Readjusting Expectations After Week Three
The boys are back in the lab and they’re serving up some serious knowledge on this week’s episode of Reception Perception: The Show. Matt and James covered some of our favorite wideouts, an off-season trade that looks very different now than it did months ago, and a quarterback that’s sinking a fantasy football darling.
Week 3 was a brutal reminder that we don’t know as much as we think we know. Nothing encompassed that like this tweet from James.
Matt rips the band-aid off early in this episode: wide receivers, outside of Cooper Kupp, are volatile. “Everybody has a really rough floor, bro,” and he’s right. You have to be ready to roll with the punches when it comes to wide receivers.
Three weeks into the season there are already two prime examples of what Matt is talking about. Justin Jefferson and DeVonta Smith flip-flopped their boom and bust weeks.
The Vikings WR1 had a massive Week 1 performance but followed it up with two below-average weeks. After one week, Matt teased Jefferson going for 2K yards. That outcome is a whole lot less likely heading into Week 4.
James is willing to give a pass on the lowly performance versus the Eagles in Week 2. “It’s fine, he’s gonna bounce back against the Lions” we all chided after the fantasy first-round draft pick left us high and dry.
But he didn’t bounce back against Detroit, putting up a stinker stat line of 3 catches for 14 yards. Matt pointed out that the Lions had a concentrated plan to shut out Jefferson and they executed it. Lions CB Jeff Okudah played physical press coverage on Jefferson and the Lions made sure to have a safety over him as well.
The Vikings combatted that defense by scheming for their other pass-catchers, namely Adam Thielen. The rumors of Jefferson being this year’s Cooper Kupp were greatly exaggerated. Be sure to listen to the pod to see who Matt might be moving ahead of Jefferson in his Rest of Season Rankings if the Vikings don’t start scheming for him.
Yes, Justin Jefferson is tied to Kirk Cousins, who has a past with ticking off his wide receivers. But that shouldn’t matter, get the ball to your best player.
Smith has had the opposite start to the season as Jefferson, starting the season with a big ol’ goose egg. In Week 3 though, Smith went absolutely nuclear.
There was a concern that Jalen Hurts would pepper his best friend A.J. Brown with targets. Considering the Eagles were the bottom team in pass attempts last season, supporting two fantasy-relevant wide receivers was going to be tough.
But that was last year’s Philadelphia team, this season the Eagles are 11th in neutral pass rate through three weeks. Matt makes a really good point about the offensive scheme so far: why would they not throw more this season?
Jalen Hurts has clearly taken a step forward, they traded picks for a top-5 receiver in A.J. Brown, and they have a sophomore Heisman-winning wide receiver in Smith. Of course, they’re going to throw it more.
DeVonta Smith’s Reception Perception prospect profile and his rookie player profile both show his extreme talent and Matt thinks this offense is a 1A, 1B situation. Remember when everyone was arguing about his BMI? That’s cute.
The Eagles might be the best offense in the NFC right now.
Is Baker Mayfield ruining DJ Moore?
The following opinion is mine and mine alone: Yes. But what do the guys have to say about it? Matt is giving full permission to anyone who drafted DJ Moore to be upset. (As a DJ Moore drafter, I appreciate that.)
James makes a great point about the offensive weapons Mayfield has in Carolina. Between Christian McCaffrey and DJ Moore, Baker has got to do something more with this offense.
The short and the sweet of it is Mayfield is bad. Look no further than this tweet from friend of the show, Graham Barfield. The offensive play calling and offensive line are also bad, exacerbating the issue at quarterback.
How much of DJM’s rough start to the season is a product of bad QB play, though? Matt doesn’t have an exact answer for that but there were some red flags in Moore’s Reception Perception chart. And the way the coaches use him doesn’t benefit the wideout in any way, shape, or form.
James thinks we’re approaching drop territory. Unfortunate considering his fantasy draft capital a month ago.
Can I Get Off This Russell Wilson Ride?
As a Denver fan myself, this was an especially painful segment. New head coach Nathaniel Hackett isn’t hacking it. (Please forgive me, it was right there.) How fast can a coach go from hired to fired? If Broncos fans had anything to say about it, Hackett might already be out the door.
The offense has looked putrid through three weeks. Courtland Sutton should be fine for fantasy but Matt has reservations about him being a WR1 in the real football world. Jerry Jeudy has been up and down, Albert Okwuegbunam has lost snaps in consecutive weeks and one-time emergency QB Kendall Hinton is getting meaningful snaps at WR.
Hell, even Javonte Williams, who is probably Denver’s best offensive weapon, is in a rotating backfield with Melvin Gordon.
Matt and James were both cautious about the Bronco offense after the Russell Wilson trade. Wilson has taken a step back with age and had to learn a whole new offense. On top of that, he’s got a head coach that’s never been a head coach before and an offensive coordinator that’s never been an offensive coordinator before.
Check out today’s episode for a stellar player comparison for Courtland Sutton. It shook me to my core if we’re being honest. The road doesn’t get any easier for the Broncos going forward, but Matt’s holding out hope they can start to gel as an offense.
Right now though, it looks like the Seahawks won the blockbuster trade this off-season.
I said it last week and I’ll say it again, if you’re not using the Reception Perception In-Season Tracker, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Matt highlighted why Treylon Burks has struggled this season. Spoiler alert: He’s basically learning a new position. In Week 3, Burks was on the field a ton but the production just hasn’t been there.
The lack of confidence from Matt and James about whether the production for Burks will come has me re-examining my expectations for him. One thing is for sure, the boys think it’s going to take some time to see the Burks the fantasy community hoped for.
His Reception Perception rookie profile reads a lot like a big slot receiver. Matt hit us with another player comparison that may hurt your feelings if you’re a token Burks Bro – but you’ve got to give it a listen for the name drop.
Going forward, Burks is likely to have some moments this season but a true breakout is going to take time.