Our analysts reveal their boldest fantasy predictions for Week 3. Which will come to pass?
Rookie RB set to smash in Week 3
Andy Behrens: As a Bears fan, it brings me no pleasure to report that Dameon Pierce Breakout Week is upon us. He’s about to deliver a top-12 (10? 8?) finish among all running backs. Chicago’s defense currently ranks last against the run, allowing 189.5 rushing yards per game, and simply citing the team’s ranking really understates the problem. The Bears had no hope against the Packers run game and, in their opening week monsoon game, they were clearly going to be demolished by Eli Mitchell before he suffered a knee injury. Assuming the Texans again feature Pierce, he will detonate on Sunday.
Rashaad Penny is a DFS tournament winner
Dalton Del Don: This is a long shot, as Seattle’s backfield became a full-blown three-way committee last week when Travis Homer joined Kenneth Walker during the rookie’s NFL debut. The Seahawks are also on pace to record the fewest offensive plays in 20 years. But Penny was literally fantasy’s top scoring back over the final six weeks last season, and he gets a Falcons defense on Sunday with strong corners but one that ranks dead last in EPA/rush (0.18). Penny has gotten a career 5.5 YPC and just needs an unexpected bump in opportunity Sunday for a chance to go off this week.
Etienne season can still happen
Scott Pianowski: The James Robinson comeback story is a fun one, but I’m not giving up on Travis Etienne. Sure, he’s made some mistakes — you want to make any football coach livid, put the ball on the ground — but he’s also averaging 6.6 yards per touch, which is 2.6 yards higher than Robinson. Maybe that’s an unfair comparison when you consider the roles of the players — Robinson is the every-down pounder, Etienne more of a satellite player — but I think the market has gone too far in dinging Etienne’s current perceived value.
Here’s a vote for Etienne to out-gain Robinson this week, despite fewer expected touches, and to open his touchdown account. Game script could help out, with the Jaguars a touchdown underdog at the Chargers; Jacksonville might be encouraged to use Etienne more if they fall into catch-up mode. It’s a good time to buy low on the second-year back.
Matt Harmon: I get that Miles Sanders told us to take him off our draft boards this summer, but he’s been an underrated fantasy back through two games. Sanders has touched the ball 35 times so far and has played well. He currently ranks seventh among all running backs in yards after contact per rush attempt. We know he’s never going to get a ton of passing-down work but he’s received some surprisingly positive scoring-area usage with three goal-line carries to his name. That’s only bested by Jamaal Williams and Antonio Gibson, who each have four.
We want to use Sanders in fantasy when the high-scoring Eagles team is favored and/or playing in a game that could feature a lot of touchdowns. Their upcoming matchup against Washington checks both boxes. I see Sanders finishing inside the top seven at the position this week.
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