After 3 weeks of football, things are starting to take shape. To those at 3-0, congratulations. To those at 0-3, don’t delete that ‘stupid app on your phone’ and just stick with it a bit longer. Reality is, trades can define your season, even at this early stage. Now might be the time to test the waters with ‘Budda Bakers Dozen’ about acquiring the services of Darren Waller. Either way, we want to help.
And if you thought that was a bad motivational intro, you’d be correct. Let’s roll.
Before we can continue, let me make one thing clear. As a rule of thumb in fantasy, running QB’s are the now and the future. There is no denying the ceiling to having a guy who can throw for over 300 yards, but also rush for 50+. It’s also uncommon you make a trade for a QB, particularly in certain formats, but I digress. Anyway, if you want a gunslinger in an offence that will make it rain, enter Derek Carr.
Through 3 games, Carr has thrown for at least 382 yards and 2 TDs in each game. This equates to an average of 24 points per game. Want to know who he’s ranked higher than right now in points scoring? Russell Wilson, Justin Herbert, Dak Prescott. I could go on if you wanted, but you get the message. Simply put, Carr has raised his floor this season to a level you can safely start him in any given week. With big playmakers such as Waller and Ruggs, the Raiders are always only one big play away.
My favourite part? The remaining schedule. Chicago, Kansas x2, Cincy, Dallas, Philly and New York are all exploitable defences which might be even worse when it’s gametime. If the running guys are making your legs wobbly right now, double down on Derek.
Honourable mention: Kirk Cousins: A bit like Carr, Cousins is another guy who suffers from not having a cool quarterback name. Don’t let that fool you, however, as Cousins has started off hot. 8 TD’s, no picks, and another equally fanciable platter of defences down the road (Detroit twice, Green Bay twice, Dallas) makes Kirk an appealing target. You like that?!
This tidbit is old and done to death, but volume is king. With Mixon having over 20 touches for third straight game this week, it’s hard to ignore. Sure, he’s not really an option in the passing game, but there’s something to said for consistent hard yards on the ground. Look at the injuries at RB already this season. He might not have been your usual cup of Joe before, but things change, and poor puns will live forever.
The term bell-cow is branded a lot in fantasy, but Mixon has become the definition of one. The Jags, Packers and Lions are the next 3, which all offer smash-spot potential. Get in now before the asking price becomes unrealistic.
Honourable mention: D’Andre Swift: The frisky Lions!Detroit may be the best worst team in the league, and that will mean they can hang in some of these games. Swift is stuck in the old hot hand/timeshare committee which fantasy owners hate, but Jamaal Williams is not the player Swift is. In PPR formats particularly, Swift could be solid RB2 down the stretch (look at the schedule, people).
Welcome to this special, 2-part Falcons section of the article! First up, Calvin Ridley. If you’ve watched any of the Falcons so far, you’d have seen how much of a dumpster fire it is. New coach Arthur Smith is struggling, and the decision not to draft a QB back in April is looking suspect to say the best.
The guy who is arguably 1A in terms of suffering is Ridley. With Julio long gone, Ridley is being treated as the alpha receiver and drawing much tougher coverage. With only 1 touchdown to his name and yet to go over 63 reception yards, owners who drafted Ridley as their WR1 resemble that meme with the dog drinking coffee in hell.
So now is the time to buy low. Ridley is still a talent, and despite the struggles is still averaging 10 targets a game. You must hope the Falcons get it together, but after getting their first of the season on Sunday, maybe things are on the up. Washington, and the Jets are the next two. There aren’t many better spots to get your act together.
Honourable mention Michael Pittman Jr: The Colts are looking like a disappointment and when your QB sprains both his ankles in the same game, you know the gods are against you. Nevertheless, Pitman seems to the no 1 guy drawing 24 targets over the last two games. There aren’t many guys who get those sorts of numbers, so it’s worth a look.
Now let’s discuss the 1B sufferer in Atlanta: Kyle Pitts. The number 4 draft pick and consensus unicorn has underwhelmed so far. No touchdowns, has only hit double figures in points once, and looks to be improperly used. Just like Ridley, he’s a prisoner to this hodge-podge offense.
Now let’s end on a high note. Despite everything I just said, Pitts still has a massive amount of potential. He’s being lined up all over the field – effectively being used as a WR – and will have weeks where teams will have to focus on Ridley, leaving his door open. He’s also second on the team in targets and routes ran.
His talent is undeniable and in the wasteland that is the Tight End position, you can’t give up hope this early.
I don’t have one Tyler Conklin: At the end of the day, you’re buying a lottery ticket outside the top 6 or 7 TE’s. Conklin went off (by his positions standards) on Sunday, reeling in 7 catches for 70 yards and touchdown. To be honest, he’s probably sitting on the waivers anyway. Good luck!