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Fantasy Football Week 3 Recap: Biggest Takeaways From Every NFL Game

The biggest fantasy football takeaways from NFL Week 3, including Odell Beckham's return, James Robinson & Brandon Aiyuk's bounce-back, and more.

It’s hard to stay up to date with absolutely everything that went down in NFL Week 3. Obviously you know the big storylines—Mike Williams continuing his breakout and Justin Jefferson returning to the land of the living seem big—but it’s important to also note minor storylines, ones that might have more actionable fantasy football takeaways.

I’ve gone game-by-game to bring you the biggest fantasy narrative to come out of each game.

Washington at Bills: Devin Singletary Is Expendable

Emmanuel Sanders should be a top waiver priority this week, but I already covered that. (But really, you should be rostering him everywhere.) Instead let’s direct our attention to the Bills’ backfield.

While Devin Singletary started the year as the No. 1 back, that role has quickly slipped through his fingers. Against Washington, Zack Moss was 100% the lead back, seeing more snaps, carries, and targets than Singletary. Moss finished the game with 60 yards rushing on 13 carries and 31 yards and a touchdown through the air on 3 catches. It’s clear the Bills want this to be Moss’ backfield and that means bye bye Singletary’s fantasy value.

Bears at Browns: Start Odell Beckham With Confidence

Odell Beckham saw his first NFL action Sunday since tearing his ACL last year. He stepped onto the field and immediately saw a team-leading 9 targets, catching 5 for 77 yards. He played over 50% of the Cleveland Browns’ offensive snaps and ran the most routes of the team. All in his first game back.

Now with a more-comfortable Baker Mayfield throwing him the football, OBJ finds himself right back in WR2 fantasy territory. If you drafted OBJ, your patience is about to pay off.

Ravens at Lions: Baltimore’s Backfield Is Becoming A Muddled Mess

The firm grasp over the backfield Ty’Son Williams started the year with has steadily become weaker. Against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Williams played 10 more snaps than Latavius Murray yet finished with fewer carries (and even that just 10 more snaps isn’t a great sign). Williams still is more involved in the Ravens’ passing game, but that won’t be enough to sustain him as a top fantasy option. This downward trend for Williams is worrisome to say the least. At this point, fantasy managers should look to either sell Williams if someone in their league is buying, or outright drop him.

Cardinals at Jaguars: James Robinson Returned, But For How Long?

James Robinson managers rejoiced this week seeing the second-year back finally put forward an elite fantasy performance. I know managers rejoiced because I, a James Robinson manager, did just that. Robinson carried the ball 15 times for 88 yards and a touchdown while tacking on 6 catches on as many targets for 46 yards. It was a perfect game from the Jaguars’ No. 1 back.

However, there is some reason for pessimism. This was a perfect game script for Robinson. The Jaguars got up early and were able to run the ball and highlight the ground game. That’s likely not going to be the case in many of their games. Also, pesky Carlos Hyde still managed to squeak out eight carries this game which offers a cap to Robinson’s workload. Still, this was a great week for Robinson managers and could be a sign of good times to come.

Also, go add Christian Kirk off waivers if he’s available. He has a role in this offense and it’s so far made him a top-15 fantasy receiver.

Chargers at Chiefs: Sell High on Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Buy Low on Tyreek Hill

What did I say! I said this was going to be the week Clyde Edwards-Helaire did something for you and he did just that. Despite fumbling yet again, the Kansas City Chiefs went back to CEH over and over, giving him 17 carries for 100 yards. He also caught both targets for nine yards and a score.

I also said you should sell high on CEH after this game. The Chiefs are just never going to be in a game script where they need to run the ball 20+ times. This forces CEH to be hyper-efficient with the limited touches he gets in order to have legit fantasy value. The Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills next, both of whom have been stout against backs to start the year.

Tyreek Hill on the other hand has had two dud games in a row to start the year. Never fear. We know Hill’s ceiling is the WR1 and nothing about how the Chiefs are using him should dissuade you from thinking that’s still the case. If Hill’s manager in your league is panicking, send a trade their way.

Saints at Patriots: Hunter Henry Is the Patriots Tight End to Roster

The New England Patriots’ offense looked like a hot mess against the New Orleans Saints Sunday and part of what was Jonnu Smith’s fault. Smith was targeted six times but only managed to catch one ball for just four yards. Meanwhile, his TE Party partner Henry caught 5-of-6 targets for 36 yards. Henry also ran 36 routes to Smith’s 15. That’s a huge difference. The two tight ends will continuously cap each other’s fantasy value but if you’re still rostering Smith, it might be time to move on.

Also, James White left this game with an injury. That is a huge blow to the Patriots’ passing game and might make Henry even more valuable as Mac Jones’ newest security blanket.

Falcons at Giants: Go Get Evan Engram

The final numbers for Engram isn’t going to look pretty. The tight end caught 2-of-6 targets for 21 yards and fumbled. Not exactly a good fantasy line. In fact, that’s quite bad. However, seeing six targets in his first action of 2021 is notable.

With so much chaos at the wide receiver position—Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton left with hamstring injuries while Kenny Golladay is playing injured—Engram could be in-line for serious work. We’ve seen Daniel Jones pepper Engram with targets in the past and that might well be the case in the coming weeks.

Also, Kyle Pitts ran 34 routes—2nd most on the team—and was only targeted 3 times. I hate Arthur Smith.

Bengals at Steelers: Ja’Marr Chase Looks Great, Ben Roethlisberger Looks TERRIBLE

It was a banner day for the rookie receiver as Chase caught 4-of-5 targets for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chase has now gone over 50 yards receiving and caught a touchdown in every game this year. While he certainly benefited from Tee Higgins missing the game, Chase has proven himself to be a locked-in WR2 and should be considered as such moving forward.

On the other side of the football, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense looked like a mess and it was entirely Ben Roethlisberger’s fault. Big Ben threw the ball 58 times but had an aDOT of just 5.6 yards, thanks in large part to the 19 targets he sent Najee Harris’ way. Only Matt Ryan and Jared Goff had a lower average depth of target in Week 3. Chase Claypool put together a good game but honestly, he kind of had to. Diontae Johnson didn’t suit up and JuJu Smith-Schuster left the game early with a rib injury. When all three of those receivers are back, I don’t trust Roethlisberger to be able to support them all as viable fantasy options.

Colts at Titans: A.J. Brown Got Injured and Everything Sucks

Brown managed to play eight snaps before leaving the game with a hamstring injury. His already slow start to the year seems to be only getting worse. As of now, we don’t know how serious the injury is and if he’ll miss time. Still, any kind of set back isn’t great for fantasy managers who likely drafted Brown to be their WR1.

If Brown does miss time, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine will likely see an increase in work. He filled in for Brown in Week 3, catching all 4 of his targets for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Also, Derrick Henry is learning how to catch the football. Watch out world.

Jets at Broncos: Stay Patient With Corey Davis

After a huge Week 1 where he looked like a legit WR1, Davis has fallen off the map. Fantasy managers shouldn’t panic though. Week 2 saw Davis facing off against Bill Belichick and his rookie QB dark magic which turns any young signal caller into a headless chicken. Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Davis saw 10 targets, catching 5 for 41 yards. It wasn’t a great fantasy outing, but he led the team in targets by a sizable amount.

I, as both a Davis manger and truther, am not panicking and I suggest you do the same. Clearer skies are ahead with matchups against the Tennessee Titans and Atlanta Falcons on deck.

Dolphins at Raiders: Peyton Barber Is an RB2 As Long As Josh Jacobs Is Out

Josh Jacobs missed his second game Sunday, leading to Peyton Barber running all over the Miami Dolphins’ defense. Barber finished with 111 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. He also caught 3-of-5 targets fro 31 yards. It’s clear that as long as Jacobs is out, Barber will be the Las Vegas Raiders’ No. 1 back. Kenyan Drake meanwhile was relegated to receiving back duties, only seeing eight carries and three catches on six targets. He’s droppable if you’re in a small league.

Also, Henry Ruggs is emerging as the No. 1 WR many, including myself, thought he could be coming out of the draft. You love to see it.

Seahawks at Vikings: Seattle’s Offense Dealing With Injuries

Both Chris Carson and Tyler Lockett left the game briefly with an injury. Carson had a productive day, running the ball 12 times for 80 yards and a touchdown but dealt with a hamstring injury late in the game. In his stead, Alex Collins came in and played 14 snaps, recording 2 carries. He’d be in-line for the ground work if Carson misses Week 4 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Lockett meanwhile suffered what looked to be a bad knee injury but came back into the game. It clearly hampered him as fantasy’s WR1 finished with just 4 catches on 4 targets for 31 yards. D.K. Metcalf picked up the slack, posting his best game of the year, catching 6-of-9 targets for 107 yards and a score.

Buccaneers at Rams: Giovani Bernard Is Game Script Dependent

I’ve been hyping up Bernard’s fantasy potential playin alongside Tom Brady all off-season so seeing it finally click Sunday was wonderful. Of course, Bernard’s day ended with a receiving touchdown in which he looked to have seriously injured his knee so that sucks.

Bernard’s big game certainly benefited from the game script. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were down big and had to throw their way back into the game. While it’s encouraging to see Gio has that gig locked down—he played the most snaps out of the backfield because of it—it’s not likely the defending champs will find themselves down big all that often. Personally, if Gio is healthy, I think he’s worth rostering in deeper leagues, but he’ll be a situational play and not a weekly start.

Packers at 49ers: Brandon Aiyuk is BACK

It’s been a weird start to the season for Aiyuk to say the least. But, the sophomore receiver finally seems to have made his way out of the Kyle Shanahan dog house. Against the Green Bay Packers, Aiyuk caught 4-of-6 targets for 37 yards and a touchdown. More importantly, he played just three fewer snaps than Deebo Samuel and was the No. 2 receiver in that category by a mile. Confidently start Aiyuk from this point forward as a flex play with WR2 upside.