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Fantasy football preview: Week 3

Get prepared for your fantasy matchups!

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Greetings, Falcoholics! It’s time to talk fantasy football. Last week, the Atlanta Falcons lost in embarrassingly fashion to the Dallas Cowboys. Fantasy-wise though, it was a tremendous day with a plethora of points scored on both teams.

Before we look at this weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears, let’s review week 2. If I’m going to boast when my predictions are accurate, I must not ignore the ones that don’t come to light. After seeing Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown thrive in week 1 against the Cowboys, I was high on Todd Gurley in week 2. We did see Gurley’s run usage increase by 7 carries in week 2, but his yards per carry dropped. In a game where quarterback Matt Ryan threw the ball 36 times, Gurley had 0 targets. His lack of usage in the passing last week is something to monitor going forward.

One of the bright spots in 2020 has been Russell Gage. He’s clearly taken the role of WR3 by storm, as he not only has the second-most receptions on the team, he also has the 8th most receptions in the NFL. After a huge week 1, I predicted Gage would regress a little and have 5 receptions for 53 yards in week 2 against the Cowboys. Although he did regress from week 1, he still had a solid 6 receptions for 46 yards and a touchdown.

Falcons vs. Bears

Entering week 3 with a (0-2) record, the Falcons will have a test against the undefeated Bears. The Bears may not be dominant on offense, but their defense is pretty stout. Currently, the defense is allowing the 6th fewest yards per pass attempt (6.6) in the NFL. With that being said, the Falcons have a much better offense than the Detroit Lions and New York Giants who the Bears have played over the last two weeks.

Calvin Ridley is incredible. The man was hyped up all offseason by national media and fantasy analysts and has more than lived up to the hype through two weeks. Entering week 3, Ridley is tied for the most receiving yards in the NFL with 239 and leads the league with 4 receiving touchdowns. In the fantasy world, he leads all wide receivers with 63.8 points and it’s not even close. Behind Ridley is Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins with 49.9 points. If you have Ridley, you struck fantasy gold.

We finally saw what we were all hoping to see from tight end Hayden Hurst. Hurst had a disappointing week 1 and bounced back in week 2 with 5 receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. I’m excited to see his production only continue as Ryan grows comfortable with him. I’ll say Hurst will have 6 receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown against the Bears.

League-wide look

Turning our sights to the rest of the NFL, there were a lot of injuries last week. With that, there’s a lot of running backs who have suddenly been thrust into starting jobs. A familiar face signed with the Giants on Tuesday, former Falcons running back Devonta Freeman. Following Saquon Barkley tearing his ACL in week 2, Freeman elected to sign with the Giants and should become their No. 1 running back for the rest of the season. I wouldn’t expect an immediate impact by Freeman though, as he still needs to settle into their offense. Dion Lewis is the one you want until Freeman fully takes over.

Another running back currently owned in less than 50% of leagues is Mike Davis of the Carolina Panthers. Chrisitian McCaffrey is expected to miss around 4-6 weeks, and Davis filled in nicely once McCaffrey left the game. The team constantly plays from behind so Davis will get a ton of passing game usage as well.

Well that does it, folks. I wish everyone who took the time to read this the best of luck in their Week 3 fantasy matchups. Every week I’ll be doing a fantasy football preview, so send me some questions before every Thursday and I’ll answer them here. You can ask in the comments below or on Twitter at @EvanBirchfield.

As always, when it comes to fantasy football – always go with your gut!