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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
Vic Beasley Oct 18 5:10pm ET

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley has been put on the trade block with the deadline approaching, according to a league source. The former first-round pick is making $12.8 million this year and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season. The 27-year-old had a career-high 15.5 sacks in 2016 but had a combined 10 sacks the following two seasons as the Falcons moved him around. He has 12 total tackles and 1.5 sacks through six games in 2019. He's off the IDP radar for now, but he could become more attractive if he lands in the right spot.

From RotoBaller

Jeremy Sprinkle Oct 18 5:00pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Jeremy Sprinkle will be the starter for the third consecutive week with Vernon Davis having once again been ruled out and Jordan Reed's entire career up in the air. The Redskins are the only team, real or otherwise, that he should start for this week. The 49ers are allowing fewer than four catches per game to tight ends, and Sprinkle has caught a total of four in his two weeks as the starter. There isn't much else to say. Sprinkle isn't relevant on his own bad team, so he is thereby a player to ignore in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Paul Richardson Oct 18 4:50pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Paul Richardson hasn't scored a touchdown since Week 3, has caught three or fewer passes in four of six games, and has broken 40 receiving yards just once. His next opponent is a 49ers Defense that is certain to highlight all of those shortcomings for another week, as they have allowed opposing wideouts to catch an average of nine passes a game. Terry McLaurin figures to see over half of that average on his own, leaving little else for Richardson or any other Washington pass-catcher.

From RotoBaller

Josh Gordon Oct 18 4:50pm ET

New England Patriots wide receiver Josh Gordon (ankle, knee) missed a second straight practice on Friday. Tight ends Ryan Izzo (concussion) and Matt LaCosse (knee) also sat out. Gordon looks unlikely to play on Monday night against the Jets, so fantasy owners should make plans to be without him. If that's the case, it's likely that Julian Edelman and Phillip Dorsett will be the team's top two receivers in a good matchup against Gang Green. Dorsett has sneaky flex and DFS appeal after missing last Thursday's game. LaCosse is out multiple weeks and Izzo is in danger of sitting out Monday, leaving the Pats dangerously thin at tight end. It's why they re-signed veteran Benjamin Watson earlier this week.

From RotoBaller

Trey Quinn Oct 18 4:50pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Trey Quinn looked like he might be on the brink of carving out a PPR-relevant role for himself early in the season, hauling in 13 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown in his first three games. Since then, he has seven catches for 36 yards. Even the return of Case Keenum in Week 6 against an atrocious Dolphins team wasn't enough to bring Quinn back up, as he failed to eclipse even 10 receiving yards in his team's most inviting matchup to date. Now he'll have to deal with a 49ers secondary allowing opposing WRs to catch nine passes a game. Dynasty owners who are looking to tank the 2019 season for the number-one pick in their draft next year would be wise to start Quinn this week. For everyone else, stay away.

From RotoBaller

Terry McLaurin Oct 18 4:40pm ET

Washington Redskins wide receiver Terry McLaurin has been his team's lone bright spot on offense in 2019, but he's about to face a 49ers Defense that has dimmed those bright spots on each and every one of its previous adversaries. The Niners create pressure on 33.9% of opponents' drop-backs, which is the second-best rate in the league. This will inevitably have Case Keenum scrambling for his life behind a shaky offensive line, in turn minimizing the amount of time he has to find his favorite target downfield. Only one quarterback has thrown for more than 200 yards in a game against San Francisco, and the 49ers haven't given up a touchdown pass in their last two games. McLaurin is a volume-based flex play at best in this matchup.

From RotoBaller

Deebo Samuel Oct 18 4:40pm ET

San Francisco 49ers rookie wide receiver Deebo Samuel (groin) has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Redskins. Samuel has been a little-used receiver in his rookie season in a run-first offense, so he belongs on the waiver wire in the majority of leagues. His absence is good news for both Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis, but the Niners probably won't have to rely on the passing game all that much against a poor Redskins team all around.

From RotoBaller

Washington Redskins Oct 18 4:20pm ET

The Washington Redskins Defense is allowing an average of 4.6 yards on opposing rushing attempts, and they're about to go up against a 49ers team that has attempted the second-most rushes in the league despite playing one fewer game than a majority of NFL teams. San Francisco's commitment to the run isn't just some stubborn refusal to diversify its game plan, either, as they're averaging 4.6 yards per carry. They've got two capable running backs in Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida, so there will always be a relatively fresh set of legs ready to rumble over what is sure to be a worn-out Washington front seven. The Redskins allow opponents to extend drives on 50.6% of third down opportunities, the second-worst mark in the league. Steer clear.

From RotoBaller

Tre'Quan Smith Oct 18 4:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara (ankle), tight end Jared Cook (ankle) and wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (ankle) have all been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Make sure to remove Kamara and Cook from your lineups now. With Kamara sidelined, backup Latavius Murray will be the backfield workhorse and will have RB2 value, albeit in a tough matchup on the road against Chicago. Josh Hill should see starting tight end duties, but he can be avoided in fantasy. No. 1 wideout Michael Thomas should be targeted heavily, but Chicago's superior defense will game plan to slow him down. The Bears Defense, already a weekly top play, just got more attractive in fantasy. Even with Smith out, fantasy owners shouldn't be banking on Ted Ginn.

From RotoBaller

Christian Kirk Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. Kirk is cutting more often in practice but is not all the way back. He sounds on the wrong side of questionable in what is a great matchup for Arizona's receivers. If Kirk sits, it'll be his third straight absence. Larry Fitzgerald should see heavy targets and has WR2 upside this weekend, especially if Kirk is inactive. Damiere Byrd and rookie Keesean Johnson would also have expanded roles if Kirk is out, but they have been too inconsistent in this offense to be realistic starting options in fantasy.

From RotoBaller

Malcolm Brown Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Los Angeles Rams running back Malcolm Brown (ankle) is doubtful for Week 7 against the Falcons. Todd Gurley (thigh) is expected to return from a one-game absence anyway, so Brown's fantasy appeal would've taken a hit anyway. With Brown unlikely to play, though, look for rookie Darrell Henderson to see his biggest workload of the season with Gurley likely to be scaled back. The Falcons have been generous to opposing running backs in 2019 as well, making Henderson a sneaky DFS pick and RB3/flex in deeper leagues.

From RotoBaller

Wendell Smallwood Oct 18 4:10pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Wendell Smallwood should see a season-high in touches in Week 7 with Chris Thompson out. The downside is that "season-high" could be defined by as few as seven touches, and the team he'll be taking them against is a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a running back to cross the goal line. If Smallwood inherits the full share of Thompson's passing game workload, it is worth noting that Thompson was averaging seven targets per game in the five contests the Redskins lost. The Redskins are a two-score home underdog this Sunday, bringing about the potential for similar usage for Smallwood. Either way, this is not a player or matchup you should be targeting in fantasy lineups.

From RotoBaller

David Johnson Oct 18 4:00pm ET

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury said that running back David Johnson (ankle) will be a game-time decision in Week 7 against the Giants. If the Cardinals had to play on Friday, Johnson would've been inactive. We thought there wouldn't be drama around Johnson's status this week with him getting in more practice work, but that won't be the case. Ultimately Johnson should be able to play in a mouthwatering matchup, but you'll need to check Sunday morning inactives just to be sure. DJ is a surefire RB1 if he plays. If he doesn't, backup Chase Edmonds would be a strong RB2 fill-in.

From RotoBaller

Todd Gurley Oct 18 4:00pm ET

Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay expects running back Todd Gurley (thigh) and cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) to play in Week 7 against the Falcons. Gurley missed last week's game but should be back on the field in an excellent matchup with the free-falling Falcons Defense. Gurley will be more of a low-end RB2 for this game and will be at risk of losing valuable snaps to both Malcolm Brown and rookie Darrell Henderson. But the good news is that fantasy owners should have Gurley back. Ramsey is set to make his debut with the Rams after coming over in a trade from Jacksonville. He's tentatively expected to match up with Falcons top wideout Julio Jones on the outside. It's a downgrade for Jones in fantasy, but he should still be a must-start in all leagues. Avoid the Rams Defense as a streaming option in fantasy this week.

From RotoBaller

Vernon Davis Oct 18 3:40pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) was limited in practice all week but has been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Davis is recovering from his head injury but just couldn't get cleared in time. With Jordan Reed (concussion) on Injured Reserve, Jeremy Sprinkle will continue to start for the 'Skins. He's an unattractive TE2, though, having caught just four passes for 41 yards in the last two weeks with Davis banged up. You can't really trust any pass-catcher outside of rookie Terry McLaurin in this dysfunctional offense.

From RotoBaller

Tyrell Williams Oct 18 3:30pm ET

Oakland Raiders wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the Packers. Williams is dealing with plantar fasciitis and should be considered week-to-week at this point. In his absence, it'll be Hunter Renfrow, Zay Jones, Keelan Doss and Trevor Davis battling for targets in a tough matchup on the road against the Packers. Expect the Raiders offense to continue to function through rookie running back Josh Jacobs and tight end Darren Waller, making all of the Raiders receivers low-upside WR4/5 options.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Kroft Oct 18 3:20pm ET

Buffalo Bills tight end Tyler Kroft (ankle) practiced in full all week and was left off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Dolphins. Kroft is set to make his season debut this Sunday. The matchup is a great one against the winless Dolphins, but fantasy owners can't expect much of Kroft right away, and he could split snaps with rookie Dawson Knox. Kroft is off the fantasy radar for now, even for those desperate at the position. His return is undoubtedly bad news for Knox owners, though.

From RotoBaller

Taylor Gabriel Oct 18 3:10pm ET

Chicago Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (concussion) practiced in full all week and was taken off the final injury report for Week 7 against the Saints. The last time Gabriel played, he caught three first-half touchdowns before suffering a head injury. He'll be back in the fold this weekend but shouldn't be in many team's starting lineups against a Saints Defense that has actually limited opponent's passing games quite well so far this year. Gabriel's three-score game the last time he played was an outlier.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Oct 18 3:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense gets a good matchup in Week 7 against the Chicago Bears. New Orleans ranks 11th in the NFL in points allowed and seventh in sacks. They'll take on a Bears offense that ranks 26th in scoring and will likely get injured quarterback Mitch Trubisky back on the field. Trubisky struggled with accuracy at times when he was healthy this season, so the Saints' defense has the potential to generate turnovers. Whether it's Trubisky or backup Chase Daniel, the Saints should be able to get several sacks and an interception or two in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Chris Thompson Oct 18 3:10pm ET

Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (toe) has officially been ruled out for Week 7 against the 49ers. Thompson is dealing with turf toe, so he could also wind up missing Week 8 and potentially beyond. It means that Adrian Peterson will handle the early downs, with Wendell Smallwood chipping in on passing downs. However, neither running back is a good fantasy weapon against a 49ers Defense that has yet to allow a rushing or receiving touchdown to a running back this year. Smallwood should be faded in deep PPR leagues, even if you're desperate.

From RotoBaller