Week 3 NFL Matchup Previews Part Two
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 3 NFL Matchup Previews.
Sunday – September 25th, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Oakland Raiders at Tennessee Titans
QB Derek Carr: Two weeks, two games over 300 passing yards. A trip east to face the Titans who are better at defending the run should make Carr a solid start this week with a great shot to exceed 300 yards again.
RB Latavius Murray: Murray has been propped up by TDs in each week, but with just 22 carries on the season, the volume is concerning. He’s still a borderline RB1 due to his TD potential in another high scoring game.
WR Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree: Tied with 11 receptions each, Cooper has nearly doubled Crabtree’s yardage. Both are good WR2 plays this week against a mid-pack secondary.
TE Clive Walford: The Titans are mid-pack against TEs but Wolford should see enough targets to be a low-end TE1.
QB Marcus Mariota: The Raiders secondary has allowed 423 and 396 passing yards over the first two weeks. Mariota should find some room to throw and is a viable QB streamer for Week 3.
RB DeMarco Murray, Derrick Henry: “Exotic Smashmouth” hasn’t exactly produced a huge volume of carries. Perhaps “Exotic Smashmouth” means being in the bottom 3rd of rushing attempts and targeting your RBs 9-10 times per game. Murray is an RB1 based on his receiving volume while Henry is only a flex play.
WR Tajae Sharpe: In a game that should see plenty of passing attempts, Sharpe is a solid WR2 play against the weak Raiders secondary.
TE Delanie Walker: The Raiders shut down the Saints TEs in Week 1 before being shredded by the Falcons TEs (10 receptions, 180 yards, and 1 TD). Walker should be in contention for the #1 overall TE slot for Week 3.
Sunday – September 25th, 2016
4:05 PM EST
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
QB Blaine Gabbert: Having thrown the ball 35 and 36 times to start the season, Gabbert has a big challenge his hands going up to Seattle. He’s not startable this week, even in two-QB leagues.
RB Carlos Hyde, Shaun Draughn: Hyde got the heavy workload as expected in their Week 1 victory, but was in more of a 60/40 split with Draughn in the loss in Week 2. Hyde has received more targets in both games. If the Seattle offense can get an early lead, Draughn should be more active. Hyde is just an RB2 while Draughn is a desperation flex play.
WR Torrey Smith: The presumed #1 WR is currently second on the team in targets, but 3rd in WR receptions and trailing Carlos Hyde. He’s not startable at this time.
WR Jeremy Kerley: Kerley, not Torrey Smith, leads the team in targets, receptions, and yards. He’s being used close to the line as a security blanket for Blaine Gabbert. The Seahawks are allowing decent points to slot receivers, so Kerley is a reasonable flex play.
TE Vance McDonald: Two weeks, two TDs. However, with just 3 receptions on the season, McDonald is not a starting TE option.
QB Russell Wilson: Wilson’s ankle should be getting closer to 100%, going against a 49ers defense that just gave up 353 yards and 4 TDs to Cam Newton, along with 6.2 yards per carry to the QB. Wilson is a solid QB1 for Week 3.
RB Christine Michael, Thomas Rawls: With 60 yards on just 10 carries last week, coach Pete Carroll commented that Michael looks like he was “shot out of a cannon”. Meanwhile, Thomas Rawls posted -7 (yes, NEGATIVE) yards on 7 carries and suffered a leg injury. While there is little news on the injury, Michael should lead the Seahawks in carries against a team that just allowed 6.2 yards per carry to Fozzy Whittaker. Michael is a safe RB2 while Rawls is not startable.
WR Doug Baldwin: Discomfort in his knee and back spasms have Baldwin listed as questionable. While most signs point to him playing, he may be rested if this game turns into a blowout. He’s a WR2 if he plays the whole game, but might be best left on the bench if you have better alternatives.
WR Tyler Lockett: Lockett suffered a knee sprain on Sunday, but was able to return and finish the game with 4 catches for 99 yards, including a 53 yarder after returning to the field. He’s a good WR3 against a soft 49ers secondary.
TE Jimmy Graham: After playing just 17 snaps in Week 1, Jimmy Graham played 55 offensive snaps (82% and the only TE to get snaps), he has claimed to feel “like a beast”. The 49ers are a great matchup for Graham after allowing Greg Olsen to go off for 122 yards on 5 receptions and a TD.
Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
RB Todd Gurley: The fantasy community is hitting panic mode on the “stud” RB. He’s being severely held back by his offense. Traveling east is never good for west coast teams. The Buccaneers are surprisingly stout against the run, holding David and Chris Johnson under 4 yards per carry last week, to go with just 2.2 yards per carry in Week 1 for DeVonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. It’s a scary thought, but Gurley is just a boom/bust RB2 until this team finds some semblance of an offense.
QB Jameis Winston: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde describe Jameis Winston’s first two weeks. Playing against the Rams at home should give him a solid floor. He’s a decent streamer.
Charles Sims: Most people drafted Sims in PPR leagues, but with the injury to Doug Martin, Sims projects to get a heavy workload in a game the Buccaneers are projected to win. He is a must-start RB2, even in a tough matchup.
WR Mike Evans: Leading the league in targets after getting peppered with 18 targets in Week 2, Evans is a solid WR1 with TDs in each of his first two games.
WR Vincent Jackson: While he’s received solid targets in his first two weeks (7 & 9), he is being used close to the line of scrimmage with just 10.3 ypr. He’s barely a flex consideration in a projected low scoring game.
Sunday – September 18, 2016
4:25 PM EST
San Diego Chargers at Indianapolis Colts
QB Philip Rivers: While he only had 220 passing yards without his top two targets, he still tossed 4 TDs. Heading to Indianapolis finds Rivers easily in the QB1 ranks.
RB Melvin Gordon: Without Danny Woodhead, Melvin Gordon projects to be an every down RB; at least until Dexter McCluster takes on some passing down work.
WR Travis Benjamin: Taking on the #1 WR role, Benjamin filled in just fine with 6 receptions for 115 yards and 2 TDs. Against a defenseless Colts team, Benjamin is a great start as a WR2.
WR Tyrell Williams: Last week had some questions about who would take on the available targets. Tyrell Williams answered that question by tying Travis Benjamin with 6 targets, but Dontrelle Inman still lead the team with 87% snap share. Williams is a big play guy (2/71 and 3/61/1) which will lead to boom/bust weeks, but he’s a flex option for Week 3.
TE Antonio Gates: Gates always has the potential to score a TD which makes him a weekly starter at TE, but he is nursing a hamstring tweak and may end up being limited or missing the Week 3 contest. Keep an eye on the injury report.
QB Andrew Luck: Luck is an elite fantasy QB, but even the best struggle against Denver’s suffocating defense. This week’s matchup with the Chargers is much friendlier and he’s a must start in a game that projects to be a shootout.
RB Frank Gore: The running game has been very slow for the Colts with Gore averaging just 3.8 YPC and 13.5 carries per game. He’s been more involved in the passing game this year, notching 7 receptions on 9 targets with a receiving TD last week. In a projected shootout, don’t expect Gore to see a high volume of running plays, but his usage in the passing game makes him a solid RB2 play.
WR T.Y. Hilton: Hilton is tied for 2nd in the NFL with 23 targets. With Donte Moncrief being shut down for 4-6 weeks, Hilton should continue to be a high volume WR. This is a great week to start him as your WR2 with WR1 upside.
WR Phillip Dorsett: Dorsett isn’t a replacement for Donte Moncrief (Dorsett is 5’10” 185lbs while Moncrief is 6’2″ 225lbs), but he should see WR2 level targets on a high volume offense, making him a great WR3/flex option.
TE Dwayne Allen, Jack Doyle: After Week 1, I thought Doyle was a fluke, but after Week 2’s 5 targets, the Colts should be running a two-TE base offense, giving both Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle low-end TE1/streaming potential.
New York Jets at Kansas City Chiefs
QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: In what was supposed to be a low scoring game, Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with 374 passing yards. While he only had 1 passing TD, he was still a solid start. A road trip to the unfriendly confines of Arrowhead pushes Fitzpatrick back to desperation streamer status.
RB Matt Forte: His monster 3TD game covers up the fact that it took 30 carries to reach 100 yards and he’s averaging just 3.8 YPC. He’s being used as a bell cow which keeps him in the low-end RB1 conversation, but going against a tough Chiefs defense limits his upside.
WR Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker: Both veteran receivers exceeded 100 yards receiving and are great fantasy football assets to have on your team; both are weekly must-starts.
WR Quincy Enunwa: Two solid weeks of production has Quincy Enunwa on the flex radar, even in a tougher matchup.
QB Alex Smith: Alex Smith is never an exciting player to plug into your starting lineup, but facing a Jets defense that’s allowing opposing QBs to average just over 300 passing yards per game makes Smith a great streaming option as a home favorite.
RB Spencer Ware, Jamaal Charles, Charcandrick West: Who knows?! Spencer Ware has been great in Jamaal Charles absence, but Charles should be returning soon, perhaps just not this week. Ware is dealing with a minor toe injury, opening the door for some added work for Charcandrick West. The Jets defense has allowed just 71.5 rushing yards per game, top 5 in the NFL. Ware is the only player worth starting.
WR Jeremy Maclin: Maclin quietly had two solid weeks, compiling 11 receptions for 131 yards on 22 targets. The Jets haven’t stopped anyone thus far and Darrelle Revis has become a liability in coverage. Start Maclin with confidence as a WR2.
TE Travis Kelce: The lack of a TD has kept Kelce out of the headlines, but his 108 receiving yards rank 9th amongst TEs. He’s still a solid TE starter.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
QB Ben Roethlisberger: On paper, the Eagles defense has only allowed 194 yards per game to opposing QBs. Looking beyond the top 5 ranking, they haven’t faced a QB like Ben Roethlisberger. The Eagles are not as good as their stats suggest. Roethlisberger has averaged over 275 passing yards so far and has 3 TDs in each of his games. He’s a QB1 for Week 3.
RB DeAngelo Williams: DeAngelo Williams is making his final start before the return of Le’Veon Bell, but he’s a must start as the #1 overall fantasy player.
WR Antonio Brown: Finally proving that he is, in fact, human, Antonio Brown disappointed owners with a minuscule 4 receptions for just 39 yards. It was just an off week, he’s still the top WR in all fantasy formats.
WR Eli Rogers, Sammie Coates: Perhaps the WR2 position is where the Eagles defense can slow down the Steelers. Neither is more than a flex play, especially with the potential of Markus Wheaton returning to the lineup.
TE Jesse James: His receptions and yards were down from Week 1, but he secured a TD to help out his fantasy day. He’s a reasonable streamer with minimal upside.
QB Carson Wentz: His Week 2 stat line wasn’t nearly as impressive as Week 1, but a home shootout against the Steelers will have Wentz on the streaming radar.
RB Ryan Mathews: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Mathews has 3 TDs on the season, but has barely cracked 100 yards on the year and has just 1 reception on the season. After accumulating 22 carries in Week 1, Mathews only touched the ball 10 times and was on the field for just 29% of the offensive snaps, half of what Darren Sproles played. The TD upside and carry volume from Week 1 keep him in the RB2 category.
RB Darren Sproles: Darren Sproles is playing nearly 50% of the offensive snaps on the season, but he’s not getting the passing game work you’d expect with just 7 targets. The playing time volume should translate to more points, but he’s only a desperation flex play.
WR Jordan Matthews: Tied for second in the NFL with 23 targets, Jordan Matthews is clearly Carson Wentz favorite target. He’s a safe start at WR2 with WR1 upside if he can get into the end zone.
Sunday Night Football – September 25, 2016
8:30 PM EST
Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys
QB Brian Hoyer: The last time we saw Brian Hoyer start a game, he was completing less than 45% of his passes and tossing 4 interceptions in the Houston Texans playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Filling in for the injured Jay Cutler and traveling to Dallas, Hoyer is not a starting option this week.
RB Jeremy Langford: Dominating snap share and carries in Chicago, the Bears would be wise to try and ride their second year RB and limit Brian Hoyer’s passing attempts. He’s a decent RB2.
WR Alshon Jeffery: Hoyer proved that he can support a stud WR in Houston, so I don’t expect any change in the outlook for Alshon. He’s a must-start WR2 with WR1 upside.
WR Kevin White, Eddie Royal: The second-year WR is still picking up the NFL game and ceding snaps to Eddie Royal. Neither are more than flex plays at this time.
TE Zach Miller: Miller has been limited by the passing game and that pattern looks to continue. There are better options at this time.
QB Dak Prescott: The rookie QB looked better in Week 2 with almost 300 passing yards and his first NFL passing TD. He’s yet to throw an interception and the Bears have just one interception on the season. He’s best used in two-QB leagues.
RB Ezekiel Elliott: The fumble is getting all the attention, but he’s had nice volume (20 and 21 carries) and has scored a TD in each week. Don’t panic, he’s a great start in a game that should see the Cowboys leading and running out the clock.
WR Dez Bryant: Coaches vowed to get Dez Bryant more involved in Week 2 and they did just that with 12 targets. Expect more of the same in Week 3, and perhaps Dez gets his first TD of the season this week.
WR Terrance Williams, Cole Beasley: After a boneheaded play to end the game in Week 1, Terrance Williams wasn’t targeted in Week 2. He’s droppable. Meanwhile, Cole Beasley was the only WR besides Dez Bryant to catch a pass in Week 2. He’s getting some volume, but his ceiling is capped and nothing more than a flex play in PPR leagues.
TE Jason Witten: Witten’s targets were half of what they were in Week 1. He’s a volume dependant TE1.
Monday Night Football – September 26, 2016
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
QB Matt Ryan: The first few weeks of the season have found Matt Ryan at the top of the list for QBs. He’s on fire right now and a trip to the Superdome should see him post another top QB stat line. He’s a must start.
RB Devonta Freeman, Tevin Coleman: The nearly 50/50 split continues, with both players limiting the others upside. Sadly for Freeman owners, he’s been out targeted in the passing game by Tevin Coleman. Both players are limited to low-end RB2/flex plays.
WR Julio Jones: Another week, another great game and another nagging injury. The target volume is down significantly from last year, but he’s always a threat to blow up. He’s a must-start WR1.
WR Mohamed Sanu: Sanu let his owners down with a 3 reception, 19 yard performance in Week 2. Things should get better in Week 2 against the Saints, making him a good flex option with WR2 upside.
TE Jacob Tamme: Tamme has become a solid weekly TE option with 8 targets in both games thus far. He found the end zone in Week 2 and should see plenty of volume again in Week 3.
QB Drew Brees: Brees let a lot of owners down last week, but a home shootout should help owners forget Week 2.
RB Mark Ingram: After being highly drafted based on his 2015 rushing and receiving volume, Ingram has just 21 carries and 6 receptions (6 targets). He’s ceding snaps to Travaris Cadet and is nothing more than an RB2 for Week 3.
WR Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead: Both Saints WRs are getting heavy volume and putting up great stats for their owners with both ranking in the top 5 in PPR leagues. Things should proceed as planned in this week’s shootout. Both players are must-starts.
RB Coby Fleener: (*Read and use this info at your own risk!) A huge bust thus far after all the off-season hype, Fleener faces a Falcons defense that allowed two TDs to Tampa Bay TEs in Week 1 and another TD to Oakland TE Clive Walford last week. The matchup suggests that Fleener is a sneaky play for a TD in Week 3.
Be sure to check out Part One of our Week 3 NFL Matchup Previews.