The Opportunity Analysis: Week 3

The Opportunity Analysis: Week 3

The Opportunity Analysis – Week 3

In the Opportunity Analysis for Week 3 we are reviewing how many drop-backs each defense in the NFL has allowed per game so far in 2021.  The key to the analysis is to identify defenses who typically see high pass volume since we all know volume is king. This will help us identify players to buy or fade heading into each week because their offense could see more or less volume based on their opponent.

The below chart shows each team listed from the most drop-backs allowed to the least per game so far in 2021.

Team DefenseDrop-Backs
Allowed Rank
Allowed Per Week

Chart Key
Team Defense – This represents each NFL team on the defensive side of the ball since we will be reviewing how much pass volume each defense allows per week.
Drop-Backs Allowed Rank – This shows the defensive drop-backs allowed ranking 1-32 with 1 allowing the least number of drop-backs and 32 allowing the most drop-backs so far in 2021.
Drop-backs Allowed Per Week – This is how many drop-backs the defense has allowed per game so far in 2021

Opportunity Analysis Fades

Team: Houston Texans
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Drop-Backs Allowed Rank: 9th
Drop-Backs Allowed Per Game: 35.5
Primary Impacted Player: Brandin Cooks

One of the biggest surprises heading into week 3 of the fantasy season is Brandin Cooks. Cooks is currently the WR11 in .5 PPR and ranked just inside the top 36 in FantasyPros expert consensus ranking  (ECR) at 32 this week. Cooks has cemented himself as the clear #1 in this offense securing 14 targets while no other player saw over 2 last week. This includes 9 targets from Davis Mills on just 18 attempts once he replaced Tyrod Taylor.

Week 3 Recommendation – SIT

The loss of Taylor makes sitting Cooks a lot easier, but even before the Taylor injury Cooks’ outlook was looking bleak this week. The Panthers currently sit atop of Football Outsiders DVOA pass defense and allow the 5th fewest points to WRs so far in 2021. This was on display in Week 2 shutting down Jameis Winston and company after a big performance in Week 1. Even though Cooks is still ranked as a WR3 according to ECR, it might be best to find another option for your WR3/flex in Week 3.

Team: Denver Broncos
Opponent: New York Jets
Drop-Backs Allowed Rank: 8th
Drop-Backs Allowed Per Game: 34.5
Primary Impacted Player: Courtland Sutton

The loss of Jerry Jeudy opened the door for Courtland Sutton in Week 2 and he didn’t disappoint. Sutton dominated the Jaguars producing 9-159 on 12 targets. Outside of his production, Sutton’s usage was elite as well. The Broncos featured him all over the field as he had 5 targets of 20+ yards and saw two targets from the slot. The only downside to Sutton’s performance is it came against the Jaguars who have the looks of a bottom-5 defense in 2021.

Week 3 Recommendation – WR3/Flex

Currently ranked as a top-24 WR according Fantasy Pros ECR. Sutton isn’t an automatic start. He will have a tougher time vs. the Jets who have surprised early on in 2021 vs. WRs. In Week 1, they held D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson outside the top 30 on the week. In Week 2, the Patriots top 2 WRs Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor only produced 7-59 after showing out for 11-116-1 in Week 1. Overall, Sutton is still a starting asset, but he shouldn’t be viewed as a WR2 heading into Week 3.

Opportunity Analysis Buys

Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: Dallas Cowboys
Drop-Backs Allowed Rank: 30th
Drop-Backs Allowed Per Game: 47.5
Primary Impacted Player: DeVonta Smith

DeVonta Smith came out in Week 1 and showed he can play in the NFL producing a solid 6-71-1 while finishing as the WR20. The following week, the production came crashing down as Smith only caught 2 passes for 16 yards. The good news for Smith is even though the production wasn’t there in Week 2 the usage was. Smith still led the team in routes run, running a route on 27-of-30 Jalen Hurts drop-backs. Plus, the lack of production came on a day where Hurts only completed 12 passes. Which should be considered an outlier after averaging nearly twice as many in his previous four full starts.

Week 3 Recommendation – Start

This week the Eagles take on the Dallas Cowboys who have allowed the third most drop-backs per game so far in 2021. This has led to a bunch of receiving production for WRs as the Cowboys have allowed the 6th most fantasy points to the WR position. This includes three top-10 WR finishes already this season. Currently ranked as the WR28 on the week, Smith could be in for a big day especially if the Cowboys offense can bounce back to how they performed in Week 1.

Team: Los Angeles Rams
Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Drop-Backs Allowed Rank: 32nd
Drop-Backs Allowed Per Game: 56
Primary Impacted Player: Robert Woods

Robert Woods has quietly been a disappointment so far in 2021 as he is ranked outside the top-40 WRs with just over 10 PPG in .5 PPR. A lot of this has to do with the dominance of Cooper Kupp as he is currently the WR1 in fantasy. The other issue is Woods is no longer an every down player. Woods has run a route on 83% of Stafford’s drop-backs while Kupp has run a route on 100%. This is flipped from 2020 as Woods was the leader in routes on the season. All that being said, the Rams offense really hasn’t been pushed to their ceiling yet, as Stafford ranks 27th in the NFL in drop-backs and 23rd in attempts.

Week 3 Recommendation – Start

In Week 3, everything should change for Woods as the Rams will be forced to come out swinging vs. the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers rank 1st in drop-backs allowed due to the fact they have one of the best run defenses in football and Tom Brady and company can put up points. This will finally allow Stafford to be unleashed which should result in a big day for Woods. It is important to note that last season Woods dominated the Bucs securing 12-130-1 on 15 targets making him a solid WR2 in Week 3.


XTB NFL Skill Positions Leaderboard Sources:, Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus, Pro Football Reference, Fantasy Pros and FFToday