BUY: Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
The Baker Mayfield experience has officially begun. As such, it’s time to scoop him up in your fantasy leagues before it’s too late. He’s still available in nearly 60 percent of Yahoo! Fantasy leagues, and has a favorable schedule moving forward. The Browns have plenty of weapons (more on one in a bit) at their disposal, and Mayfield’s ability to get the ball out quickly will mitigate any problems they may have up front. He broke all types of records in college, and the Browns desperately need to ensure he’s put in the correct position to succeed.
SELL: Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Buccaneers
The magic continued through Week 3 as Fitzpatrick enjoyed yet another 400-yard passing day. Tampa’s surprising star is now the only player to have ever thrown for over 400 yards in three consecutive games. The Bucs have continuously been able to convert chunk plays down the field. This is evidenced by Fitzpatrick creating a 50+-yard play in every game this year. While Tampa’s run has been fun, there’s plenty of reason to believe Fitzpatrick will gradually regress over the season.
Even though he finished last week with a stellar stat line, Fitzpatrick wasn’t particular great against the Steelers. He faces an incredibly tough match-up against Chicago this week. It doesn’t get much easier for him in the upcoming weeks. Tampa Bay is pitted against talented AFC North pass-rushing squads in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Division rivals Atlanta and Carolina also loom on the horizon. Add in the fact that Jameis Winston has returned from suspension, and it’s becoming increasingly likely that Fitzpatrick doesn’t end the season as the starter.
BUY: David Njoku, TE, Browns
Piggybacking on the Mayfield hype, Njoku is set to explode with a new QB under center. Young signal-callers lean on tight ends early in their careers. Njoku has just enough athleticism and pedigree to push him into the TE1 conversation moving forward. His 69 total yards on 16 targets is an abysmal mark, but the Browns should continue feeding their former first-round pick the ball. For what it’s worth, Njoku’s biggest play of the season (a 19-yard reception) came on Mayfield’s first drive.
SELL: DeSean Jackson, WR, Buccaneers
The well has to run dry eventually. Jackson’s torrid start has set unsustainable standards. Since leaving Philadelphia in 2014, Jackson has averaged a respectable 10.8 yards per target. Through three games this year, Jackson has exploded for 22.2 yards per target. Last week, the Steelers played disciplined football against Jackson — limiting his big plays and keeping the speedster in front of them. At 31 years old, Jackson doesn’t have quite the top-end speed he sported with the Eagles. He’s currently tied for third on the team in targets (14), and the emergence of Chris Godwin will only shrink the amount of opportunities for D-Jax.
BUY: Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
The Georgia product hasn’t looked great through three weeks. However, Michel owners have to stay strong. He’s supremely electric in the open field. New England’s offense as a whole has looked like a mess, but they always get better as the season progresses. With Rex Burkhead set to hit the IR, it’s really only Michel and James White competing for backfield touches. White is a great receiver, but doesn’t have the same type of shiftiness that Michel possesses. The opportunity will be there, and eventually Michel’s talent will shine.
SELL: Alvin Kamara, RB, Saints
Kamara has helped many fantasy owners to 3-0 starts in their leagues. The multi-faceted rusher leads all backs in receptions (30), targets (38), and receiving yards (289). He’s been a PPR machine, and New Orleans’ offense has been absolutely humming to the tune of 34.7 points per game. He’s easily one of the most exciting players in the league.
However, that doesn’t mean he should be completely off-limits in trade talks. Mark Ingram is set to return in two weeks, and will cut into some of Kamara’s touches — especially near the goal line. Ingram’s a better pure runner between the tackles, and will get some looks in the passing game as well. Kamara hasn’t rushed for 1,000 yards in a season since high school. If somebody in your league is desperate, and wants to offer you Keenan Allen and Joe Mixon — or a package of similar value — for Kamara, you have to listen to that offer.
BUY: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals
The Bengals play their best football when they have a solid option opposite of A.J. Green. We saw it a couple of years ago when they featured a receiving corps that had Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu. It seems like Boyd can fill that void. He’s fresh off the best game of his career (six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown), and Andy Dalton has been absolutely balling thus far. With or without Green in the lineup (he’s been nursing an injury this week, but appears to be fine), Boyd will be a difference maker in an improved Cincinnati offense.
SELL: Chris Carson, RB, Seahawks
Strike while the oil is hot with Carson. Seattle’s ‘lead’ back is coming off his best game of the year in which he out-touched 2018 first-round pick Rashaad Penny 34-3. He’s got a tasty match-up with a road game against the Cardinals coming up, but I don’t think it gets much better for Carson as the season progresses. The Seahawks’ rushing attack is too reliant on game flow, and their offense has been just flat-out bad. Pete Carroll also isn’t going to give up on Penny that easily. This lowers Carson’s floor on a week-to-week basis dramatically.
BUY: Matt Breida, RB, 49ers
The Jimmy Garoppolo injury certainly dampened the mood about the 49ers’ chances this year. However, I still like Breida’s chances of producing like a RB2 for the rest of the season. Here’s a stat that Breida owners should love:
Carlos Hyde with CJ Beathard last year: 8.3 targets per game.
Carlos Hyde without CJ Beathard: 3.8 targets per game.
— JJ Zachariason (@LateRoundQB) September 24, 2018
Beathard loves throwing to the running back — mostly because he can’t do much else. The only other San Francisco running back competing for touches with Breida is Alfred Morris. The veteran back hasn’t caught 10 or more passes in a season since 2015. Breida will be in on third downs, and will act as Beathard’s main security blanket for the rest of the year.
Sources: Twitter/LateRoundQB, Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports