As the data points of a new season build, identifying early trends and regression value points is key. By position, here are the trends and regression trends to know in advance of Week 3:
Derek Carr: The good news is Carr found his stride in Week 2 and Miami in Week 3 is an exploitable matchup for yards-after-catch opportunities for Amari Cooper and Jared Cook. The Oakland run game should struggle and provide little balance to the offense. Carr is also a regression candidate with a single passing touchdown over 72 pass attempts with an early-season touchdown rate of 1.4%, which is a third of his career rate to-date.
Matt Ryan: The Falcons are a different team at home as opposed to on the road. Week 3 is a divisional matchup, in Atlanta, against the Saints. Also, Ryan's touchdown rate is off to a slow start at 2.8% when his career mark is 4.6%. The matchup also points to a struggle for Atlanta's run game this week. Ryan is also at home in Week 4 against the Bengals.
Kareem Hunt: Through two games, the Chiefs offense has distributed production all around the skill positions. However, Hunt is the notable option without a big showing yet with 35 touches in two games sans big plays or touchdowns. Week 3 at home against San Francisco offers an optimal chance to get the squeaky wheel in Kansas City's attack some grease.
Jay Ajayi: The standout negative regression candidate of the running back position is Ajayi. The Eagles have used Ajayi sparingly with snaps and used Ajayi near goal line to the tune of three touchdowns on a mere 22 carries on the season. In addition to his injury status and long-term concerns health-wise, Ajayi is a 'pray for a touchdown' type fantasy play without a strong snap share in a crowded backfield.
Julio Jones: Jones is coming off a down Week 2 where the rest of the Falcons offense saw a rebound from their non-showing in Week 1 against the Eagles. The Saints are a suspect coverage unit and Jones is already 15 catches into a 2018 touchdown-less streak. While his career 7% touchdown rate is lackluster for the typical stud receiver, Jones is already behind by a score through two games with an optimal matchup coming in Week 3.
Chris Godwin: From both a regression and dynasty value sense, Godwin is overrated at present. Tampa Bay's passing game is white hot and Godwin has benefitted with a 25% touchdown rate on a mere 10 targets. Godwin is fighting for the No.3 role in the offense behind Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, alongside O.J. Howard. Big picture, Godwin is at best the No.2 option and is being traded for a future Round 1 equivalent. Use Godwin as a stepping stone to a more stable core asset with example executed deals like:
- Godwin, Courtland Sutton for Brandin Cooks
- Godwin, Michael Gallup for Davante Adams
- Godwin, Lamar Miller for Rob Gronkowski, Chris Thompson
David Njoku: The second-year tight end has a quizzical stat line through two games with 14 targets (fifth-most at the position) and only 33 yards as Njoku has run a ridiculous number of short routes (outside the top-25 in tight end air yards) for his seam-busting athleticism. Also, Tyrod Taylor has held back a Cleveland passing game littered with weapons and upside. Either Taylor plays better (they are 2-0 with better quarterback play through two games instead of the hockey-like record of 0-1-1) or Baker Mayfield is under center in the coming weeks. Either way, Njoku is the best blend of tight end and a slow stat line start.
Uptick Players in Week 3
- Sam Darnold: An optimal matchup with Browns struggled to generate pressure and being poor in coverage.
- Corey Clement: A tough matchup against Colts run defense, but a golden opportunity with Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles dinged up.
- Kenyan Drake: Frank Gore has not been a major factor in siphoning snaps and carries from Drake's lead role. Oakland offers a strong matchup for Miami's offensive line over Oakland's rush defense.
- Giovani Bernard: Not a great matchup, but Joe Mixon out means a full workload for Bernard and an upside RB2 fantasy lineup-decision tag.
- Tyreek Hill: 5-90-1 in Week 2 felt like a down game for Hill with minimal early-game involvement and the ceiling of Kansas City's passing game. This week, the 49ers are poor in coverage and tackling, a combination Hill can exploit with a monster game like Week 1.
- George Kittle: The Chiefs are an ideal 'get well' matchup for opposing passing games and the 49ers have questions at wide receiver. Kittle has been close to monster games two weeks in a row and coming off a dud stat line of 2-22-0 in Week 2.