Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars have arrived

Justin Herbert was clearly compromised while playing through torn rib cartilage, but this Jacksonville team is fully legit. The defense entered with the fourth-best EPA/play in the NFL, and Sunday Trevor Lawrence tossed three touchdowns while finishing as a top-five fantasy QB — and winning for the first time on the road during his career (the Jaguars had lost an NFL-high 18 straight games on the road dating back to 2019).

Lawrence has a 5:0 TD:INT ratio while taking zero sacks since Week 1, and he’s only going to continue improvingJames Robinson had a 50-yard touchdown run and finished as fantasy’s No. 6 RB this week, as his remarkable recovery from Achilles surgery continues. While Robinson saw 20 touches, Travis Etienne was given a healthy 16 himself; both can be useful in fantasy leagues in a suddenly productive environment … Christian Kirk is on pace to finish with 102 catches, 1,513 yards and 17 touchdowns …

I’m beginning to think Urban Meyer might have been bad.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) and running back James Robinson are seeing their fantasy values increase

The Jaguars are making serious fantasy waves early in 2022. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Speaking of questionable coaching, one might consider Herbert still in the game while LAC was down 38-10 with three minutes remaining organizational malpractice. It certainly didn’t seem like the smartest move for the franchise, especially with center Corey Linsley and left tackle Rashawn Slater out. Either way, Herbert and LA’s offensive performance was concerning, no matter how well Jacksonville’s defense has been playing. The Chargers are 1-2 with two upcoming road games and don’t have their bye until Week 8, and it sure seems like the team is going to let Herbert attempt to play through his injury.

LA’s offense badly needs Keenan Allen back.

Austin Ekeler was held to just four yards on five carries but secured all eight of his targets. Receptions have saved Ekeler’s fantasy start in PPR leagues, but he’s yet to score a touchdown after hitting pay dirt 20 times last season. Ekeler also hasn’t reached 40 rushing yards in a game yet, and he’s ceded some goal-line work, so adding a compromised Herbert to the mix isn’t exactly what his fantasy managers needed or expected.

Both quarterbacks struggled mightily, highlighted by Justin Fields posting a -19.0 completion percentage over expectation (third percentile). Fields has fewer completions over three games this season (23) than Cooper Kupp had catches over the first two weeks. Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet belong on fantasy waiver wires.

Meanwhile, Davis Mills now has a 14:1 TD:INT ratio at home compared to 5:11 on the road throughout his brief career … Roquan Smith was everywhere while recording an NFL season-high 16 tackles … David Montgomery left injured, and Khalil Herbert was fantasy’s top-scoring back this week while ripping off 157 yards with two impressive touchdown runs. Montgomery has been deemed day-to-day and likely would’ve had a nice game himself had he not gotten injured, but Herbert is so clearly one of the best young backs in football right now …

Dameon Pierce is another underrated young RB who committed two fumbles (neither were lost) but otherwise impressed Sunday (including a couple of nice plays in the passing game). Both Herbert and Pierce could be top-10 type fantasy backs moving forward if playing time cooperated (it won’t, if Montgomery is back soon).

The teams combined for just one second-half touchdown in a game with this week’s highest over/under and featuring a ton of defensive injuries. Josh Allen threw for 400 yards and led Buffalo in rushing, while Devin Singletary led the team in targets with 11. Gabe Davis looked clearly compromised playing through a sprained ankle, while Isaiah McKenzie separated himself from the slot competition in Buffalo. He had an eventful day that also included Allen missing him late on a would-be touchdown followed by the game ending on this catch. McKenzie is available in 60% of Yahoo leagues and needs to be added in all formats …

Miami somehow won a game after running 39 plays for 212 yards — compared to 90 for 497 for Buffalo — that featured an epic botched puntTua Tagovailoa stumbled to the ground after taking a big head shot and appeared highly unlikely to return but was surprisingly cleared for the second half. Tua has looked simply fantastic this season, and hopefully, he’s good to go moving forward.

Las Vegas Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

Ryan Tannehill may have played his best game ever without A.J. Brown with the help of Derrick Henry, who matched his career-high with six targets despite the return of Dontrell Hilliard. Henry looked great but gets Indy’s elite run defense and a bye in two of the next three weeks. His fantasy outlook would change greatly if the targets aren’t a fluke, though … With no Hunter Renfrow, Mack Hollins erupted and finished as the No. 2 fantasy wideout this week. Hollins leads the Raiders in receiving three games into the season, but his future production still hinges on others’ health (IE, don’t go overboard with FAAB) … Josh McDaniels has lost six straight games as a head coach; the Raiders are the only 0-3 team in the league.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts

In a matchup that looked highly favorable for Patrick Mahomes, he finished outside the top-10 fantasy QBs despite leading KC in rushing. Clyde Edwards-Helaire somehow had more rushing touchdowns than yards, as the Colts’ run defense (KC had a 26% Success Rate!) remained elite despite missing Shaq LeonardThanks in part to a failed fake FG and a backup kicker missing an extra point and a 34-yard field goal indoors (AND a Sky Moore muffed punt inside the five), Kansas City lost to a desperate 0-2 Colts team despite getting 0.25 EPA/play compared to -0.05 for the Colts … Jonathan Taylor is off to a disappointing start, and Matt Ryan is a real concern, but the star RB has encouragingly seen 5+ targets in two of three contests; he’s going to have some huge upcoming fantasy games.

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings

Both D’Andre Swift and Dalvin Cook left injured and watched backups Jamaal Williams (fantasy’s No. 3 RB this week) and Alexander Mattison impress as replacements. The injuries may not be serious, but both Williams and Mattison would be must-starts in fantasy leagues for as long as the starters are sidelined … Amon-Ra St. Brown was also hampered by an injury throughout Sunday’s game and was tackled inside the five-yard line twice in the first 16 minutes. His streak of games with at least eight catches ended, but ARSB remains a borderline top-five WR moving forward if healthy …

Detroit went 3-for-3 on fourth down attempts in the first quarter, and while I haven’t fact-checked, the telecast claimed this was Minnesota’s first win after being down 10+ points since the 1990s … Justin Jefferson was quiet as it appears Jeff Okudah is a matchup to avoid  Kirk Cousins missed an open K.J. Osborn for a would-be 50-yard touchdown, but they made up for it later with a game-winning connection.

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots

Lamar Jackson has scored the most fantasy points by any QB through his first three games in the history of fantasy football and leads the NFL in Passer Rating (119.0) and passing TDs (10) while also ranking third in rushing yards (243). Jackson and Mark Andrews look like home-run fantasy draft picks … With no Jakobi Meyers, it was DeVante Parker who took advantage of Baltimore’s pass-funnel defense, finishing as a top-10 WR during an upside-down kind of week for fantasy receiversJ.K. Dobbins returned but no Ravens RB can be used in fantasy lineups right now … Mac Jones suffered a high-ankle sprainRhamondre Stevenson saw encouraging usage … Stay patient with Rashod Bateman, who’s one of only three receivers getting more than 3.0 yards per route run.

Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets

Joe Burrow bounced back with a nice game, but the Bengals continue to struggle running the ball. Joe Mixon has yet to eclipse 3.0 YPC or score during any game this season, but at least the targets have been there … Breece Hall had a drop in the first quarter that might’ve gone for a touchdown, but Hall, Michael Carter, Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson form an incredibly talented group of skill position players moving forward.

Now let’s see if Zach Wilson can unlock them.

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders

The Eagles recorded a league season-high nine sacks in a dominant defensive performance, and Jalen Hurts continues to look like an MVP candidate (both in the NFL and fantasy). Philadelphia looks like the clear best team in the NFC right now (and have the sixth pick in the 2023 draft) … DeVonta Smith had 156 yards and a TD at halftime and finished as the week’s top-scoring fantasy receiver despite a quiet second half that didn’t require Philadelphia to throw much … Carson Wentz had thrown for many of his yards and five of his seven TDs in second halves this season, but he couldn’t produce anything, not even in garbage time, against a stout Eagles defense.

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

After seeing nearly twice as many air yards as any other receiver last week, rookie Chris Olave saw the second-most targets (13) in the league this week. It’s not ideal having a compromised Jameis Winston playing through a broken back and an ankle injury, but Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry left Sunday’s game. It’d be big news for Olave’s fantasy value if either injury proves serious, but he’s a must-start in all fantasy leagues regardless …

Chris Olave (12) of the New Orleans Saints is gaining fantasy value

Chris Olave had himself a big fantasy day in Week 3. (Photo by David Jensen/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Panthers won Sunday, and there was even a LaViska Shenault sighting. Yet, the predictable Carolina offense was once again horrible (-0.15 EPA/play), with Christian McCaffrey and especially DJ Moore’s fantasy values suffering as a result. Baker Mayfield posted a hideous -19.4 CPOE mark (3rd percentile) in a game Winston got 4.2 CPOE while playing through at least four broken bones. Moore looks like a fantasy bust who can’t be trusted in starting lineups, and it’s painful.

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals

Matthew Stafford and Kyler Murray failed to throw a single touchdown as the Rams/Cardinals combined for just 32 points in a game with one of this week’s highest projected totals. Murray had zero rushing attempts through three quarters for the first time in his career and somehow hasn’t eclipsed 5.7 YPA in a game despite playing exclusively indoors this season. Just imagine when the next Call of Duty is released next month …

Allen Robinson had alligator arms during one throw to him at the goal line, and Stafford was nearly picked on a pass toward him the next play. It’s been a discouraging start to ARob’s Rams career … Cooper Kupp has reached 90 receiving yards in 21 of his last 24 games, with Byron Murphy holding him under 65 yards in the other three … A career-high in pass attempts from Murray helped, but Marquise Brown led the league with 17 targets this week … Darrell Henderson was LA’s clear leader in the backfield during the first half Sunday but then took a backseat to Cam Akers, who lost a fumble at the goal line but had a nice TD run nonetheless.

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks

Both quarterbacks played well, although game flow limited Marcus Mariota to just 20 pass attempts. It may not happen often together, but Kyle Pitts and Drake London are both going to have big fantasy performances moving forward. Pitts had more receiving yards in the first quarter (63) Sunday than he had totaled the previous two games, and London was close to pulling down a long touchdown … While running by far the fewest plays in football hurts Seattle’s fantasy players, at least the Seahawks are using an extremely concentrated target tree (DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combined for 23 targets while no one else saw five Sunday).

Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With both teams battling a crazy number of injuries, it wasn’t surprising to see a defensive battle. It likely would’ve gone to overtime if not for a delay of game penalty during Tampa Bay’s final two-point conversion attempt … It’s possible rookie Romeo Doubs is already Green Bay’s No. 1 receiver, while Russell Gage certainly acted as such for Tampa Bay this week. Hopefully, he’s finally over the hamstring injury that’s clearly been hindering him, as Gage has real fantasy upside moving forward with so many injuries to Bucs wideouts … Stay patient with Leonard FournetteCryptic Aaron Rodgers!

San Francisco 49ers @ Denver Broncos

Russell Wilson and Jimmy Garoppolo both finished as bottom-five QBs in an ugly matchup this week, although Wilson improved to 17-4 in his career versus the 49ers (the Broncos are somehow 2-1 despite having scored just 43 points).

Trent Williams left with a high-ankle sprain, and Jimmy G struggled badly. Wilson, meanwhile, has just two touchdowns with barely any rushing yards this season; he looks like a fantasy disaster … Javonte Williams was given 15 carries and five targets but lost a goal-line score to Melvin Gordon, as Denver finally cashed in a red-zone opportunity … Albert Zero was again useless to fantasy managers, as the tight end is yet to total 50 yards for the season … Jeff Wilson Jr. should remain a top-25-type RB moving forward, but his late lost fumble sealed the game … Deebo Samuel returned after leaving with an injury and was close to having a much bigger game, but SF’s offense simply lacks upside with Jimmy G back at quarterback.

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