Fantasy News & Analysis

NFL Week 3 Recap: Immediate fantasy football takeaways from Giants-49ers Thursday Night Football

2RX06X7 San Francisco 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, right, runs against New York Giants cornerback Adoree' Jackson during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vasquez)

• The San Francisco 49ers dominate without Brandon Aiyuk: Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and George Kittle each gained over 90 yards in the 49ers' home win.

Matt Breida leads the New York Giants backfield: With Saquon Barkley out, Breida played the snaps Barkley would have taken, though he didn’t get nearly the same number of opportunities.

• The Giants' six-man wide receiver rotation: Wan’Dale Robinson returned from his ACL injury, so the Giants utilized six wide receivers, a strategy we can expect in every game going forward.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

PFF's fantasy football recap focuses on player usage and stats, breaking down all the vital information you need to achieve fantasy success in 2023.

WR:CB Matchup Chart

New York Giants @ San Francisco 49ers

  • Deebo Samuel: 6 receptions, 129 yards, 1 touchdown; 1 carry, 2 rushing yards
  • Christian McCaffrey: 18 carries, 85 yards, 1 touchdown; 5 receptions, 34 receiving yards

The Giants try to replace Saquon Barkley: Barkley suffered an ankle injury in Week 2 and missed practice all week in the lead-up to the game. The team turned toward Matt Breida for Week 3.

  • Breida took the vast majority of snaps in all situations, losing only a few snaps to Gary Brightwell.
  • Despite Breida dominating snaps, the two received the same number of carries.
  • Neither succeeded on the ground until Breida scored an 8-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
  • Brightwell caught two of the three passes thrown his way for 31 yards. He led the Giants in receiving yards over the first 54 minutes of the game.
  • If Barkley misses another game, Breida should get many more opportunities in the run game against the Seattle Seahawks run defense next week. The Seahawks have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs this season.

Wan’Dale Robinson makes his season debut: Robinson returned from the ACL injury he suffered in the middle of the 2022 season.

  • New York brought him back on a very limited basis. He’s currently a backup for Parris Campbell and was only on the field for plays that Campbell took off.
  • Robinson ran only four routes over the first three quarters but was targeted on all four. He caught a pass on each one of them, gaining 21 yards.
  • He started to receive more playing time in the fourth quarter while the Giants were playing from behind.
  • Campbell did his best to keep his job, leading the team in targets (6) and receptions (6).
  • It wouldn’t be surprising to see Robinson eventually receive more playing time.
  • Fantasy relevance is difficult to attain for wide receivers who only play the slot role in 11 personnel. It’s impossible when there are two players splitting time in that role.

The 49ers survive without Brandon Aiyuk: Aiyuk was limited in practice this week and was ruled out earlier in the day.

  • Ronnie Bell, the 253rd pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, rotated in and out for Aiyuk last week after Aiyuk suffered the injury.
  • Anyone watching the highlights would have thought Bell had completely taken over. He scored the game's first touchdown in the second quarter and caught another 15-yard pass that was deflected off Deebo Samuel.
  • It was really the veteran Ray-Ray McCloud III who primarily took over for Aiyuk in this game.
  • McCloud started and was almost always on the field in 11 personnel. The two rotated in and out in other personnel groupings, which were typically run plays.
  • The 49ers also ran more plays out of 22 personnel than the first two weeks of the season combined since that personnel grouping no longer meant taking one of their top weapons off the field.
  • Aiyuk will hopefully be ready for next week with extended rest, but if he does miss another game, fantasy managers will just need to avoid any 49ers wide receiver not named Samuel.

Miscellaneous Notes

  • The 49ers had said they wanted to get Elijah Mitchell more involved after Christian McCaffrey played 100% of the offensive snaps last week, and they did just that. Mitchell played more offensive snaps in the first half than the full last two games combined. He continued to play significant snaps in the second half, helping close out the game.
  • Jalin Hyatt caught two passes for 89 yards last week, leading the Giants in receiving yards that game. That did not lead to an increased role in this game, and he didn’t see a target.
  • Daniel Bellinger played a significant role in this game, at times in place of Darren Waller, specifically so he could stay in to pass block against the 49ers’ pass rush. Bellinger pass-blocked more in this game than any Giants tight end pass-blocked in any game over the last two seasons.
  • Deebo Samuel stayed on the field for an extended period after a catch in the fourth quarter, but he returned to the lineup later in the drive and scored a touchdown. He will hopefully be fine long-term, but it could be an injury worth monitoring.
  • The Giants' longest offensive play of the night was the one where they had only 10 players on the field.
  • Kittle's 90 receiving yards are the most for a tight end in a game this season.
Table Notes

Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.

Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.

Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.


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