Between injuries and poor performances, fantasy football owners are scrambling to fill out their Week 3 rosters. Don’t worry: You are not alone.
At this early stage of the season, the challenge is figuring out what is real. Is your first-round pick going to be this bad all year? Will the undrafted receiver remain this productive going forward? Which of those players is going to be the better one to start in Week 3?
You shouldn’t give up on someone after just two weeks, but some high-profile players could stand to be benched. Meanwhile, a number of under-the-radar options could be worth utilizing in favorable matchups.
Here is a look at some players to start and sit based on what we know heading into Sunday. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should bench your superstars for just anyone, but you should consider other options—and avoid certain players altogether in daily fantasy leagues.
Top Players to Sit
Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions
The old Detroit Lions were on display in Week 2, with Matthew Stafford throwing a million passes (actually 53) without much efficiency. The team forgot about the rushing attack, which led to just 16 points scored in a loss.
This type of strategy could lead to a rough day against the Denver Broncos, who have developed one of the top defenses in the league against the pass. Thanks to a great pass rush and shutdown cornerbacks, Denver has allowed the fewest passing yards in the NFL by a wide margin.
Denver will challenge Stafford throughout the game, and he’ll have a hard time posting the numbers fantasy owners have come to expect from him.
Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Last week was concerning for those who drafted Jeremy Hill early. The second-year running back lost two fumbles and then lost his job for the day as Giovani Bernard took over and rushed for 123 yards.
After the game, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson discussed the punishment, per Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
I just think it’s work, I just think it’s attention to detail. I just think it’s focus. I think you do it all the time. It’s something sometimes people can get away from. You forget what got you to where you are. A reminder is good. It was a reminder (Sunday) how important it is to take care of the ball.
Hill is too good to leave on the bench, so he will be back in action in Week 3. However, Bernard reminded the Bengals how good he can be when he gets an opportunity, so he isn’t likely to spend most of the game on the bench, either.
Expect a time-share going forward, especially with Bernard handling duties on passing downs. Against a tough Baltimore Ravens run defense, half of the workload won’t be enough for Hill to have a productive game.
Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints
ESPN’s Ed Werder provided the latest on quarterback Drew Brees:
It’s clear that even if he plays, Brees will be less than 100 percent because of his shoulder injury. This isn’t good news for anyone in the Saints offense, especially the receivers.
Brandin Cooks has been a disappointment this year on his own, totaling just 111 receiving yards in two games and no touchdowns. He is becoming a consistent possession receiver, but he is not using his speed and agility to break off long runs after the catch.
For those not in points-per-reception leagues, there are better options at the position this week.
Sleepers to Start
Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
Although his performance against the New England Patriots wasn’t a good one, Tyrod Taylor still produced from a fantasy perspective in Week 2. You can overlook eight sacks and three interceptions when a player comes through with three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in a game.
We might see this type of effort multiple times this season from the clearly talented yet inexperienced quarterback. The good news is that even when he hurts his team, he can make up for it in fantasy with plenty of yards and scores both through the air and on the ground.
This week, he faces the Miami Dolphins defense, which allowed Blake Bortles to throw for 273 passing yards and two touchdowns. Taylor has more help around him, giving him the ability to match, if not surpass, Bortles‘ showing.
Chris Polk, RB, Houston Texans
Alfred Blue got the first crack at the starting job with Foster out, although John McClain of the Houston Chronicle noted the running back was not up to the task:
Chris Polk managed only 38 yards on 14 carries, but he had nine more rushing attempts than anyone else on the roster. According to Pro Football Focus, his 43 snaps were significantly more than either Blue (22) or Jonathan Grimes (16) played.
Against a porous Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, Polk can finally take advantage of his opportunity and put together a strong day.
Kendall Wright, WR, Tennessee Titans
Indianapolis Colts cornerback Vontae Davis has been cleared to return after suffering a concussion, but Greg Toler and Darius Butler are still out, making this a beatable secondary.
Kendall Wright will likely avoid coverage from Davis while lining up in the slot, as Eric Decker did in a Monday night win for the New York Jets. The Colts had no answers while utilizing linebackers and various zones to try to slow Decker down.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota has shown impressive accuracy in his first couple of weeks in the NFL, and he should be able to find an open Wright often throughout the day.
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