The Biggest Start/Sit Decisions for Week 3 (Fantasy Football)
“Sure, luck means a lot in football. Not having a good quarterback is bad luck.”
– Don Shula
Bonjour, 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 the 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, so make sure you check out the tool yourself to catch any last-second changes.
So without further adieu, let’s kick things off with the most popular Start/Sit questions for Week 3:
Daniel Jones (NYG) or Ryan Tannehill (TEN)?
|Andy Rank||QB #9||QB #13|
|Mike Rank||QB #11||QB #14|
|Jason Rank||QB #9||QB #14|
Believe it or not, Giants QB Daniel Jones has stumbled his way into being the QB5 in total fantasy points after two weeks. More impressively, he accomplished this against the Broncos and Washington Football Team — two stout defenses that just shut down Trevor Lawrence and Justin Herbert to sub-QB25 results.
Now he’s gifted the Falcons’ 32nd ranked defense, a distinction the team earned after giving up a combined 540 passing yards and eight TDs to their first two opponents, Jalen Hurts and Tom Brady. By the way, Hurts also ran for 62 yards, a number Jones bested last week by 33 additional yards and a visit to the endzone. Even old man Brady ran for six!
Jones is averaging a ridiculous 12.1 fantasy points solely from rushing, which is as solid a floor you could ask for. There’s always a chance he has a complete meltdown and allows the defense and RBs to take over, but he should have his chance to score multiple TDs with a cupcake matchup against the league’s WORST defense against QBs, setting him up for another huge fantasy day and his team’s first win of the season.
Daniel Jones said get off me 😤 @Daniel_Jones10 @Giants
📺: #NYGvsWAS on @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/j4EyPxbRhL
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) September 17, 2021
Things have not been good for Titans QB Ryan Tannehill, who’s now had back-to-back QB24 finishes and is coming off a scoreless performance in Seattle. He now gets an overrated Colts defense that recently allowed a combined six passing TDs to Russell Wilson and Matthew Stafford. Tannehill has noticeably struggled to adapt to the new “Todd Downing” offense, and while their late resurgence in a victory over the Seahawks was encouraging to see, their offense will clearly be the Derrick Henry show.
Tannehill also may not have the covetable gamescript narrative on his side this week as his team’s turnstile defense will have their best shot at redemption against a Jacob Eason/Brett Hundley-led offense… meaning it could be a sloppy, low-scoring affair. We know Tannethrill is capable of explosion games and this could certainly be a get-right game for him, but that hasn’t historically been the case with this opponent. During his tenure with the Titans, Tannehill has NEVER passed for more than 221 yards or scored more than two total TDs against the Colts.
The Footballers are unanimously rolling the dice on Danny Dimes this week, with Jason anointing Jones as his Week 3 QB Streamer and Mike’s QB Start of the Week. It’s not for the faint of heart, but Jones’ strong rushing floor and top-five upside makes him the preferred choice over Tannehill.
Derek Carr (LV) or Justin Fields (CHI)
|Andy Rank||QB #20||QB #18|
|Mike Rank||QB #18||QB #20|
|Jason Rank||QB #18||QB #19|
Fantasy football’s surprise QB9 has been nothing short of spectacular, averaging over 400 passing yards and two TDs per game this year against formidable matchups like the Steelers and Ravens. Per Pro Football Reference, Carr currently leads the league in air yards (858) and completed passing yards (817), having substantially more than second-place Kyler Murray (689). It helps that he’s tied for the most passing attempts (93) and third-most completions (62), stats undoubtedly buoyed from a shootout overtime win in the opener. He’s also been a top-12 QB in his last four regular-season games. The Dolphins are another tough matchup, but the Raiders’ underrated defense should put Carr in opportune positions as they feast on backup QB Jacoby Brissett and his battered O-line.
So why is he the Footballers’ consensus QB17?
It could be the ankle injury he sustained last week… although his MRI results were fine and he was a full participant at practice. Maybe it’s because this matchup is projected to have one of the lowest scoring totals on the slate. Or maybe it’s because we simply can’t trust Carr after he failed us last year when he followed two top-five showcases with a scoreless 53-yard blunder (2.1 fantasy points) in the fantasy playoffs.
The time has finally come for rookie phenom Justin Fields to make his official debut after “lead” QB Andy Dalton suffered a left knee bone bruise. It wasn’t pretty for Fields as he completed just six of 13 passes for 60 yards and an INT, adding 10 carries for 31 yards and a fumble (although three of those “carries” were kneel-downs). Ugly stat line at first glance, but context provides clarity as three of those “carries” were kneel-downs and one of his incompletions was a beautiful TD bomb that lead wideout Allen Robinson uncharacteristically dropped:
Box score won’t tell you that this was a perfectly thrown should-be TD by #Bears QB1 Justin Fields: pic.twitter.com/7SvoZPqE5l
— Bryan Perez (@BryanPerezNFL) September 19, 2021
Based on what we’ve already seen of the Ohio State product, better days lie ahead. I know, “iT’s PrEsEaSoN,” but Fields has already rushed for 123 yards and a TD in just 21 attempts during the preseason and regular season. He literally scored on his very first NFL carry in Week 1.
His upcoming matchup in Cleveland is a tough one on paper, but they’ve been extremely vulnerable to mobile QBs, allowing a rushing TD each to Patrick Mahomes and Tyrod Taylor (the latter playing for only half the game). Mahomes added three passing TDs while Taylor and backup QB Davis Mills combined for two scores, making the Browns the third BEST matchup for opposing QBs. Fields’ 9.7 average depth of target (aDOT) is the fourth-highest among QBs with at least 10 pass attempts, a vast improvement over Dalton’s laughable 4.0 aDOT, the LOWEST in the league. There’s a reason why Bears receivers Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney are recommended DFS plays with Fields in charge.
Jason and Mike prefer to “send in the Carr,” but Andy is taking the plunge with Fields. Note that Fields is Mike’s QB Streamer of the week. The projections are neck-and-neck, but I’d gamble with Fields this week and enjoy the fantasy boost that his legs provide.
Teddy Bridgewater (DEN) or Kirk Cousins (MIN)?
|Andy Rank||QB #13||QB #15|
|Mike Rank||QB #10||QB #15|
|Jason Rank||QB #11||QB #15|
Don’t look now, but journeyman QB Teddy Bridgewater is currently the:
- QB2 in aDOT (10.0), tied with Russell Wilson.
- QB5 in total air yards (801), more than Matt Ryan (349) and Jameis Winston (311) COMBINED.
- QB10 in total passing yards (592), above Ryan Tannehill (559) and Aaron Rodgers (388).
- QB8 in total completions (54), sandwiched between Tom Brady (52) and Patrick Mahomes (51).
- QB4 in on-target throws per pass attempt (85.5%), better than Justin Herbert (84.9%) and Matthew Stafford (81.8%).
- QB7 in red zone pass attempts (12), QB2 in red zone completions (10), and QB3 in red zone TDs (4).
He’s accomplished these passing accolades despite being the fourth most pressured QB (25 pressures, 31.6% times pressured per dropback). That earns him a spot as a fringe-QB1 streamer in a heavily favorited match at home. But therein lies the rub, as ol’ two gloves may not have to do much against a disastrous Jets team and could let his backfield and defense carry the load. Then again, such was the case in Week 2 against the equally abysmal Jaguars, yet Bridgewater continued chucking it all the way to a QB11 finish.
.@teddyb_h2o has the @Broncos ROLLING. 🔥 #BroncosCountry pic.twitter.com/W8ACiHezSC
— NFL (@NFL) September 21, 2021
You know what I like? Mobile QBs. If I can’t have that, then I’ll take the next best thing: an accurate pocket-passer who routinely throws for 300+ yards and multiple TDs. That’s Kirk Cousins, who is averaging 297.5 yards and 2.5 TDs per game with a 112.9 passer rating (QB8). As of today, he’s the QB10 in fantasy points (23.7 FPPG), a familiar position for 2020’s QB11 (19.95 FPPG).
Kirk Cousins vs Cardinals:
🟣 3 touchdowns
🟣 1 incompletion
🟣 158.3 passer rating (perfect) pic.twitter.com/RMRr7sE1C2
— PFF (@PFF) September 19, 2021
He now gets a favorable matchup against the Seahawks in the premier game of the week with the highest implied total. Plus, his star RB Dalvin Cook is questionable with an ankle injury and could be limited/inactive, inferring that he’ll need to rely on his elite wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen (and possibly KJ Osborn). This has all the makings of another shootout for Cousins, who is hot off the heels of a thrilling heartbreaker to another NFC West team, the Cardinals.
The gang unanimously chooses Bridgewater over Cousins, who is also Andy’s choice for QB Streamer this week. He’s a safe option that probably won’t singlehandedly win you your week but shouldn’t lose it for you either.
If you need a reliable starter, Bridgewater is a fine choice. But Cousins at home in what Vegas projects to be the highest scoring game of the week? Fresh off a three TD barnburner at Arizona? If you’re down after TNF or facing stiff competition, Cousins just might be what your team needs.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC) or Chase Edmonds (ARI)?
|Andy Rank||RB #14||RB #19|
|Mike Rank||RB #20||RB #15|
|Jason Rank||RB #18||RB #22|
RB32. RB61. That’s where Clyde Edwards-Helaire finished in Weeks 1 and 2 after accumulating a meager 72 and 46 all-purpose (AP) yards in those contests, respectively. The man has more fumbles (1) than TDs (0). His struggles are perplexing as he sees the seventh LEAST percentage of stacked boxes of 8+ defenders (7.41%) yet averages the third WORST rushing yards over expected per attempt (RYOE/att; -1.36) per Next Gen Stats. He’s only seen three total targets, all of which occurred in the season opener.
This Sunday presents a bounce-back opportunity as he faces off against a Chargers defense that has given up the ninth-most points to opposing RBs and just allowed Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to rumble for a combined 237 AP yards and two scores. He’ll need to be involved more in the passing game to do so, especially with fellow back Darrel Williams waiting to vulture another trip at the goalline.
Another RB waiting for his first 2021 NFL TD is Arizona’s Chase Edmonds. The PPR darling is averaging 4.5 targets per game and boasts a 100% catch rate (and 100% of the RB target share). But he’ll need to see more of these valuable touches before he’s playable in your starting lineups. Luckily, he’ll have a great chance at scoring this week against a 25th ranked Jaguars defense that allowed a TD each to the Texans’ three-headed backfield of Mark Ingram II, David Johnson, and Phillip Lindsay.
Both Jason and Andy believe CEH is the better pick this week. Only Mike has Edmonds ranked higher, going so far as to make him his RB Start of the Week.
I have faith in Edwards-Helaire to right the ship, though it’s discomforting that his only experience against the Chargers resulted in a middling, 70 AP yards where he failed to reach the endzone. However, Edmonds is the safer option and his consistent usage makes him my preferred choice between the two.
Chase Claypool (PIT) or Rondale Moore (ARI)?
|Andy Rank||WR #30||WR #35|
|Mike Rank||WR #32||WR #36|
|Jason Rank||WR #36||WR #33|
All the acrobatic leaps and TikTok dances in the world couldn’t save Claypool from another rough fantasy performance. Currently the WR55 on the season, Claypool is not getting any help from his veteran QB Ben Roethlisberger, who’s currently tied for the fifth most bad throws (14) per PFR. Roethlisberger, by the way, suffered a left pectoral injury and is questionable for Week 3. Not helping matters is Claypool’s difficulty with getting separation from defenders, ranking in the bottom five (1.9 yards) in that category per Next Gen Stats. We know he’s always one bomb away from an outrageous stat line, but the outlook appears grim for Mapletron.
Last week’s breakout receiver and waiver hero Rondale Moore is as electric as they come. In just 29% and 46% snaps played, Moore is already the league leader in yards after catch per reception (YAC/R; 14.3) and the WR11 in receiving yards (182). His 5.5 average YAC above expectation comes second only to the manly Deebo Samuel. That’s even more impressive considering he’s only seeing a criminally low 4.1 aDOT. He certainly benefitted from soft coverage as lead WR DeAndre Hopkins was shadowed by CB Patrick Peterson. But Moore has established himself as a versatile weapon (albeit in a crowded receiving room) that Kyler Murray can rely on, and Kliff Kingsbury and company will surely continue to manufacture valuable touches for the darkhorse Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Claypool is ranked higher by Andy and Mike, but Jason is sticking with his “Moore-to-Moore” connection by picking the rookie sensation from Purdue. It’s unlikely that Moore will see another 77-yard TD from broken coverage this week, but he’s a rising star that could explode any given week with bona fide playmaking abilities. Temper expectations, but Moore is the clear winner for me.
Rondale…what a bust in week 3.
Alright Mr. Chung, you swayed me! Going with Rondale over Claypool.
I get the argument for Bridgewater over Cousins, but my opponent has Thielen AND J. Jefferson, so I have to roll with Cousins, right? Our teams are pretty well matched overall…I may have a slight projected advantage…
Both are fine plays this week but I’m totally on board with playing Cousins, especially in your scenario. Plus, if Cooks is limited/inactive then Cousins should see an uptick in passes. Last year in three games that Cook didn’t finish or play in, Cousins averaged SIX more pass attempts than his season-long average (38.3 vs 32.3).