Fantasy Football: Sit/Start tips for Week 3 of the NFL season
Fantasy football sit-and-start advice should always be relative and league-dependent. Note that some players are targeted for DFS. Good luck with your Week 3 lineups!
Las Vegas Raiders @ Tennessee Titans
Start in DFS: Davante Adams ($35)
Start: Treylon Burks
Adams’ rostered percentage will likely be down after burning many DFS players while recording just two catches for 12 yards last week. But he’s a strong bounce-back candidate after leading the league in target share and air yards during his Raiders debut. On top of that, Hunter Renfrow is out with concussion issues and Josh Jacobs will play through an illness that could limit his effectiveness. Tennessee's defense is far more susceptible against the pass than run; the Titans have allowed the most fantasy points to outside receivers this season, so expect a busy Week 3 for Adams.
Darren Waller also deserves a boost in this matchup with Renfrow sitting and Jacobs not 100 percent; Waller’s salary is 33 percent cheaper than Travis Kelce’s this week in Yahoo DFS.
Burks may still be a limited route runner, but the rookie is also a fantasy explosion just waiting to happen. He leads the NFL in target per route run rate and would rank behind only Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle in yards per route run (3.40) if he qualified. All this after he missed time and mostly struggled throughout a disappointing preseason.
With the Titans currently having arguably the league’s worst rushing offense (and now Taylor Lewan is out for the season) and facing a sneaky pass-funnel Raiders defense that’s been among the best against the rush (-0.16 EPA) but bottom-five in EPA/pass (0.22), Burks might have a coming-out party Sunday.
Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears
Start in DFS: David Montgomery ($18), Dameon Pierce ($15)
Montgomery was fourth in snap% and target% among all backs last week, when only Nick Chubb saw more red-zone carries (four). Now he gets a Houston defense that’s allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs since the beginning of last season and 4.7 YPC this year. Bad weather contributed in Week 1, but Chicago is still by far the run-heaviest team in football, and this week the Bears are home favorites. Montgomery has looked terrific while holding off Khalil Herbert, ranking top-10 in rush yards over expectation. He’s undervalued in DFS in a favorable matchup this week.
Darnell Mooney, however, belongs on fantasy benches — if not waiver wires.
[Week 3 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]
Pierce was given all 15 Houston RB carries last week and ran the same number of routes as Rex Burkhead so, hopefully, he’s the team’s feature back moving forward. The rookie has impressed and gets a Bears run defense this week that ranks 27th in DVOA, so he’s undervalued in DFS.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Start in DFS: Stefon Diggs ($31), Jaylen Waddle ($25)
Diggs’ DFS salary this week was locked in before he blew up Monday night, which makes him look like a bargain having recorded the most PPR fantasy points through two games by any WR over the last 20 years. Gabriel Davis could return this week, but Diggs looks like a weekly top-three fantasy WR regardless in the pass-heaviest offense in football. Facing a Miami team that also ranks top-three in pass rate over expectation in a matchup with this week’s highest total (53.5 points), Diggs is a strong DFS building block, as we aren’t even paying for last week’s stats here.
Waddle would be even more valuable in full PPR, but he’s still worth using with a salary outside the top-10 wide receivers. Any concerns about Tua Tagovailoa or target competition have been completely erased, as Tua has looked terrific in the league’s most concentrated WR target tree. In fact, both Tyreek Hill and Waddle’s target-per-route rates are higher than any single-season leader over the past five years!
Waddle saw the second-most air yards last week, and the Dolphins should have to pass a ton again Sunday facing a potent Bills offense. Their defense, however, will be missing starters Micah Hyde (placed on IR), Jordan Poyer (reportedly out), Tre’Davious White and Dane Jackson from their secondary. In a matchup featuring two offenses ranking top-three in pass rate over expectation with this week’s highest over/under, fire up all wideouts involved.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
Start: Jared Goff, Irv Smith Jr.
Goff was fantasy’s QB7 last week and now gets a matchup against a Vikings defense that ranks bottom-three in DVOA and has allowed 7.9 YPA. Goff played much better in Detroit than on the road last season and has benefitted from opening the year with two home games, but he’s playing in a dome Sunday. Helped by a dominant offensive line (and the Sun God), Goff should be forced to pass frequently this week with Minnesota likely to score a bunch of points. This matchup also has the second-highest total (52 points) of the week.
Smith Jr. dropped a would-be 65-yard touchdown Monday night yet still finished as a top-five fantasy tight end in Week 2 anyway. He remains the DFS minimum here — with salaries released before Monday night’s performance — even though Smith finished among the tight end league leaders in air yardage share and targets per route run. Smith Jr. is also one of the season leaders in average depth of target at an extremely weak tight end position, so he’s a bargain in a matchup with this week’s second-highest total (52 points).
Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets
Start: Joe Burrow, Garrett Wilson
Burrow has struggled badly to open the season, taking the most sacks (13) ever over the first two games. But he’s faced a couple of tough defenses with a new offensive line still learning to play together, and recall: This is a quarterback who easily led the league in YPA (8.9) last season. This week Burrow gets a Jets D yielding an NFL-worst 0.32 EPA/pass (and isn’t bad against the run) whose base defense is a highly favorable matchup for the quarterback.
Wilson saw a whopping 14 targets last week and has 225 air yards compared to 75 for Elijah Moore this season. The impressive rookie has run nearly 50% of his routes from the slot this season, where the Bengals have ceded the third-most fantasy points (conversely, Cincinnati has allowed the fewest fantasy points to outside receivers). Corey Davis was a late addition to the injury report this week with a knee issue, so Wilson could easily be looking at double-digit targets again Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders
Start: Miles Sanders, Curtis Samuel
Entering the season with fears of a committee and coming off an injury, Sanders has racked up 35 touches over the first two games. Playing behind arguably the league’s best offensive line, Sanders has already been given half as many carries (three) inside the five-yard line as he did all of last season, and the Eagles enter this week as near-touchdown favorites against a Washington run defense that’s been gashed for the third-worst EPA/rush and the second-most fantasy points by running backs.
It’s hard not to love how Samuel has been used this season, especially if you have him on your PPR fantasy team. He’s been given 20 targets and five carries, and since most of the work comes close to the line of scrimmage, Samuel is on pace to record 128 catches. He has a higher target per route rate than Terry McLaurin and now gets a prime matchup against an Eagles pass defense that shuts down outside receivers but has allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the slot this year (where Samuel has run 67% of his routes).
Antonio Gibson also deserves a boost this week. Philadelphia has quietly allowed the second-worst EPA/rush and is in a prime letdown spot traveling during a short week after looking unbeatable Monday night.
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Sit: Chris Olave
Start: Panthers D/ST
Olave has a bright future and just saw a historic number of air yards last week, but Jameis Winston is clearly comprised while playing through a broken back, and there’s a real chance we could see Andy Dalton at some point this game against a Carolina defense allowing an NFL-low 4.4 YPA. Alvin Kamara is back, and further target competition remains in Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry. Olave could easily become New Orleans’ most valuable fantasy receiver down the stretch but look for alternatives this week.
[Play in Yahoo’s Week 3 $300K Sunday Baller DFS contest]
The Saints have allowed the third-most fantasy points to D/ST opponents and now go outdoors for the first time this season. Winston has struggled trying to play through a broken back and now also has an ankle injury, so Andy Dalton could be forced into action off the bench on a New Orleans team down a couple of left tackles. Carolina’s defense is top-10 in EPA/play this season (better than the Eagles).
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Los Angeles Chargers
Sit: Travis Etienne, Justin Herbert
Etienne’s snap share fell to just 37% last week when he also ran fewer routes than James Robinson, who’s made a much quicker return from Achilles surgery than anyone anticipated. The Chargers' run defense has been much improved this season as well. Etienne is a tough fantasy start until he starts seeing more targets.
While a -7 line held throughout the week, it's dropped to -3 with Herbert a true game-time decision due to torn rib cartilage. So there's a real risk he’s inactive or leaves early while playing through injury. At a minimum, LA’s game plan will be highly affected/limited by his injury, and it certainly doesn’t help center Corey Linsley and RT Trey Pipkins are questionable after leaving last week’s game with injuries. The Chargers also face a sneaky-tough Jaguars defense allowing the third-lowest EPA/pass this season (only the Bills and Bucs have been better), so Herbert isn’t the elite fantasy play this week he usually is (the later afternoon start time presents more uncertainty too).
Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals
Start: Tyler Higbee, Zach Ertz
Higbee leads all tight ends with 20 targets through two weeks, as he’s going to benefit greatly all season from the Rams lacking a third wide receiver and any ability to run the ball. LA now gets an Arizona defense that’s been gashed for the most fantasy points to tight ends this season by a wide margin (27% more than the next most!) and the second-most EPA/pass. Higbee should be treated as a borderline top-three fantasy tight end this week.
Ertz is another strong fantasy option at an otherwise weak tight end position. Finally over his calf injury, Ertz saw 11 targets last week and should remain busy Sunday with so few options in Arizona and facing a true pass-funnel defense; the Rams rank 27th in pass defense yet first against the run in DVOA.
Los Angeles has also been by far the stingiest defense against the run (-0.44 EPA/rush!) but ranks third-worst in EPA/pass (0.27), so you can fire up Greg Dortch in PPR formats as well.
Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks
Start in DFS: Drake London ($17), Rashaad Penny ($18)
London has been extremely impressive given his offensive environment and having missed so many practices right up until the season started. The rookie wideout somehow ranks top-five in target share among all WRs this season. London is getting an eye-opening 2.76 yards per route run that ranks top-10 in the NFL, and he led the league in first-down target% last week (first-down targets are worth 20% more PPR points).
It’s also possible Seattle opens it up and lets Geno Smith cook more Sunday. There’s a risk of a Kyle Pitts breakout game in an Atlanta passing offense unlikely to have two pass-catchers blow up at once, but it’s hard to ignore just how dominant London has been through two games. This week he gets a Seattle pass-funnel defense allowing 7.8 YPA that ranks 30th versus the pass and top-10 against the run in DVOA.
Seattle’s backfield became a full-blown three-way committee last week when Travis Homer joined Kenneth Walker during the rookie’s NFL debut, and the Seahawks are also on pace to record the fewest offensive plays in 20 years, so Penny is only a DFS tournament option. But he was literally fantasy’s top scoring back over the final six weeks last season, and he gets a Falcons defense on Sunday with strong corners but one that ranks dead last in EPA/rush (0.18). Penny has gotten a career 5.5 YPC and just needs an unexpected bump in opportunity Sunday for a chance to go off this week.
Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sit: Aaron Rodgers
Start in DFS: Leonard Fournette ($27)
The back-to-back MVP winner has lost fantasy value through no fault of his own. The return of Allen Lazard helps some, but this is still a limited Green Bay offense that functions through their running backs. Rodgers hasn’t been a top-25 fantasy QB after two games with his new receiving corps, even ranking behind Justin Fields, who’s attempted fewer passes than Cooper Kupp has been targeted!
Even with Akiem Hicks out for Tampa Bay, Rodgers has another bad matchup for fantasy purposes this week against an elite Bucs defense allowing the lowest EPA/pass (-0.45) in the league. Worse yet, the Buccaneers are decimated on offense (including Mike Evans suspended) and have been playing at a sluggish pace, so expect them to continue being run-heavy on first downs.
Put differently, the over/under in this matchup opened at 48.5 points and has dropped down to 42, which is dramatic line movement without weather concerns. Don’t expect top-15 QB numbers from Rodgers during this defensive battle. Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff, Carson Wentz and Marcus Mariota are all superior fantasy options in Week 3.
Fournette, expected to play with a hamstring injury, has barely been a top-20 PPR back through two games, but his usage has been truly elite. Only Christian McCaffrey has seen a higher snap percentage among all running backs, and Fournette rested during Tampa Bay’s easy Week 1 win. The receptions haven’t been there, but Fournette was second in RB route involvement last week, and Tom Brady has the highest RB target% among all QBs over the last five seasons. With Evans suspended, Chris Godwin ruled out and Julio Jones a game-time call, the offense is desperate for weapons. Fournette has the second-most carries (45) in the NFL, has faced a tough schedule (@Dal, @NO) and now returns home to face a Packers run defense that’s allowed 5.6 YPC and ranks bottom-three in DVOA.
Fournette has also promised fantasy managers touchdowns are coming soon!
San Francisco 49ers @ Denver Broncos
Start: Jeff Wilson Jr.
Sit: Albert Okwuegbunam
Jordan Mason is a sleeper to stash, but Wilson remains SF’s current lead back. He’s not explosive but worth using at a thin RB position as the favorite for both goal-line and passing-down work in a usually productive SF system. Go here for a more extensive Week 3 fantasy preview of this game.
While Albert Zero may see more targets with Jerry Jeudy banged-up but expected to play, he’s been a massive disappointment through two games and faces a 49ers defense allowing the fewest fantasy points to tight ends.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Start: CeeDee Lamb, Sterling Shepard
Cooper Rush proved competent enough last week, and Lamb should once again see 10+ targets Monday night, especially with Dalton Schultz unlikely to play. Michael Gallup’s snaps will be limited if he returns, and Lamb has run 60% of his routes from the slot this season, so he’ll mostly avoid the Giants’ solid outside corners. Treat Lamb as a top-15 WR this week.
Shepard has been a quiet target hog since 2020 and has made an impressive return from Achilles surgery. A seemingly deep NYG receiving group entering the season suddenly looks like one of the thinnest in the league, with Shepard the clear No. 1. This week the Giants get a Cowboys defense that’s tougher against the run than pass, so I have Shepard as a top-35 WR. He remains available in nearly 80% of Yahoo leagues.
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