Fantasy Football

2017 Fantasy Football Week 3 Preview: Airlift


In my perusings of history this week, I became fascinated with the story of the Berlin Airlift of 1948. The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics were preventing supplies and food from entering the western zones of post-WWII Berlin by road and rail. They had disagreements with the western allies primarily over the introduction of a new  Deutchmark currency into Germany and in particular for plans to circulate it in western controlled Berlin.

The communist plan was to starve the Berliners into their arms and blame the west for it. Fortunately, the Soviets did not control all the airspace corridors, thus allowing western nations to supply Berlin with food and fuel via cargo airlift. It was a massive effort. Hundreds and hundreds of flights daily into and out of Berlin for over a year. A noisy and busy place – both day and night. The airlift saved the war-torn people of Berlin from starvation and changed the course of history. This was the first major ‘battle’ of the Cold War.

I know what you’re thinking. Richard, as usual, has some crazy analogy and he’ll shoehorn fantasy football into it. Yes, well, okay, but it all fits you see. In 2016, after week 2, there were 98 passing touchdowns. This season it stands at 78. Fantasy Football is in desperate need of an airlift because we don’t want to starve. Get it? Oh well, worth a try.

2017 Fantasy Football Week 3 Preview

Anyway, touchdown scoring overall is down 25 from last year after Week Two. Obviously, 20 of that total is passing touchdowns. If you just count the position of wide receivers, then it’s 62 versus 45 at this point from last year. So yeah, we need a massive airlift for the next couple of weeks to catch up.

So that brings us to our cozy Saturday outlook at tomorrow’s games, the guys playing in them and which of your favorite announcers get the call. Get your coffee and in the calm eve of Week 3, let’s look at the menu.

Games to Watch

Feature Game: Seahawks (1-1) at Titans (1-1)

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I suppose the thought that crosses everyone’s mind these days is what is happening with the Seattle offense. Defense seems good, but they needed everything to beat the 49ers last week and the victory at Century Link Field was never a certainty until the end. The Titans are in a category of a team that started off losing at home, then pulling off a convincing win on the road. This is one of those Septembers where it’s almost like an added preseason in which the main event doesn’t start until Week 5.

You might expect the Titans to have success running on the Seattle defense because Carlos Hyde managed 124 yards on 15 carries, but that might have more to do with Kyle Shanahan’s ability for beefing up sagging backfields. Nonetheless, the Titans backfield is a dangerous piece of machinery and Seattle may have their hands full again.

Mariota, the quick study

It boils down to Mariota because although the ground yardage might prove cheap against Seattle, scoring on the back of it is another matter – as we saw with San Francisco. Mariota has more than enough weapons and the Seahawks would do well to ensure the different looks they give him are not too much “by the book”, because Mariota is a quick study. He learned like a sponge last season and will begin to put it together this year.

As for the Seattle offense, Chris Carson broke his way to the top very quickly to even oust Thomas Rawls – that’s no easy feat especially when Rawls is in a pocket of health at the moment. Russell Wilson could sure use a healthy Jimmy Graham for this game, because Adoree Jackson could cause coverage sacks and/or Wilson throwing outside the pocket into the sidelines.

The game could bear an important manifest because it would be a major scalp if the Titans could get this win. From there, we might see a major shift in the power balance of the AFC. Whatever happens, this is the type of game that the Titans need to win sooner, than later.

Sleeper: Tyler Lockett, WR Seattle Seahawks

High OU Game (50.5): Falcons (2-0) at Lions (2-0)

The very highest over/under floor is set for Sunday Night Football, so this is second highest. It’s still has the potential for a high boom because these offenses just let it all hang out.

The Lions are coming off a rather odd victory over the hapless Giants and there was little to take away from that game except that Eric Ebron, my sleeper, put up a satisfying fantasy score with a 5-42-1 line.

There is one weakness the Lions really need to deal with and that is not sitting on a lead. It is true that Ameer Abdullah ran well last Monday, but I just didn’t feel they did enough to put that game away comfortably. That said, Stafford kept looking for deep options with all his receivers, but without much success.

Keeping up with a strong Falcons offense will require everything Stafford has in his arsenal to pull off an upset. The Falcons showed against Green Bay that they can pressure the strongest quarterback in the league if the script forces heavy passing.

The Lions should hold well enough to stay in this football game and it’s fair to say that they are well used to playing from behind for a late win. However, I would bet it’s at least a two-score game in favor of the Falcons by the 4th quarter, so the running game we saw against the Giants will be less prominent from a straight hand-off perspective.

Sleeper: Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

Sunday Night Football: Raiders (2-0) at Redskins (1-1)

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The Raiders make their first appearance at FedExField since 2005. To put this into context, back then we would be discussing players like Clinton Portis, Santana Moss (then newly acquired by the Redskins), Randy Moss and LaMont Jordan (his only 1000+ yard rushing season). If you’re interested, the Norv Turner coached Raiders won 16-13 over Joe Gibbs‘ Redskins.

Today, we’re talking about guys like Robert Kelley, Terrelle Pryor, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. This will be the last time the team name Oakland Raiders will play the Washington Redskins.

The reason this game has such a high over/under rests on Oakland mainly as their defense relies more on the guys up front and Khalil Mack. The Raiders are among the teams showing no shortage of offense in the first two weeks – coming off a 45-20 pasting of the New York Jets.

Cousins needs to improve

The Redskins, well, let’s just say if there ever was a game for Kirk Cousins to finally open up his fantasy numbers, this would be it. Cousins is not off to a good start. Yes, his passer rating improved to 97.6 last week, but we don’t get fantasy points for ratings. We need yardage and touchdowns from quarterbacks.

Robert Kelley is expected to play, despite sore ribs, but Jordan Reed looks more doubtful as of Saturday and could be a game time decision. Reed is especially important in the passing game for the Redskins because of the defensive burden of covering him. Nevertheless, Pryor and Crowder will need a strong game from Cousins to beat these Raiders.

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For the Raiders, Marshawn Lynch is showing just enough for fantasy owners, but has yet to score. I wouldn’t worry, there was bound to be some rust and although Lynch won’t carry a heavy load, his value as a mid-range RB2 looks secure. Amari Cooper owners would certainly like to see better fantasy points than the last game. It was a Crabtree day though, so this does happen with the Raiders.

Sleeper: Jared Cook, TE, Oakland Raiders

Monday Night Football: Cowboys (1-1) at Cardinals (1-1)

This matchup is especially good and the 7th meeting of these franchises on Monday night. The last time was in 1995.

The Cardinals needed overtime to defeat the Colts last week and the Cowboys were absolutely stuffed by the Denver Broncos. Considering that each team is well aware that at least one of their division rivals will rejoice at the outcome, the importance of this game for possible playoff implications remains. The Cardinals hope to have David Johnson back in time for that.

But you have to get to the playoffs first. That goes for the Cowboys too. You had the lowest rushing total for Ezekiel Elliott you’ll probably ever see last week and you know Arians will scour the Denver film for some tips. I still think it won’t matter, because Zeke was defeated more by the strength of the personnel on Denver than the tactics alone.

As for the Cardinals, even before David Johnson’s injury, cracks were forming in the receiving department. Larry Fitzgerald‘s stamina, John Brown‘s injury and other symptoms of decline. On the bright side, Palmer still managed a 300+ game last week, so we know he’s capable enough for better days ahead and J.J. Nelson has picked up the slack very well.

Dak Prescott, for his part, looks to be getting synced with Dez Bryant a bit better. So that growth is something that we’ll gauge the progress of once we get from point A to point B.

Sleeper: Cole Beasley, WR, Dallas Cowboys

Players to Watch

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Jordy Nelson, WR, Green Bay Packers

Looks to be suiting up for the Bengals this week, but when the injury bug hits Jordy Nelson, we must monitor him closely.

Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Giants

In discussing the woes of the Giants, arguably the next name that comes up after Eli Manning is Marshall. The drop button will get very itchy unless there are some signs of upward mobility.

Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

He’s the rags-to-riches fantasy player of the season so far. He goes to London to play the Jaguars with a strong showing against the Browns last week. Allen looks to be taking over the lead back role on the Ravens, so we’ll see if he keeps it up.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts

One of the sparks in the Colts offense. Jacoby Brissett is finding him as a safety blanket. Doyle has a plum matchup versus the Browns.

Rashard Higgins, WR, Cleveland Browns

A hot waiver grab this week. Catapulted by circumstance into a de-facto lead role as receiver, Higgins is in for some of the best days of his football life… and a lot of elite coverage he’s not used to experiencing.

Trevor Siemian, QB, Denver Broncos

Go Trevor Go! Confidence does wonders for quarterbacks. Siemian has made a strong case as a streamable option in fantasy. Against the Bills, he should be able to find open receivers with ease.

In the Booth on Sunday

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Kevin Harlan (left)

London Game (9:30am ET) CBS

Ravens vs Jaguars: Andrew Catalon, James Lofton

CBS – early games

Texans at Patriots: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
Steelers at Bears: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green
Broncos at Bills: Spero Dedes, Adam Archuleta
Dolphins at Jets: Tom McCarthy, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein
Browns at Colts: Beth Mowins, Jay Feely

CBS – late games

Bengals at Packers: Jim Nantz, Tony Romo
Chiefs at Chargers: Kevin Harlan, Rich Gannon

Fox – early games

Giants at Eagles: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman
Falcons at Lions: Chris Myers, Daryl Johnston
Buccaneers at Vikings: Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman
Saints at Panthers: Kenny Albert, Ronde Barber

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Fox – late game

Seahawks at Titans: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis

Check out the rest of our 2017 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

About Richard Savill

Richard is an NFL Fantasy Football Writer and Editor of Fantasy Six Pack. Host of The Fantasy Edge Podcast. FantasyPros Contributor. Member of the FSWA. Richard is known for his "outside the box" insight into NFL fantasy football. Winner of the 16-Team 2015 FSWA challenge.

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