After only two weeks into the fantasy football season have already seen devastation to most everyone’s rosters. The one silver lining about this weekend is that even if your team gimped over the finish line, either your opponents did as well, or your opponent next weekend has the same hurdles. Let’s get ahead of the competition and take a look at the Week 3 matchups using our Fantasy Football Consistency Score (C.S.) and Defensive Points Allowed Consistency Score (DPACS) to highlight the top matchups and players to start or sit for your fantasy lineups.
If you would like more detailed information on how the C.S. and DPACS works, please refer to the Introduction to the Fantasy Football Consistency Score. But the basic premise is, the higher the C.S., the more consistent a player is scoring high-level fantasy points. Or, in the case of DPACS, the consistency in which that team allows high-level fantasy points to the position.
PSA: I don’t feel the need to tell you, the savvy fantasy G.M., to start a player like Patrick Mahomes every week. I abide by the golden rule: start your studs. However, if there is glaring evidence to sit a bonafide starter, we will discuss that as needed.
Fantasy Football Week 3 Start/Sit: Quarterbacks
Start Gardner Minshew
I typically stray away from the passing game in a Thursday Night Football matchup, but Minshew has been on fire, and the Miami Dolphins are one of the best defenses for your fantasy quarterback to be matched up against.
Minshew has impressed in the early goings of the 2020 season. He has already thrown for 512 yards, six touchdowns, and increased his CS by 0.26 points from 2019, up to 7.13 which comes in 15th among signal-callers. Averaging 22.14 fantasy points a game thus far, his Fantasy Point Differential (FPD) is an impressive +26% and ranks 7th in that metric.
In short, Minshew has been on fire for fantasy football managers. And considering he was the 25th quarterback taken on average in drafts with a 14th round ADP according to FleaFlicker, he is likely your second quarterback and might have been racking up all of those points on your bench.
Well, Week 3 is the time to pull the trigger and thrust the mustached Jacksonville heartthrob into your starting lineup. This Thursday night the Jaguars face off against the Miami Dolphins who have been averaging the most fantasy points allowed to the QB position since Week 14 of last year, 24.90, while sporting the 3rd highest DPACS, showing that they are very likely to give up those numbers yet again. In the last two weeks, Miami has given up an average of just over 30 fantasy points to passers. This week, Minshew looks to be one of the hottest QBs to start/stream.
Sit Jared Goff
After an impressive performance versus the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2, many managers are going to be tempted to believe that Goff is back to his 2018 form and a safe weekly start. But with a trip to Buffalo this week, this is not a great time to rollout Goff in your starting lineups.
Sporting a 4.75 CS for 2020, 28th among all QBs shows just how variable Goff can be depending on matchups. With the Bills up next on the schedule, that is a matchup we want to avoid in fantasy and with highly volatile quarterbacks like Goff. Over the past six fantasy-relevant games, the Buffalo Bills are averaging only 15.41 fantasy points allowed to QBs and their 4.85 is ranked 27th in DPACS. They are consistently shutting down the position, making them a non fantasy-friendly matchup for Goff and company.
Which running backs should you start/sit in Week 3?
Start Todd Gurley II
The Atlanta Falcons are the best team in the NFL at blowing huge leads. It’s quite impressive in a sadistic sort of way. In Week 3 they are going to look to “get right” against the improbable 2-0 Chicago Bears. In order to escape the Windy City with a victory, they are going to need to lean on Todd Gurley and the running game.
Despite not being nearly as flashy as he has been in seasons, not that long ago, Gurley’s 5.07 CS is still 17th among runners and he is averaging 20 opportunities a game. With the Falcons needing to, I don’t know, maybe not give the opposing team the ball over and over again in the second half, those opportunities are not going to go anywhere.
As a key piece on the fifth highest-scoring offense on the year, against one of the friendliest defenses for running backs, Gurley is as apt to find the end zone as any remaining healthy running back available. The Bears have the second-highest DPACS while being a top-12 team in terms of average PPR points allowed to the position. Gurley has been mediocre thus far this season; he certainly hasn’t allowed me a victory lap for talking him up this offseason. But if there were ever a week to start him with confidence, this is the matchup to do it.
Sit Mike Davis
With the recent wave of injuries affecting the top two overall picks in fantasy football, Mike Davis, the clear-cut backup to Christian McCaffrey, is a must-have off the waiver wire. No arguments there. But if at all possible, I am not starting him right away.
The Carolina Panthers have lost their best offensive weapon and are now heading to southern California to face off against the Los Angeles Chargers. Over this season, the Chargers are allowing the third fewest amount of points in PPR scoring to runningbacks and also rank 30th in DPACS to the position. When you consider that Davis is a backup caliber player it is clear that, unless your particular roster or league setup dictates otherwise, he is matchup dependant and someone you want to sit in Week 3.
What WR’s should you start/sit in fantasy football for Week 3?
Start Darius Slayton
After an impressive Week 1 opening performance Slayton, and truthfully the entire passing attack for the New York Giants, let fantasy football managers and the entire New York fan base down in their Week 2 contest. Have no fear, Week 3 is primed for a ping-pong performance from Slayton and the G-Men.
Slayton’s CS is slowly creeping upwards, inching up from 3.27 to 3.38. Nothing to write home about, but it is at least going in a positive direction. His 2020 FPD is also a positive signal as it is +33% and has him ranked 18th among all receivers. Noticing how low his CS is and pair it with his high FPD, Slayton sticks out as a high-upside matchup-dependent start. Hosting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 is the salve that heals the burn he gave the managers who started him in Week 2.
San Francisco has a DPACS that is over 16 points higher than every other team in the NFL right now and they are averaging 39.45 points allowed to the position in 2020 and 46.3 points since Week 14 of the 2019 season. That DPACS is the highest score for any position, too. In other words, playing a receiver that is going against the 49ers defense is the most fantasy-friendly matchup in the NFL.
On top of that, factor in that the San Francisco defense is missing their best pass rushers and their top cornerback. Injuries have affected the Giants offensive roster and identity, losing their primary offensive weapon in Saquon Barkley, essentially vacating 73 targets from 2019. Suddenly, Slayton looks primed for one of the best fantasy performances of his career.
Sit Marvin Jones Jr.
The Detroit Lions have problems on both sides of the ball. They are hoping that getting Kenny Golladay back into the starting lineup is at least going to solve much of the offensive woes. But just as I made the case for Slayton seeing an increase in targets due to a loss on that offense, Jones is due for a decrease in targets with the return of Golladay. With a negative matchup to boot, you can’t keep rolling out Jones if you have been so far this season.
The Lions are heading into the desert for a Week 3 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defense is stifling receivers in fantasy. With the lowest DPACS and lowest average points allowed of all NFL teams, you should be trying to avoid this defense with your receivers at all costs.
Taking a look at tight ends in Week 3
Start Mike Gesicki
The 0-2 Miami Dolphins look to be exactly who we thought they were, but with real life struggles comes fantasy gold. With plenty of negative game scripts, the Dolphins are in the top 10 when it comes to pass attempts and Gesicki is showing he can be a big part of that offense.
After being a complete flop to start the season, fantasy football managers were already tossing Gesicki into the “busts” column for the year. Week 2 we saw what many prognosticators preached all offseason as he commanded 11 targets for eight receptions, 130 yards, and a score. Over the course of the first two weeks of this season, Gesicki has sucked up 20% of the team’s target share and has lined up in the slot or outside on over 90% of his snaps.
Now the Dolphins matchup against the red hot Jacksonville Jaguars, who have put up 57 points in the first two games of the season, for a Thursday Night Football battle. The Jaguars have the highest DPACS against tight ends and are averaging 20.40 points allowed to the position. This battle of fellow Floridians looks to be a fun fantasy watch and starting Gesicki gives you something to root for in prime time.
Sit Jared Cook
Maybe this one is personal. Maybe, just maaaybe, I lost my matchup in the coveted “Scott Fish Bowl” because Jared Cook couldn’t record more than two receptions for 13 yards on Monday night without Michael Thomas on the field!
But that aside, I still don’t like Cook in fantasy football for Week 3. In 2019, from the Saints bye week until the end of the fantasy football season, Cook was averaging 14.04 fantasy points per game. So far, for 2020 he is averaging less than 10. And that is, again, without Michael Thomas hogging 25-30% of the targets for a game. This offense looks incredibly limited right now, and it appears Thomas covered up limitations an aging Drew Brees is trying to play through. Now, Cook goes from a negative matchup against the Las Vegas Raiders to a worse matchup against the Green Bay Packers.
The Packers DPACS versus tight ends is a measly 1.06, lowest in the league. They have averaged 4.40 points allowed to the position group since Week 14 of 2019, also, lowest in the league. Thus far, the Packers have allowed Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. a combined 5.4 fantasy points in Week 1 and 8.2 points to T.J. Hockenson in half-point PPR scoring. I expect them to bottle up the 33 year-old Cook.
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