Week 3 is upon us which means it’s time to crunch the numbers and predict the essential fantasy picks for your lineup, as well as those who could use a week on the bench cooling their heels. Our Week 2 selections were for the most part fairly successful, so I hope readers managed to have a look before setting their lineup late Sunday night. Apologies again for the delay in getting them up, and on a personal note I’m still lamenting not being able to check my own team in time to move Matt Forte from the bench to my starting 7! Fortunately missing out on his 3 TDs and 28 odd fantasy points did not prove costly – but it definitely still stung! Without further ado, let’s have a look at the Week 3 must start and must sit options.
MUST START QBs
Ryan Tannehill – Miami Dolphins (v Cleveland Browns)
Despite starting the season 0-2, the Dolphins have kept it close against two pretty serious teams – the Seahawks and the Patriots. In the latter matchup, Tannehill produced a massive second half display, though admittedly whilst playing from behind. Against weaker opposition I’m prediction Tannehill a productive week in yardage and scoring. The Browns will always be a defence to target in fantasy matchups, and this week the Dolphins QB looks to be a standout, not only due to the match up – but the current team situation. Given Arian Foster is in doubt, it’s likely there will be extra emphasis on the pass this week. Tannehill has the weapons to capitalise.
Carson Wentz – Philadelphia Eagles (v Pittsburgh Steelers)
This years number 2 draft pick has enjoyed a very successful start to rookie life in the NFL. He’s 2-0, thrown for 500 odd yards and 3 TDs and is yet to be picked off. Given the game situation in his first two starts, there hasn’t really been a need for Wentz to do a lot. The Eagles have been leading, Ryan Matthews has been productive on the ground and the defence has been producing turnovers, gifting the offence good field position. I’m expecting a different sort of game when Big Ben, Antonio Brown and the Steelers come to town. In what shapes as a high scoring affair, Wentz will be called upon to hoist the ball downfield more often than in previous weeks. Nothing we’ve seen so far suggests he isn’t up for the challenge, especially against the Steelers shaky secondary, so I’m expecting Wentz step up to the plate.
MUST SIT QBs
Andy Dalton – Cincinnati Bengals (v Denver Broncos)
I’m very wary of starting any QB against the intimidating Broncos defence, and I make no exception for the every reliable Bengals veteran. In two weeks the Broncos have shown they are still very much a force to be reckoned with, causing turnovers, sacks and all kinds of difficulty for opposing offences. Dalton may be able to pick up a few yards this week chasing points, but turnovers will always be looming. Oh, and I wouldn’t expect many TDs either. Same goes for Dalton’s partner in crime, AJ Green.
MUST START RBs
Christine Michael – Seattle Seahawks (v San Francisco 49ers)
Michael has looked the goods with the limited workload he’s had in the opening two weeks, producing 126 yards at 5 yards per carry. With Thomas Rawls suffering injury, the Seahawks committee will now very much be leaning on Michael to carry the workload. Coming up against the Niners always bodes well for offensive starters, but with Russell Wilson again showing signs of falling victim to the dreaded Curse of Ciara, it’s the running game that will most likely be the focal point this week.
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans (v Oakland Raiders)
I was kicking myself after sitting Murray in week 1, and needless to say it will rarely be happening again. The Titans starter has enjoyed a solid start to life in Nashville, running for over 130 yards and picking up 2 TDs and 80 yards via the pass. With an Oakland defence yet to find it’s feet coming to town in week 3, I’m expecting Murray to pick up his first running score whilst producing further excellent numbers as the dual threat feature back.
MUST SIT RBs
Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings (v Carolina Panthers)
As soon as Adrian Peterson went down during the Vikings impressive win against Green Bay, fantasy coaches were scrambling to check their waiver wire to bring in the veteran’s backup. So much so that McKinnon is seemingly one of the most hyped fantasy pick ups in some time. But I’m not buying it, and here’s why. Firstly, taking the vacant RB spot left by Adrian Peterson does not instantly make him Adrian Peterson. Very few starters in the league could fill those very big shoes. Secondly, McKinnon will be sharing duties with fellow backup, Matt Asiata – and the way their workload will be split does not favour the former. Whilst McKinnon will be present for more snaps, he’ll be operating from midfield, with Asiata taking over in the red zone – ruling out scoring potential. Then there’s the Sam Bradford factor. The former Eagles man showed against Green Bay that he’s more than capable of leading a passing offence, especially with his top WR Stefan Diggs. McKinnon may be able to generate respectable numbers in yardage, but keep in mind he is coming up against a strong defensive line and LB unit who love playing at home. Admittedly he’s not the worst you could do this week, especially if the RB crisis has hit your team hard. But he’s far, far from the best.
MUST START WRs
Jarvis Landry – Miami Dolphins (v Cleveland Browns)
Miami’s top WR option racked up huge yardage as the Dolphins mounted a second half comeback in New England last week, achieving a respectable fantasy score despite not crossing the plane. Having contributed almost 200 yards in two weeks, Landry will be desperate to break his TD duck for the season. Whilst he hasn’t been the most prolific scorer throughout his career, I’m expecting a stand out showing against the Browns, for similar reasons as Tannehill. So if you’ve got him as a WR3 option, move him into the starting unit at WR or flex.
Jeremy Maclin – Kansas City Chiefs (v New York Jets)
In seasons gone by, you’d be reading a Kansas City receiver coming up against the Jets defence in the must sit section every time. But this year, I’m predicting the opposite. Maclin has had a solid start to the year with 131 yards and a TD as has QB Alex Smith, who in the absence of star RB Jamaal Charles has taken a bit more responsibility with his passing game. For the Jets, Darrelle Revis has had a difficult start to 2016. The once feared “Revis Island” now appears to be open to the public, and Maclin has the speed and the skills to burn the future Hall of Fame cornerback.
MUST SIT WRs
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots (v Houston Texans)
Surprisingly effective backup QB, Jimmy Garoppolo, is under a huge injury cloud this week. Which is bad news for the Patriots and their receiving corps. This is especially so given their week 3 match up – the Houston Texans and their dominant defence, led by JJ Watt, who terrorised Alex Smith and the Chiefs last week. Regardless of whether Garoppolo plays, but especially if third stringer Jacoby Brissett does, Edelman looks the most likely to see a dip in production. It’s also worth mentioning that if Brissett was to go down this week, Edelman would most likely be the man to take over under centre. He played QB in college and has spent time with the backup QB staff this week. In some situations this intriguing scenario could be seen as a potential positive, but definitely not in this match up!
MUST START TEs
Jordan Reed – Washington Redskins (v New York Giants)
I’m fast losing my patience with the Redskins receivers, and more so QB Kirk Cousins. It would appear the Washington coaching staff are too. But in this NFC East matchup, I’m prepared to roll stay strong with one of the leagues best TEs. As mentioned previously, the Giants, whilst looking good against poor opposition, are notoriously susceptible to opposing TEs, and with Cousins seemingly playing for his position I expect him to target one of the best in the business early and often.
Clive Walford – Oakland Raiders (v Tennessee Titans)
Second year TE Walford looks to be continuing to form a nice chemistry with gun QB Derek Carr. In week two against Atlanta, Walford managed to produce 50 yards receiving as well as a TD – all in all a very respectable showing, especially when you consider the lack of strong options in his position. The Titans allowed Viking Kyle Rudolph to pick up 65 yards in week 1 when Shaun Hill was throwing the football and surrendered 53 to Detroit’s Eric Ebron. Given what they’re up against this week, all signs point to another decent day out for the Raiders TE. I picked him up from the waiver wire this week, if you have the opportunity I recommend doing the same.
MUST SIT TEs
Coby Fleener – New Orleans Saints (v Atlanta Falcons)
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times?!? Not going to happen! I had high hopes for the new Saints TE, but to say I’ve been disappointed is an understatement. He may end up producing the goods, but until then I don’t want him anywhere near my lineup.
Good luck for this week guys, and don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comment section!