If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed a series of tweets I share on a weekly basis regarding player and team defensive performances, all from a fantasy lens. I’m going to be sharing some of that same information with you here.
I use this each week as I am making my own lineup and waiver wire decisions and thought you might find this valuable as well.
Note: The scoring system used for this data is always PPR with four points for passing touchdowns.
All year to date fantasy ranks are based on total points.
Week Three QB1s (top 12 scorers)
Lamar Jackson did it again. For the second straight week, Jackson rushed for over 100 yards and a touchdown and while he didn’t add the 300 passing yards in Week Three, he did throw for over 200 along with four scores. No player is off to a better start than Jackson.
Trevor Lawrence posted the best fantasy performance of his career. While it wasn’t the massive statement game we’ve seen from other quarterbacks, Lawrence’s performance and the entire Jaguars offense is clearly trending up. While other second-year signal callers fall by the wayside, Lawrence is claiming the top spot, just like we always expected.
Year to Date QB1s
We knew that we would see sudden changes to the year-to-date top-12 scorers at this early point in the season and that played out among the quarterbacks. Lawrence and Derek Carr both joined the QB1 ranks after their solid Week Three play, while Joe Flacco and Marcus Mariota unsurprisingly fell off the list. Joe Burrow and Patrick Mahomes were the most significant risers, each up two spots. It is still early, but it seems like a top-three of Jackson, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts is here to stay.
QB1 Games this Season
Most QB1 Games Allowed
We are finally starting to see some trends when it comes to fantasy points allowed, which should make lineup decisions even easier moving forward. The Falcons, Lions and Raiders have each allowed a QB1 performance in all three games this year. In Week Four, the Falcons face Jacoby Brissett, who makes for a solid QB2 spot start in superflex leagues. Although a bit riskier, the same could be said for Geno Smith who gets the Lions this week. Maybe this is the week we get to see Russ cook as the Broncos and Russell Wilson face the league’s only 0-3 team in Las Vegas.
There is still nearly one-third of the league that hasn’t given up a QB1 game yet, making it difficult to narrow the matchup scenarios. The Bills, 49ers and Broncos have allowed the fewest fantasy points to the quarterback position but have also played relatively easy competition at the position. The Buccaneers look like the strong defense we expected and may have to carry the team to any success they have this year. I’d avoid the Bucs defense when possible, meaning this could be a slow week for Patrick Mahomes.
Week Three RB1s (top 12 scorers)
When Bears starter David Montgomery left the team’s Week Three game with an injury, backup Khalil Herbert took over. And I mean took over. Herbert finished with 157 rushing yards, two scores and over 30 fantasy points. This is a better stat line than Montgomery has ever posted in any game in his career. There were some preseason rumors that this Bears backfield could move closer to a committee and this might be the beginning of that. Jamaal Williams also took advantage of an injury as his teammate D’Andre Swift continues to deal with injuries that could force him to miss time. Devin Singletary and Derrick Henry both crack the RB1 list for the first time this year, thanks to their work in the passing game. That’s right, both players were highly involved in their teams’ passing offense resulting in some PPR goodness they are not used to collecting.
Year to Date RB1s
James Robinson continues to impress and surprise. His third straight RB1 game to start the season helped to move him up to the overall RB3 through three weeks. Williams and Herbert are season-long RB1s, for now, while Joe Mixon, Miles Sanders and Kareem Hunt fell from the top-12 ranks.
RB1 Games this Season
Most RB1 Games Allowed
Three weeks, Three RB1 games allowed by the Steelers. This is the week to use both Michael Carter and Breece Hall in your lineups. The Lions and Texans are actually allowing the most fantasy points to the position, which is good news for Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker (vs Detroit) and Austin Ekeler (vs Houston.) This is an anomaly for the Lions, who have yet to allow an RB1 game despite giving up so much fantasy production.
A quintet of teams has yet to permit an RB1 game. While some of those are due to easier schedules to begin the season, I am still taking notice. In Week Four, these teams face off against: Nick Chubb/Hunt (vs Atlanta), Cordarrelle Patterson (vs Cleveland), Josh Jacobs (vs Denver), Detroit (vs Walker/Penny), Jeff Wilson (vs LA Rams) and Clyde Edwards-Helaire (vs Tampa Bay).
Week Three WR1s (top 12 scorers)
It was a bit of a disastrous week at the receiver position with surprising performances from depth receivers and duds from some of the league’s best players. That resulted in WR1 games for fill-ins Mack Hollins, Russell Gage, Romeo Doubs and DeVante Parker. Each saw a playing time boost as a result of a teammate being out of the lineup and each one stepped up. The story from a dynasty perspective is Chris Olave. The rookie is being targeted early, often and far down the field. With veterans Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry already banged up, Olave could see his opportunity grow even more.
Year to Date WR1s
Tyreek Hill came down from his Week Two high and dropped a couple of spots, but remains a top-five receiver on the short season. Justin Jefferson posted his second straight dud and dropped down to the WR10 spot. Even worse, Ja’Marr Chase, Garrett Wilson and Thomas fell out of the WR1 group completely. They were replaced by newcomers Amari Cooper, AJ Brown and Marquise Brown.
WR1 Games this Season
Most WR1 Games Allowed
Four teams stand out as targets when making Week Four lineup decisions at the wide receiver spot. The Ravens, Rams, Jets and Steelers have allowed the most WR1 games so far, three each. This week, Baltimore is faced with slowing down Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis with a banged-up secondary. Good luck! The Rams visit Deebo Samuel and the 49ers while the Jets and Steelers face off. With two below-average teams facing off, the receiver production could be big here. Diontae Johnson is an obvious weekly starter but this is a good time to risk it with Chase Claypool, Elijah Moore and the rookie Wilson.
Again, likely due to matchups, the Broncos, 49ers and Seahawks have allowed the fewest points to the receiver position, each limiting opposing receiving units to under 28 fantasy points per game. This week, the Broncos face Davante Adams and the Raiders, the Niners battle Cooper Kupp and the Rams while the Seahawks travel to Detroit to meet up with Amon-Ra St. Brown and company. This will be the week to find out if these defenses are for real.
Week Three TE1s (top 12 scorers)
With his impressive start to the season, Mark Andrews is challenging Kyle Pitts for the dynasty TE1 spot. In a recent poll I conducted on Twitter, nearly 55% of the 1,000+ respondents chose the Ravens star over Pitts. The silver lining for the Falcons second-year star is he finally produced a TE1 performance of his own after a very slow start. As always, the tight end positon is a mess after Andrews and Travis Kelce. It remains to be seen if George Kittle and Darren Waller deserve to be in this group.
Year to Date TE1s
Waller, Gerald Everett and Pat Freiermuth were Week Three fallers as Tyler Conklin moved up to the TE3 spot thanks to his consistent, but still underwhelming, play. David Njoku, Will Dissly and TJ Hockenson moved into the TE1 group, replacing OJ Howard, Logan Thomas and Evan Engram.
TE1 Games this Season
Most TE1 Games Allowed
The Falcons, Colts, Chiefs and Raiders have struggled against tight ends early in the season. This week, that means potential better-than-expected performances for Njoku (vs Atlanta), Austin Hooper (vs Indianapolis), Cameron Brate (vs Kansas City) and Albert Okwuegbunam (vs Las Vegas).
The 49ers (vs Tyler Higbee), Saints (vs Irv Smith Jr), Rams (vs Kittle) and Bills (vs Andrews) are allowing the fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends. These matchups are not enough to move me off any of these players this week given the ugly tight end landscape.
Finally, here is the chart summarizing how teams have fared against each position. I’ve also included the schedule for this week for reference.
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