The third week of the fantasy football season did not pass through without its bumps in the road as we saw Christian McCaffrey and A.J. Brown injure their Hamstrings and Dalvin Cook’s Ankle injury was worse than originally anticipated, but those who backed him up by drafting Alexander Mattison were rewarded after Cook was declared inactive. Speaking of rewards, fantasy players who were patient in regards to Justin Herbert, Saquon Barkley, James Robinson and Tyler Higbee got rewarded with a good amount of production. Justin Fields was far from impressive in his first career start and now the Bears are in a musical chairs situation in regards to who will be starting at QB making Allen Robinson investors very nervous. Speaking of nervousness, how about Jonathan Taylor investors after another underwhelming performance? With more data behind these players as we enter the fourth week of the fantasy football season, here are the latest stock watch candidates when it comes to the immediate future of fantasy football.
Tom Brady, TB QB
Without having much of an effective run-game, the 44-year old Brady has been taking matters into his own hands and he’s thrown more passes than any other QB thus far this season and he’s completing nearly 69 percent of his passes. Brady has thrown more touchdowns than any other QB thus far with 10. He hasn’t thrown an interception since the first week of the season and upcoming this week is a match up against the Patriots and while I’m not much of a narrative guy, with the way things ended between Brady and the Patriots, expect him to be salty coming into this game (not like he even needs any extra motivation). After being drafted in the seventh and eighth rounds of fantasy football drafts, Brady has more fantasy points than any other QB. He even rushed in a score in week three. The Buccaneers don’t have the luxury to hand the ball over to their ground-game and even when they have leads as the season continues, Brady will continue to throw to his many weapons.
Matthew Stafford, LAR QB
We go from one veteran QB to another as Stafford has been even more efficient throwing the ball than Brady by completing over 70 percent of his passes which is top 10 among quarterbacks who have played at least three games. He’s thrown nine touchdown passes and only one interception. He’s been a top five fantasy QB thus far and he was being drafted later than Brady in the eighth and ninth rounds of drafts. Despite him throwing just 94 passes, he’s been able to eclipse 30 fantasy points in two of three weeks in leagues that give you six points for a passing touchdown from QB’s. Only four other quarterbacks have thrown for more yards than Stafford. His next match up is against the Cardinals and soon after he faces Detroit, Houston and Tennessee and we should expect his passing attempts to rise. The Rams have a banged up run-game as well with Cam Akers lost for the year and Darrell Henderson banged up.
Mike Williams, LAC RB
Keenan Allen may have more targets than him, but Williams is certainly out-performing him in fantasy football thus far. Both Allen and Williams are top five in targets received thus far. Williams has caught 22 balls for 295 yards. Cooper Kupp is the only Wide Receiver that has more touchdowns than Williams. He’s been targeted no fewer than nine times per game and he’s scored in all three weeks. Williams strong start to the season should continue as the Chargers host the Raiders next who have allowed 72 points to be scored on them and we saw two Dolphins catch double-digit passes against them in Week 3. He averages nearly 13.5 yards per catch and over 98 receiving yards per game. Only five other receivers average more receiving yards per game. Williams also currently ranks in the top 15 when it comes to yards after catching the ball as he sits with 109 yards in that department.
Jonathan Taylor, IND RB
If the one positive about Taylor through three weeks of the fantasy football season is that he rushed for 6.4 yards per carry against a bad Titans defense, we have a problem. Against the Seahawks and Rams the previous two weeks, Taylor was useless on the ground rushing for fewer than 3.5 yards per carry in both weeks. After catching six of seven passes in the first week of the season, he’s been targeted four times in his last two games. The other issue is at that he’s not even on the field for half of the Colts offensive plays. Carson Wentz health isn’t doing him any favors, but Taylor registered for less than 50 percent of the Colts snaps in both Week 2 and Week 3. Why? This is a player who ran for five yards per carry and scored 11 rushing touchdowns last year and through three games he hasn’t scored. Nyheim Hines out-snapped Taylor on Sunday and he has been thrown more passes his way than Taylor. After seeing his carries go from 17-15-10 with limited production, we have every right to start worrying about this fantasy football 1st round draft pick.
Robby Anderson, CAR WR
When Sam Darnold was traded to the Panthers, it seemed like the perfect situation for Anderson to be highly productive because they had previous experience playing with each other on the Jets. After seeing him get bailed out in week one with a lone reception for a touchdown, Anderson has been targeted just eight times in the two games since. While Christian McCaffrey being sidelined should help Anderson pick up a few more targets in the Panthers passing attack, we’ve seen DJ Moore get heavily targeted and the rookie Terrace Marshall Jr. has more targets than Anderson. Anderson is clearly looked at as the deep threat and with Sam Darnold much better at completing quick strikes than going deep downfield, it could continue to work against Anderson and be more advantageous for Moore and Marshall. We saw Anderson move up draft boards noticeably throughout draft season, but with just five receptions so far, he’s become a bit risky to start.
Kenyan Drake, LV RB
Josh Jacobs has now missed two of three games this season and since he’s been out, Drake has just received 15 total carries, not much of an improvement at all when it comes to volume with Jacobs on the field versus him being off the field. Reports are also out that Drake is having issues with pass-blocking and that could lead to him being on the field less in future games. Peyton Barber has received 26 carries since Jacobs has been out and is clearly the prioritized RB for the Raiders. Drake has been targeted at least five times per game and he has 13 receptions, but, it will be the receptions that fantasy players will be forced to rely on when it comes to his production. Barber was targeted five times in the Raiders passing game in week three showing that Derek Carr will throw to more than just one running back. Barber was in on 57 percent of the Raiders offensive snaps while Drake was in for 43 percent.