Before we get to the Week 3 rankings, here are my thoughts on some of the biggest questions facing the wide reciever position for Fantasy Football. And we’ve gotta start with 2023’s biggest breakout star:
How high should Puka Nacua be ranked?
The beginning of my rankings process every week involves a rudimentary projections process – I start at the team level, using historical data and Vegas lines to project snap and scoring data, and then work down to the player level to try to determine what share of the pie each player is going to get, and then I adjust from there. I say all that to note that, it would be really easy to project Nacua as a top-five wide receiver right now. The Rams have run the most plays in the NFL through two games, and they’ve dropped back to pass 98 times already, with Nacua earning a colossal 38% target share. Even bumping that down to a 30% target share on 37 pass attempts would slot Nacua in as my No. 3 projected WR for Week 3 against the Bengals.
I’ve got him ranked 14th. Now, that’s a massive jump from where Nacua started the season, obviously, but it’s a far cry from what he’s accomplished as the No. 2 WR in Fantasy through two weeks. Nacua has shown the ability to win in the short areas of the field or down the field; he’s winning vs. zone and man coverage; the Rams are even starting to dial up some run plays for him, like they’ve done for Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in the past. His start looks legitimate, and I do think he could still be a WR2 even when Kupp is back; the Woods comp sticks in my mind here.
I really feel like even WR14 might be too low for him right now. Matthew Stafford is locked in on him, and it’s led to historic production for the rookie wide receiver and I don’t necessarily think it’s a fluke. The only hesitation comes from the fact that we’re still dealing with a really small sample size, and it’s just a little scary to rank a fifth-round rookie over the likes of Devonta Smith, A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, and the rest after just two games.
The point is, you’re starting him. Even in a league where I have Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, and Tee Higgins, I’m starting Nacua this week, and I would be doing so even if Joe Burrow played. I might be ranking him too low, but I’m not going to leave Nacua out of my lineup again.
What’s up with Ja’Marr Chase?
His quarterback has been bad. That’s the only real explanation we need here, I think. Burrow missed nearly all of training camp and the preseason with a calf injury, and he just hasn’t looked right, especially on downfield throws, where Burrow is 0 for 12 on passes 15 or more yards past the line of scrimmage. Whether it’s because of rust or concerns about his protection isn’t clear, but Burrow also has the fastest time to throw in the league, with 69.7% of his throws released under 2.5 seconds, the highest rate in the league. He hasn’t look comfortable in the pocket yet.
Chase isn’t the deep-shots-only WR he was as a rookie, as they did a good job mixing in more designed throws and short-area plays for him last season, but it’s not hard to see how Burrow’s struggles throwing deep have affected him. I think Burrow will be fine in the long run, but the bad news for Week 3 is, Burrow may not play after aggravating that calf injury late Sunday. That means Jake Browning might start for the Bengals Monday against the Rams, and in doing so will be looking to complete his first NFL pass.
I’m still ranking Chase as a WR1 for this week because he’s too dangerous a playmaker to fully fade – think of how Garrett Wilson has salvaged two otherwise poor performances with otherworldly individual efforts in two games with Zach Wilson. That does mean I have Chase ranked ahead of Nacua, though Nacua came out ahead in the projections. That’s a vote of confidence in Chase, though one I’m certainly wary of – this offense could just be a disaster until Burrow is back to 100%. There’s real risk here with both Chase and Higgins.
How high should Nico Collins be ranked?
Collins is having an incredible start to the season, with 13 catches for 226 yards and one score so far. He’s benefited from the massive pass volume in Houston, but he’s also fifth in the NFL in air yards so far on just 20 targets, and those 20 targets come out to a 22% target share, a pretty solid mark for someone used primarily as a downfield option. I don’t think he’s a WR1 for Fantasy suddenly – the Texans probably won’t have C.J. Stroud keep averaging 45-plus passes per game as a rookie, after all – but he’s definitely moved into the WR3 discussion. The pace will slow down, and there will be some duds when Collins and Stroud inevitably struggle to hit on some of these downfield passes, but the usage is very strong in an offense that sure looks like it’ll remain pass-heavy moving forward, and I’ve moved Collins into the WR2/3 range, with big weekly upside. I love what we’re seeing so far.
Will Jahan Dotson’s breakout happen?
I assumed this Washington offense was going to be pretty concentrated, but that’s not what we’ve seen. Through two games, nine different players have at least three targets from new QB Sam Howell. They have not focused as much as expected on Dotson or Terry McLaurin, and that’s been a problem so far. And it might just be a problem for Dotson, who showed solid per-target efficiency as a rookie, but didn’t necessarily show the ability to earn targets at a high rate.
Among 88 wide receivers who ran at least 300 routes in 2022, Dotson’s 16.2% targets per route run rate ranked just 61st; for comparison, McLaurin was at 20.6%, good for 34th. Obviously, it would be a bad idea to write off a young player so early into his career, but what we’re seeing so far is that Dotson hasn’t been able to earn targets at a high rate despite playing nearly every pass snap for the Commanders – 78 of 84 through two games – and that’s is continuing a theme from his rookie season. It’s not time to panic, but I think some of the preseason talk that Dotson might leapfrog Terry McLaurin as Washington’s best wide receiver looks premature.
I agree to receive the “Fantasy Football Today Newsletter” and marketing communications, updates, special offers (including partner offers), and other information from CBS Sports and the Paramount family of companies.
Please check the opt-in box to acknowledge that you would like to subscribe.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Here are my full rankings for Week 3 at wide receiver for PPR leagues:
Justin Jefferson vs. LACTyreek Hill vs. DENStefon Diggs @WASAmon-Ra St. Brown vs. ATLCeeDee Lamb @ARIKeenan Allen @MINCalvin Ridley vs. HOUJaylen Waddle vs. DENA.J. Brown @TBJa’Marr Chase vs. LARChris Olave @GBDevonta Smith @TBDeebo Samuel vs. NYGPuka Nacua @CINDK Metcalf vs. CARTyler Lockett vs. CARMike Williams @MINBrandon Aiyuk vs. NYGAmari Cooper vs. TENMichael Pittman @BALJerry Jeudy @MIATerry McLaurin vs. BUFDeAndre Hopkins @CLEMike Evans vs. PHIChris Godwin vs. PHINico Collins @JAXTee Higgins vs. LARJordan Addison vs. LACMichael Thomas @GBD.J. Moore @KCGeorge Pickens @LVGarrett Wilson vs. NEDrake London @DETMarquise Brown vs. DALJahan Dotson vs. BUFZay Flowers vs. INDTutu Atwell @CINChristian Kirk vs. HOUTank Dell @JAXGabe Davis @WASCourtland Sutton @MIAJaxon Smith-Njigba vs. CARKendrick Bourne @NYJZay Jones vs. HOUJuJu Smith-Schuster @NYJKJ Osborn vs. LACElijah Moore vs. TENJosh Reynolds vs. ATLRomeo Doubs vs. NORobert Woods @JAXVan Jefferson @CINCurtis Samuel vs. BUFAdam Thielen @SEATreylon Burks @CLESkyy Moore vs. CHIRashid Shaheed @GBJosh Downs @BALParris Campbell @SFDarius Slayton @SFAllen Robinson @LVDonovan Peoples-Jones vs. TENJayden Reed vs. NOTerrace Marshall @SEACalvin Austin @LVJonathan Mingo @SEAKadarius Toney vs. CHIRashod Bateman vs. INDDarnell Mooney @KCAlec Pierce @BALRondale Moore vs. DAL
>>> Read full article>>>
Copyright for syndicated content belongs to the linked Source : CBS Sports – https://www.cbssports.com/fantasy/football/news/week-3-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-puka-nacua-already-in-the-wr1-conversation/