NFL

Fantasy Football start ‘ems and sit ‘ems: Week three

Forget your projected points and predictions from the preseason - fantasy is a week-to-week game, and we’re here to tell you who to start and sit in week 3.

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Fantasy Football start ‘ems and sit ‘ems: Week three
Joe Nicholson USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks down in the NFL regular season and as usual, the players are all over the place. We know by now that it’s impossible to predict who will start, how they’ll do, if they’ll see the passes and runs we expect, and who will get injured. All we can do is research, make educated guesses, and hope for the best. But luckily for you, you have the people of AS to give you week-to-week opinions and thoughts on who to start and sit in your fantasy league. So, let’s get started on week three.

Quarterback Start ‘ems:

Justin Fields - Bears (vs Cleveland Browns)

Andy Dalton is out and Justin Fields is in. For now, anyway. Is he the next Tom Brady? No, probably not. But he is good in the run game and should get you points for yardage at least. I say go for it.

Daniel Jones - Giants (vs Atlanta Falcons)

Damn, Daniel! Let’s talk about Daniel Jones. He has been killing it on the run game and last week he put up nearly 30 fantasy points, completing 22/32 passes and one TD, with no interceptions. He’s a starter, for sure, but especially against the Falcons defense, who have allowed at least 28 points in fantasy in both games so far.

Kirk Cousins - Vikings (vs Seattle Seahawks)

Cousins has put up at least 22 fantasy points two weeks in a row now and saw three TDs last week against the Cardinals. He will be in search of his first win against the Seahawks at home and should have high volume this week.

Jalen Hurts - Eagles (vs Dallas Cowboys)

Hurts has started the season strong and put up 82 rushing yards and a TD against the 49ers last week. Now he’ll take on the Cowboys at home and should be able to take advantage of his rush game against the Dallas defense.

Tom Brady - Buccaneers (at Los Angeles Rams)

“Of course we’re starting Brady, you idiot,” you say! Well, if you’re paying attention, Brady is up against a Rams defense this week that finished number one last year in the league and continues the streak now. So it may be more of a question than usual this week whether or not to start him. But the Bucs love to throw the ball, with Brady leading the league in passing TDs.

Quarterback Sit ‘ems:

Taylor Heinicke - Washington Football Team (at Buffalo Bills)

With Ryan Fitzpatrick out at least eight weeks, Heinicke is Washington’s starter for a while, and he’s earned the position, regardless of Fitzpatrick’s injury. But against the Bills defense, he would be a risky start. So far, the Bills are the team who have given the fewest fantasy points to QBs.

Ryan Tannehill - Titans (vs Indiana Colts)

It’s not that Tannehill is BAD - it’s that Derrick Henry is too GOOD. Henry scored a ton of TDs against the Seahawks, but did so without the help of Tannehill, thus leaving Tannehill with few points despite throwing for 347 yards. If you have other options at QB, I’d bench Tannehill against the Colts defense.

James Winston - Saints (at New England Patriots)

Do you really want to gamble on this guy again this week? Remember how surprising it was to see him dominate against the Packers in week one…well, he was back to making terrible decisions against the Carolina Panthers in week two. In week three, he’s up against Belichick’s Patriots. I don’t trust it.

Joe Burrow - Bengals (at Pittsburgh Steelers)

Sacks and interceptions GALORE last week! Not what you want in a fantasy (or reality) quarterback, is it? Now we’re putting Joey on the road against a Steelers defense. I suppose he’ll be looking to redeem himself, but I wouldn’t risk it as a fantasy owner.

Ben Roethlisberger - Steelers (vs Cincinnati Bengals)

Big Ben is dealing with a pectoral injury. It’s possible he will sit out, but even if he doesn’t, he’ll be a risky start. He’ll be dealing with pain and not at his best. On top of all that, he was a big letdown last week against the Raiders. Sit him against the Bengals pass defense.

FOOTBALL-NFL-PIT-OAK/Sep 19, 2021; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is sacked during the second quarter by Las Vegas Raiders defensive tackle Solomon Thomas at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

Derek Carr - Raiders (vs Miami Dolphins)

Carr has been consistently good so far, with 382 pass yards and two TDs. But the Dolphins pass defense is good, and likely to be carrying the team in this game without their starting QB. Carr was dealing with an ankle injury but is expected to be ready for Sunday. Still, I would bench him in this matchup.

Running Back Start ‘ems:

Saquon Barkley - Giants (at Atlanta Falcons)

This is a tough one for me to decide to start. I started him the last two weeks hoping he’d improve and even started him over Tony Pollard last week, who would have given me 15 more point than Barkley did. But he did have a 41-yard run against the Washington Football team and is recovering from a big knee injury, looking better each week. Will I start him over Pollard? Undecided, still, to be honest. But we’re looking at Barkley against the Falcons, which should be an easier game for him.

Jonathan Taylor - Colts (at Tennessee Titans)

The Colts are dealing with QB injuries and will be relying on the run game, leaving Taylor with plenty of opportunities to rack up points against the Titans this week. Currently, he has the highest expected rush/reception TD total in the NFL and leads in carries inside the five-yard line. He may have disappointed you in the first two games of the season, but don’t give up on him this week.

Antonio Gibson - Washington Football Team (at Buffalo Bills)

So he hasn’t impressed you much thus far, right? Maybe not, but if you watch him play, you’ll see he plays well and it’s not HIS fault that J.d. McKissic stole his touchdown opportunity! Sure, it’s a risky start, but against the Bills, Gibson will get the chance to have a big game as they have allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to RBs.

Ty’Son Williams - Ravens (at Detroit Lions)

Williams has put up at least 11 fantasy points in both weeks one and two and though that’s not incredible or anything, he’s consistent and leads the Ravens in touches throughout the two games so far. And take a look at that opponent….he’ll be just fine. The Lions have allowed the most fantasy points to RBs since 2020, and that’s not going to change against the Ravens.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire - Chiefs (vs Los Angeles Chargers)

This is another risky start, but I’m a risk-taker. Expectations were high for CEH going into the season, and he hasn’t quite met those expectations. But now he’s up against th Chargers defense who struggled to stop Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard last week. This week, the Chiefs could look to their running game to help out Patrick Mahomes.

Running Back Sit ‘ems:

Darrell Henderson - Rams (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Henderson left the game against the Colts last week with a rib injury and it’s uncertain if he will return for the game against the Bucs, but even if he does, I wouldn’t start him this week. He won’t be at his best and it’s more likely the Rams receivers will see the brunt of the work against the Bucs defense.

Devin Singletary - Bills (vs Washington Football Team)

Singletary played well enough against the Dolphins last week, but he’s up against a tough Washington Football team this week. The Washington defense has not gone easy on RBs thus far. I’d sit him against them this week,

James Robinson - Jaguars (vs Arizona Cardinals)

Nope, I don’t trust him. The Jaguars still have yet to attempt a rushing TD and Robinson has yet to put up even 10 fantasy points in a game. He is averaging only 11 touches per game so gar and is up against the Cardinals this week, who haven’t allowed any yards to RBs yet. Sorry, Robinson owners, but this one doesn’t look good to me.

Wide Receiver Start ‘ems:

DK Metcalf - Seahawks (at Minnesota Vikings)

Metcalf was targeted 11 times last week. Tyler Lockett was also targeted 11 times, but that’s okay. I still think we’ll see Metcalf take advantage of those targets in the week three game against the Vikings. The Vikings have given up the third most fantasy points to receivers so far this season.

Odell Beckham Jr. - Browns (vs Chicago Bears)

Obviously we need to make sure he’s definitely good to go, so pay attention to the injury reports as OBJ looks to come back from a knee injury. But if he is playing, he is a must-start. The Bears defense is in the bad habit of giving up big plays, and it could be a big-play game for Beckham if he returns.

Cooper Kupp - Rams (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

I have to reiterate that the Bucs defense is not as good as you might think. They have allowed the second-most fantasy points to receivers so far this season. And Kupp secured nine of 11 targets and two TDs against the Colts last week, so his chances are lookin’ pretty good.

A.J. Brown - Titans (at Indianapolis Colts)

Is he a risky start? Maybe. He’s gotten off to a rocky start. But Tannehill targeted him 17 times last week, even after the addition of Julio Jones. His breakout game is a-comin’! The Colts defense is struggling to stop receivers, so maybe the time is now.

Wide Receiver Sit ‘ems:

Brandon Aiyuk - 49ers (vs Green Bay Packers)

Though he saw more playing time last week, he didn’t see a lot of targets. It’s not clear when Aiyuk will get back to full participation and it’s not worth hoping for. Wait until it happens and sit him until then.

D.J. Chark - Jaguars (vs Arizona Cardinals)

Ouch. Only four targets last week, even when the Jaguars could have used a receiver salvation. Chark caught only one of his measly four targets for 19 yards. I would count on Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault to get the majority of passes for the Jaguars - not Chark.

DeVonta Smith - Eagles (at Dallas Cowboys)

Though he was the top target last week against the 49ers, he did not produce. He had only two receptions from his seven targets for 16 yards. This week, he will have a tough time against the Dallas defense, which includes a former Alabama teammate of his, Trevon Diggs.

Antonio Brown - Buccaneers (at Los Angeles Rams)

Brown was placed on the Reserve/Covid 19 list this week after testing positive. If he tests again and sees two negative results, 24 hours apart, he could have the opportunity to play still. Even so, he was basically invisible on the team last week as his teammates saw all the targets and did all the work.

Tight End Start ‘ems:

Noah Fant - Broncos (vs New York Jets)

Fant shares the targets with WR Courtland Sutton, but even still, he had four receptions on six targets for 33 yards and a TD against the Jaguars. Fant is a must-start TE every week. Though Sutton will continue to see targets, Fant’s participation will hopefully continue to increase.

Dallas Goedert - Eagles (vs Dallas Cowboys)

The Cowboys (sadly) have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season. Jalen Hurts tends vary his targets quite a bit, but this Eagles/Cowboys matchup should be a high-scoring one, so we could see Goedert with plenty of opportunities.

Rob Gronkowski - Buccaneers (at Los Angeles Rams)

Tom Brady and Gronk are a match made in heaven, even against a tough Rams defense. They have a good thing going and are likely to keep it up this week. Gronk has seen two TDs in both games so far.

Robert Tonyan - Packers (at San Francisco 49ers)

He hasn’t seen a ton of targets, but when he does, he takes advantage. The Niners have been struggling to cover tight ends this season, so it’s possible Tonyan’s got a chance for a big game this week.

Tight End Sit ‘ems:

Jonnu Smith (and Hunter Henry) - Patriots (vs New Orleans Saints)

The Patriots tight ends just have not been doing much this season so far. They aren’t getting many targets and they’re splitting the workload, which is really just translating to nothing in the fantasy world.

Mike Gesiki - Dolphins (at Las Vegas Raiders)

Still a no. In fact, you can just go ahead and drop this guy now. He’s not doing anything but warming your bench. He’s consistently played much worse than expected. Not just not as good, but actually terrible.

Gerald Everett - Seahawks (vs Minnesota Vikings)

Everett only saw two targets last week against the Titans and caught only one for only three yards. That’s not going to win you any of your fantasy leagues, my friends. Splitting the time with Lockett and Metcalf and Dissly isn’t helping his case either.

Dawson Knox - Bills (vs Washington Football Team)

He improved a bit in week two, but that’s not saying too much with two of three targets caught and 17 yards. That’s not much for someone who was on the field nearly the whole game. He’s definitely no Gronkowski.

Eric Ebron - Steelers (vs Cincinnati Bengals)

ZERO points in week two from Ebron, who has failed to produce at all this season. 19 yards and one reception in week one, and then in week two, failing to catch either of his two targets against the Raiders. Rookie TE Pat Freiermuth, on the other hand, caught all four of his targets. It isn’t looking good for Ebron in a tough Bengals matchup.