Fantasy Rankings: Week 3 Matchups to Consider

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The Fantasy Footballers posted their Week 3 Rankings to help set your lineup. Every Thursday throughout the NFL schedule we’ll take a look at players from each position that may need a little extra attention prior to locking in your roster for the week.

Of course, I want to hear from you with your sit/start decisions, so drop a comment here or find me on Twitter: @KurtKnowsBest.

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins (MIN) vs Detroit

Fantasy managers have to be unsure on what to think about Captain Kirk thus far this season. Cousins started the year with a QB12 performance that was followed up with a pretty disappointing QB25 showing Monday night. What should be encouraging for managers who invested in Cousins as a late-round starter is how much he’s being allowed to throw the ball. Through the first two weeks, Minnesota is throwing the ball 67.5% of their plays, that’s up from 58.5% from 2021, and currently ranks 2nd in the league on pass rate.

Thankfully for fantasy managers, there could be some correction coming for Minnesota in Week 3 against a Lions passing defense that is allowing the 2nd most expected points per pass attempt. The Ballers have a pretty big difference in their outlook for Cousins heading into Week 3. Andy and Jason each have him in their top-3 QBs expecting a better showing against the league’s 2nd worst scoring defense through two weeks.

Tua Tagovailoa (MIA) vs Buffalo

Tua’s Week 2 performance either made or broke your fantasy week depending on which side of that coin you ended up on. Six passing TDs will do that. That said, I’d want to see more from Tua before writing him permanently into your lineup going forward. Week 2 was Tua’s 3rd finish as a top-6 QB since 2020 and he’s only had back-to-back top-12 performances once (Week 6 & 7 from 2021).

Trying to cash in on Tua’s big week may not have the results you’re looking for if you’re making the switch to him as the main starter in your fantasy lineup. The Buffalo Bills pose a threat to Tua’s continued QB1 status, as Kyle Borgognoni noted in his DFS Pace of Play article, Tua has had pretty clean pockets to throw from so far this season, which has aided in Miami’s passing game being able to find explosive plays consistently.  Each of the Ballers have Tua ranked outside of their top-12 QBs on the week against the Bills defense that has allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs so far in 2022.

Russell Wilson (DEN) vs San Francisco

Fantasy managers who planned for Wilson to be their mid-round value at QB can’t be pleased with how the Broncos offense has looked through two weeks. Wilson has finished as QB14 and QB24 against teams expected to be picking extremely high in next year’s NFL Draft and is completing less than 60% of his passes. As Kyle pointed out in the Unsolved Mysteries article from this week, some of Wilson’s fantasy output problems could be solved by just converting in the red zone. Wilson has yet to turn a red zone trip into a passing TD, so Wilson is due for some positive regression.

Wilson is another QB that has the Ballers split in their rankings heading into Week 3. Andy and Mike each have him inside their top-10, while Mike has Mr. Unlimited outside his top-12 altogether at QB16. San Francisco is giving up the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs so far this season. The Broncos will have to figure things out on offense with fewer passing options as Jerry Jeudy is listed as questionable with a rib injury. I’d be cautious with Wilson this week and pivot to another streaming option if available.

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Running Backs

Leonard Fournette (TB) vs Green Bay

The Tampa Bay offense has struggled out of the gate despite their 2-0 record. While the newly named “Dumptruck” has seen plenty of opportunity with 45 carries through the Bucs’ first two games, he’s yet to find the endzone. Fournette is 2nd in the league in carries and 5th in yards so it isn’t for lack of opportunity, which is why Rob Wilson has him listed as a “buy low” candidate.

Fournette himself has promised a trip to TD City is coming soon, and it could likely be in Week 3 against a Green Bay defense that has struggled against the run so far. The Packers are giving up 153 yards on the ground per game, 6th worst in the league through two weeks. Each of the Ballers have Fournette inside their top-10 for Week 3, with Andy the highest ranking him as the RB7. While he hasn’t been a disappointment by any stretch, fantasy managers would love to see a top-12 finish for the first time this season from Fournette after their early investment in the Buccaneers’ back.

Jeff Wilson Jr (SF) at Denver

Possibly the biggest disparity in the Ballers RB rankings for Week 3 comes with “My Name is Jeff” Wilson Jr. Mike has the new 49ers lead back as a high-end RB2 on the week at overall RB16 heading into San Francisco’s matchup at Denver. Andy and Jason each have Wilson at RB26. 

Wilson’s first week as the main RB in San Francisco was fruitful for fantasy managers who had faith, finishing as RB14 on the week without getting into the endzone. The matchup with the Broncos may be what’s keeping Wilson’s fantasy value suppressed since the Denver run defense hasn’t surrendered 100 total yards on the ground in a game or rushing TD through two weeks of the NFL season.

David Montgomery (CHI) vs Houston

I’m not taking a victory lap on David Montgomery just yet, but I’m definitely doing some warm-up stretches.

Much has been made about the disappearing act the receiving options in Chicago have done thus far this season, but Montgomery has quietly been a bright spot for the Bears’ offense. Nate Henry takes a deeper look in the Snap Count Observations article for this week, but Montgomery has a stranglehold on the running game for a run-heavy team in Chicago.

Jason is the highest on Montgomery this week heading to a matchup with a struggling Houston defense that gives up the 8th most point to opposing RBs, ranking him as the RB12. Montgomery’s work in the very limited Bears passing game is a bonus to his ceiling, with a 21% target share. Personally, I’m trying to acquire Montgomery everywhere I can ahead of Week 3.

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Wide Receivers

Brandin Cooks (HOU) at Chicago

Cooks was seen as a mid-round value during draft season, but hasn’t panned out for fantasy managers yet in 2022. After finishes of WR27 and WR53, the Ballers all have Cooks ranked as WR20 this week. Cooks is still seeing plenty of snaps and has a 30% target share, but there are only 3 teams with less passing yards than the Texans through two weeks so his ceiling is limited.

The weekly target breakdown article from AJ Passman shows Cooks is getting a target on 24% of his routes run, so the numbers are there for the taking. Cooks is clearly the primary target for Davis Mills, but fantasy managers may need to start looking for alternatives to fill their WR2 or FLEX spots until we can see a little more production.

Tyler Lockett (SEA) vs Atlanta

It may feel a little gross, but Tyler Lockett had a sneaky good Week 2 finishing as the WR20 after a 9 reception, 107 yard week in San Francisco. I’ve seen Lockett dropped in many leagues, and is still available in 18% of Sleeper leagues, so it may be worth checking if you can get him for free.

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I’m not arguing that Lockett will consistently be a WR2 for your lineup, but you can do much worse when the Bye weeks come calling. If Peach Cobbler is going to open up the passing game as he claimed earlier this week, Lockett may prove to be more of an option in coming weeks. Each of the Ballers have Lockett as a WR3 in their rankings, but he’s worth a dart throw if you’re in need against a Falcons defense that has given up 5 passing TDs through the first two weeks.

Chris Olave (NO) at Carolina

Olave may need feel like someone you can’t play just yet given his WR50 and WR43 finishes so far, but let’s be clear, his big week is coming. Matt DiSorbo notes in his Stat Expectation & Trends article from Week 3 that Olave had an unreal 320 air yards in Week 2. If Olave converts just half of those into actual yardage he’s going to be a monster on a regular basis in New Orleans.

For Week 3, the matchup isn’t ideal facing a stingy Panthers defense on the road. None of the Ballers have Olave as even a WR3 option this week, but I’d say he’s worth throwing in your lineup if you’re looking for a boom play in your FLEX spot.

Tight Ends

Kyle Pitts (ATL) at Seattle

You had to know we’d be talking about Kyle Pitts this week after Arthur Smith’s comments several times this week about the TE’s involvement in the offense.

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The Ballers talked in length Wednesday about their concerns going forward for Pitts and what decisions fantasy managers are facing in the coming weeks with a high investment at the TE position. Mike and Jason each still have Pitts inside their top-5 TEs for the week, despite the second-year player not even finishing as a top-24 so far this year. 

The most encouraging fact to keep in mind is that the Falcons are sure to be playing from behind most weeks and Pitts is still seeing 88% of snaps on the season. I’ve always said, 19 yards is a glass ceiling that holds the best players back and once you’re through it, the sky’s the limit.

Zach Ertz (ARI) vs LA Rams

Whether his production is out of necessity or not, Ertz has been steady to start the season for the Cardinals. Ertz finished as the TE5 in Week 2 without a TD though that’s not saying much at the TE position. What that does mean is he’s catching the ball, which is more than you can say for some starting players at the position. The best place for an increase from Ertz for fantasy managers is in the red zone, where he’s only gotten 3 targets but did grab a late TD to start the year.

Andy is betting on Ertz continuing his success this week, ranking him as the TE4. Ertz will have a tougher test to live up to that ranking this week with a Rams defense that is only giving up 2.5 points per game to the TE position.

Comments

Nate says:

Thank you for this article – very helpful heading into the Week 3 matchups!

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