NFL Week 3 fantasy football and betting advice with Matthew Berry originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Did you see that catch from Steelers rookie wide receiver George Pickens on Thursday night!? That was OBJ-esque.
There hasn’t been much to ride on in the fantasy space with Pickens in the early going, but I’m not going to take away from his awesome catch against the Cleveland Browns. Speaking of the Browns, Nick Chubb just continues to completely dominate both in real-life football and in fantasy football. Chubb is currently the overall RB1 in Yahoo standard leagues (half-PPR). It’s still early, but it’s not farfetched to think he can finish among the top five or top three running backs at the pace he’s going. Sheesh.
We’re back at it here with another week of advice from NBC Sports’ own Matthew Berry. He was down to run it back again this week to chat Week 3 lineup advice, thoughts on struggling players, the outlandish idea of Miles Sanders being better than Alvin Kamara (in fantasy) and why he thinks his Washington Commanders will absolutely get wrecked by the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Let’s get right into it.
Should I start or bench these players in Week 3?
Garrett Wilson vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Jets rookie wideout absolute balled out last Sunday against the Browns. He put up a performance in Cleveland, which just happens to be home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It was fitting. He finished the day with eight catches for 102 yards and scored two touchdowns. He was targeted a whopping 14 times in his second career NFL game. Talk about having trust.
“Make no mistake, Garrett Wilson is legit,” Berry said. “There’s a reason why he was such a high draft pick.”
Clearly veteran QB Joe Flacco trusts the rookie receiver. However, with reports that second-year QB Zach Wilson could possibly return in Week 4, would it be wise for fantasy managers to temper expectations for the rest of the season?
“I think the talent and the target share will make him somewhat quarterback proof,” he said.
Berry continued on to express that it’s pretty clear that the Jets’ offensive staff has confidence in him. Garrett’s target share has already seen a jump in the first two games. The rookie’s snap rate jumped from 46% in Week 1 to 63% in Week 2.
Matthew Berry: Start Garrett Wilson
Jahan Dotson vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Speaking of rookies, we have another one here that’s certainly put himself on the radar. Hailing from Penn State, Dotson has totaled 70 yards and three touchdowns on seven catches. It’s clear that the Commanders want to feature more of him in its offense going forward. He looks to have chemistry with QB Carson Wentz and would be smart to continue to build off that going forward.
“The proof has been in the pudding,” Berry said. “He has been as advertised.”
There was a buzz around the rookie going back to training camp and it certainly appears that was true. Still, going up against a stingy Eagles secondary, should managers bench Dotson in Week 3?
Berry is lower on the rookie this week. He currently has him ranked in WR50 for Week 3. He credits Darius Slay and James Bradberry as being an integral part of Philly’s defense out of the gate and thinks they could limit Dotson on Sunday.
“My expectations here is that the Eagles defense plays well,” Berry said. “As a Commanders fan, I hate to admit that but it’s true.”
Matthew Berry: Sit Jahan Dotson
It’s been a rough start for both Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers. The Niners lost their lead back in Elijah Mitchell in Week 1. Then in Week 2, starting QB Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury. You never want to see anyone’s season end so quickly, but if there was ever such a thing as the ultimate insurance policy, then San Francisco certainly has that with veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo.
Kittle, on the other hand, has missed the first two games as he continues to deal with a groin injury. We more or less know from previous seasons what we can expect from this 49ers offense with Jimmy G under center, but should managers look to sell Kittle for what they can at this point?
“George Kittle has big-name value,” Berry said. “... I wouldn’t just give him away, but if you’re able to trade him for something of pretty good value I would do it.”
He points out that former NFL trainer Mike Ryan highlighted that Kittle’s injury could be ongoing for the entire season. That’s not ideal and something fantasy managers do not want to work with.
He’s currently listed as questionable ahead of his team’s Sunday Night Football showdown against the Denver Broncos. Berry has him ranked as TE4 should he play. It’s a close situation to watch for both fantasy and for the Niners.
Matthew Berry: Start George Kittle, if active
Rhamondre Stevenson vs. Ravens
Coming into the season, there was some warranted hype for the second-year tailback out of Oklahoma. The Sooners product flashes his potential towards the end of the 2021 season with the New England Patriots. With James White retiring, it was safe to assume that the leftover workload would have to increase that of both Damien Harris and Stevenson. Stevenson presumably was projected to see more targets in the passing game due to his catching ability, but that has not been the case.
Stevenson has totaled just 72 rushing yards and only three catches for six yards through two games. Not exactly how projections had him starting off.
“I think there’s no question that the Patriots' offense is in flux right now,” Berry said. “It’s hard to count on any fantasy product out of Rhamondre Stevenson, especially in a tough matchup in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens.”
Still, Berry is telling managers to remain patient with Stevenson, as he’s proven he can put up fantasy numbers. The talent is there for the running back and thinks with the coaching behind the Patriots, it’s a matter of time before the team’s offense will pick up. Berry is confident that the New England staff will figure it out.
“The upside of Stevenson, who is actually playing right now, is much greater than backups,” he said.
Don’t drop Stevenson just yet in hopes that the patience is well rewarded soon.
Matthew Berry: Bench Rhamondre Stevenson
Ezekiel Elliott vs. New York Giants
Speaking of a struggling fantasy RB, we turn our attention to another in Dallas. While Zeke’s draft day price may not have that of an RB1, fantasy managers certainly thought that there was plenty of potential to reap there. However, that’s been far from the case through the first two games.
Elliott has totaled just 17 carries and three receptions in both games. That’s right, only 17 carries. He hasn’t done much in the early going to warrant confidence heading into a divisional game against the 2-0 New York Giants. Should managers bench him until we see otherwise?
“He’s an RB2, which is what he was drafted as,” Berry said. “He always has a chance to get into the endzone.”
Despite the Cowboys currently having Cooper Rush under center at QB, it looks like the team’s offense can still manage until Dak Prescott returns.
“He’s going to get the early-down work," Berry said. "He’s going to get any goal-line work. I think he gets into the endzone.”
Matthew Berry: Start Ezekiel Elliott
Life’s a risk - NFL betting value for Week 3
Fantasy football isn’t the only game in town these days. Let’s pick Berry’s brain to find betting value for some games on the Week 3 slate.
49ers (-1.5) (-115) at Broncos - O/U
“I think that line is about right,” Berry said. “I think it’ll come down to last possession.”
Still, he would shy away from betting a one-point line in this. Instead, he’s going to well here and thinks Broncos QB Russell Wilson will get it going with this offense and win at home as the underdogs.
“That defense is too good,” he said.
Matthew Berry’s pick: Broncos ML +100
Eagles (-6.5) (-300) at Commanders - O/U47.5
Berry sees this as a one-sided contest in favor of the Eagles. With the Eagles moneyline price being so high, he’s leaning on taking the over here.
“Nothing about the Washington Commanders' defense gives me any confidence at all that they’re going to be able to stop Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert and the rushing attack,” he said.
He points out how Washington’s defense has been carved up by both Jacksonville and Detroit in the first two weeks and how it could get ugly quick for the Commanders.
Matthew Berry’s pick: Over 47-47.5
Texans at Bears (-2.5) (-145) - O/U39.5
This may not be a matchup that offers much fantasy production and/or value, but we were still curious to see how bettors could potentially attack this game.
“There is literally nothing about [the Chicago Bears'] offense that makes you excited,” Berry said.
The Texans' defense may not be great, but they did play the Indianapolis Colts close in Week 1 and held Wilson and the Broncos to only 16 points on the road. They don’t seem like a pushover.
He points out that in Chicago’s last 17 home games, the under is 12-5. That’s pretty telling of what we could potentially see at Soldier Field this Sunday.
Matthew Berry’s pick: Under 39.5
Miles Sanders rest-of-season talk
To be clear, this was an actual question that I ran across on Twitter. I won’t feature it here, but I was curious to bring it up to Berry knowing that he would probably laugh at it but somehow also understand how someone could think that Eagles’ Miles Sanders could finish higher than Saints’ Alvin Kamara.
Kamara has been one of the premium running backs in recent years. Coming off a down year in 2021 by his standards, he’s off to a slow start in 2022. Granted, he did miss his Week 2 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, so fantasy managers are being quick to push the panic button on him.
Meanwhile, Philly looks like a legit Super Bowl contender. That offense is clicking on all cylinders under Hurts. Sanders has been productive and is currently RB12 in Yahoo leagues. That’s RB1 territory. Meanwhile, Kamara is RB62 and is currently listed as questionable heading into Week 3. Maybe now you can understand why someone thought of asking that question.
“I don’t understand how that’s a question,” Berry said.
He highlights how much of a workhorse and top RB Kamara has been for fantasy managers and how Sanders has not. He points out how even in a Week 2 convincing win over the Vikings and despite Sanders’ 17 carries and three targets, he only racked up 10.1 fantasy points.
“He has competition for touchdowns among Boston Scott, Kenneth Gainwell and Jalen Hurts,” Berry said.
Berry argues that because of Sanders’ lack of fantasy production with the workload increase, that’s enough reason for him to shy away from wanting him on his rosters.
“The idea that somebody would say, ‘I don’t want Alvin Kamara anymore. I want Miles Sanders’ after one week in which Kamara missed time is insanity to me,” he said.
Sanders did warn fantasy managers back in June to not draft him.