Check out our fantasy football Start’em or Sit’em picks for Week 3 of the NFL season before setting all of your lineups.
With Week 2 in the books, fantasy football trends have finally began to show some consistency. Players that blew up or fizzled in the first game were able to show what they could do this week; giving them either positive or negative vibes to carry for the rest of the season. These trends help make start/sit decisions a little easier but they are still some of the toughest aspects of fantasy football. Here are my Start‘em and Sit ‘em candidates for Week 3.
QB Start of the Week: Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. CHI
Big Ben has been one of the most frustrating QBs to use in fantasy football for the past few years. He has some of the best arm talent in the NFL and is in questionably the best offense in the league, which gives owners very high hopes for him to produce top QB1 numbers. So far this season he has been doing well with 506 yards, four TDs and one INT; making him the QB10 in 2017. He has showed fantasy owners thus far that he is a reliable weekly quarterback play and has special upside in games played in Pittsburgh due to his massive home/road splits (260 yards, 1.8 TDs and 0.77 INTs on average at home throughout his career versus 245 yards, 1.3 TDs and 0.94 INTs on the road).
In Week 3, the Steelers take on the Bears, a defense that has been shredded by the Falcons and Bucs so far this season. They rank 16th as a defense against quarterbacks, a delightful matchup for Roethlisberger and the rest of the Steelers passing offense. Though he is on the road in this game, he and his supporting cast are healthy, causing me to start Big Ben in Week 3.
QB Start‘em: Trevor Siemian (DEN) vs. BUF
What a shock. Trevor Siemian went from a quarterback who was competing for his job in Denver this offseason, and certainly on no one’s fantasy radar; to being one of the top quarterbacks through two weeks with 250 yards, six TDs and two INTs. He has been an excellent surprise for anyone that took a late flier on him in their draft or even snagged him off of the waiver wire last week. In Week 3 the Broncos face the Bills, who allowed 228 passing yards to Cam Newton and the Panthers last week. Look for Siemian to continue his hot streak of a season in this good matchup and be an excellent start this week.
QB Start‘em: Jay Cutler (MIA) vs. NYJ
After the season-ending injury to Ryan Tannehill in training camp, the Miami Dolphins reached out to many different quarterbacks to see if they would be a good replacement for him. After a brief search, Adam Gase and the Dolphins decided that broadcaster-in-the-making Jay Cutler would be the best man for the job. Cutler had success with Gase when they worked together in Chicago in 2015 and some fantasy experts hoped that they could rekindle this connection and Cutler would have a good 2017 season. After the game delay caused by Hurricane Irma, we saw what Cutler could do this past week versus the Chargers. Cutler finished with 230 yards and one TD, a fairly decent fantasy stat line. He has the potential to have a better game in Week 3 when Miami faces the Jets, the 30th ranked defense against quarterbacks this season. Look for Cutler to have a big game in what should be an easy win for the Dolphins. Start Cutler this week.
RB Start of the Week: Todd Gurley (LAR) vs. SF
Todd Gurley is a polarizing player in the fantasy football world. Many experts predicted that he would have a bounce-back campaign this season with the revamped Rams while almost as many experts said he would continue his downward spiral and be the same 2016 Gurley this season. So far, he is the better version of himself with 128 rushing yards on 35 rushes and two TDs along with eight receptions for 104 yards and one TD. One aspect of Gurley’s game this season that has helped him become a top fantasy RB is his receiving role. Gurley has 10 targets through the first two games, second on the team only to Copper Kupp. These receptions along with his great rushing production have led to a stellar start to the season for Gurley, which I do not see decreasing any time soon.
The Rams and 49ers play in Week 3 which should be a favorable matchup for Gurley. The 49ers rank as the 19th defense against running backs so far this season, leaving Gurley with plenty of big game potential. He also has a history of excelling against San Francisco, with 247 yards and two TDs combined in three games against that squad in his career. Expect a huge game from Gurley and have confidence in him to produce RB1 numbers.
RB Start‘em: Chris Thompson (WAS) vs. OAK
The primary receiving back in Washington has had a great start to his 2017 season. Chris Thompson stepped into this role in the offense and been very fantasy relevant through two weeks with 13.9 and 26.4 point performances in 0.5 PPR scoring formats. Even without a lot of rushing attempts, Thompson is a top five RB through two weeks due to his big play ability. While these big plays are not sustainable, his target share (12 targets so far, second on the team behind Terrelle Pryor) gives Thompson a safe floor for fantasy production going forward. Plus, with Rob Kelley’s health in question for this upcoming week, Thompson could see even more snaps than he has so far this year. Washington faces Oakland, a team that should be a good matchup for Thompson and the rest of the Redskin offense. Start Thompson this week.
RB Start‘em: Isaiah Crowell (CLE) vs. IND
Isaiah Crowell has been sort of a let-down so far this season. A lot of fantasy owners had to pick him early in drafts this year with his ADP being in the third round, which led to high expectations for the fourth year Alabama State prospect. In 2017 Crowell has 70 rushing yards on 27 rushes along with 33 receiving yards, ranking him as the 35th RB in 0.5 PPR formats. While he has been slightly disappointing, his workload in the Cleveland offense provides him with the potential to have big games. Crowell has a great matchup this week that I expect him to take advantage of. The Browns play the Colts, a defense that gave up 27.5 points to the Los Angeles Rams running backs in Week 1 and 12.6 points to Arizona running backs last week (0.5 PPR formats). Crowell should be able to excel against Indianapolis and have a big game this week. Feel confident in starting Crowell.
WR Start of the Week: Davante Adams (GB) vs. CIN
Davante Adams was a surprise top ten WR in 2016 that had a lot of high expectations going into this season. Many fantasy experts projected a slight regression for Adams in 2017 due to his monstrous and unsustainable 12 TDs a year ago, but he has been a WR1 so far this season. Adams has 11 receptions on 17 targets for 146 yards and one TD, ranking him as the #9 WR in 0.5 PPR formats. Along with his production, Adams is projected to see a larger role in the offense in coming weeks due to injuries to Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Being one of the main receiving targets in a high powered offense like the Packers bodes well for any WR and should lead Adams to great production.
In Week 3 the Packers face the bumbling Bengals, a team in complete shambles. Anticipate Green Bay to take full advantage of this disorder and have an offensive explosion, which stands to benefit Adams. His role along with this matchup has me starting Adams in Week 3.
WR Start‘em: Jarvis Landry (MIA) vs. NYJ
The Miami offense got off to a great start in Week 2. One aspect that was especially positive was their passing game. Jay Cutler looked good behind center for the Dolphins and was able to spread the ball around effectively. One beneficiary of this was WR Jarvis Landry. He had a big game with a whopping 13 receptions on 15 targets for 78 yards. He was by far and away Cutler’s favorite target in this game and should be going forward. The Dolphins play the Jets in Week 3, a very positive matchup for the Miami offense. Look for Landry to be a good start this week.
WR Start‘em: Marqise Lee (JAX) vs. BAL
In the absence of Allen Robinson, fantasy owners were looking to see who would take over his role in the Jaguars offense. Two candidates arose, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee, both young and unproven wide receivers. Last week they both had solid fantasy stat lines with Hurns getting 82 yards and one TD on six receptions and Lee getting 76 yards on seven receptions. Both players had good games, and should be fairly solid players throughout the rest of the season. But I am picking Lee to be a better play in Week 3. While both were targeted heavily by Bortles in this game, Lee had the most targets of all the Jaguars with 12. His target share in the offense shows Bortles is looking to Lee and should continue to do so. While the Jaguars are facing the Ravens this week, a less than favorable matchup for them, Lee should still be able to produce good fantasy numbers as long as he gets the targets similar to this past game. Start Lee as your Flex in Week 3.
TE Start of the Week: Evan Engram (NYG) vs. PHI
One of the hottest TE prospects in last year’s draft was Evan Engram. The Ole Miss product was seen by scouts as someone who possesses elite pass catching ability along with stellar route running and athleticism. His skills allowed for Engram to be selected by the New York Giants in the first round. Engram had modest expectations from most of the fantasy football community going into this season. Rookie tight ends generally have a hard time adjusting to the NFL right away, plus Eli Manning has not produced many fantasy relevant tight ends throughout his career. So far this season Engram has been productive with 93 yards, eight catches on 12 targets and one TD. His high target count shows that Manning has a connection with him, giving him a positive outlook for the rest of 2017.
In Week 3 the Giants face the Eagles, the 24th ranked defense against the TE position, a positive matchup for Engram. Though the Giants offense as a whole has been struggling so far this season and has looked dysfunctional, Engram’s target share in the offense will give him enough production to be a good start this week.
TE Start‘em: Eric Ebron (DET) vs. ATL
Ever since his top-ten selection in the 2014 draft, Eric Ebron has had lots of expectations to fill in the Detroit offense. While he has been able to produce fantasy relevant games in the past, such as a 14.5 point game in 0.5 PPR format last season, he has never been consistent enough to be relied on for a weekly basis. He started 2017 in normal Ebron fashion with two receptions on three targets for nine yards, a disappointing stat line for anyone that drafted and started him in Week 1. However, Ebron looked much better in this last matchup against the Giants with five receptions on five targets for 42 yards and a TD. While his stats were good in this game, what was even more impressive was how he looked on the field. Anyone that tuned in to the Monday Night matchup saw a healthy tight end that was looked at often in the Detroit passing game. Expect another productive game this week as the Lions play the Falcons, in what should be a good matchup for Ebron. Start Ebron in Week 3.
TE Start‘em: Jack Doyle (IND) vs. CLE
The Indianapolis Colts have been an offense to avoid in fantasy football though the first two weeks. They have struggled so far in 2017 without their quarterback Andrew Luck and have been searching for answers on how to play without him. One player that this has affected is TE Jack Doyle. He had a messily 41 yards on two receptions in Week 1 when Scott Tolzien was under center for most of the game. Many owners bailed on the Colts TE after this disappointing start, which is understandable. For those that stuck with him for Week 2, Doyle delivered with eight receptions for 79 yards. A big difference between these games was the QB change. Jacoby Brissett started in Week 2 versus the Cardinals; and while he was not overly impressive himself, Brissett did have a special chemistry with Doyle. Brissett targeted him eight times in that game, second most on the day behind only Kamar Aiken. This new found connection should lead to many more fantasy relevant games for Doyle. Expect a big game from the Colts TE in Week 3 against the pedestrian Browns defense.
D/ST Start of the Week: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CHI
Embed from Getty ImagesThe Pittsburgh Steelers are a top five D/ST so far in 2017. After having a big blow up game in Week 1 versus Browns, the Steelers D/ST had another solid performance with nine points allowed and one fumble recovery versus the Case Keenum-led Minnesota Vikings. They have proven to be a consistent weekly D/ST and a unit that should flourish in favorable matchups. This week they face the Bears, an offense that has been turnover machine to start the season with two INTs and two fumbles in 2017. Pick the Steelers D/ST off of the waiver wire and put them in your lineup this week.
QB Sit of the Week: Russell Wilson (SEA) vs. TEN
Embed from Getty ImagesRussell Wilson has been discouraging so far in 2017. He ranks as a QB2 in most formats, something his owners are surely disappointed in since he was drafted early in most drafts. It is not all his fault though, the offensive line he has to play behind is atrocious, giving him almost no time to develop a play or get comfortable in the pocket. He has already been sacked 6 times this season, leading the league so far. Unless the Seahawks can find a way improve the offensive line, their whole offense is going to suffer, especially so for Wilson.
In Week 3, the Seahawks play the Titans, the 14th ranked defense against quarterbacks. This tough matchup along with the porous o-line has me benching Wilson this week.
QB Sit‘em: Deshaun Watson (HOU) vs. NE
After starting the season as the backup in Houston, Deshaun Watson is now the man trusted to run the Texans offense. In his first start in Cincinnati, Watson had 125 passing yards, 67 rushing yards and a rushing TD; which led to a QB11 finish last week. Some fantasy owners are going to want to capitalize on Watson’s running ability and play him going forward. While this could be a good option in the future, I would not play him this week. With the Texans playing the Patriots, it will be a tough matchup for Watson. The Patriots have a good defense that will give the Houston QB trouble. Don’t start Watson this week.
QB Sit‘em: Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs. SEA
Marcus Mariota has had a good season so far in 2017. He ranks as the QB12 through two games with 471 passing yards, 50 yards on the ground and two touchdowns (one passing and one rushing). He is a talented QB with the potential to have a great 2017 season; however I would be hesitant to start him in Week 3. He and the Titans face the Seahawks, an elite passing defense that will give Mariota trouble. With the tough matchup and better options on the waiver wire, I would leave Mariota on the bench this week.
RB Sit of the Week: Leonard Fournette (JAX) vs. BAL
Leonard Fournette was the #4 pick in last year’s draft, and after his first two games we can see why the Jaguars took him so high. He is as talented a running back that there is in the NFL with good speed and plenty of power. So far in 2017 Fournette has 140 yards on 40 rushes for two TDs, ranking him as the RB9. Most of his production came in that Week 1 matchup against Houston, but Fournette still had a nice game in Week 2, showing he has the ability to be fantasy relevant on a weekly basis. While Fournette has a good role in the Jacksonville offense, his matchup in Week 3 has me concerned.
The Jaguars play the Ravens, the 7th ranked defense against running backs in 2017. This matchup will be the toughest one Fournette has faced yet and the Jaguar offense could struggle as a whole, dampening Fournette’s fantasy potential. Another factor to consider for Fournette is this matchup’s venue. The Ravens-Jaguars game is the first London game of the season, which is something brand new for Fournette to deal with along with this matchup. Bench Fournette this week and look forward to future games.
RB Sit‘em: Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) vs. MIN
While Doug Martin is serving four-game suspension, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been giving the primary running role to capable RB Jacquizz Rodgers. In the Buccaneers first game this past week Rodgers finished with 67 yards on 19 rushes and one TD, a solid stat line that impressed anyone that started him. Rodgers should continue to be productive in Martin’s absence but I would be cautious starting him in Week 3. This week the Bucs face the Vikings, a top defense that will corral Tampa’s running game. Keep Rodgers on your bench this week.
RB Sit‘em: Tarik Cohen (CHI) vs. PIT
The hottest waiver wire addition so far in 2017 is Bears RB Tarik Cohen. The spry receiving back has had a huge role in the Chicago offense leading the team in targets with 21 in two games. Even though he is not the primary running back and does not get many rushing attempts, Cohen has a nice floor because he is so vital to the passing game and is one of Mike Glennon’s favorite targets. If he was not picked up after his big Week 1 perfomance (66 yards rushing on 5 carries and 47 receiving yards on 8 receptions with one TD), he was most certainly swooped up after Week 2. Many of his owners are going to be tempted to play him, especially with the report that Jordan Howard is not 100% and could potentially miss Week 3, but I would hold off on that for this week. The Bears play the Steelers, the 11th ranked defense against running backs in 2017. Pittsburgh shut down RB Duke Johnson in Week 1, who has a similar skill set to Cohen, so they will know how to handle him this week. Take Cohen out of your lineup for this week.
WR Sit of the Week: Eric Decker (TEN) vs. SEA
Throughout the offseason the Tennessee Titans were looking to revamp their wide receiver group. While they did draft two good prospects, the biggest acquisition for the Titans was the free agency signing of Eric Decker after he was graciously relieved of his contract with the Jets. Many fantasy experts saw this addition as a huge upgrade for Marcus Mariota and projected Decker to have an excellent season. However, this has not come to fruition quite yet. Decker is the WR88 with six receptions for 42 yards and zero TDs through two weeks. To say he has been a disappointment is completely valid statement, he has been downright bad so far in 2017 and I don’t see how he can recover. While his target share shows the potential for improvement (tied for second on the team with 13 targets), he and Mariota are just not on the same page quite yet and Decker is not fantasy relevant.
I expect this unfortunate trend to continue on Week 3 as Tennessee faces Seattle this week. Seattle has a great passing defense and will keep the Titans wide receivers in check. While many owners did not start Decker last week (7.8% on ESPN formats), if any of you are looking to play this Titans WR, I would look elsewhere and keep him on your bench.
WR Sit‘em: Tyreek Hill (KC) vs. LAC
Tyreek Hill is definitely one of the most explosive players in the NFL. The Kansas City WR has big play ability and can score on almost any play. In fact, before last week Hill had a streak of 5 consecutive games with at least one 60 yard TD. This talent makes Hill a very intriguing fantasy prospect and has showed that with his solid start to 2017 (176 receiving yards on 11 receptions for one TD). Hill should be able to be a productive WR this season but I would not start him in Week 3. The Chiefs face the Chargers, a team that Hill has not done well against in the past. In 2016 he only put up 55 receiving yards on six receptions and one TD in two games against the Chargers. Look for Hill to have a down game in this matchup in Week 3.
WR Sit‘em: Jamison Crowder (WAS) vs. OAK
Jamison Crowder has been a disaster so far in 2017. Through two games he only has 61 receiving yards on seven catches and zero TDs, far from the expectations he had going into this season. The Washington offense as a whole has struggled mightily but Crowder has felt the biggest impact of this regression. When you watch Crowder play you can see that he has a lot of talent and is someone who can be efficient when he gets the ball; causing many fantasy owners to hold onto Crowder despite this awful start and even look to play him this week. To those I would suggest precaution. Washington plays Oakland in Week 3, and while this matchup may seem positive, I would still hold off on starting Crowder. The offense is still a mess and this will not be the week that everything comes together, causing me to keep Crowder on my bench.
TE Sit of the Week: Jordan Reed (WAS) vs. OAK
Embed from Getty ImagesAnother player that has been affected by the Redskin regression is Jordan Reed. He is a top TE talent and when healthy is one of, if not the, best fantasy tight ends. Unfortunately, Reed is both in a bad offense and unhealthy in 2017. He is facing a slew of ailments, from his allegedly fractured toe he has been dealing with all offseason to his AC joint sprain and chest contusion he suffered in Week 2. Reed has made a home of the injury report in recent years but he has never had so many injuries happen all at once, leaving me very concerned with his season long projection.
Oakland is a tough matchup for tight ends so far in 2017, ranking 8th best against them. This tough matchup, injury concerns and an impaired offense has me benching Reed in Week 3.
TE Sit‘em: Charles Clay (BUF) vs. DEN
Charles Clay was a top tight end in Week 1 with 13.3 points in 0.5 PPR formats but fell off in Week 2 with only 2.8 points. This had a lot to do with Buffalo struggling against Carolina last week. The Bills are not a strong enough offense to excel against strong defenses and will primarily only thrive in poor matchups. With the Bills facing the Broncos in Week 3, the best defense in the NFL, I would stay far away from Bills players this week, including Clay. Keep him on your bench and look for better matchups later in the season.
TE Sit‘em: Ed Dickson (CAR) vs. NO
With the devastating loss of Greg Olsen, many fantasy owners are trying to find not only a replacement for him on their roster but looking to see who will take over that role in the Panthers offense. The obvious next guy in line is veteran TE Ed Dickson. He has never been a fantasy relevant tight end throughout his career and is not much of a pass catching weapon. His ownership went up this past week and some owners are hoping he can flawlessly step into Olsen’s shoes and be a good fantasy TE. However, I don’t see this happening quite yet. I would take a wait and see approach with Dickson and keep him on the bench this week, even in the face of a great matchup versus the Saints.
D/ST Sit of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs vs. LAC
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Kansas City has a very talented defense. From the relentless pass rush of Justin Houston to the great pass coverage by Marcus Peters, the Chiefs have great playmakers on that side of the ball and are a D/ST that can be relied on almost weekly. However, this is one of those weeks that I would find another option. Kansas City faces the Chargers, a team that has shown they can be productive against them. For example, last year the Chargers averaged 27 points scored and one turnover a game against the Chiefs, which is not very good for fantasy D/ST. With other better options out there I would bench the Kansas City D/ST in Week 3.