Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 3 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

Two weeks are in the books, and most fantasy football owners have more questions than answers about their rosters. Whether it’s that preseason sleeper who’s on the chopping block or the new waiver wire pickup you’re dying to jam into your lineup, there’s always a balance of patience and decisiveness owners must find. Some losses should be cut right now, but not all lotto tickets should be cashed in yet. Make sense? Well, we’ll make things a lot more clear — at least for this week — as we break down our Week 3 fantasy start ’em, sit ’em lineup advice (and NFL DFS tips if you just want to play a quick scratcher).

Injuries are a constant in the NFL, and several involving QBs could cause problems for players at other positions(and create a few D/ST sleepers). We’ll factor all injuries into our decisions, as well as new workload trends we’ve seen in the opening two weeks.

WEEK 3 FANTASY: Sleepers | Busts

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

QB must-starts

  1. Kyler Murray, Cardinals (at JAX)
  2. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (at DET)
  3. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. LAC)
  4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks (vs. TEN)
  5. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (at DAL)
  6. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  7. Matthew Stafford, Rams (vs. TB)
  8. Josh Allen, Bills (vs. WAS)
  9. Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at SF)
  10. Tom Brady, Buccaneers (at LAR)

Stronger starts

Justin Herbert, Chargers (at KC). Herbert has disappointed out of the gate with some turnovers in a new offense, but he should produce the pleasing numbers chucking opposite Patrick Mahomes in catchup time.

Daniel Jones, Giants (vs. ATL). Jones is getting the job done running and passing for multiple TDs, and it doesn’t get any better than this juicy matchup at home.

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. SEA). The Vikings’ defense is struggling again and the running game has been contained. Cousins will once again have high volume opposite Russell Wilson.

Baker Mayfield, Browns (vs. CHI). Mayfield has been solid but not spectacular in two games, fighting through interceptions and injury, but the Bears have been weak with coverage everywhere.

Matt Ryan, Falcons (at NYG). Ryan would have been a back-end QB1 without the interceptions (ugh, pick-sixes) last week, and the Giants gave up plenty through the air to the Broncos and Washington.

DFS bargains

Teddy Bridgewater, Broncos (vs. NYJ, $5,800 on DraftKings, $7,300 on FanDuel). Bridgewater has proved to be more than a bridge with his strong distributing to Denver’s weapons. He will take flight against the Jets, too, for good return.

Jared Goff, Lions (vs. BAL, $5,200 on DraftKings, $7,100 on FanDuel). Goff is getting the garbage Matthew Stafford used to get throwing a ton because Detroit’s defense stinks. He will take out the trash on the Ravens, too.

Streamer special

Justin Fields, Bears (if he starts, at CLE). Andy Dalton has a bone bruise on his knee and coach Matt Nagy seems to be opening the door to go with the rookie first-rounder on the road — and just down the road from where Fields played college football at Ohio State. Fields provides a high floor with his running and should have high volume opposite Baker Mayfield.

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

Ryan Tannehill, Titans (vs. IND). Tannehill has finished well out of QB1 range for two straight weeks, and he will have low volume as the Titans hammer this one home with Derrick Henry.

Joe Burrow, Bengals (at PIT). The sacks and giveaways are happening out of his early-season rust, and the Steelers on the road isn’t a welcome respite.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers (vs. CIN). Big Ben was a big letdown at home against the Raiders, and the Bengals’ improved pass defense is better than you think.

Derek Carr, Raiders (vs. MIA). Carr has been on fire, but the Dolphins’ pass defense is good and their offense is bad, leading to an unfavorable combination in fantasy.

Sam Darnold, Panthers (at HOU). Darnold could rip the Texans, sure, but this feels like a monster Christian McCaffrey game, mostly on the ground.

Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (vs. ARI). Jacksonville’s pass protection won’t do him any favors. He’s unplayable in single-QB leagues for now.

Jameis Winston, Saints (at NE). Bill Belichick will handle New Orleans’ limited passing game just fine.

Deep traps

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (vs. GB), Taylor Heinicke, Washington (at BUF)

Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Running backs

RB must-starts

  1. Christian McCaffrey, Panthers (at HOU)
  2. Dalvin Cook, Vikings (vs. SEA)
  3. Aaron Jones, Packers (at SF)
  4. Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. IND)
  5. Alvin Kamara, Saints (at NE)
  6. Nick Chubb, Browns (vs. CHI)
  7. Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  8. Najee Harris, Steelers (vs. CIN)
  9. Austin Ekeler, Chargers (at KC)
  10. Saquon Barkley, Giants (at ATL)
  11. Joe Mixon, Bengals (at PIT)
  12. Chris Carson, Seahawks (at MIN)
  13. Antonio Gibson, Washington (at BUF)
  14. David Montgomery, Bears (at CLE)
  15. Jonathan Taylor, Colts (at TEN)
  16. Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. NO)
  17. Miles Sanders, Eagles (at DAL)
  18. D’Andre Swift, Lions (vs. BAL)

Stronger starts

Myles Gaskin, Dolphins (at LV). Gaskin and the entire offense tanked against a good Buffalo defense. The Raiders have sprung enough holes vs. runners and backfield receivers to expect a rebound game.

Kenyan Drake, Raiders (vs. MIA). Gotta love the Drake with Josh Jacobs (toe, ankle) set to miss another game with a nice revenge narrative against a much weaker run defense than pass defense.

Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, Broncos (vs. NYJ). There have been flashes from the rookie and veteran, but here there’s room for both to rumble to productive days with a super-positive game script.

Trey Sermon, 49ers (vs. GB). With Elijah Mitchell (shoulder) and JaMycal Hasty (ankle) likely out, Sermon will get the bulk of the carries against a relatively soft Packers defense.

Chase Edmonds and James Conner, Cardinals (at JAX). Edmonds and Conner should be busy in the second half when their team has buried the Jaguars.

James White, Patriots (vs. NO). The Saints have had trouble with backs in the passing game early, and White is again a fundamental part of what New England does along with Damien Harris.

Tony Pollard, Cowboys (vs. PHI). The Eagles’ matchup calls for more of him and Ezekiel Elliott doing dual damage.

Latavius Murray, Ravens (at DET). Murray has scored in his first two Baltimore appearances and makes it a third time to make him flexy sexy.

DFS bargains

Ty’Son Williams, Ravens (at DET, $5,800 on DraftKings, $6,400 on FanDuel). Williams keeps getting key work to clean up as a young back and should be busy in the second half against the Lions with positive game script. He’s also the better receiver over Latavius Murray.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (vs. LAC, $4,800 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel). Whoa. CEH has seen a big price drop after his little usage and troubling production as a second-year first-round pick. But the Chargers, who struggled in both phases against Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, are a prime matchup for KC to overcorrect and get the running game to support Patrick Mahomes and better protect the defense. 

WEEK 3 DFS LINEUPS: FanDuel | DraftKings | Yahoo

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel, Rams (vs. TB). The Bucs have been the best run defense three years running, and Henderson’s ribs issue makes the usage ambiguous in what should be a high passing-volume game.

James Robinson, Jaguars (vs. ARI). Can you trust Robinson to get the numbers you need for a team that has yet to have a red-zone rushing attempt? Not yet. Let’s hope for some offensive function in Jacksonville soon.

Kareem Hunt, Browns (vs. CHI). The Bears’ linebackers have done well to contain backs in the passing game.

Mike Davis and Cordarrelle Patterson, Falcons (at NYG). Davis has been a dud, and Patterson won’t be a random stud for a second straight week as the Falcons throw a ton again.

Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones, Buccaneers (at LAR). Watch the fireworks between Tom Brady and Matthew Stafford with little forced running

Devin Singletary and Zack Moss, Bills (vs. WAS). WFT has thrown down in run defense and has had most trouble with running QBs like Josh Allen.

Jamaal Williams, Lions (vs. BAL). The Ravens’ run defense hasn’t let them down with their back-end pass issues.

All Texans (vs. CAR). The Panthers’ run defense is flexing enough to park all of Houston.

All Jets (at DEN). Free Michael Carter soon, Mike LaFleur. That is all.

MORE WEEK 3 DFS: Best stacks | Best values | Lineup Builder

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

WR must-starts

  1. Davante Adams, Packers (at SF)
  2. Tyreek Hill, Chiefs (vs. LAC)
  3. DeAndre Hopkins, Cardinals (at JAX)
  4. Cooper Kupp, Rams (vs. TB)
  5. Stefon Diggs, Bills (vs. WAS)
  6. DK Metcalf, Seahawks (at MIN)
  7. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at MIN)
  8. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. SEA)
  9. Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. SEA)
  10. Calvin Ridley, Falcons (vs. NYG)
  11. Keenan Allen, Chargers (at KC)
  12. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  13. A.J. Brown, Titans (at IND)
  14. Robert Woods, Rams (vs. TB)
  15. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (at LAR)
  16. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (vs. GB)
  17. D.J. Moore, Panthers (at HOU)
  18. Robert Woods, Rams (vs. TB)
  19. Tee Higgins, Bengals (if he plays, at PIT)
  20. Allen Robinson II, Bears (at CLE)
  21. Amari Cooper, Cowboys (vs. PHI)
  22. Terry McLaurin, Washington (at BUF)
  23. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (at LAR)
  24. Diontae Johnson, Steelers (if he plays, vs. CIN)
  25. Julio Jones, Titans (vs. IND)

Stronger starts

Mike Williams, Chargers (at KC). “X” marks the spot in the L.A. O, as Williams is finally living up to his A-list talent.

Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick, Broncos (vs. NYJ). The Jets’ secondary will be ripped by Denver’s primary targets for two more solid days.

Marquise Brown, Ravens (at DET). Book another long TD for “Hollywood” with a manageable side of Sammy Watkins if you’re desperate.

Chase Claypool and JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (vs. CIN). The deep outside and reliable slot combination is too much for the Bengals.

Brandin Cooks, Texans (vs. CAR). He will rack up the garbage even with a QB change.

Kenny Golladay, Giants (vs. ATL). He’s been close on big plays with Daniel Jones, and it should finally happen against the awful Atlanta secondary.

Robby Anderson, Panthers (at HOU). It comes down to whether he will have a big-play score with Sam Darnold, but the matchup gives him a fair shot.

Marvin Jones Jr. and DJ Chark Jr., Jaguars (vs. ARI). Jones is getting the best looks from Lawrence, but Chark also should put some digits in garbage time.

Tyler Boyd, Bengals (at PIT). The Steelers haven’t looked good in slot coverage so far vs. Cole Beasley and Hunter Renfrow.

Michael Pittman Jr., Colts (vs. IND). The Titans’ young cornerbacks seem overmatched, and he has had success against this defense.

Rondale Moore, Cardinals (at JAX). More of Moore magic, thank you very much.

DFS bargains

Sterling Shepard, Giants (vs. ATL, $5,900 on DraftKings, $6,400 on FanDuel). There is no bad matchup for a Giants’ wideout, as Shepard channels Chris Godwin this week.

Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (at PIT, $5,400 on DraftKings, $5,900 on FanDuel). All he does is make big plays, but that counts in fantasy especially in tournaments.

Zach Pascal, Colts (at TEN, $4,800 on DraftKings, $5,300 on FanDuel). Pascal will eat in the slot playing off Michael Pittman regardless of the QB.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

Antonio Brown, Buccaneers (at LAR). They don’t need to force anything to Brown, and he actually could see some Jalen Ramsey downfield. The missed practice time this week while being on the COVID list doesn’t figure to help his cause either, and obviously if he’s out, then Ramsey will be either Mike Evans’ or Chris Godwin’s problem.

DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at DAL). He has a tough outside spot against bigger former Alabama teammate Trevon Diggs.

Corey Davis, Jets (at DEN). The Broncos’ secondary rebounded last week, and it will contain Davis with Zach Wilson struggling.

Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (at LV). Even if Tua Tagovailoa (ribs) was starting, it’s a bad idea to chase Waddle’s Week 1 production.

Henry Ruggs III, Raiders (at MIA). The Dolphins’ ace cornerbacks make them protective of the deep ball.

Cole Beasley, Bills (vs. WAS). Kendall Fuller has made them tough in the slot, so no.

Marquez Callaway, Saints (at NE). A ho-dee ho-dee no-dee no. A hi-dee hi-dee hi-dee no.

Jakobi Meyers and Nelson Agholor, Patriots (vs. NO). Mac Jones will be handing off a lot here.

Darnell Mooney, Bears (at CLE). Justin Fields could help Mooney a lot, but don’t force him in there yet.

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (vs. GB). Not sure when he will show up? Neither are we.

Deep traps

Laviska Shenault Jr., Jaguars (vs. ARI), Christian Kirk, Cardinals (at JAX), K.J. Osborn, Vikings (vs. SEA)

MORE WEEK 3: Top waiver pickups | FAAB budget planner | Buy-low, sell-high

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

TE must-starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. LAC)
  2. Darren Waller, Raiders (vs. MIA)
  3. Mark Andrews, Ravens (at DET)
  4. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. GB)
  5. T.J. Hockenson, Lions (vs. BAL)
  6. Rob Gronkowski, Buccaneers (at LAR)
  7. Noah Fant, Broncos (vs. NYJ)
  8. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (at NYG)
  9. Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at DAL)
  10. Logan Thomas, Washington (at BUF)

Stronger starts

Robert Tonyan, Packers (at SF). Tonyan still isn’t seeing a ton of targets from Aaron Rodgers, but he’s efficient and always a threat to score. The 49ers haven’t been good early in tight end coverage, and Tonyan could be inspired by playing opposite good buddy George Kittle.

Tyler Higbee, Rams (vs. TB). He’s had one solid game and one dud so far, but the Bucs have had enough trouble with Dallas and Atlanta to think he’ll be more involved in a frequent passing offense.

Jared Cook, Chargers (at KC). Cook was not on the burner against the Cowboys as he should have been. The Chiefs continue to have plenty of trouble covering the position.

Austin Hooper, Browns (vs. CHI). He will need to be busy with all their wide receiver injuries. He can put up Tyler Higbee-like Week 1 numbers against Chicago.

Dan Arnold, Panthers (at HOU). He was involved well last week, and if you’re desperate you could do worse than plugging him into a choice matchup on TNF.

DFS bargain

Jack Doyle, Colts (at TEN, $3,400 on DraftKings, $4,800 on FanDuel). The Colts’ passing game may look different with a banged-up Carson Wentz or a backup, but it will keep flowing through Michael Pittman, Zach Pascal and Doyle in short-to-intermediate passing when Jonathan Taylor isn’t getting the ball. Doyle can help you get some cheap solid return on investment in cash games while you load up elsewhere. He’s the punt play of the week.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, Patriots (vs. NO). As expected, neither is getting enough work because of the other, hurting their strong fantasy value from previous years.

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (at LV). A weekly reminder that you can feel confident dropping him.

Gerald Everett, Seahawks (vs. MIN). The usage of Freddie Swain doesn’t help, and the Vikings can be roasted plenty at cornerback.

Cole Kmet, Bears (at CLE). More like Cole, nyet.

Blake Jarwin and Dalton Schultz, Cowboys (vs. PHI). Two amazing names, but they add up to one blah committee.

Dawson Knox, Bills (vs. WAS). He has done more and scored of late, but he’s still hard to use.

WEEK 3 NFL PICKS ADVICE: Pick ’em pools | Survivor pools

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Defense must-starts

  1. Broncos (vs. NYJ)
  2. Panthers (at HOU)
  3. Cardinals (at JAX)
  4. Ravens (at DET)
  5. Patriots (vs. NO)
  6. Browns (vs. CHI)
  7. Steelers (vs. CIN)
  8. Buccaneers (at LAR)
  9. Bills (vs. WAS)

Stronger starts

Raiders (vs. MIA). The Raiders’ defense can take advantage of this bad offense regardless of who’s QB.

Giants (vs. ATL). The Giants will give up yards and points but can also make some effective plays vs. Matt Ryan.

Titans (vs. IND). They might be seeing Jacob Eason, and game script will give them chances to make big plays.

Bengals (at PIT). Their pass rush is pretty solid so far, and the Steelers’ offensive line stinks.

Chiefs (vs. LAC). Justin Herbert is turning over the ball despite some better protection, and this game could be lower-scoring than expected.

DFS bargain

Cardinals (at JAX, $3,000 on DraftKings, $4,600 on FanDuel). The Cardinals are must-start against the struggling mistake-prone Jaguars, and they remain reasonably priced for the matchup. That’s an acceptable win-win.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

Rams (vs. TB). Don’t start anything against the explosive Buccaneers’ offense.

Saints (at NE). Don’t start anything vs. the careful Patriots’ offense.

Washington (at BUF). The Bills have been more giving than expected, but don’t be surprised if they underwhelm again.

49ers (vs. GB). They are depleted, and the Packers’ offense is in rhythm again.

Packers (at SF). They looked much better in the second half against the Lions, but you still can’t trust them.

Bears (at CLE). Go back to sitting them in a tough road spot.

Get more of Vinnie Iyer’s in-depth fantasy football advice for Week 3 by subscribing to the Locked On Fantasy Football podcast.


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