Season Preview: Denver Nuggets
Quietly, the Denver Nuggets have turned into an offensive juggernaut led by a budding superstar in center Nikola Jokic.
Sometimes, quarterbacks bring out the best in each other. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan played “Can you top this” all the way to a pair of 40-point NFL Fantasy totals. Pat Mahomes dragged Jimmy Garoppolo to his best 2018 NFL fantasy output before tragedy hit.
Even Eli Manning flirted with 20 NFL Fantasy points against Deshaun Watson.
On the other hand, Kirk Cousins needed a flurry of yards against a prevent defense to salvage a 10-point day against an upstart rookie from Buffalo- yes, Buffalo- who bounced back from an unimpressive debut to post this week's QB-4 NFL Fantasy score.
Here are some of the best and not-so-best performances of Week 3 NFL Fantasy.
In an instant classic overtime affair in Atlanta, each of these quarterbacks accounted for five touchdowns. Surprisingly, Brees took something out of Ryan’s Week 2 playbook and ran for two of the scores himself.
Each passer came close to 400 yards and neither had a turnover. Ryan converted a pair of 2-point conversion passes to close the points gap, but Brees had the ball last and that gave him the overall #1 NFL Fantasy performance of the week.
Cam Newton used two rushing touchdowns of his own to finish as the QB-3 this week. Two passing touchdowns and no turnovers let him turn 186 total yards (150 passing, 36 rushing) into a top NFL Fantasy score.
If you’re not sure, this is the Josh from Buffalo. He played an error-free game against the mighty Vikings defense. Two rushing touchdowns pushed him into the QB-4 slot in only his second NFL start. Buffalo follows up their big Week 3 upset with a visit to Lambeau Field. It will be interesting to see if this is the start of a renaissance in Upstate New York or just a fluke week.
Miami is undefeated with an offense that limits Ryan Tannehill to 20-25 passes per game. This week, the Comeback Player of the Year candidate turned his allotment of opportunities into 289 passing yards and 3 touchdowns.
Jared Goff (25.56) and Patrick Mahomes (25.26) topped 300 yards threw three touchdowns each. Mahomes broke Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdown passes in the first 3 games of a season (13). Deshaun Watson (25) also racked up 25 NFL Fantasy points.
Josh Allen wasn’t the only rookie to jump into the NFL Fantasy leaderboard for the first time this week. Atlanta’s Calvin Ridley was on the receiving end of three Matt Ryan touchdown passes and tallied a total of 146 receiving yards. An end around for 9 yards capped his WR-1 week.
When Rams head coach Sean McVay added Brandin Cooks and said he was the key to his offensive game plan, speculation started on which Rams wide receiver would yield his NFL Fantasy value to make room for Cooks.
After three weeks, we realize all three Rams receivers can pay dividends. Even with Cooks grabbing 90 yards and Cooper Kupp holding the WR-16 spot, there were 117 total yards and a pair of touchdowns available to Woods.
Meanwhile, it was Jordy Nelson’s turn to take the offensive spotlight for Oakland. Nelson’s throwback performance validates Jon Gruden’s assessment of his skill set (“He hasn’t slowed down an iota.”) and should put to rest rumors of any decline. He caught 173 yards of Derek Carr passes with a touchdown.
Mike Williams (20.10) caught two touchdown passes on the way to the only other 20-point wide receiver performance. Tyler Boyd (19.70) came through after AJ Green’s injury with 132 yards and a touchdown for Cincinnati.
Albert Wilson (19.48) took a sneaky route into the WR-6 spot by throwing a 52-yard touchdown pass to the WR-7, Jakeem Grant (19.00). Each of them also had another touchdown reception.
Two grizzled veterans led the running backs in NFL Fantasy points in Week 3. Adrian Peterson broke last season’s pattern of one good week, two bad weeks, by following up his disappointing Week 2 with a pair of touchdowns and 120 rushing yards.
Carlos Hyde celebrated his pending new child (born Friday) and the Brown’s first victory since 2016 by scoring twice and topping 100 total yards on Thursday Night Football.
These men cannot be stopped. Todd Gurley III topped 100 rushing yards and added 55 receiving yards even after yielding 6 touches to one of the best-rested backups in the league, Malcolm Brown. A rushing touchdown gave Gurley the RB-3 slot for the week.
Christian McCaffrey grew tired of people saying he can’t run between the tackles, gaining a league-high 184 rushing yards. He did not score and only added a career-low 10 receiving yards.
Alvin Kamara had the fifth-most receiving yards in the league (124) and tacked on 66 rushing yards without a score.
Chris Carson (18.40), Saquon Barkley (17.7), Isaiah Crowell (17.1), Kareem Hunt (16.4) and Philadelphia’s Wendell Smallwood (15.10) were the other running backs topping 15 standard NFL Fantasy points in Week 3.
When Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said he needed to get rookie Dallas Goedert more involved in the offense, we should have listened. Goedert saw 7 targets, catching all of them for 73 yards and a touchdown, allowing a third rookie to crack the NFL Fantasy leaderboards this week.
Travis Kelce enjoyed his second straight 100-yard receiving game but could not cross the goal line in Kansas City’s third consecutive 30-plus point game.
Kyle Rudolph helped Minnesota salvage some dignity against the Bills by snagging a late touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins. That let him turn a 13th-best 48 receiving yards into the TE-3 performance.
Buffalo’s defense managed to score one point over their first two games against the Ravens and Chargers. They had four sacks and one fumble recovery. Facing the Vikings in Week 3, they were not the defense expected to emerge with the top D/ST rating.
But they doubled their sack total, tripled their fumble recovery total, and tacked on their first interception before walking away with 17 NFL Fantasy points and the D/ST-1 rating.
Seattle (15) had 5 sacks and 3 turnovers against Dallas to secure the second-best D/ST point total of the week.
Buffalo had Kirk Cousins sporting a negative NFL Fantasy point total before their fourth-quarter prevent defense allowed him to salvage 10.03 for the week. That was better than 11 other quarterbacks, including Tom Brady (7.52) and rookie Sam Darnold’s 2.76.
Cousins’ issues with the Bills defense helped Stefon Diggs suffer through a 1.7 NFL Fantasy point day. Likewise, Brady’s night led to only 3.3 yards for Chris Hogan and a zero for Phillip Dorsett (on 5 targets).
Despite a bigger NFL Fantasy day for Jimmy Garoppolo, he threw only 8 passes to wide receivers again. Pierre Garcon (1.1) and rookie Dante Pettis (0) suffered the most. Randall Cobb’s 0.3 NFL Fantasy points against Washington didn’t do much for his owners, either.
Latavius Murray’s big opportunity in the absence of Dalvin Cook was bottled up by the Bills’ defense. But his 3.3 NFL Fantasy points looked pretty good compared to Chris Thompson’s 1.7, and Phillip Lindsay’s 2.0.
Frank Gore was on a few sleepers lists as the conservative Dolphins were expected to take advantage of the Raiders’ awful run defense. The good news was Gore out-rushed starter Kenyan Drake. The bad news was the pair combined for 2.2 NFL Fantasy points.
The defenses of the Falcons (-3) and Saints (-1) are not looking forward to their Thanksgiving night rematch. The 49ers (-2) could use a hug, too.
All in all, it was a week of great performances and surprises- some good and some disastrous for NFL Fantasy owners. What will Week 4 bring?