Well, the Saints/Giants Week 2 “shootout” turned into a flop, but I don’t think I was the only one who got that one wrong. I do apologize for suggesting you not start Chargers wide receivers, though.
Most of my advice from last week worked out. Hopefully you listened when it came to Matt Forte, Mike Wallace, Todd Gurley, and T.J. Yeldon. In order to make up for my misses from Week 2, I have included one whole extra tip for Week 3 – hopefully it’s a good one.
As usual, I’m not here to state the obvious, like suggesting that you start Melvin Gordon – the fifth ranked fantasy running back – against the team that’s given up the most fantasy points to running backs this season (Indy). That’s too easy. Here are some less obvious plays to help you win your week.
Seven(ish) Fantasy Tips for Week 3
1) Start Aaron Rodgers and Randall Cobb
It seems really weird that I’m having to recommend this, but that’s the kind of year it has been for these two. Aaron Rodgers (40.98 fantasy points) is currently the ninth-ranked quarterback in fantasy scoring, while Randall Cobb (11.10 fantasy points) sits at 60th for receivers. Owners of both players are seeing their patience tested, and both are on the verge of only seeing spot starts from here on out.
However, this will be their breakout week. The Lions defense has given up the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season (26.01 per game), and the 17th-most to wide receivers (21.95).
Detroit has given up a lot of points to tight ends, which is why you the receiver numbers are a little low, but that’s a meaningless number at this point. The Lions can’t defend the pass, and can’t cover anyone, receiver or tight end. Their best corner, Darius Slay, projects to matchup with Jordy Nelson, leaving Randall Cobb with a juicy matchup against any other defensive back on the Lions’ roster.
This may be Rodgers and Cobb’s last chance to win fantasy owners back. If they don’t perform here, you may want to look into trading them, or just stashing them on your bench until plus-matchups arise again.
2) Thanks to matchups, consider starting…
Ryan Tannehill – He may not get the chance to put up all those garbage-time numbers in this one, but Tannehill will be able to take advantage of a Cleveland defense that is giving up the 13th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. He becomes even more attractive when you consider Miami’s struggles to run the ball coupled with the injury to Arian Foster. Consider him a low-end QB1.
Michael Floyd and Jaron Brown – Did you see what the Jets did to the Bills on TNF in Week 2? It’ll be much of the same, if not worse, when Buffalo welcomes Arizona to Ralph Wilson Stadium. Carson Palmer will continue to spread the ball around, and Floyd and Brown will be the beneficiaries of a weak Bills defense. Even though Arizona took their frustrations out on the Bucs last week, don’t expect them to show the Bills any mercy.
Chargers wide receivers – I’ll say it again, I was wrong here last week. (Happy?) Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams have stepped up in a big way for the Chargers, and they’ll now face a Colts team that’s giving up 299 yards per game through the air and will be without its top three corners. Lock Benjamin in as a WR1, while Williams is a WR2 this week with a lot of upside.
3) Thanks to matchups, consider benching…
Andy Dalton and company – This may become a weekly trend: bench the quarterback who is playing the Broncos. Just do it. As for A.J. Green, I get that it’s hard to put him on the bench, but just expect low-end WR2-type production out of him against Chris Harris and Aqib Talib. The Broncos do give up yards to running backs, but the Bengals have not run the ball well this year, and I’d leave Jeremy Hill on the bench. Giovani Bernard may see another busy week in the passing game, so view him as a mediocre RB2/Flex.
Patriots players not named Blount or White – You saw what Jacoby Brissett was allowed to do against the Dolphins, and I don’t see Bill Belichick giving him much more freedom four days later. Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola become very weak Flex options, while Martellus Bennett exits the TE1 stage, again. Expect a lot of touches for the running backs, though.
Ryan Mathews – The Steelers are only giving up 50.5 yards per game on the ground, but did allow Giovani Bernard to catch nine balls for 100 yards in Week 2. Ryan Mathews is not Giovani Bernard. Mathews has caught one ball in 2016 (Darren Sproles fills that niche on this Eagles team) and hasn’t recorded more than 190 receiving yards in a season since 2012. Find yourself a better RB2. I wouldn’t even start him in the Flex.
4) Do not fear the Eagles defense, yet
No team has given up fewer fantasy points to quarterbacks this season than the Philadelphia Eagles (7.35 per game). They’re also only allowing 92 yards on the ground per game. However, they have played the Browns and the Bears: possibly the two worst offenses in the league.
So this week, when you see that “tough matchup” warning next to Ben Roethlisberger and DeAngelo Williams, ignore it. I didn’t mention Antonio Brown because matchups should never be considered with him.
5) Start your Falcons and Saints players
Sure, it’s easy for me to tell you to start Matt Ryan – the league’s leader in fantasy points – and Drew Brees – fourth-ranked quarterback in fantasy points – but there are some other names from these two teams that you should be considering in your lineup in Week 3, and I’m not just talking about Julio Jones.
The Falcons and Saints have given up the fourth and fifth-most fantasy points to running backs this season, which equates to not only looking at Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman, but also Mark Ingram. I see both Falcon backs getting a good number of touches, and view both as a promising RB2 options. Mark Ingram has only touched the ball 27 times in the first two games combined and has yet to find the endzone, but I see 15-plus touches and a major in this one
Aside from the obvious starts of Jones, Willie Snead, and Brandin Cooks, Michael Thomas offers great value in the WR3/Flex spot, Coby Fleener becomes a very low-end TE1, and Mohamed Sanu becomes an extremely bright WR2.
For you Jacob Tamme owners, don’t hesitate to roll with him as a TE1; the Saints haven’t given up a lot of fantasy points to the position because the Raiders and Giants don’t incorporate their tight ends into the offense much.
6) Despite a tough matchup, Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin are must-starts
It’s not the toughest matchup they could face, but the Vikings are only giving up 17.08 fantasy points per week to quarterbacks (16th-fewest), and only 16.75 to wide receivers (sixth-fewest), so it’s definitely not a good matchup, either.
Don’t let this scare you away from either player. Without Jonathan Stewart, the ground game will go through Cam Newton more than it already does, and the Vikings tough front-seven will force the Panthers to the air more often than not. Newton will remain a QB1 in this one.
As for Benjamin, he is on the verge of entering elite fantasy status, where you start him regardless of matchup. The 6’5″ receiver, with 35-inch arms, will have eight inches on his defender, Captain Munnerlyn, on Sunday, and Cam will certainly take advantage of that height differential.
Greg Olsen isn’t mentioned because he has already entered that elite realm for the weakest position in fantasy football. Start him.
7) Do not be fooled into starting…
Marcus Mariota – Yes, he’s playing one of the worst defenses we’ve seen in quite some time, but it was the same situation last week, too. Mariota is not going to enter the QB1 discussion this season as long as “exotic smashmouth” refuses to utilize his legs.
Terrelle Pryor – Corey Coleman is out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand, but Cody Kessler is tossing the pigskin for the Browns now. Miami may have Mario Williams back, as well, so don’t expect Hue Jackson to ask his rookie quarterback to allow the deep routes to develop.
Jay Ajayi – Arian Foster is out, but this coaching staff doesn’t love Ajayi, who has turned five carries into 14 yards. Ajayi has been useful in the passing game, but expect to see a RBBC employed from the Dolphins in Week 3.