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We Must Overreact Immediately! Week 3 Outliers


Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, we are starting to get a better picture of the fantasy landscape as offensive roles continue to solidify. However, there were a few players that didn't have their normal roles in Week 3, and those situations warrant a closer look.

It's also a little concerning that certain players, such as Sony Michel, continue to underperform. At this point, we have to decide if multiple disappointing performances are the start of a trend or simply an early-season slump.

Now, we will take a look at some of the outlier performances from Week 3 and evaluate how to move forward.

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Kerryon Johnson (RB, DET)

Week 3 Stats: 20 carries, 36 yards, 1 TD

The Philadelphia Eagles are No. 3 in the NFL for rushing defense, surrendering just 2.9 yards-per-carry through the first three weeks of the season. Kerryon Johnson looks to be moving well and according to PFF, has gained an average of 2.21 yards-after-contact while averaging just 2.63 yards-per-carry. The numbers indicate that Johnson is creating yards on his own, but his offensive line isn't getting much blocked for him up front. As a result, he was stifled in this matchup, only saved by a one-yard plunge over the goal-line on a second chance.

Bottom Line:

Kerryon Johnson is getting a lot of work for the Lions, averaging 16 carries and two passing targets through the first three weeks of the season. The Lions offensive line was banged up to start the year and the unit as a whole is starting to get healthier. Johnson is a buy-low candidate, and if you own him, hold steady despite his low yards-per-carry, because things will get better as the offensive line continues to gel.

 

Josh Jacobs (RB, OAK)

Week 3 Stats: 10 carries, 44 yards, 2 targets, 0 catches

Josh Jacobs was sick leading up to the Raiders Week 3 contest against the Vikings and reports out of Oakland claimed that Jacobs lost 10 pounds during the week. Jacobs was likely weakened while recovering from his illness and should bounce back in Week 4.

Bottom Line:

Don’t read too much into Jacobs’ poor Week 3 performance. The latest word out of Oakland is that they may plan to involve him in the passing game more as well.

 

Sony Michel (RB, NE)

Week 3 Stats: 9 carries, 11 yards, 1 TD

In 2018, Michel started slow out of the gate, but his inability to create yards on his own early this season is starting to get a little concerning. In Week 2 against Miami, the second-worst run defense in the league, Michel was able to run for 3.95 yards-per-carry. In Weeks 1 and 3, Michel faced run defenses that were ranked in the top half of the NFL and he struggled, running for just 0.93 and 1.22 yards-per-carry in each respective game.

Bottom Line:

If you try to trade Sony Michel right now, you are selling low and likely won't get a good return. At this point, Michel is still getting significant opportunities to carry the ball in the Patriots offense, so you need to keep him on your roster if you own him. However, you should only start him in 12-team leagues if he has a favorable matchup until he turns things around running the ball, improving on his 1.67 yards-after-contact.

 

Auden Tate (WR, CIN)

Week 3 Stats: 10 targets, 6 catches, 88 yards

Auden Tate started in place of Damion Willis in Week 3, who had been starting in place of the injured AJ Green (ankle). Out of all the Bengals wide receivers, Tate had the most favorable matchup in Week 3, finding himself covered by Levi Wallace on most of his routes. Tate is physically imposing, standing 6'5", weighing in at 228 pounds, and he looks the part. This was Tate's first real opportunity to perform at the NFL level and he made the most of it.

Bottom Line:

Don’t spend a significant amount of FAAB on Tate unless you need a one-week rental at wide receiver. Once Green returns to the lineup, Tate will disappear from fantasy relevancy.

 

Preston Williams (WR, MIA)

Week 3 Stats: 12 targets, 4 catches, 68 yards

Through the first two games of the season, Williams played on just 55.86% of the Dolphins offensive snaps. In Week 3, with Josh Rosen making his first start under center for the Dolphins, Williams played on all of the Dolphins offensive snaps and was targeted a team-high 12 times, catching just four of those balls for 68 yards.

Bottom Line:

Williams may be Josh Rosen’s favorite target and if you need help a wide receiver, he may be the man you need. Williams was used heavily in Week 3 and may be on the verge of a breakout if he continues to play a majority of the Dolphins offensive snaps.

 

D.J. Moore (WR, CAR)

Week 3 Stats: 2 targets, 1 catch, 52 yards and 1 TD

In Week 3, the Carolina Panthers Defense put up a tremendous effort against the high-octane Cardinals offense, sacking rookie quarterback Kyler Murray eight times. As a result, Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen only had to put the ball in the air 26 times a significant percentage (26.9%) of which went towards tight end Greg Olsen, exploiting that coverage mismatch. Moore's one reception went for a long touchdown, salvaging his fantasy day. There are still reasons to worry about Moore with his low target volume and no Cam Newton around for another week.

Bottom Line:

Don’t read into the lack of targets too much, it was more a product of game-flow and matchups than Moore's ability to get open or Allen's ability as a passer. If an owner in your league is unsettled by the lack of targets in Week 3, buy low on Moore.

 

Jordan Akins (TE, HOU)

Week 3 Stats: 5 targets, 3 catches, 73 yards and 2 TD

In Week 1, Akins played on 70.3% of the Texans offensive snaps. His snap-share went down to 59.4% in Week 2 and reduced even further down to 45% in Week 3. Even though Akins snaps have been going down, over that same span, his targets have gone from two in Week 1 to five in Week 3.

Bottom Line:

One of Akins touchdowns came on a play that was extended by a scrambling Deshaun Watson where Akins caught a short pass and ran over 40 yards for the score. Akins runs well and demonstrated big-play ability in Week 3, but he simply isn't playing enough to warrant a spot in your starting lineup. If you are in a 14-team league or struggling at the tight end position, Akin may be worth a speculative add.

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