One third of the NFL season has passed, and everything has changed.
Well, maybe not everything. Numerous stars have continued to produce, while most of the league’s worst offenses have shown no signs of life. Still, this is a week-to-week league, a proven mantra in fantasy football. Seeing established veterans struggle while rookies produce 40-point games can confuse any manager.
It’s time to take a look at the players that have shocked us the most, for better or worse. Can we expect similar production throughout the year, or is this an aberration?
Brock Purdy is a Fantasy Football QB1
The enthusiasm around San Francisco’s young quarterback has never been higher. A dominant 49ers win saw Purdy drop four touchdowns on an elite Dallas defense, leaving him as the current QB8.
Brock’s stock will never be higher; that’s always the case following a career game on prime time. However, there’s no reason to believe his success won’t continue. A loaded roster and Kyle Shannahan’s innovative play calling give Purdy the floor of a low-end QB1.
Rhamondre Stevenson is a Bust
Stevenson’s fantasy outlook needs to be looked at broadly. The last three weeks have been abysmal (15.6 total PPR points), mainly due to a lack of rushing efficiency; Stevenson is averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.
A talented route-runner, Stevenson has felt the impact of New England’s awful offense. After collecting 4.1 catches per game in 2022 while starting just seven games, Rhamondre is pulling in almost half that this season (2.4 RPG). Although the Pats have found themselves trailing almost every week, this offense is too inept to even throw dump-offs. Stevenson’s surrounding environment is too bleak to ignore, and he may not bounce back any time soon.
Puka Nacua is Still Elite With Cooper Kupp
Puka-mania is coming to a close…sort of.
Sunday’s stellar performance against the Eagles suggests that Nacua can thrive alongside Cooper Kupp, who made his season debut. While the veteran Kupp was clearly Matthew Stafford’s preferred receiver (eight catches on 12 targets), Nacua still racked up seven catches and a touchdown against a tough Philadelphia defense.
Optimism is justifiably high on the Rams rookie phenom. However, maintaining his position as the overall WR3 will be impossible playing next to a target monster like Kupp. Nacua is still a locked-and-loaded starter on any team, but his value will never be greater; the window to sell high is now.
Chris Olave Can’t Produce With Derek Carr
A solid first three games for Chris Olave have been marred by a pair of disappointing outings. While Olave found success as Andy Dalton’s top weapon last season, a few things have changed in New Orleans. Oft-injured wide receiver Michael Thomas and suspended running back Alvin Kamara are back to steal targets. Of even more concern is new quarterback Derek Carr, who is already battling inconsistent play and injuries.
The biggest concern for Olave’s fantasy value in how long Carr will need to recover. Carr’s recent ailment, a shoulder injury, has resulted in a more timid style of play this month. A meager two catches for Olave in Week 5 will do little to ease concerns, but there are signs of hope. Carr’s 8.58 air yards per attempt against the Patriots was a season-high, and he still managed to look Olave’s way in the red zone. This is a quarterback who has supported countless fantasy-viable weapons over the years; a two-game stretch isn’t enough to lose faith in his connection with Olave.
Kyle Pitts Is Not A Trustable Tight End
Kyle Pitts had his first good game of the year on Sunday, leading the Falcons with seven catches for 87 yards on 11 targets. The former first-round pick has topped five targets in a game two times this year, and it’s no coincidence he’s been thrown to more in games where Atlanta was trailing.
Can Sunday’s performance be replicated? Pitts’ talent, and a lack of it for Atlanta’s skill position players, would suggest yes. A misleading target share and erratic usage suggest no. While quality tight ends are few and far between, every week with Pitts is a complete gamble; it might be time to trade him before another letdown game.