New England Patriots wideout Kenbrell Thompkins finally rewarded fantasy owners who bought into his much talked-about potential and preseason hype. He finished with two touchdowns and 41 receiving yards on three catches in a big Week 3 performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After not reaching the end zone through his first two weeks despite emerging in a starting role, Thompkins hauled in a 16-yard score from Tom Brady with 7:37 in the second quarter, followed up by a five-yard score with less than a minute left in the opening half.
His only non-scoring grab on the day was his longest—a 20-yard pickup.
On the day, Thompkins made a splash that a rookie hasn't done in New England in 30 years, per ESPN Stats & Information:
Kenbrell Thompkins has caught 2 TD passes. He's 1st Patriots rookie WR with at least 2 receiving TD since Clarence Weathers in 1983 vs Bills— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 22, 2013
The rookie is pegged to be one of Brady's favorite targets this season after the departure of Wes Welker, and that's only been amplified with an injury to Danny Amendola, per ESPN. Through two weeks, he was targeted 21 times, including 14 in his debut—tied for a game-high with Amendola.
But all of those passes going his way didn't result in top production, as he only had six receptions for 89 yards in the first two games combined.
Despite Thompkins' inability to make a splash fantasy-wise through two weeks, Brady continues throwing to him early and often—he did so seven times against Tampa Bay on Sunday.
However, as great quarterbacks like Brady typically do, he also got many of his lesser-known receivers in on the action. Aaron Dobson (10 targets, 52 yards) and Brandon Bolden (six targets, 49 yards) emerged as potential impact players in the passing game.
But as long as Thompkins continues to show signs of improvement and retains his starting job, he'll be a must-start in fantasy football.