Week 3 fantasy highs and lows

Week 3 of the NFL season is here, and there are plenty of notable performances. What do they mean? Tristan H. Cockcroft and Matt Bowen are here with instant analysis on the biggest fantasy performers, as well as the duds of the week.

1 p.m. ET games

Mark Ingram II should be RB2: Ingram set a new personal best for PPR fantasy points on Sunday, his 35.5 exceeding the 32.1 he scored in Week 15 of the 2017 season. It was a performance that looks all the more impressive when you consider that he still got 16 rushing attempts despite the fact that the Ravens trailed on the scoreboard for nearly three full quarters. Ingram now has 14, 13 and 16 rushing attempts in his three games, putting him on pace for 229, which is right in line with either his 2014 (226) or 2017 (230) season-ending totals. He’s benefiting greatly from the Ravens’ run-heavy offense and getting the goal-line carries. Despite a second-half schedule that does look tougher than the first half, Ingram should be regarded a locked-in weekly RB2. — Cockcroft

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Darren Waller now a mid-tier TE1: You can lock in the Raiders tight end as a mid-tier TE1 heading into Week 4 after he caught 13 of 14 targets for 134 yards versus the Vikings’ defense. That gives Waller 26 receptions this season — on 29 targets — in a Raiders system that utilizes his athletic traits and formation versatility. Oakland will flex Waller outside to get isolation matchups, target him in the quick game, toss him the ball on screens, etc. The volume is here, as is an Oakland route tree that caters to Waller’s skill set as a matchup player in the game plan. — Bowen

“Chance of a lifetime,” indeed. Waller’s 29 targets are tied with Zach Ertz for the most among tight ends through three weeks, and they’re seven more than Jared Cook, the man whose role Waller now occupies, had through that many games in 2018. Waller’s 53.4 PPR fantasy points are also nearly 10 more than Cook had through three games. — Cockcroft

Don’t overreact to Miles Sanders’ big game: If you started Sanders as a flex play today, you probably cashed in with the rookie posting 126 yards on 15 touches. However, I wouldn’t bump him into the RB2 range just yet. I drafted him in multiple leagues and am all-in on his fit in Philadelphia’s offense, but with Jordan Howard firmly in the mix for carries in the Eagles’ backfield — including goal-line touches — the ceiling on Sanders is still pointing toward a flex ranking every week. — Bowen

Phillip Lindsay’s increased workload: Lindsay managed career highs in rushing attempts (21) and PPR fantasy points (29.0), exceeding the 19 and 28.9 he had in Week 13 in 2018. Chalk it up to a Broncos offense extending several drives rather than a clear shift in the team’s backfield strategy, though, as Lindsay and backfield mate Royce Freeman totaled 36 rushing attempts and played a comparable 41 and 36 of 73 offensive snaps, respectively. — Cockcroft

Dalvin Cook continues impressive start: Make that three consecutive games of 100-plus rushing yards, a rushing score and at least 20 PPR fantasy points for Cook. By comparison, Cook had only two 100-yard games and four total rushing touchdowns in his 15 games played in 2017 and ’18, and he now has three of his five 20-point games this season alone. — Cockcroft

Dalvin Cook had another big day for the Vikings. Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Keep an eye on Mecole Hardman: It’s the big-play ability that stands out to me for the Chiefs rookie wide receiver. In Week 2, Hardman caught 4 of 6 targets for 61 yards and a score, with the touchdown coming on a deep double-move for 42 yards. Sunday? Two grabs for 97 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown reception on a seam route. With Patrick Mahomes throwing the ball in Andy Reid’s offense, there will be explosive-play opportunities for Hardman again in Week 4. He’s a high-upside WR3 for me, with more value in Non-PPR formats given his target volume. — Bowen

Frustration with Sony Michel: We talk all the time about the unpredictability of Patriots running backs, but what’s most aggravating about Michel is that while he’s getting the carries, he’s delivering inconsistent results all too often. After getting a goal-line carry in the first quarter Sunday, converting it and easing his fantasy managers’ worries, he finished his day with only 11 yards and that one score on nine attempts, which paled in comparison to Rex Burkhead’s 11-47-1 rushing line. Michel has received double-digit carries in nine of his past 10 regular-season games, but in them, he has three games worth 12.5-plus PPR fantasy points, yet another three worth five points or fewer.

With production like that, he’s in danger of slipping into a long-term committee approach that would make it tough for him to ever see RB2 production. — Cockcroft

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