Start your elite players. They won’t be listed here 🙂
Corey Clement vs Indy
With both Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles potentially out for Week 3, Corey Clement can get a ton of work for Philly this week. Clement is very versatile, so he’ll be involved on early downs, in passing situations, and most likely on the goal line as well if Josh Adams doesn’t get a bigger role than we think. He’s even a better start in PPR if Sproles is out. The Colts have given up the most receptions to RBs in the league through two games.
Giovani Bernard @ Carolina
With Joe Mixon out, Bernard will be getting three-down work. It’s very hard to keep a three-down RB on your bench, regardless of matchup. Carolina is just about average in giving up fantasy points over the last two weeks, and we saw Tevin Coleman do just fine against them last week. Bernard’s prowess in the pass game will make up any deficiencies on the ground, so he’s almost a must-play every week until Joe Mixon is back.
Tevin Coleman vs New Orleans
Coleman had 20 touches last week, and we should expect another 20 this week. Last year without Freeman, Coleman averaged 20 touches in those games. You want him to be a little more involved in the pass game, but you don’t want to bench a RB getting 20 touches in any game. The Saints were able to keep Carlos Hyde and Peyton Barber in check, but Coleman and the Falcons offense can do a lot more creatively. I’m not too worried about this matchup in what should be a high scoring game.
Kenyan Drake vs Oakland
The Raiders haven’t been good against the run so far, giving up the 6th most fantasy points to RBs over the two first games. Frank Gore doesn’t seem to be going away, but Drake’s market share is still one of the best in the league. Drake’s 4 targets in each of the last two weeks is keeping his floor high in PPR leagues, and that should continue at home.
Chris Thompson vs Green Bay (PPR preferred)
Not that you were going to sit Thompson the way he’s been playing over the last two weeks. In 2 games, Thompson has caught 19 passes on 21 targets, gained 221 total yards, and scored in Week 1. The Redskins were down all game this past week, which meant a lot more time on the field for Thompson, but the first game was a positive game script, and they didn’t need to try and catch up. Still, Thompson caught 6 of 7, which is very encouraging. He’s a must start at this point in PPR leagues, because he’ll give you a safe floor combined with high efficiency that can result in more points per touch than average. Alex Smith gave Thompson those 21 targets over the last 2 games; the next highest is Jordan Reed with 13. He’s simply the top option in that passing offense right now. With the Packers likely scoring points, they probably won’t be able to just ride Adrian Peterson the entire game.
Emmanuel Sanders @ Baltimore
Ravens’ nickel corner Tavon Young couldn’t catch a break in Week 2, giving up 6 catches on 6 targets for 80 yards and 2 TDs. In two games, Young is giving up more than half a fantasy point per route run against him and the 7th most fantasy points to slot WRs, while Sanders has run almost 70% of his routes out of the slot so far this season. With Brandon Carr and Marlon Hunphrey seeing a lot more of Demaryius Thomas and Courtland Sutton, Sanders can get peppered with targets this week in Baltimore.
Golden Tate vs New England
Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones have tougher matchups on the outside against Jason McCourty and Stephon Gilmore, which they can still win if the game script is in their favor. In the slot, Tate has the advantageous matchup against Jonathan Jones. Jones followed slot WR Dede Westbrook last week 81% of the time, according to PFF, and we can see that happen again this week. Jones gave up 72 yards and a TD to Dede, and is giving up almost half a fantasy point per route run against him over the first two games. With Tate leading the Lions in targets, we should continue to see him get it done in a high scoring game on Sunday night.
Randall Cobb @ Washington
The slot is where you have to attack the Redskins’ defense. Quinton Dunbar and Josh Norman are holding it down on the outside, but the nickel is manned by Fabian Moreau (PFF rated 48.3/100). Moreau wasn’t challenged by the Colts (their slot WR is Chester Rogers), but the Redskins did give up 7 catches on 10 targets for 76 yards to slot WR Larry Fitzgerald in Week 1. The Cardinals totaled 153 yards passing that day – so half of it went to the slot. This week, Rodgers is still on one leg, but he should fare a lot better than he did last week against that tough Vikings defense. Cobb should be able to bounce back and have an outing closer to his Week 1 stat line.
Allen Robinson @ Arizona
So apparently Patrick Peterson isn’t going to be used to shadow anymore in new Arizona HC Steve Wilks’ defense. I’m not complaining this week if I’m starting Allen Robinson, but I’m starting to see a trend. Wilks isn’t playing Peterson to his strength, which is shadowing and potentially taking out the best opposing WR from the game, and he’s also not using David Johnson to his strengths, which is running him outside and using him as a receiver. Just a thought. Anyway, back to Allen Robinson. Because of Peterson playing primarily on his side, Robinson will see about 70% of his snaps away from Peterson; the Cardinals have given up the 14th most fantasy points on Jamar Taylor’s side of the field, and the 3rd most fantasy points to slot WRs over the last two games. Robinson’s 10 catches on 14 targets was very encouraging last week; the volume and plus matchup will keep Robinson in my lineup this week.
Keelan Cole vs Tennessee
Cole’s target share isn’t guaranteed, but his matchup is sweet this week. Malcolm Butler has been terrible to open the year, allowing the most yards and TDs over the first two games. He’s allowing the most fantasy points to WRs lining up on his side of the field, and almost a full fantasy points per target! Cole has lined up on that left side about 40% of the time so far this season, so I can’t imagine the Jags not trying to take advantage of that matchup.
Quincy Enunwa @ Cleveland
Although the matchup is fine against T.J. Carrie in the slot, this isn’t necessarily about the matchup, but the volume Enunwa is getting is every-week start-worthy right now. Can’t sit a guy getting 10 and 11 targets in each of the last two weeks.
Marquise Goodwin @ KC
No word on whether Goodwin will be good to go this week, but let’s hope he is so we can get a shot at this matchup. He did get in a limited practice on Wednesday, which is a good sign, but we would like to see at least one full practice. There’s a video of him in that limited session being cautious, so keep an eye on whether he feels better by this weekend. This KC defense is absolutely terrible, and WRs have been feasting in the first two weeks, wherever they line up. Start him if he’s good to go.
DeSean Jackson vs Pittsburgh
How can you not have D-Jax in your lineup the way he’s been playing to open up the season? Ryan Fitzpatrick is laying the ball in stride perfectly for D-Jax, something Jameis Winston couldn’t get right last year. This week, he goes up against a Pittsburgh defense who have shown to be beatable over the last two weeks. Joe Haden is playing well, and is expected to play, so he gives that defense an upgrade. D-Jax moves around enough to get an advantageous matchup, and it only takes one play for him to get it done. Tough sit.
Amari Cooper @ Miami
He looked great last week, and so did Derek Carr. But let’s not forget who these guys are after one great week. I’m not fully convinced this will continue; I think it can, but I need to see more before I’m all in on Amari Cooper to be an every-week start for me. Either way, Xavien Howard hasn’t played too well to open the year, allowing the 11th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the right side of the field. Amari moves around a ton, but Howard is surprisingly who Carr might need to target, just like the two QBs did in the first two games.
Josh Gordon @ Detroit
With Darius Slay probably missing this week, Tom Brady has a chance to light it up…. no pun intended. There is literally no one on the Lions who’ll be able to stop Josh Gordon. There are a couple of things to consider though. One is that Gordon is still limited by a hamstring injury, so we’ll see if he’s ready to get out there. Second, he needs to learn the playbook, so he might not be out there for a full complement of snaps. This is fantasy football, so have fun with it. Gordon might not be the smartest play this week, but boy would it be fun to have him in your lineup to see what he can do on Sunday. You also might not have too many options. Keep an eye on his availability and workload projections. Am I starting him? I’m probably waiting at least a week if I have other options.
Carlos Hyde vs NYJ
The Jets defense has definitely looked good, but it’s more about their secondary than what they have up front – 22nd rush defense DVOA through two games. In what should be a close game, Hyde should continue to get volume. Through two games, Hyde’s had the sixth most RB touches in the league, the third most rushing attempts, and was able to find the end zone in both games. Because of the volume, he’s a good play on Thursday night, when RBs can usually be trusted more than others.
Matt Breida/Alfred Morris @ KC
With Breida outplaying Morris over the last two games, he’s the preferred play in what should be the highest scoring game of the week. Morris will still be the preferred goal line option, but both should get enough touches in this game to come out positive against a KC defense giving up the 5th most fantasy points to RBs so far over two games. Morris out-snapped and out-touched Breida in Week 2, but we can slowly see that change if they like what Breida has been showing.
Latavius Murray (if Cook is still banged up) vs Buffalo
If Cook is banged up, this is a perfect matchup for someone like Latavius Murray. They have been run on for two games straight, and are allowing the 3rd most fantasy points to RBs. If Dalvin Cook’s hamstring still isn’t right, Murray is a good flex play with the Vikings likely to go up big, which gives them a chance to rest Cook and play Murray. Keep an eye on Cook’s status as we get closer to Sunday. If Cook misses Week 3, he gets upgraded to a must-play.
Bilal Powell/Isaiah Crowell @ Cleveland
In what should be a close game, both Powell and Crowell should be involved. Powell will be involved in any situation, and Crowell can be phased out if the Jets are in pass-only mode. The Browns have given up more fantasy points to RBs than the average through two games, and we should expect the Jets to not want Sam Darnold to do too much on a short week.
Austin Ekeler @ LA Rams (PPR preferred)
It’s a tough overall matchup, but the Rams actually allowed the third most receptions to RBs over the last two weeks, and Ekeler will get opportunity in the pass game. We’ve seen him come up big in tough matchups, like against Denver and Jacksonville last year, where he averaged 13 touches and scored 3 TDs through the air in those 2 games.
John Brown vs Denver
If you look at the stats between John Brown, Willie Snead, and Michael Crabtree, they’re very similar. Brown caught 7 of 14, Snead caught 9 for 14, and Crabtree’s 8 for 16. What stands out about John Brown is his 19.4 YPC and his 2 TDs. He’s the receiver who gets the most separation, and that’s who Flacco seems to have the best rapport with. Bradley Roby and the Broncos are giving up the 12th most fantasy points to WRs lining up on the right side of the field over the last two games, and Adam Jones isn’t so great on the other side either. Brown plays about 80% of his snaps on the outside, away from Chris Harris Jr., and more than 50% up against Bradley Roby’s side. If the Ravens can hold off the Broncos’ pass rush, Brown can have a good day.
Ryan Grant @ Philadelphia (PPR only)
Back on Grant this week in PPR. I wanted no more part of him against the Redskins perimeter defenders last week, but this week he can rack up some catches underneath against Jalen Mills and Ronald Darby. He’s a desperate play, but can give you a solid floor against a CB tandem on the perimeter that allowed a ton of fantasy points so far in two games, especially Jalen Mills. The Colts offensive line will get pressure, and Luck will have to get the ball out quick once again.
Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman vs Baltimore
I know, you probably want to keep Lindsay in your lineup, but he has a tough matchup this week. I usually try not to mess with mojo as well, I get it. Baltimore has allowed the 2nd least amount of fantasy points to RBs through two games and is tied for giving up the 3rd least receptions to RBs. Lindsay has been very efficient, but we’ll see if he can continue to do so against Baltimore. I will probably try and look for another option. As far as Freeman goes, he’s TD dependent right now, and is not the “hot hand” Vance Joseph was referring to after the game last Sunday.
David Johnson vs Chicago
I’m personally not sitting him, but it’s tough to start him right now with how he’s being used on a terrible offense. Chicago has given up the least amount of fantasy points to RBs, but let’s hope for more creative ways to get DJ the ball, and not just him running into the line on every play. It’s not a good spot, so I would consider adding a high upside player or two to your lineup this week. What would make this situation better? Fire Mike McCoy, switch to Josh Rosen. Please.
Devin Funchess vs Cincinnati
Funchess came through without Greg Olsen in the lineup last week, but he has a tougher matchup this week against William Jackson III, who’s continuing to improve in his third year. The Panthers move Funchess around a bit, but he ran almost 70% of his routes so far this year on Jackson’s side of the field. Jackson will be a corner we need to start talking more about when we look at matchups as one to avoid if possible; once he starts shadowing, he’ll be a real problem. If you have to start Funchess, I get it, but I would try and find another option this week. We can see DJ Moore become more part of the game plan this week, too.
Demaryius Thomas @ Baltimore
Brandon Carr shadowed AJ Green for most of the game last week, but the Bengals did a good job of moving him around; he ended up catching all three of his TDs while not in Carr’s coverage. In Carr’s coverage, Green only caught one ball for 18 yards. With Jimmy Smith out, Carr should shadow Demaryius Thomas while he stays on the outside, which should limit his upside, but also have Case Keenum potentially look Sanders way more often.
Geronimo Allison @ Washington
Don’t want to tell you to sit any Packer starting WR, but Allison has a tough matchup this week that I’m not sure he can get past in Josh Norman and Quinton Dunbar. Rodgers’ ball placement can make a lot happen, but not sure Rodgers will want to test out the coverage too much. If you have another option, you might want to sit Allison this week, who I don’t think will have the upside he usually does.
Brandin Cooks/Cooper Kupp/Robert Woods vs LAC
The Chargers defense got lit up by Patrick Mahomes in Week 1, but it wasn’t necessarily the WRs doing the damage outside of Tyreek Hill. The Chargers have one of the best cornerback trios in the NFL, so we have to downgrade the Rams WR trio this week. I’m not sitting any of them because there shouldn’t be a shadow situation this week, so the hope is they move these guys around to be versatile a bit to get these guys open. It might be easier to sit Kupp and Woods this week than it is Cooks, so judge it by your other options.
Under no circumstances am I benching Diggs this week, but he will see a ton of snaps against standout corner Tre’Davious White, who’s been giving up the least amount of fantasy points so far to WRs lining up against him. Granted teams haven’t needed to throw a ton against them, but that’s part of the problem as well. Diggs has moved around enough so far in two games to where we should expect him to lineup elsewhere at least 50% of the time, so I’m not too worried this week. Thielen, on the other hand, has a very advantageous matchup this week against Rafael Bush in the slot.
Jordan Wilkins/Nyheim Hines/Marlon Mack @ Philadelphia
Eagles are simply stout up front. They’re not giving up anything to RBs right now, giving up some of the fewest fantasy points to RBs in the league. They’re ranked #2 in rush defense DVOA through two weeks, similar to how they were defending the run last year. Not only that, but with all three of these backs involved, volume won’t be able to overcome the tough matchup.
Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis @ Jacksonville
Jacksonville isn’t the easiest place to play, and the Jags have done a decent job against RBs so far this season. It’s going to be tough for the Titans to move the ball, especially if Blaine Gabbert (revenge game!), makes another start. Trying to figure out which of these RBs to start, and with the high likelihood of them splitting touches down the middle, doesn’t make them ideal in Week 3. I would try and find another option.
Alex Collins vs Denver
Things ain’t getting better for Alex Collins. Touches were a real issue over the last two weeks, and the usage is head scratching, but it’s reality. This Denver front is pretty damn good against the run, so we would be depending on goal line opportunities… oh wait, Buck Allen will probably get those. Never mind. Looking for another option.
Chris Carson/Rashaad Penny vs Dallas
This backfield is a mess. There’s zero order to it. No early down guy, no passing down guy, there’s apparently a second half guy, Pete Carroll forgot about Chris Carson, thought he was gassed from special teams, didn’t know he stopped playing special teams in the game to focus on the run. Want to figure that out? I’m good. With that said, Penny is a still a stash right now.
Kelvin Benjamin @ Minnesota
Benjamin will most likely be shadowed by Xavier Rhodes, and I can’t get behind anyone in this offense right now outside of Shady.
Mike Williams @ LAR
Williams still isn’t seeing a full complement of snaps, but I’m okay with that. The real issue this week is the combination of Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib on the outside, where Williams has been running about 75% of his snaps. Not feeling that… looking for another option.
Corey Davis @ Jax
It’s always tough to sit someone like Davis, who’s getting a gigantic target share, but with Mariota banged up and a dude named Jalen Ramsey shadowing him, that’s no bueno. I’m looking for another option.