Fantasy Football: Five of the best matchups to exploit in Week 3

By Jeff Hicks, 4for4

Special to Yahoo Sports

Schedule-adjusted fantasy points allowed, or aFPA, is 4for4’s answer to biased statistics. By removing bias, we can level the playing field and compare matchups in an "apples-to-apples" manner. As the season moves along, the data will change. Once we reach Week 4 the data will give us an initial data set to work with, and at Week 12 the data will be a 10-week rolling set.

Until Week 4, this weekly article will focus on the best plays before aFPA takes shape. Let’s take a look at the best matchups for Week 3.

Jared Goff @ Minnesota Vikings

Goff looked great with 256 passing yards and four passing touchdowns against the Commanders in Week 2. The Lions head on the road for the first time this season and take on a Vikings defense that showed more of who they were Week 2 than Week 1. Minnesota allowed 496 total yards to the Eagles Week 2 compared to 371 Week 1. Aaron Rodgers is a better QB than Goff, but it is clear that Goff and his offensive teammates are operating more efficiently. Give me that offense with competent coaching against a defense that played up to take on their division rival, only to fall to what appears to be an elite offense. Detroit has the opportunity to run the ball with D’Andre Swift and allow Goff to cook with Amon-Ra St. Brown and a strong supporting cast. The Lions have already attempted 77 passes and will more than likely go for 30-plus with their defense hoping to slow Justin Jefferson.

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Dameon Pierce @ Chicago Bears

Despite losing Week 2, the Houston Texans utilized Dameon Pierce more and almost upset the Broncos in Denver. Pierce played on fewer than 29% of snaps Week 1 and saw work on 62% of plays Week 2. Week 3 looks like a great week for Pierce (and possibly Rex Burkhead, too) against the Bears. Chicago has been bludgeoned on the ground in two games, allowing 176 and 203 yards to the 49ers and Packers. Pierce also gets to play a defense he is familiar with, practicing against Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense. Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams worked with Smith in Tampa Bay and runs parts of that same scheme.

Garrett Wilson vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sometimes it’s as simple as talent shining. Despite being listed as the New York Jets’ WR4 on their first depth chart, Wilson has forced his way onto the field. Even if he was actually considered their fourth option in Week 3, the Jets have run 25% (10) of their passing plays in "10 personnel" (four WR, one RB) this season, according to Sports Info Solutions. The Jets pass out of "11 personnel" at one of the lower rates in the league, but it is safe to say Wilson is going to play more despite what the team’s website says about his place on a depth chart.

Garrett Wilson announced his arrival with a big Week 2. Fantasy managers can confidently plug him into lineups after adding him on the waiver wire. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)
Garrett Wilson announced his arrival with a big Week 2. Fantasy managers can confidently plug him into lineups after adding him on the waiver wire. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Getty Images)

Pat Freiermuth @ Cleveland Browns

There are positives and negatives with the Steelers' passing attack, and Freiermuth has been on the positive end through two games. He has 9/97/1 on 17 targets and gets a Browns defense that will be shorthanded and has already allowed tight ends to accumulate fantasy points. The ghost of Ian Thomas finished Week 1 with his most fantasy points since Week 4 of the 2020 season, and Tyler Conklin saw nine targets and reached double-digit fantasy points in PPR formats in Week 2. Freiermuth has played 85% of snaps and will continue to get looks from Mitch Trubisky so long as he is the starter and not making poor decisions on passing plays.

Cowboys Defense @ New York Giants

Despite the injury woes on offense, the Cowboys' defense is doing its job and allowing Dallas to stay afloat. The defense is top 10 in yards allowed, yards per game allowed, yards per completion allowed, sacks and points per game. Daniel Jones is an easy target in fantasy. He has yet to throw for 200 yards in a game and has put the ball in danger more than enough (one INT, one fumble). Jones has also been sacked eight times in two games, the same number of sacks the Cowboys have. If the Cowboys shut down Saquon Barkley the same way the Carolina Panthers did Week 2, Dallas will be in position to get the win against a division opponent.

[Week 3 Fantasy Rankings: QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | FLEX | DST | Kickers]

Honorable Mentions

Derek Carr @ Titans

Bears backfield vs. Texans

Tyler Lockett vs. Falcons

Jakobi Meyers vs. Ravens

Chris Olave @ Panthers

Nico Collins @ Bears

Chargers defense vs. Jaguars

Chiefs defense @ Colts

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Jeff has played fantasy sports since 2001. He has covered fantasy and traditional sports at the pro, semi-pro, and amateur level for the better part of a decade. Born in Illinois and currently living where James Robinson made a name for himself in college, Jeff enjoys running (establish it), followed by doing absolutely nothing.

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