Start or Sit? 34 Verdicts for Week 3
WEEK 3 START OR SIT?
START: Kirk Cousins, BUF vs. MIN - Michael Klos
The Vikings should have won their week 2 matchup in Green Bay, so I see them taking out their anger on the lowly Bills. Buffalo has given up three touchdowns a piece to Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers, and I’m expecting the same with Cousins. In fact, I’m betting on a determined Cousins to light up the box score. - Michael Klos
START: Ryan Fitzpatrick, TB vs PIT - JJ Wenner
Fear the beard. After getting disemboweled by Mahomes and company, Pittsburgh is going to experience déjà vu against the Bucs. The Fitz meltdown game is coming, but it won’t be this weekend. Full disclosure, I have an unhealthy disdain for Fitzpatrick from when he was on the Jets. Everytime he would throw an interception, he would do this weird thing with his mouth where he seemed to be emulating a goldfish. That is a non-sequitur, but it made me feel better getting it off my chest.
START: Patrick Mahomes, KC vs SF - Ryan Bickerstaff
Ten touchdowns every two weeks is simply unsustainable but there's no reason to expect a backslide from the young gunslinger. He's got a favorable matchup against the 49ers this week, whose defense has allowed strong statistical performances by opposing QBs.
START: Jimmy Garappolo, SF at KC - Ronnie Evans
The Chiefs are allowing on avg. over 430 yards and 3 TDs so far to opposing quarterbacks. Patrick Mahommes leads the nfl in passing TDs. Everything is pointing to this being a pass heavy scenario for Jimmy GQ, who has been a disappointment so far this season. He’s averaging under 225 Yds/g, with only three total TDs. Paired with three interceptions and nine sacks, it’s a wonder he’s ranked in the top 12 this week. I guess everyone else sees the game script, remembers the preseason hype and figures this is finally the week.
SIT: Joe Flacco, DEN vs. BAL - Michael Klos
Flacco has been extremely impressive in his first two starts, throwing for 612 yards and 5 scores. But in week 3, he draws the Denver Broncos defense and pretty darn good pass rush. The Broncos are going to shut down the run game, and I see a lot of opportunity for Flacco, but what does he do with it? Derek Carr had an efficient game against Denver, but it wasn’t particularly fantasy relevant. There are so many other QB’s I’d start before Flacco this week.
SIT: Marcus Mariota, TEN at JAX - JJ Wenner
I am not a fan of Mariota’s game. He seems to be very mechanical, going through his reads slowly and never quite “getting” the game. He is coming off an injury which left him with limited feeling in his fingers and is facing the fearsome Jaguar defense. I can’t imagine a scenario where he has a good showing.
SIT: Derek Carr, Oak at MIA - Ryan Bickerstaff
He hasn't performed like a starting-caliber fantasy QB yet this year and things aren't looking up this week as he faces a tough Dolphins defense. If you need a QB, there are better options. -
SIT: Phillip Rivers, LAC at LAR - Ronnie Evans
Filipe has been lighting it up, with back to back three TD games in a row. That said, he’s played Chiefs and Bills defenses. That's rookie mode. Try playing chess against Magnus Carlsen! This week he’s on the road (sort of) against Wade Phillips' and the Rams defense. That’s not good, especially since Rivers has only eclipsed 20 Fantasy points once in their last six meetings. The Rams have only given up 13 points this season, paired with 4 interceptions, a couple sacks and a defensive touchdown. Cry me a river.
START: Latavius Murray, BUF vs. MIN - Michael Klos
Updated: I had Cook as my start, but with the updated news that he'll be out, I'm changing to Murray. Melvin Gordon burned the Buffalo defense for 3 TD’s in the first half of a week 2 win, so I can’t wait to see what Murray is going to do. I like it even better if Minny gets off to a hot start and feeds Murray the entire second half.
START: Alvin Kamara, NOS at ATL - JJ Wenner
Super Kamario is going to power up this weekend and thrash the Atlanta defense, which is missing their two best defensive players. Expect 15 carries, 10 receptions, and at least 1 touchdown in his matchup with the Falcons.
START: Kareem Hunt, KC vs SF - Ryan Bickerstaff
I feel like this is an obvious one but his numbers have been down, a product of the Mahomes Show, not Hunt himself. He's played well but hasn't broken out yet. I expect that to happen this week.
START: Giovanni Bernard, CIN at CAR - Ronnie Evans
Carolina has struggled against Ezekiel Elliott and Tevin Coleman to begin the season, both of whom received big workloads. Additionally, Bernard has proven he can be a Top 15 RB when made the featured back: He had 95-plus yards from scrimmage in three of his last five games in 2017 when Mixon was riding the bench, and new OC Bill Lazor’s scheme relies on feeding the RB both through the air and on the ground. He’s a RB2 with upside this week, especially after Carolina put Safety Da’Norris Searcey on IR.
SIT: Jamaal Williams, GB vs WASH - Michael Klos
Williams has 34 touches through two weeks, but the return of Aaron Jones from suspension and Ty Montgomery hanging around just muddies this backfield. Mike McCarthy will want to see what he has in Jones, and his commitment to distributing the carries hurts Williams’ fantasy value. I don’t want to start any part of this three-headed monster until one emerges as a front runner. I don’t think we’ll definitively know after week 3.
SIT: Derrick Henry, TEN at JAX - JJ Wenner
I have no understanding of what is happening in the Tennessee backfield with Derrick Henry. He is a bruising running back, capable of dominating a game. Unfortunately, he seems to need at least 20 carries to become useful. With the merciless Jags’ defence coming to town, this won’t be the week he gets on track.
SIT: Chris Carson, SEA vs DAL - Ryan Bickerstaff
Is this low-hanging fruit? The West is full of star running backs. It's hard to say "sit this one" for a lot of these guys, no matter the matchup. Carson faces a surprisingly good Cowboys defense that has been tough against the run thus far in 2018.
SIT: Rashaad Penny, SEA vs DAL - Ronnie Evans
These two continue to split work behind a poor offensive line against an improved Dallas defense that’s allowed just 3.7 YPC. The Seahawks have always started slow under Carroll, but this year it’s not just slow—they’re bad. The offense can’t move the ball, Wilson is seeing ghosts, and Schottenheimer is calling the most vanilla offensive game plan I’ve ever seen. Until one of the two emerges and the offense gets it together, I’m not starting either of them.
START: Kenny Golladay, NE vs DET - Michael Klos
The Lions can’t seem to get the running game going, and with the departure of Eric Ebron, those targets are going Golladay’s way. In the last two weeks, Golladay has tallied 203 yards and 2 touchdowns. New England ranks 21st against the pass, so the super sophomore will be in my lineup this week.
START: Antonio Brown, PIT vs. TB - Michael Klos
All you’ve heard this week is drama coming out of Pittsburgh. Brown was complaining on Twitter, not showing up to work early in the week, and there might be more shenanigans this weekend. But on Monday night, the squeaky wheel will get the grease. Tampa is giving up the second most receiving yards this season, and Brown will feast.
START: DJ Moore, CAR vs CIN - JJ Wenner
I know that my pick of Moore is going to be dismissed as the ramblings of a madman; however, it is based on undeniable logic. He showed his coaches their error in not using him by turning his first catch into a 51 yard touchdown. Ron Rivera confirmed they need to get him involved more in games. Ergo, Exciting TD + Coach Confidence = Breakout Game. Like I said, pure logic!
START: Julio Jones, ATL vs. NOS - JJ Wenner
Julio is facing a New Orleans defense ranked 29th against the pass, which seems like the perfect cure for a subpar week. Lattimore is going to have a tough time with the Falcons’ Jones, as they are bound to be matched up for most of the game. With Ridley becoming more involved and Ginn remaining relevant, the Saints will double Jones at their own peril.
START: Amari Cooper, OAK at MIA- Ryan Bickerstaff
I'm sitting Carr, but starting his top receiver, Cooper. Corey Davis and Quincy Enunwa both, the top receivers on their teams, put up respectable numbers against Miami. Cooper is better than both, though I think Davis will be as good in the future.
START: Brandin Cooks, LAR vs LAC - Ryan Bickerstaff
Cooks has taken over the #1 role in LA's offense just fine, starting off the year with 12 receptions for 246 yards in the first two games. The Chargers' defense appears to be prone to big plays. That happens to be Cooks' thing.
START: Keelan Cole, JAX vs TEN - Ronnie Evans
The Jaguars have begun using Keelan Cole on the outside and not only in the slot, and after his 7-116-1 performance last week, he has a super enticing matchup against tennessee: So far this year Titans' outside cornerbacks Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler have allowed 21 receptions on 33 targets for 347 yards and four touchdowns. That’s terrible. There is a chance this game gets out of hand early, but I still expect Cole to have a safe floor as a chain mover.
SIT: Michael Crabtree, DEN vs. BAL - Michael Klos
There are big name receivers with far worse overall statistics than Crabtree this season, but eight catches for 94 yards on 16 targets isn’t exactly impressive either. John Brown is the better Baltimore wideout right now, and Crabtree hasn’t scored against Denver since 2010.
SIT: Devin Funchess, CAR vs. CIN - JJ Wenner
With my enthusiastic support for DJ Moore, I am sitting Devin Funchess this week. With Christian McCaffrey getting 14 receptions a game, there are not many touches to go around for the rest of the offensive weapons.
SIT: Larry Fitzgerald, ARI vs. CHI - Ryan Bickerstaff
Yeah, this one hurt to write. He's a legend, and one of my all-time favorite receivers. And he just seems like an all-around great guy. But the matchup this week is bad. He's been dealing with a hammy all week following a physical matchup against the Rams. Now the Bears are on the horizon, and they've been looking like the new Monsters of the Midway.
SIT: Corey Davis, TEN at JAX - Ronnie Evans
The Titans will be starting either Blaine Gabbert (dealing with… himself) or Marcus Mariota (dealing with nerve damage in his throwing elbow). Yikes. The Titans passing offense has been atrocious on the road, averaging 184 Yds and less than one TD per contest last year, with 13 picks and 20 sacks on top. Davis’ target share (33%) ranks fifth-best among wide receivers, but he only produced 117 yards and zero scores. He gets the league’s toughest passing matchup in Week 3.
START: Trey Burton, CHI vs. AZ - Michael Klos
The Cardinals have allowed a touchdown to a tight end in each of its first two games. Burton should be able to find the weak spot in the Cards’ defense and exploit it. Trubisky is comfortable throwing underneath routes, and will only have to manage this game. He should pepper Burton with targets, especially in the redzone.
START: Eric Ebron, IND at PHI - JJ Wenner
As someone who has Jack Doyle in many leagues, I have been nonplussed by the addition of Eric Ebron. Despite Eric’s production, Doyle has received the majority of TE targets from Luck. Doyle has been declared out for this Sunday’s game, so let’s see what Ebron can do with Doyle’s 10+ targets.
START: George Kittle, SF at KC - Ryan Bickerstaff
If you have him on your team, he should be in your lineup this week. The matchup is too good to pass up. Kansas City's pass defense is not good and this game could be a high scoring one.
START: Evan Engram, NYG vs HOU - Ronnie Evans
On the season, so far Engram has nine catches for 85 yards and one touchdown. The majority of that came last week when he roared on the scene with 7 catches for 67 yards and a score. Now gets to go up at home against a Houston defense that’s ranked 30th in DVOA against TEs. There is always a chance the targets go elsewhere, but with Eli likely to be under duress expect Engram to get his fair share. In the world of 2018 TEs, that means being happy with a few catches. Engram’s one of the few who can take any catch to the house, and in a plus matchup—I like that.
SIT: Any TE from Detroit, NE vs DET - Michael Klos
Matthew Stafford isn’t looking for Willson or Roberts. The passing volume is there, but New England is too busy giving up touchdowns to wide receivers.
SIT: OJ Howard, TB vs PIT - JJ Wenner
OJ is a physical freak, but I can’t see him duplicating last week’s production on less than 10 targets. The downfield passing attack will limit Howard’s usefulness moving forward. Unless OJ can break another 60+ yard touchdown, you won’t see double digit points from him.
SIT: Jared Cook, OAK at MIA - Ryan Bickerstaff
Just a couple weeks removed from racking up 180 against the Rams, yes, I'm saying sit him. Miami's defense has been stingy with tight ends. "Hey, wait. Delanie Walker looked good against them!" Yeah, and they injured him, too. Besides, what did you want me to tell you here, to sit Ricky Seals-Jones against Chicago?
SIT: Austin Hooper, ATL at NOS - Ronnie Evans
Sure, going 5/55/1 is nice and will get you top 5 TE status in these days. But did you know that’s the first time he’s surpassed 50 yards since Week 1 of 2017? He’s matched up this week against a revitalized Saints defense that only let up a total of six catches for 74 yards to OJ Howard and David Njoku. He’s been floating around as a streaming option this week, and I’d advise you against that. Last week was also his first touchdown in 10 games. I’ll pass.
Good luck in Week 3!