Through 3 weeks of the NFL season, we have some unlikely undefeated teams like Carolina and Vegas. This column aims to find season long trends and aid both dynasty and redraft managers find players to buy, sell, or add off the waiver wire. Ownership percentages given for each player in MFL dynasty formats and Yahoo redraft formats. The ownership percentages reflect ownership as of Monday night.
Sam Darnold – QB, Carolina Panthers
Rostered in 66% of MFL leagues; 22% of Yahoo redraft leagues
I never thought Darnold was a good QB, but I am slowly buying into the post-Gase hype. Full disclosure, I recently bought into Tua and he immediately went on IR. Darnold quietly has the 6th best QBR in the league, ahead of Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. He is also sitting at QB12 after 3 weeks ahead of guys like Herbert, Dak, and Tannehill. Simply put, this is the best supporting cast Darnold has ever had – even without Christian McCaffrey. He is no check down machine, boasting the 7th most air yards in the league. For all the positives, Darnold only has 3 passing TDs on the year. His fantasy game is being propped up by 3 rushing TDs. With CMC out for a few weeks, I expect his TDs to increase. In single QB leagues, Darnold is a fantastic streaming candidate with Dallas, Philly, Minnesota, the Giants, and Atlanta coming up. In 2 QB leagues, he is a sneaky buy candidate with a horrid playoff schedule of Buffalo, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans in Weeks 15-17.
Dalton Schultz – TE, Dallas Cowboys
Rostered in 39% of MFL Leagues; 3% of Yahoo redraft leagues
I had Schultz listed as a buy after Week 1, but said to temper long term expectations with Gallup eventually returning from injury and Blake Jarwin working his way back to full health. After a quiet week 2, Schultz’s production exploded on Monday night with a statline of 6 receptions on 7 targets for 80 yards and 2 TDs. He was the Cowboy’s leading receiver on the night. He only saw 9 more snaps than Jarwin (52 to 43) and both ran 20 routes on the night. However Schultz dominated the targets (7 to 2). I am now more bullish on Schultz’s long term prospects. He should be owned in all dynasty formats and is an excellent streaming candidate in redraft. On the year, Schultz’s 14 receptions trail only Lamb (18) and Cooper (19) and his 10.2 yards per reception is just ahead of Cooper’s 9.9.
Emmanuel Sanders – WR, Buffalo Bills
Rostered in 63% of MFL Leagues; 27% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Sanders is the third leading receiver on one of the most pass heavy teams in the league. Diggs and Beasley have 32 and 30 targets respectively, but Sanders has 20 through 3 weeks and has yet to receive fewer than 6 targets in a game. While Beasley has out targeted Sanders, Sanders has significantly outsnapped him with 24 additional snaps played on the year. The pair each have 194 receiving yards, but Sanders has done it on 11 receptions (20 targets) versus Beasley’s 23 receptions (30 targets). The gap in ADOT between the two is massive. Josh Allen’s deep ball accuracy has been shaky to start the year. If it returns to even last year’s average, Sanders has a handful of additional catches and production. He is the WR to own in this offense after Stefon Diggs (who is a buy low candidate after a slow start to the season.)
Other Players Trending Up: Brandin Cooks, Terrace Marshall, Jr., D’Andre Swift, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and Tyler Conklin
Trey Sermon, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Rostered in 86% of MFL leagues; 84% of Yahoo redraft leagues
It is never a good sign when you are outsnapped by Kyle Juszczyk (69% to 59%). After getting hyped by beat reporters all offseason, Week 3 was supposed to be Sermon’s breakout. He was projected to have the backfield to himself. He salvaged his night with a TD, but otherwise did little with 10 carries for 31 yards and 2 receptions on 3 targets for 3 yards. Barry Sanders could come out of retirement and average more than 3.1 yards per carry in a Shanahan offense. Elijah Mitchell should be healthy for Week 4. JaMycal Hasty and Jeff Wilson will return from IR by mid-season. Sermon is quickly running out of time to establish himself in a crowded, but valuable backfield.
Other Players Trending Down: Kyle Pitts, Damien Harris, Allen Robinson, Rookie QBs
Depth Charts to Monitor:
Buffalo Bills RBs
Devin Singletary: Rostered in 94% of MFL Leagues; 86% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Zack Moss: Rostered in 83% of MFL Leagues; 54% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Zack Moss out snapped, out rushed, and out targeted Singletary for the first time all season (56% to 43% snaps; 13 to 11 rushes; 3 to 2 targets). Both are currently TD dependent desperation plays or deep flex plays in one of the most pass happy offenses in the league. In redraft formats, stash Zack Moss if possible. Neither will have value unless Buffalo starts running the ball more or one back goes down to injury.
Detroit Lions WRs
Kalif Raymond: Rostered in 9% of MFL leagues; 0% of Yahoo redraft leagues
Quintez Cephus: Rostered in 54% of MFL leagues; 28% of Yahoo redraft leagues
The Lions have no weapons. Cephus has looked solid through the first few weeks and Hockenson is an elite TE. Surprisingly, Kalif Raymond played the most snaps and had the most targets for the Lions in week 3. He turned his 47 snaps into 6 receptions on 10 targets. In a game where Hock and Cephus saw a combined 3 targets, this is likely an outlier. But Raymond should be picked up in dynasty formats and Cephus should not be dropped after his 1 target performance.