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Stats Perform’s Fantasy Football Outliers vs. Consensus: Week 3

By: Stats Perform

Though their respective teams have started out a combined 0-4, fans of the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins have reason to be excited about Week 3.

The Daniel Jones era is set to get underway in New York, as he takes over for the aging Eli Manning under center against the Buccaneers in Tampa. And Josh Rosen – who threw for 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 14 games as a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals last season – has replaced Ryan Fitzpatrick for a Dolphins team that has been outscored 102-10.

What can fantasy football players expect? Not much – at least in their respective team debuts – as Stats Perform ranks Jones 27th among quarterbacks and Rosen comes in at 32.

Stats Perform’s advanced analytics team has developed its fantasy projections based on our proprietary data. Our rankings are based on opportunity as well as talent, so our feelings about how many fantasy points a player will score aren’t the same thing as how we feel about them as a player overall.

Stats Perform has pinpointed players at quarterback, running back, wide receiver and tight end in a standard-scoring format that we project are either higher or lower than other experts’ rankings. For the consensus rankings, we’re using FantasyPros, which aggregates major fantasy sites’ picks, to compare our projections with others in the industry.

So here are Stats Perform’s top undervalued or overvalued players for Week 3:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte, N.C., Thursday, Sept. 12, 2019.

Winston hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire so far, completing just 59% of his attempts for 402 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions while Tampa Bay split its first two games. But Stats Perform projects that he’ll be able to exploit a Giants defense that has struggled early on.

Winston has thrown for 778 yards with five scores and only one pick in three career games against New York, which allowed a combined 642 passing yards and five touchdowns without intercepting a pass in losses at Dallas and at home against the Buffalo Bills.

Also undervalued: Josh Allen, Bills (3rd/6th

The consensus likes Brady – and for good reason – after he completed 68.8% of his passes for 605 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions while New England outscored the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dolphins by a combined 76-3. However, fantasy owners should hope Brady will able to do enough damage early on against the New York Jets before the Patriots decide to throttle in down with a huge lead.

Brady has thrown for an average of 264.5 yards and totaled 36 touchdowns and only five picks while New England has won 15 of the past 17 in this series.

Also overvalued: Kyler Murray, Cardinals (15th/10th)

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack celebrates after a touchdown during the second half in an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Carson, Calif. 

Stats Perform’s projections have been high on Mack the past couple weeks, essentially because the Colts have a strong offensive line and figure to lean on the running game a bit more without Andrew Luck under center. After running for 174 yards and a score in an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, Mack managed 51 yards on 20 carries in a Week 2 win over the Tennessee Titans.

The Atlanta Falcons allowed 172 rushing yards in a season-opening loss to the Minnesota Vikings before giving up just 49 in last week’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Philadelphia, however, opted to throw the ball 48 times in that contest and certainly figure to be challenged a lot more by Mack.

Also undervalued: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams (5th/14th)

Because the Cardinals have a poor offensive line and the Carolina Panthers have a tough defensive line, we expect Johnson will struggle to produce enough to benefit fantasy owners for the second week in a row. Johnson had a solid performance with 82 rushing yards, 55 receiving yards and a touchdown in a Week 1 tie with the Detroit Lions, but he was limited to 14 rushing yards and a score and only one catch in last week’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.

The Panthers have been vulnerable against the run early on, allowing the seventh-most rushing yards at 133.0 per game. But we don’t expect the Cardinals will be able to open up the same kind of holes for Johnson in this contest.

Also overvalued: Saquon Barkley, Giants (9th/4th); Austin Ekeler, Chargers (12th/6th)

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) makes a catch with Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton (20) defending during an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh.

The speedy Lockett has developed into one of the league’s top deep threats, which bodes well for fantasy owners as he faces a New Orleans Saints defense that has been susceptible to the big play.

Cooper Kupp had a 66-yard reception and Brandin Cooks added a 57-yarder in the Los Angeles Rams’ 27-9 victory over New Orleans last weekend. This, after the Houston Texans’ Will Fuller (54-yarder), DeAndre Hopkins (38) and Kenny Stills (37) all burned the Saints in Week 1. Lockett had a 44-yard touchdown catch in a season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals before finishing with 10 catches for 79 yards another victory at Pittsburgh in Week 2.

Josh Allen has been better in part because the Bills’ rebuilt offensive line has been better. That’s allowed Allen to have more time to find Brown, and that figures to continue against the Cincinnati Bengals, who have had their share of struggles defensively so far.

Also undervalued: Sammy Watkins, Kansas City Chiefs (2nd/9th)

Hopkins had a quiet Week 2 (5 catches, 40 yards) after hauling in eight receptions for 111 yards and two scores in the opener. And Stats Perform projects he’ll find the going tough again this week against Casey Hayward Jr. of the Chargers, who have only surrendered a combined 435 yards through the air.

San Diego and Indianapolis play to a slower pace offensively, which means less time for both Hopkins and Jones to produce fantasy points. The Colts also like to force opponents into playing conservatively on offense, focusing on only giving up shorter completions.

Also overvalued: Davante Adams, Green Bay Packers (11th/4th)

Our projections just aren’t forecasting what the consensus has been expecting from Howard on a weekly basis. Howard has talent, but he wasn’t targeted in Week 2 after finishing with just four receptions for 32 yards in the opener.

Although we expect Winston to put up fantasy points against the Giants, he’s likely to target Chris Godwin (Stats Perform’s 4th-ranked WR) and Mike Evans (5th) more than Howard or fellow tight end Cameron Brate. The Giants haven’t been great defensively overall, but they’ve done a decent job against opposing tight ends.