Fluke or Truth: Week 3 Overperformers
Author: Matt Gifford
Welcome back to Fluke or Truth! Another week into the NFL season and another week of analyzing some of the largest fantasy performances to understand the repeatability and likelihood of similar performances in future games. With bye weeks now in the mix, it’s important to know which player’s performances you can trust. Let’s take a look at some Week 3 top fantasy scorers to determine whether they are the real deal.
Daniel Jones (NYG): 23/36, 336 yards, 2 Pass TDs, 4 car, 28 yards, 2 Rush TDs - 32.24 points
When Roger Goodell stepped up to the podium to announce the Giants’ sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, many fans were mind blown and up in arms against the selection. Since then, there has been nothing but good news for the development and skill set of Daniel Jones and it continues with his comeback performance versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones finished Sunday as the first rookie quarterback in the Super Bowl Era with a performance of 300+ yards, 2+ passing touchdowns and 2+ rushing touchdowns. Additionally, he can now boast a tie for the second largest comeback by a quarterback making their first career start. Although the touchdowns are likely not repeatable and Saquon Barkley has a confirmed high ankle sprain, there is a lot of promise for the rookie moving forward. With the state of the Giants defense and the strong matchups in the coming weeks, the Giants will be in many passing situations, offering Jones plenty of chances to shine again. Furthermore, Jones has already began to develop a connection with Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram, Darius Slayton made quite an appearance with a large catch in his debut and Golden Tate will finish his suspension as he enters the fray in Week 5. Therefore, Daniel Jones will have all the options he needs to be successful.
Mark Ingram (BAL): 16 car, 103 yards, 4 rec, 32 yards, 3 TD - 33.5 points
Sunday’s Week 3 matchup between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs gave us a preview of what a possible playoff matchup could look like this season. Mark Ingram led the game as the top fantasy scorer and has continued to remain as one of the top scoring running backs so far this season. But, Ingram has been in a very comfortable situation through the first three weeks of play and this will likely change. First off, we know that touchdowns aren't predictable and three scores is an outlier, so this is far from an expectation in the coming weeks. Additionally, all four of the Ravens’ touchdowns this week came on the ground compared to only two of ten in the other previous matchups. Ingram has also had the opportunity to take advantage of the pace of the Ravens play. Right now, the Ravens currently lead the league with an average of 74.3 plays per game of which much can be attributed to the abysmal Dolphins defense and the speed that the Cardinals employ. This will decline as the season advances and the Ravens face tougher defenses. Expect Ingram’s rank to take a hit in the coming weeks, especially if Lamar Jackson becomes more active in the run game.
Phillip Lindsay (DEN): 21 car, 81 yards, 4 rec, 49 yards, 2 TD - 27.0 points
Phillip Lindsay's performance this week was in all ways the definition of a statistical outlier. Throughout his performance on Sunday versus the Green Bay Packers, Lindsay recorded career-highs in carries, receiving yards and tied his career-high for touchdowns. This game provides fantasy owners with a great example of what Philip Lindsay’s ceiling looks like. During Lindsay’s rookie season, we witness this level of play from him twice in the 16 games. One of the largest concerns to Lindsay’s role in the Broncos’ offense, which has continued to prove itself this season, is Royce Freeman. Currently, the two Broncos running backs are on an even timeshare for carries with Lindsay recording 45 carries over the first three games while Freeman has 36 carries. Another point for concern is that Lindsay has yet to rush for over ten yards in any of his 45 carries this season. One of the important skills you want in the running backs on your fantasy team is explosiveness and the ability to break long plays. Philip Lindsay has yet to show that this season. Facing some tough matchups in the coming weeks and with the state of this Broncos offense, game scripts will likely be stacked against him moving forward. At this point, he is at best a FLEX play in your fantasy roster.
Mike Evans (TB): 8 rec, 190 yards, 3 TDs - 41.0 points
One of the most awaited performances of the season was Mike Evans against the New York Giants defense. After two disappointing weeks of production and an early scare for fantasy owners, Evans posted the second best fantasy performance for a wide receiver this season. With 15 targets in the game, Evans was the focal point in the Buccaneers’ offense and proved why he is a fantasy WR1. Despite his astounding display, there are a lot of other factors to consider with Evans’ production moving forward. First off, Evans was facing off against the Giants secondary which is the worst rated pass defense after the first three games of this season. Janoris Jenkins looked lost in man-to-man coverage, leaving Evans with plenty of space to do whatever he pleased. Additionally, after two straight week of nothing but Godwin in this offense, he was almost non-existent, posting only 5.5 points in Half PPR scoring. Also, let’s not forget the boom or bust nature of Jameis Winston at the QB position. As we move into Week 4, expect an even spread of targets between Evans and Godwin where they will likely alternate weeks as the best play depending on the matchup and scheming.
Keenan Allen (LAC): 13 rec, 183 yards, 2 TDs - 37.1 points
Keenan Allen is at the top of the list for quick starts to the beginning of the 2019 NFL season. Allen is currently the league's lead wide receiver with the most catches, receiving yardage and targets. With the next closest receiver being Michael Thomas with 33 targets, Allen has an astounding 43 targets from Philip Rivers. Additionally, Hunter Henry, one of Allen's only competitors for targets, suffered a tibia plateau fracture to his left knee after only one week of play and has a complicated timetable moving forward. Furthermore, the Chargers defense have suffered multiple injuries which will push Los Angeles into more shootout scenarios, giving more opportunities for Allen to succeed. With the Chargers traveling to Miami this week to take on the winless Dolphins, Allen is primed and ready for another monster week.
Greg Olsen (CAR): 6 rec, 75 yards, 2 TDs - 22.5 points
Over the past two weeks, Carolina Panthers fans and fantasy owners alike are excited to see the return of the old Greg Olsen we remember. Over the past two seasons the 13 year veteran has faced reoccurring foot injuries that have severely limited his playing time and production. Before the injury, Olsen recorded three straight 1,000 yard seasons but has been held to a collective 482 yards over the past two years. Now healthy, Olsen has picked up where he left off, garnering an average of eight targets per game this season. Regardless of whether it is Can Newton or Kyle Allen throwing him the ball, it appears that he will remain as one of the go-to players on this offense. Another factor which adds to Greg Olsen's value is his touchdown upside. Throughout the majority of his career, he has take his place as the favored red zone target and that doesn't look to change. Whether his performance is 70 yards between the 30s or limited production with a few scores, Olsen will provide the value needed at tight end.
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