New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
On a day in which an NFL-record 20 quarterbacks who were 26 years old or younger started, Daniel Jones stood out, leading the Giants to their first win of the season. The Danny Dimes era couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start, as the rookie QB threw for 336 yards (9.3 YPA) and four touchdowns against an improved Tampa Bay defense that entered with the highest blitz rate in the NFL and allowing just 6.4 YPA with one passing TD on the year. Jones lost two fumbles and wasn’t perfect, but his mobility provided a stark difference to Eli Manning’s, and the Giants’ offense scored 22 second-half points despite losing Saquon Barkley.
Jones had some not pretty stats in college and was considered a reach by most at pick No. 6, but he was extremely impressive throughout the preseason, and Pat Shurmur’s system is QB-friendly. Jones’ running ability isn’t a fluke (he rushed for 17 touchdowns in three years during college), and it’s what makes him interesting in fantasy terms right away. Jones’ move into the starting lineup is huge news for all of New York’s offense, increasing the value of Sterling Shepard while making Wayne Gallman a far more attractive free agent add now that Barkley reportedly could miss several weeks with a high ankle sprain.
Evan Engram is another beneficiary, as he put up a monster game, pulled down this one-handed catch and would be worth a third-round pick in a fantasy draft today. He and Shepard are going to be extra busy with Barkley sidelined.
The loss of Barkley is brutal to fantasy gamers, and it’s especially cruel knowing his stacked boxes were about to become less frequent now that he has a capable quarterback sharing the backfield with him. But Giants fans aren’t complaining quite as loud now that Danny Dimes is upon us.
On the other side, Jameis Winston had his best game of the season with 380 yards (10.3 YPA) and three TD strikes to Mike Evans, who absolutely erupted for 190 yards on 15 targets, as Janoris Jenkins was often helpless in one-on-one coverage. O.J. Howard finished third among tight ends in air yards this week, so he’s got a pulse still. Ronald Jones also outplayed Peyton Barber, and let’s hope the former continues to get more work.
It was nice to see Tampa Bay’s offense get going, but they won’t often be playing a team without a pass rush like New York (to go along with its inexperienced secondary), but the Bucs’ offense completely disappeared in the second half, scoring just three points. They have an upcoming road tilt against a tough Rams defense.
Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs
This game had the highest total of the week, but poor weather and a 6-0 first quarter had it looking like a defensive battle before things opened up. Lamar Jackson lost the battle with Patrick Mahomes but ran for his first score of the year despite Mark Ingram adding three rushing TDs himself … Only three times has a quarterback opened the season with at least three TD passes without a pick in the first three games, and they are Peyton Manning (2010) and Mahomes this year and last. Mahomes is unreal and looks like the exception to the rule on waiting for QBs even in leagues that aren’t Superflex … Marquise Brown finished second only to Mike Evans in air yards this week, which is certainly encouraging moving forward … Demarcus Robinson’s one-handed touchdown grab was nice, while Justin Tucker’s crazy onside kick attempt saved Baltimore a timeout … Darrell Williams obviously needs to be added in all leagues and has massive potential should KC’s backfield injuries persist. He’s clearly the RB to have over Darwin Thompson and legitimately has top-10 type upside if LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams were out.
Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers
The winless Broncos haven’t recorded a sack (or a turnover) this season, while Joe Flacco has already been sacked 11 times … Royce Freeman lost a couple of goal-line carries while dealing with an injury, but the backfield committee remains in Denver … Everyone rostering Davante Adams can simply write this one off to facing Chris Harris, while Marquez Valdes-Scantling benefitted and continues to creep into WR2 territory (he finished third in WOPR this week). Green Bay’s passing attack is set up to get right in a home matchup Thursday against Philadelphia’s inviting secondary.
Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz badly missed his top wide receivers and now gets to travel during a short week to face a vastly improved Packers defense that’s recorded 12 sacks with a 1:4 TD:INT ratio to open the season … Nelson Agholor had just 17 yards with a lost fumble at halftime but bounced back with two scores afterward, while Miles Sanders notably had two fumbles (losing one) after having the highest fumble rate in college football last season … Kenny Golladay busted in a highly favorable situation, but Marvin Jones came through, while Kerryon Johnson’s goal-line TD saved a day that otherwise featured just 36 yards on 20 carries and one lonely target.
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills
The leading receivers in this game were Dawson Knox and Audren Tate, and the leading rusher was a 36-year-old … Josh Allen is fun and developing faster and better than could’ve been reasonably expected, and Buffalo’s defense is legit, but it’s safe to be skeptical of the Bills’ 3-0 start. It’s a matchup of undefeated teams when Buffalo hosts New England in Week 4.
Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts’ offense struggled badly after T.Y. Hilton departed, and his status will be important for the whole offense moving forward. Parris Campbell and Deon Cain don’t seem ready to step up … Devonta Freeman still hasn’t scored but rebounded with 5.5 YPC while seeing four targets and Ito Smith leave with a concussion ... Another week, another trip to the end zone for Touchdown Julio … This Atlanta defense appears to defend running backs as receivers far better than their league-worst unit last year.
Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings
Kirk Cousins is averaging 15.5 pass attempts in two home games this season (both wins), and while Adam Thielen scored twice (thanks to a goal-line carry), he and Stefon Diggs combined for just eight targets, and they are both going to have an awfully hard time meeting their ADPs given Minnesota’s play-calling that’s dated back to the second half of last season. Cousins struggled badly last week from a clean pocket, so it was nice to see him bounce back, although it was all in a hitter’s count … Darren Waller is a beast and has secured 26-of-29 targets this season, although he’s still searching for his first score.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots
The Jets somehow covered in this game thanks to two defensive/special teams touchdowns in the final 16 minutes, but New England’s D continues to impress. They’ve yielded an NFL-low 5.2 YPA and have yet to allow a touchdown this season. In fact, the Pats’ defense has ceded just one TD in the first half of their last eight games. Their next three are against the Bills, Redskins, and Giants … After going 49-of-50 on extra points last season, Stephen Gostkowski has missed three already … The departure of Antonio Brown is an obvious upgrade for Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman, but Phillip Dorsett is now a must-have as well. He’s shown real signs of a breakout and is now looking at an opportunity again, making him a fine flex option and one injury away from being a major fantasy difference-maker.
Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys covered the massive spread, but Dallas was up just 10-6 at halftime, and that was with Miami missing a field goal, losing a fumble at the goal line and failing on an onside kick attempt, so this game was in doubt for too long for the many who used Dallas in Survivor this week … Preston Williams is emerging as the only interesting fantasy property in Miami, while it might be worth making sure the person with Ezekiel Elliott in your league still values him properly as a top-five commodity … Amari Cooper was matched up a lot with Xavien Howard and had a bad drop but turned his other six targets into six catches for 88 yards and two scores, while Randall Cobb had a 74-yard touchdown wiped out by a holding penalty.
Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals
In what projected as this week’s fastest-paced game, 58 points didn’t disappoint, although Kyler Murray did with just 4.0 YPA and eight sacks taken (at least he started running, adding 69 rushing yards). Kyle Allen, meanwhile, was a huge upgrade over Cam Newton, getting 10.0 YPA with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio. It was against a very beatable Arizona secondary, but it was also hard not to be impressed with Allen, who’s going to be a big help to the fantasy values of Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, and Greg Olsen … David Johnson’s YPC remains a concern, but this TD was nice … Christian McCaffrey has moves … Larry Fitzgerald recorded back-to-back 100-yard games to start a season for the first time in his career and found the end zone, while Christian Kirk saw 12 targets and is a buy-low candidate (although he dropped a beautiful dime from Murray on Sunday).
New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks
Alvin Kamara certainly didn’t miss Drew Brees this game, although it was an odd one that featured two defensive/special teams touchdowns by New Orleans, and this Seattle D hasn’t looked great … Tyler Lockett had a monster game (14-11-154-1), while DK Metcalf continues to ball … Chris Carson lost yet another fumble (and left a bunch of yards on the field Sunday) and even ceded a goal-line carry to C.J. Prosise as a result. Rashaad Penny’s injury in practice was very unfortunate timing for those rostering him.
Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers
Keenan Allen had one of the week’s biggest performances, while Deshaun Watson overcame a big disadvantage up front to throw for 351 yards (10.3 YPA) and avoided taking at least three sacks for the first time in 12 games … Jordan Akins is the last man standing at tight end for Houston, and his two touchdowns Sunday put him on the fantasy radar. He’s a good athlete, and the Texans could continue struggling to run the ball like they did Sunday with their O-line and are sure to suffer injuries at wide receiver.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers
This was an ugly game highlighted by six fumbles, although it’s tough to judge Mason Rudolph and James Conner during their first action without Ben Roethlisberger on the road against a San Francisco defense that’s played extremely well this season … Jeff Wilson Jr. became the first player in franchise history to score two touchdowns during their first two games with San Francisco ... The 49ers had their first three-and-out of the season in the second half, and Sunday marked the first time since 1998 that the team won a game in which they committed five turnovers and also started a season 3-0. Will they just let me cash my 49ers to win the Super Bowl ticket now?
Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland Browns
Jared Goff threw multiple TDs on the road for the first time since Nov. 4 with Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks seeing a whopping 32 of his 38 targets. Kupp scored twice and has emerged as the clear preferred LA receiver to roster thanks to his usage in the red zone … Baker Mayfield could definitely play better, but he’s dealing with a poor offensive line, and there’s little doubt coaching remains a big problem in Cleveland … Nick Chubb had a TD run taken away by a shaky penalty and watched the Browns call four straight pass plays from first-and-goal at the four-yard line with all of their timeouts remaining at the end of the game. Chubb did encouragingly see seven targets, but his next two matchups (@Bal and @SF) aren’t easy … Todd Gurley was given a season-low 14 touches and managed just 3.1 YPC against a Browns defense that entered allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs.