The Fantasy 32 analyzes the NFL from a fantasy perspective, with at least one mention of each of the league’s 32 teams. Though efficiency will be discussed plenty, the column will lean heavily on usage data, as volume is king (by far) in fantasy football. Use these tidbits to make the best waiver-wire, trade and lineup decisions for the upcoming week and beyond. Be sure to check back each week of the season for a new version of the Fantasy 32.
Throughout the team-by-team rundowns that follow, I’ll be referencing “OFP” and “OTD.” OFP stands for opportunity-adjusted fantasy points. Imagine a league in which players are created equal. OFP is a statistic that weighs every pass/carry/target and converts the data into one number that indicates a player’s opportunity to score fantasy points, or his “expected” fantasy point total. For example, if a player has an OFP of 14.5, it means that a league average player who saw the same workload in the same location on the field would have scored 14.5 fantasy points. FORP is the difference between a player’s actual fantasy point total and his OFP. OTD works the same way, except instead of fantasy points, it’s touchdowns. Volume is king in fantasy football, so this is not information you want to overlook.
That said, here is the post-Week 3 OFP leaderboard:
*Complete OTD and OFP positional leaderboards will be posted on ESPN+ this week.
Next, here are the players who exceeded their OFP by the largest margin this past week and are thus candidates to see a dip in fantasy production moving forward, assuming they see a similar workload:
And these players fell short of their OFP by the largest margin last week and thus you shouldn’t be too quick to overreact to their performance when making lineup, trade or waiver decisions:
Arizona Cardinals — Has Andy Isabella been freed? Not quite, sadly. The second-year wide receiver caught a pair of touchdowns on Sunday, but his usage doesn’t suggest consistent production is on the way. Isabella was on the field for only 26 offensive snaps (41%) and was targeted four times. The 2019 second-round draft pick worked behind DeAndre Hopkins (59 snaps), Larry Fitzgerald (54) and even KeeSean Johnson (44), who was making his 2020 debut. Christian Kirk was out with an injury and is expected back as soon as Week 4, so Isabella isn’t close to fantasy radar right now. Keep him stashed in dynasty.
Atlanta Falcons — With Julio Jones out and Russell Gage limited by injury to 12 snaps on Sunday, Olamide Zaccheaus (51 snaps), Brandon Powell (34) and Christian Blake (six) stepped into larger roles. None was particularly productive, with Zaccheaus catching four balls for 41 yards and Powell three for 27 yards. Blake wasn’t targeted. Jones was a game-time decision on Sunday and should be back in Week 4, so there’s not much to see here. Even if Gage misses time, the likes of Zaccheaus, Powell and Blake won’t be on the fantasy radar. You can pass on them on waivers this week.
Baltimore Ravens — Prior to the start of the season, Marquise Brown had the look of a potential breakout player. While that possibility remains, he’s off to a slow start. The 2019 first-round pick has been targeted exactly six times in each of the Ravens’ first three games. He’s handling a generous 24% target share, as well as very hefty 38% share of the team’s air yards. Unfortunately, that’s resulted in underwhelming receiving lines of 5-101-0, 5-42-0 and 2-13-0. We know Brown will hit for the occasional big play but, just like during his rookie season, boom/bust production in one of the league’s run-heaviest schemes is to be expected. Consider Brown to be a borderline WR3.
Buffalo Bills — After turning a generous 62 snaps into only three catches for 22 yards during Weeks 1-2, fourth-round rookie Gabriel Davis caught all four of his targets for 81 yards against the Rams on Sunday. The 21-year-old benefited from a John Brown injury (Brown was limited to 48% of the snaps), and his 43 snaps trailed only Stefon Diggs (57) among the team’s wide receivers. Cole Beasley (35), Isaiah McKenzie (16) and Andre Roberts (nine) all got some run in a game in which Davis, Diggs and Beasley reached double-digit fantasy points. Buffalo is suddenly operating one of the league’s best and highest-volume passing games, so there’s plenty of fantasy value to be had. Davis was already worthy of an end-of-bench stash in 12-team leagues, but if Brown misses time, the rookie will be on the flex radar in deeper leagues.
Carolina Panthers — Back in Week 2, Mike Davis stepped in for an injured Christian McCaffrey and was targeted eight times in what seemed like a fluke. So much for that. Davis drew the start in Week 3 and posted an 8-45-1 receiving line on nine targets. He also added 46 yards on 13 carries while playing 39 of 51 snaps (77%). Davis was the clear feature back, with Reggie Bonnafon playing two snaps and Trenton Cannon zero. Davis’ usage suggests we need to take him seriously as a weekly RB2 option as long as McCaffrey is sidelined. He should be in lineups against Arizona in Week 4.
Chicago Bears — Jimmy Graham exploded for a 6-60-2 receiving line on 10 targets against the Falcons on Sunday. Graham ran a route on 76% of the team’s pass plays after posting a 74% mark in Week 1 and 67% in Week 2. Graham entered Week 3 with only 43 yards and one touchdown on eight targets, so while we don’t want to overreact to the seemingly random big day, we also can’t ignore Nick Foles‘ strong play in place of benched Mitchell Trubisky. Foles targeted Graham on seven (25%) of his 28 throws in the game, whereas only 11 (13%) of Trubisky’s 86 attempts went Graham’s direction during Weeks 1-3. Consider Graham a TE2 play for now, though there’s back-end TE1 upside if Foles continues to lean on him.
Cincinnati Bengals — Tee Higgins caught five of nine targets for 40 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Eagles on Sunday. The second-round rookie played 55 snaps (79%), which was most among Cincinnati’s wide receivers. A.J. Green (53 snaps), Tyler Boyd (53), Auden Tate (24), Mike Thomas (15) and Alex Erickson (six) were all involved, with John Ross a healthy scratch. Higgins also played a sizable role in Week 2, though he was held to a 3-35-0 receiving line on six targets. The Bengals have already called a league-high 164 pass plays this season, so there’s certainly room for multiple fantasy relevant targets in this offense. For now, those include Boyd and Green, but Higgins is worth a bench spot and he’s one injury away from the flex conversation.
Cleveland Browns — It has been a slow start to the season for Jarvis Landry. Cleveland’s slot man has posted receiving lines of 5-61-0, 3-46-0 and 4-36-0 while totaling 13 targets during the span. Landry has been on the field for 67% of the offensive snaps, compared to 94% in 2019. His target share is down to 17% after he reached 27% each of the past five seasons. Cleveland has called pass on 49% of its offensive snaps, which is second lowest in the league. The run-heavy nature of the offense isn’t going away, but the Browns are unlikely to be ahead as often as they were against Cincinnati and Washington, which will open up more opportunities for Landry. He’s not a must-start, but remains on the flex radar.
Dallas Cowboys — Michael Gallup‘s 2020 season got off to a slow start, with the third-year wide receiver totaling five catches for 108 yards and zero touchdowns on 10 targets through two games. He got back on track on Sunday, hauling in six of eight targets for 138 yards and one touchdown against Seattle. Gallup was on the field for 85% of the offensive plays, compared to 80% for Amari Cooper, 60% for CeeDee Lamb, 35% for Noah Brown and 29% for Cedrick Wilson. Dallas attempted 57 passes in the game, so Gallup’s eight targets (14% share) aren’t as impressive as it might seem, but the playing time and strong fantasy day suggests he’ll at least remain in the flex mix. Wilson, by the way, posted a 5-107-2 receiving line on seven targets, but he’s not playing nearly enough to warrant fantasy consideration.
Denver Broncos — KJ Hamler was on the field for 54 (or 91.5%) of the Broncos’ 59 offensive snaps on Sunday. That paced Denver’s wideouts, with Tim Patrick (49), Jerry Jeudy (45), DaeSean Hamilton (11), Tyrie Cleveland (four) and Diontae Spencer (one) also in the mix. It was a rough day for the Denver passing game without quarterback Drew Lock and against an underrated Tampa Bay defense, as Jeudy’s 55 yards was most on the team. Hamler’s five targets was fourth most on the team and he turned the usage into three catches for 30 yards. Hamler’s playing time is a good sign for future production, but at least until Lock returns, it’s hard to recommend starting anyone in this offense other than running back Melvin Gordon and tight end Noah Fant. Jeudy, who was targeted nine times on Sunday, belongs on benches and Hamler is a fine end-of-bench stash, but not a must-hold.
Detroit Lions — One week after it appeared rookie D’Andre Swift was on the verge of emerging into a consistent fantasy option, the rookie was limited to zero carries and two targets on only five snaps against Arizona on Sunday. Adrian Peterson was the feature back for Detroit, handling 22 carries and one target on 38 snaps (61%). Kerryon Johnson was the second man up, but managed only three carries and one target on 18 snaps. Swift entered Week 3 sitting 27th among running backs in fantasy points, but he’s handled only eight carries and 12 targets on the season. The second-round pick is well worth a bench spot, but can’t be in lineups until his usage rises.
Green Bay Packers — With Davante Adams sidelined Sunday night, the Packers’ wide receiver routes were as follows: Allen Lazard (31 of 33), Marquez Valdes-Scantling (30), Darrius Shepherd (14) and Malik Taylor (two). The latter three receivers combined for 5 yards on five targets in the game, leaving Lazard to do a bulk of the damage for the Packers’ passing game. Lazard caught six of eight targets for 146 yards and one touchdown. The career day vaulted Lazard to ninth among wide receivers in fantasy points for the season. The third-year receiver has run a route on 84% of the Packers’ pass plays and has handled 17% of the targets and 23% of the air yards. Granted, Adams has missed half of the team’s snaps this season, but Lazard has locked down No. 2 duties in one of the league’s top offenses. He’s a flex option moving forward who can be bumped up to a WR2 if Adams remains out.
Houston Texans — Houston opened the season with about as brutal a schedule as imaginable, facing the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers. That list includes arguably the league’s best two teams and the league’s two best defenses. The results? Deshaun Watson sits 17th at quarterback in fantasy points, David Johnson is 21st at running back, none of the team’s wide receivers is in the top 30 and Jordan Akins sits 17th at tight end. That’s obviously well below expectations, but also not completely shocking when you consider the slate. The good news is that the schedule will be much smoother going forward, with Minnesota and Jacksonville next up. The likes of Watson, Will Fuller, Brandin Cooks and perhaps even Johnson should be on your radar when exploring trades this week.
Indianapolis Colts — Jack Doyle returned from injury in Week 3, but the veteran tight end was second in line among the team’s tight ends in snaps. Doyle was on the field for 31 plays compared to 33 for Mo Alie-Cox and 14 for Noah Togiai. Alie-Cox, of course, broke out with a 111-yard game while Doyle was out in Week 2 and followed it up with a 3-50-1 receiving line in Week 3. Alie-Cox’s back-to-back strong performances keep him in the TE2 mix, though he’ll need more than the three targets he saw Sunday to get into the top-10 discussion. Note that this situation could get even more cloudy with Trey Burton eligible to return from injured reserve in Week 4.
Jacksonville Jaguars — With Jacksonville trailing during most of Thursday’s loss to Miami, James Robinson was limited to 29 snaps (46%), which was barely ahead of Chris Thompson (28). That didn’t stop him from producing a huge fantasy week. Robinson exploded for 11 carries for 46 yards and six receptions for 83 yards while finding the end zone twice. The undrafted rookie out of Illinois State now sits fifth among running backs in fantasy points after posting back-to-back top-10 weeks. Robinson has been lucky in the touchdown department (three TDs, 1.1 OTD), but volume has been good (13th in carries and 12th in receptions among RBs), as has his efficiency (4.9 YPC, 11.7 YPT). Robinson should be locked into lineups as an RB2.
Kansas City Chiefs — Three games into his rookie season, Clyde Edwards-Helaire sits 12th among running backs in fantasy points. That’s not bad, but also not what those who selected him in the first round of their draft were hoping to see. The good news is that better days are likely ahead. The rookie has handled a ton of volume (66% of the snaps, 71% of the designed runs, 14% of the targets) in the league’s best offense. He ranks fourth among backs in both carries and targets. The issue? Touchdowns. Edwards-Helaire has found the end zone only once despite a 4.1 OTD, which ranks fourth in the NFL. Based on their playcalling, the Chiefs’ expected pass-TD rate is 59%, but their actual rate is 82%. Once some regression to the mean kicks in, Edwards-Helaire will benefit. He remains a RB1 lock. Now would be a good time to try to acquire his services via trade.
Las Vegas Raiders — Darren Waller played through a questionable tag (knee) in Week 3 and was on the field for 53 of Las Vegas’ 56 offensive snaps. The results didn’t match the playing time, as New England’s outstanding secondary limited him to two catches for 9 yards on four targets. This after Waller went for 105 yards and a score on 12 catches in Week 2. Despite the disappointing effort, Waller still leads all tight ends in targets (28), sits second in receptions (20) and fifth in fantasy points. He remains a solid TE1 as Las Vegas hosts the Bills in Week 4.
Los Angeles Chargers — It appears rookie Justin Herbert likes throwing the ball to Keenan Allen. After posting a 7-96-0 receiving line on 10 targets in Week 2 (Herbert’s first NFL start), Allen posted a 13-132-1 line on 18 targets in Week 3. Allen seemed like a player whose fantasy production would suffer with Philip Rivers out and scramble/sack-heavy Tyrod Taylor in, but the shift to Herbert has allowed Allen 35 targets (second most in the NFL) in three games. Allen is handling a career-high 33% target share and 39% air yard share and will, once again, be on the WR1 radar against Tampa Bay in Week 4.
Los Angeles Rams — With Cam Akers sidelined, Darrell Henderson Jr. (33 snaps) and Malcolm Brown (32) split backfield duties almost exactly down the middle on Sunday. For the second consecutive week, Henderson was more productive, posting a 20-114-1 rushing line and adding 6 yards on three targets. Brown was limited to 19 yards on seven carries and failed to catch either of his two targets. Despite barely playing in Week 1, Henderson sits 20th among running backs in fantasy points. He’s averaging 5.74 yards per carry and 15.3 yards per reception. The eventual return of second-round pick Akers is sure to throw a wrench into things, but Henderson is the preferred flex play among the trio for the time being.
Miami Dolphins — There’s no longer any doubt: Myles Gaskin is the main man in the Miami backfield. After easily leading the unit during Weeks 1-2, Gaskin played a career-high 79% of the offensive snaps in Week 3. His 45 snaps was well ahead of Matt Breida (eight), goal-line back Jordan Howard (four) and Patrick Laird (one). Gaskin is only 22nd among running backs in carries (38), but he’s fourth in both targets (16) and receptions (15). Gaskin is unlikely to score many touchdowns with Howard hogging goal-line work, but his usage has allowed him the 22nd-most fantasy points among backs despite failing to find the end zone. Gaskin is a RB3/flex play against Seattle in Week 4.
Minnesota Vikings — Justin Jefferson exploded for seven receptions, 175 yards and one touchdown on nine targets against Tennessee on Sunday. The huge game was about as random as they come after the rookie was limited to receiving lines of 2-26-0 and 3-44-0 on a total of six targets during Weeks 1-2. Jefferson was on the field for 61% of the team’s offensive snaps during the first two games, but that number jumped to 79% in Week 3. It’s no secret that Minnesota has a major void at wideout behind Adam Thielen, so Jefferson certainly has a path to consistent usage. He’s on the flex radar in 12-team leagues.
New England Patriots — Rex Burkhead had a huge Week 3, producing 49 yards and a pair of touchdowns on six carries while also hauling in seven of 10 targets for 49 yards and a third score. Burkhead did the damage despite playing only 32 snaps (47%), which wasn’t too far ahead of Sony Michel (25) and J.J. Taylor (15). Burkhead will be in the RB2 discussion again next week if the depth chart remains the same, but note that James White (personal) and Damien Harris (IR) could both be back in the mix. Burkhead is a long shot for consistent production.
New Orleans Saints — Alvin Kamara is fresh off yet another outstanding fantasy performance, having rushed for 58 yards on six carries while also catching 13 of 14 targets for 139 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers on Sunday night. Kamara has scored 38-plus fantasy points in back-to-back games and now leads all backs in fantasy points (he’s 27 points ahead of second-place Aaron Jones). Kamara’s usage hasn’t actually changed much (he’s playing 66% of the snaps, compared to 69% in 2019 and 66% in 2018) and his carries are actually down slightly, but that’s more than been offset by a massive 30% target share. That’s the target share you generally see from an elite wide receiver and never from a running back. We should obviously expect to see it return to earth, but Kamara is playing well (4.9 YPC, 9.2 YPT) and he’ll sustain a big role in one of the league’s better offenses. He and Ezekiel Elliott are the most valuable backs in fantasy right now.
New York Giants — In what was their first full game without Saquon Barkley, the Giants rolled with a backfield committee on Sunday. Dion Lewis paced the backfield with 19 snaps played (39%), but Wayne Gallman (17) and Devonta Freeman (14) were just behind. The results were ugly. Lewis caught one of three targets for 10 yards and was limited to one carry. Freeman managed 10 yards on five carries and wasn’t targeted. Gallman totaled 14 yards on six touches. Freeman’s role figures only to increase as he gets acclimated in New York, so he’s the only Giants back who needs to be on rosters.
New York Jets — Chris Herndon had the look of a breakout player this season following an impressive rookie campaign in 2018 and an injury-plagued 2019 season. Things haven’t gone as planned. Herndon has been limited to receiving lines of 6-37-0, 1-5-0 and most recently 3-21-0. The good news is that Herndon has been on the field (he played 80% of the snaps on Sunday) and he’s seeing a decent number of targets (5.3 per game). The bad news is that it simply hasn’t translated to production in the Jets’ struggling offense. Herndon should be rostered only in leagues that start two tight ends.
Philadelphia Eagles — Injuries continue to derail the Eagles’ season in epic fashion, as DeSean Jackson (27 snaps on Sunday) and Dallas Goedert (six) were the latest to go down. Their departures from Sunday’s tie helped John Hightower (74 snaps), Greg Ward (72), Deontay Burnett (36) and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside (17) to larger roles. Ward was the only receiver to clear 19 yards, posting a strong 8-72-1 receiving line on 11 targets. Ward was in a similar role during Weeks 14-17 last season, playing 77% of the snaps and handling 7.5 targets per game (18% share). Ward was the No. 28 scoring fantasy receiver during the span. The Eagles’ offense is not very good, but they’re so short on options that an every-down role could lead Ward to consistent flex appeal. He’s worth a look on waivers.
Pittsburgh Steelers — Diontae Johnson went down with a head injury after 18 snaps on Sunday. In his place, Chase Claypool paced the team’s wide receivers with 57 snaps played (75%). JuJu Smith-Schuster (55 snaps) and James Washington (47) were just behind. Claypool was limited to a 24-yard catch on four targets in a game in which no Steelers player exceeded 53 receiving yards. Should Johnson miss time, Smith-Schuster would remain in the WR1 discussion, with Washington (who posted a 5-36-0 receiving line on Sunday) and Claypool on the flex radar.
San Francisco 49ers — With Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman out on Sunday, Jerick McKinnon led the 49ers’ backfield with 44 snaps (60%). Jeff Wilson Jr. (23 snaps) and JaMycal Hasty (six) also got some run, but McKinnon was clearly the main man, carrying the ball 14 times for 38 yards and one touchdown while also hauling in three of four targets for 39 yards. Wilson carried the ball 12 times for only 15 yards and added 54 yards on three catches while totaling two touchdowns. Hasty produced 18 yards on three touches. McKinnon’s 18 looks is a good sign that he won’t have many (any?) limitations moving forward. Mostert is expected back soon and will likely resume lead back duties, but we know this will be a committee and McKinnon will be the primary passing-down back. McKinnon is on the flex radar.
Seattle Seahawks — DK Metcalf has posted receiving lines of 4-95-1, 4-92-1 and 4-110-1 in three games this season. How’s that for consistency? Metcalf has a catch of at least 38 yards in three games and is averaging a ridiculous 24.8 yards per reception. The production has been outstanding, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t note the unsustainability of Metcalf’s efficiency and TD rate. Metcalf has been targeted 22 times (7.3 per game) and has scored on three of his 12 receptions (25%). His actual fantasy point total (58) is significantly above his OFP (24) and his 0.6 OTD ranks 158th in the NFL. Though Metcalf’s usage suggest the occasional dud is likely, he’s (a) one of quarterback Russell Wilson‘s top two targets (b) operating in the league’s highest-scoring and pass-heaviest offense and (c) very good at football. Even though he’s a long shot to keep up his current pace, Metcalf is positioned well for continued borderline WR1 production.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Rob Gronkowski paced the Buccaneers with seven targets on Sunday. The veteran tight end was held to two catches for 11 yards on four targets during Weeks 1-2, but put a 6-48-0 receiving line on the board against the Broncos. Gronkowski has played at least 70% of the Buccaneers’ offensive snaps in all three games (92% on Sunday), though he has run a route on only 48% of the team’s pass plays this season. Gronkowski’s Week 3 performance is a step in the right direction, but he remains no more than a back-end TE2.
Tennessee Titans — Darrynton Evans played eight snaps in his NFL debut Sunday. The rookie carried the ball three times for 9 yards and wasn’t targeted. Evans figures to eventually overtake Jeremy McNichols (nine snaps) for No. 2 duties and could carve out a role in passing situations, but it’s extremely unlikely that will lead to anything close to fantasy relevance. Evans is one of the better insurance options at running back, but needs to be rostered only in deeper leagues.
Washington Football Team — Dontrelle Inman caught three of six targets for 38 yards and a pair of touchdowns against Cleveland on Sunday. The journeyman was third in line for snaps among the team’s wide receivers during Weeks 1-2, but his 44 snaps (71%) trailed only Terry McLaurin (98%) on Sunday. Isaiah Wright (28 snaps), Steven Sims Jr. (23), Antonio Gandy-Golden (17) and Cam Sims (one) also got some run. As has been the case throughout his career, Inman is a long shot for consistent fantasy value and doesn’t need to be added.