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Mon Sep 28th 2020

2020 Week Three Review

Rookie Wide Receivers Break Out

Week three is in the books, and only one player has had a positive COVID test since the start of the season. The season is progressing smoothly, causing me to believe we will have a full NFL and dynasty season. I hope your teams are off to a hot start.
I had a pretty poor week, personally. My dynasty teams finished 3-5 this week. Most of my losses were on my 2-0 teams, so I'm still looking good with two 3-0 teams, four 2-1 teams, and two 1-2 teams. Win or lose; it's a joy to watch football all weekend and cheer on all of my teams.

After following all of the games this week, here are my thoughts on what we learned after week one and its impact on our dynasty teams.

Week Three Observations

Rookie wide receivers break out.

  • First-round dynasty rookie draft picks had breakout weeks this Sunday.  CeeDee Lamb already had his breakout game last week.  Jerry Jeudy has been consistent though he yet to have a stellar game.  Jalen Reagor's injury put his break out game on hold.  This week, Tee Higgins and Justin Jefferson showed why they were first-round dynasty rookie picks.  Higgins scored two touchdowns on five receptions, and Jefferson had 175 yards receiving and scored one touchdown. What's more important is the role each of them now has in their offenses.  Higgins played the most snaps on any wide receiver on Sunday and was second in targets behind Tyler Boyd.  Jefferson was second in snaps behind Thielen but had more than twice as many targets, nine than four.  As these rookies get more significant roles on their teams, they will move their way into starting line-ups on dynasty teams.

Some young quarterbacks need to get benched, and one already has.

  • Sam Darnold and Dwayne Haskins each threw three interceptions on Sunday. Darnold's flashes of great play and Haskins's strong end of the season last year are both becoming hard to remember after how they have started this season.  Their offenses are certainly limited in talent, but franchise quarterbacks rise above their teams' skill and carry the offense to points and wins.  Darnold and Haskins won't have many weeks left to prove they are not replaceable by their back-ups by a 2021 first-round draft pick. On the first-round draft pick, Mitchel Tribusky was replaced on Sunday.  His replacement, Nick Foles, led the team to a 4th quarter comeback and should take the job.  If Foles wins again, Washington and the Jets may take notice and follow suit in benching their first-round draft picks.

Some teams' passing games can't support their wide receivers and tight ends.

  • Coach Kevin Stefanski is doing what everyone expected him to do since coming to Cleveland from Minnesota. He has made the Browns a run-heavy team, and he has the horses to get away with it.  Nick Chubb is one of the best pure runners in the NFL, and Kareem Hunt is the best back-up in the NFL.  This one-two punch knocks out teams, but it's also killing the other fantasy players in the passing game.  Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry, and Austin Hooper aren't startable players right now.  Mayfield threw for only 156 yards on Sunday. That's not enough to support anyone.  Phillip Rivers and his pass-catchers are in the same position.  Mo Alie-Cox did have a 100-yard game last week, but besides that, there have not been enough passes thrown to bolster any fantasy pass catcher in Indianapolis.  Rivers only attempted 19 passes on Sunday and only 25 the week before. Even if you assumer a generous 70% completion rate, that's only 14-18 completed passes per game at that rate.  It's time to take T.Y. Hilton out of starting line-ups, lose faith in the Doyle/Cox tight end jump, and the hope of a great rookie season for Michael Pittman.

Talented year-two players fight for a starting role after poor rookie seasons.

  • Darrell Henderson and Andy Isabella both took advantage of injuries by capitalizing on the starting roles this week.  Isabella started in the place of Christian Kirk.  He only caught four passes, but two were for touchdowns. It's still a very crowded wide receiver corps in Arizona, and DeAndre Hopkins will demand most of the targets, but Isabella proved he could have a role in the future with the Cardinals.  Henderson looked great against Buffalo.  While he and Malcolm Brown split the workload evenly with 34 snaps each, Henderson did the most with his touches, running for 114 yards and a touchdown.  Cam Akers owners should be worried.  Henderson seems to have moved beyond the mental hurdles that caused him to struggle in L.A.'s unique running scheme last year.  The light is on, and Henderson looked great on Sunday.

Week Three Injuries

Jerrick McKinnon

  • McKinnon finally gets a chance to start, but he could not finish the game after injuring his ribs. McKinnon is not able to be a full-time running back. He's too fragile. The time to sell McKinnon was just before kickoff on Sunday. The small rise in his dynasty value peaked this week while Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman were sidelined with their injuries. Now McKinnon could be joining them on the bench. Even if he can handle the injury and play next week, he's still not trustable as a starter because of his injury history. Jeff Davis had a better fantasy day than McKinnon since he scored twice, and Davis should earn more of a role over the next few weeks while the 49ers await Mostert's return.

Chris Carson

  • Carson injured his knee on a dirty tackle on Sunday afternoon.  So far, the Seahawks have said that it is not a severe injury, but he may miss some time in the next few weeks. Carson's dynasty value is slowly declining as he shows a propensity to get injured.  Pete Carroll loves Carson, but he signed Carlos Hyde this offseason because he knows that Carson cannot carry the full load. Hyde's dynasty value should not rise, but his in-season value rises slightly if Carson misses games.  However, Seattle has decided to "Let Russ Cook," so the Seattle wide receivers stand the most to gain by a downgrade from Carson to Hyde.

Jordan Reed

  • Reed hurt his ankle on an almost touchdown catch in the first quarter on Sunday and did not return to the game.  Ross Dwelly stepped right into the role and performed well just like he did last year when he started games while George Kittle was injured.   Dwelly is worth a waiver claim this week if Kittle and Reed remain on the injury report, but he and Reed remain back-end-of-the-roster dynasty assets.

Diontae Johnson

  • Johnson left the game early after getting concussed.  Like I wrote about last week, he was on his way to cementing himself as the WR-1 in Pittsburg ahead of Juju Smith-Schuster.  If he misses time, it may take him a few more weeks into the season to surpass Juju, who didn't exactly light it up after Johnson left the game.  He scored a touchdown but only had four catches. Johnson may not have scored a touchdown if he played the game, but he would undoubtedly have had more than four catches.  James Washington received more playing time with Johnson out but didn't do much with his opportunity.  Washington isn't droppable, but he's a back-end-of-the-roster player, especially while their second-round draft pick, Chase Claypool, continues to make big plays.

Russell Gage

  • Julio Jones did not play Sunday, and Gage got a concussion early in the game, leaving Matt Ryan to throw passes to guys I had honestly never heard of – Olamide Zaccheaus and Brandon Powell.  Even if Jones and Gage continue to miss time, I don't believe I would add  Zaccheaus or Powell.  Their injuries would make me less willing to start Matt Ryan on my teams.

John Brown

  • John Brown gave dynasty owners a goose egg on Sunday after leaving the game early with a calf injury. His injury did not stop Buffalo from throwing the ball around the field, though.  Cole Beasley had 100 yards receiving and rookie, Gabriel Davis, turned in a nice day as well with 81 yards receiving.  Beasley remains a low-end WR-3 in PPR leagues, while Davis's dynasty value deserves to rise after his showing on Sunday. He's likely not to overtake John Brown once healthy, but he could become the future WR-2 in Buffalo behind Stefon Diggs.  I drafted Isaiah Hodgins ahead of Davis several times in rookie drafts. I'll have to admit that I made a mistake in doing so.  

Tarik Cohen

  • Cohen is feared to have a torn ACL.  His dynasty value has fallen steadily since Matt Nagy become Chicago's head coach. Though Cohen has the skills to be a starting dynasty running back in PPR leagues, Nagy just has not found a way to use him well.  This injury will bring his dynasty value down even further.  David Montgomery's dynasty value has been moving up since the start of this season. He's not looked outstanding, but he has improved from his mediocre rookie year. He should get even more of the workload now that Cohen is lost for the season.  Nick Foles came in to relieve Mitch Trubisky of his duties and led the Bears to a 4th quarter comeback.  If Foles can move the offense better than Trubisky, there's even more reason to like Montgomery.

Chris Godwin

  • Godwin left the game with a hamstring injury.  He’s likely to miss a week or two like so many others with hurt hamstrings have had to do this year.  He and Mike Evans continue to maintain their top-12 value while Scottie Phillips has another chance to show he can be a valuable dynasty player in PPR leagues.

Week Three Waiver Wire

As a reminder, I play in 27 to 30-man roster leagues (true dynasty leagues), so the players I list here are for deep leagues only. If you play in shallower leagues, there are certainly better players than these to pick up off the waiver wire. That said, for those of you in true dynasty leagues, here is who I would be looking to pick up this week. I list them in the order that I would prioritize them.

Tim Patrick

  • Patrick led the Broncos in wide receiver snaps in weeks one and two and was only behind K.J. Hamler in snaps last week. He's not getting as many targets as Hamler and Jeudy, but he's on the field, so he will get opportunities with Sutton out for the year. He's unlikely to be a long-term starter for Denver, but he's worth picking up for speculation this week with a weak waiver wire.

Keesean Johnson

  • Andy Isabella may have scored the most fantasy points with his two touchdowns, but Johnson played twice as many snaps and Amendola. If Kirk remains hampered by his injury, Johnson appears to be his true replacement, while Isabella serves a more specialized role. I loved Johnson college film and thought he could become a fulltime starter in Arizona, but he’s yet to do so after a couple of years. I’d be willing to add him to the end of my roster this week to see how things transpire for a week or two.

Kyle Allen or Alex Smith

  • I'm convinced that Dwayne Haskins is going to get benched in the next few weeks. He's yet to complete more than 57% of his passes in a game this season and is not moving the offense at all, and this week he threw three interceptions.  Alex Smith was a scratch from line-up last week, so Kyle Allen would likely get the first crack at quarterback if Washington benched Haskins, but wouldn't we all enjoy seeing the Alex Smith comeback story.  I want to see what another quarterback can do with the offense. I'd pick one of them up in a superflex league.

Cedrick Wilson

  • He came out of nowhere to have a two-touchdown 100-yard day on Sunday. At best, he's the WR-4 in Dallas, but he was the highest-scoring wide receiver against Seattle on Sunday.  However, there is too much competition for him to do this again and become a real dynasty commodity.  I mention him here to say I would only chase him as a bottom-of-the-roster guy in league with 30 or more players on a roster.  I would not spend FAAB on Wilson.

Week Three Trades

Trades are hard to grade in a vacuum since scoring systems are different in each league, and every team has a diverse roster construction. That's why I write about trades made in my leagues and give context for why the dynasty owners made the trades. I grade the trade, but in the context of what each team was attempting to accomplish with the trade.

That said, here are my thoughts on trades that were made in my leagues this week.  There were a lot of trades after last week's injuries. I hope these trades give you an idea of how other active owners value these players and future picks.

Cam Newton <-----> 2021 2nd round pick

  • This trade was in my ten-team standard scoring league. The team that acquired Newton has the worst record in the league and was starting Joe Burrow over Trubisky and Tannehill. He's one of the less active owners in the league and will likely finish among the league's worst teams. The team that traded away Newton won the Super Bowl last year but started this season 0-2, primarily due to injuries. His starting quarterback is Kyler Murray, so he could afford to trade Newton in this one-quarterback league. If I had Murray in a one-quarterback ten-team league, I would trade away Newton for a second-round pick, especially with this team that will finish at the bottom of the league. I like the 2nd round pick side of this trade. 

Melvin Gordon <-----> 2021 1st round pick

  • This trade was one I made, so I have to say I liked my side of the deal. I traded for Gordon in this ten-team, one-quarterback, half-PPR league. I'm 2-0 in the league and a strong contender, but I just lost Christian McCaffrey for a few weeks. I was already weak at my RB-2 position but was fine streaming that position so long as I had McCaffrey. I wanted to shore up my RB position by starting Gordon and Mike Davis until McCaffrey returns. The draft pick will be a late-round pick, so I was willing to take that risk.

Saquon Barkley <-----> Two 2021 1st round picks and a 2021 5th round pick

  • This trade took place in my 12-team, half PPR, hyperactive league. The team that traded two first-round picks had five first-round picks. The team that traded Barkley is pretty thin without Barkley on their roster and must have decided to go the rebuild route after losing Barkley for the season. I like the Barkley side of this trade even though that team has to wait for his reward until next year, especially since he still has three first-round picks of his own. That is until he made the following trade.

Miles Sanders <-----> James Robinson, Mike Davis, and Two 2021 1st round picks

  • The same owner that traded for Barkley made this trade for Sanders. I like the aggressive move to trade away 4 of his first-round picks for Sanders and Barkley, but this was a bit of an overpay. I would have given Mike Davis to make this trade but not James Robinson after playing so well.

Mecole Hardman <-----> Logan Thomas

  • I accepted this trade in my 12-team, half-PPR, hyperactive league. I'm not very strong at tight end and paid $41 FAAB for Thomas after week one. I thought hard about declining the trade, but I am getting old at wide receiver in this league and wanted a young playmaker tied to Patrick Mahomes. It was close, but I decided to take the player drafted in the second round of the NFL draft over the tight end converted from a quarterback.

Bryan Edwards <-----> James Robinson and a 2021 3rd round pick

  • This trade took place in my 14-team, superflex, half-PPR, tight end premium, all flex league. It's a very even trade, but I think I like the Edwards side even though he's not proved as much as a fellow rookie, James Robinson. A third-round pick in a 14-team league is not worth much, so I see this trade as Edwards for Robinson. Edwards will take more time to prove himself, as do almost all wide receivers than running backs, but I believe he will. 

Stefon Diggs <-----> James Conner and Anthony Miller

  • This trade took place in my 12-team, superflex, PPR, tight end premium, industry league. It's a pretty even trade, but I lean toward favoring the best player in the trade, Stefon Diggs. Buffalo seems to be centering their offense around the passing game, and Josh Allen is playing at an MVP level to start the season. As long as Allen can keep the oft-disgruntled Diggs happy, they will have many years together. Whereas Conner is on a contract year, Anthony Miller has not been able to firm up the WR-2 role in Chicago and is married to an awfully inconsistent quarterback, Mitchel Trubisky.

Allen Robinson and a 2021 1st round pick <-----> Ryan Tannehill and Melvin Gordon

  • This trade took place in my 12-team, superflex, PPR, tight end premium, industry league. This trade illustrates what teams with four starting quarterbacks in a superflex league can do when a team with two starting quarterbacks loses one to injury. All things being equal, I like Robinson and a first-round pick side of this trade. But if I was a contending team that lost a quarterback and needed to buy one, I think I could give up Robinson and a first-round pick to get a starting quarterback and a player as good as Gordon.

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