September 24, 2020
The NFL saw five starting running backs go down last week, along with two starting quarterbacks and seemingly countless other injuries at key spots for fantasy football. Which leaves team owners scrambling to piece together their once finely tuned rosters.
If you landed a good player to plug into things on the waiver wire this week, congrats. That should help. But there is still work to be done to figure out which match ups favor which players on your team.
As we do before every week of NFL action, we've singled out a (borderline) player at each position we suggest starting, and keeping on your bench — if at all possible. Keep in mind, we are avoiding the no-brainers (like Alvin Kamara) and the "I have no choice but to" (like Adam Thielen) type players.
We're instead targeting players who are a judgement call. We hope we can help influence your judgement to a fantasy football victory in Week 3:
Start: Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. Vikings)
Through two games, the underachieving Vikings defense has allowed 35.5 points per game and 283.5 passing yards in a pair of losses to start the season. Which means it would be wise to fire up anyone you have from Tennessee's offense in Week 3.
Tannehill has been on fire, throwing six touchdowns and no interceptions in the early going for the Titans. There is little reason to believe this favorable match up will lead to a decline in production. If you have Tannehill and are on the fence, get off it and start him.
Sit: Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. Patriots)
Carr has been impressive to begin the season for Las Vegas, and the Patriots defense has not been the light's out force of years past. So why bench Carr?
Well, even with a 4-0 TD to INT ratio early, Carr has been average, at best. In Week 1, he finished 25th among fantasy quarterbacks, and in Week 2 he was 14th. There are better options out there. Carr just doesn't offer the dynamic big play opportunity, nor does he use his legs to create offense. He has a moderately high floor, but has a pretty low ceiling. The Patriots defense will also present the biggest challenge he's seen this year. Take your time before you decide on Carr if you have other options.
Start: Leonard Fournette, Buccaneers (vs. Broncos)
We never thought we'd be writing this, but here we are. Fournette is a 'should start' option for Week 3. After being cut by the Jaguars (yes, the lowly Jaguars had no space for Fournette), it seemed like he would be a depth addition at best for the Bucs, who had a stable of running backs on the roster already. He had just six touches in Week 1 and five yards rushing and was off to an unpromising start.
But Week 2 was too impressive to overlook, as the former first round pick ran 12 times for 105 yards and two scores. He was also targeted in the passing game five times by Tom Brady. Kudos to any fantasy owner who believed in him enough to draft him before the season. He's the hot hand in Tampa and is worth starting vs. Denver.
Sit: Mike Davis, Panthers (vs. Chargers)
For those who aren't aware, Davis is Christian McCaffery's back up — a fact even fewer knew before the Panthers star running back got injured last week. McCaffery was on the field for more than 90% of Carolina's snaps, making Davis pretty fantasy irrelevant.
Now, with the NFL's highest paid running back on the sidelines for what looks to be between three and six weeks, Davis is theoretically the top dog behind the QB. Many FAAB dollars were spent on Davis this past week, but whether he will be worth it is a wait and see situation. If you have another option at running back, don't take the chance. He may be a stud, he may be a bust. Why risk it without having information yet if you don't have to?
Start: DeSean Jackson, Eagles (vs. Bengals)
The Eagles added a bunch of speed and youth at wide receiver at the NFL Draft, picking three speedy wideouts and trading for Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin opted out, rookies Jalen Reagor and Quez Watkins are on the IR and John Hightower (not fantasy relevant) is the only one left.
So who will Carson Wentz look for down the field in Week 3? That would be old friend DeSean Jackson, who could be in his best situation to contribute all season. You won't get better conditions to start D-Jax if you have him in fantasy, so boost him to a starter against the lowly Bengals.
Sit: Kenny Golladay, Lions (vs. Cardinals)
Golladay's situation is similar to the one we discussed with Mike Davis but for different reasons. Golladay has yet to play for the Lions and has been limited in practice thus far this week. For a player coming off an injury, especially a nagging one like a hamstring, it's hard to tell just how he will feel on game day.
There is a pretty good chance, if the usual WR1 for Detroit suits up for Week 3, it will be as a decoy and he will receive very limited targets. There are better ways to use the wide receiver slot on your roster this week unless you are desperate and have no other options.
Start: Logan Thomas, Football Team (vs. Browns)
Opportunity is the key for fantasy success, and though Washington's tight end has a rather average eight catches for 63 yards and one TD through two games, he has been targeted 17 times in that span. Eventually, he and Dwayne Haskins will get on the same page, and the potential for a breakout game exists.
Going against the Browns, Thomas will have a good match up as Cleveland's defense has allowed 148 yards on 24 receptions against tight ends so far this year.
Sit: Chris Herndon IV, Jets (vs. Colts)
The Jets offense has been terrible, and once breakout candidate Herndon has been almost invisible to start the year. He had just seven catches for 42 yards in the first two games of the season and fantasy owners of his are no longer afforded the luxury of wait and see — he's been dropped everywhere before Week 3.
If you are someone who cares about match ups, the Colts have allowed just three receptions for 11 yards in two games against opposing tight ends. Herndon is a clear stay away.
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