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Fantasy Forecast

Week 3 Fantasy Football Forecast

by Hayden Winks
Updated On: September 22, 2019, 11:38 am ET

Welcome to the Fantasy Football Forecast! My goal with this weekly column is to get you actionable information as quickly as possible, regardless if you're playing season-long fantasy, DFS, or are grinding player props.  If you're just looking for fantasy football rankings and only have 10 minutes to skim through for your sit/start decisions, then head over to the "Forecast" sections below where I project each player's PPR finish based on a 12-team league. But if you want to get your research on, then I have full player breakdowns. As always, hit me up on Twitter @HaydenWinks if you have questions. 

 

Week 3 Forecast

 

Teams are listed in order of their implied points.

Page 1: DAL, NE, KC, TB, MIN, PHI, GB, LAC, LAR, BUF

Page 2: SEA, SF, IND, ATL, BAL, ARI, CHI, HOU, CLE, NYG

Page 3: CAR, DET, NO, CIN, WAS, DEN, PIT, OAK, MIA, NYJ

TNF: TEN, JAX

 

1. Cowboys (35.0 implied team total, -22.5 point spread) vs. MIA

Forecast: Dak Prescott QB1, Amari Cooper WR1, Randall Cobb WR4, Devin Smith WR5, Jason Witten TE2, Ezekiel Elliott RB1, Tony Pollard RB4

Dak Prescott now averages 285.5 passing yards and 1.91 passing touchdowns in his 11 games with Amari Cooper, per RotoViz. The Cowboys’ analytics-based offense has vaulted him into the QB1 mix, especially at home where he’s averaged 3.5 more fantasy points during his career. Prescott should carve up this terrible Dolphins’ team to a top-five fantasy finish. This is obviously a team to stack in DFS tournaments.

DAL WK3

Amari Cooper has averaged 18.14 PPR points with Dak in 11 games, and he might have more opportunity in Week 3 than he has before with Michael Gallup (knee) sidelined. His matchup with Xavien Howard is a real tough one as Ian Hartitz mapped out here, but I’m still betting on Cooper getting schemed open enough to call him a WR1. … Randall Cobb will line up against CB “Jomal Wiltz” who has 57 career snaps, and he should see an uptick in volume with Gallup sidelined and with Cooper getting Howard’s coverage. Cobb is a sneaky WR4. … Devin Smith is Gallup’s replacement as the primary deep threat. Smith has more than enough talent to make a play over the top, opening him up to the higher-ceiling WR5 mix in this home matchup. … Jason Witten is tied for the sixth-most red zone targets (4) through two weeks. That usage should scale back with Ezekiel Elliott ramping up his workload, but Witten will still be a low-end TE2 with some touchdown equity. 

Ezekiel Elliott is going to eat. The Cowboys have the highest team total (35) and the Dolphins Defense will not be down to tackle Zeke over and over again. Elliott saw his workload return to normal levels last week (25 touches), so it’s just a matter of how many touchdowns he scores. Two or three is in range. … Tony Pollard might get extra work if the Cowboys jump out to a huge lead, but he only has one target through two weeks. He maybe has low-end flex value this week, though he’s best viewed as a pure handcuff to Zeke in season-long leagues. 

 

2. Patriots (32.75, -22) vs. NYJ

Update: James White (personal) is out, so Rex Burkhead jumps in the RB2/3 mix. Damien Harris might take on the 2019 Sexy Rexy role now. ... Removed Antonio Brown. Moved Julian Edelman into WR1/2, Josh Gordon into WR2/3, and Phillip Dorsett into WR5. 

Forecast: Tom Brady QB1, Julian Edelman WR1, Josh Gordon WR2/3, Phillip Dorsett WR5, Sony Michel RB2/3, James White RB2/3

Tom Brady has averaged 311 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns in the 14 games with Josh Gordon. This offense is reaching unstoppable levels, and the Jets Defense is in big trouble, especially if C.J. Mosley and Quinnen Williams are ruled out again. Brady is back in the mix as a weekly high-ceiling QB1.

NE WK3

Julian Edelman should go back into his No. 1 receiver role with AB gone. He'll see 8-12 targets most weeks with touchdown equity, and this matchup isn't one to shy away from. Edelman is a WR1/2 in PPR leagues. … Josh Gordon’s target numbers won’t be as high as other WR2/3s, but his targets are quite valuable. He’s being targeted deep (12.7 yards downfield on average), and he has plenty of touchdown equity with these crazy-high weekly team totals. … Phillip Dorsett still carries a boom-or-bust WR5 tag. … Matt LaCosse and Ryan “Truth Hurts” Izzo are the tight ends, but they aren’t being used enough.

Week 2

S. Michel

J. White

R. Burkhead

Carries

21

3

5

Targets

0

4

2

Routes Run

5

17

8

Sony Michel has zero (0) avoided tackles on 36 touches in 2019, per PFF. He’s been really bad, but he still has the Patriots’ goal-line role and that’s all that matters for fantasy. Michel is prone to many bust weeks since he can’t catch passes and hasn’t looked explosive, but he still belongs on the RB2/3 borderline in PPR leagues with his touchdown equity. … James White is a matchup nightmare and all it takes is Bill Belichick to scheme him open for a top-20 RB finish. His usage isn’t exactly bankable, but he’s a high-ceiling RB2/3 with 6+ reception upside. … Rex Burkhead is caught between Michel and White, but he’s still starting over Damien Harris. Neither have fantasy value unless one of the two starters miss time.

 

3. Chiefs (29, -6) vs. BAL

Update: Dropped LeSean McCoy into the risky RB2 range with his limp. Darwin Thompson is a high-ceiling RB2/3. ... Removed Damien Williams (knee). 

Forecast: Patrick Mahomes QB1, Sammy Watkins WR1, Mecole Hardman WR3, Demarcus Robinson WR3/4, Travis Kelce TE1, LeSean McCoy (questionable) RB1/2, Darwin Thompson RB2/3

What do you actually want me to write about here? Patrick Mahomes is snapping necks and cashing checks. He’s the QB1 overall every week.

KC WK3

Tyreek Hill (collarbone) remains sidelined, so Sammy Watkins is the No. 1 receiver. Last week, Watkins might have had the bad beat of the year in fantasy since he only had 10.9 PPR points on 13 targets and 139 air yards. I’ll buy the dip if I could in season-long and will continue to call him a fantasy WR1. The usage and skill is just too damn appealing, and so is his slot matchup with 32-year-old Brandon Carr. … Mecole Hardman saw WR3 usage last week, and there’s no reason to shy away from him in Week 3. Only a dozen or so receivers have his weekly upside with Hill out. Calling Hardman a boom-or-bust WR3 is fair… Demarcus Robinson had six targets with an insane 25.3 aDOT, which led to the WR1 overall finish last week (6-172-2). The air yards are really nice, but he’ll regress big time if he doesn’t see more than six targets this week. I’m projecting Robinson for 5-7 targets, so he’s a boom-or-bust WR3/4. … Travis Kelce has been targeted five times in the red zone (tied for second in the NFL), but he somehow has zero red zone receptions. Mahomes, please chill on the no-look passes to Kelce in the end zone. Other than that, Kelce is the best fantasy tight end in the league. 

Damien Williams (knee) has been ruled out, so that means more LeSean McCoy, who returned to practice Thursday (ankle). McCoy will inherit some of Williams’ ~10 carries and ~5 targets per game, while explosive rookie Darwin Thompson gobbles up the rest. McCoy has tons of upside and belongs in the RB1 consideration as long as his health continues to progress going into Sunday. … Thompson and Darrell Williams should both get run, but Thompson is the one to target as a dart-throw flex option. He was a freak in the preseason:

 

4. Bucs (27, -6) vs. NYG

Forecast: Jameis Winston QB2, Chris Godwin WR1/2, Mike Evans WR1/2, Breshad Perriman WR5, O.J. Howard TE1/2, Peyton Barber RB3, Ronald Jones RB4/5

Jameis Winston and the Bucs offense have looked bad in both games this season --  maybe they shouldn’t have the fifth-lowest pass rate in neutral situations??? -- but the Giants’ pass rush isn’t as good as the 49ers’ or Panthers’ and the Giants’ pass coverage is the worst per PFF, making this a potential breakout spot at home. Winston is a high-ceiling QB2. 

TB WK3

Chris Godwin has been more productive than Mike Evans through two games, but their usage is much closer than their fantasy points would suggest. Evans actually has a higher team share of air yards (40%) than Godwin (29%). It just hasn’t translated to fantasy points yet. Evans gets Janoris Jenkins, who is seven inches shorter and 38 pounds lighter than Evans, this week, and I’m expecting WR1/2 production. Evans is an obvious buy-low target in season-long and DFS… Godwin is really good, and he’s seeing WR1/2 level usage. Godwin’s matchup with Grant Haley is one to attack, making Godwin a top-10 receiver play once again. ... Breshad Perriman has ran a route on 75% and 66% of the Bucs’ drop backs and quietly has 23% of the team’s air yards. Perriman is a cheap DFS tournament option. … O.J. Howard’s usage is very concerning. Howard was held without a target Week 2 and has only ran a route on 60% of the Bucs’ dropbacks. Bruce Arians said Howard can play “a heck of a lot better” than he has, and I obviously agree. Howard is too talented to completely drop out of the TE1 mix against a defense we’ve been targeting with tight ends for over a season now.

Week 2

P. Barber

R. Jones

D. Ogunbowale

Carries

23

4

0

Targets

1

0

1

Routes Run

10

3

10

Ronald Jones led the backfield in touches and snaps on run plays Week 1, but he lost almost all of that work to Peyton Barber in Week 2. Barber is the best bet for consistent touches since he’s not as one-dimensional, though Barber isn’t an exciting RB3 either. Dare Ogunbowale isn’t seeing enough volume to be more than a low-ceiling RB4 in games where we expect the Bucs to be trailing. Overall, it’s a backfield to avoid if possible. 

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5. Vikings (26.5, -9.5) vs. OAK

Forecast: Kirk Cousins QB2, Adam Thielen WR1/2, Stefon Diggs WR2, Kyle Rudolph TE2, Dalvin Cook RB1, Alexander Mattison RB5

Kirk Cousins and the Vikings Offense are playing pretty fast (7th in neutral-situation pace), but they are opting to take the ball out of Cousins’ hands. And with the way he’s playing, that might be the right move. The Raiders Defense is a “get right” spot, however, at least in terms of efficiency. Cousins’ projected volume keeps him in the QB2 range, even in a plus home matchup.

TB WK3

Even with the Vikings’ passing volume at the very bottom of the NFL, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are still top-20 receivers in most matchups because of the narrow target share. This week is shaping up as one of the best on the entire schedule with the Raiders’ pass coverage grading out as the 28th group, per PFF. Thielen is on the WR1/2 borderline while Diggs is a high-ceiling WR2. … Chad Beebe has run a route on just 32% of the Vikings’ dropbacks and has been targeted three times. … Kyle Rudolph is on the field for most plays, but his pass-game usage leaves a lot to be desired. He’s a low-ceiling TE2. 

Dalvin Cook and the Vikings offense have the third-highest run rate in neutral situations, and Cook is crushing it. There are only a few backs in the entire league with his rushing yards and touchdown projection, making him a no-brainer RB1. If Cook can add a few more receptions per game, watch out. … Alexander Mattison is a direct backup and remains one of the best handcuffs in fantasy. 

 

6. Eagles (26, -6) vs. DET

Update: Alshon Jeffery is out, so Nelson Agholor is a volume-based WR3, while JJ Arcega-Whiteside is a WR3/4 and Mack Hollins is a deep threat WR4. Dallas Goedert is expected to play. 

Forecast: Carson Wentz QB1/2, Nelson Agholor WR3, JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR3/4, Mack Hollins WR4, Zach Ertz TE1, Dallas Goedert (questionable) TE2, Miles Sanders RB2/3, Jordan Howard RB4, Darren Sproles RB4

Carson Wentz will be without most of his top targets this week, and Wentz himself was also shaken up last week. The home matchup is nice, but the Lions' defense is no joke and could give the Eagles some trouble if the receivers can’t win off the line of scrimmage. Wentz deserves a top-15 ranking still, but he has a lower floor than normal. 

PHI WK3

Alshon Jeffery’s (calf) status for Week 3 is in doubt and DeSean Jackson (groin) is already out, so it will likely be Nelson Agholor, rookie JJ Arcega-Whiteside, and Mack Hollins in three-receiver sets. Agholor is the most experienced and will likely do more damage underneath, while intriguing second-rounder Arcega-Whiteside and Mack Hollins work deeper downfield. Agholor will be a volume-based WR2/3 in an okay matchup with Darius Slay. The question for DFS is if Agholor is worth the chalk. … Arcega-Whiteside was insane in the red zone and downfield at Stanford last season and in the preseason a few weeks back. At 6-foot-2, 225 pounds, Arcega-Whiteside offers touchdown equity as a dart-throw WR4 who had a 22.5 aDOT last week. … Hollins saw more targets (8) than JJAW saw (4) last week, but I’m projecting that to even out given Arcega-Whiteside’s prospect profile. Hollins is still a consideration in DFS tournaments, however. … Zach Ertz saw ridiculous volume last week (see above chart) and that’s not likely to change with Jeffery, Jackson, and Dallas Goedert (questionable, calf) banged up. Ertz is an elite tight end option this week. 

Week 2

M. Sanders

J. Howard

D. Sproles

Carries

10

8

0

Targets

4

1

3

Routes Run

20

5

25

Miles Sanders is starting to separate from Jordan Howard in terms of usage, despite only avoiding one tackle on 24 touches this season. One way to get Sanders avoiding more tackles is to put him in space, and this would be a great week to get him easy targets with so many injuries out wide. Sanders is a better bet this week to emerge as a top-24 running back than he was last week. … Jordan Howard needs positive game script and touchdowns to be a flex consideration. He might get that this week at home against a mediocre Lions team, but he’ll have to overcome one of the better defensive fronts in the league. Howard is just an RB3. … Darren Sproles could also be a beneficiary of the missing production on the outside, but he’ll need a random touchdown to pay off. 

 

7. Packers (25.75, -7.5) vs. DEN

Forecast: Aaron Rodgers QB1/2, Davante Adams WR1/2, Marquez Valdes-Scantling WR4, Geronimo Allison WR5, Jimmy Graham TE2, Aaron Jones RB2, Jamaal Williams RB4

Aaron Rodgers doesn’t have a three-passing-touchdown performance in the last 12 healthy games, and he has as many sub-200 yard games (3) as he does games over 300 yards (3) over that span. It might be time to temper expectations for Rodgers in fantasy, especially since the Packers are 30th in neutral-situation pace this year. The Broncos also want to play slow (26th in neutral-situation pace), so total volume is a concern for Rodgers once again. He’s, at best, on the QB1/2 borderline.  

GB WK3

Davante Adams has two issues this week; The Packers Offense is 30th in neutral-situation pace (that takes away targets) and he’s lining up against Chris Harris, who limited Allen Robinson last week. This feels like a down game for Adams, so he’s sitting right outside my top-10 receivers. … Marquez Valdes-Scantling remains a near full-time player and arguably Rodgers’ best bet downfield (4.37 speed). He just hasn’t made a big play yet -- probably because he’s faced the Bears and Vikings through two weeks -- but MVS is a candidate for one against Isaac Yiadom (4.52 speed). I like MVS as a boom-or-bust WR4. … Geronimo Allison is sixth on the team in targets, and he’s only running a route on 54% of the Packers’ dropbacks. Allison could still find the end zone or make a big play, but he’s a low-volume WR5 at best for the time being. … Jimmy Graham’s Week 1 probably will go down as an outlier game in terms of production and usage. Graham can still win in the red zone, but he’s a touchdown-dependent TE2. 

Week 2

A. Jones

J. Williams

Carries

23

9

Targets

6

4

Routes Run

16

19

Coach Matt LaFleur said this week that he wants to “even up” the touches between Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams, which is amazing because Jones is averaging 4.3 YPC and Williams is averaging 2.0 YPC. Jones is the better runner, so I’m betting on Jones keeping most of his rushing volume. The receiving work might take a hit, however. Jones went from one to six targets last week, and that might be what LaFleur is talking about. In a home matchup as 7.5-point favorites, Jones is a high-end RB2 while Williams remains an RB4.

 

8. Chargers (25.5, -3) vs. HOU

Forecast: Philip Rivers QB1/2, Keenan Allen WR1, Mike Williams WR3, Travis Benjamin WR5, Austin Ekeler RB1, Justin Jackson RB4

Philip Rivers is being kept back from bigger fantasy weeks by a multitude of things, but primarily because of the Chargers’ second-slowest offensive pace. This week, he’ll get some help in that department with the Texans’ 9th-fastest offense coming to the Chargers’ soccer stadium. The Texans Defense is also more vulnerable with Clowney gone and J.J. Watt playing at a more human level. Rivers is on the QB1/2 borderline. 

LAC WK3

Keenan Allen is the NFL’s air yards leader through two weeks, and he’s becoming more and more matchup proof as his career has unfolded. Allen is going to be fed targets as Rivers’ best check down option behind this porous offensive line, and he can also get downfield on occasion. Allen is a no-brainer WR1. … Mike Williams played through a knee injury last week and nearly came down with a couple of touchdown grabs. Even if he’s a little limited, Williams will see WR2/3 usage. This week’s matchup against Johnathan Joseph and Lonnie Johnson are friendly, too, so Williams is an upside WR3. … Travis Benjamin is off the radar when Allen and Williams are active and is a low-volume dart-throw when one of them misses. … The Chargers signed Lance Kendricks to help at tight end, but it’s a situation to avoid. 

Week 2

A. Ekeler

J. Jackson

Carries

17

7

Targets

6

1

Routes Run

22

7

Austin Ekeler is a modified bellcow right now. Ekeler has received 66% of the team carries, 100% of the inside-the-five carries, and 19% of the team targets. And as Ekeler always does, he’s balling out too (outside of that brutal goal-line fumble). Ekeler enters Week 3 as the RB1 overall in PPR leagues, and he’s a no-doubt RB1 against the Texans. … Justin Jackson is a handcuff to Ekeler at this point since he has 13 carries and four targets through two games. 

 

9. Rams (25.25, -3) @ CLE

Update: Tyler Higbee is out, so Gerald Everett is a strong TE2. 

Forecast: Jared Goff QB2, Cooper Kupp WR3, Robert Woods WR3, Brandin Cooks WR3, Gerald Everett TE2, Todd Gurley RB1/2, Malcolm Brown RB3/4

Jared Goff has scored more than 17.5 fantasy points just once in his last 10 road games including the playoffs (13.4 FPPG), and his lone good game was against the Saints in a dome. Goff still has some upside in a game with a 47.5 over/under, but his home/road splits are too harsh to list him as a QB1. He’s a higher-ceiling QB2 only because of the Rams’ league-leading offensive pace in neutral situations.

LAR WK3

Cooper Kupp is leading the Rams in targets through two weeks, and I kind of expect that to continue because Kupp is Goff’s go-to receiver when he feels pressured. Kupp also looks really healthy -- he was collecting ankles on his near 66-yard touchdown catch -- and might even be the best Rams’ fantasy receiver for the rest of the season. Kupp, however, is a WR3 whenever on the road. … Brandin Cooks is leading the Rams’ in air yards with a 16.6 aDOT (that’s high), but he has only been targeted six and four times. Not great. Cooks also has only averaged 11.6 PPR points in eight road games with Goff, so he’s a low-floor WR3 this week while lining up across outside CBs Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward. … Last week, Robert Woods had his lowest reception total (2) since Week 4 of 2017. It was an odd game for him and the offense in general, but Week 2’s usage will likely be an outlier, not the beginning of a new trend. Unlike Cooks, Woods doesn’t have severe home/road splits with Goff, so Woods is a slightly more-reliable WR3. … Tyler Higbee (lung) was sent to the hospital last week, but he might actually play in Week 3. He’s been a red zone target this season, though he’s nothing more than a zero-floor TE2/3 whenever healthy. Gerald Everett shouldn’t be started in fantasy if Higbee is active. 

Week 2

T. Gurley

M. Brown

D. Henderson

Carries

16

6

0

Targets

4

1

0

Routes Run

20

12

0

The Rams have a plan with Todd Gurley. It’s to limit his touches to preserve him for later in the season and the playoffs. How they plan on doing that is still up in the air through two weeks. Gurley didn’t see goal-line work and was only targeted once in Week 1. Last week, Gurley had carries from 11-, 11-, 8-, and 4-yards out and also saw four targets. That’s the high-leverage touches most expected him to see this season, even if his total volume was down. At this point, I’d (unconfidently) project Gurley to be the primary goal-line and passing-game back, which makes him an RB1/2, even on the road. … Malcolm Brown lost his valuable goal-line production in Week 2, and he won’t have any standalone value if that continues. Brown is purely a handcuff for now. … Darrell Henderson has two snaps in two games. Only hold him if you have space to. He needs a Gurley injury to have value.

 

10. Bills (25, -6) vs. CIN

Update: Devin Singletary is out, so Frank Gore is a volume-based RB2/3, while T.J. Yeldon is a PPR RB4.

Forecast: Josh Allen QB1, John Brown WR2, Cole Beasley WR4/5, Zay Jones WR5, Frank Gore RB2/3, T.J. Yeldon RB4

Josh Allen and the Bills offense have the high pass rate in neutral situations this season, and the Bengals’ pass coverage is 30th in the league per PFF. This is a blowup spot for the Bills, who have the 10th-highest team total (25) of the week, and Allen, who has averaged 6.4 more fantasy points at home in his career per RotoViz. Allen is a low-end QB1 with a great ceiling.

BUF WK3

John Brown has WR1/2 usage and production through two weeks, and the Bengals’ secondary has struggled against the deep ball in Week 1 and struggled underneath in Week 2. Brown should be near the top of the leaderboard in air yards once again, making Brown a strong, high-upside WR2 this week. … Cole Beasley is Cole Beasley. He might have a few spikes in targets throughout the season, but he doesn’t run high-value routes and isn’t a big threat for a touchdown. Beasley is a WR4/5 in PPR leagues. … Zay Jones is a zero-ownership DFS tournament option in Josh Allen stacks in hopes he returns to his Week 1 air yards. … Dawson Knox has run a route on 61% of Bills’ dropbacks, but he only has two catches. The rookie is off the radar. 

Devin Singletary missed practice on Thursday, and he is believed to be trending in the wrong direction heading into Week 3. That brings Frank Gore (early downs and goal-line) and T.J. Yeldon (pass-catching) to the forefront. Gore is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry this season, but he should see 14-20 carries with goal-line chances as a 6-point favorite. Gore is an RB3, while Yeldon is a zero-floor RB4/5 in PPR leagues.