Fantasy Football Likes and Dislikes: Week 3
In an effort to aid you in your lineup-setting endeavors, I’ll be providing a weekly glimpse into my rankings; meaning, I’ll be highlighting players I like or dislike more compared to the expert consensus rankings as listed on FantasyPros.com or who I simply like or dislike for that given week. My ranking at the time of the writing will be alongside the player’s name. Needless to say, that ranking could change as the week progresses.
Bear in mind that I start this writing earlier in the week, so Expert Consensus Rankings will likely be different by the time of publication. These cannot be held against me – only used for credit.
While I do acknowledge that kickers are people too, neither they nor D/STs will be included.
Finally, these cannot be held against me – only used to give credit when credit is due.
As always, feel free to reach me on Twitter for any queries before the slate and I’ll try to get back to you.
*Note that half PPR scoring applies.
Week 3 Likes
AZ vs. DET – QB1
It is so fun to watch Kyler Murray play the game of football. He’s arguably the shiftiest quarterback – and possibly the shiftiest player – in the league. Heading into another slate of games he is tied for ninth in rushing yards with three rushing touchdowns. The second-year playmaker owns more rushing yards than Christian McCaffrey (158 to 156). Yes, McCaffrey was hurt in Week 2, but it’s fun to verbalize. Murray is a Top 3 quarterback for me this week with overall QB1 potential.
Gardner Minshew (Thursday night)
JAC vs. MIA – QB10
Believe. In. the Stache. Through two contests Minshew has displayed elite accuracy and swag, throwing for three touchdowns in each game. Granted, he threw a pair of not-so-accurate passes to the Titans a week ago, but I’ll accept 358 total yards and three touchdowns any day. And in this young season, only two teams have surrendered more fantasy points per game to quarterbacks than the Miami Dolphins. The ex-Washington State gunslinger is a Top 10 option for me. It should be noted that his current rank is contingent on D.J. Chark being active. He is questionable as of this writing.
PHI vs. CIN – RB6
Look who’s back! Sanders is healthy now after missing Week 1 as he scampered for 131 total yards and a score in a blowout loss to the Rams. He was even targeted seven times. The Bengals represent an easier opponent than the aforementioned Rams and Philadelphia will be without rookie wide receiver Jalen Reagor now. Look for another 20+ touches and 100+ total yards in back-to-back outings for Sanders.
LAC vs. CAR – RB12
Ah, that’s more like it. Ekeler showed out like we know he can in Week 2 after a disappointing first game, scratching that annoying week-long itch he left behind. Ekeler placed 148 total yards in his ledger on 20 touches. Encouragingly, he was more involved as a pass-catcher with Justin Herbert under center. With Herbert starting again, I’m comfortably starting Ekeler as an RB1 this week. I’m also comfortable starting Ekeler’s running mate, Josh Kelley, as a flex is an advisable strategy.
WAS @ CLE – WR5
McLaurin and my guy Antonio Gibson were two of the few bright spots in a bad loss to the Cardinals last Sunday afternoon. The trio of McLaurin, Gibson and Logan Thomas could do big things for Washington for years to come if Dwayne Haskins can acclimate to the professional level.
As for this slate, McLaurin is one of my favorite receivers. A shadow from Denzel Ward is a possibility here, but McLaurin can beat any coverage from any cornerback. What’s more, the Cleveland defense is the eighth-worst as far as fantasy points per game surrendered to the position (35.6).
Christian Kirk – Kirk has since been ruled OUT for Week 3
AZ vs. DET – WR43
DeAndre Hopkins is too obvious of a “like,” so Kirk is listed instead. His production through two outings has left something to be desired, but don’t give up all hope yet. Kirk made a terrific snag down the right sideline on a deep ball and was even gifted with a coveted carry in a win over Washington. In what is a favorable matchup versus the Detroit Lions, I’m clamoring for a Kirk breakout. I’ll take one order of five catches for at least 60 yards and a touchdown, please. Be advised, though, Kirk did not practice Wednesday with a groin issue.
TEN @ MIN – TE7
Not that anyone cares about anyone else’s fantasy team, but in my home league I got a little too cute and plugged in Chris Herndon – who will be mentioned later – for Smith. Luckily, it didn’t cost me the matchup – but it almost did! Suffice it to say, Smith has earned the right to be called an every-week starter. By the way, Mo Alie-Cox just posted five catches for 111 yards versus Minnesota. Start Jonnu Smith.
Mike Gesicki (Thursday night)
MIA @ JAC – TE8
Gesicki was one of “my guys” for 2020, so it was nice to see him do what he did on Sunday. What he did was catch eight of his 11 targets for 130 yards and a touchdown. This was against the Buffalo Bills, mind you; one of the better defenses in football. He now faces a Jacksonville Jaguars squad that has yielded nearly 100 yards and one touchdown per game to tight ends. All aboard the Gesicki Express before tickets are sold out!
Week 3 Dislikes
LAR @ BUF – QB21
There is not an excessive amount of certainty in this listing, but I will be uncomfortable starting Goff on the road in Buffalo. Ryan Fitzpatrick more than held his own facing what is one of the better defenses in the NFL in the Bills, I just don’t like this matchup for Goff. The Rams are traveling across the entire country, it’s Goff’s first time playing the Bills (you read that right) and the weather could be a factor. He’s well outside of QB1 territory.
NYG vs. SF – Outside Top 25
We knew going into the season that Jones’ schedule was brutal through the first dozen or so games. It doesn’t get any easier against the 49ers. Making matters worse is that Jones just lost his star running back and the most valuable weapon in Saquon Barkley. San Francisco suffered losses of its own as defensive end Nick Bosa tore an ACL and Solomon Thomas may be sidelined with a knee injury. Nonetheless, I’d rather take my chances on someone like the aforementioned Gardner Minshew against the Dolphins or Ryan Tannehill against the Vikings. I know fellow Gridiron Expert, Doug Moore, agrees with me.
TB @ DEN – RB41
Tampa Bay’s backfield was Leonard Fournette’s following a fumble by Jones in the first quarter of Week 2. Thankfully, Jones found the end zone before the mishap. It remains to be seen if head coach Bruce Arians keeps Fournette in as the lead dog now or if Jones’ stint in the doghouse was a one-week stay. Fournette did impress after taking over for Jones. I don’t view the second-year back as more than a flex.
DET @ AZ – RB50
What a peculiar committee we have on our hands in Detroit. Johnson, Adrian Peterson and D’Andre Swift were given eight, seven and five carries, respectively, although Swift paced the corps in snaps played and touches. My money remains on Swift to emerge as the most valuable piece here. He is, after all, the primary receiver out of the backfield. Johnson did score last week, but the eight carries and one target aren’t going to cut it.
OAK @ NE – Outside of Top 60
The rookie speed demon was ostensibly invisible on Monday night during the Darren Waller show. Bryan Edwards was the more impressive first-year receiver for the Raiders while Ruggs’ best contribution was drawing a big pass interference penalty late in the contest. It’s not like Derek Carr played poorly either; Carr was fantastic. We can’t risk starting Ruggs right now. The volume isn’t there.
SF @ NYG – WR57
The talented Arizona State product needs to show me more before I deploy him into a starting lineup. The 49ers didn’t need to pass much last week in a blowout victory over the Jets and with Jimmy Garoppolo hurting. Even so, Aiyuk was only targeted three times, catching two of them for 21 yards. New blood in Nick Mullens might do Aiyuk well, but I’m staying away for now.
NYJ @ IND – TE21
I could be jinxing myself into a Chris Herndon breakout here, but he won’t have a better opportunity for said breakout than last week. By no means am I giving up hope on Herndon just yet, but it’s disconcerting when Jamison Crowder is sidelined, the Jets are forced to pass and he still catches one pass. He’s being used more as a blocker and I’m blocking him from my starting lineups.
CAR @ LAC – Outside Top 25
I’ll make this one short and sweet – bench Thomas until further notice. He’s been targeted twice on 67 pass attempts. The hopeful breakout is not coming to fruition.
Zach hails from the bustling metropolis of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Three things Zach enjoys are football, food and water. Three things Zach doesn’t enjoy are kale, mushrooms and the company of those who enjoy either (except hobbits). Zach is a life-long Broncos fan and has been playing fantasy football longer than he hasn’t. He had top-five finishes in FantasyPros’ 2016 NFL DFAC competition and the 2016 SFB480.