Starts of the Week: Week 3



Once the season begins, the most difficult parts of any fantasy manager’s week are the start/sit decisions. These lineup choices can make or break a week, but unfortunately, not everyone has time to sit down and read lengthy fantasy advice articles on every player. That's why I'll do the work for you, and put a list of several players at each position that I like and should have a strong performance for that given week. But I'm not going to just choose the obvious studs each week. I'll go over the guys that are in the flex-worthy range.



Quarterbacks


Start of the Week:

Jalen Hurts (PHI) With a consistent rushing floor and a clear hold on the starting role, Jalen Hurts looks the part of a fantasy starter not just this week in a solid matchup against the Cowboys, but every week moving forward. If you’ve got him, lock him in your starting lineup and throw away that backup.


Stream of the Week:

Daniel Jones (NYG) Jones is currently a top-5 quarterback. This week, he finds himself in a plus match-up against Atlanta. The Giants will be taking Atlanta on at home, another advantage in Jones’ favor. The Falcons have an atrocious secondary, and Jones looks to capitalize on this in Week 3.



Running Backs


Start of the Week:

Saquon Barkley (NYG) His Week 2 numbers weren’t very exciting and would have looked a lot like his lousy Week 1 numbers if not for a 41-yard run, but the spike in Barkley’s snap rate offers reason for optimism. The Giants handled him with kid gloves in Week 1, letting him on the field for 48% of the Giants’ offensive snaps. In Week 2, he played 84% of the offensive snaps. Plus, we saw a burst on that long run down the right sideline. Now it’s just a matter of plugging him into your lineup each week and waiting for Saquon to be Saquon again.


Co-start of the Week:

Ty'Son Williams (BAL) The pass-blocking mishaps Williams had in the Ravens’ Week 1 loss to the Raiders didn’t cost him snaps in Week 2. Williams out-snapped Murray 37-27 and out-touched him 15-9 in Baltimore’s Sunday-night win over Kansas City. It was Murray who had the lone touchdown for a Ravens running back in that game, scoring on a 5-yard run in the second quarter. Still, Williams is averaging 71.0 rushing yards per game and 6.5 yards per carry, and he seems the most likely candidate to take advantage of a Detroit defense that gave up four touchdowns to Packers RB Aaron Jones in Week 2. Look at Williams as the 'lite' JK Dobbins role and Murray as the 'lite' Gus Edwards role going forward.


Fade of the Week:

Darrell Henderson & Sony Michel (LAR) Henderson has a rib cartilage issue and hadn’t practiced as of Wednesday, leaving his status up in the air. If Henderson can’t play, the bulk of the rushing duties would go to Sony Michel. The problem is that Michel probably does his best work between the tackles, and that path leads straight to Buccaneers DTs Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh, who form an impregnable fortress in the middle of the defensive line. Without Henderson, it’s possible the Rams finish this game with something like an 80/20 pass/run split. Regardless of whether Henderson plays, I’m not going to have a Rams RB among my top 30 at the position.



Wide Receivers


Start of the Week:

Courtland Sutton (DEN) I faded Sutton during draft season because I wasn’t sure how well his vertical skillset would pair with Teddy Bridgewater, who’s never been one to make a lot of high-risk throws deep downfield. That may have been a mistake. With Jerry Jeudy out with a high-ankle sprain, Sutton went off last week, catching 10 of 15 targets for 173 yards and piling up 258(!) air yards. It was quite a performance, and Sutton is poised for a satisfying encore against an inexperienced group of Jets cornerbacks. Consider him a midrange WR2 this week.


Stream of the Week:

Sterling Shepard (NYG) Sterling Shepard has emerged as the Giants’ WR1 (at least until Kenny Golladay

gets fully up to speed) and now gets a juicy matchup against last season’s kindest WR defense, Atlanta. After amassing 207 receiving yards against two of the league’s tougher defenses in Denver and Washington, this will be an interesting test of Shepard’s fantasy prowess moving forward.


Deep-League Stream of the Week (Less than 50% rostered):

Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) 24% owned. Here’s something unusual: Sanders’ average depth of target through two games is 17.4 yards. For sake of comparison, Manny’s aDOT in New Orleans last year was 8.8 yards. A 34-year-old receiver as a deep specialist? Move over, DeSean Jackson, you’ve got company. With the deeper aDOT, Sanders has caught less than half of his targets so far (6 of 14), and the weird usage profile should make him hard to trust, but he's earning Allen's trust, and will emerge as the second option behind Diggs.


Fade of the Week:

Jakobi Meyers (NE) A 10-82-0 stat line two games into the season isn’t very exciting, but in the context of the Patriots’ first two games, Meyers’ numbers don’t look that bad. The Pats have been fairly conservative on offense, so we probably weren’t going to get a blowup game from a wide receiver. It’s becoming clear that Meyers is a possession guy and not a playmaker. His average depth of target this season is just 4.3 yards. Meyers’ outlook may be slightly enhanced this week by the likelihood that teammate Nelson Agholor will be up against the Saints’ best able-bodied cornerback, Bradly Roby, which might funnel an extra target or two in Meyers’ direction. I have Meyers ranked as a back-end WR4 this week.



Tight Ends


Start of the Week:

Dallas Goedert (PHI) Zach Ertz is on the reserve/COVID-19 list, so it appears as if Goedert will have the TE snaps to himself on Monday night against a Dallas defense that was Gronk-smashed by Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski in the Thursday-night season opener. That’s what Goedert advocates thought they’d be getting all along when Ertz made noise about wanting out of Philadelphia in the offseason. But an Ertz trade never materialized. With Goedert likely getting the TE targets to himself.


Fade of the Week:

Robert 'Bobby' Tonyan (GB) This one still stings. Tonyan’s managers get lucky last week, as his three targets somehow led to 52 yards and a TD. That’s simply not a sustainable way to score fantasy points. That may change, but this week he faces last season’s toughest test for tight ends in the 49ers. He’s a strong fade. (Now watch him score another fluky TD.)



Week 3 Stashes

'Pick up & bench, if you have an available roster spot'

Derek Carr (QB - LV) As I say every week, I’m not a fan of rostering two QBs. But if you’re rolling with a streamer this week and want someone more permanent moving forward, Derek Carr could be your guy. Injuries Jacobs made the Raiders more reliant on their quarterback than usual, and it’s possible Jon Gruden liked what he saw and continues that trend. This week’s matchup against Miami is difficult, but Carr has some good upside moving forward. He’s a worthwhile stash who has managed consecutive top-10 QB finishes despite only tossing two TDs each week.


Sony Michel (RB - LAR) Darrell Henderson may play in Week 3. Even if he doesn’t, the matchup against the Buccaneers is terrifying. Yet rib injuries are brutal, so the Rams may decide to shut down their starter for a couple of weeks. That would vault Sony Michel into an every-down role and make him a viable RB2. That’s the kind of guy worth stashing.


Chuba Hubbard (RB - CAR) As CMC's clear backup, and with CMC possibly sidelined for several games. Chuba is in line for a big workload, something like what we saw from Mike Davis last year? Yup! Hopefully you can get him before he gets too expensive.jalen hurtsjalen hurts


Brandon Aiyuk (WR - SF) After an impressive rookie year, Brandon has one catch for six yards so far. It’s still not clear whether 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan slid Aiyuk down the depth chart, or if Aiyuk has still been recovering from a hamstring injury he dealt with late in training camp. Some of Shanny’s remarks about the Aiyuk situation have been rather cryptic. As good as Aiyuk was in 2020, it would be a surprise to see him go the way of Dante Pettis and play his way out of the Bay Area. I look for him to bounce back in a few weeks.