2022 Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check

by Malcolm McMillan
2022 Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleeper Heat Check

Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season is here! Which means it's time for the 2022 Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check!

Week 2 saw some rookies start to break out. While not a dynamic performance, New York Jets running back Breece Hall finished as the RB12 in half-point-per-reception (half-PPR). Admittedly, he was overshadowed a bit by fellow Jets Garrett Wilson's 26.0 half-PPR points in New York's insane comeback against the Cleveland Browns.

Speaking of rookie WR breakouts, Drake London looks like the real deal for the Atlanta Falcons. The USC product finished as WR9 in half-PPR last week and is WR16 on the season so far. It's a shame his teammate Kyle Pitts hasn't been as productive, but if you caught this week's episode of The Lateral Show, you know it's not time to panic on Pitts.

Anyway, none of this matters, because none of these guys are eligible for the Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check. So let's get to it and see who is.

2022 Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check

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Week 2 Heat Check Recap

In the Fantasy Football Sleepers Heat Check: Week 2 2022 I suggested you keep an eye on Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota and maybe even stash him. I also said to stay away from Philadelphia Eagles running back Kenneth Gainwell and scoop up New York Jets tight end Tyler Conklin.

Overall that seems to have been the correct advice through two weeks of the season. Mariota had a bit of a down week but still is only just outside the Top 12 QBs through two weeks. With his rushing ability and the weapons he has, I am even putting my money where my mouth is and using him to replace Trey Lance this week after the San Francisco 49ers quarterback had a season-ending ankle injury.

Kenneth Gainwell was a total bust as expected. Nothing needs to be said that I didn't already say on that front. Tyler Conklin though is still someone you should pick up if you need a tight end. He is TE11 in half-PPR scoring, had the fifth-most targets among tight ends in Week 2 and is fourth in targets at the position through two weeks. Yes, he only scored 7.0 half-PPR points in Week 2, but he did that with zero touchdowns. Bet on the targets and get Conklin on your roster.

Finally, I covered my methodology for the Heat Check in the Week 1 article, so read that if you want to know how the Heat Check is done. The only difference this week, is we are looking at their 2022 Week 1 and Week 2 performances to determine if they are eligible for the heat check, rather than looking at the last three weeks of 2021. We may still use that period for supporting data to make the arguments for or against this week's three players, but we will try to stick to the 2022 NFL season for data.

Wide Receiver

Noah Brown, Dallas Cowboys

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Remember how we all wanted a part of this Dallas Cowboys offense before the season started? Dak Prescott was drafted as QB11, Ezekiel Elliot went RB15 in half-PPR leagues and CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz were both Top 6 half-PPR ADP at their respective positions (wide receiver and tight end).

After two weeks, none of them lead the Dallas Cowboys in fantasy points. Instead, that honor goes to Noah Brown, who is averaging over 13 points per game. Yet, nobody wants to pick him up. He's rostered in less than 20% of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy football leagues.

The FantasyPros Week 3 ECR is pretty disrespectful to him as well. Brown is ranked as the Week 3 WR58 in half-PPR scoring despite being the clear WR2 in Dallas. The rest of season ECR is even worse in terms of disrespect. There, Brown sits at WR102 in half-PPR. For reference, Brown is currently WR18 in half-PPR through two weeks. Something isn't right here.

Noah Brown Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check

There are two reasons why Noah Brown is still available in so many leagues, and neither of them is his play. First, Dak Prescott is out for several weeks with a broken thumb. While he is out, Cooper Rush takes over at quarterback and that makes everyone pause.

The second issue is the impending return of Michael Gallup. Gallup is set to return from his ACL tear in Week 3 — though on a pitch count. Once he is fully back, he is expected to resume his role as the WR2 in Dallas, bumping Brown down the depth chart.

Here is the thing: none of that matters. As long as Brown is getting on the field for more than 85% of the offensive snaps, he should probably be on your bench. He and CeeDee Lamb are clearly the top targets in this offense. Even when Gallup is healthy this offense has regularly supported three viable receivers. Brown has done everything with the opportunity given to him. Expect Dallas to reward that with continued involvement in the offense.

Plus the cost to pick him up is nothing. If I'm wrong, you're cutting a guy that was a FLEX at best in your roster anyway. Just go get him.

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Greg Dortch, Arizona Cardinals

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You could almost copy what I wrote about Noah Brown and paste it here for Greg Dortch. Almost. Dortch isn't the best fantasy producer on the Arizona Cardinals, that's quarterback Kyler Murray. But Dortch is the best of the rest and is currently WR23 in half-PPR scoring.

Like with Brown, ECR also has completely ignored Dortch's performance through two weeks. He is ranked as WR57 in half-PPR for Week 3 and he literally doesn't exist in the FantasyPros rest of season ECR. Admittedly that feels like an oversight due to the lack of experts currently involved in the rest of season ECR. For reference, Dez Fitzpatrick is still ranked and he isn't even on a team.

So if Dortch is so much like Brown, do we simply treat him the same as Brown and throw him on our bench?

Greg Dortch Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check

Here's the thing: Greg Dortch isn't quite the same as Noah Brown. Yes, their targets are essentially the same, and they are in — somewhat — similar situations. Arizona is currently missing DeAndre Hopkins and Rondale Moore, either of whom is likely to replace Dortch as the WR2 in the depth chart. Hopkins returns in Week 7 and Moore could theoretically return at any point from a nagging hamstring injury.

Compared to Brown, Dortch has two positives working for him. First, at least Dortch's quarterback is the Cardinals' normal starter rather than a career backup. Additionally, Dortch seems to have really hammered out a role in the slot. That means that the return of Hopkins may not impact him as much as the return of Gallup may impact Brown.

Unfortunately for Dortch, that's where the positives end. Hopkins is better than Michael Gallup and is coming off a PED suspension rather than a major injury. He could hog targets right away, even if Dortch keeps his slot role. Second, once Rondale Moore comes back, he will take the slot work from Dortch. That's a problem given Dortch has already seen his workload decrease from 91% of offensive snaps in Week 1 to just 71% in Week 2 without either of the two Cardinals wideouts returning to the lineup.

If you're in a deeper league, you can take a shot on Dortch for now. Just know that you'll likely need to cut him at some point. But if both him and Brown are available in your league's free agent pool you should definitely take Brown. Dortch is on borrowed time, Brown may have a role going forward.

Tight End

O.J. Howard, Houston Texans

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For a guy who has been on two teams so far this season, O.J. Howard is having a surprisingly good 2022. Through two weeks he is the TE8 in half-PPR scoring with 9.0 points per game.

A lot of that has come down to him averaging a touchdown per game. In fact, Howard is currently the only Houston Texan to score a touchdown this year. Not a receiving touchdown, a touchdown. Period. It probably helps that Howard currently has 25% of the Texans' red zone targets, one of which he turned into one of his two touchdowns so far.

So in a position that is typically considered "touchdown-dependent," why is ECR so down on a guy who scores touchdowns? Howard is currently TE37 in half-PPR for Week 3 and TE51 in half-PPR rest of season ECR. Something has to be wrong, right?

O.J. Howard Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers Heat Check

Okay, I'm going to stop you right here. O.J. Howard's touchdowns are fool's gold. Yes, he has 25% of the team's red zone targets, but he only has one red zone target. He's not even the most targeted Texan in the red zone; that role goes to Brandin Cooks.

It only gets worse from there. While Howard technically averages a touchdown per game, that's because he scored two touchdowns in the first game and zero in the second. Howard's season has been a tale of two games, and the mere 1.2 points he scored in Week 2 are too much to ignore.

Still don't believe you should stay away? Then I have one last piece of evidence for you. After two weeks, Howard is third in percentage of offensive snaps among Houston Texan's tight ends. That means you are betting on a guy who is essentially third on the depth chart and is currently on the field just 22.56% of the time. That means three out of every four times Davis Mills hikes the ball, Howard isn't even on the field. Stay away.

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