In this article I will highlight the most important thing (fantasy wise) that stood out to me from each team that played on Sunday each week.
New Orleans Saints: Welcome back Michael Thomas- Michael Thomas was basically written-off after a rough start to the season but do people not realize he played Minnesota and New England to start the year? Thomas hung 7-87-1 on a really good Carolina secondary on the road and has hopefully played himself back into the good graces of fantasy owners.
Carolina Panthers: Cam is not Cam- Cam Newton finished 17-26 for 167 yards and no touchdowns at home against the worst secondary in the league. Re-read that statement. Sure, Kelvin Benjamin left the game with an injury but Cam has not looked right all season. HIs fantasy value already takes a hit now that he isn't running as much, and he refuses to throw it farther than 10 yards down the field. I wasn't on Cam Newton last week, and it's safe to say we can all wait to fire up Cam in DFS going forward.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive woes- The Buccaneers are really banged up on defense right now and we need to treat them as such going forward. Kwon Alexander, Gerald McCoy and now Lavonte David. Yes, they were on the road but they got whooped by Case Keenum and it was a bit eye opening.
Minnesota Vikings: #TeamDalvinCook- The absence of Sam Bradford had no affect on Cook in week three as he put 169 all-purpose yards and a touchdown on the Bucs. He carried the ball 27 times and no other Viking back registered more than 2 carries. He is going to be a volume whore going forward as long as Bradford is out especially.
Denver Broncos: Jamaal Charles?- Jamaal Charles out-carried C.J. Anderson 9-8 and I think it shows that Anderson's value gets severely hurt in close games. I will be curious to see if this trend continues when the Broncos aren't up and grinding out the clock.
Buffalo Bills: Where is the fantasy appeal on this team?- The Bills won a game albeit against a strong Broncos defense and not one of their players had a good enough fantasy game to make me interested. Tyrod Taylor was efficient and had 213 yards passing with 2 TD's. He has some fantasy appeal in the right matchup but I'm still not really enthused with any of these Bills players.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Le'Veon Bell still adjusting- Bell still didn't look fully like himself Sunday but he had a good fantasy day totaling 98 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. The Bears quietly have a solid front seven and I will continue to ride Bell in DFS going forward.
Chicago Bears: Jordan Howard troll of the century- Of course! I mean literally the worst possible play of the whole slate and he goes off. His role decreasing, banged up and a bad matchup and he trots out there and goes 138 and 2 scores on the Steelers. I think it's obvious to see that the bulk of the work will never be Tarik Cohen's (due to size mainly). I'll chalk that one up to #variance.
Miami Dolphins: Is Jay Ajayi hurt?- We heard all week about Jay Ajayi's knee yet he was always fully expected to play. He came out Sunday and hurt his wrist as well, but finished the game with 11 carries for 16 yards...yes that's 1.5 YPC. It's only one game, but this is a guy who had knee issues in College and it is definitely something to monitor going forward.
New York Giants: Odell is back!- In the words of Anthony Carson "We've seen this movie before." If you watched our week three #GoodKarma podcast breaking down every NFL game you most likely would of played Odell in DFS. OBJ wasn't listed on the final injury report and put up 9-79-2 on an Eagles defense that everyone was in on for DFS. It's safe to say he's baaaaack.
Philadelphia Eagles: Backfield hell- Darren Sproles broke his arm AND tore his ACL on the same play Sunday (ouch?) but that still didn't provide any clarity on the Eagles backfield situation. Wendall Smallwood led the running backs in snaps (57%), Corey Clement scored and Legarrette Blount came back into the mix. Just fade going forward, there's no reason trying to guess there.
Atlanta Falcons: Devonta Freeman's new role- With Steve Sarkisian now running the offense and Devonta Freeman getting a huge contract in the offseason most of us were expecting him to be the workhorse for this team this season. In week one, the touches between Freeman and Tevin Coleman were fairly close, but it has changed since then. Freeman has over 70% of the Falcons touches out of the backfield in each of the last two games, he averaged 60% last season. Freeman seems to have cemented his role as the lead guy going forward and we need to treat him as such.
Detroit Lions: Too many mouths to feed?- The Lions have quickly become one of the most respectable offenses in the NFL on the shoulders of Matt Stafford. 8 different guys racked up receptions for the Lions and while Golden Tate will always have a role in this offense it does hurt some of the other guys and is of note.
Houston Texans: Deshaun Watson is a baller- Remember when people said Deshaun Watson was a bust after his first NFL start on a short week on the road? Oh yeah, me too. Watson silenced his critics (which is what he's done his whole life) again on Sunday as he almost took down Tom Brady and the Patriots IN FOXBORO. He made some typical rookie mistakes, but finished with 301 yards and 2 TD's. He can play, just give him some time.
New England Patriots: Don't forget about Cooks- Just when people were ready to write-off the Patriots new toy he came out on Sunday and put up 5-131-2 on the Texans. People forget that he had a tough matchup in week one yet still should of had 2 scores and then the Saints and Marshon Lattimore did everything they possibly could to not let him beat them. Cooks is almost a must play when facing slow corners and he showed it in week three.
Cleveland Browns: The Duke- I talked about this exact thing on our week three #GoodKarma podcast. With Corey Coleman on IR, Rashard Higgins is getting thrust into an expanded role for the Browns and he plays mainly from the slot. With him playing there, that moves Duke Johnson back to running back and the Browns simply need people that can catch the football flat out and that gives Duke the advantage over Isaiah Crowell. The Browns also were trailing and threw the ball almost 50 times! Hue Jackson loves to throw and that helps Duke Johnson as much as anyone.
Indianapolis Colts: TY Hilton is alive- Like Cooks and Thomas, people were ready to write-off TY Hilton after two weeks of football. The knee-jerk reactions when it come to the NFL are always hilarious to me. This guy had SCOTT TOLZIEN throwing him the ball in week one and while Jacoby Brissett is a drastic upgrade he still has been with the team for a month. Hilton shredded the Browns for 7-153-1 and will the chemistry between him and Brissett will only grow over the coming weeks.
Seattle Seahawks: Russ revitalized- The Seahawks lost to the Titans on Sunday but Russ Wilson's fantasy owners did not. Wilson posted 373 yards with 4 touchdowns and looked good for the first time this season. Wilson is a notoriously slow starter although Doug Baldwin is headed for an MRI on his groin so monitor that situation this week.
Tennessee Titans: What is going on in their backfield?- All week we heard that DeMarco Murray was hurt with the same hamstring injury that plagued him in the preseason. There was doubt up until Sunday whether or not Murray would even play then he comes out and plays on 65% of the snaps. I'm not really sure what's going on there, but if Murray is hurt they need to sit him out a few games.
Kansas City Chiefs: Feed Kareem- I will continue to hype this guy up because he has simply been the best running back in the NFL this season and it is not even close. Hunt put up 172 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries against the Chargers on Sunday and a late 69 yards scamper into the end zone sealed the Chargers fate. At one point this guy was averaging 8.8 YPC but only had 10 carries in the game, all I can do is ask Andy Reid to PLEASE FEED HIM.
Los Angeles Chargers: Antonio Gates isn't going away yet- Many thought that Gates would take the back seat to Hunter Henry after he caught his record setting touchdown last week. Henry played 41 snaps on Sunday compared to Gates' 40 and Henry didn't see a target. This situation is too murky for me at the moment to have any interest.
Cincinnati Bengals: Bill Lazor effect- Joe Mixon carried the ball 17 times on Sunday, 11 more than any other Bengal. Lazor seems to have his mind set on getting the promising rookie more work going forward and that's great news.
Green Bay Packers: Moaaar TyMont- I mean, what's not to like? There were reports that the Packers would "lighten" Montgomery's workload this week yet he came out 66/70 snaps. He has played 32 more snaps than any other running back this year (via: PFF) and he is simply the Volume King.
Oakland Raiders: Marshawn Lynch workload- Beast Mode carried the ball just 6 times on Sunday night and his workload has decreased in all three weeks. They clearly are saving him for later on in the year and that really hurts his fantasy value for the time being.
Washington Redskins: Chris Thompson- Chris Thompson looked exceptional AGAIN on Sunday night rushing for 38 yards and hauling in 6 balls for 150 yards and a touchdown. CT was exceptional in the preseason when Reed was out so definitely keep an eye on that situation going forward. Regardless, he has carved out a role in this offense.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)