The NFL must have had a bad lunch, because it looks like it finally got something out of its system. With few significant injuries in Week 3, we can all take a sigh of relief. Still, players continue to disappoint and we need to be able to replace them.
Last week I advised you to fade Dion Lewis (2 points), Jordan Reed (4.3 points), and Adam Humphries (8.1 points). I also advised you to add Mike Davis (23.1 points) in all formats, Myles Gaskin (14.5 points), and Joe Burrow (20.4 points). Not all were hits, Russel Gage and Drew Sample did not keep up their production.
This week presents a lot of options and a lot of noise to fade. High scoring weeks mean average players putting up monster numbers. Who do you take and who do you leave for your league?
Nick Foles, QB Chicago Bears
Foles is taking over for a struggling Mitch Trubisky on a Bears team I can’t believe is 3-0 now. After coming off the bench, Foles threw for 188 yards, 3 touchdowns, and only a single interception. Pretty impressive, but I don’t buy his consistency at all. If you’re in a superflex league or 14-16+, he may be your only option and I can’t fault you there, but he only did this while behind against a Falcons team that has been getting destroyed through the air. His next 6 matchups include the Colts, Bucs, Rams, Saints, and Titans. The loss of Tarik Cohen takes away a playmaker. I love their receiving trio but I can’t trust Foles much more than I trusted Trubisky.
Justin Jefferson, WR Minnesota Vikings
Outside of CeeDee Lamb, the rookies from this elite draft class have been quiet. Justin Jefferson decided this would be a good time to break out. The former Tiger had less than 10 total points in the first two weeks before catching 7 passes for 175 yards and a score. Kirk Cousins has his #2 receiver. With Houston, Seattle, and Atlanta on the schedule he’s at least worth flex consideration and could realistically become a WR2 for a needy fantasy team. The Vikings might be down most games which works in Jefferson’s favor.
Verdict: Add in 12+ team leagues as a WR2/3 that you can play if you need a big game
Tee Higgins, WR Cincinnati Bengals
It’s been hard to get a good read on who will get fed in this Bengals offense, but with how often Joe Burrow will have to continue to throw, anyone could explode on a given week. Higgins has seen his role expand each week, and the second round receiver finally had himself a game, catching 5 of his 9 targets for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns. The statline fizzles out without the touchdowns. Tyler Boyd, A.J. Green, Auden Tate, Drew Sample and more could all be on the receiving end of those scores in other weeks. Higgins has the benefit of an offense with a great QB that will almost always be down, but he’s not a priority.
Verdict: Prioritize Jefferson and others, but stash as a high-upside WR3/4 that will ride the bench
Rex Burkhead, RB New England Patriots
You might be surprised to know that Sony Michel had 9 rushes for 117 yards against the Raiders, but it was Rex Burkhead who shone the most in the backfield. He had two touchdowns on the ground and turned 10 targets into 7 catches for 49 yards and a touchdown. Now comes the question of whether or not he’s startable every week. Burkhead is no stranger to big games. In 2016 he had over 140 total yards and two touchdowns, and had a 4-game stretch in 2017 where he scored 6 total TDs. Still, when you look at his game logs he’s not dependable. He’s worth a hail mary flex play once in a blue moon, but the stars rarely align.
Verdict: Fade in all but the deepest leagues
Jeff Wilson Jr., RB San Francisco 49ers
Like the Rams offense, this 49ers offense has been a headache. In a way, almost everyone is producing, but Wilson and Jerrick McKinnon put up their big numbers thanks to their touchdowns and some work in the receiving game against a terrible Giants team. Their next four games include the Eagles, Rams, and Patriots, which does not bode well for rushing potential. Raheem Mostert may come back this week, but if he and McKinnon miss time, Wilson might as well be thrown in your flex.
Verdict: Add in 12+ team leagues, but drop him if Mostert and McKinnon are cleared to play
Jimmy Graham, TE Chicago Bears
As he always does, Jimmy Graham went out and had a day that included multiple touchdowns. It’s hard to tell if this will always be the case. In week one, he had 7 targets but then only one in week 2. This week, he hauled in 6 of his 9 targets for 60 yards and 2 scores. Don’t expect this production every week, I already went over Nick Foles and how much more difficult the schedule gets. Graham is a streamer who may get a slight boost thanks to Foles taking over.
Verdict: Fade but keep him on your watch list
Rodrigo Blankenship, K Indianapolis Colts
A kicker?? Yes, a kicker! The Colts undrafted rookie has had the benefit of a great offense, but is averaging 11 points per week and has only missed two kicks on the year. His 32 total points is tied for second among kickers, only two behind first place Mason Crosby. Blankenship has attempted the second most field goals so far, and that shouldn’t change anytime soon. The Colts offense is good enough to drive down the field, but not elite enough to always finish the job. That’s ideal for kickers. The defense is also stout enough to allow them to sustain leads and be more comfortable taking the field goal rather than pushing for a touchdown. His next game is against a Bears team that should have a strong enough defense to leave the Colts in field goal range. If you’ve been failing at streaming kickers, he’s your guy.
Verdict: Add unless you have one of the elite kickers
Others to consider: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, RB Carlos Hyde, WR Kendrick Bourne, WR Cole Beasley, TE Jordan Akins
Others to fade: QB Carson Wentz, RB Sony Michel, WR Greg Ward, TE Logan Thomas
Why are they still on the waiver wire?: QB Joe Burrow, RB Myles Gaskin, WR Corey Davis, TE T.J. Hockenson