2018 Fantasy Football Week 3 Trends: Upset Alert

by Dylan Small
2021 Fantasy Football Targets & Touches Week 12

It is crazy to think that we are already approaching the fourth week of the NFL season. It feels like the season started just yesterday. With that said, Week 3 was a fun one and one that put many teams on upset alert.

I mean who thought the Bills would upset the Vikings and especially with such dominance. The Vikings were the clear favorite going in and projected to win by upwards of 15 points. The game really hurt survivor pools all across the country. I saw a statistic showing over 50% of people picked the Vikings.

Many teams bounced back in Week 3 and in a sense kept their playoff hopes alive. Such as the Seahawks who won in Week 3 after a 0-2 start.

Aside from the many upsets, Week 3 was still very exciting and informative. We got to see our first glimpses of Josh Rosen. We saw the continued dominance of Patrick Mahomes; who set the NFL record for most touchdown passes thrown through the first three games.

Finally, we saw the potential of Josh Allen. He completely turned around the Bills offense and was 15/22-196-1.

With all of that said let's move into the trends of Week 3, I'll take a deeper look into each, and decide if I think they continue.

2018 Fantasy Football Week 3 Trends

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No. 1 - Panthers ground game

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Christian McCaffrey proved that he could be the workhorse in Carolina. Coming out of college many experts saw him primarily as a pass-catching back with limited running ability but he challenged that narrative in Week 3.

He had 28 carries for 184 yards and averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Although surprisingly quiet in the passing game, he really showed his potential to be the primary and only running back in Carolina.

As a runner, he really compliments Cam Newton, who is a prolific passer, but can also make plays with his feet and especially in short yard situations.

This game for McCaffrey was a major outlier to what we have seen from him so far this season. In his first two games, he received 10 and 8 carries, respectively. With McCaffrey running the way he did in Week 3, the Panthers looked a more complete offense and destined for a deep playoff run with more games as he had in Week 3.

I think this trend will continue. Just by looking at how Carolina moved the ball with McCaffrey getting as many carries as he did, I think it would be a mistake of Carolina's coaching staff to not utilize him a lot in the running game.

In a fantasy sense, I would actively try to buy Christian McCaffrey now as I think that he could emerge as the top running back in the coming weeks. With that said, I wouldn't make any irrational trade offers to McCaffrey owners but I would be willing to give up a lot to get McCaffrey especially if my roster was thin at the position.

No. 2 - Saints D/ST

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The Saints were able to escape Week 3 with a 43-37 overtime win over division rival Atlanta Falcons. Their offense looks great this season with the combination of Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, and Alvin Kamara.

The same cannot be said of their defense. They look atrocious. This season they started out by giving up 48 to the Buccaneers, 18 to the Browns, and gave up 37 in Week 3 to the Falcons. The Saints are lucky that their offense is so good because if not they would likely be sitting at 0-3 and at the bottom of the NFC South.

I think this trend will continue, the Saints defense was bad last season and I don't see things turning around any time soon. If they want to make a deep playoff run, they will have to make adjustments there.

For fantasy, you can expect a boost in the value of the Saints offensive players. Most games will likely be offensive shootouts requiring the Saints starters to have big games if they expect to win.

If you have someone playing against New Orleans, my simple suggestion is to start 'em. The Saints defense is terrible and opposing players will benefit greatly from this.

No. 3 - Packers Running Backs

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Many people were looking forward to seeing what would come out of the Packers running game after Aaron Jones returned from suspension. We got some of those answers in Week 3.

Jamaal Williams led all Packer's running backs with 28 snaps but only received five carries. What many people didn't expect to see was Ty Montgomery in the backfield mix.

Montgomery was on the field for 19 and had four rushes for 16 yards. To me, Montgomery even being in the mix is surprising. Montgomery had only six carries in the first two weeks and I thought that with the return of Aaron Jones he would be non-existent.

I don't really see this trend continuing, I think that Jones will eventually take over as the number one running back in Green Bay. For me, Jones is by far the most explosive out of the running backs in the Green Bay backfield and it only makes sense for the Packers to use him as a No. 1 running back going forward.

For fantasy, I would avoid the Green Bay backfield at this time. I wouldn't start anyone but I would look to stash Jones as I believe he will get more carries and have more value when Aaron Rodgers recovers from his knee injury.

No. 4 - Cardinals offense

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So far this season the Cardinals offense has been terrible. They put up twenty points through three weeks - including a shut out against a solid Rams defensive unit.

This trend has many fantasy implications, but the biggest one being David Johnson. Many people thought that David Johnson would be the same David Johnson we saw before the wrist injury. That is turning out untrue.

The struggle starts with the quarterback Sam Bradford. He has not played well and in turn, the Cardinals offense as a whole has not either. We saw Josh Rosen come into the game late in Week 3 and I think we can expect for him to start at some point in the upcoming weeks.

With the possibility of Josh Rosen becoming the Cardinals starter in the near future, I don't think this trend will continue. So far I don't think the Cardinals have used David Johnson correctly. In my opinion, he's more of a spread back than a power back.

When Rosen comes back, I think that the Cardinals will be able to spread the ball around more which will greatly benefit not only David Johnson, but their offense as a whole.

If you have David Johnson in fantasy, I would hold him for now. Be wary not to fall for any lucrative trade offers. If he doesn't break out in a few weeks, then I think it is time to move on and I would recommend to trade him and get whatever you can for him.

No. 5 - Lions backfield

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In Week 3, the Lions upset the Patriots in primetime on Sunday Night Football. This was a major turn. Especially since the Lions started out 0-2 and dominated by the Jets in Week 1.

What came out of this game was some clarity with the Lions backfield. It is clear Kerryon Johnson is the guy. He tied LeGarrette Blount for a team-high 16 carries and 101 yards. He would have finished with a much higher carry count than Blount, but the Lions went with the sure-handed Blount in the 4th quarter as they looked to put away the Patriots.

This is a shift from what we saw in the previous weeks where it looked like Johson and Theo Riddick would primarily split carries. It is clear, now, that the Lions will use Riddick in passing situations and use Johson as the primary runner.

For fantasy, I think that Kerryon Johnson could be coming on strong. I would try to buy him now as low as you can because I see this trend continuing. Currently, I have Kerryon Johnson as a low-RB2 with lots of upside going forward.

Check out the rest of our 2018 Fantasy Football content from our great team of writers.

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