We did it, he did it, she did it and you probably did it too. Every Sunday, Fantasy Football team owners around the world are anxious and undecided about the same thing… Do I start him this week or sit him? It’s a question we ask ourselves daily as the week progresses. We all have players we have faith in and drafted. Unfortunately, some of the time, having faith and starting that player doesn’t always work out. .
If you’re one of those owners with a starting line-up that scored 100+ points and your bench crew barely cleared 30 this week, I want you to know one thing - you are outnumbered. To the owners who were tentative on an injured Howard, I was there with you. To the guys nervous on Stefon Diggs or Chris Thompson, we were there together. To the brothers with Cooks and Demarco on the bench, we were there also.
We’ve all pulled out hair, sworn off fantasy for good and woken up from rage-fueled benders wishing it was all just a dream. We felt those burns, the salt on the wounds afterwards as your friends mock your decisions. Fear not! Their time will come. How are we going to do that you might ask? With research, some light reading and lots of LUCK… and maybe some more research. The good news for all of us is the light at the end of the shit show tunnel (the first few weeks of fantasy) is in sight, and we certainly have much more information/sample size to work with on predictions going forward. We would love to send you all some four-leaf clovers to try and help in that regard, but instead we will just attempt to lay some helpful advice down for you entering into week 4.
If there is one thing that is important in Fantasy Football, it is match-up. It may be hard to call the exact outcome for your player, but if you do enough research about the opposing team for your players, you could actually figure out more about weekly scoring than that repetitive “projection." All teams have a stereotype for their defense or special role players that could cause chaos or dominance for your starters. This week I will touch base on a couple of these players and then we will dive in deeper to our weekly categories.
Sometimes the guys you drafted in the first 5 rounds need to sit your bench. It’s a decision that haunts you as soon as you make the change, sending a player like Dez Bryant to the bench is never an easy thing to do because you know he can randomly decide to dominate a game. However, sometimes the match-ups are just too much to overcome. Let’s check into some of the star players at each position and some match-ups we love this week.
Christian McCaffrey RB, CAR vs PATS) Arguably one of our bolder picks of the week as it never seems a good idea to bet on a rookie against a Billy B defense. Luckily for McCaffrey owners, this year’s Patriots D has been absolutely torched by RBs. Hunt in week 1 and the 3 back system of theSaints combined for 80+ on the ground with another 50+ through the air in week 2. With Olsen and possibly Benjamin out in week 4, all the conditions are there for an eruption of targets & fantasy points. Feel comfortable starting him as RB2 with confidence.
Jacquizz Rodgers RB, TB (vs NYG) If past performance is at all indicative of future results, then owners are about to cash in on the flier they took this weekend. To kick off the season, the Giants were dominated by division rival Dallas, surrendering 130 total yards to Zeke. The next week, Abdulla and Riddick combined for over 100 just on the ground (when does that ever happen?). We’re looking for the Bucs to take a lead and lean on the run game vs a tough Giants secondary. Rodgers is a solid RB2 player this week in most formats.
Dalvin Cook (vs Lions) We realize this isn’t a hot take as the guy has been a monster, but the train is going to keep picking up steam this week. The Lions gave up 6 receptions to DJ before his injury in game 1, then went on to surrender 5 yards per carry vs the Giants. We might as well mention another 150 rushing and 70+ receiving to the ATL tandem this past Sunday. Obviously the Falcon backs are extremely talented, but we feel Cook is almost, if not equally, important to his offense. Look for The Chef to to slice and dice DET this weekend. Cook is a solid RB1 start this week.
Joe Mixon (vs CLE) The Bengals offense showed they clearly want to get their recently drafted and extremely talented running back into the system. It is clear that Mixon will be the #1 option in the backfield going forward. He should see 12-15 carries a game moving forward with a couple receptions as well. Mixon, while a slow starter this year, could start as a RB2/Flex player this week if you need him and produce decent numbers. Don’t expect an explosive number but feel safe with the play.
Aj Green WR (vs CLE) Its Cleveland. Do we need to say more? Last week TY Hilton went for 150+ yards and a TD. Expect the same next weekend if the Bengals want to keep AJ happy. It’s nice when a soft spoken guy demands the ball. After how much of an effort they made to get him the ball last week, (and you know it actually working should go a long way) we see big things this week for AJ. Expect a high floor/high ceiling week for AJ. Solid WR1/2 this week as always.
DeAndre Hopkins WR (VS Ten) Quietly having a nice season, Hopkins has accumulated 37 targets through the first 3 weeks. Look for him to keep things rolling with his high floor/low ceiling of 6-10 catches, 70-100 yards. Along with (this week) a high probability of getting in the end zone against a lower tiered secondary. Expect solid WR2 numbers from Hopkins this week.
BOTH Miami WR (vs NO) Parker and Landry are poised to put up huge numbers this week. It doesn’t matter what continent the Saints defense is on cause they can’t cover anybody. Don’t trust their week 3 performance against the Panthers. If you have either of the players this week, feel confident inserting them into you WR2 spot.
Brandin Cooks (vs CAR) His QB is Terrific Tom Brady & he’s coming off his best game. The Patriots gave away a lot to get Cooks in the off-season, a very uncharacteristic move hinting at high future usage. He is clearly the deep ball threat and each game, Brady looks more comfortable with him. Expect New England to air it out long against a CAR defense that struggled vs the Saints last week. (He’s Tom Brady’s #1 WR-enough said) Cooks is a great player this week at your WR1/2 or spots.
Doug Baldwin (vs IND) This completely depends on his health going into the weekend. Right now he is listed as day-to-day, but with a terrible Colts defense there is always a ton of upside. Baldwin looked great again last week and should build on that performance if he can play near 100%. Baldwin is a WR1/2 option this week.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are too obvious for this list
Russell Wilson QB (vs IND) Russ is going up against a Colts defense that just gave up nearly 300 total yards and 3 total touchdowns to a rookie (whom is essentially a poor man's Wilson). The Indiana run defense is also seemingly their strong point, holding even the great Todd Gurley to 40 yards on the ground in week one. Furthermore, they haven't even allowed a RB committee to combine for more than 80 yards all year. We're expecting Seattle to throw early and often.
Drew Brees QB (vs MIA) McCown just torched this defense. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brees throws for 500. I’m joking, but in all seriousness, the potential is there for a monster game. Brees is always capable of pulling out monster games and coming off a big win with momentum. We are fully bought in on Drew.
Carson Palmer QB (vs SF) The 49ers defense just let the LA Rams and Jared Goff look like the Greatest Show on Turf was back. That being said, it’s easy to imagine Palmer performing even better. He has a brothel of receivers and the passing game has become a larger portion of their offence with DJ out.
Week 3 Recap:
Russell Wilson - 373 yards, 4 TD, 26 rush yards
Case Keenum - 369 yards 3 TD
Jacoby Brissett - 259 yards 1 TD, 14 rush 2 TD
Todd Gurley - 28 rush, 113 yards, 2 TD, 5 Rec 36 yards 1TD
Jordan Howard -23 rush, 138 yards 2 TD
Christian McCaffrey - 4 rush 16 yards, 9 rec 101yrds
Dalvin Cook - 27 rush 97 yards 1 TD 5 rec 72 yards
Carlos Hyde - 25 rush 84 yards 2 TD 3 rec 32 yards
Stefon Diggs - 8 rec 173 yards 2 TD 11 targets
Brandin Cooks - 5 rec 131 yards 2 TD 7 targets
Sammy Watkins - 6 rec 106 yards 2 TD 7 targets
Odell Beckham Jr - 9 rec 79 yards 2 TD 13 targets
Doug Baldwin - 10 rec 105 yards 1 TD 15 targets
Pierre Garcon - 7 rec 142 yards 10 targets
Mercedes Lewis - 4 rec 62 yards 3 TD 5 targets
Charles Clay - 6 rec 39 yards 1 TD 6 targets
Rob Gronkowski - 8 rec 89 yards 1 TD 10 targets
Zach Ertz - 8 rec 55 yards 1 TD 10 targets
Jimmy Graham - 7 rec 72 yards 11 targets
Matt Ryan - 294 2 TD 3 INT vs DET
Cam Newton - 167 0 TD 3 INT vs NO
Phillip Rivers - 237 0 TD 3 INT vs KC
Ben Roethlisberger - 235 1 Td vs CHI
CJ Anderson - 8 rush 36 yards 2 rec 7 yards vs. BUF
Jay Ajaiyi - 11 rush 16 yards 2 rec 9 yards vs. NYJ
LeSean McCoy - 14 rush 21 yards 7 rec 48 yards - DEN
Mike Gillslee - 12 rush 31 yards vs HOU
Martivs Bryant - 2 rec 30 yards 8 targets vs CHI
Terrelle Pryor Sr - 2 rec 19 yards 4 targets vs OAK
Jeremy Maclin - 1 rec 8 yards 5 targets vs JAX
Davante Adams - 3 rec 60 yards 6 targets vs CIN
Amari Cooper - 1 rec 6 yards 5 targets vs. WAS
Travis Kelce - 1 rec 1 yard 1 target vs. LAC
Martellus Bennett - 3 rec 12 yards 4 targets vs. CIN
Kyle Rudolph - 1 rec 4 yards 2 targets vs. TB
Coby Fleener - 1 rec 21 yards 1 target vs. CAR
Make the Team: Waiver Wire Adds
D'onta Foreman RB, HOU
The 6’1” 236 pound rookie is showing he has all the tools to be worthy of more touches. The Texans are easing him into his future role, but his snap count and touches are rising. Owned in only 5.5% on ESPN, he has the potential to be a nice complementary back and worth a flex spot in DEEP leagues.
Evan Engram TE , NYG -
Engram is quickly showing that he could live up to the hype around him before the season. He is averaging around 5 receptions per game and is only owned in 18% of leagues. If you can trust Eli, he is worth a look. Owned in 18.5 % of leagues.
Alvin Kamara RB , NO -
Kamara has big play potential. We have seen it twice already this year and each week the Saints are trying to put him in position to make big plays. I don’t like any of the backs for the Saints, but I think Kamara has the best upside in a shallow RB waiver wire pool. Owned in 11% of leagues.
Sterling Shepard WR, NYG
If your buy week is coming up, then Sterling could be a good gamble. Although it is tough to pick a receiver other than Odell on the Giants, Shepard could prove to be valuable with his chance to produce in PPR. 34% owned in leagues.
Wendall Smallwood RB, PHI
As much as every fantasy player hates to see the news of Darren Sproles being ruled out for the season, it means Smallwood should move directly into his role and get rush and reception attempts. If you had Sproles or are desperate for a RB3/Flex, then Smallwood is a safe bet. 2.9% owned in leagues.
Devin Funchess WR, CAR
Greg Olsen out for six weeks, Kelvin Benjamin is injured with an undetermined time table and a Panthers offense that desperately needs to get something going through the air. Expect Newton to look Funchess’s way a decent amount this week and moving forward until injuries are under control. Owned in 11% of leagues.
Jamal Williams RB, GB
I said this in my very first post and after week one I was a little disappointed, BUT my faith is back and I will say it again; Ty Montgomery is NOT a RB built for this kind of workload. The past two games he has had to call himself out of the game multiple times for small hurts here and there and getting too winded. He will get hurt this year-either for a few games or for a lot and Williams is the only back to take the role. STASH ME. Only owned in 1.5 % of leagues.
LeapFrog: Worth a starting spot
Joe Mixon RB, CIN - Mixon finally got the amount of touches that every owner out there was hoping to see sooner rather than later. While his stat line may not have been tremendous this week, it was very promising. With a new Offensive Coordinator taking over, it looks like Mixon may be the feature 1-2 down back. He finished with 18 rush attempts, 62 yards and 3 receptions for 39 yards.
Mohamed Sanu WR, ATL - Right now, Sanu is the clear number 2 receiver for Matt Ryan with Taylor Gabriel being more of a deep threat option for his speed. Mohamed is averaging 5 receptions a game and in PPR leagues that is all that is needed to make an impact on a team. He is currently owned in only 39% of leagues. If you need a WR3/Flex or bye week fill-in, Sanu could be a good option.
You’re killing me smalls: May be time to take away starting role
Lamar Miller RB, HOU - 14 Rush 56 yards 1 rec 7 yards
It seems like the troubles with the Houston run-game have carried from last year to this year. Lamar Miller still remains without a touchdown or a game with more than 65 yards. Miller was drafted as a RB1/2 for most teams and is extremely frustrating to keep faith in. It is looking more and more like Houston will try to use D'Onta Foreman in a semi-dual back system. Plus, rookie QB Watson has a pretty good run game of his own.
Jamison Crowder WR , WAS 6 rec 52 yards
After having a breakout season last year with the Redskins, it looked like Crowder would be another PPR machine. Sadly, the Washington offense just hasn't looked the same and the most used receiver on the team is RB Chris Thompson. Currently, Crowder is averaging just around 4 receptions and under 50 yards per game. He faces a tough defense next week in Kansas City. Crowder is merely a WR3/Flex player this week.
Jonathan Stewart RB , CAR 12 rush 57 yards 1 rec 4 yards
The Panthers look TERRIBLE and so do all of their fantasy players stats. Although J. Stew continues to get a good amount of carries, it is hard for him to make anything happen with the touches. The Carolina offense has lost a few weapons and Cam Newton looks nothing like the QB of the last two years. Opposing defenses simply need to focus on filling the box and stopping the run. After that it appears to beat the Panthers pretty easy through the air.
Ameer Abdullah RB , DET 14 rush 47 yards 3 rec 39 yards
Ameer has been on my "do not like" list for a while. The last two seasons, he has been projected as a boom-or-bust player with potential. Well, two years later and he still is averaging less than 55 yards a game and can't score a touchdown. In case you haven't been watching the NFL, the Lions are a passing team! Abdullah is, at best, a flex spot or bye week fill-in for the remainder of the year until we are proven otherwise in 10-12 team leagues.
Isaiah Crowell RB, CLE
Despite pretty good reports going into the season about Crowell handling a good majority of the carries and possibly being the best fantasy option on the team, it doesn't look anything like that to me. Crowell is averaging around 13 rushes and under 40 yards per game. Something you usually see in a two-back system, which it may turn into with Duke Johnson playing so well as of late.
Hasta La Vista: Bench Me, Trade Me or Drop Me
Cooper Kupp WR, LAR
After the pre-season reports and his first NFL game it looked like Kupp was going to be a valuable PPR option. However, in his last two games combined he has only 5 receptions for 50 yards. Something that is hard to believe considering they faced a poor 49ers defense that allowed 292 yards through the air to Jared Goff. Kupp is worth a roster spot in most leagues to be a handcuff to Sammy Watkins, but don't be too confident starting him anymore.
Jordan Matthews WR, BUF
I had more invested in Matthews than I should have going into this year. I figured if he could stay healthy that he would be the number 1 option on this team for receptions. Unfortunately, that role has fallen to TE Charles Clay and it doesn't look to change. With Tyrod Taylor leading this offense and mainly working with his feet or handing the ball to LeSean McCoy, it doesn't look too good for Matthews in anything but deep PPR leagues.
Paul Perkins RB, NYG
Although Perkins is the most talented back for the Giants, the new offensive scheme doesn't really include him. Currently, he is averaging less than 8 rush attempts a game. A lot of this could have to do with the Giants always playing from behind and needing to throw the ball, but unless something drastically changes I wouldn't have faith starting Perkins at any spot unless in very deep leagues.
Adrian Peterson RB, NO 9 rush 33 yards 2 rec 4 yards
It's tough seeing one of the greatest running backs in the last decade go to waste on a pass first team. Sean Payton has never been favorable to fantasy RBs making it almost impossible to predict which he will use more. Remember Hightower/Ingram? Well now it is Ingram/Kamara and Peterson falling in last. Clearly the coaches favor Kamara and Ingram. Unless there is a drastic change in scenery for Peterson or a possible injury, it is unlikely that he ever gets to the level he was drafted at in most leagues.
Look out : keep an eye on me..
Josh Doctson WR, WAS
Doctson was drafted for a reason….BIG PLAY ability. Although it is hard to find a receiver in Washington worth starting, if one them goes down then Doctson will be the first to fill the role. He has a decent ceiling if given the opportunity, but right now it isn’t there.
Jaron Brown WR ,ARI
Jaron Brown is currently taking the role that John Brown usually plays and is during pretty well. He has seen a fair amount of targets the last two weeks and produced in both for a fantasy flyer. If John Brown continues to stay out for health reasons then Jaron is worth an add.
Donte Moncrief WR, IND
The word is that Andrew Luck should be back and playing by week 6. If that is true, it might be time to grab the player Luck has looked to second most of the last two years just outside of TY Hilton. Could be a nice stash and play during bye weeks later in the season.
Robert Woods WR , LAR
I think, despite the rumors going around at the beginning of the year about Kupp being Jared Goff’s, that in reality it has been Robert Woods. He is averaging around 7 targets a game.
Orleans Darkwa RB ,NYG
Darkwa, from an eye test, is the strongest runner on the Giants team. It looks like the Giants might start to fade Perkins out and let more talented Orleans take the lead snaps. It hasn’t happened yet, but keep a look out.
Alex Collins RB, BAL
In case West isn’t running at full health and the Ravens have to turn to Collins he could prove worthy of a spot after producing 124 yards on 16 carries. 7.75 yards per carry average. Very dependent on how injuries play out.
We know this was a little bit longer of a read than previous posts, but we felt there was a lot to cover this week and some great talking points. Hopefully you find success in Week 4.
Please comment with any questions or advice you might have for future weeks. Thanks!