NFL Week 3 Fantasy Football Mailbag: Cut Travis Etienne? Elijah Moore vs Garrett Wilson and Replacing Trey Lance
Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images. Pictured: Trey Lance.
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Fantasy Roster Move Questions
Darnell Mooney or Garrett Wilson?
@will_I_aM505 from Twitter asks: “Would you drop [Darnell] Mooney for Garrett Wilson? Best replacement for [Trey] Lance: Jimmy [Garoppolo], [Carson] Wentz or [Jared] Goff?”
Samantha: It’s close, but I probably would drop Mooney for Wilson.
Wilson is making a legitimate case to be the WR1, both in the 2022 rookie class and the Jets’ offense. His solid four-catch, 52-yard Week 1 was completely eclipsed by a monster Week 2 performance in the New York’s shocking victory over the Browns.
He led the team in all receiving categories and tallied eight catches on 14 targets for 102 yards and two touchdowns. The former Buckeye was drafted as the WR49 in half-PPR (according to FantasyPros) and he was the WR52 and WR6 in Weeks 1 and 2.
On the other hand, expectations were pretty high for Mooney going into the season as the Bears’ WR1.
He was drafted as the WR33 after finishing as the WR26 in 2021. He has been a complete dud, however, and he has just two catches for 4 yards over two games despite playing 90% of snaps in each contest.
Neither player is on a great team offensively, but I’m loving what I’m seeing from Wilson so far. There’s a reason he was projected to be the first receiver taken in this draft and I expect his role to increase as the season progresses. Mooney is droppable at this point, especially if you have better options like Wilson on the wire.
For your second query, Wentz would be my top pick by a mile to replace Lance. He was the QB3 and QB5 through the first two weeks. I love his weapons –Curtis Samuel, Jahan Dotson, Antonio Gibson, Logan Thomas — and love that their defense will probably lend itself to pass-heavy game scripts.
Garoppolo, the most obvious and straightforward replacement for Lance managers, has a relatively high floor but low ceiling. He was the QB18 last season over 15 starts, and his best season to date was in 2019 during San Francisco’s Super Bowl run in which he finished as the QB14. That feels like his ceiling.
Goff is super interesting after two very solid games in a row. He should be considered a solid QB2 like Garoppolo the rest of the season, with streaming potential in the right matchups.
Waning Patience With Travis Etienne Jr.
@MrAlchemistZero from Twitter asks: “Should I just drop [Travis] Etienne already?”
I would hang on to him, though I totally understand the impetus to cut bait.
It’s no secret that I wasn’t the biggest Etienne fan at cost during draft season. He was being selected as the RB17, which I felt was too lofty given the possibility of a time share.
On the other hand, I loved James Robinson at cost in the RB42 range. Etienne saw six touches in Week 1 and 12 in Week 2. Robinson’s involvement also jumped from 12 to 25, however, and the snap counts weren’t much better. The pair basically split snaps evenly (51% to 49%) in Week 1; that shifted much more in favor of Robinson in Week 2 (37% to 63%).
I’m not sure this trend is indicative of how the Jaguars intend to use their running backs the rest of the way, especially in light of the first-round draft capital they had to drop to get Etienne in 2021.
At the very worst, Etienne is one of the highest value backups. He’s definitely worth keeping based on his upside — even more so if the Jaguars are going to be more competitive in games than in previous years.
Week 3 Streaming Options for George Kittle
@Lucas6Cooper from Twitter asks: “Who is the best Week 3 option with [George] Kittle still on the mend? Tyler Higbee, Logan Thomas, Hayden Hurst, Tyler Conklin, or Irv Smith Jr.?”
For Week 3, I would rank them as follows: Higbee, Thomas, Hurst, Smith, Conklin.
Hurst has the best matchup of the five at the Jets and I have liked him as a sleeper since the preseason. He hasn’t done much and has yet to find the end zone this year, however, and is, at best, the third option in that offense.
Higbee strikes me as the most talented of this group. He also hasn’t found the end zone this season, but his 20 targets through two weeks make him super attractive and give him a higher floor than most touchdown-dependent tight ends. He is also on the best, if not second-best offense of this list.
Thomas is a solid option. He is coming off of a TE6 finish in Week 2, though I am worried about the matchup. The Eagles completely shut down Primetime Kirk Cousins and held him to one touchdown and three interceptions. Tight end Irv Smith Jr. was the only one to find the end zone, which gives me a bit of hope, but I could see this divisional matchup being on the low-scoring side.
Smith and Conklin are both more on the dart throw, TE2 end of the spectrum.
@afterp89 from Twitter asks: “Cut bait on [Darnell] Mooney? [Darrel Williams] or [Eno] Benjamin as a [James] Conner replacement? Swap out [Elijah Moore] for [Garrett] Wilson?”
Rehashing this from earlier: Mooney was drafted as the WR33 in fantasy after finishing as the WR26 in 2021. The Bears’ WR1 has been horrendous, however, and he has just two catches for 4 yards over two games despite playing in 90% of snaps in each game. I am OK with moving on from him if you have better options on the waiver wire.
For the second part of your question, I would lean slightly toward Williams over Benjamin as a Conner replacement, though the injury does not seem serious and Conner may not miss any time at all. If he does, I expect this to be a two-man committee.
The reason I would prefer Williams is that he finished as the RB18 in half PPR last season with the Chiefs due to his major involvement in the passing game. Benjamin remains more untested and carries more risk.
For part three of your question, I would be willing to swap out Moore for Wilson — but it is really close.
Perhaps it’s a little hasty, though I am loving what I’ve seen thus far from the rookie. Wilson led the team in all receiving categories last week and tallied eight catches on 14 targets for 102 yards and two touchdowns. He is the WR11 through two weeks while Moore is the WR60.
One encouraging thing I will mention about Moore is his higher snap count. He out-snapped Wilson 75 to 41 and 61 to 43 in the first two weeks. Both can be fantasy relevant this season. I recommend rostering both and waiting to see how things shake out once Zach Wilson returns.
Fantasy Stock Questions
Is Christian Kirk The Real Deal?
@SchwindtD from Twitter asks: “Should I sell high on Christian Kirk or enjoy the ride?”
Samantha: Depends on what you mean by sell high.
Kirk was drafted as the WR40 in half PPR, meaning you got him somewhere around the ninth round. He has been phenomenal thus far, tallying six catches on 12 targets for 117 yards in Week 1 (WR21) and six catches on six targets for 78 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 (WR7). He was one of my favorite sleepers and he is going to win leagues for people at this rate.
He’s a WR2 with WR1 upside moving forward, so unless you’re flipping him for an elite receiver, running back or tight end, I’m good with keeping him. That said, if you are a manager who lost Trey Lance, for example, I could see putting Kirk out there.
Is Tua Tagovailoa A Rest-Of-Season QB1 Or A One-Hit Wonder?
@scttnbit from Twitter asks: “Should I put my full faith in Tua [Tagovailoa]? I have [Kyler] Murray also. Should I look for a trade for one?”
A lot of people — myself included — owe Tagovailoa and the Dolphins an apology after their last game. I completely wrote them off against the Ravens and was proven wrong after a six-touchdown outburst from Tagovailoa.
I would much prefer Murray over Tagovailoa this week. I would probably hang on to both for now, unless you get a stellar trade offer for Tagovailoa.
Fantasy Trade Questions
Trading For Lamar Jackson
@greenemachine25 from Twitter asks: “Just got offered [Christian McCaffrey] and [Kirk] Cousins for Lamar [Jackson]. I have [Joe] Mixon, Javonte [Williams], [Darrell] Henderson and [Kareem] Hunt as my other [running backs]. Would you take it?”
Samantha: I normally don’t like trades where you’re giving one player to receive two unless you have the roster space.
That said, you are also receiving the best player in this trade. McCaffrey has yet to have one of his signature electric games, but he’s still been very solid for fantasy (RB18 and RB6 through two weeks) and has one of the highest ceilings of any player in PPR formats.
Overall, I think it’s a good — not great — trade given Jackson has been spectacular.
Running Back Dynasty Deal
@halfbirdhalfman from Twitter asks: “I got offered: Joe Mixon for [Clyde Edwards-Helaire] + Kenneth Walker in a PPR dynasty league. Thoughts?”
Samantha: I am not a dynasty expert, so take this with a grain of salt. In most cases, I would prefer the Mixon side of things, though there are other factors to take into consideration (e.g., where your squad is at and how much confidence you have in your league existing past say, the next couple of years).
Mixon is the clear alpha of this group, and at 26, he could stay dominant for the next few years. He has virtually no competition and will see significant volume in an above-average Bengals offense. This trade would make no sense in redraft, so if your team is competitive and you are in win-now mode, I would suggest going with Mixon.
On the other side, Edwards-Helaire started his career a little slow, but he has been solid through two games this year. I love him as a player, though have reservations about his health and usage, as he has never seen a workload like Mixon’s in his career.
Walker is a bit of a black box since we only have one game as a sample size thus far due to a hernia issue. He is a second-round talent from this year’s class and should be used as a foil to Rashaad Penny.
Both Edwards-Helaire and Walker offer PPR upside if they can stay healthy and are deployed properly, but both are unlikely to see full workloads this year. If you are committed to a rebuild, this isn’t the worst trade.
Stefon Diggs Trade Offer
@jstaxxx17 from Twitter asks: “Have a guy in my league who is 0-2. I’m trying to get [Stefon] Diggs. Does [Diggs for James Robinson and Garrett Wilson] seem fair or no?”
Samantha: I would love that trade, though I highly doubt a manager would accept it. It’s great value for Diggs and it is a buy-high, sell-high situation in general with all three players coming off solid games.
As a rule of thumb, I look at a couple of things in trade offers: Who is getting the best player in the trade, and are you giving more players than receiving? Two-for-one trades are ideal, especially if the “one” is a stud like Diggs.
That said, I think you’ll probably have to workshop the trade a bit. If you can coax your 0-2 leaguemate into accepting it, it’s an absolute slam dunk.