FFStatistics Start ‘Em/Sit ‘Em: Week 3
Week 2 was a great week, with 18/24 correct, a 75% hit rate. While it is hard to expect that every week, things should be easier from here as we have some more data to work with.
Unfortunately for you, I am not Matthew Berry. I do not have experience in creative writing like screenplays (nor acting in blockbuster Marvel films for that matter). You will not get a manifesto from me, No funny stories, anecdotes or the like. You might get a funny quip here or there or me trying to hard to be funny, but that is about it. I am just here to help you make your start/sit decisions and help you win your matchups week in and week out.
With that in mind, here are you starts and sits for Week 3!
Jameis Winston vs. New York Giants
Jameis Winston has been one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in the first two weeks, outside of the QB injuries of course. The talk has not really been good. Many expected Winston to be a top-10 QB because of the hiring of Bruce Arians and the pass-catchers surrounding him. Ol’ Crab Legs is the QB26 in fantasy football through the first two weeks. He only has two TDs to three INTs and only 397 yards.
This is the week that Jameis shows why people believe in him. The Giants defense, really the Giants as a whole, have been abysmal this season. They have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in the first two games. While Josh Allen did not have a fantastic passing week in Week 2, he still passed for 253 yards and 1 TD and ran for a TD. The Giants also rank 31st in DVOA against the pass.
The only other team that has been worse on defense this season has been the Miami Dolphins. This is the week for Jameis to break out of this funk. If he does not do it this week, when will he? Start him.
Matthew Stafford @ Philadelphia Eagles
A lot of people were down on Stafford after last season, though he had a broken back, and the hiring of Darrell Bevell. While Russell Wilson threw for over 540 attempts in 2016 and 2017 under Bevell, Bevell’s starting QBs have averaged only 434 attempts.
However, Stafford has started out on fire. He has thrown 75 attempts for 630 yards, 5 TDs and 2 INTs. He is currently the fantasy QB5.
Stafford will have another chance to throw in Week 3. The Philadelphia Eagles defense’s biggest weakness is the secondary. The Eagles are 23rd in DVOA against the pass. They have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to QBs through the first two games, giving up 320 yards or more and three TDs in each game, including Case Keenum. The Eagles have also been good against the run, ranking second in DVOA and the 10th-fewest fantasy points to running backs
The over/under for this game is 48, so a relatively high-scoring game. Stafford will have plenty of opportunities to throw the ball. If the first two weeks are any indication, Stafford will have success in Week 3.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Let’s try this one more time. I have gone on record many times about my dislike of Jimmy G as a QB. He has been mediocre at best in his career. Jimmy G’s reputation has been propped up by a five-game stretch at the end of 2017. Last season, Jimmy G completed less than 60% of his passes for 718 yards, 5 TDs, and 3 INTs in three games. In Week 1, when I had him as a start, he only threw for 166 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT. He bounced back in Week 2 with 297 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 INT.
Jimmy G and the 49ers have another plus matchup in Week 3. Much like the Eagles, the Steelers weakness is their secondary. While they did just trade for Minkah Fitzpatrick, he will take time to learn the scheme. The Steelers rank 30th in DVOA against the pass in the first two games. They have been carved up by Tom Brady and Russell Wilson to the tune of the seventh-most fantasy points to QBs.
Jimmy G is not a good QB. But he may be saved by a cake schedule to start the season. Start him in Week 3.
Andy Dalton @ Buffalo Bills
Andy Dalton is seemingly enjoying a resurgence in his career with a new coaching staff. Under new head coach Zac Taylor, Dalton has thrown for 711 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT, including a 300-yard and 400-yard passing game. It is astounding what one can do when they get out from under an old and stale coaching staff and offense.
Unfortunately, Dalton runs into a buzzsaw of a defense in Week 3. The Bills defense is very underrated. They are arguably a top-three defense in the NFL. They rank seventh in DVOA against the pass and have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to QBs. Last season, they ranked second in DVOA and allowed the fewest fantasy points to QBs. That is a trend.
Dalton may end up having a good season. He will not have a good Week 3. Sit him.
Baker Mayfield vs. Los Angeles Rams
The darling of the 2018 class has struggled to start 2019. While he has thrown for over 600 yards, but he has a 1:2 TD:INT ratio. He also has only completed 60% of his passes, including 54% in Week 2.
It does not get easier in Week 3. The Rams have dominated QB thus far in 2019. They have allowed the fewest fantasy points to QBs in 2019. While they have not had the stiffest of competition, with a hobbled Cam Newton and backup Teddy Bridgewater after Drew Brees tore a ligament in his thumb, but still. The Rams also rank ninth in passing DVOA.
The Browns offensive line has done Baker no favors. They rank 28th in pass protection according to Football Outsiders. Going up against a dominant defender like Aaron Donald could mean a long day for Baker. Sit him in Week 3.
Kyler Murray vs. Carolina Panthers
I follow two rules when creating my starts/sits every week. 1. Do not pick the obvious starts or sits. I do not pick guys like Patrick Mahomes to start because he is an obvious start, much like Ryan Fitzpatrick or Josh Rosen or obvious sits. 2. I try to not repeat starts or sits in back to back weeks. However, I am making an exception for Kyler Murray. I had Murray as a sit in Week 2 and he is a sit in Week 3. The rookie QB has back-to-back tough matchups. In Week 2, he faced an elite defense in the Baltimore Ravens, but he still threw for almost 350 yards. In Week 3, he gets the Carolina Panthers.
The Panthers have been great against QBs in the first two weeks. They have been able to shut down two QBs who many thought would be promising in 2019 in Jared Goff and Jameis Winston. The Panthers allowed Goff to only throw for only 186 yards on 39 attempts in Week 1. They followed that up only allowing 208 yards to Winston in Week 2. They have allowed a combined two passing TDs.
The Panthers will try to control the clock with Cam Newton possibly not playing in Week 3 after re-aggravating his foot injury. With their success on defense and controlling the clock, Murray is a sit in Week 3.
Frank Gore vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Much like Thanos, Frank Gore is inevitable. No matter where he goes, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Miami, Buffalo, Gore ends up being a significant contributor. In every season but one and in 13 straight, Gore has run for over 700 yards. He is well on his way to 700 yet again, with double-digit carries in the first two games of 2019, out-touching rookie Devin Singletary in each.
Gore may have the backfield to himself in Week 3. Singletary tweaked his hamstring in week 2 and was a non-participant in Wednesday’s practice.
It is a great matchup for Gore to have most if not all of the carries. The Cincinnati Bengals continue to be one of the worst defenses in the league. Just like in 2018, the Bengals are allowing the most fantasy points to RBs in 2019. In Week 2, the 49ers backfield ran wild, accumulating 317 yards and 3 TDs. They have given up 11 receptions on 14 targets in two games.
The Bills are favored by 6 points in Week 3. This means potentially a lot of work for Gore. Start him.
Devonta Freeman @ Indianapolis Colts
A few FFStatistics writers touted a Freeman comeback in the offseason. It is off to a rough start to his season. Of course, the schedule has done Freeman no favors. In Week 1, he faced a Minnesota Vikings defense that ranks eighth in DVOA against the run currently and finished 11th in 2018. Freeman then went up against that ranked ninth in 2018 and rank second in 2019. Regardless, Freeman is playing in 60% of the offensive snaps and seeing 66% of the RB touches.
The schedule eases up in Week 3. While the Colts have an underrated pass defense, they have not been good against the run in 2018. They rank 30th in DVOA against the run, allowing the third-most fantasy points to RBs.
The over/under for this game is 47.5. It should be relatively high scoring and Freeman should have opportunity to score. Do not be afraid to start him in Week 3.
Matt Breida vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Matt Breida seems to be one of the more underrated running backs in the league. In 2017, he was a better runner than Carlos Hyde, according to Warren Sharp’s (@SharpFootball) rushing success rate. Breida was also better than Tevin Coleman in 2018, but Coleman was stilled sign in the offseason. However, with Coleman’s ankle injury, Breida finds himself yet again in the starting role, and he did not disappoint in Week 2 with 121 yards on 12 carries.
Breida faces another defense that is susceptible against the run in the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers have allowed the seventh-most fantasy points to RBs. They have allowed four double-digit fantasy days in two games.
With Big Ben out for the season, the 49ers are favored by seven points. Breida will likely be given plenty of carries. Start him.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens
This one comes down to injuries and defense. Damien Williams and LeSean McCoy both went down with injuries in Week 2. Their status is unknown in Week 3. If neither play, Darwin Thompson and Darrell Williams step in.
Regardless of who plays, it is not a good matchup. The Ravens rank sixth in DVOA against the run. They have allowed the fewest fantasy points to RBs in the first two games. This includes David Johnson, who only gained 14 yards on seven carries. In total, the Ravens have allowed 28 yards on 18 carries.
This will be a high-scoring game. The over/under is 54.5. This means there will be a lot of throwing the ball. Avoid the Chiefs backfield in week 3.
Kerryon Johnson @ Philadelphia Eagles
Kerryon was one of the most talked-about running backs this offseason in terms of his prospects in 2019. Thus far, Kerryon’s usage has been disappointing. Despite being clearly the most talented running back on the Lions, Kerryon is playing in less than 60% of the snaps and only 55% of the RB touches. Luckily Kerryon ran a screen pass 36 yards for a TD in Week 2 or his season would look a lot worse.
Unfortunately, Kerryon’s season probably won’t give off the ground in Week 3. The Lions face a Philadelphia Eagles defense whose strength is against the run. As was mentioned above, the Eagles rank second in DVOA against the run through the first two games and have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points. They are a bit susceptible to pass-catching RBs, giving up 15 receptions on 20 targets, but Kerryon only has five targets this season.
The Detroit Lions do not seem to want to use their star RB. Meanwhile, the Eagles secondary is not good and the Lions will be able to throw on them. Expect a good game from Matthew Stafford but not so much from Kerryon.
James Conner @ San Francisco 9ers
Conner’s season has also started off… not great. He has 21 carries for 54 yards and 7 receptions on 8 targets for 56 yards. Not a great start. On top of that, Conner is dealing with a knee injury suffered in Week 2. And on top of that, Ben Roethlisberger is done for the season with an elbow injury, leaving second-year QB Mason Rudolph to start.
Conner’s Week 3 matchup isn’t great even if he does play. The 49ers rank seventh in DVOA against the run. They have also allowed the seventh-fewest fantasy points to RBs. This includes Week 2 when they gave up 33 17 yards on 11 carries to Joe Mixon.
The 49ers will likely stack the box and make the inexperienced Rudolph beat them through the air. Conner will not see a lot of lanes in Week 3. Sit him.
Allen Robinson @ Washington Football Club
Allen Robinson has flashed the talent we saw in 2015 in the 2018 playoffs and to start 2019. Through two games, despite poor QB play, ARob has caught 11 of 20 targets for 143 yards. It seems like in the second season after tearing his ACL, he is returning to his old form.
ARob should be able to continue his hot start in Week 3. Washington has been absolutely torn apart in the first two weeks. They allowed 313 yards and 3 TDs in Week 1 to Carson Wentz and 269 yards and 3 TDs to Dak Prescott in Week 2. They have allowed the most fantasy points to WRs through two weeks, including five double-digit fantasy weeks to WRs in the first two games. Finally, Washington ranks 28th in DVOA against the run.
Mitchell Trubisky has been not good to start the season. Despite that, Allen Robinson has started the season off hot. Hopefully, a matchup will help Trubisky get is season off the ground. Regardless, ARob has a fantastic matchup in Week 3. Start him.
Hollywood Brown @ Kansas City Chiefs
Lamar Jackson has brought a couple of his skill players along for the ride, including “Hollywood” Brown. Many felt that Week 1 was a fluke. After all, he only played 18 snaps but produced 147 yards and 2 TDs. However, that production was rewarded with the highest snap count of the Ravens WRs in Week 2, in which Brown was targeted 13 times, catching 8 for 86 yards. Including this beauty of a pass and catch:
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 15, 2019
The connection will continue into Week 3. The over/under for this game is 54.5, the highest of the short season. There will be a lot of scoring and a lot of throwing in this one. The Chiefs pass defense is not good. Despite the relatively easy schedule, facing the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 and Oakland Raiders in Week 2, the Chiefs have allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to WRs.
This game has the top-two fantasy QBs in the league facing each other. There will be scoring all over the place and Hollywood Brown will be a part of it. Feel safe starting him in Week 3.
Kenny Golladay @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sweet, Smooth Kenny G is living up to his name. Through two games, Golladay has 12 receptions on 19 targets for 159 yards and a TD. This equates to the WR16 in fantasy. Many expected the Lions passing game to be disappointing in 2019 with the addition of Darrell Bevell, an OC with a run-first reputation. Instead, Matthew Stafford has thrown the 10th-most passes through the first two weeks and Golladay has reaped the rewards.
The throwing will continue in Week 3. As mentioned above under both Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson, the Eagles secondary is bad and their run defense is good. The Lions will be successful throwing the ball in Week 3 and Golladay will be a good start.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling vs. Denver Broncos
It is hard to trust any secondary pass catcher for the Green Bay Packers. Basically, you can trust Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and… that’s it. Thus, MVS is a sit. MVS has 6 targets in each of the first two games, catching 7 for a mere 71 yards. Not spectacular.
Week 3 is a tough matchup for MVS. The Broncos have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs. And the Broncos are only getting healthier. Starting CB Bryce Callahan and ILB Todd Davis should be back for Week 3. This will be the first time the Broncos defense is fully healthy this season.
It is best guess who will be the second pass-catcher to Davante Adams week to week. Now the Packers face a good defense in the Denver Broncos. Sit MVS in Week 3.
Robby Anderson @ New England Patriots
The New York Jets have not had the best start to the 2019 season. First, their schedule has been unkind with the Buffalo Bills in Week 1and Cleveland Browns in Week 2. Then starting QB Sam Darnold contracted Mono and will be forced to miss two games. Darnold’s back-up, Trever Siemian, was then injured in the first quarter of Week 2, forcing newly acquired Luke Falk into action. This obviously has affected Anderson. In fact, the Jets WRs have the most difficult strength of schedule in the league and Anderson has the most difficult cornerback matchups in the league. Regardless, Anderson actually did OK in Week 2, despite catching balls from a third-string QB in a difficult CB matchup, Andeson was able to produce 81 yards on 6 targets in Week 2.
As I said, Anderson has a difficult CB schedule. Now he gets Stephen Gilmore and the New England Patriots. Currently, the Patriots’ three top corners rank in the top-13 graded CBs on PFF. So it really does not matter who hs is playing across from, Anderson has a difficult matchup. The Patriots have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. They rank first overall in DVOA against the pass.
Catching footballs from the third-string QB against the best pass defense in the league, Robby Anderson is a sit in Week 3.
Tyrell Williams @ Minnesota Vikings
Tyrell Williams has had to step into the WR1 role for the Oakland Raiders after the Antonio Brown debacle. He has done so admirably. Williams has been targeted seven times in each of the first two games, catching 11 of 14 for 151 yards and 2 TDs. He and tight end Darren Waller have been the only reliable pass-catchers for the Oakland Raiders thus far in the 2019 season.
Unfortunately, Williams cannot be relied upon in Week 3. Williams will face off against one of the best CBs in the league in Xavier Rhodes. While the Vikings have not started off great against WRs in 2019, they allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to WRs in 2018. They also ranked fifth in DVOA against the pass.
I expect the Vikings to “right the ship” against the pass versus Oakland. Oakland does not have a reliable pass-catcher outside of Tyrell Williams and Darren Waller, and Williams will be shutdown. Tyrell Williams is also nursing a hip injury that could hinder him. Sit him in Week 3.
Greg Olsen @ Arizona Cardinals
Greg Olsen still has two feet. Maybe not for long, so we need to take advantage. After missing the better part of each of the last two seasons, Olsen seems to be healthy in 2019. He also seems back to being one of QB Cam Newton’s favorite targets with nine targets in each of the first two games. In Week 2, Olsen caught 6-of-9 targets for 110 yards. When Olsen is right, he is one of the best TEs in the league and he and Cam have a real connection. Since Cam entered the league, he has targeted Olsen 89 or more times in every healthy season.
Olsen looks to continue the fantastic start to his season against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. The Cardinals have allowed far and away the most fantasy points to tight ends in 2019. They have allowed back-to-back 25 fantasy point games. In those games, TJ Hockenson and Mark Andrews were targeted 9 times, each surpassing 100 yards and scoring a TD.
Olsen seems to be healthy and he plays a defense that has given up two big days to tight ends. Start him with confidence in Week 3.
Jason Witten vs. Miami Dolphins
2019 seems to be the year of the old man tight ends. Olsen, Delanie Walker, and Jason Witten have been successful through the first two games. After an… interesting season in the booth, Witten is back with the Cowboys and succeeding. While he has not been overly targeted, with only eight total targets through the first two weeks, Witten has scored touchdowns in both. He seems to be a go-to option for Dak Prescott in the red zone with for of his 8 targets inside the 20. Now Michael Gallup is injured, Witten may become more of a go-to for Dak.
The Cowboys face the abysmal Miami Dolphins in Week 3. Every part of the Dolphins defense is vulnerable. The secondary is especially vulnerable now that safety Minkah Fitzpatrick was traded. The Dolphins have given up the second-most fantasy points to TEs through two games. In Week 1, the Dolphins allowed Ravens TEs to score 37.5 fantasy points.
The Cowboys are going to dominate the Dolphins. Witten has a chance to score a TD and more. Start him in Week 3.
Austin Hooper @ Indianapolis Colts
Austin Hooper is an underrated tight end. Hooper has continually seen his role increase since he entered the league in 2016, finishing 2018 as the fantasy TE6. He has been heavily involved this season with 15 targets through two games. In Week 1, he caught 9-of-9 targets for 77 yards.
The Colts rank 26th in DVOA against TEs in coverage. While they have not given up a ton of fantasy points to TEs yet in 2019, they allowed the second-most fantasy points to TEs in 2018.
The Colts are vulnerable to TEs and Hooper will expose that in Week 3.
Demetrius Harris vs. Los Angeles Rams
This may seem pretty obvious. However, David Njoku may be out for a long time with a broken wrist, making Harris the starting TE for the Browns. Harris is a physical freak, measuring in at 6’7″, 235 lbs and running a 4.57 40-yard dash. He present mismatches all over the field.
However, his first test is against a very difficult defense. The Rams have allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. In Week 1, the Rams only allowed 4 receptions for 36 yards to Greg Olsen. In Week 2, only 2 receptions on 7 targets for 25 yards. They also rank second in DVOA against TEs in coverage.
Harris is still the fourth or even fifth option in the passing game for the Browns. Going up against the Rams defense, he is a sit in Week 3.
Tyler Eifert/CJ Uzomah @ Buffalo Bills
Somehow Tyler Eifert is still playing after two weeks. The oft-injured tight end has so much potential but has yet to play a full season. Though he has not been overly productive thus far, Eifert is involved with 11 targets through two games. Uzomah has actually had the best game of the young season with 4 receptions for 66 yards in Week 1.
Neither Bengals TE will do well in Week 3. The Bills, as mentioned above, are one of the best and most underrated defenses in the league. They have allowed the fifth-fewest points in the NFL and the sixth-fewest yards. In terms of fantasy, the Bills have allowed the 11th-fewest fantasy points to TEs. While not the best, consider that they only allowed Evan Engram to catch 6-of-8 targets for 48 yards. They also rank eighth in DVOA against TEs in coverage.
Eifert and Uzomah have been involved in the Bengals passing attack thus far. For those desperate at TE, pass on these two in Week 3.
Noah Fant @ Green Bay Packers
As a Broncos fan, this season has not started out like I thought it would. Joe Flacco and the offense have been a disappointment. Noah Fant has not been as productive as many thought he would be. He has been involved, catching 6-of-9 targets for 62 yards. Not exactly prolific for the hyped TE.
The struggles will continue in Week 3. The Green Bay Packers have not been known for the defense for the past decade, but that is beginning to change. With several draft picks centered around the defense, the Packers have become more formidable on that side of the ball. Against TEs, the Packers have allowed the second-fewest fantasy points. They rank fifth in DVOA against TEs in coverage.
The Broncos offense and Noah Fant have been lackluster thus far. It does not get better for Fant in Week 3. Sit him.
And there you have it. Your Week 3 starts/sits. I hope you find these articles helpful in setting your lineups and winning your matchups. Good luck in Week 3!