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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
Tyrell Williams Oct 17 12:10pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) is dealing with plantar fasciitis in his foot, a condition that has kept him off the field since Week 4, according to head coach Jon Gruden. Its not getting much better, Gruden said. Williams didn't practice leading up to the London game and hasn't practiced yet this week. He leads the team's receivers with 17 catches for 216 yards and four touchdowns in four games this year. All other Raiders receivers have combined for 28 catches for 225 yards and one score. Plan to be without Williams again this weekend if you own him. The Raiders will likely roll with rookies Hunter Renfrow and Keelan Doss and recently acquired Zay Jones in three-receiver sets against Green Bay if Williams misses another game. Expect Oakland to lean heavily on running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Oct 17 12:10pm ET

The Miami Dolphins have had trade talks with teams centered around running back Kenyan Drake, and they would trade him if the right offer presents itself, according to sources. Drake has had no extension talks with Miami since training camp and would welcome a change of scenery. He's been the team's lead back this year, but it hasn't amounted to much for production for a tanking team. Drake has carried the ball 41 times for 153 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and also has 19 receptions for 137 yards. He has yet to find the end zone and has become an unappealing RB3/flex in deeper leagues, especially with the Dolphins looking to get Mark Walton more involved of late. There's no guarantee that a trade would make him more attractive to fantasy owners.

From RotoBaller

Bruce Arians Oct 17 12:00pm ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are not looking to trade tight end O.J. Howard this year, according to sources. The former first-round pick had high expectations for him in head coach Bruce Arians' offense in 2019, but so far he's looked more like a glorified fullback, but that doesn't mean Tampa will try to trade him as the deadline nears at the end of October. The 24-year-old has been a huge disappointment to fantasy owners, catching just 13 passes (18 targets) for 176 scoreless yards. Receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have been dominating the aerial targets, while tight end Cameron Brate has also vultured a few touchdowns. Until something changes, Howard will be a touchdown-dependent TE2 in fantasy. Maybe Tampa will look to get him more involved coming out of their Week 7 bye.

From RotoBaller

Drew Brees Oct 17 11:50am ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (thumb) said that he's back to working with a regulation-sized football in his rehab. "I have a really kind of disciplined plan for what I need to do for strength and flexibility and then my throwing and all that stuff. So really starting to get back into it, doing football stuff, and just trying to get back as quick as I can," Brees said. When he returns to action, Brees said he'll be wearing a splint on his thumb "because it does take a while for that ligament to actually heal." The team was initially targeting a potential Week 8 return for Brees, but it's unknown if he'll be able to meet that timetable. Continue to stash the future Hall of Famer in all leagues.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Oct 17 11:50am ET

The Oakland Raiders signed tight end Darren Waller to a multi-year extension on Thursday that is expected to pay him around $9 million per season in what amounts to a three-year extension, according to the NFL Network. Waller was scheduled to become a restricted free agent after this season. He served a pair of suspensions while with the Ravens and has gone public in his fight for sobriety, which reached two years this training camp. Waller has caught a team-high 37 passes for 359 yards through five games after entering the year with 18 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in 22 career games. As a result, he's turned into a must-start, high-end TE1 for fantasy owners in 2019.

From RotoBaller

Dede Westbrook Oct 17 11:50am ET

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receivers Dede Westbrook (shoulder) and Marqise Lee (ankle) and tight end Geoff Swaim (ankle, concussion) will all sit out of practice on Thursday. Westbrook has a nice matchup in a Bengals team likely to be missing their top cornerbacks this weekend, but he might be questionable to suit up. If he plays, he'll have clear WR2 upside. If he sits out, D.J. Chark and Chris Conley will be more involved in the passing attack. Lee and Swaim were both injured in Week 6. Neither player has been very involved in the offense up to this point and can remain on waiver wires.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Oct 17 11:40am ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay said that running back Todd Gurley (thigh) is "on a good pace to hopefully be able to play on Sunday" in Week 7 against the Falcons after he was inactive last week. McVay also said Gurley is "feeling good" and is "going to participate in a limited fashion" in practice again on Thursday. Gurley is trending towards returning this weekend, but there's a good chance he'll be limited. Malcolm Brown is also dealing with an injury, but if both are active they should split the backfield duties between the two of them with rookie Darrell Henderson mixing in. That would make Gurley more of a low-end RB2 with more volatility, albeit in a great matchup against the Falcons.

From RotoBaller

Jack Doyle Oct 17 11:30am ET

Indianapolis Colts tight endJack Doyle hasn't had the resurgent season he was hoping for after dealing with a hip injury last season. In Week 7, it's unlikely for that to change. He's had no more than 46 receiving yards in any game this season, and in four out of the five he's gone for 22 or fewer yards. After the top echelon of tight ends, it becomes mostly a dart throw at the position. However, when selecting your dart, you'll want to reach for a different player than Doyle for this week.

From RotoBaller

Zach Pascal Oct 17 11:30am ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Zach Pascal has seen a surge in his workload over the past few weeks. Thanks to his size and athleticism, he's been able to get onto the field and he makes big plays happen, as he's had catches for 53 and 72 yards in the last three weeks. Against a Houston Texans offense that figures to score a fair amount of points, the Colts could use a big night out of him. The Texans are giving up over 250 passing yards per game, and Pascal should be on the receiving end of a few of those. If he can break one for a long touchdown, it could win you your week in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Eric Ebron Oct 17 11:30am ET

Indianapolis Colts tight end Eric Ebron has struggled this year. He's caught just one ball in three out of the five games he's played, and he's been plagued with drops thus far. The key for him is getting into the end zone. Last season when he was a top-five tight end, he scored 14 total touchdowns. The Colts don't have another elite threat in the red zone, and he just has to come down with the ball when it's thrown to him. He's seen at least four targets in all but one game, so the opportunity is there. If he can come down with at least one touchdown, that will give him a solid stat line for the week.

From RotoBaller

Indianapolis Colts Oct 17 11:30am ET

The Indianapolis Colts Defense doesn't do anything all that exciting, and they aren't loaded with star power. However, they are well-coached and disciplined in their scheme. Despite that, you should still look to start a different defense in Week 7. The Houston Texans offense is sixth in the NFL in yards per game, and they've been heating up in recent weeks. Moving forward, the Colts may have some streaming upside in certain weeks, but Week 7 is not the right one.

From RotoBaller

Adam Vinatieri Oct 17 11:30am ET

Indianapolis Colts kicker Adam Vinatieri has shaken off the struggles from the beginning of the season, and he's been rolling as of late. The Colts offense does a great job of moving the ball down the field, but they can struggle to put the ball into the end zone at times, which is where Vinny shines. He's not going to get you a lot of the long balls that you'll get from other younger kickers, but on the shorter end of things he's the best to ever do it.

From RotoBaller

Samaje Perine Oct 17 11:23am ET

Cincinnati Bengals RB Samaje Perine was released Thursday, Oct. 17.

From TheHuddle

Marlon Mack Oct 17 11:20am ET

Indianapolis Colts running back Marlon Mack was a workhorse in Week 5 with 29 carries and 32 total touches. However, he wasn't able to punch the ball into the end zone. In Week 7, he should get some opportunities to carry the ball, but his workload is almost guaranteed to be lower. The Houston Texans are allowing just 88 yards on the ground at 4.4 yards per carry. They have a stout front and their team has been rolling as of late. Mack is the clear lead back for Indianapolis, and he belongs in your lineup. However, it is wise to temper expectations on his upside this week.

From RotoBaller

Jacoby Brissett Oct 17 11:20am ET

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett is coming off the bye with a good matchup awaiting him. The Houston Texans are allowing the 24th most passing yards in the NFL. In the team's last game prior to the bye, Brissett had a quiet game because the team chose to ride running back Marlon Mack against the Kansas City Chiefs. With how the Houston offense has been putting up points, Brissett will likely be given more opportunities to air it out. This gives him his usual safe floor as a QB2 with some upside.

From RotoBaller

T Y Hilton Oct 17 11:20am ET

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quadriceps) is off of the injury report and he needs to be in your lineups for Week 7. Despite not playing with quarterback Andrew Luck, Hilton is proving that he is a must-start every week. He's scored four touchdowns in the four games that he has played, and he gets a juicy matchup against the 24th ranked passing defense of the Houston Texans. Additionally, this game is at home for Indianapolis, which will give the offense less of a struggle with crowd noise. In his eight-year career, he's had just one season in which he didn't put up at least one 100-yard game against Houston.

From RotoBaller

Kenyan Drake Oct 17 10:13am ET

Miami Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake has been involved in trade discussions, and the team is willing to trade him for the right offer.

Fantasy Spin: Drake's value would remain about the same in a new situation. He's a low-end RB3 in PPR leagues. Kalen Ballage is worth stashing in case Drake is dealt.

From TheHuddle

Steve McLendon Oct 17 9:23am ET

Updating a previous report, New York Jets DT Steve McLendon's one-year extension is worth $3 million with $1.65 million in new guarantees.

From TheHuddle

Christian Kirk Oct 17 3:03am ET

Arizona Cardinals WR Christian Kirk (ankle) will not play until his ankle is 100 percent, according to head coach Kliff Kingsbury, who added that Kirk's ankle is not there yet.

Fantasy Spin: Kirk hasn't played since Week 4, and though Kingsbury added that the receiver is closer to playing than he was last week it certainly looks possible that Kirk will miss his third straight game this Sunday.

From TheHuddle

Alex McGough Oct 17 1:53am ET

Houston Texans QB Alex McGough was waived Wednesday, Oct. 16.

From TheHuddle