Should you start or sit Robby Anderson in Week 3 fantasy football?

    2021 was supposed to be Robby Anderson's fantasy breakout year, but he's off to a slow start. Should you be worried about him in Week 3?

    Breaking out in the NFL is sometimes different than breaking out in fantasy football. Some players make a mark on the field but fall short of making an impact for fantasy rosters. After a stellar 2020 season, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Robby Anderson is on the verge of both in 2021. But should you start him in Week 3?

    Should you start or sit Robby Anderson in Week 3?

    Before we get into whether you should start Anderson on Thursday Night Football or not, let’s look at his past. Anderson has been on the fantasy radar for years, but is he good enough to make your lineup?

    Robby Anderson’s 2020 stats

    Anderson did pretty well in 2020, adapting to a new team and making an impact on the field. Anderson finished last season with 95 catches on 136 targets for 1,096 yards. But he only scored 3 touchdowns, which isn’t much for that kind of volume.

    Teammate DJ Moore finished with only 97 more yards on the year and earned 18 fewer targets in one fewer game. Anderson’s 11.5 yards per reception was on pace with teammate Curtis Samuel, who earned 97 targets and amassed 851 yards in 15 games. Anderson was just as viable in terms of actual production but was routinely mentioned as the third WR option on the offense.

    In terms of fantasy points, Anderson finished first in PPR scoring with 224.1 points on the year, good for 14 points per game over 16 games. Samuel was second with 212.1 and Moore was third with 211.5, both finishing with 14.1 points per game over 15 games. These three were basically a three-headed monster for QB Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina offense.

    Robby Anderson’s 2021 so far

    Anderson finished 2020 with a career-high in catches, targets, and yards. He dominated on the field and was expected to do the same again this year. However, that hasn’t quite been the case.

    Anderson had a solid Week 1 fantasy performance against his former team, the New York Jets. While he caught only 1 pass, that reception ended up being a 57-yard touchdown. In Week 2, Anderson caught 3 of 6 targets for a meager 38 yards. Needless to say, he’s been underperforming as of late, but there could be bright spots ahead.

    The emergence of Sam Darnold

    QB Sam Darnold has seemingly adjusted nicely to his new surroundings. After playing under head coach Adam Gase with the Jets for years, Darnold has been set free. He’s currently QB14 in fantasy through two weeks with 584 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. That’s not too shabby for a quarterback and offense still trying to find its feet.

    As Darnold gets more comfortable and as defenses start to key on RB Christian McCaffrey, it’s entirely possible Darnold sees his output increase. Playing the hapless Houston Texans on Thursday Night Football isn’t a bad place to start, either.

    The Texans looked good against the Jaguars in Week 1, but that could be because they were playing rookie QB Trevor Lawrence, who struggled.

    Houston was decent against the Browns last week, but Cleveland was without its top two weapons. WR Odell Beckham Jr. missed the game, and WR Jarvis Landry left the contest with an injury. It’s difficult to call Houston’s defense a dominant unit based on what we’ve seen thus far.

    Competition on the team

    The real question about Anderson revolves around his primacy on Carolina’s pass-catching depth chart. He’s only seen 9 targets this year, which is tied for third on the team with WR Terrace Marshall. Moore is first with 19 targets, and McCaffrey is second with 15.

    In terms of target share, Anderson has only received 13% of the team’s 68 targets. This isn’t ideal, but at least he’s getting involved. Anderson also has 1 of the team’s 3 receiving touchdowns, so he’s scored points by getting in the end zone as well.

    Anderson is expected to break out

    With all that said, I still expect Anderson to have a terrific 2021 NFL season. Whether or not that translates to fantasy success will hinge on his and his teammates’ ability to stay healthy. If he misses time, his breakout will obviously be put on hold. But if any of his teammates go down with an injury, Anderson could be in line for a big bump in targets.

    Should you start Anderson for fantasy this week?

    So where does that leave us for tonight’s game? For me, Anderson is a terrific flex option against the Texans on Thursday Night Football. Hopefully, you have better, more stable options that you can consider, but Anderson definitely has some upside with the way he’s been playing lately.

    While Anderson is a flex option, make sure you put him in your WR slot if you do decide to start him. This gives you some flexibility as we head into Sunday and start to deal with late inactives.

    Either way, I do think Anderson is worth starting this week, and he should have a good chance at scoring double-digit fantasy points in PPR leagues. He will likely be outscored by both McCaffrey and Moore, but Anderson has a high likelihood of outscoring everyone on the Texans, who have rookie Davis Mills starting at QB.

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