Fantasy Football: 10 biggest fantasy reactions to NFL Week 3

E. Rutherford, N.J., USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Cordarrelle Patterson (84) carries the ball in the first half against the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Only Monday Night Football remains on the 2021 NFL Week 3 slate, so most fantasy football managers will now be turning their gaze to Week 4 to try to gain an advantage in their fantasy leagues.

It’s important not to overreact to individual stat lines. For example, some players scored two touchdowns this week yet probably won’t do that again this season, while other players saw the field for most of their team's snaps but couldn't quite make it to the end zone.

Remember: chase the usage, not the box score.

The following are my 10 biggest takeaways from Week 3. For a more detailed 32-team view of the week, including snap counts, check out the Complete Week 3 Fantasy Football Recap.

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1. Consider starting Falcons RB Cordarrelle Patterson in PPR

The Falcons' backfield was basically a 50/50 split in the first half, with Mike Davis handling a few more carries and Patterson a few more pass routes. But it was Davis who took more snaps as the game went on, ultimately giving him the snaps lead.

Patterson can now be considered one of the better receiving back options in fantasy football. Atlanta gives him more carries than most receiving backs, and he’s used more creatively. As of writing this, he has the third-most receiving yards among running backs this season. If he can improve as a runner, there is a chance he becomes the starter.

2. Pick up Jets RB Michael Carter

The Jets have used their running backs interchangeably in the past, but yesterday the main backfield contributors had more distinct roles. Carter was more of the early-down back, while Ty Johnson mixed in on early downs while also playing third downs. This means we can expect Carter to be the clear leader in carries going forward.

In general, the team needs to do better on offense before he goes in starting lineups, but he at least needs to be on rosters because that time could come. He’s still available in 45% of ESPN leagues.

3. Monitor the Patriots RB James White injury

White left the game on a cart with a hip injury and was quickly ruled out — there is a good chance he could miss some time. Brandon Bolden primarily took over White’s role, although J.J. Taylor also saw an increase in playing time. This is probably a situation to avoid on the waiver wire, as these two players could end up splitting the role. If anything, this will lead to more work by the Patriots' wide receivers and tight ends. Damien Harris' role was unchanged.

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4. Don’t start Ravens RB Ty’Son Williams

The rookie continues to play the most snaps out of the Ravens backfield, but that only led to one target and 22 yards on five carries. Latavius Murray was the primary rusher for the Ravens. This game might have just been a fluke, but if this trend continues, that would mean Williams is just the team’s receiving back. A few more weeks of this, and Williams wouldn’t need to be on fantasy rosters anymore.

5. Make Bills WR Emmanuel Sanders a top waiver target

Sanders was already a waiver wire target before this week, but now it will be even more difficult to pick him up. Sanders led the team in routes run and offensive snaps among skill players, which led to two touchdowns. He should keep a big role in the Bills' high-powered offense all season, and he should have a high floor of at least a few catches each game.

6. Start Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr.

Beckham returned to action and was clearly the Browns' best receiver. He returned to his usual role today, playing almost every snap for the first three quarters before sitting out for most of the fourth quarter as Cleveland ran out the clock. He can be considered a must-start player going forward.

7. Sell high on Cardinals WRs A.J. Green and Christian Kirk

Both receivers put up over 100 receiving yards, but this was a perfect situation for them. DeAndre Hopkins was questionable coming into the game and played hurt, while Rondale Moore was given only three touches in the game. This meant both players saw significant targets, and they capitalized on them while facing a Jacksonville secondary that gave up 416 yards to wide receivers in the first two games. A healthy Hopkins will take a higher percentage of targets going forward, as will Moore.

8. Start 49ers WR Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk was a backup in Week 1 and a starter in Week 2. Now, he’s returned to an every-down role as a starter. He caught four passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. The second-year pass-catcher can be expected to remain in starting lineups and should be able to gain more fantasy points against weaker secondaries.

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9. Sell high on Browns TE Austin Hooper

The Browns tight end caught a touchdown but continues to see close to an even split in pass routes with David Njoku. The only reason Hooper sees more snaps is that he’s the better blocker. It’s better to have a starting fantasy tight end who runs routes on his team's passing plays. He can be dropped if a trade partner can’t be found.

10. Drop Colts TE Jack Doyle

The veteran tight end was a popular waiver wire target last week after his five-catch, 64-yard performance. But, as it turns out, his role in that game was just temporary, as he was back to running a route on less than half of the Colts' pass plays this week, ultimately catching one pass for 10 yards. It’s also concerning that fourth-round rookie Kylen Granson more than doubled his career pass routes in this game.


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