With plenty of surprises already in the fantasy football season—both good and bad—it’s understandable if you want to make some changes to your starting lineup. Just make sure you are looking ahead and not behind.
One of the biggest mistakes competitors make when trying to win in fantasy football is chasing past results, which are sometimes fluky. You don’t want to put a superstar on your bench for someone who likely will never replicate his production from last week.
Still, there are ways to get the most out of your lineup if you look at the matchups and trends from past weeks. Here is a look at fringe options to start and sit for Week 3.
Players to Start
Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals
The Arizona Cardinals have had one of the top offenses in the league with 79 points through two weeks, and it has not been a fluke. The key has been the play of Carson Palmer, who has been consistently great when healthy. Justis Mosqueda of Nerdy Football broke down the veteran’s numbers over the past few years:
This was before another four-touchdown effort by Palmer against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, showing he is more than capable of getting it done even at 35 years old.
One huge difference from past years has been the play of the offensive line, which hasn’t allowed a sack in two games. Palmer has plenty of time to throw as well as enough targets to make plays between Larry Fitzgerald, John Brown and more.
After Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger torched the San Francisco 49ers defense last week, Palmer can do the same in Week 3.
Joseph Randle, RB, Dallas Cowboys
He hasn’t exactly replaced DeMarco Murray. Joseph Randle is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry and hasn’t scored yet this season, disproving the notion that anyone can excel behind that great offensive line.
On the other hand, it’s clear he remains the lead back after tallying 18 carries in Week 2. With Tony Romo out for the foreseeable future with a fractured collarbone, the Cowboys will have to lean even more heavily on the rushing attack to move the ball.
Against an inconsistent Atlanta Falcons front seven, he should have more room to run and should finally have the game fantasy owners have been waiting for this season.
Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers
Few players in the league had a stranger two-week stretch than Keenan Allen. After exploding for 15 catches and 166 yards in Week 1, he was completely quiet in Week 2 and ended up with just two catches for 14 yards. Thanks to a fumbled punt return, he ended up with negative points in standard leagues.
Despite the struggles, it’s a good idea to stick with Allen going forward.
The problem in Week 2 was really the Cincinnati Bengals defense, which did a good job of limiting opportunities down the field and instead forcing the action underneath. Philip Rivers found running back Danny Woodhead and tight end Ladarius Green but only managed 12 total completions to receivers.
There should be more openings for both Allen and Stevie Johnson in Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings, which should lead to a better fantasy effort.
Players to Sit
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons
One of the big talking points around the NFL this week was the disappointing effort of the Philadelphia Eagles offense. This seems to ignore what the Dallas defense has done in the first two weeks.
In two games against the Cowboys, Eli Manning and Sam Bradford combined for 417 passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. The one score came in garbage time, but even with it the two passers combined for just 13 total fantasy points in standard leagues.
Matt Ryan is a similar type of pocket quarterback with a questionable line in front of him, which means the Cowboys can have the same type of defensive success.
Wide receiver Julio Jones is still a good bet to have a solid game, but the rest of the Falcons offense could struggle.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins
The good news is Lamar Miller remains the head of the Dolphins’ rushing attack. Unfortunately, that rushing attack doesn’t seem to exist at the moment.
Miller suffered an ankle injury in Week 2, but when he was on the field, he managed just 10 carries for 14 yards. The coaching staff seemed to have no interest in establishing the run, instead allowing Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball 44 times in a losing effort.
The injury doesn’t appear to be a long-term issue, as he explained to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald:
Even if he is 100 percent, there doesn’t seem to be a good opportunity for more open lanes in Week 3 against the Buffalo Bills defensive line. Although you shouldn’t give up on Miller just yet, keeping him on your bench for the upcoming week is the best plan for the near future.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Cleveland Browns
It’s easy to get excited about Travis Benjamin, who currently trails only Antonio Brown as the top fantasy receiver with 43 points on the season. His three touchdowns of 50 yards or more from Week 2 were one of the top storylines across the NFL.
However as Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus noted, the production came without a lot of opportunities:
Quarterback Johnny Manziel went just 8-of-15 in the game, and if the Browns have their way, he won’t be throwing much more than that on a weekly basis. If you are playing Benjamin on your fantasy team, you are counting on one or two deep connections for touchdowns every game, which is extremely unlikely at his current usage rate.
While the speedster is worth adding to your roster to see if he can remain consistent, starting him is simply too much risk at this stage.
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