2020 Fantasy Football: Players to start or sit in Week 3

·11-min read

Sit and start is relative and league dependent, so consider some of these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 3 lineups.

Las Vegas Raiders @ New England Patriots

Sit: Henry Ruggs

Start in DFS: Cam Newton ($32)

Ruggs got off to a nice start to his career but quickly suffered a knee injury and has been quiet since (and remained limited in practice this week). Up against an angry Patriots defense in New England, no Raider can be trusted in fantasy lineups outside of Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller this week.

Newton just threw for nearly 400 yards in Seattle (leading to Julian Edelman setting a career-high in receiving yards) with middling target options (James White missed the game), and he’s also on pace to record 32 rushing touchdowns this season (and he could easily have two more). Given his dominance at the goal line and the matchup, Newton is a borderline top-five fantasy QB in Week 3 and someone to consider in DFS.

Los Angeles Rams @ Buffalo Bills

Start: Darrell Henderson, Devin Singletary

Malcolm Brown returned to practice Thursday, and this certainly doesn’t come without risk, but Henderson impressed last week (and ranks fourth in elusive rating so far this year) and carries a ton of upside in this Rams offense that’s among the league leaders in yards per play. The all-time college leader in YPC, Henderson should benefit from Cam Akers’ (ribs) likely absence and is worthy of a flex play in Week 3.

Singletary will have to deal with Josh Allen stealing touchdowns around the goal line, but he should be looking at more touches with Zack Moss nursing a toe injury. Singletary’s targets have been way up early on (10) even with the rookie back playing, and the Bills get a Rams run-funnel defense that ranks #8 against the pass in DVOA and #27 against the run.

Houston Texans @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sit: David Johnson

Start in DFS: James Conner ($17)

Johnson could soon be a buy-low candidate, but he gets yet another difficult matchup in Week 3 against a Pittsburgh run defense that ranks #1 in DVOA and has held running backs to just 48.5 rushing yards per game so far. I’d rather gamble on Darrell Henderson, Antonio Gibson, Joshua Kelley, and even Jeff Wilson Jr. this week.

[Week 3 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Conner retook the role as Pittsburgh’s clear lead back last week, solidified by a late Benny Snell lost fumble. There’s always risk with Conner, but $17 is low for a three-down back who’s at home in such a favorable matchup. I have Conner as my RB8 in Week 3.

San Francisco 49ers @ New York Giants

Start: Jeff Wilson Jr., Darius Slayton

While Jerick McKinnon should be active in the passing game, expect Wilson to take over as San Francisco’s lead back, leading to 15+ touches in a productive system (that still includes a solid offensive line). The Giants have quietly played well defensively, ranking #7 in DVOA, but Wilson should be busy with the 49ers dealing with injuries to the team’s top two running backs, #1 wide receiver and #1 tight end. Wilson has been the team’s goal-line back before, and don’t be surprised when he finishes as a top-20 fantasy back in Week 3.

Slayton is going to benefit greatly from the injuries to Sterling Shepard, Saquon Barkley and so many on San Francisco’s defense. Slayton has averaged nearly a touchdown (0.8) over five games without Shepard in his career and already ranks top-25 in WOPR this season, so he’s a top-15 WR on my board in Week 3. The Giants aren’t going to be able to run the ball with Devonta Freeman (the huge differences in FAB bids between him and Wilson were absolutely wild), so Slayton is going to be extremely valuable moving forward (another Evan Engram injury would make him even busier).

Tennessee Titans @ Minnesota Vikings

Start: Corey Davis

Start in DFS: Adam Thielen ($24)

Volume is always a concern with Tennessee’s passing attack, but with no A.J. Brown again, Davis remains a fine start in Week 3. Davis has seen about as many air yards as DeAndre Hopkins this season and he gets a Minnesota defense that’s been gashed for the second-most fantasy points by wide receivers.

Thielen leads the NFL in air yards target share and WOPR, and Minnesota’s drastic decline in defense and loss of Stefon Diggs should continue to make him one of the five most valuable fantasy receivers moving forward — and a top-three option in Week 3 at home in a game with a total approaching 50 points.

Washington Football Team @ Cleveland Browns

Start: Antonio Gibson, Browns D/ST

Gibson has impressed when touching the ball and continues to see his role expand (65% snap share last week while Peyton Barber disappeared), so he’s an option in a tenuous running back landscape.

The Browns enter with an overwhelming advantage in the trenches, and Dwayne Haskins is looking less like Washington’s long-term answer at QB. He got just 6.3 YPA with a 1:5 TD:INT ratio over five games on the road last season, and he ranks last by a mile in CPAE so far in 2020. I have the Browns as a top-three fantasy defense in Week 3.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Philadelphia Eagles

Start: Joe Burrow, Carson Wentz

Burrow hasn’t been efficient (5.3 YPA) but a whopping 97 attempts have given him the most opportunity for fantasy points among all quarterbacks this season, and he gets an Eagles pass defense that ranks 27th in DVOA. It helps that the Bengals can’t run the ball (and that Burrow can), and this game projects to be among the fastest-paced this week.

Wentz has been awful so far, ranking second-to-last in CPAE and even getting booed at home without fans. But he’s faced a tough schedule and should bounce back in a favorable home matchup and with DeSean Jackson and Miles Sanders healthier (although with no Jalen Reagor).

Chicago Bears @ Atlanta Falcons

Start: Mitch Trubisky, Russell Gage

Trubisky ranks first in Aggressiveness among QBs who’ve started two games early on, adds rushing yards and gets an Atlanta defense that’s been shredded for the most fantasy points by quarterbacks this season. The Falcons should be able to score at home, and the Bears usually struggle running the ball, so the recipe is here for Trubisky to be a top-12 fantasy QB indoors Sunday against an Atlanta defense that’s allowed the second-most yards per play this season.

Gage has averaged 7.9 targets over 11 games since Mohamed Sanu was traded, and that should continue with Julio Jones battling a hamstring injury that’s clearly bothering him. Atlanta is unlikely to run Todd Gurley with any success against the Bears, so Gage is once again a viable start in Week 3. Matt Ryan is on pace to throw the most yards in NFL history through two games.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis Colts

Sit: All Jets

Start in DFS: T.Y. Hilton ($19)

It’s not Sam Darnold’s fault, but injuries and most importantly, Adam Gase’s coaching, have the Jets as this week’s biggest underdogs by far (amazing that Robby Anderson also has been immediately good after leaving Gase; I’m going to go out on a limb and predict the same for Chris Herndon). The Jets’ offensive line is going to be overwhelmed by an Indy front seven that’s ceded the fewest yards per play this season, so sit them all.

Hilton is off to a slow start (including a bad drop in the end zone last week) but typically plays much better indoors, should move to the slot more with Parris Campbell out and gets a Jets funnel defense that ranks #3 against the run yet #22 versus the pass in DVOA, so I’m treating him as a top-12 WR this week.

Carolina Panthers @ Los Angeles Chargers

Start: Mike Davis, Joshua Kelley

Davis clearly won the backup job in Carolina this summer and immediately secured all eight targets last week, revealing top-20 RB type value in PPR leagues as long as Christian McCaffrey is sidelined. The Chargers aren’t the easiest matchup, but given his usage in the passing game, Davis can be started with confidence in Week 3.

Kelley is obviously 1B to Austin Ekeler, but it should be another run-heavy day for LA as near touchdown home favorites against a Carolina defense that’s ceded the most fantasy points to running backs this season. Kelley has six carries inside the 10-yard line this year compared to just one by Ekeler.

Detroit Lions @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: T.J. Hockenson

Start in DFS: Kenyan Drake ($23)

Hockenson’s usage has been disappointing to go along with the rest of Detroit’s offense this season, but he’s secured all nine targets and gets an Arizona defense in Week 3 that allowed by far the most fantasy points to tight ends last season (the Cardinals have been better so far in 2020, but Logan Thomas had a high WOPR against them last week).

This game projects a lot of plays and many points scored, and Drake looks fully healthy as Arizona’s true feature back. His fantasy production has been limited so far, but the Lions have yielded the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs and rank last in run defense DVOA this season, so I love the Drake and have him as a top-five RB in Week 3.

Quarterback Kyler Murray #1 and running back Kenyan Drake #41 of the Arizona Cardinals
Kenyan Drake looks ready to go off in Week 3 alongside Kyler Murray. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Denver Broncos

Sit: Tom Brady, Jerry Jeudy

While it’s tempting to fire up Brady in lineups with Chris Godwin and Mike Evans both finally healthy and facing an injured Broncos defense, Denver remains a tough place to play, and this matchup projects as slow-paced and low scoring. Brady has been awfully shaky over his last 13 games now.

Jeudy is dealing with a rib injury that’s at risk of taking him out of Sunday’s game at any moment, and while Courtland Sutton is sidelined, K.J. Hamler saw more snaps and ran more routes last week. Jeff Driskel is starting at QB, and the Bucs enter playing well defensively, so Jeudy isn’t a strong Week 3 start.

Dallas Cowboys @ Seattle Seahawks

Start: Everyone

This game should be fast-paced and features teams that both rank top-five in yards per play, so it should be a fantasy goldmine. The Seahawks have allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, so I have Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb all as top-25 WRs this week, while Dalton Schultz is a TE sleeper well worth using in PPR leagues. Russell Wilson is the current favorite to win MVP, and I have Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf both as top-five fantasy wide receivers this week.

Green Bay Packers @ New Orleans Saints

Start: Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Sit: Drew Brees

With Davante Adams unlikely to play (and won’t be close to 100% if he does), MVS is a top-30 fantasy WR in this likely high-scoring matchup indoors. Valdes-Scantling ranks #13 in air yards this season, and Aaron Rodgers looks rejuvenated.

While Rodgers looks great, Brees has looked every bit his 41 years of age and sports the third-worst CPAE in the league over the first two games of the season (after struggling badly down the stretch last year). Brees is already signed to enter the TV booth next year, and it’s becoming increasingly likely he won’t last the majority of 2020 as New Orleans’ starter. He gets a Green Bay defense Sunday night that ranks #30 in DVOA against the run so far this season, so the Saints will likely lean on their rushing attack.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Baltimore Ravens

Start: Mecole Hardman, Mark Ingram

Hardman is a gamble (especially with the game being Monday night) with just four targets on the season, but Sammy Watkins might sit while dealing with a concussion, and Kansas City is going to throw a ton trying to keep up with Baltimore’s unstoppable offense. It’s likely an aberration that soon ends, but it’s mildly curious that Patrick Mahomes has the third-lowest average intended air yards (ahead of only Drew Brees and Sam Darnold) over the first two games of the season.

It’s not an ideal situation with a three-headed backfield committee in Baltimore, but Ingram should see more snaps in a game that should remain competitive longer, and he gets a KC D that allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs last season and ranks 26th in run defense DVOA this year. Ingram is a fine start during arguably the matchup of the season Monday night.

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