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Lineup Prep: Week 3

Wed Sep 18 9:50am ET
By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer

Mike Evans set to get it going


It was quite the interesting week in fantasy land. Several top quarterbacks went down with injury, guys that rarely have missed games throughout their career. This is going to cause some headaches for fantasy owners. Hopefully, you have a good backup option to replace these guys. And don’t hesitate to work the waiver wire for a replacement. There are some capable options out there on a lot of waiver wires. Here is to hoping you can survive these injuries.

Here are my random thoughts for the week. . . . 

The Daniel Jones era is finally here. You knew it was coming. I’m happy to see Jones getting his chance, especially with Eli Manning doing little with his chances. Jones could breathe some life into the offense and help players like Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram have more success. I don’t see Jones being much of a fantasy option, but his move to starter should be a positive for those around him. 

A couple good buy-low candidates in my view are Mike Evans and Leonard Fournette. Both are off to slow starts and their stock is low. If you can get them for a cheaper price, I say go for it. Evans was sick the first week and had a tough matchup last week, so I look for him to ramp it up going forward. Fournette is off to a slow start as well but is getting the work. He has at least 17 touches and four receptions each of the first two games. 

If I’m an Antonio Brown owner, I try to trade him. I just think it is a matter of time before a suspension is thrown down, especially with new stories about him coming out nearly every day. He played last week and did pretty well, so his value isn’t totally in the tank and some owners think he might be worth the risk. I’m not saying give him away for nothing but if you can get some value in return, I would dump Brown. I just don’t trust that situation. 

The Chiefs running back situation is really starting to concern me. Neither of those backs are doing much right now. I still like Damien Williams more, mainly because I think he gets more targets in the passing game. I just don’t like the way things have played out with their running game these first two games. I would be concerned if I owned either of those guys. Plus, both are battling injury right now, which is another concern. 

I’m starting to become a believer in the Ravens passing game. I’m just shocked at how much progress Lamar Jackson has made in a season. He has been lights out these first two games. I know they have come against poor defenses but you still have to give him credit for making plays. And it has to be a nightmare for opposing defenses to game plan against this unit right now. The Ravens already have a very good rushing attack, but the passing game is now becoming very dangerous. This offense is scary good. 

Three passing games that have surprised me some this year and I think could be very helpful to fantasy teams the rest of the way are the Cardinals, Bengals and Redskins. These three teams are posting some big weekly passing numbers right now. And these units have some good potential going forward. None of these teams have very good rushing games, so I expect a lot of passing from all three teams the rest of the way. These might be some units to target if you need help through the air and would like to make a trade or need to pickup a player. I don’t think the first two weeks are a fluke.

Emmanuel Sanders is looking like a great draft day value. He had 11 receptions last week and was targeted 13 times in the game. He has scores each of his first two games and been targeted 20 times overall. Sanders looks completely healthy, recovered from his Achilles’ injury. I’m not sure Sanders can keep his current pace, but he is going to be a productive fantasy player the rest of the way. It is good to see him back to his old ways.

You have to worry about Carson Wentz a little. His receivers are dropping like flies and his start to the year hasn't gone quite as expected. He had two interceptions to one touchdown pass last week and struggled some throughout the game, especially after his starting receivers got injured. He missed on some throws he should have made. Wentz still has a high weekly ceiling, but he needs his receivers healthy and to start showing more consistency throwing the ball. 

As always, don’t forget to check out my weekly rankings here: Week 3 rankings

News and Notes: The Giants finally made a move at quarterback, benching Eli Manning in favor of rookie Daniel Jones. Expect Jones to start the rest of the year for the Giants. . . . .The Lions released running back C.J. Anderson on Tuesday. The team signed running back Paul Perkins to take his roster spot. . . . .The Chargers added some depth at tight end, signing Lance Kendricks on Tuesday. He could move up the depth chart in a hurry if he picks up the offense quickly. 

HOT PLAYS

Mike Evans, WR, Bucs. Evans is off to a slow start to his season. He was sick Week 1 but played and did little. He was better in Week 2, catching four passes for 61 yards on eight targets. That was a little more like it for Evans. Expect his best game of the season this week against the Giants. New York is 30th overall against the pass and allows the third most fantasy points to receivers. Evans is ready to breakout in this one.

Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys. Prescott is off to the best start of his career. He has seven touchdowns to just one interception in two games. He is third overall in fantasy quarterback scoring, less than a point behind the great Patrick Mahomes. He is excelling in the Cowboys new offense, an offense that takes more chances down the field. Expect more success this week against the lowly Dolphins. Miami allows the most fantasy points to quarterbacks and rank 28th overall against the pass.

Nick Chubb, RB, Browns. Chubb showed his big potential last week, having 98 total yards and a score. He didn’t run wild but got the work and produced for fantasy teams. The good news is Chubb has 20 or more touches each of the first two games. He is getting a lot of weekly work. He should get a workout again this week against the Rams. Los Angeles allows the sixth most fantasy points to running backs.

Mark Andrews, TE, Ravens. Andrews is first overall in fantasy tight end scoring after two games. He has 100-yards games in each of his two games. He also has touchdowns in each of those games and been targeted 17 times. All the talk of Andrews having a big second season seem to be coming true. He can continue his good play this week against the Chiefs. Kansas City allows the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends and rank 20th overall against the pass.

LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets. Bell is getting a workout for the Jets to start his season. He already has 54 touches in two games. He had 10 receptions last week, getting a ton of work in the passing game with the Jets trailing big. Bell is fifth overall in fantasy running back scoring. Expect him to get another workout this week against the Patriots. He could get a similar workload in the passing game with the Jets trailing by a lot. As long as Bell keeps catching a lot of passes, fantasy owners won’t care that his yardage and touchdown numbers aren’t off the charts. 

COLD PLAYS  

Kyler Murray, QB, Cardinals. Murray had 349-passing yards last week and has 300-yard games each of his first two games. The issue is he has just two scores in two games. He failed to score a touchdown last week. Murray also isn’t doing a lot on the ground, which is a bit of a surprise. He has just 17-rushing yards in two games. Murray has another tough matchup for this week, getting the Panthers. Carolina allows the fifth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and are third overall against the pass. You might want to leave Murray on your bench for this one.

Damien Williams/LeSean McCoy, RB, Chiefs. Williams had nine carries for eight yards last week and also hurt his knee in the game. For the season, Williams has run the ball 22 times for 34 yards. McCoy hasn't been much better. He ran 11 times for 23 yards last week and caught there passes for no gain. McCoy hurt his ankle in the game, so both backs are hobbled some and doing little with their work. Their matchup this week is a terrible one, playing the Ravens. Baltimore is first overall against the run and have allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs. We would just avoid both backs in this one.

Geronimo Allison, WR, Packers. Allison had a much better showing last week than his opener, finding the end zone on five targets. The problem is Allison totaled just 25 yards on his four receptions. It was good to see him score but his overall numbers weren’t very impressive. He probably isn’t worth plugging into your lineup just yet, especially this week against the Broncos. Denver has been solid against the pass to start the season, ranking fourth overall against the pass. The Broncos allow the second fewest fantasy points to receivers. 

Any Jet receivers. The Jets are down to their third-string quarterback. New York has some usable fantasy receivers on their roster, including Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson, but neither are worth using as long as Sam Darnold is out. These guys are just going to be too inconsistent to trust. And a matchup this week agains the Patriots is a terrible one for the passing game. New England is eighth overall against the pass and allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to receivers. Just avoid all Jets receivers at this point. They aren’t worth the risk.

Latavius Murray, RB, Saints. Murray had a solid opener but really struggled last week. He ran five times for just seven yards. He isn’t getting quite as many touches as expected through two games, having 14 touches. You were expecting around double-digit touches per week, but that hasn’t been the case. He isn’t worth using until his usage goes up, especially whites week against the Seahawks. Seattle is fourth overall agains the rush and allow the sixth fewest fantasy points to running backs.

SLEEPERS  

Malcolm Brown, RB, Rams. Brown is getting his work in the Rams offense as the top backup to Toddy Gurley. He had double-digit carries and two scores in Week 1, and had 47 total yards last week. His numbers aren’t flashy but consistent, making him a guy to consider as a flex play in the right matchup. And this week could be a time to play Brown. The Rams play the Browns, a team that is struggling to stop the run to start the year. Cleveland allows the fourth most fantasy points to running backs.

Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers. Samuel was more involved in the offense Week 2, catching five passes for 87 yards and a touchdown on seven targets. He also ran the ball twice, giving him seven total touches. Samuel is an exciting talent that can lead the 49ers receivers in receptions, so last week wasn't a fluke. He should get a lot of targets again this week against the Steelers. Pittsburgh allows the fifth most fantasy points to receivers and are 29th overall against the pass. 

Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions. Stafford is off to a much better start this year. He looks healthy and is producing, ranking fifth overall in fantasy quarterback scoring after two games. He has five touchdowns and thrown for at least 245 yards in both contests. He is setup for another solid game this week against the Eagles, a team that has struggled to stop the pass. Philadelphia allows the seventh most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Frank Gore, RB, Bills. Gore has double-digit carries each of his first two games. He found the end zone last week and totaled 83 yards in the game. He is getting his work and could get even more work this week if Devin Singletary is not able to play, which is possible. This makes Gore a player to consider as a flex play. He gets the Bengals, a team that allows the most fantasy points to running backs to start the season. 

Allen Robinson, WR, Bears. Robinson was kind of quiet last week but played a good Broncos defense. He was still targeted seven times in the game and caught four of those targets for 40 yards. He had a 100-yard game in the opener, so the potential is always there for Robinson to have the big week. And this week against the Redskins is a great matchup for Robinson to have success. Washington has really struggled against the pass, ranking 25th overall against the pass. The Redskins allow the most fantasy points to receivers.

High/Low Scoring Games

Each week we will take a look at some of the high and low scoring games for the coming week. In high scoring affairs, get your marginal players on those teams in your lineup to take advantage of the possible points barrage. And in the low scoring games, keep those marginal players on the bench and make sure to have your defenses involved in those contests.

High Scoring Games: Ravens/Chiefs, Giants/Bucs, Texans/Chargers, Rams/Browns.   

Low Scoring Games: Titans/Jaguars.

Jeff Paur is a two-time finalist for FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year and won the FSWA award for Best Fantasy Football Article on the Web in 2011. He also was the most accurate expert in 2012, winning the FSTA Fantasy Football Accuracy Award. If you have any questions for Jeff, email him at jeff@rtsports.com. Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffpaur.

Player Notes
Dallas Goedert Oct 13 9:10pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert caught five passes in Week 6, gaining 48 yards. He was targeted eight times, and was much more involved than he'd been in previous games, with Zach Ertz seeing just one more target. Goedert is about due for a "blow up" game, but his usage remains too inconsistent to be anything more than a TE2, even with how weak the position has been in fantasy this year.

From RotoBaller

Jake Elliott Oct 13 9:10pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made all of his kicks in Week 6. Elliott split the uprights on his two extra point attempts and also made field goals from 53 and 40 yards out. It was a solid performance for Elliott, who should continue to be one of the more consistent fantasy kickers going forward.

From RotoBaller

Mack Hollins Oct 13 9:00pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Mack Hollins did nothing in Week 6, making no catches on two targets. Hollins was on the field in three-wide sets but only saw two balls go his way and did nothing with them. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) targeting a Week 7 return, Hollins should return to his special teams role soon.

From RotoBaller

Darren Fells Oct 13 9:00pm ET

Houston Texans tight end Darren Fells had six receptions for 69 yards in the win over the Chiefs on Sunday. Fells was fresh off of a two-touchdown performance against the Falcons coming into this one and continued to get looks from quarterback Deshaun Watson. If he is available in deeper formats, snag him up before it's too late.

From RotoBaller

A.J. Brown Oct 13 9:00pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown has been quiet over the last two games after a two touchdown performance in Week 4. Brown caught two of his four targets in the 16-0 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6. The Titans continue to have struggles on offense and that has hurt Brown's value. Fantasy owners can't expect much at this point, so Brown should be considered a low-end flex option for next week versus the Chargers.

From RotoBaller

JJ Arcega-Whiteside Oct 13 9:00pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was not even targeted in Week 6. The hyped-up rookie now has two games in a row where he's drawn no targets. With DeSean Jackson (abdomen) on his way back to the field soon, Arcega-Whiteside will continue to have zero value in redraft formats.

From RotoBaller

Demaryius Thomas Oct 13 9:00pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Demaryius Thomas made four catches for 62 yards in a win over the Cowboys Sunday. The 62 yards are the most Thomas has gained in three games played this season, and he has been getting more involved in the offense overall. On the Jets second drive, the first goal-to-go snap they ran was a quick slant to Thomas for what would have been an easy touchdown, had it not been for pass interference. Despite the Jets trying to get Thomas more involved, it'll be hard for them to support three fantasy-relevant wide receivers and Thomas has been the third guy behind Robby Anderson and Jamison Crowder. As long as Anderson, Crowder and running back Le'Veon Bell are healthy, Thomas likely won't see enough targets to be relevant in standard-size fantasy leagues.

From RotoBaller

Zach Ertz Oct 13 9:00pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz caught four passes in Week 6, gaining 54 scoreless yards and losing a fumble. Ertz was targeted nine times, but has now scored just one touchdown through six weeks of the season. He hasn't gone over 72 yards receiving yet either. In a position as shallow as tight end, Ertz is very much still a weekly TE1, but he seems to be working with much less upside than in previous seasons. We'll see if the Eagles start getting Ertz more involved going forward.

From RotoBaller

Alshon Jeffery Oct 13 8:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Alshon Jeffery caught 10 passes in Week 6, gaining 76 yards and scoring a touchdown. Jeffery was faded in many rankings this week as he was taking on the Minnesota Vikings secondary, but he picked up several quick short passes and came down with a three-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Jeffery should be able to maintain his value as a WR2/3 even when DeSean Jackson (abdomen) returns to the starting lineup.

From RotoBaller

Will Fuller Oct 13 8:50pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Will Fuller hauled in five receptions for 44 yards during the win over the Chiefs on Sunday. While he was nowhere near the level of efficiency that we saw in Week 5, it was still a semi-decent performance for those who had him in PPR lineups. With nine targets on the night, Fuller should continue to be involved moving ahead despite the potential return of Kenny Stills (hamstring), who is expected back soon.

From RotoBaller

Jamison Crowder Oct 13 8:50pm ET

New York Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder made six catches for 98 yards in a win over the Cowboys Sunday. Crowder was excited to have starting quarterback Sam Darnold back under center as Crowder had his biggest game since Week 1, the last game Darnold played before being ruled out with mono. In two games with Darnold, Crowder has 20 catches for 197 yards as opposed to the 75 yards total he had in three games with backups starting for New York. Having Darnold back makes Crowder a startable WR3 in fantasy, even with a tough matchup with New England looming next Monday night.

From RotoBaller

Cleveland Browns Oct 13 8:50pm ET

The Cleveland Browns Defense struggled in a 32-28 loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 6. Cleveland's offense jumped out to a 20-6 lead early in the second quarter but the defense was unable to hold on for the win, allowing 26 points in the final three quarters. The defense didn't get much help as the Cleveland offense committed four turnovers in the loss. Seattle also got excellent field position after blocking a punt. On the plus side, Cleveland's defense continues to sack the quarterback at a high rate, notching another three in the contest while also forcing one turnover. The Browns defense has plenty of talent but they have played a tough schedule thus far. Things won't let up after their Week 7 bye as they draw a brutal road matchup against the undefeated New England Patriots in Week 8. At least fantasy owners have two weeks to make plans to secure a proper replacement defense in their fantasy leagues before that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Nelson Agholor Oct 13 8:50pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Nelson Agholor caught four passes in Week 6, gaining 42 scoreless yards. He had one catch in his last two games combined, so while it was nice to see him come down with the four catches, he didn't really do much to inspire confidence in his play going forward. He simply does not have NFL-caliber hands. Agholor will be a desperation-only play going forward, especially when DeSean Jackson (abdomen) is back on the field.

From RotoBaller

Keke Coutee Oct 13 8:50pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver Keke Coutee had four catches for 39 yards during the win over the Chiefs on Sunday. While DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller, and Darren Fells accounted for 28 looks from quarterback Deshaun Watson, Coutee was still semi-involved to the delight of those who had him in fantasy lineups to provide some injury relief. With Kenny Stills (hamstring) potentially returning against the Colts in Week 7, Coutee may not be as involved moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Delanie Walker Oct 13 8:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker has been unable to do much over the last three games, but it's not all his fault. Walker hauled in three of his five targets for 43 yards in the Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos. Both incompletions were bad passes by the quarterback, so difficult to blame Walker there. Walker might have better fantasy value in another system as the Titans really struggle to get him the ball. He'll have low-end TE1 upside against the Chargers in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

DeAndre Hopkins Oct 13 8:40pm ET

Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins hauled in nine receptions for 55 yards during the win over the Chiefs. While his 12 targets were a season-high, his lack of scores on the year has severely diminished his fantasy value outside of non-PPR formats. Nonetheless, Hopkins remains a must-start moving forward and hopefully can find the end zone against the Colts in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Miles Sanders Oct 13 8:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles rookie running back Miles Sanders made the most of his touches in Week 6. Sanders carried the ball just three times, gaining six yards. All of his damage came through the air though, where he caught three passes for 86 yards and a touchdown. The rookie's score came on a 32-yard pass from Carson Wentz in the second quarter. Sanders getting only six touches is a bit concerning, but if he can do this much with that little, he'll continue to at least have RB3/4 appeal.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Oct 13 8:40pm ET

New York Jets running back Le'Veon Bell carried the ball 14 times for 50 yards and scored his first touchdown since a receiving score in Week 1 vs Buffalo. Bell has been the centerpiece of the Jets offense so far playing a 94.3 percent snap share coming into the game, and head coach Adam Gase seemed determined to get his workhorse into the end zone. After a pass interference call in the end zone, the Jets gave Bell the ball not once but twice to score the first touchdown of the afternoon. Bell was limited in the passing game today with only a three-yard catch on one target, but was still the primary back used by New York as no other running back had more than three touches. Bell is a must-start running back despite a tough matchup vs New England in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Boston Scott Oct 13 8:40pm ET

Philadelphia Eagles running back Boston Scott carried the ball four times in Week 6, gaining 30 yards. Scott was just elevated to the active roster from the practice squad this week, to take the place of Corey Clement (shoulder) on the running back depth chart. Scott will serve mostly in a complementary role on offense while spending most of his time on special teams, but if Miles Sanders keeps showing nothing in the running game, Scott could suddenly see himself elevated even further in the game plan.

From RotoBaller

Corey Davis Oct 13 8:40pm ET

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis was quiet once again in the 16-0 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6. Davis caught three of his five targets for 36 yards on Sunday. Davis has put together one good game all season and is making it difficult on fantasy owners to even trust him. The Titans have struggled to get their receivers the ball and that will likely continue. Fantasy owners should consider Davis a low-end flex option for Week 7 versus the Chargers.

From RotoBaller