight end prospect. That’s a lofty goal for Pitts to live up to, but you’d think the Falcons would give him a chance to prove it. Despite QB Matt Ryan dropping back to pass 39 times, Pitts wasn’t targeted until the fourth quarter, and he came away with 2/35 receiving on 3 targets. He did have an end-zone target on which he drew a pass interference… which set up a touchdown for #3 TE Lee Smith (sick of this). And a 25-yard reception with about a minute left in the game was the key play that set up Younghoe Koo’s game-winning field goal. Maybe it’s just a blip on the radar, but it’s a little concerning that the Falcons haven’t really gotten Pitts involved in a big way yet. Still, despite just 11 catches and 0 TD through his first three NFL games, he ranks as the TE13 in overall scoring at a wasteland position, so those who used a top-60 pick on Pitts just have to hope the Falcons figure this out sooner rather than later. (JD)

Robert Tonyan (GB) — Tonyan had just 1 catch for 6 yards on Sunday night against the 49ers, and that’s despite being credited with a route run on 24 of his 29 passing-down snaps, per PFF. That’s a huge disappointment. However, Tonyan was also helpful for the Packers in the chipping department — the Packers were down to their third-string LT, and they frequently used tight ends to disrupt DE Nick Bosa off the line. So a lot of those “routes” were late releases. Tonyan himself had a decleater on a chip that we guarantee his teammates were hooting and hollering about on the sidelines. Tonyan is a hell of a football player who does what his team needs. Unfortunately in Week 3, that wasn’t necessarily catching passes. (JD)

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