NFL Preseason Week 3 Recap: 13 Must-Know Facts
We’re almost there, guys and gals. It’s the height of fantasy draft time, but no one has the time nor the desire to watch all 16 preseason Week 3 contests. That's where I come in. Here's a position-by-position look at how the final preseason weekend went down, so you can plan and adjust accordingly for the onslaught of upcoming drafts.
Note: All player ADPs mentioned are courtesy of 4for4’s Underdog Tool.
Geno Smith is the starting QB in Seattle but does anyone care? I assume someone somewhere does, but in the fantasy world, however, it doesn’t really move the needle. Smith is now 4for4’s 30th ranked QB, and he’s being drafted as the QB38 on Underdog right now, so there is value there if you squint and click. Smith’s ADP should rise a bit since the job is now clearly his, but the Seattle QB is not a viable option in redraft formats and is nothing more than a QB3, in particular best ball builds.
Baker Mayfield looked competent under center: Just a few days after being announced as the starter in Carolina, the 27-year-old led two touchdown drives and left the game just before halftime with a 9-89-2 line. He showed poise in the pocket and made plays when needed to extend the drive. Mayfield is still not recommended for single-QB formats but makes for a decent Superflex QB2 or a late-round best ball selection at QB25 in the 16th round. Also of note, Panthers QB Sam Darnold sustained a gnarly ankle injury during Friday’s contest but appears to have avoided significant damage and will serve as Mayfield’s backup.
It was a solid cameo for Jamies Winston and his starters: While it was just one series, Winston’s return to the field after an ACL tear last fall and a foot injury earlier this summer was a success. The Saints QB was perfect on the drive, connecting with Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, and Alvin Kamara, and proved ready for Week 1 action. Winston is coming off Underdog draft boards as QB19 right now and is ranked a few spots higher in our projections as the QB16.
Redemption was had by Justin Fields: After a brutal first trip to Cleveland last season, it was a much different outcome for the sophomore QB on Saturday night. Fields threw three touchdown passes in the first half, looking poised and comfortable on his way to a 14-of-16 finish for 156 yards. Fields is being selected as the QB16 in the late-11th round.
Tom Brady is back and ready to do Tom Brady things: It was brief, but Brady started the game with a strong statement, leading his offense to a field goal, going 6-of-8 for 44 yards in a no-huddle offense. He addressed the media after the game stating, "I've played a lot of football in my day — a lot of practices, a lot of games, and a lot of seasons; I'm ready to go." Brady’s ADP slid a few spots during his planned 11-day hiatus, but he’s still an eighth-rounder, and it’s tough to bet against the 45-year-old.
Despite still being listed as the RB3, Dameon Pierce started for Houston: Not only was the rookie running with the first team, but he scored a touchdown on the Texans’ initial possession, ending with a 6-37-1 line on the night. Pierce has been steadily rising in ADP since the preseason began and is currently RB29 as an eighth-rounder in Underdog drafts.
It may be time to invest in DeeJay Dallas again: We’ve been here before, folks, and some of you may not want to go there again, but DeeJay Dallas is looking like an option in this Seattle backfield. Chris Carson hung up his cleats, rookie Ken Walker is recovering from hernia surgery, and oft-injured Rashaad Penny tested positive for COVID, making Dallas the guy on Friday night. The third-year RB put in a full workload against the Cowboys, rushing 13 times for 75 yards and a score, and on a team that clearly loves to run, Dallas could be a sneaky late-round add in best ball or larger formats. Oh, and he’s free with an ADP of 216 as RB100.
Browns WR Anthony Schwartz isn’t in danger of being cut, but yikes: The sophomore wideout caught just one of six targets on Saturday night for eight yards and dropped three passes after tallying up three drops in the first two preseason games. Coach Kevin Stefanski addressed Schwartz’s hands and said, “We’ve talked about Anthony, and Anthony has spoken to you guys,” He’s very accountable. I know he wants to be better. I know he’ll work very hard.” Those who have been drafting the 21-year-old as a last-round flier in best ball formats may want to pivot to other darts like Bryan Edwards, Jalen Guyton, or Noah Brown.
Diontae Johnson left with a shoulder injury and did not return: After a 38-yard catch and an awkward landing, Johnson was immediately ruled out of the matchup, but it appears that there’s no long-term concern and the Steelers’ WR1 has two weeks to recover before a September 11th tilt with the Bengals.
Denzel Mims could be back from the dead: The Jets WR requested a trade earlier in the week, then put on a display on Sunday afternoon. Mims made a diving touchdown grab towards the end of the contest, finishing with seven catches for 102 yards and that score. He could be of value for either the Jets or somewhere else, so keep him in mind once those waiver wires open.
Make way for that Cole Kmet statue: Perhaps it’s a tad too soon for this, but Kmet may finally be who we’ve been hoping he will be for the Bears. The Chicago TE caught all three of his targets for 36 yards on Saturday, plus he also found the end zone, which didn’t happen in 2021. Kmet could be a high-volume guy for QB Justin Fields and is coming off a decent fantasy TE2 campaign in a very poor offense last season. The breakout is incoming, and he’s being drafted right now as TE11 in Underdog leagues in the 10th round.
Daniel Carlson was perfect this preseason: Not that drafters need another reason to select Carlson’s solid leg, but the Raider kicker was 3-for-3 in field goals and 2-for-2 in extra points on Friday night, finishing the preseason with all nine fields made and all eight extra points through the uprights.
The Jags still don’t have a kicker: Jacksonville has tried out four kickers this preseason in search of a reliable leg. Ryan Santoso was let go earlier in the week, and they signed James McCourt that same day, followed by Jake Verity a few days later to compete for the gig. Both guys kicked on Saturday, and HC Doug Pederson said a decision has not been made.