Early Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 3: Kareem Hunt, Curtis Samuel, and Drake London are intriguing options

As we head into Week 3, here are our early start/sit thoughts as we consider the upcoming week for fantasy football purposes.

As Sunday gives way to Monday, it’s time to start thinking about fantasy football Week 3 start-sit decisions. Which players could fantasy managers consider starting this week, and which ones may need to be sat?

By thinking about these decisions now, fantasy managers have time to make roster moves to accommodate those thoughts. Maybe a start recommendation is available on the waiver wire, or you don’t have a backup for a sit recommendation. In this case, you would potentially need to look to the waiver wire in order to find a player to plug into your starting lineup this week.

Week 3 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

If you’re looking for my full takeaways from Week 2 and what I believe it means going forward, then be sure to sign up for PFN Pass. Additionally, if you have specific waiver wire or Week 3 start/sit questions, then be sure to come and join our free PFN Discord server. There all of our fantasy analysts will be available throughout the week to answer your questions and offer advice.

Quarterbacks

Start ’em | Kirk Cousins, MIN vs. DET

At the time of writing this article, we have not seen Kirk Cousins in Week 2, but his Week 1 performance was impressive. Cousins threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns against what was expected to be a very good Green Bay Packers pass defense. This week, he gets a Lions defense that has allowed more than 25 fantasy points per game (ppg) to QBs over the past two weeks.

The performance of Carson Wentz in Week 2 is particularly notable as he threw for 337 yards with three touchdowns in a wild game in Detroit. This Lions’ defense has been exploited in different ways over the past two weeks. Jalen Hurts got them on the ground while Wentz got them through the air.

It’s also worth noting that this Lions offense has been very competitive. Therefore, the game script for this one should not be that Minnesota gets up big and then simply hands the ball off. The Vikings will need to stay aggressive because this Lions team has proven they can hang 30+ points on opponents through the first two weeks.

Since he came to Minnesota in 2018, Cousins has been superb against Detroit. In the last four years, he averages just under 21 fantasy ppg. Against the Lions, that increases to over 23 ppg. When facing Detroit, he averages 8.9 yards per attempt, 2.25 touchdowns, and around 280 yards per game. Against all other opponents in that time, he is averaging just under 7.7 yards per attempt, with just under 260 yards and two touchdowns per game.

Sit ’em | Aaron Rodgers, GB at TB

It’s been an inauspicious start for Aaron Rodgers through the first two weeks of the season. He’s thrown for an average of 214.5 yards per game with a total of two touchdowns, an interception, and two fumbles lost. Rodgers has scored a total of just 20.06 fantasy points, and through Sunday of Week 2, his 10.03 fantasy ppg ranks 29th at the QB position.

Now Rodgers faces a Buccaneers defense that has played incredibly tough through two weeks. Tampa Bay has restricted opposing QBs to just 7.33 fantasy ppg with four interceptions and just one passing touchdown. They’ve sacked opposing quarterbacks 10 times a game and limited them to under 4.5 yards per passing play.

While Rodgers is by no means a QB option you should give up on, this could be a really tough week. The Buccaneers have strength right through their defensive line, linebackers, and defensive backs. All three groups should cause trouble for Rodgers in this matchup, meaning if you have the ability to bench him and find a streaming option, that might be a prudent decision this week.

Running backs

Start ’em | Kareem Hunt, CLE vs. PIT

The first two weeks have given us a frustrating glimpse of how the Cleveland Browns backfield will likely play out this year. In Week 1, it was Kareem Hunt who found the end zone twice, while in Week 2, Nick Chubb scored three times.

Hunt scoring under 10 fantasy points in all formats may give fantasy managers pause heading into Thursday Night Football. However, he still saw solid usage in Week 2, with 46% of the snaps, 13 carries, and two targets. It’s not often we see Chubb targeted three times in a game. In 2020 and 2021 combined, he averaged less than two targets per game.

The Week 3 matchup against the Steelers is a nice one for the Browns RBs. Pittsburgh has allowed an average of 25.5 fantasy points per game to opposing backs. Within that, they have allowed 102 rushing yards and 58 receiving yards per game to the position.

On the short week, it would be a surprise if Cleveland wants to give Chubb 20 touches again as they look to keep him healthy during the season. Therefore, we should see plenty of rotation. The biggest risk here is that the Browns begin to pull away from the Steelers, and we see them turn to Jerome Ford out of the backfield. However, even then, Hunt would likely still have a role, as it would be more about reducing the touches for Chubb.

Sit ’em | Miami Dolphins RBs, vs. BUF

The Dolphins RB situation has been a mess through the first two weeks. In Week 1, it was Chase Edmonds who dominated touches over Raheem Mostert, 16 to six. In Week 2, that usage flipped, with Mostert having 14 opportunities to eight for Edmonds. This backfield is extremely tough to predict and now they go up against a very good Buffalo Bills defensive front.

At the time of writing this article, the Bills have not played in Week 2. In Week 1, they restricted the Los Angeles Rams backs to just 47 yards on 16 rushing attempts and 26 receiving yards on five receptions. They face Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football. If they also keep him under wraps, then it just reinforces the idea of staying clear of a messy situation in Miami.

Still, even if Henry runs wild on the Bills, it’s hard to trust that either of these two backs could do the same. The Dolphins’ offensive line is less than ideal, and neither Mostert nor Edmonds have the same bulldozing style as Henry.

Wide receivers

Start ’em | Curtis Samuel, WAS vs. PHI

Curtis Samuel’s usage through the first two weeks of the 2022 NFL season has been extremely promising. His rostership percentage on ESPN jumped up to 66% last week, but he was only started in 28.8% of leagues. Fantasy managers should now be ready to leap in with both feet after what we’ve seen through the first two weeks.

After Sunday, Samuel sits second in fantasy ppg with 21. His zero targets are the 11th-highest number in the league, and only two receivers have touched the ball in the run game — Deebo Samuel and Chase Claypool. The Commanders have appeared committed to getting him around 10 touches per game, which is extremely promising.

Additionally, the Commanders’ defense has proven susceptible, so this game against the Philadelphia Eagles should be high scoring. In Week 1 against the Lions, the Eagles allowed 39.4 fantasy points to the WR position. Included in that were 13 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns.

Start ’em | Drake London, ATL at SEA

Any doubts over Drake London after he came into the league with a knee injury should be gone. Through the first two weeks, London has established himself as the No. 1 pass catcher for the Atlanta Falcons. In Week 2, he was targeted 12 times, catching eight of them for 86 yards and a touchdown. That followed a week where he was targeted seven times, with five receptions for 74 yards.

Since entering the NFL, London has been everything that fantasy managers wanted Kyle Pitts to be. He’s the No. 1 pass catcher on this offense right now, and even though the matchup with the Seahawks may not look that pretty — they currently rank eighth in fantasy ppg allowed to receivers — there are mitigating circumstances.

In Week 1, the Broncos’ passing game moved the ball with relative ease, as Russell Wilson threw for 340 yards. However, Wilson had to distribute the ball around, as the Broncos played with essentially just two receivers in that game. Then, in Week 2, the 49ers had to deal with a first-quarter QB change. That left Jimmy Garoppolo playing a very conservative offensive game plan. San Francisco rushed the ball 45 times, throwing it on just 24 occasions.

Therefore, the Seahawks’ pass defense looks good right now on paper, but lead receivers have still got their stats. Both Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy had over 70 receiving yards, with Jeudy also finding the end zone. Then, last week, both Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel had five receptions as they combined for over 100 of the 184 passing yards the 49ers racked up.

Sit ’em | Darnell Mooney, CHI vs. HOU

I’m fairly sure that advising you to sit Darnell Mooney is not breaking any news to you, but he was still started in 30% of ESPN leagues this week. However, what we saw on Sunday Night Football should reaffirm that it’s time to bench him for the time being.

Through the first two weeks, Mooney has seen just five targets. In Week 1, there were concerns about the weather impacting the passing game. However, in Week 2, the Bears were trailing 24-7 entering the second half, and Justin Fields threw just five passes! We cannot blame the conditions this week. The Bears just clearly do not appear ready to open the offense up and let Fields sling it around the field.

That might change as the season goes on, which is why Mooney remains a bench stash. Once the offense opens up, he should see a greater target share, but when that will be, we do not know. It’s impossible to start him this week, even against the Texans, who have proven susceptible to opposing wide receivers in the past two weeks.

Tight ends

Start ’em | Tyler Higbee, LAR at ARI

The Arizona Cardinals have really found themselves facing a much tougher schedule of tight ends through the first two weeks. Matching up with Travis Kelce in Week 1 and then Darren Waller in Week 2 is an extremely tough pair to face. Both of them have found the end zone and combined for 171 receiving yards on 14 receptions from 17 targets.

Through Week 2, Tyler Higbee leads the position in targets with 20. He saw 11 targets in Week 1 and nine targets in Week 2. This week, he caught seven of those nine targets for 71 yards, taking him to 12 receptions for 110 yards on the season. His usage this year has been a really good sign and makes him a player that has crept into weekly starter territory, but especially against a juicy matchup like this one.

Sit ’em | Dawson Knox, BUF at MIA

It’s tough to find a tight end to recommend to sit who is started in more than 50% of leagues. T.J. Hockenson is the closest candidate, but at the position he plays, it’s tough to sit a player who has seen seven targets in each of the previous two weeks. Therefore, we look a little bit lower and lock eyes on Dawson Knox.

Knox is a boom-or-bust TE that is never someone I look to start outside of a slam-dunk matchup. After the week that Mark Andrews just had, the Dolphins may seem like a matchup to exploit. However, Knox is not the same caliber of tight end as Andrews. Therefore, a pause should be given by fantasy managers before starting Knox just simply based on the numbers posted by Andrews in Week 2. Knox needs a touchdown to carry fantasy relevance this week.

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