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Under-The-Radar Booms and Busts: Week 3

Now that every quarterback in the NFL is now injured, sick, retired or benched, finding the right booms and busts might be the only way some fantasy players can win this week.

If things are not difficult enough for fantasy players, this is the last week before teams starting taking time off for the dreaded byes. That means if you are already short a quarterback, chances are you will be short a little more in the coming weeks. So before you try to find a shallow pool to jump into or a high cliff to jump off of, let me try and find some booms you can use and some busts you can avoid this week.

Here are my under-the-radar booms and busts for Week 3 of the NFL season! Good luck, RotoBallers!

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Week 3 Under-the-Radar Booms

Mitch Trubisky (CHI, QB) at WAS

You would think the 2019 Chicago Bears offense has been playing against the 1985 Chicago Bears Defense with how badly their unit has looked through the first two weeks. Trubisky has been the focal point of the fiasco since he only has 348 passing yards and has failed to throw or run for a touchdown yet. His scoring drought will come to an end on Monday night, though, because he and his Bears should right their offensive ship against a Washington defense that has allowed three touchdown tosses in each of its opening two contests. Look for Trubisky to throw for a pair of touchdowns and run for a third as he reminds people why he was drafted first overall a couple of years ago.

Taylor Gabriel (CHI, WR) at WAS

Let me piggyback off my Trubisky pick and include his No. 2 WR in this discussion. Trubisky’s top target, Allen Robinson, will be locked up one-on-one with shutdown corner Josh Norman, so that means Gabriel should get some opportunities against Washington’s less-talented cornerbacks. I know Gabriel has been a ghost in Chicago’s first two games, but this is his time for a breakout game. Gabriel has only been targeted 3.5 times per game after being aimed at almost a half-dozen times per game in 2018. I think the speedster is going to start earning some of the millions he signed for last season by dropping a couple long plays on the Redskins this week.

Greg Olsen (CAR, TE) at ARI

Fantasy players should take advantage of utilizing Olsen before he fractures his foot for a third year in a row. The veteran tight end will be running routes against a depleted Arizona secondary who has made opposing tight ends look like Hall of Famers during the first two weeks of the season. Detroit rookie T.J. Hockenson piled up 131 yards and a TD in Week 1, while Batlimore’s Mark Andrews hauled in eight passes for 112 yards and a score in Week 2 against the Cards backliners. Olsen is coming off his own 100-yard game and might go back-to-back versus this sorry secondary in Week 3, and it will not matter if Cam Newton starts or sits.

Kyle Rudolph (MIN, TE) vs. OAK

Be warned, this is a total hunch play by yours truly. Minnesota signed its longtime tight end to a multimillion dollar deal in the offseason, but that has not translated into Rudolph being a prominent fixture in the Vikings offense so far this season. His three receptions in two games have done nobody any fantasy favors. Minnesota quarterback/whipping boy Kirk Cousins has only completed 22 passes so far, though, and I think the Vikings will opt to throw early and often against an Oakland pass defense that is allowing a league-high 341 passing yards per game. Pencil Rudolph in for six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown trip this weekend.


Week 3 Under-the-Radar Busts

Duke Johnson (HOU, RB) at LAC

Have we not seen this movie before? After a couple years of being underused in Cleveland, fantasy players thought Johnson had the opportunity of a lifetime when he was traded to Houston before the season started. Yet after having 13 touches for 90 yards in Week 1, Johnson only touched the ball six times for 31 yards in Week 2 and was only targeted with a pass once. Thank Carlos Hyde for going from a plodder to an above-average plodder since joining the Texans at the end of training camp. Considering the Chargers run defense is being gashed for 148 yards per game, Johnson might average five yards per carry this week, but Hyde will be back doing the bulk of the carrying for the Texans unfortunately.

Joe Flacco (DEN, QB) at GB

Flacco has been solid but not spectacular over his first two outings as Denver’s starting signal caller (560 passing yards, two TD, one INT).  On the other side, Green Bay’s defense HAS been spectacular, allowing just 19 points against two division rivals while racking up six sacks and picking off three passes. I cannot see Flacco ripping apart Green Bay’s staunch secondary for 300 yards and three touchdowns, mainly because I do not know how the Broncos can possibly protect the statue-like Flacco. I expect Denver to employ a conservative game plan and rely on its running backs (Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay) more than Flacco.

Donte Moncrief (PIT, WR) at SF

Me thinking Moncrief was an under-the-radar boom last week as poor of a prediction as a weatherman saying Alaska would have a 90-degree day in December.  Moncrief has mustered only three catches for seven yards so far, numbers most backup tight ends have beat. Things are not going to get better for him this week with Mason Rudolph at QB and an improved San Francisco defense playing in its first home game after recording two wins on the road. Moncrief might be targeted a handful of times but it should not amount to much, especially since he has been dropping more passes as he has been catching lately.

Tyler Eifert (CIN, TE) at BUF

Eifert should be commended for staying healthy two weeks into the season considering his checkered injury past. He scored a touchdown against San Francisco and is third on Cincinnati in targets, though he badly trails wideouts John Ross and Tyler Boyd in that category. Eifert seems to have had his speed sapped by his numerous lower-body injuries, though, and is averaging an ungodly 4.5 yards per catch. Between his diminished physical skills, sharing tight end time with C.J. Uzomah and facing Buffalo’s fourth-ranked pass defense, it is hard to fathom Eifert posting any big-time fantasy numbers this Sunday.

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