Upset week in the NFL has finally ended. With the Titans beating the Jaguars, the Lions beating the Patriots and most astonishingly, the Bills beating the Vikings, NFL fans were taken for a ride. Here are the best fantasy performances that came out of the chaos. Hint: most are from one game.
Quarterback Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints: 39 points standard, 40.5 points PPR
It was a record-setting game for Drew Brees. In the second quarter, Brees broke Brett Favre’s record for completions in a career, surpassing his 6,300. It also led him to have a great fantasy day, throwing for 396 yards and three touchdowns. However, it did not end there, as Brees also rushed three times for seven yards and two touchdowns, including a leap over the pile to win the game for the Saints in overtime.
The Saints are a high scoring team. Two of their three games this season have been shootouts, and in the one that wasn’t, they still scored 21 points. Brees is the captain of the ship, and with weapons around him like Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and now Mark Ingram, he should be a safe bet to start every week. The 39-year-old has simply shown no signs of slowing down. Quarterback Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: 39 points standard, 40.2 points PPR
Matt Ryan was on the losing end of the Saints-Falcons shootout, and with Brees’ leap into the end zone, he and the Falcons lost 43-37. However, there is a reason it was a shootout and needed to go to overtime, as Ryan was phenomenal. Through regulation, (the Falcons didn’t touch the ball on offense in overtime), Ryan threw for 347 yards, five touchdowns and two two-point conversions, accounting for all of Atlanta’s offense.
Overall, the Falcons are similar to the Saints. They have a high-powered offense, a strong backfield duo and good receivers led by a veteran quarterback. Their defense is also less than great, so it tends to lead to more high-scoring games. However, Ryan is frankly a step down from Brees, and while he could be a good start any given week, the smart move would be to play the matchups. Luckily for Ryan owners, he has a lot of good ones on the horizon, with the Bengals next week followed by the Steelers, Buccaneers and Giants. Unless his level of play takes a steep decline, start him in all of those games.
Honorable Mentions: Cam Newton, Josh Allen
Running back Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints: 18 points standard, 34 points PPR
Kamara once again benefitted from a high scoring game, and while he surprisingly did not reach the end zone, he racked up the yardage and, more importantly, the receptions. He was a PPR god, totaling 15 receptions for 124 yards as well as rushing 16 times for 66 yards. His astonishing 15 receptions are tied for the second most in NFL history in a single game by a running back.
Even though Mark Ingram’s suspension is now over, Kamara should not see a smaller volume of touches. They were both able to put up top-10 fantasy seasons last year and I expect nothing to change. Kamara is dynamic, and his crazy skill set combined with the sheer volume of work he gets makes him a top-five running back in standard formats and even top-three in PPR.
Running back Adrian Peterson, Washington Redskins: 24 points standard, 24 points PPR
AD is back! That is not a typo, it stands for his nickname “All Day,” it was never AP. Well anyway, Peterson looks three years younger. He tore up the Green Bay Packers defense, rushing 19 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Currently fifth in the NFL in rushing yards, he had his best game in terms of yards per attempt since Nov. 15, 2015.
Before the start of this season, it was hard to believe that Peterson would ever be a productive NFL running back again. However once Derrius Guice went down and AD signed with the Redskins, it slowly became evident that he would have a significant role in Washington D.C.
However, what he has done so far has been far above anyone’s expectations. While you should still be hesitant starting him every week until he shows this is not a fluke, if you are weak in the RB position he is by no means a bad start at the FLEX or even RB2 spot.
Honorable Mentions: Todd Gurley II, Carlos Hyde
Wide receiver Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons: 32 points standard, 40.5 points PPR
Ridley was one of the best WR prospects in the 2018 NFL draft, leading him to be picked 26 overall by the Atlanta Falcons. After a terrible first game and a mediocre second game, Ridley exploded in Week 3, catching seven of his eight targets for 146 yards and three touchdowns. He is now tied for first in the NFL in receiving touchdowns with A.J. Green and leads the Falcons by three.
Even though this game is a great sign for Ridley’s future, it is too early to be starting him every week. There are simply too many weapons in the Falcons offense, including Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. Ridley just won’t see the volume he needs to be a consistent fantasy starter. He should certainly be owned and even started once in a while if he has a great matchup, but don’t expect this every week. It just won’t happen.
Honorable Mentions: Robert Woods, Jordy Nelson
Jorge Eckardt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.