Fantasy Football: Week 3 Starts/Sits
Ben Roethlisberger (vs. HOU): After going up against Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, and Lamar Jackson in Week 2, the Texans continue their brutal schedule versus quarterbacks this week against a healthy Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Roethlisberger certainly does not offer the rushing upside of someone like Newton, but he airs it out to the tune of 270 passing yards per game and gets into the end zone often, with 2.50 touchdowns per game this season. Roethlisberger has top tier WRs at his side in JuJu Smith Schuster and rising star Diontae Johnson in good matchups this week. I expect the Steelers to make this a competitive game against a Texans defense that can’t seem to buy a good matchup to start the year.
Cam Newton (vs. LVR): The Patriots have adapted their offensive scheme to fit Cam Newton’s skill set, and it’s paid off very well to this point. Newton is currently the fantasy QB3 on the season after facing the Dolphins and tough Seahawks defense the first two weeks. The rushing upside is what really interests me in Newton, as he gained 75 rushing yards in Week 1 and 47 yards in Week 2 rushing alone. If he gets anywhere around 50 rushing yards per game (61 rushing yards per game on average this season) on top of his normal passing yards per game (276 pass yards per game through two weeks), that’s a recipe for success in fantasy. Newton faces the Raiders who are allowing the sixth most Fantasy Points Per Game (FPPG) to quarterbacks this year after facing Drew Brees last week and Teddy Bridgewater in Week 1.
Jared Goff (@ BUF): It is tough to start any quarterback on the road in Buffalo, and with Goff not being locked into every week starter role for fantasy, you can avoid him this week. The Bills defense is stacked with talent, and the Rams running backs are a bit banged up as well. You may be wondering how the running backs being out affects Goff specifically. Well, if they are down to their potentially their third-stringer in Darrell Henderson, the team might not have the same success running the ball to sustain longer drives, which in theory would lead to less touchdown opportunities for the Rams. I’m not saying that is definitely going to happen in Buffalo, but that’s the logic behind it. I’m expecting a low scoring contest in this one. Goff is an easy fade this week.
Teddy Bridgewater (@ LAC): The Panthers are a 6.5-point road underdog in this matchup, and for good reason. The team will be without a player in Christian McCaffrey who was basically 75% of their offense and the offense itself wasn’t all that great to begin with. On the road, across the country, it just seems like a bad idea to play Bridgewater in any format this week. I’m personally avoiding mostly every Panther except Mike Davis if I’m in a pinch, and perhaps D.J. Moore, but that’s it.
Mike Davis (@ LAC): The aforementioned Christian McCaffrey is out for Week 3 and that leaves journey man Mike Davis as the starting running back for the Panthers, who only have Trenton Cannon behind him as of this writing. I do not think Davis is a good player compared to some of the other talent in the league, but if you are in a pinch with all of the injuries this week, you can do worse than Davis who plays the Chargers. Game flow might be an issue, but since they have nobody else besides maybe a wide receiver in Curtis Samuel who is viable enough to receive running back touches, it might not matter how talented Davis is or not. He should have no issue getting at least top 24 running back numbers this week, and as someone you likely picked up off the waiver wire, that is not a bad thing at all.
Jonathan Taylor (vs. NYJ): You should be starting Taylor already, but expect another huge performance from him this week with the Colts likely having total control of the game from the start. I expect this to be a one-sided game and that bodes well for Taylor, who is the primary running back for the Colts. Hines will get more than one touch for sure, but Hines’ volume typically comes when the team is forced to pass a lot or when they are playing behind, which is not likely to be the case this week against this lowly Jets team.
Todd Gurley (vs. CHI): Gurley has been declining as an elite running back talent ever since he got that massive extension from his former team, the Rams. That decline has continued in Atlanta, to the point where he’s hardly usable here in Week 3 unless he scores a touchdown. The Bears defense is solid enough to be able to slow Gurley down, forcing the Falcons to air it out more often. I think Gurley is more of an RB3 type of player this week who should only be started in the FLEX if possible.
Dion Lewis (vs. SF): Just because star running back Saquon Barkley is out, does not make Dion Lewis a must-start. It’s going to be a messy committee in New York until one of Lewis, Gallman, or newly signed DeVonta Freeman establish themselves as the lead back in this offense. Neither are exciting at this time even in a matchup against an injury depleted 49ers team.
Tyler Lockett (vs. DAL): I could have easily said to start DK Metcalf this week, but you already know that after he decimated Stephon Gilmore in primetime last week. I’ll dig a little deeper for this start and go with Tyler Lockett who has just as good if not a better matchup. The Cowboys are going to be without Chidobe Awuzie, Trevon Diggs, DeMarcus Lawrence, Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch on defense, which is going to be a problem against this elite Seahawks offense. Start all of your Seahawks, Wilson, Carson, Metcalf, and Lockett, Sanders and enjoy the fantasy production!
Diontae Johnson (vs. HOU): We talked about Roethlisberger’s matchup earlier in this article, and Diontae Johnson has a good matchup as well against the Texans. Johnson was banged up earlier this week, but he is all set to go against the defense that allows the 12th most fantasy points to wide receivers to start the year. JuJu Smith-Schuster likely gets the attention from the top CBs, leaving Johnson in a great spot versus DB Bradley Roby most of the time.
Robert Woods (@ BUF): Bobby Trees gets a revenge game immediately after signing a long-term extension with his new team, but I would be cautious of this matchup against Tre’Davious White. White is a player you don’t want to mess with and thus if you have comparable options, I’m avoiding Woods in fantasy this week. By the way, the Fantasy Guru, John Hansen gets credit for the great nickname!
Will Fuller (vs. PIT): Nobody is denying Fuller’s talent at all. In fact, Fuller has as much upside in anyone in the league. The problem is, you can’t count on him to stay healthy. On top of that, he draws the elite Steelers defense this week and that is a problem. He’s going to matchup against DBs Joe Haden or Steven Nelson, neither of which are good matchups. Also, the Steelers have elite safeties in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmonds, which caps Fuller’s upside. The Texans are going to need to be creative this week if they want Fuller to be involved.
T.J. Hockenson (@ ARI): Pretty much every week until proven otherwise, you are going to want to start the tight end versus the Cardinals. They allow the most FPPG to tight ends. They added one player to attempt to stop that in Isaiah Simmons, but he hasn’t had the greatest to start his career through two weeks. The Cardinals were a historically bad defense vs tight ends last year and they are continuing that trend of being last in the league this year. Wheels up for Hockenson who has a great matchup on paper. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Marvin Jones have a better than usual game this week with Golladay likely returning and drawing away the top coverage.
Jordan Reed (@ NYG): Reed is going to be in play whenever George Kittle is out, for two reasons. One is, the 49ers scheme heavily involves tight ends, which is part of the reason why Kittle has been so electric on offense. The other reason is because quite literally every single skill position player for the 49ers is hurt, and somehow Reed is still standing. Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, Deebo Samuel, and George Kittle, literally everyone is all out for this game. It’s funny how Reed of all people with his extensive injury history remains healthy, but that’s 2020 for you. The Giants are allowing the 14th most fantasy points per game to tight ends this year. I’m expecting Reed to get similar volume compared to last week, though don’t expect the touchdowns to be there.
Darren Waller (vs. NE): The Patriots scheme on defense, most of the time, eliminates the top threat on offense for every team every week (I say most of the time because DK Metcalf proved they can be beaten last week). This week, it’s Darren Waller who has a tough matchup against the strong Patriots defense, most likely. The Patriots all around have a fantastic defense, but I’d expect them to focus on limiting the damage from running back Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller, the most talented options for the Raiders this year. I’m not sure if Stephon Gilmore who is a cornerback will be defending Waller, but he’s covered tight ends in the past, so I would not be surprised if that happens. If Gilmore is not on Waller, he might be on wide receiver Henry Ruggs instead, on the outside. Either way, tough to expect much from the Raiders this week in general. You probably don’t have another viable option if you have Waller, but don’t expect a top five performance this week. I’d personally expect closer to a TE15-TE20 finish. You probably will be forced to start Waller because of where you drafted him, just keep in mind the fact that he’s got some real downside this week.
Dalton Schultz (@ SEA): Somehow, Dalton Schultz balled out last week, hauling in nine of his ten targets for 88 yards and a touchdown, filling in well for Blake Jarwin. How he got ten targets is beyond me, I just don’t get it. I feel like this is more of a fluke. Between Elliott, Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup, someone is going to get the short end of the stick on this offense, and my money is on a guy who has been as low as the third tight end on the depth chart in the last few seasons for the Cowboys. I feel like Schultz’ volume is going to be closer to five or six targets and not ten every week, and if he’s only getting three or four catches instead of nine, there’s other options who are better plays and I’d rather not rely on Schultz until I see him produce for a second week in a row.
Colts (vs. NYJ): The Jets are going to be without Le’Veon Bell, Jamison Crowder, Breshad Perriman, and Conner McGovern. This was already a bottom three offense in the league and if you add the injuries on top of it, the Colts should roll all over the Jets this week.
Buccaneers (@ DEN): Tampa has been a solid defense to start the year after a breakout game versus the Panthers last week. This week, they face backup quarterback Jeff Driskel and the Denver Broncos, who are without Courtland Sutton, on the road. I’m expecting the Buccaneers to manhandle this offense, which on paper is no match to the Broncos.
Ravens (vs. KC): Any time you have a defense going against a top three offense in the league, you have to be at least a little worried about them in fantasy. I’m not expecting negative performances from the Ravens DST this week, but I’m also not expecting their usual elite production. I’d be surprised if they finished better than top 12 this week, but they do say defenses win championships, so you never know. I’m hoping this game turns into a shootout between two of the best offenses in the league on Monday Night.
Texans (@ PIT): We talked about how Ben Roethlisberger and Diontae Johnson have solid matchups this week, so in theory that makes the Texans defense a tough play against them. I’m targeting other teams this week and not playing the Texans, personally. I’m expecting Pittsburgh to put up some points this week.
Jason Myers (vs. DAL): Start everyone versus the Cowboys. I’m expecting another shootout in Seattle. There are going to be plenty of points from both sides of the ball in this one.
Younghoe Koo (vs. CHI): The Falcons should have no problem moving the ball against this Bears defense, and if they stall in the red zone, enter Younghoe Koo who is there to save the day.
Brandon McManus (vs. TB): McManus is a kicker we prefer to use at home when his quarterback and offensive teammates are healthy, but that is not the case this week. Without Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton, Denver is likely going to be a team struggling to put points on the board.
Randy Bullock (@ PHI): After missing a game deciding field goal attempt, Bullock went down with an “injury” as an excuse for his missed kick. Personally, I think he was being a bit dramatic, and just flat out missed and made an excuse. The Bengals should have no problem scoring on the Eagles in general, but I’m not expecting much upside from Bullock this week. There’s plenty of other options available at your disposal.
(Cover Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images)