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Sep 19, 2018

NFL 2018 WEEK THREE FANTASY PREVIEW

Two quarterbacks have exploded out of the gates to start the 2018 NFL season. One of them is the journey-man veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, the other is Patrick Mahomes who only started one game before this year. Fitz-magic has thrown for 400+ yards and 4 TD’s in each of his first two games averaging 41 fantasy points, while Mahomes has ten passing touchdowns in his first two games. These two hot starts are interesting in their own ways. Fitzpatrick has started 133 games for 7 different teams before this season and only threw for 400 yards one time. And now he does it in the first two games? Don’t expect this to continue, but if you are feeling lucky keep drafting Fitzpatrick until he inevitably returns to Fitz-tragic. Now Mahomes, on the other hand, has true staying power. He was drafted tenth overall in 2017 and got to study behind Alex Smith all of last year. He has playmakers all around him in Kareem Hunt, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill who should continue to help him put up big numbers all year. With that being said, no other quarterback in the history of the NFL has 10 touchdowns through the first two games of the season. So there is some regression in place for the young gunslinger, the question for all fantasy players is just how much.

Wide Receiver Michael Thomas is also breaking records in the opening weeks. His 28 receptions through the first two games breaks Andre Rison’s record set in 1994 of 26. He also has 3 touchdown receptions and is averaging 28.5 fantasy points, the most among all receivers. Four other receivers have at least three touchdowns so far, in fact, A.J. Green had three in week two alone. Why is that significant? Well, it’s not really, but I would like to point out that those three touchdowns match Julio Jones’ total for the last 18 regular season games. Jones is still yet to find pay dirt this season, in fact, according to ESPN Stats & Info, Matt Ryan is 1 of 20 when he targets Jones in the end zone since 2016. That’s not good. So draft Julio for the yards and the receptions but continue to be wary of his end zone issues.

At the running back position, Gurley, Kamara, and Gordon have been the top three scorers, not much surprise there. But four? It’s James Conner, who is not helping Le’Veon Bell out with his contract negotiations. Conner already has three touchdowns and over 150 rushing yards to go with 105 yards through the air. All signs point to Bell being out through week ten, so look for Conner to keep seeing the lion’s share of touches in Pittsburgh. And who leads all running backs in yards through the first two games? Matt Breida. You know, the guy out in SF filling in for the injured McKinnon. Breida has 184 yards on only 22 carries, a lot of that coming from a 66-yard touchdown run against the Lions last week. Will he end the season as the leading rusher? I’d lean towards probably not. But his early success is a nice sign for Niners fans and any fantasy players who rostered him last week. One running back to really be concerned about through the early goings is David Johnson. Johnson has arguably top 5 running back potential, but with an offense that will struggle to score points much less lead games, Johnson’s production could be very impacted. David Johnson has run for 85 yards through the first two games and only had a single reception in week two. That was the first game since taking over the starting duties in 2015 he was held to a single reception. With his talent, you never know when he will break off a big game, but he won’t end the season as a top-5 running back. In fact, he could easily see himself out of the top ten at the end of the season.

With two weeks down, players’ roles are starting to become a more clear, and drafting becomes less and less of a crap-shoot. Our Thursday through Monday slate starts tomorrow, so get your lineups in!

Dan Quinn
CEO, Draftboard.com