The NFL’s league chief in landing passes is 44 years outdated. The league chief in landing catches is 32.
No, we’re not speaking a few native leisure league. That is the NFL, the place the Tom Brady-to-Rob Gronkowski mixture seemingly has altered the time-space continuum. But when anybody have been in a position to generate 1.21 gigawatts and make a flux capacitor work, it could be Gronk, proper?
Brady (9 TD passes), Gronk (4 TD receptions) and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) determine to face their stiffest problem of the younger season on Sunday after they journey to fulfill the Los Angeles Rams (2-0) at SoFi Stadium.
Can Gronk stick with it? How will the Rams divvy up carries of their backfield? These are simply a few the questions our 32 NFL Nation reporters will sort out this week, as requested by ESPN fantasy sports activities researcher Kyle Soppe.
The slate features a few key division matchups, too, such because the Indianapolis Colts on the Tennessee Titans, the Philadelphia Eagles on the Dallas Cowboys, and the Los Angeles Chargers on the Kansas City Chiefs. The winners will set up themselves because the possible division favorites.
The time has come for the questions and solutions for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season. Let’s go!
I am undecided I’d confer with it as a hunch after two video games. Allen had eight dashing touchdowns final 12 months and will nonetheless meet that mark. Whereas he signed a giant contract this offseason, and the Payments have loads of causes to wish to restrict his hits, Allen is definitely averaging seven dashing makes an attempt per recreation, greater than final 12 months (6.4). Singletary and Moss might be key components of the staff’s dashing assault, however Allen remains to be a menace to attain along with his legs. — Alaina Getzenberg
Who will lead this staff in targets when all is alleged and completed?
The Dolphins quarterbacks’ 2.6-second common time to throw is the eighth-quickest within the league, and so they’ve been pressured on a league-high 41.8% of dropbacks. The purpose is — whether or not it is Jacoby Brissett or Tua Tagovailoa — whoever is throwing passes for Miami should make fast passes, and that makes Jaylen Waddle the prime candidate right here. He is second to DeVante Parker in targets by means of two video games however has been much more environment friendly along with his alternatives (10-of-13 vs 9-of-16). — Marcel Louis-Jacques
May James White end the season with the staff lead in receptions?
Sure! One want solely have a look at the 2018 season for affirmation that it is attainable, as White’s 87 catches led the Patriots that 12 months (Julian Edelman was subsequent with 74). Take into account that Mac Jones has already thrown seven checkdowns to working backs, the second most within the NFL behind the Titans’ Ryan Tannehill, in accordance with ESPN Route Metrics/NFL Subsequent Gen Stats. — Mike Reiss
Braxton Berrios now has 18 targets this season: Is the quantity right here to remain?
It is determined by Jamison Crowder (groin), who possible will miss his third straight recreation. When Crowder is out, Berrios will get a lot of the snaps within the slot. He is turning into an beneath choice for Zach Wilson, but it surely’s too quickly to label Berrios a long-term fantasy choice. He is on a week-to-week foundation proper now. — Wealthy Cimini
Can we depend on Marquise Brown to maintain the eight targets per recreation he is averaging by means of two weeks?
It actually is determined by whether or not defenses proceed to deal with taking away tight finish Mark Andrews, which leaves Brown open on slants and permits him to get behind the protection. However this is not only a two-game outburst by Brown. His manufacturing elevated towards the top of final season, and he is trying like a respectable No. 1 receiver. Will probably be fascinating to see how a lot his targets might be affected when first-round choose Rashod Bateman quickly will get activated off injured reserve. — Jamison Hensley
No. If something, Chase supplies the best upside of any Bengals vast receiver. Chase leads the remainder of the staff in air yards per goal by such a large margin that he is confirmed to be a big-play menace. — Ben Child
Oh boy. Due to the best way Baker Mayfield spreads the ball round out of a run-first offense, this is not straightforward to reply. However I will go together with one of many tight ends — both Austin Hooper or David Njoku, who’re tied for the staff lead with eight targets apiece. From a fantasy perspective, whereas they do considerably cancel one another out, no less than they’re constant choices for Mayfield. That mentioned, of the 2, I would lean Njoku. He has been getting downfield extra, whereas Hooper has been extra of a short-yardage choice. — Jake Trotter
Discipline Yates and Daniel Dopp element why they see Austin Hooper as the one Browns participant to probably make a fantasy beginning lineup apart from Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
What are your impressions of Najee Harris by means of two profession video games?
As a result of the offensive line has struggled a lot, it is exhausting to get a superb learn on Harris’ working potential by means of two video games. Within the small bursts the place he has gotten the ball in house, he has proven flashes of the talent set that made the Steelers take him within the first spherical — just like the violent stiff-arm to shake Johnathan Abram vs. the Raiders. Proper now, Harris figures to be best within the passing recreation. He cannot get any room to run behind the road, however as a pass-catcher, he could make issues occur. The 5 catches on 5 targets for 43 yards — together with a 25-yard landing — is an efficient blueprint for his utilization till the offensive line can gel sufficient for a productive run recreation. — Brooke Pryor
Miller, who was lively for the primary time this season on Thursday, had a stable debut for Houston, catching 4 passes for 20 yards and a landing. Whereas he may need a bigger position with Collins on injured reserve, the larger cause he was lively in Week Three was that Danny Amendola was inactive after injuring his thigh towards the Browns. Amendola now has 10 days to organize for Buffalo, and if he is lively, I do not count on Miller to have extra of a constant position. — Sarah Barshop
Which model of Michael Pittman Jr.’s utilization is nearer to what we are able to count on the remainder of the best way: Week 1 (Four of 35 targets) or Week 2 (12 of 34)?
The Pittman in recreation two (Eight catches, 123 yards) is the current and future model of that participant for the Colts. There isn’t any doubt that Pittman is the Colts No. 1 receiver no matter whether or not TY Hilton is enjoying. The Colts will lean on Pittman much more if they do not have quarterback Carson Wentz towards the Titans. — Mike Wells
Ought to we be contemplating Marvin Jones Jr. the clear-cut WR1 on this offense?
Completely. He was Lawrence’s favourite goal all through OTAs and coaching camp, and that has continued within the first two video games. He leads the Jaguars with 20 targets and 11 catches. So long as he stays wholesome, he’ll proceed to get probably the most targets. — Michael DiRocco
Are you studying into the gradual/inefficient begin to the season for A.J. Brown?
No. Brown remains to be one among Ryan Tannehill‘s favourite targets. He had a number of drops final week towards towards the Seahawks and mentioned it was a results of letting the primary drop roll over into extra. Because the play-action passing recreation continues to take kind, Brown will get extra alternatives to make performs like he has completed prior to now. Mike Vrabel says he has excessive expectations for all gamers, however Brown particularly. — Turron Davenport
Sure, so long as Sutton feels adequate to maintain the snap depend excessive as effectively. After two video games he leads the staff’s receivers in enjoying time with 78.5% of the offense’s snaps as effectively. He has rapidly developed on-field chemistry with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, and the Broncos have been efficient shifting him across the formation to present him some room to work. — Jeff Legwold
Clyde Edwards-Helaire would not have a 10-yard carry this season. Do you assume the Chiefs may abandon the run all collectively, or will they work to get him going within the coming weeks?
When Andy Reid is asking the performs, it is by no means ridiculous to assume the Chiefs may throw on each down. However the Chiefs do not appear prepared to surrender on their working recreation, which they imagine will enhance as their rebuilt offensive line continues to work collectively. That is notably true towards the Chargers, who’re permitting a beneficiant 5.6 yards per carry up to now. Edwards-Helaire is averaging simply 3.Three yards per rush on 27 carries in two video games. — Adam Teicher
Is that this a brand new Derek Carr/offense we’re seeing, or only a two-game flash within the pan?
That is the true deal. Or no less than, with Carr now in his fourth season in Jon Gruden’s system, it higher be, proper? Carr has by no means seemed so comfy in an offense — granted he is solely been in the identical playcaller’s scheme in consecutive seasons one different time — and it’s paying off, as his 817 passing yards lead the league. Small pattern dimension, positive, however he’s trying extra like Wealthy Gannon, circa 2001 below Gruden, than Carr circa 2016 below then-OC Invoice Musgrave. — Paul Gutierrez
Discipline Yates and Matthew Berry focus on Derek Carr’s stellar begin to the season and whether or not fantasy managers ought to contemplate beginning him.
Are you shopping for the elevated versatility of Mike Williams (when it comes to depth of goal) as sustainable?
He was focused 10 occasions on Sunday vs. the Cowboys and had a 31-yard reception worn out by (what else) penalty. He had seven receptions for 91 yards, and Justin Herbert trusts him. “He actually stepped up and is aware of what he is doing,” coach Brandon Staley mentioned. “This man exhibits up on recreation day. We have been in a position to function him inside the plan.” — Shelley Smith
Is that this now a backfield committee, or do you continue to view Ezekiel Elliott because the clear function again?
Elliott remains to be RB1 however the disparity in carries won’t be as nice because it was in Tony Pollard‘s first two seasons, when Elliott had 545 carries and Pollard had 187. This might be extra just like the Mark Ingram II–Alvin Kamara mixture in New Orleans early on in Kamara’s profession. It may not be probably the most cost-effective method contemplating Elliott’s wage, however Pollard has confirmed he could make performs. Will probably be fascinating to see how issues change when Michael Gallup returns from a calf pressure as a result of Pollard can line up as a receiver with Elliott additionally on the sector. — Todd Archer
Daniel Dopp particulars how Tony Pollard would not fairly get the quantity to begin however is the explanation why Ezekiel Elliott’s fantasy rating has lowered.
They’re a part of the playbook. And they need to be. Jones’ legs are a weapon the Giants wish to use. He has averaged 6.6 yards per carry in his profession. It is a bonus that they ease the strain on Barkley. So long as they’re working, the Giants are going to make use of the designed runs to Jones. Solely they may not all the time have the identical success as they did towards Washington. — Jordan Raanan
Two video games, two very completely different recreation plans. Do you count on the cautious Jalen Hurts from Week 1 or the risk-taking model from Week 2 to be the norm shifting ahead?
I am anticipating a roller-coaster experience with Hurts within the passing recreation, stuffed with loads of highs and lows. The method will change barely every week primarily based on the matchups, however I believe we’ll see the Week 1 model of Hurts extra usually. The offense is at its greatest when Hurts is firing fast, short-to-intermediate passes, permitting the playmakers to create in house. Coach Nick Sirianni strayed too removed from that Sunday towards the 49ers with quite a few designed shot performs. Hurts does have a fairly good deep ball and these receivers can burn, however Hurts in all probability might be extra selective shifting ahead. — Tim McManus
Perhaps, however I understand how a lot they love McKissic on this position so it is sensible to maintain utilizing him. Offensive coordinator Scott Turner considers McKissic one of many smartest gamers he has coached, so he trusts him implicitly in these conditions. McKissic confirmed his worth towards the Giants; he is a terrific route runner out of the backfield, and has good arms and quickness. I believe the aim could be to make use of Gibson in an elevated position, however extra so throughout early-down conditions to increase the playbook — not in two-minute conditions or on third downs. — John Keim
Presumably. Mooney is a deep menace, and Fields throws the perfect deep ball on the staff. The Bears haven’t stretched the sector a lot over the primary two video games, however Fields adjustments the equation. Mooney has been productive, however the Bears need explosive performs from the second-year receiver. My greatest guess is that Fields helps in that division. — Jeff Dickerson
Nothing has modified. Swift will proceed to get the sting on touches shifting ahead regardless of the staff persevering with to restrict his workload in practices whereas managing his groin damage. Though Williams really leads the staff in complete dashing yards by means of two weeks, with 79 to Swift’s 76, the Georgia product had the higher total recreation in Week 2 at Inexperienced Bay, pairing eight rushes for 37 yards with 4 receptions for 41 yards. He’s RB1 within the Lions’ backfield for a cause. — Eric Woodyard
Will the Packers increase Robert Tonyan‘s position within the cross recreation, or is his “low quantity, crimson zone” job description right here to remain?
He’ll get extra targets, however the very first thing the Packers have to do is get their play depend up. They ran solely 52 performs within the opener towards the Saints and 61 towards the Lions. Coach Matt LaFleur would love that to be effectively into the 70s. Which means changing extra third downs. By means of two video games, the Packers’ 31.6% conversion fee ranks 29th within the league. — Rob Demovsky
Matthew Berry and Discipline Yates query whether or not fantasy managers can depend on Robert Tonyan week-to-week.
Are the three-WR units right here to remain, conserving K.J. Osborn viable within the quantity division?
Sure. The Vikings are counting on their tight ends to assist regularly in cross safety and run blocking, though they need to in all probability get greater than 12 snaps from Chris Herndon contemplating they gave up a fourth-round choose to commerce for him. That issue has paved the best way for extra three-receiver units with Osborn firmly within the WR3 position. His constant manufacturing has saved him forward of Dede Westbrook on the depth chart, and if he continues to play the best way he did vs. Cincinnati and Arizona, the targets will proceed to return his approach. — Courtney Cronin
Do you assume we are able to depend on 10-plus touches for Cordarrelle Patterson shifting ahead?
Most likely round that quantity, yeah. Some weeks will rely upon recreation conditions — for example, if Atlanta is forward late it’d rely extra on Mike Davis — however Patterson is a do-multiple-things choice Arthur Smith can line up virtually anyplace. So they will discover methods to get him concerned as a rusher and a receiver. The Falcons carry solely two backs on the roster (three in case you depend fullback Keith Smith), so so long as he is wholesome, he will have a good quantity of labor every week. — Michael Rothstein
Most definitely sure on Hubbard, however remember Royce Freeman. Whereas Hubbard will begin, I can see a situation by which the duties are cut up with Freeman, who due to his expertise could also be a greater blocker. Regardless, the 3-Zero Panthers appear higher geared up to be with out McCaffrey than final season. — David Newton
Was the Marquez Callaway preseason breakout extra smoke than hearth?
Clearly sure, contemplating he has simply three catches for 22 yards. However he has additionally been the sufferer of two extraordinarily uncommon recreation scripts (a 38-Three win over Inexperienced Bay the place the Saints barely needed to throw and a 26-7 loss at Carolina the place your entire offense gained a complete of 128 yards whereas affected by safety points). Callaway remains to be New Orleans’ WR1 till Michael Thomas returns from damage, and he’ll finally have video games that generate extra optimism (simply possibly not this week towards a stingy cross protection at New England). — Mike Triplett
Daniel Dopp breaks down why he thinks it is time to drop Marquez Callaway out of your fantasy staff.
Who will lead this staff in landing receptions by season’s finish?
Rob Gronkowski already has a league-leading 4 by means of two video games. It is attainable that if he stays wholesome — and he did final 12 months, enjoying all 16 common season video games and 4 postseason video games — that he may lead the staff this 12 months. However given his duties as a blocker and the pure ebb and circulate of a season, I believe issues will degree out, and that the chief is extra possible going to be Mike Evans. He had a quiet first week, however this teaching workers feels that is the perfect he has seemed and his best asset is his availability. — Jenna Laine
Did Rondale Moore‘s massive Week 2 (7-114-1) lock him in because the WR2 when it comes to targets shifting ahead?
I have been requested this query lots this week. The factor with Moore is that defenses will attempt to take him away as a receiving goal fairly rapidly due to how a lot he can open the sector for the Cardinals. In flip, that’ll go away DeAndre Hopkins and A.J. Green extra open than normal, so when groups need to return to overlaying these two extra, Inexperienced might be open. It is a vicious cycle for defenses that would actually change each week. Will Moore get his touches this week? Sure. Will they be principally be as a receiver? Most likely not. — Josh Weinfuss
Rams coach Sean McVay has repeatedly endorsed Darrell Henderson Jr. because the lead working again. When each are wholesome — which is not completely possible in Week Three after Henderson suffered a rib cartilage damage towards the Colts, count on Henderson to nonetheless obtain a majority of the carries. Nonetheless, Michel proved in a three-point victory over the Colts, when he got here on in Henderson’s absence, that he’s greater than able to shifting the ball. So, Henderson will get the bulk when he’s wholesome, however look ahead to Michel’s workload to steadily improve. — Lindsey Thiry
Discipline Yates and Matthew Berry react to Darrell Henderson’s damage and whether or not Sony Michel might be a superb waiver choose up.
Was the shortage of working success (38 carries for 117 yards) a product of the matchup or a respectable concern shifting ahead?
It appeared to be extra matchup-related than anything. The Eagles have been aggressive up entrance and paired it with tender protection, which was an invite for the Niners to throw quite a lot of brief passes, particularly screens. That the Niners nonetheless had 38 dashing makes an attempt ought to really be encouraging. And so they will not see many fronts as stout because the Eagles’ shifting ahead. The actual query is who’s going to be accessible at working again this week with Elijah Mitchell (shoulder), JaMycal Hasty (ankle) and Trey Sermon (concussion) all coping with well being points. Mitchell and Sermon have an opportunity to play, however the Niners would possibly once more have somebody new within the combine as accidents mount. — Nick Wagoner
Will the Seahawks proceed to #LetRussCook previous September?
That is determined by your definition of cooking. The Seahawks really rank 18th in dropback fee by means of two weeks at slightly below 62%. That is a lot nearer to the place they have been within the second half of final season, after Pete Carroll reined within the offense, than after they led the league at round 69% over the primary 10 weeks. However they will let Russell Wilson cook dinner in different methods. Amongst them: persevering with to go hurry-up exterior of end-of-half conditions, which provides Wilson freedom to name performs. — Brady Henderson