Washington‘s offense is No. 6 in yardage, but tied for No. 19 in points. The Los Angeles Rams average 4.5 points per game, but have a 1-1 record. The New England Patriots are 3-0 without Tom Brady, having beaten a pair of prospective playoff teams.
The entire NFL is in complete Disarray.
Despite the curious happenings, though, the world of fantasy football remains largely untainted. Fantasy surprises that do exist include the Minnesota Vikings‘ top fantasy defense (16.5 points per game) and Melvin Gordon having rushed for three touchdowns in two weeks after not doing so at all in 14 games a season ago.
Toeing the line between risk and security, here are Week 3’s “locks” and “flyers.”
The Atlanta Falcons average 29.5 points per game (No. 6), their quarterback Matt Ryan ($8,500) is fantasy football’s highest scoring player. And this week they face a New Orleans Saints defense that allows a third-most 336 yards per game. Despite his high value, Ryan comes with a lower salary than five other quarterbacks. “Matty Ice” is a more-than-safe bet.
If you prefer to fill the quarterback position with a value pick, Marcus Mariota ($7,700) offers exactly that when he and the Tennessee Titans play host to the Oakland Raiders‘ league-worst pass defense. Case Keenum ($6,700) is also worth consideration.
Jerick McKinnon ($5,300) was moved to the No. spot on the Vikings depth chart when Adrian Peterson underwent knee surgery. While his matchup against the Carolina Panthers offers rough odds, Minnesota will get some garbage offensive possessions. Getting 12 to 15 points for his low salary will put users in position to run a deep receiver corps.
The Cincinnati Bengals have allowed a league-high 138 yards per game. In Week 3 they face the Denver Broncos, who couple an unproven quarterback with a resurgent C.J. Anderson, who has shredded a pair of stout defenses, including the Panthers.
Like his teammate McKinnon, Vikings wide out Stefon Diggs ($6,400) will get some garbage-time touches. Unlike his teammate, he will make an impact when the game is still in the balance.
Aaron Rodgers takes losses personally. He also torches the Detroit Lions, averaging more than 250 yards and about two touchdowns through the air in 14 career games against the divisional opponents. Translation: Jordy Nelson ($8,300) is primed for a monster day against the NFL’s seventh-worst pass defense.
Young signal caller Dak Prescott found out in Week 2 that Jason Witten ($6,000) is an excellent safety blanket. Moving forward, expect the veteran’s ceiling to remain high — though, not quite the 14 of a week ago — and given his reliable hands and run-after-the-catch ability, he is an a great value play.
The Seattle Seahawks offense has struggled to find an identity in the absence of Marshawn Lynch. Now, with Russell Wilson hobbled by a nagging ankle injury, a matchup with a tough San Francisco 49ers defense ($4,000) one week after scoring just three points against the Los Angeles Rams, things will get tougher.
It’s a something of a dangerous play, given the emotions this game will induce, but the 49ers could be the sneaker of the week.
QB: Matt Ryan
RB1: C.J. Anderson
RB2: Theo Riddick
WR1: Jordy Nelson
WR2: Larry Fitzgerald
WR3: Stefon Diggs
TE: Jason Witten
Kicker: Justin Tucker
D: San Francisco 49ers
Other notable streamers
Dolphins running back Kenyan Drake makes for an intriguing option if Arian Foster is inactive Sunday. He was Miami’s third round draft selection this year, and was Alabama’s second option only because Derrick Henry dominated.
It’s unclear whether Jay Ajayi will receive the bulk of the touches, or if Drake will take over, but the latter is more talented and a much better option in the passing game. Going against the Browns, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where the Fins get ahead early and run the ball for most of the second half.
Phillip Dorsett is another very talented player getting a major boost from the injury of another. Dorsett was primarily a deep threat in college, which fits what the Colts do, but can also run quick slants and underneath routes across the interior of a defense. There’s bust potential, but the upside is enough to warrant some of the risk.
Worst case is that Dorsett finishes with 50 yards on five catches. Best case, 200 yards on something like 6 receptions, with a pair of touchdowns.