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NFL Fantasy: Week 3 key performances

The surprises weren’t limited to the final scores. There were some odd names among the best and worst of NFL fantasy this week.


Week 3 included upsets, near-upsets, and other unexpected events. As you might expect, there were some surprising individual performances that made it all possible. It left some NFL fantasy owners slap-happy while others were slapping themselves silly over who did or did not come through for them. 

Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, and… who? 

Just in case anyone was wondering whether Week 1 or Week 2 showed us the real Tom Brady, the Patriots’ 40-year-old wonder threw five touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final seconds of a nip and tuck affair against Houston. It was the sixth time he managed the feat. It was good enough for 35.72 points and the top spot in NFL fantasy quarterback scores of the day. 

Russell Wilson gave Brady a run for his money, finishing with 33.52 points with a career-best 373 passing yards and four touchdowns. It was Wilson’s best fantasy showing in a long while, but not totally unexpected. 

Totally unexpected was Case Keenum’s third-best fantasy quarterback score. 369 yards, three touchdowns, and 18 yards rushing added up to 28.56 points. Jacoby Brissett’s 27.76 points (helped by two rushing touchdowns) and Blake Bortles’ four touchdowns and 27.56 points were completely unseen, too. Well, to be honest, the performances of Keenum, Brissett, and Bortles were 98.02 percent unexpected. The three combined started in 1.98 percent of all fantasy leagues.

There were a couple of other surprises further down the chain, too. Brian Hoyer, Jared Goff, and Eli Manning joining Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins in rounding out the top ten. Derek Carr (5.22) and Philip Rivers (3.48) shocked their owners by finishing the week at the bottom of the quarterback standings. 

Latecomers top the receiving stats

The top-five receivers this week are all former-regulars making their 2017 debut at the top. Stefon Diggs was Case Keenum’s main target in Minnesota. Diggs racked up 173 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns on his way to 29.3 fantasy points in the Vikings’ big win.

Brandin Cooks (27.1 points) and Tom Brady are getting their timing down as Cooks’ 131 yards and two scores showed us. Sammy Watkins’ Thursday performance is good for third best NFL fantasy score going into Monday night. 

TY Hilton had the second-highest yard total (157) and a touchdown, good for 21.3 points, while Odell Beckham Jr grabbed two touchdowns and gained 79 yards against Philadelphia. His 19.9 fantasy points edged teammate Sterling Shepard (19.3 points, 133 yards, touchdown) for 5th-best wide receiver score.

Chris Hogan (18 points) made his second top-ten appearance this season, while three familiar names, AJ Green, Antonio Brown, and Jordy Nelson, rounded out the group with 17 points each. 

Oaklands dynamic duo of Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper were shut out of fantasy points by the Washington Redskins’ defense, by far the biggest shocker of the day.  

Youth rushing in

Jordan Howard’s shoulder is apparently better. In fact, all the Chicago Bears feel better after Howard rattled off 164 total yards and a pair of touchdowns in Chicago’s upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Many an owner is lamenting their decision to bench Howard after last week’s subpar game. His 26.4 fantasy points did not challenge the mark Todd Gurley set on Thursday, but it is the second-best fantasy running back score going into Monday. 

Christ Thompson continued his magical run, averaging 25 yards per catch on six receptions and tacking on 38 rushing yards and a touchdown. His 24.8 points just got by rookie Kareem Hunt (24.3 points) for the third-best score of the week. Hunt ran for 172 yards and a score for Kansas City.

Fellow rookie Dalvin Cook managed 22.9 fantasy points on 97 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards along with a touchdown for Minnesota. 

Carlos Hyde’s 21-point Thursday night performance was good for sixth best. Devonta Freeman, DeMarco Murray, Duke Johnson, and Le’Veon Bell completed the top ten. 

Jay Ajayi, Darren Sproles, Jacquizz Rodgers, and Marshawn Lynch were each held to a single fantasy point in Week 3. Heavily-started Javorius Allen was held to two points and last week’s second-best rusher, CJ Anderson, eked out three points on the day.

Wasted tight end points

If you were the guy who started Marcedes Lewis at tight end this week, congratulations. Lewis entered Week 3 with no catches on four targets. He ended up with 24.2 fantasy points on 62 yards and three touchdown receptions in Jacksonville’s annihilation of Baltimore.

Rob Gronkowski scored a touchdown on the first drive for New England, probably because he heard me tell you not to start him this week, and went on to finish with 89 yards and 14.9 fantasy points. 

Ryan Griffin of the Texans finished with a 3rd-best 12.1 fantasy points on 61 yards and a score. Vernon Davis had 11.8 points, Seattle’s Luke Wilson finished with 11.3 fantasy points and Lance Kendricks, rounded out the top six tight end performances with 11.2. Washington’s Davis, playing for the injured Vernon Reed, was started in just one-percent of all leagues. Griffin, Wilson, and Kendrick registered a cumulative zero-percent start rate.  

Jared Cook had ten points while Cameron Brate, Charles Clay, and Zach Ertz had nine each.

Indianapolis put 31 points on the scoreboard today, but their heavily started tight end, Jack Doyle, wound up with (-1) fantasy points thanks to a fumble lost, while Travis Kelce and Kyle Rudolph were among the tight ends with less than one point.

Defensive shockers

Odds are if you streamed a defense from either the Jets/Dolphins, Redskins/Raiders, or Bengal/Packers game, you picked the wrong D/ST. And if you started the Panthers because you always start a good defense, you lost, too. 

The Jets, Redskins, Bengals, and Saints defenses each garnered 14 points and tied for the best NFL fantasy D/ST total in Week 3. Washington finished Week 1 as the D/ST-9. Other than that, none of these teams had a top-15 performance before Sunday. Cincinnati still managed to lose their game.

Meanwhile, three well-owned defenses were the worst of the week. Baltimore (-4), Tampa Bay and Seattle (-1 each) wound up at the bottom of the rankings list. Baltimore was the top overall defense heading into Sunday’s games.

That’s it 

What? You want to know about kickers? Buffalo’s Stephen Hauschka and Detroit’s Matt Prater each kicked a pair of 50-plus yard field goals and scored 18 total points. 

Week 3 proved to be excruciating for many fantasy owners as weekly stalwarts came up short and unowned players scored important points. It also proved to be a great week for some owners who took chances on sleepers. Which pretty much describes NFL fantasy football in a nutshell. 

Keep up to date with the latest waiver, sleeper, and roster advice right here at RealSport. If you have an NFL fantasy question, send it to us at [email protected] and look for the answer Wednesday in our weekly Mailbag post.

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Pat Opperman

Pat recently retired from real life to watch sports and write. Look for references to games and events from ancient times as memories of an earlier Age of Sport tend to pop into his head.

NFL Fantasy: Week 3 key performances

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