Monday, September 26, 2022

Fantasy Football Week 3 Quarterback Rankings: Are we ready to trust Tua Tagovailoa?

Fantasy Football Week 3 Quarterback Rankings: Are we ready to trust Tua Tagovailoa?

Chris Towers breaks down his quarterback rankings for Week 3

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We saw what the upside can be for Tua Tagovailoa in this new-look Miami Dolphins offense in Week 3, as he matched Dan Marino’s franchise record with six touchdowns. Tagovailoa wasn’t perfect, but he put together a massive comeback against what we expect to be a very good Ravens defense, throwing four of those touchdowns in the fourth quarter of the win.

So, is he a must-start Fantasy quarterback now? Well, certainly not must-start, at least not in Week 3. Not yet. This Buffalo defense looks like it could be the best in the league, picking off Matthew Stafford and Ryan Tannehill five times and holding them to 5.9 yards per attempt over their first two games. The Bills allowed the lowest yards per attempt and touchdown rate through the air last season and they look even better right now. That’s as tough a matchup as you can imagine.

And yet … isn’t it hard to just call Tagovailoa a sit after what we just saw? It’s not that Tagovailoa looked incredible — he looked pretty good, but certainly not like an elite QB. However, it looks like he might be in a special situation. The Dolphins have dropped back on 68% of their offensive plays to date, and the combination of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle might just be the best WR tandem in the NFL — at the very least, it’s definitely the fastest. 

The Bills will be a huge test for this Miami offense. Mike McDaniel has been a creative coach who has put Tagovailoa in a position to succeed, and his playmakers are so good that, if Tagovailoa is just decent, he might be excellent. Tagovailoa is ranked as a low-end starter for this week, and with Dak Prescott and Trey Lance out, we’re a little short on starting-caliber options. I probably won’t start Tagovailoa in most one-QB leagues, but if he puts up another good performance against the Bills, he might be a top-12 QB the rest of the way. 

Here are my full QB rankings for Week 3. 

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  1. Josh Allen @MIA
  2. Patrick Mahomes @IND — Mahomes is spreading the ball around a ton so far, and he hasn’t seemed to miss Tyreek Hill much yet. He had a handful of turnover worthy throws in Week 2 fall harmlessly to the ground in Week 2, but I’m not gonna hold that against him. He remains one of the best quarterbacks in Fantasy, especially with the Chiefs having 73 pass attempts to just 45 carries through two games. 
  3. Lamar Jackson @NE
  4. Justin Herbert vs. JAX — Herbert was clearly in a ton of pain after suffering a rib injury last Thursday, but apparently it wasn’t as serious as it could have been. At least, that’s what the team is telling us for now. We’ll see what happens when practice for Week 3 begins. 
  5. Jalen Hurts @WAS
  6. Kyler Murray vs. LAR
  7. Joe Burrow @NYJ — Burrow’s line has not looked up to the task so far, though the Steelers and Cowboys might just have especially tough pass rushes, which makes it tough to judge. The Bengals haven’t been able to hit on their big plays yet, and that was a big part of the offense in 2021. I expect they’ll have a bit better luck against the Jets. 
  8. Matthew Stafford @ARI — Stafford looked a lot better when he wasn’t under constant duress in Week 2, though he still toss a pair of interceptions to marr an otherwise pretty good game. That’s what he does sometimes — remember, he had two different stretches of multiple multi-interception games in a row last season. It’s just part of his game. 
  9. Derek Carr @TEN — Carr was much less aggressive in pushing the ball down the field in Week 2, which probably helps explain why he went from three interceptions to none from Week 1 to Week 2. He missed some chances for big plays with Davante Adams especially last week, but those opportunities will still be there moving forward. He remains a fine starting QB. 
  10. Russell Wilson vs. SF
  11. Carson Wentz vs. PHI — Disappointment tends to follow when you start to get expectations with Carson Wentz, so I’m not ready to say I trust him. But, with Dak Prescott and Trey Lance’s injuries, we’re down two projected starting QBs for Fantasy, so Wentz is starting to creep into the conversation. He’ll still probably be good for a few plays that leave you shaking your head every week, but he’s got some real weapons in this Washington offense, and they’ve dropped back to throw 98 times through two games. That kind of volume will make Wentz worth starting even with the head-shakers. 
  12. Aaron Rodgers @TB — Rodgers bouncing back from his poor showing in Week 1 was the obvious call of the week. The Buccaneers will pose a tougher challenge than the Bears did, and Rodgers’ lack of reliable playmakers in the passing game beyond his running backs still makes me nervous to trust him. 
  13. Tua Tagovailoa vs. BUF — We saw what the upside can be for Tagovailoa in this offense, and while I don’t expect him to approach 400-plus passing yards and six touchdowns ever again, Week 2 showed what he can do with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on his side. The Dolphins have dropped back to pass on 68% of their offensive plays, and if this remains a high-volume passing offense, Tagovailoa very well could be a top-12 QB even if he isn’t actually a great passer — that’s how good Hill and Waddle are. 
  14. Trevor Lawrence @LAC
  15. Kirk Cousins vs. DET
  16. Tom Brady vs. GB — Brady predictably struggled against a tough Saints defense without most of his pass-catchers, but he might be missing his best pass-catchers again this week — at least Chris Godwin and Mike Evans will be out. I’m not saying you have to sit Brady, but he is by no means a must-start QB right now. 
  17. Jameis Winston @CAR — Winston looked like Tampa Jameis in Week 2, for good and mostly ill. He was just chucking the ball down the field constantly, leading all quarterbacks with a 13.2 intended air yards average. He’s attempted 13 passes at least 20 yards down the field through two games, but has completed just four of them. It’ll be interesting to see if the Saints continue to let Winston air it out — he’ll probably need to be a bit more effective on those throws for that to happen. 
  18. Justin Fields vs. HOU — The Bears have run just 97 plays through their first two games, and Week 2 might have been even more concerning than their rain-soaked Week 1 game plan — they Bears ran just 41 plays, including 11 passes in the loss to the Packers. You can’t win that way, and Fields isn’t going to be useful for Fantasy if they’re going to run their offense like that. His rushing ability still makes him a viable starting option, especially in what should be much easier matchup then they’ve had so far. 
  19. Jared Goff @MIN
  20. Marcus Mariota @SEA
  21. Baker Mayfield vs. NO
  22. Daniel Jones vs. DAL
  23. Jimmy Garoppolo @DEN — Garoppolo isn’t a great Fantasy QB, but he’s historically been a pretty efficient passer, which is good news for Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk.  Garoppolo should be a QB2 for Fantasy most weeks. 
  24. Joe Flacco vs. CIN
  25. Mac Jones vs. BAL
  26. Mitchell Trubisky @CLE — The Steelers have had 24 offensive drives through two games, and they have two touchdowns to show for it. Trubisky is just 8 for 23 on pass attempts 10 yards or more past the line of scrimmage, and that just isn’t going to get it done. The drumbeat for Kenny Pickett is going to start growing louder if Trubisky doesn’t turn things around. If you’re in a SuperFlex or 2QB league, consider adding Pickett pre-emptively. 
  27. Ryan Tannehill vs. LV
  28. Cooper Rush @NYG
  29. Matt Ryan vs. KC — The Colts just don’t have anyone to throw to if Michael Pittman Jr. isn’t healthy. Ryan isn’t going to be worth streaming unless he has his No. 1 option available. 
  30. Jacoby Brissett vs. PIT
  31. Geno Smith vs. ATL
  32. Davis Mills @CHI

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