Nearly past one-fourth of the way through the 2023 NFL seasons, some fantasy owners are riding higher than others.
Let’s take a look at winners and losers from week three.
QB Russell Wilson
A lot needs fixing within the Denver Broncos, but thus far, QB Russell Wilson isn’t among the renovation to-do list. It may be tough to believe, given what transpired last season, but the soon-to-be 35-year old QB is among the top 10 performing fantasy QBs on the season. He is also top-3 in a non-fantasy category, NFL passer rating ranking behind only Brock Purdy and Tua Tagovaiiloa. He was yet again a top-10 QB in week four, throwing for 223 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. Given that the Broncos defense is still very iffy (to put it lightly), chances are the team will be in either a shootout or playing from behind most games. Unless you have someone like Mahomes, Allen, etc., he’s 100% a must start for the foreseeable future.
RB Jaleel McLaughlin
Welcome to the NFL, rookie. When RB1 Javonte Williams went down with a hip injury earlier in the game, it was McLaughlin rather than veteran Samaje Perine who got the most carries, and he capitalized on the opportunity. The NCAA’s all-time leading rusher carried seven times for 72 yards (including a big gain of 31 yards) and pulled in three catches for 32 yards and a touchdown. He finished week four in the top-10 for running backs in both most standard and PPR leagues. Given both Williams’ injury scare along with the fact he just hasn’t been playing that well, the Jaleel who didn’t play Urkel is worth monitoring as a potential flex option in coming weeks.
RB Javonte Williams
After three underwhelming performances in the backfield, the third-year back out of North Carolina got banged up, was forced to leave the game, and had to sit and watch as one of his backups had a breakout game. Not a great development for Williams. It isn’t that he’s been terrible or hasn’t had some productive runs on the season, but he just hasn’t really been a difference maker in the offense. McLaughlin was just that on Sunday, and if the rookie can show it’s not a one off, Williams (who hasn’t seen the end zone this season) could be losing a solid chunk of snaps.
WR Jerry Jeudy
Jeudy’s name has begun to pop up in trade talks once again, and for good reason. The guy just isn’t producing much in this offense. He’s still getting looks and making some plays, but he isn’t playing like the guy who finished the 2022 season on such a high note. Maybe it’s the system, maybe he’s still working his way back from a hamstring injury earlier in the season, but something isn’t completely clicking for him. On the big 48-yard bomb to Marvin Mims in the second half, Wilson also had a more-open Jeudy over the middle who also could have picked up similar yardage. The fact that Wilson went to Mims says a lot. At this point, I’m not sure Jeudy is worth a starter spot on many rosters.
Best of the Rest - Week One Winners from Around the League
NFC West Running Backs
The son of a former Bronco is arguably the best overall offensive player in the league right now for the best team. The Stanford product went off on Arizona this past weekend, rushing for 103 yards and three touchdowns along with pulling in 71 receiving yards on seven catches with a touchdown through the air as well. If you have Christian McCaffrey on your team, it doesn’t really matter who else you start, you’ll be in every game.
Division rival to the 49ers, the Los Angeles Rams, also showed why they found Cam Akers expendable, as second-year back Karen Williams also exceeded 100 yards on the ground to go with a pair of touchdowns. Add on the 79 yards and a touchdown Kenneth Walker put up for the Seahawks on Monday night, and the ground game looks awfully tough out west.
PHI WR AJ Brown
The fifth-year receiver out of Ole Miss finally found the end zone this past weekend. He started the season a bit slow the first two games, but found his zone in week three with nine catches for 131 yards, but no scores. He followed that up this past weekend with nine catches once more for 175 yards and two touchdowns. It’s safe to say he’s probably found his rhythm in Brian Johnson’s offense.
Week One Losers from Around the League
Miami Dolphins not named Achane
The dynamic rookie in the Dolphins backfield made some huge plays to account for 101 yards and two touchdowns, but the rest of his team who looked a Tecmo Super Bowl offense last week fell back down to earth in a bad way. It’s not that they were terrible, but after last week, they just looked incredibly too human. Tua threw for 282 yards but turned the ball over with a pick. Raheem Mostert fumbled twice, losing one, and finished with nine yards rushing. Tyreek Hill caught just three passes for 58 yards. Maybe the Bills are that good, or maybe the Broncos were just that bad, but for owners hoping for the same fantasy fireworks this week like came up a bit short.
IND RB Zach Moss owners
Moss wasn’t terrible, carrying 18 times for 70 yards, but given that Jonathan Taylor has returned to practice for the Colts, was that enough to earn him enough carries moving forward to make him a fantasy difference maker should Taylor see the field soon? Tread lightly with him moving forward.