The NFL is officially three weeks into the season, and fantasy owners are starting to get a sense of who they can rely on and who they can trick someone into a trade.
Let’s take a look at winners and losers from week three.
Broncos Winners (yes...there were some)
WR Courtland Sutton
From a Denver Broncos perspective, his two fumbles were textbook lack of awareness that killed drives, and he also lost some one on one battles. He wasn’t looked at glowingly after this past game. Yet, from a fantasy perspective, even with the fumbles, he finished as a top-15 WR in most PPR leagues, and he’d have had more points if not for a penalty in the end zone that negated a second touchdown. He finished with eight catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He has his flaws, but he still is getting looks (a team-high 11 targets), especially in the red zone. He’s frustrating as a Broncos player but is still productive thus far as a fantasy option.
WR Marvin Mims, Jr.
At some point, Mims is going to warrant more looks. He once again put his big play ability on display, pulling in a 38-yard heave from Wilson and positioning himself perfectly to make the catch. He’d finish with three catches for 73 yards and had a kickoff return touchdown as well (for those of you in leagues that count that sort of thing at an individual level). Payton has the passing game (if not much else) looking productive and like a unit that is going to continue to improve and put up points. And Mims is someone Russell Wilson is trusting more and more, so he’s worth keeping on any roster as the Broncos offense gets closer to an identity.
QB Russell Wilson
Wilson eclipsed the 300+ yard passing mark for the second straight week and was robbed of two touchdowns due to penalties in the end zone. He also had opportunities stripped after two Courtland Sutton fumbles killed drives. Thus far in the season, Wilson is a top-10 fantasy QB, and given how bad the defense is and how stale the run game is, the team will be passing often. The Broncos have a lot of problems, but it can be said three weeks in that Wilson isn’t the once causing them.
RB Javonte Williams
Sean Payton was supposed to have a powerful run game on display this season, but the unit has been a complete dud through three games. The team has just 285 yards through three games, and Russell Wilson’s 56 yards in week two (which is the most any Bronco has rushed for in a game this year) make up a nice chunk of that. Wilson showed flashes week one that he’d be back close to his 2021 form in the coming weeks, but he is putting up mundane numbers (yet to exceed 52 yards), not getting looks in the passing game or red zone, and is getting stopped short much easier than he was in 2021. He still occasionally shows some power and burst, but (and maybe he just isn’t back to form) more often than not he stalls. Perhaps he’ll get better throughout the season, but he is looking less-than fantasy worthy in all leagues.
WR Jerry Jeudy
He pulled in a 46-yard catch in garbage time and had a touchdown taken away by a penalty, but the presumed WR1 isn’t looking like one in the two weeks he’s played. Sutton is getting more looks, and the emergence of Marvin Mims can’t be ignored. He’s still worthy of a roster spot, because as said above, the Broncos are going to have to throw a ton, and the team doesn’t have many viable WR options outside of Sutton and Mims. Yet, he needs to show a bit more of what he did the last portion of 2022 to be given starter consideration.
If you’re still reading this and somehow still have the Broncos defense, what on earth are you waiting for? This unit needs to be dropped with the loudest thud imaginable. Remember the scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark when the Nazi burns his hand after trying to recover the medallion from the fire set in Marion’s bar? Holding onto the Broncos defense will be that painful for your fantasy teams. The Broncos D has taught us two things: (1) not to roster them, and (2) roster anyone playing against them who will touch the football.
The team will put up points on offense, especially vs. a hapless Bears defense, but the sad thing for Broncos Country is those points will be often due to having to play from behind. The offense will give fantasy owners some victories, but it’s tough to expect them to do the same thing in the real world as long as the defense is that bad. And as long as Vance Joseph is around, expect that to be the case.
Best of the Rest - Week One Winners from Around the League
Basically any Dolphin who touched the football
It doesn’t matter if it was Tua, Tyreek Hill, Raheem Mostert, De’Von Achane or even Robby (or “Chosen”) freaking Anderson. The offense played like an introverted 11-year old playing Tecmo Super Bowl. Big play after big play, bomb after bomb, touchdown after touchdown. Give the Broncos defense a chunk of the credit, as they are that bad, and it’s unlikely most defensive units will lay down like that for them, but the Dolphins playmakers should all be rostered, if not starting, at this point.
LAC WR Keenan Allen
The veteran WR showed he still has plenty of gas in the tank as he hauled in a stunning 18 catches for an equally stunning 215 yards vs. the Vikings on Sunday in a Chargers victory. He didn’t find himself in the end zone, but for those in PPR leagues, he cleaned up regardless. And although he didn’t find HIMSELF in the end zone, he did capitalize on a trick play, throwing a 49-yard touchdown pass himself.
CIN WR Ja’Marr Chase
FINALLY the guy many picked second overall in their fantasy drafts delivers. After a pedestrian 10 catches for 70 yards his first two games, losing looks to Tee Higgins in the second contest, he bust out with 12 catches on 15 targets for 141 yards, helping the Bengals to victory. Hopefully those who drafted him stayed patient, as he looks like he’s ready to get into a groove.
Just the Worst - Week One Losers from Around the League
CHI QB Justin Fields
Picked by many pundits as a popular breakout candidate, third-year QB Justin Fields has yet to do that for the Chicago Bears. He’s shown flashes each of the past two seasons and outside of Lamar Jackson may just be the most dynamic running threat from the QB position, but he has not been much of an offensive asset this season. He’s thrown for just 526 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions while completing fewer than 60% of his passes. Mind you, he’ll probably look like a superstar vs. the Broncos defense this weekend, but otherwise he’s looking like quite the bust through three weeks of the 2023 season.
NYJ RB Dalvin Cook
Woof. Maybe the Vikings knew what they were doing when they released their star running back, and thankfully the Broncos didn’t give up anything for him. The former star in the backfield has 25 carries for 58 yards and no touchdowns. He was not necessarily a high pick in most leagues, but regardless, he was picked up due to name value and by those who maybe hoped he and Aaron Rodgers would form somewhat of a Tom Brady-Leonard Fournette rejuvenation effort. With Rodgers out, that obviously isn’t happening, but even if he was healthy, it’s tough to see him doing much regardless.