Fantasy Football Rankings: Week 3 Matchups to Consider
With two weeks behind us, the fantasy football season is in full swing! Whether you’re one of the lucky few who are still undefeated or are already in panic mode trying to save your season, getting your lineup tweaked with the right matchups can be the make or break this week! Let’s take a look at some key matchups that could be difference-makers in Week 3!
Deshaun Watson (CLE) vs Tennessee
If the end of 2022 was Deshaun Watson knocking off the rust from not playing since the end of the 2020 season, then it looks like he may have missed a few spots. Watson had a strong Week 1, finishing as the QB5, but that was aided by running for 45 yards and a TD. Week 2 was a totally different story for Watson, finishing with just 11.6 fantasy points. The passing game hasn’t been great for the Browns either since Watson is only completing 55% of his passes so far this season and tossing at least one interception per contest.
For the second week in a row, the Titans will be facing an offense without their star RB due to injury. Luckily for Watson, the best way to attack Tennessee is through the passing game, where they’ve given up the fifth-most yards per game and the fourth-most yards per attempt in the league. If Watson is going to get this Browns offense back on the right track, this week’s matchup couldn’t be any better. If Watson can’t take advantage and post a top-eight QB finish this week, fantasy managers may need to start looking elsewhere for a starting QB option.
Kurt would play Watson over: QB12 – Justin Fields at Kansas City
Geno Smith (SEA) vs Carolina
After finishing as the QB5 in 2022, expectations were that Geno Smith would immediately be a top-tier fantasy QB again to start 2023. A QB8 finish last week at Detroit may have helped fantasy managers feel better about Smith’s QB25 finish in Week 1 to start the year. At the very least, seeing Smith’s pass attempts nearly double last Sunday has to be encouraging that Seattle was just slow out of the gate against a division rival.
It’s possible that Carolina could be the 2023 version of the 2022 Houston Texans‘ defense when it comes to fantasy matchups. While the Texans seemed like a juicy matchup for fantasy across the board because the defense was so bad, they actually gave up very few usable weeks for opposing fantasy QBs. Through two weeks, the Carolina defense has allowed a combined 24.5 points to QBs. It is a small sample size, but I’d be willing to stream another option this week if possible.
Kurt would rather play: QB16 – Jordan Love vs New Orleans
D’Andre Swift (PHI) at Tampa Bay
The hopes of a lead RB in Philadelphia may have come to fruition in Week 2 after D’Andre Swift went nuclear behind 28 carries en route to an RB2 finish against the Vikings. Swift not only made the most of his opportunity, but he was also extremely efficient given the gigantic workload averaging 6.2 yards per carry. The Eagles’ offense seems to still be finding their groove after a couple of shaky weeks to start the year, so Swift could be called on again to steady the boat if Jalen Hurts and the passing game can’t get going.
How effective Swift really will be in the Eagles’ offense should be put to the test this week against the Buccaneers’ defensive front. Through the first two weeks of the year, Tampa Bay’s defense has only allowed 108 total rushing yards and just 3.3 yards per carry. This matchup will pit strength against strength, with the Eagles’ offense currently second in the league in rushing yards. As long as Kenneth Gainwell still isn’t able to go, fantasy managers should expect Swift to get the first crack at leading the Philadelphia backfield again this week.
Kurt would play Swift over: RB18 – Brian Robinson Jr. vs Buffalo
Kurt would prefer to play: RB19 – Joshua Kelley at Minnesota
Najee Harris (LV) at Las Vegas
Any thought of a return to his rookie RB4 finish might be out the window for Najee Harris already this season. Through two games, Harris only has 21 opportunities that he’s turned into 9.1 fantasy points. That’s pretty gross for a player who was drafted by fantasy managers to be their RB1 in most cases. It doesn’t help that Harris has only seen one red zone carry in his first two games.
However, any fantasy matchup against the Raiders is one to target so far in 2023. Over the first two weeks, opposing fantasy RBs are averaging 28.1 points per week against the Raiders’ defense, including giving up two top-24 RB finishes in Week 2 alone in their game against the Bills. If Harris can’t get on track for fantasy purposes after this week, it may be time to hit the panic button and start searching for options elsewhere. If he does get going, it may be your last chance to sell high.
Kurt would play Harris over: RB21 – Zack Moss at Baltimore
Kurt would prefer to play: RB25 – Javonte Williams at Miami
Dameon Pierce (HOU) at Jacksonville
There was plenty of optimism heading into the season about Dameon Pierce continuing to be the workhorse RB in Houston. Two games into the season, Pierce hasn’t seen more than 50% of the snaps in either game and hasn’t surpassed 40 rushing yards in a single contest. Currently, the Texans are throwing the ball third-highest in the league and throwing twice as many times as they’re running it. Even if the Texans continue throwing the ball as often as they currently are, if Pierce doesn’t start seeing near the 60% of snaps that he saw last year, it will be difficult for him to produce for fantasy purposes without falling into the end zone somehow.
Getting back on track against the Jaguars will be a tough task for Pierce. In their first two games, The Jaguars have only allowed a combined 19.1 points to opposing fantasy RBs and are only allowing 3.5 yards per carry. Fantasy managers should only consider Pierce as a flex option this week and should search for alternatives unless something changes with this offense going forward.
Kurt would prefer to play: RB26 – Breece Hall vs New England
Chris Godwin (TB) vs Philadelphia
There’s been plenty of attention given to Mike Evans’ hot start for the Buccaneers, but the time is coming for Chris Godwin to return value for fantasy managers. The bright spot for Godwin’s start to the season has to be the combined 14 targets he’s seen through the first two weeks. Currently, Godwin sits at 19th in targets per route run on the year, so there’s a chance that his fantasy production should increase as long as he continues seeing targets at that rate.
Last season targeting the Eagles’ defense with opposing WRs typically didn’t end well. So far this year, the Philadelphia defense is giving up the second-most passing yards in the league and a league-leading seven passing TDs. If Godwin can continue seeing steady targets in what seems to be a competent passing attack with Baker Mayfield, make sure he’s in your lineup as a WR2 with WR1 upside this week.
Kurt would play Godwin over: WR23 – Michael Pittman Jr at Baltimore
Jakobi Meyers (LV) vs Pittsburgh
Had he not been injured in the Raiders season-opening win, Jakobi Meyers would have made his way into this article last week. Meyers had as good of a debut for Las Vegas as he could have, leading the Raiders in targets, receptions, and yards all while finishing as the WR3 on the week. There were many times down the stretch in Week 1 when it felt like Jimmy Garoppolo looked in Meyers’ direction first, even over star WR Davante Adams. To top it all off, Meyers saw three red zone targets, which without Darren Waller in Las Vegas could become more common to see.
Getting Pittsburgh in his return from injury could be another chance for Meyers to show why the Raiders went and got him in free agency this offseason. The Steelers have given up 61.2 fantasy points to opposing fantasy WRs over their first two games, but surprisingly have only given up one top-30 WR finish in those games. The Raiders’ offense looked significantly worse without another proper receiving option they were willing to make use of against the Bills last week, so if Meyers does return from injury, I’d play him as a solid flex option with WR2 upside.
Kurt would play Meyers over: WR39 – Christian Kirk vs Houston
Jordan Addison (MIN) vs LA Chargers
It’s been quite the start to the season for the Vikings’ rookie WR Jordan Addison. In his first two games, Addison has been a top-24 WR each week while playing less than 70% of snaps for Minnesota. While his opportunities have been fairly limited with only 11 targets total, Addison is currently leading all rookie WRs with at least five targets in yards per target at 12.1.
The Chargers’ secondary has been flat-out torched to start the season. Through their first two games, L.A.’s defense has given up 98.2 fantasy points to opposing fantasy WRs. Of course, 39 of those went to Tyreek Hill in Week 1, but there’s still another 59 fantasy points they’ve allowed. The Chargers have allowed the most passing yards and the highest yards per attempt in the league, while the Vikings are throwing the ball the fourth most and are tied for the league lead in passing TDs through two weeks. Addison may still be getting worked into fully being a part of the Minnesota offense, but this week he feels like a great flex play with high WR2 upside.
Kurt would play Addison over: WR 28 – DJ Moore at Kansas City
Taysom Hill (NO) at Green Bay
Sure it’s kind of gross, but Taysom Hill is one of my favorite pickups of the week. Obviously, Hill isn’t your traditional TE play, but when it comes to fantasy football do we really care about that? What intrigues me about Hill this week is the increased usage he saw on Monday night for the Saints. Without much depth at RB, after Jamaal Williams went down, New Orleans only had Hill and Tony Jones as rushing options. In the second half, Hill outproduced Jones on the ground 40 to 28 on six fewer carries – the only difference was Jones got into the end zone. Even if rookie RB Kendre Miller makes his debut this week, I’d expect Hill to still be the second rushing option for the Saints.
If there’s a great way to attack the Packers’ defense, it’s on the ground. Currently Green Bay has given up the third-most rushing yards in the league through their first two games and at least 24 fantasy points per game to their opposing team’s RBs. The Packers’ defense has given up three top-24 RB finishes so far this season, and while Hill isn’t an RB, 80% of his opportunities this season have come in carries. Things may change whenever Alvin Kamara returns from serving his suspension, but for Week 3, I’d be starting Hill.
Jake Ferguson (DAL) vs Arizona
It doesn’t really feel like we’ve gotten to see the full extent of this Dallas offense because they’ve won their opening two games handedly, but one of the bright spots has been TE Jake Ferguson. Through two games, Ferguson has seen at least 60% of snaps and 80% of the TE targets each week. What’s possibly the most encouraging for Ferguson’s fantasy value going forward are his eight red zone targets so far this season, one of which he converted into a TD last week.
Historically, the Cardinals have been a great matchup for opposing TEs, but 2023 has been better for Arizona against the position thus far. While Darren Waller did finish as the TE5 against Arizona last week, outside of that, Arizona’s defense has only allowed 60 receiving yards to opposing TEs. Most TE plays tend to be TD-dependent, and that may still be the case for Ferguson this week.
Kurt would play Ferguson over: TE13 Hunter Henry at NY Jets