With Dez Bryant hurt and now Ben Roethlisberger sidelined in Pittsburgh, which hurts Antonio Brown, Julio Jones has separated himself as the clear No. 1 wide receiver and arguably the No. 1 overall fantasy asset. To highlight just how crazy good Jones has been, according to Pro Football Focus, he’s been the target on five passes that have gone 20+ yards in the air this season, and he’s secured every one of them for 170 yards and two scores, which is obscenely efficient. Jones has seen 35 targets over the past two contests, and his 34 catches are the most over the first three games of a season in NFL history. Jones is on pace to finish with 181 catches, 2,347 receiving yards and 21 touchdowns. That’s just unfair, especially in PPR formats. As hoped, new OC Kyle Shanahan is getting the most out of this unique talent.
Joseph Randle and Devonta Freeman combined for 214 yards and five touchdowns in the first half. Both were highly impressive, as Freeman got 4.7 YPC with three rushing scores (he broke four tackles Sunday after breaking just 10 all of last year) against a Dallas front seven that had been stuffing the run while also securing all five of his targets for 52 receiving yards. Freeman has underwhelmed throughout his brief career, but he currently leads the NFL with four rushing TDs and should be considered an RB1 as long as Tevin Coleman is sidelined. Meanwhile, Randle did this...Dallas had 28 points at halftime, yet Terrance Williams had zero catches (the same number he would finish the game with)...Brandon Weeden had been 16-for-16 to open the season before getting picked off on his 17th attempt.
Andy Dalton was sacked and committed a turnover for the first times this season, but he’s now up to eight passing touchdowns (and a rushing score) while getting 9.4 YPA. The Ravens secondary has been getting torched, but Dalton looked genuinely impressive Sunday, and it’s entirely possible he’s ready to make a leap during his fifth year in the league. He sure looks like a top-10 fantasy QB right now...This Steve Smith 50-yard TD catch on fourth down was pretty ridiculous. After a quiet second half last season, the 36-year-old looks rejuvenated, as he has 23 catches on 33 targets over the past two games...Jeremy Hill and Justin Forsett, two backs often off the board during the first 15 picks of drafts, combined for 34 yards on 22 carries.
The Colts may have saved their season with their fourth-quarter comeback, but there’s still plenty to be concerned about. This interception by Andrew Luck was awful...Andre Johnson, who failed to haul in his lone target, can seemingly be dropped even in 20-team leagues...Marcus Mariota is on pace to finish with both the most passing yards (4,443) and passing touchdowns (43) by a rookie in NFL history. The latter he would shatter, as Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson currently hold the record with 26. Even when his pace slows once there’s more film on him, Mariota will run more. He looks like a fantasy monster right away.
Luke McCown looked like an upgrade over a hobbled Drew Brees, completing 81.6 percent of his passes while getting 8.1 YPA against a Carolina secondary that entered having allowed an NFL-low 4.4. It sounds as if Brees will be out weeks, but Brandin Cooks’ fantasy value isn’t necessarily dead...It would be hard not to rank Greg Olsen ahead of Jimmy Graham moving forward...Crazy that those who locked in the Panthers at -3.5 early last week, only to see the spread jump all the way to -9.5 by game time after the Brees news, would’ve still lost had the Saints gotten the two-point conversion late in the fourth.
Derek Carr had huge home/road splits during his rookie campaign, but he was great in Cleveland, getting 9.8 YPA with two touchdowns and zero turnovers or sacks. He’s quickly starting to look like a true franchise quarterback...The Browns don’t have a single relevant fantasy player...Amari Cooper lost a fumble, but I’d treat him as a top-12 fantasy wide receiver right now.
What a cruel joke making Chris Ivory active only to play him zero snaps. Not cool Jets...Brandon Marshall put up another big line, but this lost fumble was the biggest blunder of Week 3...Of course Ryan Mathews lost a fumble, but he otherwise impressed as Philadelphia’s lead back. He’d be an RB1 as long as DeMarco Murray is sidelined.
Brutal Ben Roethlisberger injury to an offense that had its sights set on breaking records. The downgrade to Michael Vick is massive...If there was a worse drop Sunday than Lance Kendricks’, I missed it...Nick Foles didn’t exactly light up this suspect Steelers secondary as many who went cheap at QB in DFS had hoped...Better days are ahead for Todd Gurley.
After leading the team with 14 carries and seeing eight targets last week, I fully expected Chris Polk to be Houston’s lead back. Instead, Alfred Blue rose from the dead and rumbled for 139 yards on 31 rushing attempts. It should all be moot when Arian Foster hopefully returns in Week 4...Kyle Brindza went 1-for-4 on field goal tries and missed his lone extra point attempt in a truly epic performance (although to be fair his make came from 58 yards)...Mike Evans saw 17 targets and looks healthy. He should be treated as a top-12 WR moving forward.
LeGarrette Blount went from not touching the ball until the middle of the second quarter to finishing with three rushing scores. His weekly fantasy value will be especially dependent upon game flow, but it’s hard not to expect the Patriots often playing with leads, as this offense appears unstoppable...New England racked up 51 points, yet somehow Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman didn’t score...No question I’d rather own Tom Brady than Andrew Luck moving forward...T.J. Yeldon is on pace to finish with 299 touches. And just 1,024 total yards with zero touchdowns.
Headlines of the Week: Woman Leaps From Car After Spotting Spider, Leading To Crash...7-Foot, 440-Pound High School Lineman Is A Nightmare For Opponents...Stolen Diamond Ring Found Inside Alleged Thief...Man ‘With Things To Do’ Charged With Calling In Bomb Threat To Get Out Of Court.
Adrian Peterson scored for the first time in his last seven games and then did so again later, this time in impressive fashion...He’s totaled 318 yards over the last two games, and it’s scary to think he claims he’s still not back to his old self yet. I was skeptical of Peterson as the No. 1 pick at age 30 coming off a lost season, but he’s more than proved worthy...It’s not often you’ll see a team win 31-14 with its quarterback getting 5.0 YPA with a 0:1 TD:INT ratio and a 50.9 QB Rating, but Minnesota accomplished the feat Sunday...Melvin Gordon was criticized for his inability to hit holes during the preseason, but he’s been just fine so far. Instead, just like last year, the inept San Diego run blocking has been the biggest culprit preventing Gordon from producing much fantasy value...What has happened to Charles Johnson?...Keenan Allen saw four targets in Week 2. He’s averaged 17.5 during the other two games.
I’ve always been a Colin Kaepernick apologist, but there are really no more excuses to make. The offensive line is shaky, and Kap is a terrific runner and athlete, but he simply can’t pass and hasn’t developed. His performance Sunday was one of the ugliest you’ll ever see, throwing four picks and missing wide-open receivers. Tyrann Mathieu actually said this postgame: “Their passing game has been simplified so much, it was easy for us to anticipate routes.” The Niners might be two-touchdown underdogs at home in Week 4...After shutting down Adrian Peterson in Week 1, San Francisco has allowed five rushing scores to DeAngelo Williams and Chris Johnson, who are a combined 62 years old and totaled one touchdown all of last season.
Police Blotter: Elderly Costco Shopper Punched In Fight Over Nutella Samples...Drunken Collegian Jumped In Squad Car, Asked Cop For Ride To His Dorm...Man Set His Car Ablaze To Keep It From Being Towed...Thief Took Amp From Shelf, Pawned It At Same Shop...Man Steals Lottery Ticket Dispenser, Gets Arrested When He Goes Back To Same Store To Cash A Winner.
Fred Jackson owners would’ve been happy if they were told Marshawn Lynch saw just five carries in a blowout victory, yet FJax was given just two, as both took a backseat to rookie Thomas Rawls...The Bears punted on all 10 of their possessions, as Jimmy Clausen is now 1-11 as a starter in his career.
After setting a franchise record with 160 straight passes without an interception, Ryan Tannehill was picked off three times on his next 13 attempts...You have to be pretty concerned if you’re a LeSean McCoy or Lamar Miller owner. Karlos Williams, meanwhile, looks like the real deal...Tyrod Taylor has been the biggest revelation over the first three games of the season. He’s shown surprising touch while completing 74.4 percent of his passes and getting 9.4 YPA with a 7:3 TD:INT ratio (despite a gimpy Sammy Watkins), adding 96 yards and a score on the ground. He looks legit.
Longread of the Week: The Fermi Paradox
If it wasn’t already, it’s officially time to panic about C.J. Anderson, who in no way can be trusted to start at this time. What a disaster...Matthew Stafford was sacked four times and committed three turnovers, while Joique Bell and Ameer Abdullah were held to 29 yards on 18 carries. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson managed just 5.9 YPT. This Denver defense is terrifying.