10 fantasy football takeaways from preseason Week 3

10 fantasy football takeaways from preseason Week 3

Fantasy football statistical analysis

10 fantasy football takeaways from preseason Week 3

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There aren’t a great deal of ultra-important lessons to glean from Week 3 of the NFL preseason as many teams continued to sit starters on both sides of the ball in effort to let the youngsters have one last chance at securing a roster spot.

A few items come into focus, though, and before we take a closer look, one potential scenario jumped off the screen: The Green Bay Packers are in deep trouble if Aaron Rodgers misses time. The 38-year-old veteran remains spry, but holy guacamole is Jordan Love not prepared for the NFL.

After a pandemic-stricken rookie season in 2020 and a sophomore campaign of learning the ropes in a still-impacted format, the return to normalcy in his third year appears to have done nothing for his on-field maturation. The presumed heir apparent wasn’t even the best reserve quarterback of the lot in Week 3. While it is just one game, there haven’t been many career bright spots from the primary backup to suggest this team will even be competent should something happen to No. 12. Fingers crossed the Packers don’t need to rely on Love at any point this year.

New York Jets wideout Denzel Mims gets an honorable mention for his 7-102-1 line vs. the New York Giants. It was a quality showing put forth by a former top prospect whose near future likely is with a different ball club, though he still has no fantasy value at this time.

In any case, what else have we learned that will have an impact on fantasy football plans in 2022 drafts and beyond?

10
Sam Howell gives Commanders hope

Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, it’s preseason. Yes, he’s a backup. Yes, he’s currently a third-stringer. However, the point here is in two of three exhibition appearances the rookie has acquitted himself nicely. This would not matter if Washington’s starting quarterback wasn’t Carson Wentz. Howell completed 24 of his 35 attempts for 280 yards and a touchdown. He added a team-high 62 rushing yards on eight totes, but the Commanders surrendered five sacks of Howell. While he’s unlikely to amount to anything in fantasy if given a crack at the starting lineup this year, Howell’s preseason finale is encouraging for a break-glass emergency and life after Wentz.

9
Tennessee's future is bright

Credit: Nicole Hester-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie quarterback Malik Willis‘ preseason has been a mixed bag, but he looked decent enough vs. Arizona to give hope for the future by connecting on 15 of 23 passes for 131 yards and a score. The threw a pick and took four sacks while averaging only 5.7 yards per attempt, though. The dynamic athlete showcased his legs with 79 yards on four rushes, which is how he’ll butter his bread early in his career.

A fellow rookie, wide receiver Treylon Burks, has endured a bumpy ride thus far. He teased his fantasy potential in the third preseason contest by securing all three targets for 33 yards and a visit to the end zone. Granted, none of that work came with starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but it’s still a positive to see this guy finally making plays on an NFL field.

8
Baker Mayfield won't be looking over his shoulder

Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not that there was necessarily much doubt about Mayfield being the 2022 starter following the trade acquisition, but the high-ankle sprain suffered by Sam Darnold (out 4-6 weeks) gives Baker a long runway to establish himself without fear of losing the job on the heels of one bad game. Mayfield completed 9-for-15 passing, totaling 89 yards and two scores vs. Buffalo’s backups, furthering his stranglehold. He’s far from perfect, but this is a win for Carolina’s entire cast of fantasy assets.

7
Demarcus Robinson emerges as viable draft target

Robinson finished with four catches, 135 yards and a touchdown on six targets. No Lamar Jackson should be noted, but that doesn’t automatically take away from Robinson’s performance in Week 3 on a team desperately looking for anyone not named Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman to step up. Robinson has flashed more than once in his NFL days, making the sixth-year pro an interesting flier in deep leagues, but it was one performance, and he’s not a lock to make the roster come Tuesday’s final round of roster cuts.

6
Jacoby Brissett will hamstring Cleveland skill players

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Houston, we have a problem in Cleveland. No, not that problem … well, sort of. Brissett starting is a byproduct of the situation, and his fearfulness is a concern for fantasy options on this roster. It will lead to more defenders in the box to slow a dangerous rushing attack, and the receiving outlets will face suppressed potential. Amari Cooper‘s potential is stunted, while younger options, like David Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones, go from flier to undraftable. Cleveland really should make a move to upgrade the position, even this late in the game. Tight end David Njoku is about the only reliable option from week to week.

5
Isiah Pacheco etched his above a locker

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Kansas City hosted Green Bay and featured the seventh-round rookie camp star as a primary runner. Pacheco didn’t disappoint, going for 5.2 yards per carry on his 10 handles, including a long of 13. The quality showing should secure his spot on the roster. The only question is whether he’ll be the No. 2 or third back on the depth chart after veteran Ronald Jones (8-43-0) ended on a strong note but still appears to be on the bubble. Jerick McKinnon also could factor into the plans as the No. 2. If nothing else, Pacheco will find a role returning kickoffs and is an injury away from a shot at rushing the rock.

4
Dameon Pierce shines again, but Marlon Mack won't go quietly

Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Houston head coach Lovie Smith sat Pierce in the second preseason contest after seeing enough in camp and the opening week. The finale saw the Florida Gators alum get back on the field once more, and yet again he didn’t disappoint. Against San Francisco, Pierce ran only six times but racked up 37 yards and a score, which should lock him into the RB1 role, but it’s likely to be more of a “1a” as Mack serves as the “1b.” The former Indianapolis speedster tallied 55 yards on his 10 attempts and will carve out a change-up role in effort to keep him healthy and productive. The real question comes down to just how many touches can this backfield offer with a defense that will struggle to keep the offense in position to pound the ball.

3
Jameis Winston in midseason form

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

After knee rehab from a 2021 torn ACL and a sprained foot limited Winston’s on-field availability this summer, he came out firing vs. the Los Angeles Chargers. The former Tampa Bay Buc went 4-for-4 and finished with 59 yards on a drive that resulted in a Mark Ingram TD plunge. The rust has been removed, folks, and Jameis is ready to once gain be famous in fantasy — which is tremendous for all of the fantasy weapons in this offense.

2
Justin Fields is closer than many seem to believe

Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland didn’t play its entire starting defense, but Fields still deserves credit for dropping a trio of touchdowns on a unit that fielded multiple NFL-grade players. He was nearly perfect with a 14-for-16 day at the office, resulting in 156 yards and the aforementioned three scores vs. no interceptions. Fields didn’t even take a sack and, perhaps most impressive of all, averaged 9.8 yards an attempt. He even added 11 yards on two carries. It’s preseason and only one game, but there is far more energy building around his draft stock heading into the final 10 days of player selection.

1
Tua-to-Tyreek should be A-OK

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Among the biggest stories of 2022 has been Tyreek Hill being traded to Miami. The transcendent question across all fantasy formats and circles has been whether third-year pro Tua Tagovailoa can ascend enough to prevent Hill from slipping into WR2 territory or worse. Miami trotted the pair out for a final tune-up vs. Philadelphia in what ended as a 48-10 shellacking. Tua missed only one of his seven throws and connected with Hill on two plays for 64 yards, which was slightly more than half of Tagovailoa’s yardage, on the way to a perfect QB rating. The former Alabama lefty also secured himself as a high-upside No. 2 fantasy passer.

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