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NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em Week 3: Daniel Jones and Derek Carr primed for solid weeks

With the NFL in full swing and fantasy football lineups being set, who makes the list of the top start 'em and sit 'em options for Week 3?

After two weeks of NFL games in the bag, fantasy football managers are starting to feel that they have a solid idea of who to start and who to sit heading into Week 3. But is that accurate, or are we jumping to conclusions after only two games? With not all matchups being equal, here are our top start ’em and sit ’em plays for Week 3 of fantasy football.

NFL Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em for Week 3: Quarterbacks

Heading into their third game of the season, which QBs are must-starts, and who should remain on the bench in Week 3?

Start ‘Em | Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders

If Derek Carr keeps up his recent play for one more week, he will not just be a start ’em candidate but a weekly starter. Carr has been racking up the stats despite the team remaining non-committal on his long-term standing with the organization.

He’s completed 62 of 93 passes for 817 yards through two games with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception. He is not just No. 1 in the NFL, but nearly 130 yards ahead of second place (Kyler Murray – 689). 

It’s also not like he has faced the Jaguars or Bishop Sycamore either. Carr has torched two of the top defenses in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens (No. 9 vs. QBs in 2020) and the Pittsburgh Steelers (No. 2). 

The Dolphins are not a team that is intimidating anyone right now and just gave up 35 points to the Buffalo Bills. With Jacoby Brissett under center, it would not be surprising to see their offense struggle. Add in Josh Jacobs listed as doubtful, and Carr will have the ball in his hands a ton on Sunday. I like Carr as an upper-end QB2 and a start-worthy play in Week 3.

Start ‘Em | Daniel Jones, New York Giants

Daniel Jones (50.9 points) currently has more fantasy points through two games than Russell Wilson (50.4), Lamar Jackson (50.2), Matthew Stafford (41.6), Dak Prescott (34.9), Josh Allen (33.9), Justin Herbert (28.1), and Aaron Rodgers (28.1). 

So are we playing fantasy football, or Who’s Line is it Anyway? Because I am pretty sure points matter in this game.

Jones has been great for fantasy purposes. He has completed 64% of his passes (44 of 69) for 516 yards for 2 touchdowns while adding 122 yards and 2 more TDs on 15 carries. For QBs, rushing upside is massive, and Jones has seen his totals rise from 21.5 (2019) to 30.1 (2020) and currently sits at 61 yards per game.

Sure it’s a two-game sample size, but I don’t see it changing too much. It’s not like the rushing yards are all designed keepers that he will lose once Saquon Barkley is full-go. 

Ride the hot hand (or legs) while you can, and take a shot on Jones as a starter in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, who are dead-last in fantasy points allowed to QBs at 29.05 ppg.

Sit ‘Em | Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals

For as great as Joe Burrow looked last year, we have not seen that player yet. It likely has a lot to do with the missed time due to his ACL recovery, but we need to change how we view him until we see a more consistent player.

The OL is still a mess, and Burrow is coming off a 3-interception game after going nearly 200 attempts as a rookie before throwing his first. Tee Higgins is doubtful for the game (shoulder), and the Steelers will be able to generate pressure on Sunday even with T.J. Watt less than full strength. 

Better days are ahead, but I would not feel comfortable starting Burrow in Week 3 for fantasy.

Sit ‘Em | Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints

After a 5-touchdown opening act in one of the more surprising games thus far, Jameis Winston had a significant letdown in Week 2. Winston completed 11-of-22 passes for 111 yards and 2 interceptions while rushing for 19 yards and a score on 3 carries.

The Saints take on the New England Patriots in Week 3, who still have a vaunted defense and one of the brilliant minds in the game with Bill Belichick. His goal will be to eliminate Alvin Kamara from the game script, forcing Winston to beat them, something I am not sure he can do with this current WR corps. For those with him on your roster, Winston is a sit ’em for me in Week 3.

Running backs

While these RBs found themselves with adjusted roles in the preseason following injuries to surrounding players, they are on opposite sides of start/sit debates for Week 3.

Start ‘Em | Ty’Son Williams, Baltimore Ravens

It is clear the Ravens plan to use a committee approach at RB after a disastrous summer filled with injuries. But this is nothing new, that’s who they’ve always been. Only the names change, not the scheme.

What is apparent is of the RBs on the roster, Ty’Son Williams is the most explosive. He has posted over 90 yards in both of his games while averaging 14.9 PPR points per contest. He will have some scoring opportunities stolen by Latavius Murray and Lamar Jackson. Still, Williams remains a weekly RB2 until something drastic happens on the depth chart.

The Ravens take on the Detroit Lions in Week 3, who are abysmal against RBs. They ranked dead last in 2020 (32.47 ppg) and allowed 131 yards and 2 rushing TDs to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Start Williams in Week 3 in a booming matchup. 

Start ‘Em | Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals are as explosive as it gets, and Chase Edmonds continues to be the team’s top RB, even if he loses some carries to James Conner and Kyler Murray. After recording 106 yards on 16 opportunities in Week 1, Edmonds had another solid week with 75 yards on 13 opportunities against the Vikings in Week 2. He has out-touched Conner 29 to 24 so far and seems to be the primary back in the passing game.

While the usage around the goal line has not been flowing his way, the 61% snap share and 6.9 yards per touch are hard to overlook. It’s also not even close from an efficiency standpoint with Edmonds averaging 0.93 fantasy points per opportunity to Conner at just 0.32.

The Cardinals play the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, meaning scoring opportunities should be plentiful for Edmonds. He is a lower-end RB2 that should be started in fantasy football, especially PPR formats.

Start ‘Em | Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts

“Singin’, don’t worry, about a thing

‘Cause every little thing, gonna be all right.”

I mean, are you really benching Jonathan Taylor? Of course not, but start him with confidence. 

He is averaging only 12 PPR points per game as the RB24 overall. So far, Taylor has 32 attempts for 107 yards and has caught 7 of 8 targets for 62 yards. However, things will get better. Taylor is averaging 20 opportunities per game but ranks as one of the worst RBs in expected fantasy points. That’s because he hasn’t been able to find the end zone despite being tied for the league lead in red-zone carries (12), with 7 of those coming from inside the 10-yard line.

Taylor has a “get right” game this week against the Tennessee Titans, who were one of the worst run defenses in the NFL last season. Carson Wentz is questionable with two sprained ankles, which is an impressive feat on its own. They’ll lean on the ground game.

Sit ‘Em | James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars

After being the guy in 2020, then not the guy when they drafted Travis Etienne, and then back to being the guy once he was injured, James Robinson is officially not my guy for Week 3 in fantasy. 

He has scored less than 10 PPR points in back-to-back games, and even with Carlos Hyde recording just 2 carries last week, he couldn’t get anything done, mainly due to the state of the offense. After an 86-yard opening series, the Jaguars’ offense scraped together just 106 total yards the rest of the game. 

In a game that should see the Cardinals pile up the points, unless Robinson sees a significant amount of work as a receiver, it’s hard to find a path to production. Unfortunately, he is a sit ’em for me in fantasy football in Week 3.

Sit ‘Em | Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I never like to make firm assumptions after only two weeks, but at this point, I have seen enough. Leonard Fournette is the RB1 for the Buccaneers, not Ronald Jones. After recording only 4 carries in Week 1, Jones laid another dud in Week 2, rushing just 6 times for 27 yards and caught 1 pass for 9 yards. Jones played on just 26 of the snaps while watching Fournette outpace him in snaps, routes, and carries. 

Despite the chatter leading up to the season that Jones was the RB1, it’s obvious he’s not. He should not see a starting fantasy roster moving forward unless something drastically changes. 

Sit ‘Em | Michael Carter, New York Jets

It looks like the inevitable transition from Tevin Coleman to Michael Carter is starting to finally take place. He carried the ball 11 times last week for 59 yards while also adding 2 receptions on 3 targets for 29 yards against a tough Patriots defense. In terms of scheme fit, Carter was one of the best picks of the draft. Sitting him has less to do with him and more so about where the offense is and the opponent. 

The Jets are a ways away from being a good offense. Now, they take on another tough defense who loves to generate pressure in the Denver Broncos. They were one of the best run defenses last season before injuries took hold and are the No. 1 defense in 2021 in points allowed to RBs per game at a measly 8.85. Sure, it helped it was Saquon Barkley’s first game, and then they faced the Jaguars, but the point still stands. Carter is outside starting RB range for Week 3.

Tommy Garrett is a Fantasy Analyst for Pro Football Network and is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). You can read all of Tommy’s work here, listen to him on PFN’s Fantasy Football podcast, and check out his contributions in PFN’s free fantasy newsletter. Give him a follow on Twitter: @TommyGarrettPFN.

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