It’s that time again to name the under and overvalued fantasy players heading into week 3. I’m feeling pretty strong coming off a week 2 in which many of my named guys performed in line with my expectations. Injuries decimated many fantasy rosters, so let me help you sift through and find the optimal starters primed to help you bounce back this week.
Jameis Winston, QB Bucs
Believe me, I get it. A very different game tape from week 1 compared with week 2. After dazzling us with 4 touchdown passes, 281 yards, and a 71.9 completion percentage against Atlanta, Winston tanked against Arizona. He threw four interceptions, one touchdown, and ended with a 51.9 completion percentage. I don’t blame owners for being skeptical this week, but his #20 QB ranking against a Rams defense is undershooting the sophomore QB. Expect to see more middle ground this week, as Winston searches for his rhythm and learns from his mistakes in week 2.
Several issues contributed to Winston forcing throws against a strong Arizona defense, including snug coverage on Mike Evans by Patrick Peterson and Doug Martin’s injury. Winston draws the Rams this week, who are no slouch but have only faced Gabbert and a hobbled Russell Wilson. Winston needs to utilize all-purpose back Charles Sims more since Martin will miss several weeks with a hamstring injury and connect with his favorite target Mike Evans (16 targets last week). Over the first two weeks, only Big Ben has thrown more TDs than Winston and he is #6 among QBs for pass attempts. There will be plenty of targets to go around, so I would fire up Sims and Evans and watch for a rebound for Winston.
Willie Snead, WR Saints
Willie Snead received 17 targets through week 2 (20% of overall target share) on a crowded offense and is behind only Kelvin Benjamin in scored fantasy points for wide receivers. This week he faces Atlanta, who gives up the 12th most fantasy points to wide receivers. Snead’s involvement and performance impressed me over the past two weeks, gaining 226 yards on 14 catches and two touchdowns. Many thought rookie Michael Thomas would challenge Snead for the WR2 spot, but Snead looks to hold onto his position if he continues to perform. Thomas is third in targets currently, tied with Coby Fleener.
Currently ranked as #22 WR, Snead is undervalued due to the likelihood that he bests this rank just as he has the past two games (was #4 week 1 and #21 in week 2). Drew Brees threw the 4th most passing attempts and the 3rd most completions in his first two outings and there aren’t many signs that this will slow down. The Saints defense struggled to hold both their 2016 opponents and New Orleans dropped to 0-2 after a close game with the Giants. They look to continue their winning streak against Atlanta (won past 2 years), so fire Snead (and Cooks) up in week 3 and don’t look back.
Tyler Lockett, WR Seahawks
I’ve fielded several questions regarding Lockett this week, so I definitely wanted to emphasize his fantasy value in week 3. Currently ranked as #45 WR, Lockett looks to take advantage of a 49ers secondary that allowed 127 yards and three touchdowns to the Carolina receivers in week 2. Many owners question Lockett’s value due to his slow start in week 1 (3 catches for 17 yards) and his drops. Lockett lead the Seahawks in receiving in week 2, snagging 99 yards on 4 receptions, including a huge 53-yard catch on their last drive. He’s second in targets behind Doug Baldwin with 16, so he definitely has the opportunity to make his fantasy owners proud against a team that allows the 15th most fantasy points to WRs.
Lockett` got banged up a bit (sprained knee) against LA and left the game until returning in the 4th quarter. This indicates that he can at least play through the injury and is probable for week 3. Both he and Baldwin are battling knee issues, but Pete Carroll indicated that both will likely play this weekend. If Baldwin’s recovery hits a snag and he misses time, Lockett receives a major bump. His talent is undeniable and I predict him putting it all together this week against San Francisco. The Seahawks desperately need a leader to step up after a hard loss to the Rams last week and a close game with Miami in week 1. Lockett possesses the big play ability to get this team going, and I think we see a show this week when they need it most.
Will Fuller, WR Texans
Will Fuller is only the second receiver in NFL history to catch 100 receiving yards in his first two NFL games (DeSean Jackson is the other). He’s snagged 9 receptions for 211 yards and one touchdown, yet is being ranked WR#30 heading into week 3. He is currently the #14 fantasy WR and looks to have another strong outing in his match-up this week.
Fuller draws a Patriots defense that allows the 6th most fantasy points to wide receivers and just gave up 100+ yard games to BOTH Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker in week 2. He receives 26% of the overall target share and saw only ONE less target than DeAndre Hopkins over the past two weeks. You have to have all-stars to be benching Will Fuller this week.
TJ Yeldon, RB Jaguars
It hurts me a little to label Yeldon as overvalued this week, but his performance disappointed owners in week 2, to say the least. Seemingly primed to have a huge game against a weak defense and hobbled offense of the Chargers, Yeldon gained just 28 yards on 7 carries and 10 yards on 10 catches. His YPC is an abysmal 2.4 on the season, even with Chris Ivory missing both weeks. You might say, wait, Jen, this matchup with Baltimore is juicy. Isn’t that what we said about the Chargers? Yes, Baltimore just allowed Browns RBs to score a combined 26 fantasy points (200+ all-purpose yards). However, Yeldon’s current ranking of #30, given his stats and the probable return of Chris Ivory, is overreaching in week 3.
Yeldon finished as the #49 fantasy RB in week 2 after Blake Bortles abandoned the run to try to catch up with San Diego. We may see a similar game script this week, as Baltimore gives up the fewest fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and the second fewest to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. They’ve faced only Tyrod Taylor and Josh McCown, so Bortles stands to do better but we could see Ivory get more opportunities to show what he can do after missing the first two weeks. It wouldn’t be hard to improve on Yeldon’s performance and shift this backfield back into a timeshare (or hot hand) as we predicted week 1. Yeldon also received 16 targets in the receiving game and look for those to decrease with Ivory’s return.
James White, RB Patriots
I’m not sure why White is still ranked so high in consensus rankings after ending at RB #45 and #56 in weeks 1 and 2, respectively. My guess is owners may be holding their breath until Tom Brady returns before dropping him, which I can understand. However, White is currently ranked at #40 this week against a Houston defense that gives up the 7th fewest fantasy points to RBs. Blount received most of the carries so far (51) compared to White’s 5, with White receiving all passing down work (7 catches).
With such an uncertain role in the offense at this time and the likelihood that the Patriots offense will struggle with Jacoby Brissett as QB, White isn’t a safe play this week. He’s been efficient when given the opportunity (4.6 YPC and 7.1 average per catch), but it’s hard to trust his usage especially in standard scoring leagues. The match-up is clearly not ideal (Houston #5 fantasy defense this season) and the Patriots may find themselves playing very conservative with Brissett. Look for White to warm your bench until we see the “Brady effect”, but if there is someone better on the waivers, I would feel comfortable dropping him at this point.
Alshon Jeffrey, WR Bears
I may draw some scrutiny for this pick due to a juicy match-up with Dallas; however, Jay Cutler will miss this week due to a thumb injury and Brian Hoyer takes over as starting QB. Though Hoyer completed 9 of 12 passes for 78 yards after replacing Cutler in week 2, my concern is his 6.5 yard average per pass attempt. Alshon Jeffrey is a solid downfield target, with his large 6’3″, 218 lb frame and ability to make contested catches. His average yardage is 22.3 yards per catch. Hoyer most likely will have difficulty throwing the ball downfield or will play more conservatively (most likely using Langford more), which limits Jeffrey’s ceiling this week.
Now, don’t get me wrong, he will get his targets. He currently receives 24% of the overall target share and, though White is getting better, Jeffrey is the most reliable playmaker for the Bears. I just think his upside is not equal to the #7 fantasy WR consensus ranking for week 3. I feel better about guys like Nelson, Cooks, Evans, Benjamin, and Marshall compared to Jeffrey this week.
Coby Fleener, TE Saints
Anyone that watched the Saints over the last two weeks knows that Brees looks for Fleener (12 targets). The other thing that should be apparent is that he does not capitalize on the opportunities given to him. Fleener caught just 3 out of his 12 targets for 35 total yards and zero touchdowns, making his completion percentage an ugly 25%.
With so many successful weapons on his offense, it would make sense for Brees to look more towards Cooks, Snead, and Thomas in future weeks. Currently ranked as TE #13, I wouldn’t expect much from Fleener this week either and believe this ranking is inflated, given his past performances. Fleener hasn’t scored more than 3 fantasy points in standard leagues and is currently #41 fantasy TE after two weeks. No, that wasn’t a typo.
The Saints face a generous Atlanta defense regarding tight ends (give up the 2nd most fantasy points), but I would rather bank on guys like Pitta, Witten, Allen, or Ebron rather than risk another 2 point performance. Fleener’s ceiling is high, but his floor is dangerously low and could cost you the win.
As always, thanks for reading and check out all our great content at thefantasyauthority.com. Goodluck in week 3 and use #AskTFA for any questions you have for the team!