Last week’s winner of the Underdog Fantasy Battle Royale tournament made do with a more diverse range of games than what we’ve seen from previous winners.
This team, which posted 142.32 points, had just two players from the three most projected games of the week. And quarterback Josh Allen, whose game was the lowest of eight projected totals we looked at, ended up being the overall QB1 of the week with a performance of 37.22 points in Buffalo’s win over the ‘football team.
Last week there were also the fewest two-running back builds we’ve seen among the top 10 teams in the tournament. Only five top 10 teams registered two running backs in Week 3, while nine teams had two RBs in Week 1 and seven teams had two RBs in Week 2.
Overall, 21 of the 30 top 10 teams have consistently sported a two RB build, so it’s interesting that only five teams have such a build in this case.
What’s even more interesting is that the teams that went with a running back all had a different running back in their lineup. Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, Najee Harris, Austin Ekeler and Alvin Kamara were all on the top 10 running back lists. Of those running backs, the best score was Harris, who was the overall RB5 of the week with 21. , 2 fantastic points. Jones was the lowest running back with 16.6 points (RB14).
The second-place team, which missed out on first place by just 0.28 points, had three players of the game between the Chiefs and the Chargers and the Rams against the Buccaneers. They then stacked the 49ers game against Packers with Aaron Jones, Davante Adams and George Kittle.
We know stacking can be a great way to gain an edge on the court if the game you choose to stack is successful. It’s a strategy we should probably consider more seriously in the future, especially in these six-player versions, where one bad play could shatter your roster. A bad stack of play could also shatter your roster, but a good stack of play could make you soar.
Week 3 Variance and Over / Under
- Los Angeles Rams (-6) v Arizona – O / U 55
- Philadelphia (+5.5) vs. Kansas City – O / U 54.5
- Los Angeles Chargers (-3) v Las Vegas – O / U 52.5
- San Francisco (-2.5) v Seattle – O / U 52
- Minnesota (+1) v Cleveland – O / U 51.5
- Dallas (-4.5) vs. Caroline – O / U 50.5
- New England (+5.5) vs. Tampa Bay – O / U 49
- Buffalo (-17.5) vs. Houston – O / U 48
- Atlanta (-1) v Washington – O / U 48
Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams
For the second week in a row, the Rams are left with the highest projected game total (55) in Week 4 against the Cardinals. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is averaging 23.69 points per game and is fifth in the league with 942 passing yards and second in passing touchdowns with nine.
In front of him is quarterback Kyler Murray, third in the league with 1,005 passing yards and seven touchdowns. Murray also has 70 rushing yards under his belt and a rushing touchdown.
This game will be fun if the high score business goes according to plan. Our rankings have Murray projected for 21.2 fantasy points and Stafford projected for 21.0. While we also suggest that Stafford has the game adjusted to the more difficult schedule, the projected totals for these two seem close enough to take Stafford over Murray for reasons of project capital only.
Stafford is likely to come off the board after Murray in these draft, but it’s not unlikely that he’ll equal if not surpass Murray in fantastic points this weekend.
Kirk’s cousins, Minnesota Vikings
It’s very easy to erase Kirk Cousins, for whatever reason.
While I’m not entirely sure why, his piece shouldn’t be. I mentioned it in last week’s article and can’t help but bring it back for Week 4 against the Browns. Cousins has been a very effective fantasy producer this season, averaging 24.14 (QB4) fantasy points while throwing for 918 yards and eight touchdowns without interceptions.
The Vikings are also seventh in the league in pass attempts per game (40.0) and are only 12th in rush attempts per game (27.7). Some of those numbers are likely inflated by a defense that allows 26 points per game and is also the fifth worst in yards against per game (409.7).
Our standings project cousins like QB12 of the week and having the 11th easiest game on the slate.
PREMIUM: Tom brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Without trying to walk too long the narrative street, Tom Brady makes his return to New England in Week 4, with Rob Gronkowski, and also just lost 34-24 to the Rams in Week 3. He is also averaging 28.5 points per game (QB1).
Best fantastic QB in the game so far. Coming out of a loss. In a comeback against his former team he has already led to six Super Bowls. It’s not the most analytical approach, but it’s not hard to imagine Brady going into this game. And the projected match total is still the seventh-highest on the list at 49.
Chuba hubbard, Caroline Panthers
Last week in the Battle Royale, the ninth-place team registered Austin Ekeler and Vikings running back Alexander Mattison.
Mattison then scored a fantastic 20.10 points and rushed 26 times for 112 yards while catching six passes for 59 yards. It’s not often that we’re lucky enough to have a player like this in these tournament drafts, but jumping up when you see a chance to do so could help your team in a tremendous way.
We saw it last season with Mike Davis after the fall of Christian McCaffrey. Davis provided fantastic players with big weeks in McCaffrey’s absence as he managed to post six Best 12 weeks in 2020. We now have a chance to pick up Davis 2020 (at least for a few weeks) in the form of a rookie. Chuba Hubbard.
When McCaffrey left last week’s game against the Texans, Hubbard came in relief and ran 11 times for 52 yards while catching 3 x 5 targets for 27 yards.
It’s impossible to completely replace someone as talented as McCaffrey, but a CMC lite can still be very good at fantasy, and Hubbard has a chance to be. Our ranking projects him as the RB18 of the week with 13.2 PPR, and he appears to have the 10th toughest game of the week.
But Hubbard has the advantage of catching passes and should see a heavy dose of volume as a 4.5-point underdog in a game that is expected to hit 50.5 points.
Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers
It’s funny to think that after a week 1 performance in which Austin Ekeler didn’t see any goals, the world was sent on tilt like this was becoming the new normal.
As of Week 1, Ekeler has seen 15 targets over the past two weeks and posted a 15/113/1 receiving line in the process. He’s also run 35 times for 166 yards and one touchdown this season, and is the overall RB6 in points per game (16.5).
Our ranking projects Ekeler as the overall RB2 of the week with 18.6 points against the Raiders. Ekeler’s game looks to be the sixth easiest on the slate.
Mike williams, Los Angeles Chargers
True to our teams on the West Coast, Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is having a blast to start the season. Williams is WR2 overall in fantastic points per game (22.2) significantly outperforming compatriot receiver Keenan Allen, who averages just 14.1 points per game (WR15).
In three games, Williams is averaging 10.3 targets / gm and has found the end zone in every game this season. He’s averaging 7.33 receptions for 98.33 yards and 1.33 touchdowns per game. He’s had no less than seven receptions in a game this season.
Williams is the WR9 in our standings, behind Allen, and is projected for 14.6 points.
Both receivers are great options against the Raiders this weekend, but Williams deserves the spotlight with his recent performances.
Calvin ridley, Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons and everyone affiliated with them, unnamed Cordarrelle Patterson, have been a huge disappointment this season. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who the editors were picking up at the end of the first / second round of the draft this offseason, averages just 11.2 points per game (WR34) and has a 20/175 receiving line. / 1 during the first three weeks.
Ridley is the WR12 in targets / g (9.7), which would lead you to believe that breakout play could be on the horizon. And week 4 against the soccer team just might be.
Washington’s defense has been a big disappointment this season after entering 2021 with high expectations. The football team is allowing 30.7 points per game and is second in yards against per game at 432.0.
If there was ever a perfect game for Ridley and the Falcons, this weekend could be this one.
Ridley could be strong leverage against a tournament field that could make him wipe out after a slow start, but our ranking projects him as the WR12 overall with fantastic 14.2 points and has the third easiest clash of the weekend.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chefs
The answer seems so obvious, but Travis Kelce stood alone among the tight ends of the elite for the first three weeks of the season after Darren Waller and George Kittle struggled to get out of the gate.
Waller, to his credit, had a great Week 1 against the Ravens when he scored 10/105/1 on 19 targets and finished with a fantastic 21.5 points. But Kittle is yet to find the end zone and Waller hasn’t finished with more than a fantastic 9.0 points in the past two weeks.
Kelce, however, continues to dominate and looks like a must-have borderline player if you can get your hands on him this weekend.
Our ranking projects it to have the 11th easiest game on the slate, and like the overall TE1 (of course) with 16.4 points. Waller is screened as the TE2 with 11.7 points and with the fifth most difficult clash.
Logan thomas, Washington Football team
Washington tight end Logan Thomas got off to a good start to the season with 12 receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns. He’s averaging a fantastic 9.2 points on the season (TE7) and has two fantastic double-digit performances in the first three weeks.
Thomas is screened for a fantastic 9.8 points in Week 4 against the Falcons, as our standings projected him for Game 12 easiest.