A Dozen Optimal Starts for Week 3
Isaiah Crowell (CLE) at Colts- Crowell has gotten off to a rough start thus far, and at this point he’s a fringe starter for some rosters. But, if there’s ever a game for Crowell to get going it’s this one against the Colts. The Browns will look to control game clock knowing the “Luckless” Colts have little to offer offensively. What better way to eat clock and tire out a defense than with the ground game? Look for Crowell to eat a lot in Week 3, especially with rookie DeShone Kizer’s recent woes and inexperience.
Charles Clay (BUF) vs. Broncos- Clay started his season off prominently in Week 1 with four catches for 53 yards and a TD, last week he leveled off. He’s a fringe TE1 on a week to week basis, but if you’re looking for a tight end to start this week, Clay could be your guy. The Broncos gave up 10 catches to Jason Witten in Week 2, I don’t expect that type of production from Clay but he’s more than capable of posting 10+ Fantasy points this week. Also, the Bills have little receiving options altogether and their wide receivers will be hard-pressed to find room against the Broncos’ star cornerbacks. Clay’s a nice streaming option this week, especially in PPR leagues.
DeSean Jackson (TB) at Vikings- Just like Martavis Bryant last week, Jackson should find himself on the receiving end of a few big passes plus a TD against the Vikings. Like Bryant, Jackson’s the number two WR on his team and has similar boom or bust potential. A great DFS tournament play, Jackson could be the one shining Fantasy player in a tough matchup for the Bucs. He’s a solid start in standard leagues, but less appealing in PPR.
Tarik Cohen (CHI) vs. Steelers- Ride the hot hand! Cohen has been one of the waiver wire pickups of the year so far, even on the abysmal Chicago Bears offense. This Cohen pick specifically pertains to PPR formats only since he isn’t a between-the-tackles RB. But, with how depleted the entire Bears offense is and how explosive Cohen is, he’s most likely to score a TD. Game script dictates a pass heavy approach in this matchup, and Cohen is one of the Bears’ better receivers.
Kirk Cousins (WSH) vs. Raiders- Cousins hasn’t played like the QB we’ve been accustomed to, but if there’s ever a time to turn it around it’s now. The Raiders usually put up a lot of points so Cousins will need to keep up with high pass volume. Rob Kelley is banged up and Perine isn’t trustworthy by any means. Even if Cousins isn’t particularly on point in this one, the volume alone should be enough for him to produce at a Top-10 QB level.
Kenny Golladay (DET) vs. Falcons- Golladay started his career off with a bang, then came back down to earth with a dud against the Giants. The Lions didn’t throw nearly as much as they normally do because they simply didn’t have to versus such a sloppy Giants offense. This week at home against the Falcons they’ll need to throw to keep up with the Falcons high octane offense. Golladay is an appealing boom or bust play with huge upside due to the high projected points total for this game.
Terrelle Pryor (WSH) vs. Raiders- Like I mentioned earlier, the Redskins and Kirk Cousins will need to put up a lot of points to keep up with the Raiders offense. The Redskins RBs are a below average group so the damage will mostly need to be done through the air. Cousins had two games to build chemistry with new acquisition Terrelle Pryor and now’s his chance to break out. Pryor should receive many targets and a few TD opportunities, I believe he cashes in big time against a below average Raiders secondary.
Hunter Henry (LAC) vs. Chiefs- After a solid 7 catch game last week, Hunter Henry looks primed to become Antonio Gates’ predecessor. With Chiefs’ safety Eric Berry out for the season, Henry should see a lot of looks down the middle of the field. I expect high volume and a few deep plays downfield making Henry a solid upside start in Week 3.
Buck Allen (BAL) at Jaguars (London)- It’s amazing how Buck Allen went from a Fantasy afterthought to the most valuable RB on the Ravens in such a short amount of time. It took two big injuries, but Buck Allen is now the RB to own in Baltimore, especially in Week 3 while Terrance West deals with a soft tissue injury. Allen is a solid starter in your lineups this week in both PPR and standard formats, but specifically PPR since West doesn’t catch passes well. The game script is favorable as well, the Jags are one of the weakest offensive teams so all the Ravens need to do is play their usual stellar defense and run the ball… and run it some more.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST at Vikings- After the romping they put on the Bears in Week 2, the Bucs luckily walk into another great matchup for their defense. The Vikings will once again be without Sam Bradford’s services, so with Case Keenum behind center this looks to be another beat down for the Buccaneers. I’d ride this defense while they’re hot until they come across a truly efficient offensive team. Not only are the Bucs a good streaming option this week, but they’re also a strong defense to hold on your bench for the long term.
Kendall Wright (CHI) vs. Steelers- Wright has become the de facto number one receiver on this Bears offense, which means high volume for him in Week 3. As game script will usually suggest, the Bears will be down by a large margin early on, so there will be plenty of targets to go around. Wright’s more of a PPR and cash game play in DFS due to his slot receiver build, but he’ll give you consistency plus a good chance for a garbage time TD.
Tennessee Titans D/ST vs. Seahawks- Last week the Titans held down the lowly Jaguars offense to 9 points the entire game until a garbage time TD late. This week they go up against an even worse offensive line, possibly the worst in the NFL. With the Seahawks on the road and their anemic offense, I would stream the Titans defense and expect multiple sacks and turnovers.
The Dump’em Dozen
LeGarrette Blount (PHI) vs. Giants- Blount has been a dud in 2017 besides a receiving TD, of all things, Blount has done close to nothing for Fantasy owners. This week facing a stout Giants run defense he’s once again a sit’em for me. I expect Wendell Smallwood to emerge as the workhorse RB in this backfield sooner rather than later, which leaves Blount as bench fodder for the remainder of the season.
Paul Perkins (NYG) at Eagles- Even if Perkins was a very talented RB I still might not start him because of how putrid the Giants offensive line and offense overall is. Perkins isn’t a super talented back, he’s just average at best. Until the G-men find a solution for their offensive woes, I’m benching Perkins and all the other RBs on this team apart from Shane Vereen in PPR leagues.
Terrance West (BAL) at Jaguars (London)- West is dealing with a soft tissue injury but looks like a go for Week 3. Even still, West’s a sit’em for me this week for a few reasons. First, the emergence of Buck Allen has really cut into West’s touches and downgrades his overall value significantly. Secondly, his current injury status suggests that the Ravens will keep the workload lite for him so the upside is limited. I don’t believe West is a good RB in general, but especially if you play in PPR leagues, Allen is the RB to own in Baltimore.
Adrian Peterson (NO) at Panthers- Peterson hasn’t shown us anything in 2 games, his floor is extremely low and the upside just isn’t there anymore. The Saints have Mark Ingram as their main interior runner and Alvin Kamara locked into the third-down pass catching role, there’s little room for AP to see big production. This match-up against the Panthers isn’t favorable either, and the Saints normally have a pass-heavy offense anyway. Sadly, all signs are pointing to the beginning of the end for the legend that was Adrian Peterson.
Rashard Higgins (CLE) at Colts- I’m fading Rashard Higgins this week while everyone else jumps on the bandwagon. Higgins popped onto the scene last week with seven receptions for 95 yards, with Corey Coleman out and Kenny Britt’s ineffectiveness, Higgins could be the go to receiver on the Browns. He’s an admirable player to pick-up and stash for bye weeks, but this week versus an awful Colts team, the game script doesn’t project quality volume through the air. The Browns will want to run the ball a ton with their bruiser back, Isaiah Crowell.
Stefon Diggs (Min) vs. Buccaneers- With Sam Bradford ruled out this week Diggs is downgraded to the bench. Diggs has little upside without Bradford while also sparring with Vernon Hargreaves and Brent Grimes. The Bucs will dominate this game entirely. I’d rather go with a high upside bench play in a good match-up.
DeMarco Murray (TEN) vs. Seahawks- There’s a ton of reasons to fade DeMarco versus the Seahawks in Week 3. First and foremost, he’s questionable with a hamstring injury, frequently a lingering issue. Demarco’s older, worn, and Derrick Henry looked dominant last week. Henry will receive a large workload according to a recent report, meaning Murray’s touches will shrink. Sit Murray if you’ve a potentially better option on the bench.
Jacquizz Rodgers (TB) at Vikings- The Vikings held star RB Le’veon Bell to 87 yards rushing on 27 carries in Week 2. Now Rodgers must attempt to climb that same mountain. The Bucs should control the clock in this one with Sam Bradford out, but even if game script plays into Rodgers’ favor, this Vikings defense will still limit the damage. He’s a flex play just for volume alone, but a similar bench option should be your starter.
Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. Steelers- Howard is off the injury list, but even with that designation it’s tough to like him this week. It’s difficult to bench someone you drafted in the second round, but with the emergence of Tarik Cohen and a game script that has the Bears abandoning the run at some point, Howard seems unlikely to produce.
Jimmy Graham (SEA) at Titans- Graham has done close to nothing thus far and now he’s questionable with an ankle injury. The Seahawks offense have been stagnant and it stems from their offensive line. There’s no reason to trust Graham at this point, use a replacement and hold Graham in reserve until, or if, he returns to form.
Arizona Cardinals D/ST vs. Cowboys- The Cardinals are normally a Fantasy friendly defense, but they’re not the Denver Broncos. Expect the Cowboys to bounce back, expect Zeke Elliott to return to the top of his game as well. With a heavy dose of Zeke working successfully and the ‘Boys in complete control, there won’t be much opportunity to get turnovers and big plays for the Cardinals.
Leonard Fournette (JAX) vs. Ravens (London)- The Ravens have been dominant on defense in 2017, although the opponents haven’t truly tested them. Yet the weak offenses keep rolling in for the Ravens. In this match-up particularly, they’ll look to stop the Jaguars top weapon, Leonard Fournette. With how poor the offense is around Fournette I’d say the Ravens will succeed in keeping him at bay and off the scoreboard.
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