Soared and Floored: NFL Week 8 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analyses, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 8! No article for Week 7, but you can check out Week 6 here.

Players Who Soared

Credit: Big Blue View


Mike White: 37/45, 405 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 5 rushes, -1 rushing yards

We lead off this week’s article with the most unlikely top QB of the year: Mike White. The third-year veteran out of Western Kentucky got the start for the injured Zach Wilson. The first couple of drives went about how you’d expect for a backup to a bad team: A decent first drive ending in a score, followed by two awful interceptions. From there, though, White caught fire, able to command the rag-tag group of offensive players. He kept the Jets in contention as the Bengals struggled to separate against an inferior team. White looked good enough to start raising questions about if Wilson will even get his job back once healthy. A short week into a Thursday night contest against the Colts will shed some light on this enigma of a standout performance.

Justin Fields: 19/27, 175 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 INT, 10 rushes, 103 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

We finally got to see Fields’s potential shine through, and all it took was Matt Nagy to cede head coaching duties thanks to COVID. Just as expected, it was the rushing stats that are cheat codes for quarterback fantasy production doing the heavy lifting here. Fields still looked shaky as a passer but showed some flashes on limited attempts. It’s the top-5 rushing stat-line that showed what he can do as an athlete. Hopefully, when Nagy returns they’ll be able to start working this aspect of Fields’s game in more often. Heading on the road to Pittsburgh next week will be a true test for the young star.

Others of Note
  • Josh Allen: 29/42, 249 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 8 rushes, 55 rushing yards, 1 rush TD
  • Jimmy Garoppolo: 17/28, 322 passing yards, 5 rushes, 4 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs
  • Tom Brady: 28/40, 375 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 1 rush , 2 rushing yards

Running backs

Credit: USA Today
Michael Carter: 15 rushes, 77 rushing yards, 1 rush TD. 9 receptions, 95 receiving yards

Along with his new starting QB, Carter exploded onto the scene against the Bengals Sunday afternoon. He not only led the team in rushing attempts and yards but also lead the team in targets (14 total). Unlike White, Carter’s rise was a bit more telegraphed. His snap counts have been steadily increasing, lead by his utilization in the passing game. He now has 23 total targets in the last two games, which is a recipe for sustained fantasy success on a team that will consistently find itself in negative game scripts. Carter will find himself as a weekly flex play if he can maintain this level of usage, especially in PPR formats.

Joe Mixon: 14 rushes, 33 rushing yards, 1 rush TD. 4 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

On the opposite side of the contest, it was a weird day for Mixon. The Jets defense which typically gives up all kinds of yardage to running backs gave Mixon a significantly tougher time than expected, only averaging just north of 2 yards per rush. The receiving work and multi-touchdown performance helped save his day in a big way. The good news is that nothing about this stat line is indicative of troubles to come. Mixon is still the clear leader in the backfield with Samaje Perine (2 for 16 receiving) barely getting any work behind him. He is one f the true workhorse backs in the league and will continue to have opportunities for big games fall in his lap.

Others of Note
  • Darrell Henderson: 14 rushes, 90 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 1 reception, 3 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Aaron Jones: 15 rushes, 59 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 7 receptions, 51 receiving yards
  • Elijah Mitchell: 18 rushes, 137 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

Wide Receivers

Credit: USA Today
A.J. Brown: 10 receptions, 155 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Brown is finally starting to hit his stride after a slow start to the season marred by a nagging injury. Julio Jones being inactive due to his ailments certainly helped his case as well. Brown has commanded 29 targets over the last three games, averaging 126 yards and compiling two scores over that timeframe. While this meteoric stretch is more of a regression to the mean rather than the new norm, it’s a great indicator that Brown is finally healthy and ready to contribute. You should not be scared to start him anymore, even in tough matchups against the Rams and Saints over the next two weeks.

Chris Godwin: 8 receptions, 140 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Godwin won the Brady roulette this week, as Mike Evans (2 for 48 with 1 TD receiving) was busy dealing with his long-time nemesis Marshon Lattimore all day. Godwin became the focal point of the passing game, continuing the positive momentum he had from last week as well. As Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski continue to battle injuries, Godwin should continue to see this increased target share in one of the best offenses in the league. However, those guys have a great chance to get healthy going into their bye week, so it remains to be seen how much Godwin will continue to be involved moving forward. The pedigree of the offense and his relatively safe 5 target floor will keep Godwin in the WR2/flex conversation every week.

Others of Note
  • Michael Pittman: 10 receptions, 86 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
  • Cooper Kupp: 7 receptions, 115 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Amari Cooper: 8 receptions, 122 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Tight Ends

Credit: The Fantasy Footballers
T.J. Hockenson: 10 receptions, 89 receiving yards

The season has not been as kind to Hockenson as his fantasy owners were hoping. While the third-year big man has been seeing a crazy amount of looks (at least 8 targets in six of eight weeks), the touchdowns and quality yardage just haven’t been there. What you can rely on is the targets: Jared Goff (25/34 for 222 passing) has been hyper-focused on Hockenson and the running backs in the passing game all season. That kind of consistency is extremely hard to come by at the tight end position this year. Look for Hockenson to retain his safe floor through the Week 9 bye.

Pat Freiermuth: 4 receptions, 44 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

With Eric Ebron missing the game due to a hamstring injury, Freiermuth took full advantage of his increased role in the offense. He saw the second-most targets on the team (7) and continues to earn red-zone looks from Ben Roethlisberger. Right now he sits solidly in the TD or bust category of tight ends, but these flashes are very encouraging for his owners. Rookie tight ends especially take some time to reach their full potential, and the future is looking bright for Freiermuth so far.

Others of Note

Players That Got Floored


Credit: Yardbarker
Matt Ryan: 20/27, 146 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 2 INTs, 2 rushes, 3 rushing yards

Heading into Week 8, Ryan enjoyed some consistent production against bad teams over the last few weeks. With the Panthers coming to town, and Calvin Ridley missing this game and potentially the rest of the season due to personal reasons, he crashed back to Earth hard. Carolina shut Kyle Pitts (2 for 13 receiving) out of the game as much as possible and Ryan was unable to compensate. It’s time to abandon ship on Ryan for now with the team headed to New Orleans next week as the offense goes back to sputtering.

Kyler Murray: 22/33, 274 passing yards, 2 INTs, 6 rushes, 21 rushing yards

The scoring streak, unfortunately, ends for one of the most consistent quarterbacks in terms of fantasy on the year. This was a rough game all around for Murray. The abuse he was taking over the last couple of games has finally caught up to him, culminating in a bum ankle at the end of this contest. His favorite target DeAndre Hopkins (2 for 66 receiving) is also dealing with a reoccurring hamstring injury. One final egregious plunder by A.J. Green (5 for 50 receiving) that led to Murray’s second interception capped an incredibly disappointing game for the young star QB. Murray has 10 days to get healthy and bounce back against San Francisco next week.

Others of Note

Running backs

Credit: numberFire
David Johnson: 2 rushes, 4 rushing yards, 1 reception, -1 receiving yards

The departure of Mark Ingram from the Texans running back room has appeared to have caused an even worse situation for the team. No one out of Johnson, Phillip Lindsay (3 for 8 rushing), Scottie Phillips (5 for 11 rushing, 2 for 9 receiving), or Rex Burkhead (4 for 21 with 1 TD rushing, 3 for 27 receiving) managed to stand out during the game against the Rams. Burkhead may have come away with the score, but the Texans will continue to use this four-headed amalgamation of a running game. If Ingram leaving gave you even a glimmer of hope that you could utilize anyone in this running game, this should convince you to leave it alone for the rest of the year.

Alex Collins: 10 rushes, 44 rushing yards

This was another instance of too many mouths being fed, as Seattle appeared to be distributing the snaps across their whole running back room to keep Collins healthy. He had some injury question marks coming into this game, opening the door for Rashaad Penny (7 for 7 rushing), DeeJay Dallas (1 for 6 rushing), and Travis Homer (4 for 9 rushing, 1 for 3 receiving) to give it a shot. The good news is Collins is still the clear best runner of the group. Also, Seattle heads into their bye next week, allowing Collins to get fully healthy and take back command as Chris Carson continues to heal.

Others of Note
  • Nyheim Hines: 1 rush, 2 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 22 receiving yards
  • D’Andre Swift: 12 rushes, 27 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 24 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost
  • Javonte Williams: 9 rushes, 35 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards

Wide Receivers

Credit: Doc’s Sports
Mike Williams: 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards

This was a disappointing day for the Chargers offense as a whole. Williams fell victim to Bill Belichick‘s old ways, getting schemed out of the game almost entirely. He’s now had two weeks in a row where he’s most likely killed your chances of winning. I would not expect this to continue, with matchups against Philadelphia and Minnesota in the coming weeks. Fantasy owners just need to take their lumps for now and hope Williams can get back to his scoring ways soon.

Courtland Sutton: 2 receptions, 40 receiving yards

Sutton’s dud of a game this week was a combination of Teddy Bridgewater’s (19/26 for 213 and 1 TD passing) low-volume passing attack and Jerry Jeudy (4 for 39 receiving) returning to the lineup. The dominance Sutton enjoyed over the last few weeks is now over, and he’ll once again be left to fight over scraps in a less-than-stellar offense. There is still an opportunity to shine here: Dallas and Philadelphia on the schedule next bring the possibility of having to play catch-up for most of the game. As long as Jeudy can stay healthy, Sutton is nothing more than a boom-or-bust WR2 even in those positive matchups.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

Credit: Best Odds
Anthony Firkser: 1 reception, 8 receiving yards

Firkser was a popular sleeper candidate going into the season and he is still trying to fight his way towards meaningful usage. He hasn’t seen more than 5 targets in a game this year and only has 4 total over the last three weeks. Geoff Swaim (4 for 23 with 1 TD receiving) got the only valuable points at the position thanks to the touchdown this week. Firkser is essentially irrelevant for fantasy unless the Titans suddenly change up their offensive gameplan over the second half of the season.

Ricky Seals-Jones: 2 receptions, 12 receiving yards

This is Seals-Jones’s first true dud game since taking over the primary tight end role from Logan Thomas. Denver’s underperforming defense was able to corral the Washington offense enough such that they were unable to do much overall against them during this game. His snap counts are still best in the league and that level of availability has been a serious boon for his owners. However, his time in the sun may be coming to an end as Thomas has made enough progress to have a chance to play after the Week 9 bye.

Others of Note

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 6 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analyses, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 6! You can check out Week 5 here.

Players Who Soared



Kirk Cousins: 33/48, 373 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 2 rushes, 16 rushing yards

After two down weeks Cousins had a strong showing against a Panthers defense that couldn’t make up for Sam Darnold‘s (17/41 for 207 and 1 TD with 1 INT passing, 4 for 48 rushing, 1 fumble lost) struggles. Having Dalvin Cook (29 for 140 and 1 TD rushing, 2 for 3 receiving) back in the lineup certainly helped, which opened up the playbook in a big way. Cousins has been very consistent this year but certainly relies on a powerful running game to keep defenses honest. Luckily, Cook is one of the toughest players in the league and will play through all but the worst injuries to support his quarterback. Look for Cousins to put another quality showing in coming off the bye against Dallas in Week 8.

Jalen Hurts: 12/26, 115 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 INT, 10 rushes, 44 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs

It takes a special kind of player to look as bad as Hurts does on the field and still be a fantasy powerhouse. His ability to overthrow his receivers and make poor mental decisions in Philadelphia’s run-pass option (RPO) scheme is truly impressive to watch. Eagles fans must be screaming their heads off to let Miles Sanders (9 for 56 rushing, 2 for 10 receiving) touch the ball more to help create more opportunities for Hurts. Hurts has yet to start a full season’s worth of games in his young career, but his career path is unsustainable. He needs to show more as a passer in his next two matchups against Las Vegas and Detroit.

Patrick Mahomes: 32/47, 397 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 3 rushes, 31 rushing yards

The Super Bowl hangover has been hitting Mahomes hard this season. To put it nicely, he has an uncharacteristic 8 INTs this season, more than he finished with the previous two seasons. Despite the obvious struggles, the talent continues to shine through when asked to keep a game from getting out of hand. His second-half looked so much better than his first half, leading the Chiefs on some impressive-looking drives to keep Washington at arms reach. If he can keep that momentum going through his next couple of matchups he should be back to his blow-out ways without any trouble.

Others of Note
  • Dak Prescott: 36/51, 445 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 1 INT, 3 rushes, 10 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost
  • Matthew Stafford: 22/28, 251 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 1 INT, 2 rushes, 12 rushing yards
  • Joe Burrow: 19/29, 271 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 1 INT, 5 rushes, 20 rushing yards
Credit: DraftKings

Running Backs

Jonathan Taylor: 14 rushes, 145 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs, 1 reception, 13 receiving yards

Taylor has exploded the last two weeks, following his massive receiving performance against Baltimore last week by running all over Houston. He averaged over 10 yards a carry and literally carried the Colts’ momentum throughout the entire game. Carson Wentz (11/20 for 223 and 2 TDs passing) focused on efficiency and minimizing mistakes while Taylor keep the offense humming. The second-year back has started to stabilize his role and will be a high-upside option over the next few weeks.

Leonard Fournette: 22 rushes, 81 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs, 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards

Any concerns about Ronald Jones (5 for 20 rushing, 1 for 9 receiving) taking away work from Fournette have essentially disappeared. Fournette dominated the snap count and was relied on at the goal line multiple times in this contest. He is the defacto #1 back in one of the best offenses in the league and should be treated as such. His efficiency can be spotty but his floor is rock solid with his involvement in the passing game. Continue riding Fournette with confidence, even with two less than ideal matchups before the bye week.

Joe Mixon: 18 rushes, 94 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 59 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

This was an important game for Mixon. He took advantage of a soft matchup and also showed toughness in the wake of recovering from injury. Mixon passed every test with flying colors. The Bengals offense allows Mixon to thrive while defenses are constantly trying to keep Ja’Marr Chase (4 for 97 receiving) from going over the top (and mostly failing). He has a tough test next week in a divisional matchup in Baltimore, so it’ll be interesting to see how he performs in a more hostile environment.

Others of Note
  • Darrell Henderson: 21 rushes, 78 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 2 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Darrel Williams: 21 rushes, 62 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs, 3 receptions, 27 receiving yards
  • Najee Harris: 24 rushes, 81 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
Credit: PFF

Wide Receivers

CeeDee Lamb: 9 receptions, 149 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Lamb took full advantage of a struggling Patriots passing defense by absolutely torching them this game. He out-targeted Amari Cooper (5 for 55 receiving) for the third time this season, continuing the dance between one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league. Lamb has certainly looked more explosive than Cooper so far and could easily start stealing more and more snaps and targets as the season goes on. As Dallas continues to hum going into the bye week, look for Lamb to hold his WR1 upside through the break.

Adam Thielen: 11 receptions, 126 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

It’s nice to see that Thielen can still produce these types of games from time to time. It’s also a needed reminder for fantasy owners that he’s still one of the best red-zone threats in the league, even as Justin Jefferson (8 for 80 receiving, 1 fumble lost) takes away some of his upside. Thielen came down with a season-high in targets, receptions, and yards against a defense that should have posed more of an issue for this offense. As with Cousins earlier, Cook is really what makes this offense hum and allows for these games to happen. The Vikings head into their bye week to work on getting fully healthy before a prospective shootout against Dallas.

Donovan Peoples-Jones: 4 receptions, 101 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Peoples-Jones’ standout performance this week was propped up by a 57-yard hail mary TD to end the second half. It could be tempting to pick him up off waivers after two straight weeks of flex-level play and with Odell Beckham (5 for 79 receiving) still not truly breaking out. However, it’s important to remember Jarvis Landry is coming off IR soon and this is still a run-first team. Peoples-Jones is nothing more than a cheeky DFS play on a week-to-week basis.

Others of Note
  • Cooper Kupp: 9 receptions, 130 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
  • Jaylen Waddle: 10 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
  • Antonio Brown: 9 receptions, 93 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
Credit: Predominantly Orange

Tight Ends

Noah Fant: 9 receptions, 97 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Fant has had an up and down season for most of 2021 so far. The third-year tight end was someone that the fantasy community expected to break out this season but hasn’t quite lived up to the hype. This week in particular came from some garbage-time production as the Broncos were trailing for most of this game. He’s still commanding a 20%+ target share from Teddy Bridgewater (35/49 for 334 and 3 TDs with 3 INTs passing, 2 for 9 rushing, 1 fumble lost), but his upside is limited due to the inconsistent Broncos offense.

Mike Gesicki: 8 receptions, 115 receiving yards

Gesicki was the biggest beneficiary of the slew of wide receiver injuries the Dolphins had entering this game. He was able to sustain the favorable target share he had even with Tua Tagovailoa (33/47 for 329 and 2 TDs with 1 INT passing, 3 for 22 rushing) coming back from his injury. He’s a top-10 WR in PPR formats due to high volume with limited scoring upside on a struggling team but has found use as an efficient security blanket. He will maintain his TE1 status as the season continues.

Others of Note

Players That Got Floored

Credit: USA Today


Daniel Jones: 29/51, 242 passing yards, 3 INTs, 3 rushes, 4 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost

The concussion that Jones suffered in last week’s game against Dallas must have factory reset the Giants quarterback to his 2020 form. These were his first true interceptions of the season, adding two fumbles while not feeling pressure in the pocket for a good amount of the game. His offensive line did let him down, and he lost Kadarius Toney early on to a reaggravated injury, but Jones took some big mental steps back this week. He’ll need to regain all that lost progress quickly to have any chance of having a quality fantasy performance next week against Carolina.

Taylor Heinicke: 24/39, 182 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 INT

This was a truly disappointing game for Heinicke. The Washington quarterback had a glorious breakout opportunity against the league’s worst defense but was unable to keep pace with Mahomes and the Chiefs. He did just enough to make sure he wasn’t the reason they lost the game and that was it. Unfortunately, this means Heinicke’s fantasy ceiling is capped moving forward. He’ll need to prove he can do more for this offense if he doesn’t want to lose his job once Ryan Fitzpatrick is cleared to return.

Justin Herbert: 22/39, 195 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 INT, 2 rushes, 12 rushing yards

The Ravens defense found a way to stifle the young superstar, making him look absolutely pedestrian following his huge outing last week. Herbert was unable to get anything going while their opponent was keeping all of his major weapons in check. This is the lowlight following the highlight of the previous game, and one Herbert will look to forget going into the bye.

Others of Note
  • Davis Mills: 29/43, 243 passing yards, 2 INTs, 2 rushes, 5 rushing yards
  • Jared Goff: 28/42, 202 passing yards, 1 INT, 1 rush, 1 rushing yard
  • Baker Mayfield: 19/28, 234 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 1 INT, 3 rushes, 8 rushing yards, 2 fumbles lost
Credit: Fantasy Couch

Running Backs

Myles Gaskin: 5 rushes, 9 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 5 receiving yards

It’s become very apparent that Gaskin is not benefiting from any positive game scripts this season. Even when Miami controls the game, they refuse to give Gaskin opportunities to gain meaningful yardage. He is not built to be the running back sent between the tackles like he’s currently being used. The most disappointing aspect is that with multiple receivers out due to injury he couldn’t establish any usefulness there, even with six targets. Fantasy owners need to fade Gaskin and the rest of the Dolphin’s backfield for their own sanity.

Antonio Gibson: 10 rushes, 44 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 0 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost

Gibson fell hard in this one. The combination of a nagging shin injury and a very negative game script led to J.D. McKissic (8 for 45 rushing, 8 for 65 receiving) taking over the backfield for many of the meaningful snaps in this game. With the way Washington’s defense has performed this year, this may be more common moving forward than Gibson’s owners would be comfortable with. Hopefully, this team can start turning it around after their week 9 bye, but right now expectations have to remain low.

Others of Note
  • Chase Edmonds: 4 rushes, 46 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 4 receiving yards
  • Austin Ekeler: 6 rushes, 7 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 48 receiving yards
  • Tony Pollard: 10 rushes, 41 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 22 receiving yards
Credit: USA Today

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams: 2 receptions, 27 receiving yards

The stat line is very concerning, but totally understandable given the situation. Williams was still recovering from his injury and the Ravens had every answer for this offense. The good news is that Williams didn’t appear to suffer any setbacks during the game. He has the bye week to completely heal up before returning to his normal WR1 self.

Terry McLaurin: 4 receptions, 28 receiving yards

The wide receiver floored section has a very strong “don’t panic” theme this week. McLaurin was also fighting off an injury and Heinicke wasn’t doing the passing game any favors to try and breathe some life into it. There are better days ahead for this offense as a whole, and McLaurin will remain a huge part of it. His 32 targets over the last three games are strong evidence of that.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

Credit: USA Today
Jonnu Smith: 1 reception, 9 receiving yards

Smith was never expected to be a workhorse tight-end going into the season, but even those lowered expectations haven’t been met. Outside of his lone score in Week 4, he’s been practically invisible in an already barren Tight End landscape. Hunter Henry‘s (2 for 25 and 1 TD receiving) emergence as a scoring-upside option in the offense has put the final nail in the coffin for the former Titan. Barring an injury to Henry, Smith doesn’t hold any long-term value in redraft leagues.

Others of Note

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 5 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analyses, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 5! You can check out Week 4 here.

Players Who Soared

Credit: CBS Sports


Justin Herbert: 26/43, 398 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 4 rushes, 29 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

Herbert showed out in the bonafide shootout against the Browns today. The second-year quarterback kept pace with ease for the entire game against Cleveland’s respectable defense. He commanded a magnificent offensive performance, leading to equally impressive days from Austin Ekeler (17 for 66 and 2 TDs rushing, 5 for 53 and 1 TD receiving) and Mike Williams (8 for 165 and 2 TDs receiving). Having thrown for 901 yards and 11 TDs with no INTs in the last three weeks, continue to trust Herbert as he heads to Baltimore next week.

Davis Mills: 21/29, 312 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 1 rush, 2 rushing yards

Arguably the biggest surprise of the week, Mills very nearly conquered the rookie QB stigma against Bill Belichick‘s Patriots. He connected with Chris Moore (5 for 109 receiving) and Chris Conley (3 for 84 and 1 TD receiving, 1 fumble lost) on some very nice deep balls and managed the game well by minimizing his own mistakes. The biggest assist, however, was from the putrid efforts put forth by the Patriots’ defense early in the game. It was a promising effort from the rookie, though, who took a big step towards being in the streaming conversation for the rest of the season.

Jalen Hurts: 22/37, 198 passing yards, 1 INT, 9 rushes, 30 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs

Thank the lord for Hurts’ legs, otherwise, this would have been an ugly fantasy outing for the Eagles starting QB. The lone INT on the day was a horrible overthrow, highlighting a very sloppy game from both teams in this contest. Hurts’ struggles as a passer were on full display today against a respectable defense and should cause some major concerns going into the Buccaneers matchup next week.

Others of Note
  • Tom Brady: 30/41, 411 passing yards, 5 pass TDs, 1 rush, 13 rushing yards
  • Josh Allen: 15/26, 315 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 11 rushes, 59 rushing yards, 1 rush TD
  • Jameis Winston: 15/30, 279 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 1 INT, 6 rushes, 26 rushing yards

Running Backs

Credit: USA Today
Myles Gaskin: 5 rushes, 25 rushing yards, 10 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

In a move that was a long time coming for fantasy owners, Gaskin established himself as the clear lead back in Miami’s backfield. He out-touched Salvon Ahmed 15-4 and looked dangerous catching passes out of the backfield. This was to be expected against the vaunted Tampa Bay rushing defense, but the passing game usage was very relieving to see as Miami expects to be in many negative game scripts moving forward. He gets a juicy matchup against Jacksonville next week to flex those rushing muscles too.

Alvin Kamara: 16 rushes, 71 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 5 receptions, 51 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

After inexplicably being excluded from the passing game last week, Kamara posted his first true boom of a game in Washington. He saw his highest target share of the season yet (8) and looked just as good as ever gaining yards after the catch. What’s most encouraging is Winston’s attempts keep creeping back up, which will hopefully lead to more touches for Kamara moving forward as well if and when this team is trailing. Kamara gets a bye week before a matchup against the Seahawks in week 7.

Alexander Mattison: 25 rushes, 113 rushing yards, 7 receptions, 40 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD, 1 fumble lost

This standout game is courtesy of a late scratch for Dalvin Cook as he was just too hurt to play this week. Mattison took advantage of the delectable matchup against Detroit and was featured all over the place in Minnesota’s offense. This is his second game answering the call in a big way in the wake of Cook being too hurt to play. Mattison may have now carved out a Tony Pollard-style role in this offense, especially if Cook needs more rest on game days.

Others of Note
  • Derrick Henry: 29 rushes, 130 rushing yards, 3 rush TDs
  • Ezekiel Elliott: 21 rushes, 110 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 2 receptions, 2 receiving yards
  • Nick Chubb: 21 rushes, 161 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 1 reception, 9 receiving yards

Wide receivers

Credit: PFF
Davante Adams: 11 receptions, 206 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

I’m not sure what’s more terrifying about Adams at this point. It could be the fact that he’s been averaging 12 targets a game this season, and 15 targets per game over the last three weeks. But it could also be the fact that he only has two touchdowns on the season so far. For context; Adams had 2 touchdowns after five weeks last season as well while missing two weeks for injury and being on bye. The star Packers wideout is disgustingly good, with positive TD regression on its way. He’s a locked-in WR1 even in a tough divisional matchup at Chicago on the docket.

Antonio Brown: 7 receptions, 124 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Brown continues to prove he is a valuable target for Brady in the nigh-unstoppable Buccaneers offense. This is the third game where Brown has garnered at least seven targets in a game as the presumptive WR3 on the depth chart. The high-powered nature of this offense means that upside is to be found all over the place every week. While Mike Evans (6 for 113 and 2 TDs receiving) appears to still be operating as the WR1 with Chris Godwin (7 for 70 receiving) providing a safe floor, Brown still has WR2/3 potential every single week with the occasional explosive stat line.

Kadarius Toney: 10 receptions, 189 receiving yards

Toney has looked electric for a Giants offense desperate for weapons. Injuries continue to ravage this team as both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones went down in this game. This team was missing seven of its 11 starters from week one against a surprisingly stingy Cowboys defense. Toney became Mr. Necessary for this team and showed beautiful body control and after-the-catch potential. His day was cut short after throwing a punch at Damontae Kazee and getting ejected with 6 minutes left in the game. Even with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton eyeing returns next week, Tony has made his mark on this offense moving forward.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

Credit: CBS Sports
David Njoku: 7 receptions, 149 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Njoku finished the game as the yardage leader for the Cleveland passing game. He more than doubled the next closest receiver in that offense in a game that demanded a massive stat line to stay interesting. The Browns have been running Njoku and Austin Hooper (1 for 11 receiving) about as often, but this is the first game that either of them has shown up for. Njoku is a more interesting flyer as the better athlete, but neither can be relied on for week-to-week production at this time.

Kyle Pitts: 9 receptions, 119 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

All it took was a matchup against the Jets with Calvin Ridley and Russel Gage out due to injury to finally get Pitts to break out. The freak athlete out of Florida finally came down with his first professional touchdown and made a mockery of the pitiful Jets secondary. Going into the bye week you have to imagine Arthur Smith realizes he needs to find more ways to keep Pitts involved. The good news is that he’s seen at least eight targets in three of the first five weeks, so they’re already headed in the right direction.

Others of Note
  • Dawson Knox: 3 receptions, 117 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Hunter Henry: 6 receptions, 75 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Donald Parham: 2 receptions, 29 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Players That Got Floored


Credit: Yahoo! Sports
Jared Goff: 21/35, 203 passing yards, 1 INT

There’s a lot to be said about the heartbreaking losses the Lions have been victimized by this year on last-second field goals. There’s also a lot to be said about how uninspiring Goff’s play has been. Gone are the 50+ pass attempt days of the Los Angeles Rams, and with it goes Goff’s fantasy ceiling, having yet to eclipse 18 points in a 4-point TD format. With no rushing ability to help the bottom line, Goff will continue to be a matchup-dependant streaming option on a struggling team.

Justin Fields: 12/20, 111 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 3 rushes, 4 rushing yards

Fields finds himself in the Floored category for the third week in a row, and with good reason. He’s only amassed 388 total passing yards through his first three starts, and the rushing upside just hasn’t materialized yet. However, the Bears are in no rush to let their rookie air it out. They have remained competitive relying on their running game and defense alone. The offense will need to open it up to keep up with the formidable Packers offense next week. Keep an eye on Fields from your bench and waivers for now.

Others of Note
  • Derek Carr: 22/25, 206 passing yards, 1 INT, 3 rushes, 10 rushing yards
  • Zach Wilson: 19/32, 192 passing yards, 1 INT, 1 rush, 3 rushing yards
  • Sam Darnold: 21/37, 177 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 3 INTs, 2 rushes, 10 rushing yards

Running Backs

Credit: DraftKings
Chase Edmonds: 6 rushes, 15 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 19 receiving yards

This dud of a game was brought to you by a nagging hamstring issue and a tough 49ers matchup. Edmonds was fighting through the injury all week in practice and was questionable coming into this week. Neither he nor James Conner (10 for 29 and 1 TD rushing, 1 for 8 receiving) could get much going as this matchup was focused on the defensive efforts for both teams. Hopefully, Edmonds has some additional time to heal before another respectable matchup against Clevland next week.

Melvin Gordon: 9 rushes, 34 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 9 receiving yards

The veteran Broncos running back continues to hold a solid floor with very limited upside. While the backfield continues to be a near 50/50 split, it’s becoming more apparent that Javonte Williams (8 for 61 rushing, 3 for 25 receiving) shows more promise than Gordon. There’s a good chance both backs end up with great games against a soft Raiders defense next week. If that happens, it may be time to sell high on Gordon as Williams continues to find work.

Others of Note
  • Elijah Mitchell: 9 rushes, 43 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 19 receiving yards
  • Miles Sanders: 11 rushes, 45 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 6 receiving yards
  • Alex Collins: 15 rushes, 47 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 25 receiving yards

Wide receivers

Credit: ESPN
Odell Beckham: 2 receptions, 20 receiving yards

It’s inexplicable at this point how the most talented wide receiver on the Browns is a total afterthought in a game where the team puts up 500+ total yards of offense. Beckham and Baker Mayfield (23/32 for 305 and 2 TDs passing, 2 for 8 rushing) have struggled to get anything going the last two weeks. It’s been a disappointing result after a promising week three performance for the Cleveland duo. You have to hope that they can figure something out heading into another high-scoring affair against Arizona next week.

Adam Thielen: 2 receptions, 40 receiving yards

This was a disappointing result for Thielen, but not a very surprising one. He took a back seat to Mattison and Justin Jefferson (7 for 124 receiving) as the Vikings fought to close out a sloppy game against the Lions. Thielen is showing that he is very touchdown-dependent, which was expected coming into the season. The good news is he’s still involved enough in the offense to sustain that touchdown upside on a week-to-week basis.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

Credit: Green Bay Packers
Robert Tonyan: 1 reception, 8 receiving yards

It’s been an incredibly disappointing start to the season for someone considered to be a sleeper during draft season. He’s seen three or fewer targets in three games while siphoning away red-zone targets to Adams. Tonyan has been droppable for two weeks now and should stay that way until further notice.

Cameron Brate: 1 reception, 12 receiving yards

It’s become very apparent that Brate is not the Rob Gronkowski replacement fantasy owners hoped he’d be. Brady has instead started leaning more on the wide receivers and Leonard Fournette (12 for 67 and 1 TD rushing, 4 for 43 receiving) rather than the veteran tight end. Even in this stellar offense, the upside just isn’t there for Brate, who can be dropped even before Gronk gets healthy.

Others of Note

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 4 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analyses, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 3! You can check out Week 3 here.

Players Who Soared

Credit: USA Today


Sam Darnold: 26/39, 301 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 6 rushes, 35 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs

Darnold has turned into Ryan Tannehill 2.0, escaping the clutches of Adam Gase and blossoming into the above-average to great QB he was perceived to be coming out of USC. Darnold has three consecutive games with over 300 passing yards along with five total rushing TDs. Joe Brady’s offensive playcalling has opened up Darnold’s playmaking ability and allows him to command this surprisingly competitive Panthers team even without Christian McCaffrey. He will once again be in the QB1 conversation when they host the Eagles next week.

Matt Ryan: 25/42, 283 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 1 rush, 17 rushing yards

The 36-year-old Falcons quarterback shows he hasn’t quite fallen off the cliff yet, but his consistency is still very suspect. He made a couple of nice throws this game, including a beauty to Cordarrelle Patterson (more below) in the end zone early on, but he still looked a little shaky at times. Ryan is very much a matchup-dependent streaming option this year, with an intriguing matchup against the New York Jets next week. The Jets don’t typically give up a lot to the QB because they get eviscerated on the ground, but the Falcons may have to beat them through the air without a very confident running game.

Daniel Jones: 28/40, 402 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 1 INT, 4 rush, 27 rushing yards

See Jason Garrett? This is what happens when you start opening up the playbook. The Giants’ offense looked much better tonight compared to the beginning of the season, and that includes Jones who took huge steps forward (literally) fixing his pocket awareness and mobility in the backfield. It led to a fantastically managed game with some mistakes that weren’t too costly (the INT was on a last-second hail mary to close out the first half). With Dallas, the Rams, and Carolina next on the schedule, he’ll need to prove that he can maintain this progress through some tough matchups, but this Saints defense was a great litmus test for him as a player.

Others of Note
  • Patrick Mahomes: 24/30, 278 passing yards, 5 pass TDs, 1 INT, 5 rushes, 26 rushing yards
  • Taylor Heinicke: 23/33, 290 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 5 rushes, 43 rushing yards
  • Jalen Hurts: 32/48, 387 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 8 rushes, 47 rushing yards
Credit: USA Today

Running Backs

Cordarrelle Patterson: 6 rushes, 34 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 82 receiving yards, 3 receiving TDs

The 30-year-old “running back” has been the Falcons’ secret weapon through the first four weeks of the season. His run after the catch abilities from his kick returning days has made him a dangerous weapon out of the backfield as a very reliable check-down receiver for Ryan. He even showed some great body control on one TD catch in the endzone as well. He’s averaging 7 targets and 70+ receiving yards a game and has already matched his career-high in receiving TDs in four weeks. If he starts siphoning more work away from Mike Davis (13 for 14 rushing, 2 for 12 with 1 TD receiving) he could be this year’s league winner off waivers.

Saquon Barkley: 13 rushes, 52 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 5 receptions, 74 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

The stat sheet for Barkley today would seem very uninspiring if it was cut off after the third quarter. Thankfully for the Giants, he came alive when it mattered most. He torched Marshon Lattimore for a 54-yard score to keep the game close, and then plowed his way forward for the overtime winner from the 6-yard line. Barkley has been looking more and more healthy as the weeks go on, as evidenced by his increasing snap counts. Unfortunately, he is still showing the boom-or-bust tendencies that have plagued him since joining the league. The Giants will need to get better at blocking upfront, otherwise, Barkley’s owners will continue to see highs and lows from this freakish athlete as the season continues.

James Robinson: 18 rushes, 78 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs, 1 reception, -2 receiving yards

For the second week in a row, Robinson made sure to show new head coach Urban Meyer why he had so much promise in his breakout rookie season last year. With Carlos Hyde being a healthy scratch before the start of the game, this is a huge indicator that they’re looking to feature Robinson more. A 95% snap count in a game that was competitive throughout is another huge check in that box as well. Owners who stuck with him through the iffy first couple of weeks are about to be rewarded for remaining faithful.

Others of Note
Credit: USA Today

Wide Receivers

Tyreek Hill: 11 receptions, 186 receiving yards, 3 receving TDs

After a couple of disappointing weeks, it was refreshing to see Hill return to his absolute blowout form. He had no trouble at all blowing the top off of the suspect Eagles secondary, with scoring plays of 6, 12, and 44 yards. His floor isn’t the most secure compared to other high-end receivers, but his ceiling is unquestioned in the Andy Reid & Mahomes offense. He’s a must-start WR1 every week to avoid missing out on these week-winning performances.

DJ Moore: 8 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

The former first-round pick continues to improve on the one thing that held him back in his first three seasons; finding the endzone. The targets and yardage are nothing new for Moore, but now with Darnold at the helm, the offense has opened up enough to allow Moore to thrive. The absence of McCaffrey doesn’t hurt either, but Moore’s TDs are coming from outside the red zone, meaning even when the star running back returns Moore’s value won’t diminish. He has a high WR2 floor every week until further notice.

Randall Cobb: 5 receptions, 69 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Similar to Emmanuel Sanders last week, Cobb is a sneaky weekly start if you need a high-upside flex play. Cobb also has the distinction of having previously rapport with his current QB that Sanders doesn’t have. This is all today that you shouldn’t expect this every week from Cobb, who had more targets today than the first three weeks combined. look for him to be more of a sneaky DFS play in plus matchups instead of consistent WR2-like production.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

C.J. Uzomah: 5 receptions, 95 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Uzomah showed out on Thursday night with a huge night for the dozens of fantasy players who were brave enough to start him. By doubling his season totals in targets and receptions in a single night, he now enters the dreaded “touchdown flier” tier of tight ends. This particular performance was most likely helped out by Tee Higgins missing his second straight game, so once the second-year wideout returns, Uzomah’s floor gets just a little bit lower and a little bit riskier.

Dawson Knox: 5 receptions, 37 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Knox has scored for the third week in a row and has been targeted more often as the Bills’ offense starts to solidify. As the team continues to find the answer at running back he becomes a very reliable weapon in the red zone for one of the league’s best offenses. This type of upside is hard to ignore at the tight end position as Knox makes his case as an every-week start.

Mo Alie-Cox: 3 receptions, 42 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

This massive human being playing tight end for the Colts has been a popular pick as a sleeper tight end for fantasy for a couple of years now. Unfortunately for Cox, Indianapolis is one of the many NFL teams that employ multiple TEs in their schemes, having to fight Jack Doyle (1 for 24 receiving) for snaps on a week-to-week basis. Unless Cox starts to show a consistent presence in the game plan, with or without Doyle in the lineup, he’s nothing more than a touchdown-dependent dart throw.

Others of Note
  • Maxx Williams: 5 receptions, 66 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Dalton Schultz: 6 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Mike Gesicki: 5 receptions, 57 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Noah Fant: 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Players That Got Floored

Credit: Chicago Sun-Times


Justin Fields: 11/17, 209 passing yards, 1 INT, 3 rushes, 9 rushing yards

Despite the second stinker in a row against a much worse defense, this was a much better game for Fields. He was only sacked once while enjoying a relatively clean pocket for most of the game, was able to hit Darnell Mooney (5 for 125 receiving) and Allen Robinson (3 for 63 receiving) on some quality throws, and managed the game well while the Bears were in constant control of the game. They leaned on their running game in the red zone which also took away some scoring opportunities for the young QB. Although there’s a good chance Andy Dalton starts next week if healthy, it was a promising look for the rookie after the dreadful outing last week.

Ben Roethlisberger: 26/40, 232 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 1 INT

Roethlisberger is currently producing some of the saddest QB play I’ve ever seen. He looks clumsy in the pocket, has even less mobility than normal, and is constantly under fire behind a shoddy offensive line that forces lots of check-downs and forced passes just to get the ball out quickly. The fact that he hasn’t thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game this season is extremely concerning and has limited upside even in plus matchups as the season continues.

Baker Mayfield: 15/33, 155 passing yards, 2 rushes, 11 rushing yards

Mayfield is lucky that he shares a division with Big Ben, or his disappointing outings this season would be garnering much more attention. Mayfield was once again erratic at best, missing wide-open receivers all afternoon and being unable to capitalize on big-play opportunities. The Browns have had success this season despite Mayfield, leaning on their elite tandem of Nick Chubb (21 for 100 rushing, 1 for 5 receiving) and Kareem Hunt (14 for 69 and 1 TD rushing, 2 for 17 receiving) out of the backfield. Mayfield’s game-managing tendencies need to improve as they head to face high power offenses in the Chargers and Cardinals the next two weeks.

Others of Note
Miles Gaskin was floored in week 4.
Credit: DraftKings

Running Backs

Myles Gaskin: 2 rushes, 3 rushing yards

Gaskin completely disappeared this game, ceding meaningful touches to Salvon Ahmed (3 for 1 rushing, 2 for 12 receiving) and Malcolm Brown (8 for 23 rushing, 1 for 4 receiving). Even more confusing is his lack of usage in the receiving game, where most of his upside lies. He was a fantasy draft darling this year but has not come close to his pre-season potential so far. Avoid Gaskin at all costs against the vaunted Tampa Bay running defense next week.

Mark Ingram: 6 rushes, 24 rushing yards

After some promising week 1 usage, Ingram has predictively fallen in productivity the last couple of weeks. As the early-down back, the negative game scripts Houston commonly faces are incompatible with his usage. There aren’t too many matchups to look forward to where you can confidently play Ingram in anything more than a desperation flex role.

Chris Carson: 13 rushes, 30 rushing yards, 1 reception, 1 receiving yard

Unlike Ingram above, the limited usage of Carson is not something you could foresee. He’s been given fewer snaps as the weeks go on and doesn’t appear to be nursing any injuries. They may be trying to manage his workload due to his injury history, especially on a short week facing the Rams on Thursday. The continued use of Alex Collins (10 for 44 with 1 TD rushing, 2 for 34 receiving) in this offense caps Carson’s ceiling, something to monitor as the season continues.

Others of Note
  • Dalvin Cook: 9 rushes, 34 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 10 receiving yards
  • Miles Sanders: 7 rushes, 13 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 34 receiving yards
  • Tony Pollard: 10 rushes, 67 rushing yards
JuJu Smith-Schuster was floored by Ben Roethlisberger more than his competition on the other sideline.
Credit: DraftKings

Wide Receivers

JuJu Smith-Schuster: 2 receptions, 11 receiving yards

Coming off a rib injury last week, no one was expecting a huge stat line from the young wideout. However, we expected to see a little more from Smith-Schuster with Chase Claypool out and Diontae Johnson presumably covered by Jaire Alexander. What we got is a player trending downwards in receptions and yards week over week, and a risky play in a haphazard offense moving forward.

CeeDee Lamb: 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards

This was a very disappointing day for Lamb, but not from lack of trying. He had the second-highest targets on a day where Dak Prescott only attempted 22 passes. The Cowboys took an early lead and never let go, relying on their running game to keep possession and limit Carolina’s opportunities. Expect more of a shootout against the emerging Giants offense next week.

Odell Beckham: 2 receptions, 27 receiving yards

Beckham was the true victim of Mayfield’s accuracy issues this week. Finally healthy and presented with a great opportunity to produce, Mayfield missed Beckham on what would have been a long touchdown late in the game. The star wideout is hamstrung in Cleveland’s run-first offense, making missed opportunities like this all the more painful.

Others of Note
Will Dissly was floored in week 4 against the 49ers.
Credit: Field Gulls

Tight Ends

Will Dissly: 2 receptions, 5 receiving yards

Another case of missed opportunity with Gerald Everett missing this game due to injury. Dissly just didn’t see the targets needed to produce in fantasy this week. For those well versed in streaming the tight end position, this outcome should not be a surprise. If Everett is healthy, Dissly will fade into the background once again without much interest soon.

Robert Tonyan: 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards

This game was a step in the right direction for the much-maligned Tonyan. He saw his highest target share of the season, and just missed a touchdown opportunity when Aaron Rodgers overthrew him. His usage in the offense is taking a turn for the better, so look for better weeks to come for the sleeper tight end pick during draft season.

Others of Note

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 3 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analyses, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 3! You can check out Week 2 here.

Players Who Soared

Credit: PFF


Josh Allen: 32/43, 358 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 4 rushes, 9 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

This was the get-back game we were waiting for from Allen. It also came against the highly touted Washington defense which has not been living up to the pre-season hype. Allen got going early and often, scoring three of his passing touchdowns in the first half, keeping the pressure up for the whole game. Allen’s fantasy owners can finally sigh in relief after this MVP-type performance

Justin Herbert: 26/38, 281 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 4 rushes, 16 rushing yards

In keeping with the theme of the previous player, Herbert also enjoyed getting back on track against a vulnerable Chiefs defense. This particular effort benefitted from the Chief’s tendency for turnovers this game, scoring the majority of their points off takeaways. The advantageous field position does not take away from the impressive showing from last year’s rookie record-setter. With another plus divisional matchup next week against the Raiders, Herbert remains fixated in the QB1 conversation.

Others of Note:
  • Matthew Stafford: 27/38, 343 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 2 rushes, -2 rushing yards
  • Patrick Mahomes: 27/44, 260 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 4 rushes, 45 rushing yards
  • Tom Brady: 41/55, 432 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 3 rushes, 14 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

Running Backs

Kareem Hunt: 10 rushes, 81 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 6 receptions, 74 receiving yards

The back-and-force dance between Hunt and Nick Chubb (22 for 84 rushing, no targets) continues this week, as Hunt was significantly behind Chubb in the ground game. Instead, Hunt appeared to be one of the biggest benefactors of the Jarvis Landry injury, commanding seven targets in the passing game. His three-down utilization works in tandem with his electric playmaking ability, as seen on his 29-yard scamper for his lone score on the day. Hunt will always be part of the offensive game plan every week and is worth flex consideration even in negative matchups.

James Robinson: 15 rushes, 88 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 6 receptions, 46 receiving yards

The Jaguars are finally starting to realize the weapon that they have in Robinson. His efficiency has remained steady week over week as his rushing attempts have ballooned from 5 in week 1. Robinson is putting his best case forward to retain a three-down role moving forward in this offense, and with Trevor Lawrence‘s struggles (more below), they may need to rely on him considerably to get anything going. If this role continues, Robinson will start to live up to his draft season potential following Travis Etienne‘s injury.

Najee Harris: 14 rushes, 40 rushing yards, 14 receptions, 102 receiving yards

Harris was a check-down machine for a struggling Steelers offense in this game. 19 total targets are absurd for anyone in the league, matching Raiders focal point Darren Waller‘s insane week 1 performance against Baltimore. Of course, this was also due to the injuries to Diontae Johnson and JuJu Smith-Schuster, but it’s very reassuring to see this kind of work for Harris. Unless the Steeler’s offensive line can start opening up holes for the rookie, this passing work is what’s going to carry him for the whole season.

Others of Note
  • Peyton Barber: 23 rushes, 111 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 3 receptions, 31 receiving yards
  • D’Andre Swift: 14 rushes, 47 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 7 receptions, 60 receiving yards
  • Alexander Mattison: 26 rushes, 112 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 59 receiving yards
  • Austin Ekeler: 11 rushes, 55 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 52 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Wide Receivers

Mike Williams: 7 receptions, 122 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Williams is doing everything in his power to make a huge statement in his contract year. The big-bodied former first-round pick has carved out a significant role in this Chargers offense, commanding at least 9 targets and 1 score in each of the first three weeks. He is Herbert’s go-to target in the red zone so far this year, as well as being a reliable offensive weapon all over the field for the young QB. This offense is going to be a problem trying to cover Williams and Keenan Allen (8 for 50 receiving with 1 TD) moving forward.

Cooper Kupp: 9 receptions, 96 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Back-to-back multi-touchdown games for Kupp. Absolutely insane. We knew that this Rams offense would wake up a little bit in the passing game with the acquisition of Stafford, but no one saw this type of emergence for Kupp. Double-digit targets in each of his first three weeks mean he will constantly remain the focal point of this wide receiving core with endless opportunities to continue blowing up.

Emmanuel Sanders: 5 receptions, 94 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

This was a game that we could see coming for the veteran wideout. Despite being third in the pecking order behind Stefon Diggs (6 for 62 receiving) and Cole Beasley (11 for 98 receiving), he’s been playing the majority of snaps and had 100 total yards coming into this game. Blow-up games like this should reoccur as Sanders develops his chemistry with Allen as the season continues. He’s a solid WR3/Flex play moving forward, especially in a tantalizing matchup against Houston next week.

Others of Note:

Tight Ends

Credit: USA Today
Tyler Conklin: 7 receptions, 70 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

After Irv Smith Jr. went down before the season started, Conklin garnered some hype as a sleeper TE at the very end of fantasy drafts. This may be his first standout game of the season, but the stat sheet shows a solid level of involvement over the first three weeks. Maintaining his 75-80% snap counts will provide additional opportunities in positive matchups moving forward.

Mike Gesicki: 10 receptions, 86 receiving yards

Jacoby Brissett (32/49 for 215 passing, 7 for 37 with 1 TD rushing) sure does love his tight ends. The Dolphins’ backup quarterback has a history of peppering a large number of targets to the position, and Gesicki was a huge benefactor of this tendency this week. It was a needed get-right game for Gesicki as well, and something we can look forward to as long as Brissett is starting.

Others of Note

Players That Got Floored


Credit: Football Outsiders
Justin Fields: 6/20, 68 passing yards, 3 rushes, 12 rushing yards

There are moments in football where you feel for a young quarterback in a bad situation, and this is certainly one of those moments. Fields was hounded all day by the Brown’s defensive front, getting sacked nine times for a total loss of yardage (67) nearly equal to his passing total. You can’t fully blame the offensive line for the rookie’s struggles, but they certainly didn’t help. If Andy Dalton remains sidelined and Fields’ hand checks out okay, he’ll at least have a softer challenge against Detroit to look forward to.

Trevor Lawrence: 22/34, 219 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 2 INTs, 6 rushes, 27 rushing yards, 2 lost fumbles

Does anyone else hear alarm bells? Lawrence adds another four total turnovers to his depressingly impressive stat sheet against a very beatable Cardinals defense. This is Daniel Jones-level of ball security issues and should be very concerning for the first-year quarterback. Coming off this performance and traveling to Cincinnati next week is not looking as ideal as it was at the start of the season. The Jaguars’ offense as a whole needs to find its footing soon to help develop their young heir apparent.

Others of Note
  • Zach Wilson: 19/35, 160 passing yards, 2 INTs, 1 rush, 2 rushing yards
  • Carson Wentz: 19/37, 194 passing yards
  • Jared Goff: 22/30, 217 passing yards, 1 rush, 4 rushing yards

Running Backs

Credit: DraftKings
Phillip Lindsay: 7 rushes, 5 rushing yards

This game from Lindsay is the perfect highlight of the quagmire that is the Houston backfield. Lindsay saw the most rushing attempts out of the three main running backs while being on the field for the least amount of snaps. There’s no consistency to the usage of these backs, except for how inefficient they appear to be. I will avoid talking about this backfield unless someone officially puts their stamp on the lead role.

Damien Harris: 6 rushes, 14 rushing yards, 2 receptions, -3 receiving yards

The Patriot’s starting running back has come down to Earth following a stellar week 1 performance. The negative game script hurt Harris’s potential to salvage this game, where he put up his least efficient effort of the season yet. Harris is a risky play against Tampa Bay’s stout rushing defense next week, but the schedule softens up considerably following that matchup. Look for Harris to be a good trade-for target for the next couple of weeks.

Ty’Son Williams: 5 rushes, 22 rushing yards

This was a disappointing outing for the Ravens team as a whole in a juicy matchup against the lowly Lions. Williams still looks to be the lead back in this offense but the team just couldn’t get anything going all game. The good news is Williams is still the most productive back on the team, with Latavius Murray (7 for 28 rushing) and Devonta Freeman (3 for 8 rushing) not doing much on their own as well. Volume may be an issue moving forward however if the other two keep eating into his snaps.

Others of Note

Wide Receivers

Credit: USA Today
Robby Anderson: 1 reception, 8 receiving yards

This is a concerning trend for one of the popular sleeper picks during the draft season this year. Anderson only has 11 targets total to his name through three weeks and has seen his snap count decline every week. The injury to Christian McCaffrey might open up more opportunities for the explosive wideout, but it’s certainly a situation to monitor moving forward. For now, DJ Moore (8 for 126 receiving) has left Anderson in his dust with no chance of looking back.

Kadarius Toney: 2 receptions, 16 receiving yards

The Giants’ first-round pick has been very quiet through the first three weeks of the season. Toney has been battling various injuries and illnesses which has stunted his development with the rest of the first-team offense. Unfortunately, he could not make use of his sudden opportunity with Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton going down with injuries in this game. Toney may be asked to step up sooner rather than later and is a decent waiver option to keep an eye on.

DeAndre Hopkins: 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards

Hopkins came into this matchup hobbled by a rib injury suffered during practice. It’s more likely than not that he was run out there as a decoy for most of this game, which led to this dud of a stat line. Hopkins has always been a tough player, so it was within the realm of possibility that he could still produce, so this still hurts for his owners. Keep an eye on the injury reports throughout practice this week to see if he can return to form next week.

Others of Note

Tight Ends

Credit: USA Today
Evan Engram: 2 receptions, 21 yards, 1 lost fumble

As a Giants fan, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to be impartial on anything Engram-related for fantasy football. A limited Kenny Golladay and injuries to Shepard and Slayton opened the door wide open for Engram to take advantage of the target vacuum, and he once again squandered this beautiful opportunity. His athletic prowess is without question, but the consistent mental errors mean you cannot trust him until he puts together a string of multiple quality starts.

Jonnu Smith: 1 reception, 4 yards

This fantasy dud is brought you by an inability to bring in most of his targets (6) and an ugly bobbled catch that lead to a pick-six. The unfortunate part for Smith is that he has limited upside due to his consistent but low volume usage in this Patriots offense that wasn’t able to run the ball. It’s been hard to trust either Smith or Hunter Henry (5 for 36 receiving) as anything more than TE2s this year while they continue to eat into each other’s workload.

Others of Note:

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 2 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions rather than in-depth analysis, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 2! You can check out Week 1 here.

Players Who Soared

Credit: USA Today


Kyler Murray: 29/36, 400 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 5 rushes, 31 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

We expected this to happen after Murray’s coming out party last week. Even with some additional mistakes, Murray is one of the most electric players in the NFL today. His ability to scramble and extend plays, sometimes rushing forward for his yardage, is an irreplaceable skill to have for your QB1.

Daniel Jones: 22/32, 249 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 9 rushes, 95 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

For once, Jones’s play under center was not a key factor in the Giants losing on Thursday night. His throws looked more on target and had more zip to them, and he was able to take advantage of the read-option and use his legs for yardage. He’ll need more reliable hands from his receivers, but this is a noticeable step forward for the 3rd year QB.

Derek Carr: 28/37, 382 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 4 rushes, 9 rushing yards

A pleasant surprise in the early fantasy season, Derek Carr has now thrown for over 800 yards in his first two contests. What’s important from this week is that Darren Waller wasn’t the commanding target leader this time around. With his running game providing no help, Carr has shown he can air it out to keep his team in games. This makes him a great streaming option moving forward.

Others of Note
  • Lamar Jackson: 18/26, 239 passing yards, 1 pass TDs, 2 INTs, 16 rushs, 107 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs
  • Tom Brady: 24/36, 276 passing yards, 5 pass TDs, 1 rush, 6 rushing yards
  • Patrick Mahomes: 24/31, 343 passing ayrds, 3 pass TDs, 1 INT, 1 rush, 3 rushing yards

Running Back

Credit: DraftKings
Derrick Henry: 35 rushes, 182 rushing yards, 3 rush TDs. 6 receptions, 55 receiving yards

This was a much-needed get-right game for Henry. The physically imposing back was able to take advantage of his usual M.O. in this game. 30+ rushing attempts wore the Seahawks’ defense down until they just couldn’t stop him. It was a nice glimpse from last year that his owners will hope to continue to see.

Christian McCaffrey: 24 rushes, 72 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 5 receptions, 65 receiving yards

Speaking of returning to form, McCaffrey provides yet another typical top-5 performance. Nothing will stop McCaffrey from being the centerpiece of this offense as long as he remains healthy.

Cowboys Running Backs

In a high-powered matchup against the Chargers, both Ezekiel Elliot (16 for 71 rushing, 1 rush TD, 2 for 26 receiving) and Tony Pollard (13 for 109 rushing, 1 rush TD, 3 for 31 receiving) proved they could make efficient use of the touches they receive. Unfortunately, the other side of this coin is that tougher matchups mean fewer opportunities for each player. The schedule is pretty kind for the next couple of weeks, so you can afford to hope for the upside to continue.

J.D. McKissic: 4 rushes, 10 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 5 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

The two-minute drill and passing down work, at least for now, belongs to McKissic. What was surprising is that he even got a goal-line carry and one or two short-yardage carries while in the up-tempo offense. Antonio Gibson owners need to temper expectations and hope for more positive game scripts for this shaky offense, otherwise, McKissic will continue to be a thorn in their side.

Others of Note:
  • Cordarrelle Patterson: 7 rushes, 11 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 5 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Austin Ekeler: 9 rushes, 54 rushing yards, 9 receptions, 61 receiving yards
  • Najee Harris: 10 rushes, 38 rushing yards, 5 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Wide Receivers

Cooper Kupp: 9 receptions, 163 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs, 1 rush, -5 rushing yards

Congrats to all Kupp owners on winning your matchups this week! The Rams wide receiver exploded, commanding double-digit targets from new best friend Matthew Stafford. He is by far the safest receiving option in this passing attack moving forward.

Tyler Lockett: 8 receptions, 178 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

The projected 1b to D.K. Metcalf‘s (6 receptions for 53 yards) 1a has been significantly more efficient with his opportunities through the first two weeks. With back-to-back 100-yard performances, and being tied with Metcalf to lead the team in targets, Lockett’s usage should not be questioned at all. Look for him to continue his hot streak season opening against Minnesota next week.

Terry McLaurin: 11 receptions, 107 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

When Ryan Fitzpatrick went down in week one, questions were asked about how effective McLaurin could be with an inferior signal-caller. The rapport that McLaurin has built with Taylor Heinicke, however, should alleviate those concerns. Being able to show out against a corner in James Bradberry that gave him significant trouble last year shows his progress as a receiver. The polished second-year player should have no problem producing regardless of who’s at quarterback.

Courtland Sutton: 9 receptions, 159 receiving yards

With Sutton now fully healthy, the injury to Jerry Jeudy freed up a significant amount of targets that found their way to him. Sutton commanded a greater than 33% target share against the Jaguars and looked good converting those targets into chunk gains. With the Jets slated in the week 3 matchup, Sutton should continue to dominate the passing work from Teddy Bridgewater.

Others of Note:
  • Mike Evans: 5 receptions, 75 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs
  • Marquise Brown: 6 receptions, 113 receiving ayrds, 1 receiving TD
  • Henry Ruggs: 5 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD, 1 rush, 2 rushing yards
  • Rondale Moore: 7 receptions, 114 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Tight Ends

Credit: USA Today
Rob Gronkowski: 4 receptions, 39 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Gronkowski continues to ignore father time along with his favorite QB. The legendary pair have now linked up for four touchdowns in two weeks, creating massive upside at the tight end position. Gronk will continue to flirt with locked-in top-5 TE production for the rest of the season.

Maxx Williams: 7 receptions, 94 receiving yards

In an absolute barn-burner, Williams was able to carve himself a nice role in keeping the up-tempo Arizona offense moving. These are points that I would not chase, however, as there are too many weapons already sharing all of these passing opportunities. Williams is a wait-and-see type tight end; make sure to keep an eye on his target share to see if any level of consistency develops.

Noah Fant: 4 receptions, 33 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Another beneficiary of Jeudy’s injury, Teddy Bridgewater‘s security blanket was able to find the endzone this week. 14 targets over two weeks are not something to stick your nose up at for the tight end position, making Fant one of the most consistent options as the season continues.

Kyle Pitts: 5 receptions, 73 receiving yards

While not hitting full breakout yet, Pitts has continued to show improvement in the Falcon’s offense. Similar to Fant above, he is solidly involved in this offense with 14 targets of his own to his name. The conditions are right for a full breakout game against a Giants defense that is allergic to covering the middle of the field.

Others of Note:
  • Travis Kelce: 7 receptions, 109 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Darren Waller: 5 receptions, 65 receiving yards
  • Jack Doyle: 5 receptions, 64 receiving yards
  • Foster Moreau: 2 receptions, 34 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD

Players That Got Floored


Credit: USA Today
Zach Wilson: 19/33, 210 passing yards, 4 INTs, 3 rushes, 19 rushing yards

The Patriots’ defense lives up to their reputation once again. Bill Belichick eats rookie QBs for breakfast, and this poor showing from the promising Jets quarterback is no different. You avoided starting him if you could anyway, just hope for a slightly better bounce-back week against Denver.

Justin Fields: 6/13, 60 passing yards, 1 INT, 10 rushes, 31 rushing yards

Fields came in for an injured Andy Dalton and looked like a quarterback in relief out there. Some small mistakes for a rookie but nothing that he can’t recover from. His rushing ability gives him significant fantasy upside and will look to take advantage of that if Dalton misses time.

Jameis Winston: 11/22, 111 passing yards, 2 INTs, 3 rushes, 19 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

This is the downside of the low volume stat line after the ceiling of last week’s performance. Winston is a gunslinger by nature, so being limited to less than 25 attempts per game will make the bad games stick out more. What’s worse is that they didn’t attempt more throws while being down most of the game. This is a scary precedent to set with New England on tap for next week.

Others of Note:
  • Dak Prescott: 23/27, 237 passing yards, 1 INT
  • Trevor Lawrence: 14/33, 118 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 2 INTs, 2 rushes, 21 rushing yards
  • Joe Burrow: 19/30, 207 passing yards, 2 pass TDs, 3 INTs

Running Backs

Credit: DraftKings
The entire 49ers backfield

Shoutouts to Trenton Cannon as the last surviving member of the 49ers backfield. Elijah Mitchell (shoulder), Trey Sermon (concussion), and JaMycal Hasty (high-ankle sprain) all suffered injuries during the matchup against the Eagles on Sunday. The team is bringing in free agents to sign off the streets, both for depth and potential lack of trust in Cannon who’s primarily a special teams player.

Peyton Barber: 13 rushes, 32 rushing yards

This was a situation to avoid entirely after Josh Jacobs was downgraded to out. Both Barber and Kenyan Drake (7 rushes for 9 yards, 5 receptions for 46 yards) looked like significant downgrades, but at least Drake was effective in the passing game so he didn’t kill you. Hopefully, this will convince Jon Gruden to give Drake more touches if Jacobs misses more time.

Alvin Kamara: 8 rushes, 5 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards

The Panthers completely sold out to stop Kamara this week and it worked beautifully. Unfortunately, that means that your stud running back completely let you down, which was disappointing to see against a decent matchup. The good news here is that Kamara led the team in targets, which bodes well for his usage further down the line if Winston opens up the offense more.

Others of Note:

Wide Receivers

Credit: CBS Sports
Brandon Aiyuk: 1 reception, 6 receiving yards

Aiyuk has been completely usurped by Deedo Samuel (6 receptions for 93 yards) for the #1 wide receiver spot. His snap counts went up from the previous week but only saw two targets all game. It remains to be seen if Aiyuk is still recovering from his hamstring issue or if they are just content with phasing him out of the offense, but you cannot start him until improvement is shown.

Corey Davis: 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards

Davis was a victim of the crimes Belichick commits against rookie QBs as mentioned earlier. He has shown enough throughout preseason and week 1 that he can be relied on for solid production when Wilson can minimize his mistakes.

D.J. Chark: 1 reception, 19 receiving yards

Both Chark and Laviska Shenault (2 receptions for -3 yards) were overshadowed by Marvin Jones (6 receptions for 55 yards and 1 TD) on the outside. Even after Shenault got hurt the targets just weren’t coming Chark’s way. He may see an uptick in targets if Shenault misses significant time, but he’s a risky WR2 play at best right now.

Others of Note:

Tight Ends

Credit: 247 Sports
Cole Kmet: 0 receptions

After Dalton was injured the game plan shifted away significantly from Kmet compared to the previous week. It’ll be a situation to watch if Fields takes over as the starter, as a tight end can become a rookie QB’s best friend. He’s worth watching from the waiver wire for now though.

Gerald Everett: 1 reception, 3 receiving yards

The Seahawks have played two high-scoring matchups so far where Everett has not been involved, at least not in the passing game. He’s significantly outpacing Will Dissly in snap counts and Dissly did not get a target, so there’s not any major concern here from that perspective. He’s best used as a waiver wire flyer at this point based on matchup.

Zach Ertz: 1 reception, 6 receiving yards

It’s pretty clear at this point that the Eagles are now Dallas Goedert‘s team. a total of four targets in the first two games is not sustainable when there is a significantly more productive tight end being used in the offense. Now that he’s COVID-19 positive, Ertz cannot be started in any capacity at this point even after he recovers.

Others of Note:

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Soared and Floored: NFL Week 1 Fantasy Recap

Welcome to PFP’s new weekly studs and duds fantasy recap for the 2021 football season! Here we take a look at some of the standout performances, both and good and bad, from Thursday’s and Sunday’s contests. These are more instant reactions than in-depth analysis, with things to keep in mind as the season progresses. Let’s see who took to the skies and who bottomed out in Week 1!

Players Who Soared

Kyler Murray soared in week 1


Kyler Murray: 21/32, 289 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 1 1NT, 5 rushes, 20 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

The #2 overall quarterback from 2020 showed absolutely no signs of slowing down. He looked just as mobile as ever and threw some absolute gems while picking apart the unprepared Titans defense. He looks to be worth every bit of draft capital you had to spend to get him. With a couple of relatively easy matchups in Minnesota and Jacksonville in the next couple of weeks, look for Murray to get on a nice early-season hot streak.

Jared Goff: 38/57, 338 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 1 INT, 3 rushes, 14 rushing yards

Goff exceeded expectations this week against a solid 49ers defense looking to make a statement on opening weekend. While decidedly not Matthew Stafford, he showed enough command of the offense to keep the defense honest during the game. A lot of the damage was done while playing catch-up in the second half, however, which is a reasonable expectation for this Lions team for the remainder of the season.

Jameis Winston: 14/20, 148 passing yards, 5 pass TDs, 6 rushes, 37 rushing yards

This was a major blow-up week for the new Saints starting QB. Low passing volume compensated by an explosion of TDs hides a game plan focused on ball control and minimizing mistakes. After passing this initial test, expect to see Winston let loose a little more against a less-respected team next week. Considering his history as a fantasy asset, that may not be a good thing.

Dak Prescott: 42/58, 403 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 1 INT, 4 rushes, 13 rushing yards

Welcome back, Dak! After a slow start Thursday Night, Prescott took over the game and got right back on the historic pace he was on last season. Don’t expect nearly 60 passing attempts every week, though, as they were clearly avoiding the menacing Buccaneers rushing defense all night.

Others of Note:
  • Patrick Mahomes: 27/36, 337 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 5 rushes, 18 rushing yards, 1 rush TD
  • Tom Brady: 32/50, 379 passing yards, 4 pass TDs, 2 INTs
  • Jalen Hurts: 27/35, 264 passing yards, 3 pass TDs, 7 rushes, 62 rushing yards
Christian McCaffery soared in week 1
Credit: Charlotte Observer

Running Backs

Christian McCaffrey: 21 rushes, 98 rushing yards, 9 receptions, 89 receiving yards

Some things never change. No matter how hard you try to break him, a healthy McCaffrey will always retain his dominance at the running back position. He led the Panthers in both rushing and receiving yards as the security blanket Sam Darnold needs to begin to shake off his ghosts. The Saints should be a much better test for the dynamic runner next week.

Joe Mixon: 29 rushes, 127 rushing yards, 1 rush TD. 4 receptions, 23 receiving yards

The biggest thing to say about Mixon’s efforts on Sunday is that he looks fully healthy. The Bengals needed an electric option coming out of the backfield to help Joe Burrow get comfortable coming off of his own injuries. The improvements to the offensive line should also get some of the credit here. Mixon needs to keep this momentum going against some tougher matchups in the coming weeks.

Jamaal Williams: 9 rushes, 54 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 8 receptions, 56 receiving yards

Raise your hand if you saw this one coming. Expected to retain a similar role to what he had in Green Bay, Williams ended up as the most targeted Lion on the week. He was barely out-touched by D’Andre Swift (11 for 39 rushing, 8 for 65 receiving with 1 TD), who produced in his own right while shaking off some injury rust. I expect this timeshare to favor Swift more in the future, but Williams will be a priority waiver add over the next few days.

Melvin Gordon: 11 rushes, 101 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 3 receptions, 17 receiving yards

This one is a bit of a trap. The majority of Gordon’s rushing came off of a 70-yard rushing TD late in the 4th quarter with the game locked up. Javonte Williams actually had more rushing attempts (14) and was just as “efficient” with his touches as Gordon if you take out the TD run. This backfield will be a timeshare mess for at least the next couple of weeks.

Elijah Mitchell: 19 rushes, 104 rushing yards, 1 rush TD

Mitchell is the biggest winner from this weekend. The injury to Raheem Mostert, along with Trey Sermon being a healthy scratch, opens the door for the 23-year-old rookie to command this backfield. Keep an eye out for news about Sermon’s availability for next week, as the 49ers only have three healthy running backs on the roster if Mostert misses significant time.

Others of Note:
  • Nick Chubb: 15 rushes, 83 rushing yards, 2 rush TDs, 2 receptions, 18 receiving yards
  • David Montgomery: 16 rushes, 108 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 1 reception, 10 receiving yards
  • Alvin Kamara: 20 rushes, 83 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 8 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD
  • Dalvin Cook: 20 rushes, 61 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 6 receptions, 43 receiving yards, 1 lost fumble
Amari Cooper soared in week 1
Credit: USA Today

Wide Receivers

Amari Cooper: 13 receptions, 139 receiving yards, 2 reciving TDs

Cooper took it personally when CeeDee Lamb (7 for 104 with 1 TD) was drafted ahead of him in fantasy this year. These types of blow-up games are what we come to expect out of Cooper. With Prescott returning to form, you should feel safer plugging him into your lineups moving forward. It’s also mandatory that you pray that his disappearing acts are finally behind him.

Deebo Samuel: 9 receptions, 189 receiving yards, 1 receiving TD, 1 fumble lost

Don’t let the fumble dissuade you from celebrating this excellent game out of Samuel. Samuel was the clear target leader for the 49ers on Sunday afternoon. What’s even more telling is Brandon Aiyuk was held to zero receptions against a terrible Lions defense. Samuel’s value should remain relatively high going against an exploitable Eagles defense next week.

Adam Thielen: 9 receptions, 92 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Justin Jefferson (5 for 71) may be the new hotness on the Vikings, but Thielen continues to prove his value. He lives for red-zone targets, and has for quite some time, becoming a favorite of Kirk Cousins on a very consistent basis. Those expecting a value drop should be comforted by this performance moving forward.

Corey Davis: 5 receptions, 97 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

With Jamison Crowder out, Davis took full advantage of the chemistry he built with Zach Wilson during the preseason. Fantasy owners should see this as an affirmation of the type of floor we were expecting from Davis this year. However, targets may be harder to come by in future matchups against tougher defenses.

Others of Note:

Tight Ends

Credit: USA Today
Rob Gronkowski: 8 receptions, 90 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

It’s starting to look like Brady spilled his fountain of youth secret to his favorite target. Gronkowski hasn’t lost a step coming off a stellar comeback season in 2020. The chemistry between the two Patriot legends is palpable, as the pair now accounts for 100 career TDs together. He’ll be a locked-in TE1 moving forward barring any significant setbacks.

T.J. Hockenson: 8 receptions, 97 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

Like Williams and Swift mentioned above, Hockenson was a true focal point of the passing game. All three players finished with eight receptions when no other receiver had more than three total. Hockenson was used early and often in this game, a trend I fully expect to continue against Green Bay next week.

Juwan Johnson: 3 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 2 receiving TDs

The key to Johnson’s success this week was red-zone usage. He finished with fewer total targets than fellow TE Adam Trautman but was utilized as the short-yardage, big-bodied catcher. There was talk during the preseason that this role could prove fruitful for Johnson as he transitions from WR. He may be a plug-and-play TE2 if this trend continues.

Others of Note:

Players That Got Floored


Credit: Boston Globe
Aaron Rodgers: 15/28, 133 passing yards, 2 INTs

What an awful start to the 2021 season for one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in the league. Rodgers looked out of sync all game before being benched with 11 minutes left in the 4th quarter. No reason to panic yet, but certainly something to be concerned about. Hopefully, the lack of preseason snaps had more to do with this performance than Rodgers finally hitting the cliff. Look for an angry bounce-back game against Detroit next week.

Matt Ryan: 21/35, 164 passing yards, 2 rushes, 8 rushing yards

A very ho-hum game for Matty Ice. Ryan spent most of this game under duress thanks to an inexperienced offensive line that allowed three sacks. Even when he had time to throw, it was clear he didn’t have his best stuff. The Falcons have the weapons to facilitate a bounce-back against Tampa Bay next week, which Ryan played average against in both contests last year.

Ben Roethlisberger: 18/32, 188 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 4 rushes, 5 rushing yards

Continuing the theme from the previous entry, the Steelers offensive line suffered some heavy losses themselves this offseason. This combined with playing a respectable defense in Buffalo speaks to the unimpressive and concerning start to the season for Pittsburgh as a whole. Roethlisberger also continues to show his age in his 39-year-old season. This team will need to get creative to hide its exploitable flaws.

Others of Note:
  • Andy Dalton: 27/38, 206 passing yards, 1 INT, 2 rushes, 13 rushing yards, 1 fumble lost
  • Ryan Tannehill: 21/35, 212 passing yards, 1 pass TD, 2 rushes, 17 rushing yards, 1 rush TD, 2 fumbles lost
  • Justin Herbert: 31/47, 337 passing yards, 1 pas TD, 1 INT, 1 fumble lost

Running Backs

Credit: USA Today
The entire Jets backfield

Woah boy, we expected this running game to be a quagmire but it’s so much worse than anticipated. Tevin Coleman (9 for 24 rushing), Michael Carter (4 for 6 rushing, 1 for 14 receiving), and Ty Johnson (4 for 15 rushing, 1 for 11 receiving) all looked positively terrible in an offense struggling to find its feet. Avoid this backfield at all costs, even if one of these players starts to stand out.

Aaron Jones: 5 rushes, 9 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 13 receiving yards

Green Bay struggled to get anything going in the running game, abandoning it completely by the second half. Jones out-touched AJ Dillon, but put up fewer total yards (4 for 19 rushing, 1 for 7 receiving) which isn’t saying much in a game like this. Snap breakdowns will tell the real story here, but like Rodgers before, I don’t see this as a reason to panic yet.

Saquon Barkley: 10 rushes, 26 rushing yards, 1 reception, 1 receiving yard

This one was less of a surprise for those paying attention. Coming off his ACL injury from last year it was reported Barkley would get less significant work in his first game back. Unsurprisingly against a formidable Broncos defense, those limited touches resulted in barely any fantasy value. On a short week against the Football Team on Thursday, I wouldn’t expect anything better than one broken play from Barkley.

Others of Note:
  • Ezekiel Elliott: 11 rushes, 33 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 6 receiving yards
  • Najee Harris: 16 rushes, 45 rushing yards, 1 reception, 4 receiving yards
  • James Robinson: 5 rushes, 25 rushing yards, 3 receptions, 29 receiving yards

Wide Receivers

Credit: USA Today
Courtland Sutton: 1 reception, 14 receiving yards

Similar to his Giants counterpart in this game, Sutton took it easy coming off his own ACL injury. This one is a bit more disappointing for those who were ready to see his breakout year unfold. In reality, he just wasn’t needed at all, as they were in the driver’s seat for almost all of this game. With Jerry Jeudy suffering a high ankle sprain and a juicy matchup against Jacksonville, I expect Sutton to be in the other segment this time next week.

Mike Evans: 3 receptions, 24 receiving yards

This one hurts, with Evans being the odd man out in a plus matchup. His rapport with Brady was evident all last season, though, so I don’t expect this to trend any worse than normal. Evans is one of those players who will disappear from time to time, especially with this much competition for targets. You’re going to play him every week anyway and with good reason.

Julio Jones: 3 receptions, 29 receiving yards

Everything about this matchup looks great on paper for Jones, but the Tennessee offense got absolutely overwhelmed by the Cardinals pass rush. Tannehill had no room to breathe on Sunday getting sacked five times by Chandler Jones (who is now the front runner for a record I predicted might fall relatively soon). If the Titans can’t fix their offensive line problems quickly, I’d be very cautious about starting your Tennessee playmakers in the next couple of weeks.

Others of Note:

Tight Ends

Robert Tonyan: 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards

The woes of the Packers offense are well documented above, but it’s worth pointing out Tonyan was identified as a late-round gem in this year’s draft. His touchdown upside from last year hasn’t gone anywhere, so he’s still worth a hold in most formats.

The Steelers tight ends

The unfortunate part here is that both Eric Ebron (1 for 19 receiving) and Pat Freiermuth (1 for 24 receiving) have apparently cemented roles in the Steelers offense. What makes this unfortunate is they’ll compete for a small portion of the pie after JuJu Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, and Harris are done eating from it. Neither of these tight ends can be considered playable until one starts to separate from the other.

Others of Note:

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NFL Records Waiting to be Broken in a 17-Game Season

The 2021 NFL season will be the first year with a 17th game on the schedule. While seen as a revenue cash grab by some, this provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the league’s history. The NFL has numerous statistical records that players are waiting to be broken every year. Because of the extra game on the schedule, some of these volume-based records might be in more imminent danger. In this article, we will look at five records that have the potential to fall within the next few years based on current trends.

Photo credit: The Guardian

Rookie Passing Touchdown Record

  • Current holder: Justin Herbert – 31 touchdowns in 15 games (2020)
  • Previous record: Baker Mayfield – 27 touchdowns in 14 games (2018)
  • Average needed: 1.88 TDs/game

The rookie passing touchdown record is the quintessential example of the type of record waiting to be broken. It’s a recently broken record with multiple quarterbacks flirting with it in recent years. Herbert smashed the record last year after an unfortunate interaction with a team doctor sidelined Tyrod Taylor in Week 2. He proceeded to take over the team and gave no reason for Taylor to start again. Mayfield was on pace for an even higher total had the Browns started him sooner. In recent years, the trend of fully committing to your shiny new draft pick at quarterback has become more commonplace. This provides a golden opportunity for fresh faces to develop quicker and put up numbers similar to their veteran counterparts. This year both Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are in excellent positions to challenge this record. We could see this record fall in consecutive years if their teams are fully bought in.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Total Scrimmage Yards Record

  • Current holder: Chris Johnson – 2509 scrimmage yards in 16 games (2009)
  • Previous record: Marshall Faulk – 2429 scrimmage yards in 16 games (1999)
  • Average needed: 147.65 scrimmage yards/game

Despite the pass-happy tendencies of the modern NFL, the workhorse running back has remained a major offensive weapon for several teams. Derrick Henry became the prime example of this during his valiant attempt at the rushing yardage record last season. However, those 2000+ yard rushing seasons are few and far between. The total scrimmage yardage record favors running backs heavily featured in the passing game, which fits the mold of today’s true three-down back. Christian McCaffrey was on pace to break Johnson’s record in 2019, finishing third in the books. Dalvin Cook and Saquon Barkley are offensive staples for their teams that could take down the record provided they stay healthy. Even Najee Harris, Pittsburgh’s first-round rookie, has found himself in a system that loves to feature their lead back. He is in a prime position for a shot at the overall record in the coming years.

Photo credit: USA Today

Receiving Yardage Record

  • Current holder: Calvin Johnson – 1964 receiving yards in 16 games (2012)
  • Previous record: Isaac Bruce & Jerry Rice – 1848 receiving yards in 16 games (1995)
  • Average needed: 115.59 yards/game

The receiving yardage record set by Johnson nine years ago has been at risk a few times in the past decade. The most notable of these attempts was the race between Julio Jones (1871 yards) and Antonio Brown (1834 yards) in 2015. Both of these stud wide receivers flirted with the pace necessary to break Johnson’s record in a 17 game season. The league has continued to mold itself primarily as a passing league, highlighted by several standout receivers. DeAndre Hopkins and Davante Adams both command enough of a target share to make a legitimate run at the record. Michael Thomas got close during his reception record-breaking year in 2019. Standout 2020 rookie Justin Jefferson may see similar volume sooner rather than later with an aging Adam Theilen on the roster. Additionally, yards per reception monsters like Tyreek Hill and A.J. Brown could mimic the pace Johnson himself needed to set his record in the first place.

Photo credit: USA Today

Rookie Reception Record

  • Current holder: Anquan Bouldin – 101 receptions in 16 games (2003)
  • Previous record: Terry Glenn – 90 receptions in 15 games (1996)
  • Average needed: 6.00 receptions/game

Typically, rookies wide receivers are prone to slow starts in the league. They usually find themselves behind an established first option and need to fight for target share in the offense. However, the more recent draft classes have produced wideouts that have hit the ground running more quickly than most. The aforementioned Jefferson finished with 88 receptions in 2020 in a relatively low-volume passing attack. This year’s rookies find themselves in even more advantageous positions to make a run at Bouldin’s record. Ja’Marr Chase is paired with his old college QB Joe Burrow in Cincinnati and has a chance to become his #1 target again. DeVonta Smith finds himself with loads of opportunities in Philadelphia due to no true first option to compete with. Even the running back Travis Etienne could find himself as a check-down monster in Jacksonville’s revitalized offense.

Photo credit: USA Today

Total Sack Record

  • Current holder: Michael Strahan – 22.5 sacks in 16 games (2001)
  • Previous record: Mark Gastineau – 22.0 sacks in 16 games (1984)
  • Average needed: 1.35 sacks/game

This one seems dubious at first since no player has come close to Strahan since Justin Houston in 2014. Strahan may not even be the record holder anymore with the recent introduction of unofficial sack totals to the books. However, we’ve seen several young players emerge and dominate in the trenches that have a shot. Aaron Donald already made a strong attempt at the record, recording 20.5 sacks in 16 games in 2018. At 30 years old, he’s the same age as Strahan the year he broke the record. Additionally, Donald has not shown any signs of slowing down and will remain a force for years to come. There’s also Joey and Nick Bosa, who have set strong foundations in the league provided they can stay healthy. Finally, Chase Young has the tools to cause havoc in the league for years, especially in the weaker NFC East division. This one might not fall as quickly, but the young guns could make a strong run at the record with an extra game on the schedule.

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Accolade Grading: The 2018 NFL Draft

Football is a fascinating sport from a statistical perspective. The NFL is filled to the brim with endlessly quotable stats that can craft any narrative your heart desires. However, these stats never seem to truly tell the whole story. Base defense, blocking schemes, and other intangible aspects of America’s most popular sport distill the image that these concise numbers provide you. Football by no means a solved sport, lacking the sabermetric statistics that have a stranglehold on the present-day MLB. DVOA and QBR are nice benchmarks but don’t pack the same punch as the BABIP’s, WRC+’s, and wOBA’s of the baseball world. This ambiguity is what has always fascinated me about the NFL.

One aspect that brings attention to this conundrum is judging a team’s rookie draft. A popular aspect of these discussions, and one that I personally agree with, is the three-year wait. A player needs to finish out his first three seasons in the league before you can truly start to gauge his potential. It gives the players time to work through the playbook, learn their assignments, and hone the raw abilities that made them so electric in college. To test out this unwritten rule of armchair scouting, I devised my own system for grading players coming off their first three seasons after being drafted. As a test run, I ran this system for the 2018 draft class from three years ago.

The Premise

The purpose of this scoring system is to award points for players who not just played most of their games, but also give out bonuses for personal player achievements. This includes things such as making the All-Rookie Team or earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections. The weighting of the scoring system heavily favors these types of personal accolades. These awards make them stand out not just among their draft class peers but among the best players today. Players that accrue a large amount of these accomplishments should be celebrated and will therefore be scored accordingly. Before getting into the highest scoring players, I’ll give a quick outline of the point system and how it’s weighted:

The Negatives:

0 points for games spent injured, -1 point for each year on the practice squad, -5 points for each year without making a roster

You never want to hold injuries against a player, but they shouldn’t get any points for it. This is especially true if a team drafts a player with a known history of injury. Only making it onto a practice squad, or getting cut entirely, is going to count against the player. Thankfully this is rarely seen amongst the early-round draft picks.

The Ability of Availability:

.1 points per game played, .2 points per game started

Your player is on the field and contributing to your game plan, congratulations! Most rookies are role players their first couple of years, and the scoring helps emphasize this. Doing the bare minimum will only net you 9.6 points total for starting all 48 games.

The Eye-Catcher:

2 points per Player of the Week (PotW) award, 4 points per Player of the Month (PotM) award, 10 points per Pro Bowl or All-Rookie Team selection

Your guy is turning heads in the league his first year, enough to earn some weekly awards for standout games. If they’re lucky, they may even make enough of a name for themself to go enjoy a week-long vacation in Disney World. Worth some respect, but not anything groundbreaking.

The Future Legend:

15 points for individual NFL records broken, 20 points for All-Pro, Player of the Year (POY), or Rookie of the Year (ROY) awards, 30 points for Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards

By the end of the season, your promising rookie is a burgeoning NFL star. He’s already making an impact on the league, drawing comparisons to his multi-year contemporaries. He may even already be better than them! The league will watch his progress with great interest as he continues to grow.

With the criteria established, let’s take a look at the top 10 players of the 2018 NFL Draft Class:

1: Darius Leonard, LB, IND: 127.4 points

Incredibly, the Colts didn’t take our first-place player in the first round of the draft. The Colts found an absolute goldmine out of the Defensive ROY and twice first-team All-Pro out of South Carolina State. While he has yet to play a full 16-game season, he’s still made his presence known at his position. This only helps to further prove how special of a player he is.

2: Quenton Nelson, OG, IND: 109.6 points

The top-ranked offensive lineman going into the draft emerged as arguably the best interior offensive lineman in today’s NFL. A perfect three-for-three in Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections highlights the best start the Colts could have hoped for. There’s no question that Indianapolis absolutely killed this draft with just its first two picks.

3: Lamar Jackson, QB, BAL: 105.7 points

The last pick of the first round turned in a 2019 MVP campaign becoming the most electric QB in the NFL overnight. The accolades compiled during that magical season put the Baltimore offensive leader into second place in our ranking. He struggled more in 2020, but he’s still earned the respect of opposing defenders.

4: Josh Allen, QB, BUF: 73.5 points

Our first steep drop in points results from a quarterback who had a bit of a slower start coming into his own in the NFL. Allen has taken tremendous strides in 2020, setting franchise records left and right and earning the respect he deserves from the rest of the league. He’ll be looking to build onto his phenomenal third season in 2021 and cement his tier 1 QB status.

5: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, MIA/PIT: 68.6 points

One of the few bright spots on a terrible Dolphins team, Fitzpatrick found himself on the wrong end of a team looking to blow up and rebuild after years of disappointment. Through that adversity, he established himself as a leader on a defensive stalwart and has collected a couple of Pro Bowls and All-Pros along the way.

6: Saquon Barkley, RB, NYG: 61.2 points

You never want to see a player as electric as Barkley succumb to relentless injuries, even though it happens so often with running backs specifically. The Offensive ROY in 2018 is eyeing a comeback in 2021 after recovering from a torn ACL. A return to his rookie year form that brought him the scrimmage yard record in his first season would be a welcome sight in New York.

7: Calvin Ridley, WR, ATL: 46.4 points

2018 NFL Draft Pick Calvin Ridley.

Another tier break in our rankings lands us at a player with some of the largest upside in the list. With Julio Jones taking up residence in Nashville, Ridley has a direct path to top-tier wide receiver status. This year, he’ll need to prove he can continue to find success as the team’s top target with Jones gone.

8: Derwin James, S, LAC: 44.2 points

2018 NFl Draft pick Derwin James.

James is an example of another amazing start to a career cut short by multiple injuries. James needs to stay healthy all through camp if he wants to secure his spot in the secondary that produced an All-Pro level rookie season.

9: Jaire Alexander, CB, GB: 43.6 points

Jaire Alexander, the 18th pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

After a relatively quiet rookie year, the top corner in Green Bay’s defense earned his own spotlight with a 2nd team All-Pro season in 2020. With or without Aaron Rodgers in the future, Alexander will play a pivotal role in the team’s continued success.

10: Baker Mayfield, QB, CLE: 38.1 points

2018 first round draft pick Baker Mayfield prepares to throw.

The #1 pick of the NFL draft came down to earth after hitting the ground running his first year in Cleveland. While the team has continued to improve around him, the former Oklahoma star must put it all together to complete the Brown’s transition into an AFC North force.

As it stands, the scoring system passes the quick eye test based on the players highlighted. All ten players are stars in the league heading into the new season and represent a bright future for their respective teams. I constructed the system in a somewhat arbitrary way, but it presents a concise way to perform a topical assessment of any draft class. By giving a new perspective on past draft classes as well as analyzing all future classes, we can better contextualize early success with building everlasting legacies in the NFL. 

For more analysis and thought-provoking content, check out the rest of our draft content and opinion pieces. Otherwise, head home for our entire array of articles.