Start 'EM Sit 'EM Week 3
Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 3
Fantasy football is volatile and produces surprising results seemingly every week. That's why it's so important to track metrics such as consistency, usage, continuity, and scheme to best identify the players worth plugging into lineups.
Justin Jefferson was shut down by Darius Slay on Monday Night Football, while Stefon Diggs continued to win fantasy matchups with a 12-reception, 148-yard, three-touchdown outing against the Tennessee Titans. Meanwhile, in the running back landscape, neither Saquon Barkley nor Jonathan Taylor finished Week 2 as an RB1. This juxtaposes their production in Week 1, which catapulted both star running backs to the top of the fantasy football leaderboards. These are just a couple of examples showing the amount of variance players experience from week to week in the NFL.
My Week 2 starts proved to be a success. Excluding Jerry Jeudy, who suffered an injury mid-game, the rest of my recommended starts proved to be valuable commodities. Amon-Ra St. Brown showed that he's a bonafide WR1 playing with Jared Goff in Detroit, racking up 39.4 PPR points and scoring a pair of touchdowns to give the Lions their first win of the season. Antonio Gibson and Miles Sanders each finished as mid-range RB2s, while Matthew Stafford and Dallas Goedert also pieced together nice games to finish inside the top 12 at their respective position. Adam Thielen cleaned up in garbage time with four receptions for 52 yards, while Josh Jacobs finished as the RB28 in PPR formats.
Let's prepare for Week 3 by exploring the upcoming matchups to determine which players to start or sit in fantasy football lineups.
David Montgomery (RB) Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears had their offense stymied through the air in Week 2 against Green Bay, forcing them to rely on David Montgomery to move the chains. The fourth-year running back has racked up over 1,000 scrimmage yards in each of his first three seasons with the Bears and continues to handle the bulk of the rushing share. Khalil Herbert got the touchdown during the monsoon matchup against the 49ers in Week 1, but he was relegated to five touches compared to Montgomery's 17 touches against a stout Green Bay front-seven. Montgomery averaged 8.17 YPC, which was good enough to finish as the RB10 in PPR. He will have a great opportunity against the Houston Texans' run defense in Week 3, which is ranked as the seventh-best matchup for fantasy running backs. Plug Montgomery in with confidence as he's Chicago's primary weapon on offense.
Ezekiel Elliot (RB) Dallas Cowboys
It's not time to panic and bench Ezekiel Elliot in fantasy football. Yes, Tony Pollard scored a touchdown and Zeke is still seeking his first trip into the end zone this season. It's a long season. The Cowboys continue to feed Elliot 10 to 17 touches per game, which has led to over 50 rushing yards in each outing. The opportunity is there for Elliot to produce. In Week 3 he will face the NFC East division-rival New York Giants, whose run defense surrendered 82 rushing yards to Derrick Henry in Week 1 and 102 rushing yards to Christian McCaffery in Week 2. Pollard has the edge in target share and opportunity, but Elliot is averaging 4.2 YPC and getting more carries in a good matchup. Plug him in for solid RB2 production with RB1 upside.
Miles Sanders (RB) Philadelphia Eagles
Nick Sirianni appears to have unlocked the Eagles' offense. A big piece of it is Mile Sanders. The fourth-year running back was held without a touchdown in 2021, which made him a good value in fantasy drafts. He's seen 15-20 touches against Detroit and Minnesota, turning it into RB13 and RB18 finishes in PPR formats. Sanders already has the touchdown boogeyman off of his shoulders and he's playing behind one of the league's best offensive line units. Combine that with the emerging superstardom of Jalen Hurts and Sanders becomes a must-start option moving forward. Still not convinced? Washington has allowed the fifth-highest fantasy points to the running back position this season. Sanders waxed poetic against Washington in 2021, churning out 18 carries for 131 yards. Lock him into your fantasy lineups for Week 3.
CeeDee Lamb (WR) Dallas Cowboys
The first game of the 2022 season was a bust for CeeDee Lamb. He drew 11 targets but finished with just two receptions for 29 yards in a 19-3 rout by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Heading into another tough matchup without Dak Prescott, many fantasy managers were reluctant to roll Lamb into lineups. Fortunately, he was a steady presence within the offense under the addition of backup quarterback Cooper Rush. Lamb finished with another double-digit target day against the Bengals, increasing his production to seven receptions for 75 yards. Lamb has had sustained success with Rush in his two starts, producing 13 receptions for 187 yards. The Giants are a tough matchup for wideouts on paper but they have managed to do this against Tennessee and Carolina. A primetime divisional showdown could see Lamb hit WR1 production in Week 3.
Brandin Cooks (WR) Houston Texans
Volatility is not an issue when it comes to Brandin Cooks in fantasy football. The ninth-year wideout has performed well in several locations throughout his career and finished 2021 with 90 receptions, over 1,000 receiving yards, and six touchdowns. Cooks is the definition of a high-floor play. Davis Mills appears to have a strong connection with him during his second year in the league, drawing double-digit targets in both matchups to start his 2022 campaign. Cooks has a solid opportunity against the Chicago Bears defense in Week 3, which ranks as a top-15 matchup for fantasy wideouts through two games this year. He hasn't played the Bears since 2018 when he was held to three receptions for 22 yards. However, Chicago has a pair of rookies in its secondary, and Cooks is a proven veteran talent. Keep him plugged in for high-end WR3 or possibly WR2 production in Week 3.
Tee Higgins (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
An early concussion knocked Tee Higgins out of Week 1 against Pittsburgh, so it was encouraging to see him return to a prominent role in the Bengals' passing attack against Dallas in Week 2. Higgins led Cincinnati in targets against the Cowboys, turning ten targets into six receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown. Ja'Marr Chase is an elite talent but this allows Higgins to draw softer coverage against opposing defenses, resulting in steady production. Shockingly, the New York Jets present a fairly tough matchup, ranking just outside the top 12 toughest wide receiver matchups at 14th. Last year, Higgins caught four receptions for 97 yards on six targets. He's a solid play and a comfortable WR2 to trust on the road in the Meadowlands for Week 3.
Tyler Higbee (TE) Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams are nursing a Super Bowl hangover, but Tyler Higbee is firing on all cylinders. The 29-year-old tight end has spent his entire seven-year career with the Rams and he's produced nicely in big spots. He's the unquestioned TE1 in Sean McVay's offense, earning 96 percent of snaps and a healthy 26.3 percent target share. He's already drawn 20 targets across the first two weeks, resulting in at least five receptions. Higbee's Week 3 matchup is particularly juicy. Arizona's pass defense is the best matchup for opposing tight ends, allowing 29.1 PPR points to the position this season. He has no competition in the tight-end room and has Stafford's trust.
Joe Burrow (QB) Cincinnati Bengals
The reigning AFC Champions have fallen on hard times. Two brutal losses in the final seconds is a tough way for any team to start a season, much less a franchise historically mired in disappointment and mediocrity. Joe Burrow is battle-tested and is dealing with adversity due to a porous offensive line that was paid to protect the third-year franchise quarterback. The good news is that Burrow gets a solid matchup against the New York Jets in Week 3. Last year, Burrow shredded the Jets' secondary, completing 21 of 34 passes for 259 yards and three touchdowns. The Bengals will take out their frustration against the Jets and the result will be glorious for Burrow fantasy managers.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB) Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City is a difficult team to figure out in the early stages of the 2022 season. Numerous personnel changes were made on both sides and the result, from a fantasy football context, is a volatile group of skilled players. Travis Kelce went nuclear in Week 1 against a bad Arizona pass defense, while Mahomes found Clyde Edwards-Helaire for a pair of touchdowns through the air. Week 2 was a lot more sobering for CEH. He averaged an impressive 9.25 YPC against the Chargers' run defense but only received eight carries. Edwards-Helaire still has a floor in PPR leagues but he's dangerously close to losing the rushing share to rookie Isiah Pacheco. Jerick McKinnon is also absorbing 8.2 percent of the Chiefs' target share this year, barely behind CEH. Add the Colts' run defense into the mix, which is ranked 14th-best at shutting down fantasy running backs, and you have a recipe for disappointment. If you can afford it, sit CEH and pivot to other options like Darrell Henderson, Kareem Hunt, or Breece Hall.
Michael Thomas (WR) New Orleans Saints
This is a tough decision right here. Michael Thomas has proven to be the Saints' top commodity in the wide receiving corps, but Jarvis Landry and Chris Olave are earning plenty of opportunities themselves. Right now, Thomas has touchdowns in consecutive games to start the year, totaling three, which should pencil him into lineups heading into Week 3, right? Wrong. Carolina has stifled opposing wide receivers thus far, holding Amari Cooper to 17 yards and D.J. Moore to three receptions for 43 yards and a touchdown. Thomas will need to extend his touchdown streak to be return value in lineups at Carolina in Week 3. This is not a certainty, especially against a stout Panthers secondary. He should return to lineups against Minnesota in Week 4 but bench Thomas in what could be a defensive scrap between the Saints and Panthers during Week 3.
T.J. Hockenson (TE) Detroit Lions
Detroit has found a pair of superstars between D'Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown. T.J. Hockenson gets opportunities, but the fourth-year tight end out of Iowa is looking further and further away from his Pro-Bowl caliber season in 2020. Yes, seven targets per game are solid for a tight end. The lack of production is obvious. Hockenson has numerous drops and is averaging just 4.57 yards per target, meaning he's not getting valuable downfield opportunities. Instead, he's getting peppered with targets during intermediate and short routes, limiting his floor and ceiling altogether. Until we see better volume and red zone opportunities, Hockenson's three or four receptions for 30 yards will not be enough to warrant lineup consideration.
Aaron Rodgers (QB) Green Bay Packers
Green Bay finally found their recipe for success in Week 2 against Chicago, running the ball a whopping 38 times for 203 yards and a touchdown. Aaron Rodgers went 19 of 25 for 234 yards and two touchdowns, which is a nice floor in one-quarterback leagues. However, the Week 3 matchup is among the toughest for any quarterback on the slate. Rodgers will travel down to Tampa Bay to face a stout Buccaneers defense that ranks as the second-toughest matchup for quarterbacks this season. Dak Prescott and Jameis Winston were both stifled by the Bucs. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon will once again be the game plan, as the Packers' supporting cast of wideouts lacks talent and experience right now. Rodgers may wind up with 200 passing yards and a touchdown but the Bucs have forced six turnovers and held teams under 210 passing yards in both outings. Pivot off of Rodgers in Week 3 for quarterbacks such as Matthew Stafford, Derek Carr, or Kirk Cousins.
Matt is an avid writer and enjoys analyzing the game within the game that is fantasy sports. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his fiancé and three pets, which typically involves some type of outdoor exercise or adventure. He likes to read, listen to Podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the fantasy sports industry. Pat McAfee is a massive inspiration to Matt, along with his parents and friends. He is guilty of ordering the same menu item at restaurants.