2018 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em - Roto Street Journal
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2018 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week two is in the books and our sample size for making predictions has therefore doubled. While its still early, we are starting to get a better feel for who teams are and that helps us more accurately project player performances moving forward.

Overall, I am happy with last week’s results. I failed to foresee Matt Ryan going off for two rushing touchdowns. I know, how foolish of me. Somehow Chris Hogan, Amari Cooper and Sammy Watkins all must have seen that I recommended benching them because each one had a productive outing last weekend. I made up for those miscalls by telling you to start guys like Patrick Mahomes, James White, Allen Robinson, Nelson Agholor, Chris Thompson and Jimmy Graham — just to name a few.

Let’s see if I can keep this high batting average going. I make these suggestions based on each player’s weekly matchups, surrounding talent and in-game usage. While predicting the future is anything but easy, using these tools can help us make better choices when determining which players we start or sit from week to week. After you read this, check out The Wolf’s Week 3 rankings to help you make further lineup decisions.

 

START

 

Quarterback

Kirk Cousins

Through two weeks Cousins is the third-highest scoring quarterback in fantasy. This week he is at home to face a Bills defense that has surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Buffalo has allowed 75.4% of the passes thrown against them to be completed, which is the second most in the league.

Jimmy Garoppolo

After struggling against a loaded Minnesota defense, Garoppolo looked much improved this past Sunday versus Detroit. He’ll have to produce an abundance of points this week in order to keep up with the red-hot Chiefs offense. No team has given up more fantasy points thus far to opposing quarterbacks than Kansas City. The 49ers hope their top receiver from 2017, Marquise Goodwin, can return for this game after missing time with a quad injury.

Running Back

Jordan Howard

No team has allowed more fantasy points (PPR) to opposing backfields than Arizona. That’s good news for Howard owners who endured an underwhelming 68 yards from scrimmage performance last week. The Cardinals have scored just six points all season. Considering Chicago’s dominant defense, the Bears will likely play with a lead for most the game, suggesting a run-heavy game-script for the Howard and the offense.

Lamar Miller

Miller’s usage thus far has been encouraging. He touched the ball 21 touches in week one and sixteen times in week two, which accounts for 74% of Houston’s running back touches. The Texans are at home this week to play a Giants defense that has given up the sixth-most fantasy points (PPR) and third-highest yards per carry (YPC) average (5.2) to opposing backfields. The Giants have scored the third-fewest points in the NFL thus far. Miller could be busy running out the clock should Houston jump out to an early lead.

Kenyan Drake

While Frank Gore is a factor in Miami’s backfield, Drake has still played 67% of the offensive snaps this season. What’s more exciting is that Drake is the clear leader in the passing game, seeing eight of the team’s nine running back targets and catching seven of them. This week he’s at home to face a Raiders defense that has allowed the tenth-most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing rushers and a league-high 5.7 YPC.

Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks

Of the players with ten or more catches, Cooks is second to only Tyreek Hill in yards per reception. Hill’s speed devastated the Chargers in week one and I expect Cooks to do the same this Sunday. Cooks has more than double the amount of receiving yards than the next closest Ram and may see additional opportunities against a Chargers team that can put up points in their own right.

DeSean Jackson

Strike while the iron is hot. Its hard to find a hotter team than Tampa Bay, who is averaging 37.5 points per game (PPG) through two weeks. Jackson currently leads the NFL in receiving yards and has found the endzone three times already this season. This Monday the Buccaneers are at home to play a Steelers defense that has allowed the fifth-most points (31.5 PPG) in the league. Pittsburgh has a high-scoring offense themselves (29 PPG), which could inspire a shootout in Tampa.

Kenny Golladay

After failing to live up to the hype as a rookie, Golladay appears to have broken out in year two. He leads a loaded Lions receiving corps in yards and has caught thirteen of his 21 targets. This week Golladay is matched up against a Patriots defense that has surrendered the tenth-most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing wide receivers. Detroit should continue to lead the NFL in pass attempts as they try to defend home field in a Sunday night showdown.

Tight End

Kyle Rudolph

Rudolph bounced back from a concerning two-target performance in week one by catching seven of his eight targets last week. The Vikings are at home this Sunday to play a tissue-soft Bills defense. Buffalo has given up the most points in the league (78) and the ninth-most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing tight ends.

George Kittle

Despite catching just two passes for 22 yards last week, Kittle still leads the 49ers in targets (13) and receiving yards (112). This week San Francisco will have to score in bunches to keep up with a Chiefs team that leads the league in scoring (40 PPG). Thankfully, Kansas City also leads in league in passing yards allowed, and has given up the third-most fantasy points (PPR) to opposing tight ends.

Defense

Chicago Bears

If you managed to nab Chicago’s defense, congratulations. The Bears are currently the second-highest scoring defense in fantasy. This week they play an Arizona team that has scored the fewest points and gained the fewest yards in the NFL.

Houston Texans

Only the lowly Bills and Cardinals have scored less points than the Giants this season. The eight sacks they’ve given up are the fifth-most in the NFL. This week the G-Men will travel to Houston to play a Texans team that is getting Jadeveon Clowney back from injury.

 

SIT

 

Quarterback

Philip Rivers

I hate to put Rivers on the bench but this week the odds are stacked against him. The Chargers play the Rams in a battle for Los Angeles. The Rams have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks and are yet to given up a passing touchdown. LAR’s four interceptions are the fourth-most thus far and only the Dolphins have held opposing quarterbacks to a lower passer rating.

Dak Prescott

There are 25 quarterbacks who have scored more fantasy points than Prescott this season. He ranks 29th in the NFL in both passing yards (330) and pass attempts (54). With just one touchdown on the season, Prescott has been more of a game manager than a game winner. Expect more of the same as the Cowboys lean on Ezekiel Elliott and their improved defense.

Running Back

LeSean McCoy

McCoy makes the “Sit” list for the second week in a row and for good reason. Never mind his injured ribs, no team is averaging less yards per play than Buffalo (3.7). This week the Bills travel to Minnesota to play a daunting Vikings defense that has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points (PPR) to opposing backfields.

Derrick Henry

Through two weeks Tennessee has made it clear that this is Dion Lewis’ backfield. Henry has played only 36% of the offensive snaps, is averaging 2.9 YPC and has seen just one target. This week the Titans travel to Jacksonville to face a stout Jaguars defense. Henry belongs on your bench until his usage increases.

Royce Freeman

A rookie running back has taken Denver’s backfield by storm. Unfortunately for Freeman owners, I am referring to Philip Lindsey. Lindsey leads the Broncos’ ‘backs with 54 snaps on the season. Meanwhile, Freeman was on the field for just 24% of the offensive plays last week. The Broncos are on the road this Sunday to play a Ravens defense that has allowed the second-fewest fantasy points (PPR) to opposing running backs.

Wide Receiver

Kelvin Benjamin

Things are ugly in Buffalo and Benjamin isn’t helping matters. The receiver has caught three of his ten targets on the year for 29 yards. He did manage a garbage time touchdown in the waning moments of last week’s contest versus the Chargers, which is his best source of fantasy relevance moving forward. This Sunday the Bills travel to Minnesota to play one of the best defenses in the league.

Demaryius Thomas

Thomas’ yards per reception average has dipped each of the past four seasons, tumbling from 15.5 in 2013, to 11.4 last year. Through two weeks Thomas is averaging a pathetic 7.4 yards per reception and has caught just over 52% of his targets. He also leads the NFL with three dropped passes. This Sunday the Broncos travel to Baltimore to face a Ravens defense that is hungry to redeem themselves after giving up three first half touchdowns to AJ Green last Thursday.

Corey Davis

Davis’ 20 targets are more than double the next closest Titan. However, Tennessee’s offensive production has been lacking. The team is averaging the ninth-fewest yards per play (5.0) and has scored the ninth-fewest points (20 PPG) in the NFL. With Marcus Mariota still recovering from a nerve issues in his throwing arm, Blaine Gabbert will once again start at quarterback as the Titans take on a loaded Jaguars defense in Jacksonville.

Tight End

Jimmy Graham

The Packers have their first road game of the season on Sunday against a Washington defense that has allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL. After seeing just four targets in week one, Graham drew eight targets last week against a Vikings defense that was focused on taking away Aaron Rodgers’ wide receivers. While he always has a chance for a jump ball in the endzone, I expect Graham’s usage to subside this week.

Ben Watson

Those hoping Watson’s return to New Orleans would mean a replication of his 2015 stat line must be thoroughly disappointed. The 37-year-old has caught seven of his nine targets for 63 yards in 2018. The tight end position is no longer the focal point it once was in the Saints’ offense, as Drew Brees has thrown just four touchdowns to tight ends each of the past two seasons. This week Watson faces an Atlanta defense that has allowed the sixth-fewest fantasy points (PPR) to opposing tight ends.

Defense

Los Angeles Chargers:

You don’t want to start any defense that is tasked with trying to stop the Rams. Sean McVay’s offense was the highest scoring in the league last season and is averaging 33.5 points per game so far this year. The Rams have only turned the ball over once through the first two weeks, tied for the fewest in the NFL. To make matters worse, pass-rush extraordinaire, Joey Bosa, remains sidelined with a foot injury that is expected to keep him out until October.

Tennessee Titans

Blake Bortles threw for 376 yards and four touchdowns last week versus New England. This week he may get Leonard Fournette back from a hamstring injury. Opposing defenses have scored the fourth-fewest fantasy points when playing Jacksonville this season. There are better options than the Titans this week.

Have more start/sit questions? Hit me up on Twitter at @FastTakeFantasy.

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