The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
Aloha, Footclan! Welcome to Week 3 of the Start/Sit series, where we’ll identify and discuss your most commonly asked “Who should I start?” questions for the week.
The projections between any two players on your roster may appear similar, but this “simple” choice could be the difference between your team’s victory or defeat. Luckily, the Fantasy Footballers have created an amazing Start/Sit tool to easily compare any two (or more) players with insight from the Ballers themselves, and trust me — it’s an extremely valuable asset that will help you make these crucial lineup decisions that could ultimately lead you to your #FootClanTitle. Please note that the Footballers’ rankings are constantly being updated as news breaks, so make sure you check out the tool for yourself to catch any last-second changes.
So, without further ado, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 3:
|Andy Rank||QB #9||QB #8|
|Mike Rank||QB #11||QB #12|
|Jason Rank||QB #14||QB #11|
Tua Tagovailoa was by far the most popular player the Footclan asked about this week. It makes sense as he’s fresh off the best performance of his career, throwing a whopping 50 times for 36 completions, 469 yards, and 6 TDs. His 38.9 fantasy points were the most he’s ever scored and made him Week 2’s QB2, just a couple of points shy from his Sunday dance partner, Lamar Jackson. Tagovailoa’s now the league leader in passing yards (739), T-1st in passing TDs (7), 4th in pass attempts (83), 4th in passer rating (116.5), and 5th in fantasy points (55.7). Small sample size, but it’s a vast improvement over his previous seasons.
Has he finally put it all together, or did he take advantage of a great matchup against backup corners? Or, maybe, it doesn’t matter because he now has Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle to throw to, both of whom are currently top-five in receiving yards (Hill: 284, Waddle: 240), targets (25, 24), and receptions (19, 15). Unfortunately, he now faces a Buffalo defense that is the WORST matchup for opposing QBs. The same defense that sacked Matthew Stafford 7 times and forced 3 interceptions plus a fumble. The very same defense that later annihilated Ryan Tannehill, who was relieved early in the third quarter without even scoring a full fantasy point.
Russell Wilson, meanwhile, has been a true disappointment. Blame it on the coaching, or the high altitude, or because he lost what would’ve been his one true weapon in Fireball Jones… but he also simply looks bad. He also turns 34 this year and is coming off the worst season of his career. But not all hope is lost. He’s still a legitimate TD threat, leading the league in 10-zone pass attempts (12) while placing 2nd for passes in the red zone (18). Despite this heavy goal-line work, he’s converted ZERO of those passes, making him nearly 22 fantasy points below expectation in the red zone. The points are coming for Wilson, and though it will be difficult against a formidable 49ers defense, it’s just a matter of time before Russ finally gets cooking.
Through two weeks, every QB with 6+ pass att. inside the red zone has at least ONE passing TD…
Except for Russell Wilson.
18 RZ pass attempts (tied for 2nd MOST in NFL) but ZERO passing TDs in the RZ.
I went back and watched all 18 attempts and…
— Kyle Borgognoni (@kyle_borg) September 21, 2022
This is a close one. Andy and Jason just barely prefer Tagovailoa, while Mike leans towards Wilson. Personally, I’m riding with Wilson over Tagovailoa. I don’t want to chase points with someone who is going from a Charmin-soft matchup to one tougher than homemade beef jerky. And while Wilson’s matchup isn’t much better on paper, it’s not as bad as it appears; the 49ers were vaulted to their #3 defensive ranking thanks to a monsoon game in Chicago and a showdown against Geno Smith. If Jerry Jeudy is fully active, then Wilson just might surprise people.
|Andy Rank||QB #13||QB #14|
|Mike Rank||QB #14||QB #13|
|Jason Rank||QB #13||QB #12|
Look, I love a good “revenge game” narrative more than anyone else. And it’s true: Carson Wentz has been outstanding. But as I mentioned last week, he could fall apart any second, though it certainly didn’t happen in Week 2. It would be cathartic for someone as downtrodden and ridiculed as Wentz to face his former team and completely crush them, but real life is not fantasy. His former team is unfortunately one of the NFL’s toughest defenses, boasting a 4th-ranked secondary in pass DVOA that will surely limit his output. He’s already the QB3 in danger plays (10) and interceptable passes (7) per PlayerProfiler, so don’t be shocked if vintage Wentz makes an appearance.
Still, despite Jim Irsay’s best wishes, Carson Wentz is absolutely thriving in Washington and is now fantasy football’s QB4. That’s right, #4, not #9, which is my awful segue into talking about the current QB9 in total points, Jared Goff. Goff faces a volatile Vikings team that he previously shredded for almost 300 yards and 3 TDs in their last encounter. Also, they might be missing their star safety, Harrison Smith. He’s got the sun god Kill Bill-ing his way through the league, D’Andre Swift evading his way to the goal-line, and a standout O-line protecting him.
Vegas projects the Lions to be underdogs in a potential firefight with one of the highest implied totals of the week, so that infers Goff will rack up the yardage and light up the scoreboard with his underrated weapons. Mike even made him his QB Start of the Week. But, just like Wentz, Goff can collapse without any notice. Both these guys are popular waiver wire streamers and are fun options this week for any fantasy manager struggling at the QB position (shoutout to my fellow Trey Lance managers).
I’m hesitantly going with Jared Goff.
|Andy Rank||WR #28||WR #35|
|Mike Rank||WR #28||WR #35|
|Jason Rank||WR #27||WR #34|
All three Ballers unanimously favor Curtis Samuel this week, aka Kirkland brand Deebo. I get it. The guy’s role is secure as Washington’s target leader, and his manufactured touches all over the field — including in the run game — boosts his floor. His team has a tough matchup, but that just means he’ll probably be leaned on more to help move the chains.
But man, Garrett Wilson oozes with upside. He’s averaging the third-highest expected fantasy value and is 6th in targets per routes run. The room is crowded with fellow receivers Corey Davis and Elijah Moore also commanding targets, not to mention TE Tyler Conklin and RBs Michael Carter and Breece Hall. But he should continue to enjoy plentiful opportunities from veteran Joe Flacco, a man who is as accurate as he is still. Wilson is actually the league leader in red zone targets by a wide margin. And despite the rankings, Andy has a water bet against Jason that Wilson will outproduce Samuel.
Rookie fever is alive and well! Drake London has burst onto the scene as Atlanta’s bona fide WR1 to the detriment of Kyle Pitts, seeing 12 targets last week against the Rams for 8 catches, 86 yards, and a TD. That’s 48% of the team’s target share and 39% targets per route run, making him the WR16 in total points and the WR15 in expected fantasy points. He’ll get a chance to catch fire against Seattle’s exploitable coverage, although Pitts could easily spoil the party if he eventually receives attention from Marcus Mariota.
Meanwhile, Rashod Bateman has quietly lived up to expectations as the Ravens’ lead wideout after scoring in both games. He surpassed 100 yards last week in a nailbiter against the Dolphins, something he’s only done once before. However, he may not get the same opportunities this time in a lower-scoring affair at Gillette Stadium, especially with Mark Andrews wreaking havoc and taking away the spotlight. You’re banking on increased usage or a breakaway TD (0 red zone targets this year), and while he’s produced thus far, it’s far from a guarantee.
Rashod Bateman’s release vs Xavien Howard 🤧
— PFF (@PFF) September 18, 2022
As of this writing, Jeff Wilson Jr.’s ranking has one of the biggest disparities amongst the Footballers. Mike is extremely bullish on him and equally bearish on AJ Dillon. Wilson remains the lead RB in the Bay Area after rookie Tyrion Davis-Price suffered a high ankle sprain against the Seahawks, but the team clearly wants to divvy up the workload as Wilson only saw four more carries than TDP (18 vs 14). He was unable to score with any of his six red zone attempts (Wilson: 4 carries, 2 targets; TDP: 2 carries) but still finished as the week’s RB14, so the Hitman’s RB14 ranking feels safe.
Dillon, on the other hand, is also seeing high usage albeit in a close timeshare. The difference is, he has a Hall of Famer QB in Aaron Rodgers relying heavily on him as he tries to avoid an unrelenting Buccanneers defense (although it helps that they’ll be missing star DT Akiem Hicks). Another difference is that Dillon doesn’t see those high-value touches as often as Wilson does. In fact, Wilson tallied the same number of red zone attempts last week as Dillon has in two weeks. It’ll be tough for both guys against brutal run defenses, but a blow-up game is always in the cards if they can find the endzone.
|Andy Rank||TE #7||TE #11|
|Mike Rank||TE #12||TE #13|
|Jason Rank||TE #12||TE #13|
Irv Smith Jr. is the unanimous favorite over Logan Thomas in every category above. He had 8 targets last week, which is more than Thomas has seen since 2020. He converted his long red zone target which could encourage further scoring opportunities. The hope is that Big Irv was being eased back into action and will now be a permanent fixture in the offense with increasing usage (31% to 56% snaps, 2 to 8 targets), starting with a soft Lions defense that just gave up a TD to Thomas. That’s the same hope Thomas managers have as well. Thomas has been more consistent, but he’s also third or fourth in his team’s pecking order, while Smith could be second in targets in a game that’s expected to be a shootout.
Irv Smith Jr., but it’s closer than it looks.