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Fantasy Sit-Start: Lineup advice for every Week 3 game

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Sits and starts are all relative, so consider these suggestions more “fliers” and “fades” (note that some are targeted for DFS).

Good luck with your Week 3 lineups!

Carolina Panthers @ Arizona Cardinals

Start: Greg Olsen, Kyler Murray

Olsen ranks second among tight ends in air yards and isn’t likely to see a big downgrade without Cam Newton, who was by far the league’s most inaccurate passer through the first two weeks. He gets an Arizona defense that’s yielded league-highs to tight ends in catches (17), yards (273), and touchdowns (three) so far this season.

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Murray hasn’t racked up TDs or rushing yards yet, but he just got 8.7 YPA in Baltimore and should pick apart a vulnerable Panthers secondary in what projects to be the week’s fastest-paced game.

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray
The Kyler Murray explosion is coming. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints @ Seattle Seahawks

Sit: Latavius Murray

Start: DK Metcalf

The loss of Drew Brees will have a dramatic effect on the Saints offense, which makes Murray an extremely risky fantasy start. Don’t be surprised when New Orleans turns to Taysom Hill, who forward-thinking fantasy gamers in Superflex leagues should be adding now, thanks to his rushing ability.

Metcalf is the real deal and ranks seventh in WOPR during his rookie campaign, and he gets a Saints defense that’s allowed the most fantasy points to his primary side this season.

Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers

Start: Will Fuller

Start in DFS: Austin Ekeler ($25)

Fuller is off to a quiet start, but his aDOT is an absurd 24.3 yards, and he should benefit Sunday by seeing more targets thanks to Casey Hayward shadowing DeAndre Hopkins.

Houston had the No. 1 run defense DVOA last year but has been gashed for an NFL-high 6.0 YPC through two weeks, and few running backs are getting opportunities like Ekeler, whom I have as my No. 2 RB in Week 3.

Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

Start: Marquise Brown, DeMarcus Robinson

Brown’s rookie season was expected to start slowly coming off an injury and without much preseason work, but instead, he’s racked up a team-leading 18 targets while leading the NFL in yards per route run by a mile. Moreover, the wideout ranks top-10 in air yards, target share and WOPR, with the latter’s leaderboard looking like this: 1) Keenan Allen 2) DeAndre Hopkins 3) Michael Thomas 4) T.Y. Hilton 5) Marquise Brown 6) Odell Beckham. Brown possesses the biggest speed advantage this week in a highly favorable matchup against Kansas City that’s easily the biggest total in Week 3. Hollywood’s ECR is WR28, but he’s top-10 on my board this week.

It’s clear the Chiefs will trade big games from their wideouts, but Robinson remains highly intriguing as long as Tyreek Hill is sidelined. The Chiefs are averaging an NFL-high 410.5 passing yards per game and haven’t even played at home yet — not to mention, seemingly all of their running backs are banged up — so Robinson should be started with confidence this week.

Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers

Sit: Courtland Sutton

Start: Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Green Bay enters with an impressive defense that’s ceded the second-lowest Passer Rating and just 5.9 YPA in the early going, also holding outside receivers to the fifth-fewest fantasy points. Sutton comes in battling sore ribs and has taken a clear backseat to Emmanuel Sanders as Denver’s No. 1 receiver.

While Davante Adams will have his hands full with shadow corner Chris Harris (who’s moved around and not been relegated to the slot this season), MVS and his downfield speed should benefit from playing a defense that’s still searching for its first sack of the year.

Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles

Start in DFS: Kenny Golladay ($20)

Start: Nelson Agholor

The Eagles continue to struggle mightily against outside receivers, having allowed the most fantasy points to them over the first two weeks. The Lions are slow but will be forced to throw while trying to keep pace with Philly’s offense, and Golladay has already racked up 19 targets while ranking fourth in air yards this season, so he should be considered a borderline top-5 WR play this week, while Marvin Jones is top-20ish.

The Eagles are expected to miss Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Dallas Goedert against a Detroit defense that’s allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, so Agholor should see good volume this week.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills

Sit: John Ross

Start: Frank Gore

Ross got a garbage time TD last week and will lose targets once A.J. Green returns, but he’s also not some fluke, as he ranks top-15 in air yards and clearly has game-changing speed. But this week he belongs on benches, as regression will hit in the way of a Bills secondary that’s held opponents to an NFL-low 4.9 YPA this season.

It's shocking recommending a 36-year-old running back, but Gore dominated touches (and snaps) last week, and Devin Singletary has missed practice all week with a hamstring injury. The Bills are near-touchdown home favorites and facing a Bengals front seven that’s been gashed for the most fantasy points by running backs this season.

Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings

Sit: Tyrell Williams

Start: Vikings defense

Williams has emerged as a fine fantasy option as Oakland’s No. 1 WR, but he’s better on benches in Week 3 while shadowed by Xavier Rhodes.

After what little Oakland showed on offense at home against Kansas City last week, it could get ugly against a Vikings defense that plays especially tough in Minnesota. With a 10AM body-clock game and Josh Jacobs banged up, the odds are stacked against the Raiders on Sunday.

New York Jets @ New England Patriots

Sit: Robby Anderson

Start in DFS: Sony Michel ($21)

Anderson has opened the season with shadow coverage from Tre’Davious White, Denzel Ward, and now Stephon Gilmore. He’ll have third-string QB Luke Falk throwing to him against a Patriots secondary that’s ceded an NFL-low 43.8 Passer Rating and is the only team yet to allow a touchdown this season.

Michel lost a fumble last week and has yet to be targeted this year, but he remains the heavy favorite for carries (he saw 21 last week) on a team that’s 22-point home favorites. Few running backs are more likely to score than Michel in Week 3.

Miami Dolphins @ Dallas Cowboys

Sit: All Dolphins

Start: Devin Smith

Josh Rosen gets his first start for Miami, and he’ll be facing a major disadvantage in the trenches. Miami sports a -92 point differential and now goes on the road for the first time this season.

With Michael Gallup out and Amari Cooper locked up with shadow corner Xavien Howard, Smith is a sleeper this week (along with Randall Cobb). Dallas doesn’t figure to have to throw a ton, but points should be plentiful against a Miami defense that’s been annihilated for a league-high 11.9 YPA with an 8:0 TD:INT ratio and a near-perfect 155.9 Passer Rating. Smith’s a former second-round pick with an 89th percentile 40-time who should burn Eric Rowe, so he’s an intriguing flier.

Atlanta Falcons @ Indianapolis Colts

Start: Austin Hooper, Jordan Wilkins

Hooper has already racked up 15 targets during a couple of tough matchups to open the year, and after finishing top-10 in looks inside the 10-yard line last season, he’s going to start spending more time in the end zone soon.

I’d love a healthy Marlon Mack in this spot, but he has a history of lower leg injuries and is dealing with a calf strain, so let this be your official alert to go check if Wilkins is available on your waiver wire. He has really good upside running behind that offensive line, should he get an opportunity.

New York Giants @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Start: Sterling Shepard, Jameis Winston

Shepard should return from his concussion against an improved Bucs defense, but M.J. Stewart and company were gutted for the most fantasy points by the slot last season, and Daniel Jones will be hard-pressed not to be an upgrade over Eli Manning. Shepard is New York’s clear WR1 right now.

Winston has gotten off to a shaky start, but he’s coming off a mini-bye and facing a Giants defense that struggles to rush the passer and also has an inexperienced secondary, which is the right combination for the QB to finally take advantage of his loaded weapons (expect O.J. Howard to get fed Sunday).

Pittsburgh Steelers @ San Francisco 49ers

Sit: James Conner

Start: Raheem Mostert

Conner looks good to go with his knee issue, and Mason Rudolph might not be as huge of a downgrade as feared, but the QB will be making his first career start across the country against a vastly improved SF pass rush. The 49ers have allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to running backs this season, and Sunday will be their first home game, so Conner’s expectations need to be held in check.

Mostert recorded a 40-time in the 96th percentile, and his speed just jumps off the screen. The 49ers employ a full-blown committee (including Jeff Wilson sometimes at the goal line), but Mostert led the team’s backfield in snaps last week, and it’s a highly productive Kyle Shanahan system that’s produced 178.5 rushing yards per game so far in 2019 (Matt Breida is also one of the bigger in-game injury risks in the league). And if you want to dig really deep, Richie James is a sleeper, as he’ll be up against Mike Hilton, who’s ceded the most fantasy points to the slot this season.

Los Angeles Rams @ Cleveland Browns

Sit: Jared Goff, Jarvis Landry

Over his last nine road games, Goff has gotten just 7.19 YPA with an 11:10 TD:INT ratio, so there are many better QB options this week.

Landry continues to look like a poor fit with Baker Mayfield (he saw 94 targets in the first half of last season compared to 55 over the second half), and he’ll face off (why remake perfection?) against a Rams defense that’s stingy versus the slot.

Chicago Bears @ Washington Redskins

Start: David Montgomery

Sit: Adrian Peterson

Montgomery owners took a big sigh of relief when he dominated snaps in Chicago’s backfield last week after a quiet opener, and the rookie actually has the third-most air yards among running backs behind only Alvin Kamara and teammate Tarik Cohen. With a strong defense that should overwhelm Washington and a quarterback Matt Nagy wants to hide, Monday night should be a recipe for a big workload from Montgomery.

Peterson continues to have Washington’s backfield mostly to himself, but a touchdown saved an otherwise dreadful game last week that saw him rush for just 25 yards on 10 carries, and he’s now up against a Bears front seven that allowed the fewest fantasy points to running backs last season. Meanwhile, rookie Terry McLaurin looks like a monster in the making and will be a prime trade target next week if he has a quiet game in this difficult matchup.

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