We will remember Week 3 as the Sunday our first-round draft picks collectively took the day off. Khalil Herbert was the top fantasy running back, while Mack Hollins, Russell Gage and Zay Jones were among the top-five fantasy wide receivers. It was an Add/Drop fanatic’s dream come true. To say the usual stars did not show out this week is an understatement.
Despite some underwhelming performances, there is still plenty of knowledge to gain from this week’s games. We now have a big enough sample size to determine which NFL (and fantasy) teams might be headed for success. There are three storylines that stood out the most.
Christian Kirk is NOT Overpaid
During the offseason, the Jacksonville Jaguars lured Christian Kirk away from the Arizona Cardinals with a 4-year, $72 million contract ($37 million guaranteed). Many fans were critical of this move, claiming Kirk wasn’t good enough to earn that kind of money. This contract was also a big reason A.J. Brown and Deebo Samuel held out this offseason, believing they deserved more money than Kirk.
However, it’s hard to argue Kirk hasn’t been worth his contract through the first three games. This season, Kirk is averaging six receptions for 89 yards and one touchdown per game. These are not garbage time stats. The Jaguars have blown out the Indianapolis Colts and the Los Angeles Chargers in their past two games.
It looks like Jacksonville’s transition from Urban Meyer to Doug Pederson has been great for their offense. They look much less like a college football team playing in the NFL. With the Jaguars’ newfound offensive success, there are now many fantasy-relevant players on their roster. The Jaguars will continue to see success in the coming weeks, and Kirk will be one of the top weapons on the offense. He can be considered a high-ceiling WR2 in most fantasy leagues and is earning every penny of his contract.
Mobile QBs are Taking Over
During the past five years, we have seen a major rise in mobile quarterbacks. Initially, many people were not open to having a QB that could run. There were worries these QBs would be injury prone if they kept running, and they would not develop as passers. This season has confirmed the pros of having a mobile QB substantially outweigh the cons. Right now, the top-four quarterbacks in fantasy are Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts…the mobile QBs.
It seems obvious adding the ability to run would benefit many QBs. But, these players are starting to garner more value in the eyes of NFL teams. Not too long ago, we saw the Browns draft Baker Mayfield over Allen, and the Bears trade up to draft Mitch Trubisky over Mahomes. These mobile QBs were not given any respect entering the NFL; they had to earn it through their success.
Even with the increased popularity of mobile QBs, Mahomes is the only one in recent years to find playoff success. With famously slow-footed QBs like Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady winning the Super Bowl the past two years, many fans think those pocket passers are still the key to success. However, after watching the first three weeks of this season, it’s hard to imagine a mobile QB not hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
Broncos Country Should Be Concerned
The Denver Broncos’ 2-1 record does not properly represent just how unwatchable they have been this season. Many fantasy owners believed this would be the year the Broncos’ offense broke out. Javonte Williams, Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton were all targeted early in fantasy drafts due to the addition of Russell Wilson during the offseason. However, through the first three games, the offense has looked no better than they have been since Peyton Manning retired.
This week, the Broncos beat the San Francisco 49ers 11-10 (not a typo). This game featured 10 Broncos punts and downright ugly offensive possessions that made fans long for the days of Paxton Lynch. The only thing to be excited about in Denver is the defense, which has bailed the offense out twice in games where they failed to score more than 16 points. In a preseason article, I predicted the Broncos’ offense might get off to a bit of a rocky start. But I did imagine it would be nearly this bad.
The good news for the Broncos is Wilson is a Super Bowl Champion and nine-time Pro Bowler. Three games do not define what he is capable of. Denver still has room for optimism, but changes need to be made quickly. If the offense continues at this pace, the Broncos won’t have a winning record for long.
Moving Forward from Week 3
This was definitely the weirdest week of the season so far. We didn’t quite get the drama Weeks 1 and 2 gave us, and most of the fantasy points were scored from the waiver wire. Heck, Amon Ra St. Brown didn’t even score a touchdown. There will always be weeks like this, though, and it is essential for fantasy owners not to overreact. Just because Tyreek Hill or Aaron Jones had an off-week does not mean they will continue to play poorly. I expect many stars to bounce back and prove their worth in Week 4.