With week 3 gearing up, here are your fantasy starts and sits.
Jimmy Garoppolo — 49ers (vs Chiefs)
This game will be a shootout with an over/under of 56. In week one, the Chiefs allowed Philip Rivers to throw for to throw for 424 yards, 8.31 YPA, and three touchdowns. He should have had five, but Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin both dropped easy scores. Last week, Ben Roethlisberger lit up the Chiefs for 452 yards, 7.53 YPA, and three more touchdowns. Until further notice, you’re starting any good quarterback when he plays the Chiefs. Garoppolo fits the bill.
Matthew Stafford — Lions (vs. Patriots)
Stafford bounced back as expected last week, throwing for 347 yards and three scores in a loss to the 49ers. He logged 53 pass attempts and has now attempted 99 passes already this year. The Lions are 6.5-point underdogs against the Patriots in a game with an over/under of 52.
Ryan Fitzpatrick — Buccaneers (vs. Steelers)
Fitzmagic is truly leaving the fantasy community with their mouths dropped. This Buccaneers team has an explosive passing game. With Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard, the team features four dangerous pass-catchers, all of whom are vertical threats, including a legit number one in Evans. As long as Fitzpatrick is guiding that attack, he’s going to be on the QB1 radar.
Alex Smith — Redskins (vs. Packers)
Last week proved that Smith isn’t in Kansas City anymore. Smith completed 33 of 46 attempts last week but had just 292 yards to show for it. He didn’t throw for a touchdown and didn’t make anything meaningful happen with his legs. He simply doesn’t have in Washington the weapons he did with the Chiefs, and that’s going to show up from time to time, despite his best efforts. We're not ready to say Smith is not QB1 material because he plays the Packers this week. However, if you have someone better, play him instead.
Philip Rivers – Chargers (vs. Rams)
Rivers is normally a quarterback you can nearly start every week. The Rams have looked like the best team in the NFL and much of that is due to a defense that has completely shut down the Raiders and Cardinals in the first two weeks. The Charger offensive line has been a mess this season, and that’s not the sort of unit you want to bring to a showdown with Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, and Ndamukong Suh. Rivers is fine in a pinch but not a top 10 QB this week.
Running Back Starts
Phillip Lindsay — Broncos (vs Ravens)
We were highly skeptical after week one. However, after week two, we have to assume Philip Lindsay the leader in Denver’s backfield. Lindsay ran for 107 yards on 14 carries last week, playing 12 more snaps and getting six more carries than Royce Freeman. The Ravens present a tough matchup, but Lindsay has worked his way to the top of the depth chart. Lindsey has received 32 touches in Denver’s first two games this season. Any back with that sort of volume is worth starting, almost regardless of matchup.
Corey Clement — Eagles (vs. Colts)
Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are both out opening the door to a larger role for Clement. It’s all systems go for Clement alongside the returning Carson Wentz. Clement had six carries for 30 yards and a touchdown and five catches for 55 yards. Clement will see anywhere from 16 to 25 touches and will be a great RB2 spot start this week. The Colts have allowed a touchdown or at least 90 total yards to a running back in each of the first two weeks of the season.
Aaron Jones — Packers (vs. Redskins)
Starting Aaron Jones is a risky move and we would only do this if you're in a league of 12 teams or more. Jones will make his season debut on Sunday after serving a two-game suspension to start the season. Mike McCarthy insists the team will work Jones in, with Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery still ahead of him for the time being. This situation is muddled because of the huge timeshare. Here’s why you can make a case to start Jones though. Last year, he ran for 448 yards and four touchdowns on 81 carries. If Jones can find a way to get 10-plus touches, he’ll carry RB2 upside.
Latavius Murray — Vikings (vs. Bills)
Murray is a must-start option with Dalvin Cook (hamstring) out, and this is a dream matchup against the Bills. This Buffalo defense has allowed an average of at least 90 total yards a touchdown in the first two games. Murray should have plenty of opportunities to score at least two touchdowns in this matchup.
Running Back Sits
Jamaal Williams — Packers (vs. Redskins)
A few weeks ago during draft season, everyone drafted Williams because he was going to get the first crack in Green Bay. Two weeks into this season, Williams has looked awful gaining just 106 yards on 31 carries this season and a 3.4 yards a carry. Now, Aaron Jones is back from suspension and its hard to envision a path for Williams to be fantasy relevant.
Chris Carson, Seahawks (vs. Cowboys)
Let's face facts, this Seattle offensive line is not very good. What makes matters worse for Carson owners is that he didn't even get any touches in the second half against Chicago. Apparently, Coach Carroll felt he was more valuable on special teams. The only good news was that Rashaad Penny didn't run away with the job. Carson played one fewer snap than Rashaad Penny in Seattle’s 24-17 loss to Chicago last week. Carson ran the ball six times, while Penny ran it 10. Carson got one target, and Penny got two. Neither of these backs is deemed startable.
Wide Receiver Starts
Kenny Stills — Dolphins (vs. Raiders)
Last week was a down week for Stills as the Jets held him holding him to two catches for 17 yards. I feel this is a bounce-back spot for him this week. The Raiders defense has gotten carved up the last two weeks by the Rams trio of receivers in week one. In week two, they allowed a four-catch, 96-yard line to Emmanuel Sanders. Miami is only favored by a field goal, at home which should be a competitive contest.
Will Fuller — Texans (vs. Giants)
DeAndre Hopkins is the clear number one on the Texans, but Fuller benefits from Deshaun Watson being comfortable flying the ball downfield to him. In Week two, Fuller recorded eight receptions, 113 yards, and a touchdown on nine targets. The Giants will be without their best corner Eli Apple, which spells trouble for a defense already with their best pass rushed Oliver Vernon.
Cooper Kupp — Rams (vs. Chargers)
Kupp is your glue guy on a week to week basis. He's going to get six to ten targets per game. In week one, he made five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown. Last week, he pulled down all six of his targets for 63 yards. Kupp will make the most of his targets and we can't see him finishing less than a WR3 every week.
Wide Receiver Sits
John Brown — Ravens (vs. Broncos)
Brown has been fantastic these first two weeks. In two games, he's caught seven passes for 136 yards and two scores. Unfortunately for Brown, he draws Broncos elite slot cornerback Chris Harris. It's going to be a long day for Brown.
Josh Gordon — Patriots (at Lions)
The Patriots have too many established options to introduce a new target hog into the offense. His hamstring is probably less than 100 percent, and he's joining a new team, learning a new playbook and start on Sunday night. Just don't touch Gordon this week.
Tight End Starts
Eric Ebron — Colts (vs. Eagles)
With Jack Doyle out this week, Ebron becomes an automatic start. He has played well alongside Doyle, catching seven passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns. With Ebron seeing an uptick in targets. This is as easy a play as there is this week.
Will Dissly — Seahawks (vs. Cowboys)
Normally we don't see rookie tight ends flourish so early but Dissly has been a staple lately for Russell Wilson. In two weeks, the rookie out of Washington has six catches for 147 yards and two touchdowns and has been one of the few consistent weapons in Seattle’s passing game.
Tight End Sits
Tyler Eifert — Bengals (vs. Panthers)
The good news is Eifert is healthy, the bad news is he's been really quiet (five of seven targets for 67 yards). Also, receiver Tyler Boyd has carved his way into the offense. The volume just hasn't been there and is a hard player to trust in fantasy leagues moving forward.
The Dolphins tallied three sacks in week two and should create the same pressure this week. Raiders offense should not scare you. A West Coast team heading east is never good an offense. If your defense has a questionable matchup, the Dolphins are a good alternative.
As always, sacks and turnovers are key for a big defensive performance in fantasy, and when a team struggles to protect their quarterback, that leads to both.
Through two weeks, the Cowboys have nine sacks, second-most behind only the Chicago Bears. The Cowboys just had a six-sack game against the New York Giants!