There’s a lot to react to after two weeks of high-level NFL action. Whose bad performances do we throw out? Which great games should we take more stock in? Here is our NFL Week 3 trends roundup.
This NFL Week 3 trends report lists eight players who are on the move.
NFL Week 3 Trends: Stock Up
Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
How much more “stock up” can you get than moving up the depth chart? While his play late against the Bengals was nothing to be envious of, Justin Fields finally has his chance to seize the Chicago Bears‘ starting quarterback job. Andy Dalton is battling injury and is likely out Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Despite having zero starts under his belt, Fields carries shorter Offensive Rookie of the Year odds than Trevor Lawrence at many sportsbooks (). Up next for Chicago is the Browns, Lions and Raiders– two of which sit in the bottom ten in the NFL in passer rating allowed.
The Las Vegas Raiders
Normally, this NFL trends list wouldn’t include teams as a whole. But given the recent movement in Raiders futures, it’s impossible not to. Following their second consecutive upset victory, Las Vegas’ win totals jumped from 7.5 (-140) to 9.5 (-120) and now sit at . In spite of what’s happened the past few years (dropped five of six down the back stretch of the season two years running), public perception of the Raiders is on the move.
It’s hard not to buy in when Derek Carr leads the NFL in passing yards and one of their two upsets came on national TV. Unlike years past, the Raiders’ pass rush is menacing, led by Max Crosby and Carl Nassib; and their vertical passing game is threatening. Could this be the year Jon Gruden doesn’t trip over his own feet?
Kyler Murray, QB, Arizona Cardinals
Among those in the fantasy football community, Kyler Murray has been a sought-after commodity for a couple years. However, he’s finally breaking into the national stage. His odds to win NFL MVP () now exceed those of Tom Brady at some sportsbooks. Along with a vast array of weapons, Murray’s led the Cardinals to a 2-0 start and the second-most points per game thus far (36).
Only the Jaguars stand between he and 3-0 and possibly even shorter MVP odds. In the NFC West, the road doesn’t improve from there, but the Cardinals do play the Texans and Lions at points this season.
Deebo Samuel, WR, San Francisco 49ers
If you surveyed 100 people on who the NFL’s leading receiver is, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that mentions Deebo Samuel. He followed up a notable 189-yard outing against the Lions with a ‘quiet’ 93-yard performance. The thing about Samuel is that he’s a versatile player; he took two handoffs in Week 2 and is used in a variety of ways in Kyle Shanahan’s system.
Samuel becomes a much more valuable player to the Niners in the wake of the slew of injuries to just about every rostered running back. With games against the Seahawks, Cardinals and Colts upcoming, we can expect Deebo Samuel to continue his ultra-productive ways.
NFL Week 3 Trends: Stock Down
Philadelphia Eagles defense
The Eagles have had a terrific start on defense to their season. They sit third in points allowed per game (11.5), third in yards allowed per play (4.3), and top 10 in pressure rate. However, they’ll be proceeding without captain and star pass rusher Brandon Graham, who suffered a torn Achilles in Week 2 and will be out for the remainder of the season.
Worse yet, they face the Cowboys, Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Raiders in four of their next five games (their reprieve isn’t much of one: Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers). While their defensive success goes far beyond just Brandon Graham, he’s an emotional leader of the unit on top of being a perennial Pro Bowler.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
First, the good news– Jonathan Taylor leads the NFL in carries inside the 10 yard line. The bad news? He failed to score from the one yard line twice last week against the Rams. That’s no fault of his own, as the Colts‘ typically outstanding offensive line was devoured against one of the better defensive lines in the NFL.
Surely a bad performance against the likes of Aaron Donald is excusable, but this offensive line hasn’t looked good at all this season; Carson Wentz sits in the top 10 in hurries (9) and pressure rate (30.1%) and PFF grades the Colts 30th in pass blocking this season (28th in run blocking). That doesn’t bode well for Jonathan Taylor, who’s already struggled through two weeks.
Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
As mentioned, Justin Fields has surpassed Lawrence in Offensive Rookie of the Year odds at many sportsbooks, with Lawrence now listed at . Despite having far more opportunities and the actual starting job locked up, Lawrence has been heavily burdened by one of the most criticized head coaches in the NFL.
Of course, throwing three interceptions right out of the gate to the Houston Texans won’t help his cause, but Lawrence has serious physical gifts that the Jaguars just haven’t been able to capitalize on. He’s still on pace for 34 passing touchdowns, which would be the rookie record (even at a 16-game pace of 31), but should the Jaguars fail to exceed their -win projected total, the hardware is likely going elsewhere.
New Orleans Saints offense
Turns out, five passing touchdowns on under 150 passing yards and 14 completions is complete unsustainable. Against the Panthers, even star running back Alvin Kamara was made a total non-factor. Jameis Winston, aside from those anomalous five touchdowns, has been– well– bad. He followed that game up with a 26.9 quarterback rating and two picks.
Fun as Week 1 was, Winston just simply doesn’t have anyone to throw to; tight end Juwan Johnson was the recipient of two touchdown passes that first game and then caught one of three targets the next week. It’s not a great direction to be heading into a game against the Patriots, who recorded four interceptions last week. This isn’t your Drew Brees-led Saints offense.