I want this whole Week 3 recap to just be about the Dolphins offense tonight. It's been a pretty frustrating start to the Fantasy season in a lot of ways, but the Dolphins stand against every negative trend.
Heck, even with Jaylen Waddle sidelined in Week 3, they put together one of the greatest performances in NFL history, which saw the emergence of another potential star with sprinter's speed. At a time when NFL teams are spreading the ball around and many offenses are struggled to take the top off those two-high shell defenses, the Dolphins just give it to one of their 4.30 40-yard dash guys an basically every play and just let them do what they do best. It's a pleasure to watch, and an even bigger one if you've got them on your Fantasy team.
The rest of the league? Well, it remains a bit hit or miss, and that remained true in Week 3. In today's newsletter, we'll take an, and I've got a bunch of the biggest winners and losers from Sunday's action for you.
But first, here's a quick rundown of the injuries you need to know about:
- Derek Carr (shoulder) – Carr was diagnosed with an AC joint sprain and seems set to miss a couple of weeks, though the injury does not appear to be a season-ender. Jameis Winston is a fine backup who should keep the offense moving, and might even have a few useful weeks for Fantasy.
- Patrick Mahomes (ankle) – Mahomes played through the injury, but we'll keep an eye on it since he got rolled up on and did ultimately exit the game early. Expectations for this offense would obviously be diminished if Blaine Gabbert had to start any games.
- Mike Williams (knee) – This might end up being the most serious injury of the week, as Williams was carted off the field and spotted on a cart after the game. Josh Palmer has averaged 12.98 PPR points in five games without Williams in his career, and Quentin Johnston could see an opportunity to play an every-down role if Williams has to miss time. Keep both on your radar moving forward.
- Gus Edwards (concussion) – The Ravens just can't keep anyone healthy. Hopefully, this ends up being a short-term issue, but Melvin Gordon looks like he could be in line for a solid role in Week 4 even if Justice Hill (toe) returns after missing Sunday's game.
- Jonathan Mingo (concussion) – Mingo has done a solid job of earning targets early in his career, but he's done little with them – 64 yards on 19 targets in three games. He's already clearly behind Adam Thielen in the pecking order for targets, and might be behind DJ Chark now that he's back too. Mingo is droppable in shallower leagues even if he doesn't miss time.
And now, here's what you need to know about from Sunday's action, starting with an:
It's not often that a player scores 45 PPR points and gets outshined by a teammate -- in fact, we've only ever seen two non-QBs score 45-plus PPR points in the same game once before -- but that's exactly what happened to Raheem Mostert. Mostert was incredible Sunday, scoring four touchdowns, but the headline coming out of the Dolphins' dominant win over the Broncos was the play of rookie De'Von Achane, who looks like the clear top target on waivers heading into Week 4.
Achane obviously has competition in the backfield in the form of Mostert, and we know the Dolphins aren't just going to follow the Falcons playbook and run the ball 60% of the time. But Achane was so good Sunday that it has to have guaranteed a role for him moving forward, and given how electric he looked in this one, that might be all he needs to be a solid Fantasy starter moving forward. Guys who can break off big runs like Achane can overcome seemingly less-than-ideal circumstances, especially if they play for creative coaches who will do things like draw up no-look shovel passes for them in the red zone.
Achane looks like he's going to be in the RB2 discussion moving forward, and if Mostert has to miss any time, he could end up being a league-winner. If I need an RB and I play in one of the 43% of leagues where Achane isn't currently rostered, he might be worth 45% or more of my FAB budget. Maybe way more.
- Nathaniel Dell, WR, Texans (56% rostered)
- C.J. Stroud, QB, Texans (33%)
- Quentin Johnston, WR, Chargers (50%)
- Luke Musgrave, TE, Packers (46%)
Biggest Winners and Losers
Here's who has the arrow pointing up or down coming out of Sunday's action:
The Dolphins offense
I mean … what more do we even say? 726 yards of offense, the second-most of all time, while falling just a few points shy of the NFL record for points. The Dolphins became just the fourth team ever with multiple players with four touchdowns, as Raheem Mostert and De'Von Achane also became the second set of teammates to ever top 45 PPR points in the same game (not counting quarterbacks). Raheem Mostert will go down in the Start of the Week Hall of Fame, but he was actually overshadowed by rookie De'Von Achane, who looks like another unbelievable weapon for Mike McDaniel and company to play with. Achane is likely going to be in a timeshare with Raheem Mostert moving forward, but he still deserves to be added in every single Fantasy league where he isn't currently rostered heading into Week 4, both because of Mostert's injury history and because he might end up being a must-start Fantasy option in his own right in this offense.
The Dolphins are averaging 29.8 points when Tua Tagovailoa plays at least 72% of the snaps going back to last season, and the league has shown no signs of figuring out how to slow this offense down – remember, Tagovailoa dropped 466 yards and three touchdowns in Week 1 against the Chargers, the only team you could realistically argue showed a blueprint for how to stop them last year. Oh, and they did this without Jaylen Waddle this week. A big part of why you should be adding Achane aggressively is also because you just want a piece of this offense when you can get it. Go stash Jeff Wilson in an IR spot too, is what I'm saying.
With how he played in the first couple of weeks, Watson was going to get absolutely buried with another poor showing Sunday, but to his credit, he had his best game since 2020 in an easy win over the Titans. The Browns didn't really have much of a running game in this one, which is definitely a concern after Nick Chubb's season-ending injury – though the Titans sure look like one of the tougher run defenses in the league right now to be fair. But that didn't sink the Browns offense, as Watson tossed for 289 yards and a pair of scores without turning the ball over – though, it is worth noting that he sure tried to turn the ball over at least once. He still doesn't look entirely comfortable, and the Browns line doesn't look like the strength it was supposed to be. But Watson did enough Sunday to justify hanging on to him if you rolled the dice on him at QB and haven't found a more reliable option yet.
I don't know if it was enough to keep Mattison locked in as the every-down back for the Vikings, but it goes without saying that he desperately needed to show signs of life after the team traded for Cam Akers this week. Not that I think Akers has much left to offer teams at this point, but Mattison's season had been a disaster to this point, and he took advantage of a good matchup and racked up 125 scrimmage yards and 17.5 PPR points. Now, it's worth noting, he nearly had a fumble lost in this one – again – but he was ruled down by forward progress before the ball popped out, which might have really opened up a path for Akers to play a big role. He still may, but at least it isn't a sure thing at this point.
I'm eagerly anticipating Jonathan Taylor's return, hopefully as soon as Week 5. But I'd be lying if I said there wasn't some part of me that will be bummed to see Moss on the bench because he's been surprisingly fun over the past couple of weeks. He dominated RB snaps yet again Sunday, and rushed for 122 yards on 30 carries, while adding two catches for 23 yards, including a touchdown on his three targets. At an RB position that has been very short on reliable options, Moss has been one through the first two games, and might be a top-12 option for Week 4 against the Rams. On the other hand, if Moss looks this good (252 yards, two touchdowns in two games) in this offense, just think about how much better it'll look with Taylor in there.
The first three games of the season couldn't have gone any better for Kamara, who returns from his three-game suspension next week without any of the Saints other running backs showing much of anything. Kendre Miller made his NFL debut Sunday and was fine -- 34 rushing yards on nine carries, but he didn't really show anything in the passing game; Tony Jones had 52 total yards and looked like a plodder, as expected. Jamaal Williams is on IR with a hamstring injury, so the runway is completely clear for Kamara to return to a legit three-down role. The Saints haven't been able to run the ball well at all so far, and they haven't thrown to their running backs much either, but both of those things should start to trend in a more promising direction when Kamara is out there. He just might be a top-12 RB moving forward.
Keenan Allen, WR, Chargers
Allen is 11 years into his NFL career, and it's been a long time since he's shown the kind of upside we've seen in his first three games. Sunday's performance might have been the finest of his career, as Allen caught 18 of 20 passes thrown his way for 215 yards, and he added a 49-yard passing touchdown on a trick play. The Chargers have played at the fast pace we expected, and Allen has seen 39 targets through three games despite seeing the highest average depth of target of his career. The Kellen Moore offense has been a perfect fit for Allen, and he's even looked like more than just the high-volume possession guy he's been in recent years. Allen has been pegged as a low-end WR1 for years, but he's showing top-five upside in this offense right now.
The case for drafting LaPorta with a late-round pick was that the Lions offense was going to throw him into the fire, and that's exactly what has happened. With eight catches Sunday, LaPorta broke the NFL rookie record for most catches by a tight end in the first three games, while his 186 receiving yards to date are the second-most for a rookie. He's emerged immediately as a reliable safety blanket for Jared Goff, but also scored his first touchdown on a 45-yard bomb Sunday, so he's not just a one-trick pony here. LaPorta's role isn't guaranteed to remain this significant moving forward, but I don't really see why the Lions would change things – outside of Amon-Ra St. Brown, this team is still short on reliable targets. LaPorta might just be a top-eight option moving forward.
The Titans offense
I wouldn't say I had high hopes for this offense, but I thought there was some real bounceback potential here, and that looks pretty much indefensible right now. Ryan Tannehill has just one touchdown pass through three games, which wouldn't be as surprising if Derrick Henry had more than one touchdown. Henry is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry through three games, with only one carry of more than 20 yards. The schedule hasn't done them any favors, facing three teams with strong defensive lines, but that hasn't been an issue in the past. Tannehill has looked awful in two of their three games, and Henry hasn't looked explosive and is ceding important snaps to Tyjae Spears. I have more faith in Henry figuring it out than anyone else, but this might be an offense with no sure-fire, must-start Fantasy options right now.
In five games from Week 10 through Week 15, Lawrence had 13 passing touchdowns; he has just nine in eight games since. And that includes that four-touchdown game in the playoffs where he also had four interceptions. Lawrence now has more games without a passing touchdown than with multiple scores in his last eight games, by a count of three to two. The offensive line has been a problem so far in Jacksonville, and I think they've probably relied on Calvin Ridley a bit too much, who had a pretty awful Week 3, dropping two passes including a likely touchdown in addition to two false start penalties. This offense worked best with Lawrence spreading it around last year. Ridley has just five catches on 15 targets for 72 yards in his past two games, a far cry from the Week 1 showing that made him look like a WR1. But the bigger question here is around Lawrence. Did we anoint him as an elite QB too early? It looks like we might have right now, though in reviewing the game from Sunday, it's clear Lawrence was really hurt by drops. He's also 0 for 6 on passes into the end zone, with a bunch of very narrow misses in Week 2 especially. I think Lawrence might have been overhyped before the season, but he's also played better than his numbers, and is a viable buy-low candidate.
Justin Fields, QB, Bears
You know, say what you want about Lawrence, but he's still miles ahead of the other QBs from that 2021 first-round class. Fields isn't being helped out by anyone around him right now, to be clear. The coaching and execution of the game plan have been a disaster, and wide receivers aren't hanging on to the rare well-thrown balls he's actually delivered to them. But those excused only go so far, because Fields just hasn't shown any kind of growth as a player since last season. All that preseason and training camp talk about how good DJ Moore was going to be for him? The duo finally connected on their first touchdown pass late Sunday, well after the game was decided, and 38 of their 41 yards came on that final drive. This offense – this franchise, frankly – is completely dysfunctional right now, and even Fields' unbelievable rushing ability hasn't been enough to overcome that. You can't view Fields as a must-start Fantasy option at this point.
It's hardly going to fix their offense, but the sooner the Jets can make Breece Hall a focal point, the better, because Cook looks like he has basically nothing left to offer. He's touched the ball 32 times through three games and has just 100 yards to show for it; Hall had more in his first game. Hall got closer to a 50% snap share in Week 3, and I expect that will only continue to rise. Obviously, with Aaron Rodgers' season ending after just four snaps, this whole situation looks a whole lot worse than we expected it to coming in. But Cook has given us zero reason to think he should be anything more than a well-known backup moving forward.
AJ DIllon, RB, Packers
How high do you think we would have pushed Dillon in drafts if we knew Aaron Jones was going to miss at least two of the first three games due to a hamstring injury? Dillon was once again a massive bust Sunday, with just 33 rushing yards and no targets in the Packers come-from-behind win over the Saints. It was a tough matchup, but it's hard to say Dillon would have been any better even against a good matchup. For all his size and speed – remember, he weighed in at the combine at the same size as Derrick Henry and actually ran a faster 40-yard dash – Dillon is just shockingly ineffective as a runner. Dillon shows none of the explosiveness that makes Henry such a special player, and he looks shockingly pedestrian even alongside Aaron Jones. There's no question Jones should be the lead back upon his return, and at this point, I'm not even sure what the point in keeping Dillon on your bench is. I probably can't bring myself to drop him, but I also just can't see the path to a Fantasy-relevant role for Dillon at this point. What a disappointment.
Gibson had a disastrous fumble at the beginning of the fourth quarter Sunday and didn't touch the ball again – he had just one target in the final quarter despite the fact that the Commanders abandoned the run from that point on. These are supposed to be the game scripts Gibson owns for the Commanders, and instead, he finished with three catches and two carries for 24 yards total. Gibson's role probably isn't going away immediately, but he's already clearly the No. 2 option here, and two two fumbles in three games, there's no reason to think his role is going to grow. Even if Brian Robinson got hurt, I'm not sure Gibson would see a bigger role than rookie sixth-rounder Chris Rodriguez.
Drake London, WR, Falcons
The Falcons dropped back to pass 46 times on 65 snaps Sunday, which is about as pass-heavy as this offense could ever possibly get, and London was still a total dud. It's not his fault, just like it's not Kyle Pitts' fault that he can't get going. It's the offense, which wants to run the ball whenever possible, mostly because they have zero faith in Desmond Ridder's ability to do much of anything positive when he does drop back – he's averaging 6.3 yards per attempt and has been sacked or scrambled on 17% of his dropbacks, both of which are very poor numbers (the latter especially so for a QB who doesn't run the ball effectively). London was tied for third on the team in targets with just six, and that should never happen for a player as talented as London; compare London and Pitts' combined 36% target share to a team like Tampa, which has thrown 47% of their passes to Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. There just isn't a functional passing game here, and it's killed London and Pitts' values. And I don't see much reason to be optimistic