Fantasy Football: Week 3 position previews, ‘Grade The Trade’ mailbag, and Devonta Freeman signing


Last week in the Fantasy Football Today newsletter, I said it was “probably too early to make a drastic decision” about your Fantasy team. Now, you might not have a choice. Losing Saquon Barkley is a season-altering outcome, and losing Christian McCaffrey could put you in a hole you can’t climb out of, too. So, it might be time to do something drastic. Like swinging a big trade.

We’ve got plenty of trade scenarios to walk through today with the help of Dave Richard’s trade values chart, because it’s all about finding the best move to get you back on the right track. But first, catch up on the biggest news from around the NFL and get ready for Week 3 with Heath Cummings’ previews for every position, featuring his breakdown for QB, RB, WR and TE, his projections, and some key numbers and matchups to know about for each.

And remember, if you want to get one of your lineup or trade questions answered, send an email to Chris.Towers@CBSInteractive.com with the subject line “#AskFFT” or head over to Twitter and leave us a question with “#AskFFT.” We want to help you win in Week 3 and beyond no matter what you’re facing. That’s what we’re here for. 

Here’s what we’re looking at in today’s newsletter, as well as everything else you need to get ready for Week 3:

📰The Big News: Giants sign Devonta Freeman

Rams running back Darrell Henderson celebrates a score in Week 2 against the Eagles. 
USA TODAY Sports

Wednesday will be the biggest news day of this week, as teams officially begin their prep for this week’s games and we find out more about the potential status of all of those injured stars. We’ve got updates on most of the injuries in our position previews below for now, but here’s the big news you need to know from Tuesday:

The Giants signed Devonta Freeman to a one-year deal

This seemed inevitable all day Monday, so it was no surprise when the deal was finally announced. Freeman’s is a familiar name to Fantasy players going back to his back-to-back double-digit touchdown games in 2015 and 2016. But he had just 724 rushing yards and 433 receiving yards with six touchdowns over his final 16 games with the Falcons. The 28-year-old now joins a Giants offense that was having trouble getting the most out of Barkley, and he’ll do so without the benefit of a training camp to get up to speed.

Freeman could end up being a must-start Fantasy option, but I think the more likely scenario is he’s just a decent mid- to low-end RB2 for Fantasy. If the Giants use him as both a runner and pass catcher, the volume alone should make him a viable starter, but the first two weeks of the season should be a lesson to us all — jumping into NFL action without proper preparation heightens injury risk, and Freeman will be joining the Giants cold. He’ll be at elevated risk of injury in his first few games, so there’s risk in addition to what is probably a pretty low ceiling. 

None of that is to say you made a mistake in adding Freeman, or that he shouldn’t be added if he’s available anywhere today. But it does mean you shouldn’t view him as a savior, despite the big name. And don’t forget about Dion Lewis and Wayne Gallman just because the Giants signed Freeman. 

Davante Adams is a question mark for Week 3

Adams was spotting on the sidelines with his helmet in the second half Sunday, so it seemed like he could have gone back in, and we thought we got confirmation of that Monday. However, NFL Networks’ Tom Pelissero reported Monday morning that Adams’ status for Week 3 has yet to be determined. The injury is considered minor, but the Packers could opt to play it safe with Adams given their 2-0 record — and the Saints offensive question marks. If Adams plays, you start him, of course. But we’ll have to watch this one over the next few days to make sure he will, in fact, play.

TyroThed Taylor is unlikely to play in Week 3 

It turns out Taylor’s issue last weekend was a punctured lung he suffered while receiving an injection for a pain killer in his chest. Adam Schefter reports that doctors have advised Taylor not to play “indefinitely” as a result, which means Justin Herbert will start his second game in a row against the Chargers. Anthony Lynn has maintained that Taylor is the starter when healthy, but who knows how long it will be until he is. Herbert looked great in his first start, though it was against a defense gearing up to face a very different type of quarterback, so it will be interesting to see what Herbert looks like with a week for a defense to prepare against him. The good news is, that defense is Carolina’s so he shouldn’t struggle too much. Herbert raises the overall ceiling for this offense, especially the running backs, because Taylor’s scrambling ability meant Austin Ekeler had just one target in Week 1. Ekeler and Joshua Kelley are both starting options for Fantasy, while Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry should be in your lineups, too. I want to see Herbert establish a connection with Mike Williams before trusting him, but he’s not a bad high-upside flex option if you need one.  

🔎Week 3 Position Previews: QBRBWRTE

Saquon Barkley had to be helped off the field Sunday after suffering a knee injury, and the Giants reportedly fear the worst.
USA Today Sports

Heath Cummings dives deep into the numbers to come up with his previews for each position every week. Here’s what you need to know for Week 3:

QB Preview

The injury bug hit quarterback too, but luckily those were fairly easily avoidable issues for Fantasy players. The toughest decisions here are going to revolve around how to handle slow starters like Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Deshaun Watson. Watson’s struggles can be explained away at least partially by the tough schedule to open the season, though he wasn’t exactly the type of player we worried about matchups with in the DeAndre Hopkins era. I’m still starting him against the Steelers, but you can’t be super confident about it. 

  • Injuries: Jimmy Garoppolo — Ankle (could play in Week 3), Drew Lock — Shoulder (out at least two weeks, likely at least four)
  • Matchup that matters: Matthew Stafford @ ARI — The Cardinals have actually allowed just 34 Fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks through two games, but they’ve also played the 49ers and Washington, not exactly two teams you expect to light it up through the air. This could be a much-improved offense, but the expectation should still be that this is a matchup you can exploit, and with Kenny Golladay expected back, Stafford has a good shot. 

Consensus expert top 12

  1. Kyler Murray QB | ARI
  2. Lamar Jackson QB | BAL
  3. Josh Allen QB | BUF
  4. Cam Newton QB | NE
  5. Russell Wilson QB | SEA
  6. Patrick Mahomes QB | KC
  7. Dak Prescott QB | DAL
  8. Matt Ryan QB | ATL
  9. Gardner Minshew QB | JAC
  10. Aaron Rodgers QB | GB
  11. Ben Roethlisberger QB | PIT
  12. Tom Brady QB | TB

RB Preview

How you feel about your running backs right now probably depends a lot on how Tuesday night’s waiver run went. If you missed out on Mike Davis, Darrell Henderson, Jerick McKinnon or Devonta Freeman, you’re probably starting to panic. What I would suggest before you do is go check and make sure Myles Gaskin didn’t slip through the cracks in your league. If he’s not there, see if Gallman is. If Gallman isn’t, try Jeff Wilson, who may actually be the top back for the 49ers this week — I’m not 100% sure Jerick McKinnon is ready for a full-time role despite his explosive plays the last few weeks. 

  • Injuries: Christian McCaffrey — Ankle, Raheem Mostert — Knee (in doubt for Week 3), Tevin Coleman — Knee (likely out multiple weeks), Cam Akers — Ribs (day to day), Malcolm Brown — Finger (expected to play)
  • Matchup that matters: Jonathan Taylor vs. NYJ — Taylor had his breakout game in Week 2, and he’s going to keep on rolling through this matchup. He probably won’t see another 20 touches in the first half like he did in his first game as a starter, but he’s a pretty good bet to get there by the time it’s all said and done. 

Consensus expert top 12

  1. Alvin Kamara RB | NO
  2. Ezekiel Elliott RB | DAL
  3. Aaron Jones RB | GB
  4. Miles Sanders RB | PHI
  5. Jonathan Taylor RB | IND
  6. Chris Carson RB | SEA
  7. Austin Ekeler RB | LAC
  8. Kenyan Drake RB | ARI
  9. Josh Jacobs RB | LV
  10. Derrick Henry RB | TEN
  11. Dalvin Cook RB | MIN
  12. Clyde Edwards-Helaire RB | KC

WR Preview

Injuries aren’t as big a deal at wide receiver as at running back, but that doesn’t mean wide receiver is without questions. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin may be playing in a much worse offense for Fantasy production than expected; JuJu Smith-Schuster may be the No. 2 receiver on his own team. Adam Thielen, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Odell Beckham … There’s no shortage of questions here, and that’s without even getting into the second- or third-tier guys who were supposed to fill out your lineup like T.Y. Hilton, D.J. Chark, A.J. Green, Jarvis Landry, Michael Gallup … Sorry, I’m rambling. You get the point. 

  • Injuries: Davante Adams — Hamstring, Courtland Sutton — Knee (out for year), Parris Campbell — Knee (out indefinitely), Sammy Watkins — Head (said he was healthy on Twitter), Sterling Shepard — Toe (could miss several weeks), D.J. Chark — Chest; Chris Godwin — Concussion (cleared to play), Kenny Golladay — Hamstring (expected to return) 
  • Matchup that matters: DeVante Parker @ JAC — Matchups haven’t mattered for Parker, who has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL since Week 7 last season. But he should enjoy an especially easy time against the Jaguars on Thursday after facing off against the Patriots and Bills to open the season. 

Consensus expert top 12

  1. DeAndre Hopkins WR | ARI
  2. Davante Adams WR | GB
  3. Julio Jones WR | ATL
  4. Calvin Ridley WR | ATL
  5. Chris Godwin WR | TB
  6. Amari Cooper WR | DAL
  7. Mike Evans WR | TB
  8. Terry McLaurin WR | WAS
  9. Stefon Diggs WR | BUF
  10. Tyreek Hill WR | KC
  11. JuJu Smith-Schuster WR | PIT
  12. Allen Robinson WR | CHI

TE Preview

Maybe this really is the year tight end is deep enough for everyone in your league to have someone they feel good about starting. Looking at the consensus rankings, I would be fine with any of the top 12, and that doesn’t even include Jordan Reed, Dallas Goedert, Mo Alie-Cox, T.J. Hockenson, Logan Thomas, Dalton Schultz … I’m rambling again. Once again, you get the point.  

  • Injuries: George Kittle — Knee (could return this week), Dawson Knox — Concussion
  • Matchup that matters: Jonnu Smith @ MIN — The Vikings only gave up one catch to tight ends in Week 1, but they got torched by everyone else on that Packers defense. In Week 2, Mo Alie-Cox broke off big play after big play. This defense looks terrible and Smith’s downfield role and after-the-catch playmaking skills make for a potent combination. 

Consensus expert top 12

  1. Travis Kelce TE | KC
  2. Darren Waller TE | LV
  3. Mark Andrews TE | BAL
  4. Hunter Henry TE | LAC
  5. Zach Ertz TE | PHI
  6. Noah Fant TE | DEN
  7. Mike Gesicki TE | MIA
  8. Jonnu Smith TE | TEN
  9. Evan Engram TE | NYG
  10. Jared Cook TE | NO
  11. Tyler Higbee TE | LAR
  12. Hayden Hurst TE | ATL

📫#AskFFT ‘Grade The Trade’ Mailbag

Drew Brees had a tough go of things in Week 2 against the Raiders, his first game without wide receiver Michael Thomas.
IMAGN/USATSI

If you’re going to make trades right now, the key is targeting buy-low options, and you should check out Dave Richard’s trade value chart to make sure you’re not overpaying. 

If you managed to start out 2-0 with either McCaffrey or Barkley, going out and getting Michael Thomas at a discount is the closest you’re going to be able to come to replacing either. Otherwise, while you’d love to be able to get someone like Derrick Henry or Joe Mixonwho are off to slow starts, you’ll probably still have to pay full price or something close to it. 

Your best bet is looking for lower-end options Todd Gurley, Mark Ingram or Devin Singletary who might not have league-winning upside, but who should produce better than they have so far and won’t cost you much. 

And if you’re looking for a non-RB buy-low option, here’s my favorite one: DeVante Parker. He had 16.3 PPR points in Week 2 against the Bills, after having 8.7 in one half of football against the Patriots. Dating back to Week 7 of last season, Parker has at least 15 PPR points in nine of 13 games, and he’s had at least 11.9 in 11 of 13; the two where he fell short were both games he left with injuries. Parker sure looks like a must-start Fantasy option, and he probably isn’t being valued like one. Take advantage. 

Now, here are some of your trade questions. 

  • Jasin: I give up: Kyler Murray, Chris Godwin — I get: Aaron Jones. I lost Barkley, but still have Miles Sanders, Ronald Jones, J.K. Dobbins, Chase Edmonds, and have Ben Roethlisberger and Gardner Minshew at QB. 

You’ve definitely got to trade from your QB depth, so that’s the right perspective to take. Murray is the best of your QBs, for sure, but the gap between him and Minshew may not be that big over the next month, given Minshew’s schedule. I’m fine with this move, assuming I have WR depth.

  • Jay: I give up: Terry McLaurin and Joshua Kelley — I get: Kenyan Drake and A.J. Brown

Once Brown gets healthy, I think there’s a pretty good chance you have the two best players in this deal, though it’s very close between Brown and McLaurin. That’s enough for me to pull the trigger, even with Drake’s somewhat underwhelming start to the season. He has 40 touches in two games, so the points will come.

  • Aaron: I give up: Josh Allen, Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Kareem Hunt — I get: Lamar Jackson, DeAndre Hopkins, Kenyan Drake and a 2021 first-round pick

You’re getting a QB upgrade, but you’re probably losing in terms of 2020 value here, unless you just don’t have a lineup spot for Hunt. Of course, there’s always a lineup spot open for an RB eventually. If you’re trying to win in 2020, this probably makes it at least a little harder for you.

  • Frank: I give up: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Deshaun Watson, and Mark Ingram — I get: Christian McCaffrey, Kyler Murray, and James Robinson

I don’t love this trade, but I think I like it. At the very least, it’s a gutsy move, and you need to have guts to win a championship. If you’ve got running back depth and think you can tread water until McCaffrey is back, this kind of move could make you a force in the second half of the season. You’re certainly not playing for fourth place here.

  • Trevor: I give up: Miles Sanders — I get: Tyreek Hill

I was taking Sanders ahead of Hill before the injury in training camp, and I’ve seen nothing to suggest my view should have changed much. That means I wouldn’t do this trade.

Prescott is a clear upgrade on Wentz at this point, while Waller and Ertz is probably something close to a wash. Ruggs is, in my eyes, just a bench WR who I’ll only want to start if I’m desperate for a boom week, so it comes down to whether you’ve got a suitable replacement RB. If you had Jonathan Taylor or James Robinson on your bench to open the season, it makes it a lot easier to make this move.

  • Joshua: I’m in desperate need of RB after having McCaffrey go down and my best backs are Joshua Kelley and Cam Akers — woof. I have Russell Wilson as my starting QB. Should I trade Josh Allen and Odell Beckham for James Connor? Or should I hold out for more because Allen is on fire?

I don’t mind the trade as is, but yeah, I would try to push for a secondary piece given how well Allen is playing. He won’t keep this up, so if it comes down to it, make the move. But see if you can get an end-of-bench lotto ticket like Mike Williams or even a slow starter like A.J. Green or T.Y. Hilton





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