Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Week 3
*** Bold Take Edition***
It was a difficult Week 2 for a lot of fantasy football owners between bust performances from fast starters and also the plethora of injuries suffered as well. Despite all of the downs from this past weekend, there were plenty of incredible moments to be excited about heading into Week 3. With many teams looking to replace their now-injured starters, I examine the match-ups to exploit and the ones to stay away from for this weekend. With that being said, let’s move ahead and get ready for Week 3.
Recapping last week
Reviewing last week’s picks, it was a mixed bag with some good hits and bad misses. Jimmy Garoppolo was on his way to another strong game (14/16, 131 yards, two touchdowns) before getting hurt while Deshaun Watson (25/36, 275 yards, one touchdown, and one interception) finished outside the top-20 in quarterback scoring. Ronald Jones finished as a top-36 running back while Mark Ingram had (77 scrimmage yards and one touchdown) had a top-24 week and Nyheim Hines only had one offensive touch. Julian Edelman (eight receptions, 179 yards) had a top-10 week while Terry McLaurin finished a tiny bit better despite the tough match-up (seven receptions, 125 yards, one touchdown). Hunter Henry had another double-digit performance while Rob Gronkowski laid a goose egg. With that, let’s move on to Week 3.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Quarterbacks
Jaguars vs Dolphins
ESPN Starting Percentage: 3.9%
Minshew has exceeded expectations so far this season. He has two straight 20+ point games and six passing touchdowns in the early season. This week, he faces a Dolphins defense that has given up over 30+ fantasy points on average so far and is coming off a Week 2 game that allowed Josh Allen to throw for over 400 yards and four touchdowns. In a game against two weak defenses, you can expect there to be a bunch of points to be scored and Minshew to be busy keeping the Jaguars in the game. He has all the potential to have a top-12 performance in Week 3.
Titans vs Vikings
ESPN Starting Percentage: 9.0%
Tannehill has picked up right where he left off at the end of last season. He has thrown for at least 239 yards and two touchdowns in the first two games of the season, including a four-touchdown showing in Week 2. While the Vikings only gave up 214 passing yards and one touchdown to Philip Rivers in Week 2, Tannehill represents a tougher match-up. The Vikings also just lost defensive leader Anthony Barr and have given up 71 points to opponents (35.5 per game on average) through the first two games. Plus, if the Titans get A.J. Brown back for Week 3, Tannehill will be that much more dangerous for this weekend.
Bills vs Rams
ESPN Starting Percentage: 66.8%
Allen has been on fire to start the season, throwing for over 700 yards and six touchdowns with zero interceptions. But he played against two weak defenses in the New York Jets and then the Miami Dolphins. This week, he faces his first true test against the Rams, who have given up the seventh-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this season. They have also only allowed one passing touchdown and no more than 266 passing yards so far. It’ll be star wide receiver Stefon Diggs’ first big test as Bill going up against All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey while the Bills offensive line will have their work cut out for them against Aaron Donald. Allen is a Week 3 match-up that could leave fantasy football owners disappointed.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Running Backs
Chargers vs Panthers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 1.9%
Despite signing Austin Ekeler to a sizable four-year contract extension this offseason, Kelley has still seen a lot of work so far in his rookie season, including 23 carries in Week 2. He has been consistent too with at least 60 yards rushing in both games. He has taken over the Melvin Gordon role in this offense and is here to stay. He goes against a Panthers offense that has given up a league-high six rushing touchdowns and the most points-per-game on average to running backs (41.25 PPG) in fantasy football. The Chargers are expected to rack up points against a terrible Panthers defense and may rely on the run game to kill the clock once they run up the score. Kelley could see another 20+ carry game.
Steelers vs Texans
ESPN Starting Percentage: 49.2%
After exiting Week 1 and seeing Benny Snell racking up 100+ yards rushing, many expected Conner to lose touches to him going forward. On the contrary, Conner had a huge game with over 100 yards rushing and a touchdown on 16 carries in Week 2. Snell, on the other hand, had three carries for five yards and negative four yards on one catch. Conner faces the Texans, who have given up at least one rushing touchdown in each of the first two weeks and allowed for three separate running backs to rush for 50+ yards. With the Steelers’ offense rolling and the Texans struggling, we could see the Steelers run the ball a lot in what might not be a very competitive game.
Texans vs Steelers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 85.4%
After gaining 100+ scrimmage yards and a touchdown in Week 1, expectations were high for Johnson heading into this past weekend. He would only gain 50 scoreless yards from scrimmage on 13 offensive touches despite handling all of the carries and being the only running back to be targeted. Johnson faces another tough match-up against the Steelers, who are only one of two teams (Seahawks) not to give up 100 yards rushing or receiving cumulative to opposing running backs thus far. They’ve also only given up one touchdown as well. The Texans offense as a whole has disappointed so far and they are lined up for another tough match-up this weekend.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Wide Receivers
Cowboys vs Seahawks
ESPN Starting Percentage: 23.1%
Despite having to contend with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Ezekiel Elliott for targets in this loaded Cowboys offense, Lamb has put up two double-digit performances so far this season. This is including a Week 2 performance that saw him go for six receptions and 109 yards. He has been consistent with at least six targets in each game and comes into a smash spot for Week 3. The Seahawks are giving up the most points on average to opposing wide receivers (55 PPG). That includes an astounding six different receivers with at least six receptions and 72 yards, with four of those being over 100+ yards. This game has an “offensive showdown” written all over it and look for Lamb to have another big game.
Giants vs 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 25.8%
After a big six-reception, 102 yards, and two-touchdown performance in Week 1, Slayton came back down to Earth with only three catches and 33 yards this past weekend. Despite that, he actually has a strong matchup against the 49ers who will be without defensive stars Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, and Richard Sherman. San Francisco allowed for two Jets wide receivers to go for six receptions and 50+ yards this past weekend. Plus, with injuries to Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard, the Giants will need to rely on Slayton more to help in the passing game. With the Giants expected to be playing from behind for the majority of the game, they’ll be forced to throw it more and that’ll benefit Slayton that much more.
Rams vs Bills
ESPN Starting Percentage: 75.0%
Kupp has so far disappointed fantasy owners that hoped for a strong start like 2019. He has seen only 11 targets through two games with 120 yards to show for it. On top of that, he has a fumble lost from this past weekend. The Rams have simply not thrown a lot of passes thus far with only 58 total pass attempts in two weeks after averaging almost 40 passing attempts per week last season. Kupp and the Rams now face the Bills, who, outside of allowing a busted 69-yard touchdown to Jamison Crowder have done a good job at limiting opposing wide receivers. They held Devante Parker and Preston Williams to a combined six receptions, 79 yards, and a touchdown despite giving up 28 points. Kupp is a risky play this weekend against a tough Bills’ secondary.
Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em Tight Ends
Washington Football Team vs Browns
ESPN Starting Percentage: 5.3%
Despite coming up short (four receptions, 26 yards) in a great matchup against the Cardinals, there are still encouraging signs about Thomas going forward. He has seen the second-most targets (17) for Washington and at least eight in both games. He also has another great matchup this weekend against the Browns, who have given up the most points to opposing tight ends so far, including a combined 11 receptions, 87 yards, and one touchdown to C.J. Uzomah and Drew Sample in Week 2. There are simply not enough viable targets on offense for Dwayne Haskins to look at besides Terry McLaurin and Thomas. I expect him to continue targeting him against a defense that has struggled so far to defend against the tight end position.
Giants vs 49ers
ESPN Starting Percentage: 70.3%
Even though Engram has seen a healthy 15 targets so far this season, he only has eight receptions and 74 scoreless yards to show for it. Part of that has to do with Daniel Jones’ inconsistent and disappointing start to the season. Despite having Slayton as a “start” this week, Engram faces a 49ers’ defense that has only allowed a ridiculous three receptions and 26 yards to opposing tight ends so far. Even with the Giants losing some key playmakers on offense, it’s going to be tough to trust Engram until we can see more consistent production from him. Plus, with this very tough matchup in Week 3, this may not be the week we see that.