By: Andrew Jacques @mclovinffaffair
As with every week, who to start and who to sit is a big decision for fantasy managers. I’ll always try to get straight to the point with some very basic ground rules – If players were drafted in the top 36 or are top 6 at their position, I’m not going to talk about them in the “start” column. With that high draft capital and/or performance thus far, I’m assuming they’re in your starting lineup. I may mention them in the sit column if it’s a particularly bad matchup, they have some sort of injury, or their status as a startable asset is otherwise questionable. That said, let’s get to it!
Sam Darnold – He’s been playing good, nay, GREAT football this year especially considering expectations were quite low for him. The Panthers play a juicy matchup against Houston, one of the league’s bottom-feeder teams. I expect the game script to be in Carolina’s favor from start to finish which should give Darnold a bunch of great practice reps.
Daniel Jones – His legs have been a huge asset thus far, and he has, quietly, looked pretty dang good on the field so far, even against some tougher matchups. He should get a big target, Evan Engram, back this game, and he’s facing a bottom 12 defense at the Falcons. I say start him if you’re streaming QB!
Jimmy Garoppolo – The 49’ers backfield is a mess. Brandin Aiyuk has had a fall from grace. And yet I expect Jimmy to put up some strong numbers this week against GreenBay, who let Goff score twice 2 touchdowns in week 2 and 148 yards and 5 touchdowns in week 1 against Winston.
Stefon Diggs – Diggs has had a pretty unremarkable start to the 2021 season, but the talent, targets, and the game script will be there in week 3 for him to retake his place as a premier fantasy receiving asset. The WFT secondary has been burned time and again, and the pass rush has been less than stellar. I fully expect at least 10 targets and a score for Diggs this week.
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown – The Detroit Lions defense isn’t good, but don’t tell them that. They played 2 high safeties all of week 2 to bottle Rodgers up, and they’re likely to stack the box to make Lamar throw. Hollywood is one of his favorite targets and is very talented. I expect another big week from him.
Tyler Boyd – Yes, they’re playing the vaunted Steelers defense, a stout run defense, I expect the Bengals to rely heavily on the passing game. The secondary for the Steelers got torched last week by Derek Carr. With Tee Higgins out, Boyd should see ample volume and opportunity to produce low to mid WR2 numbers.
Elijah Mitchell – The only remaining healthy RB on the 49’ers roster who started the season with the team, GreenBay has been getting carved up pretty well on defense. I expect 15+ touches for Mitchell for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Miles Sanders – The Cowboy’s defense has been better than expected under Dan Quinn, but don’t let that talk you out of starting Miles. He is the workhorse for this team, and with Jalen Hurts dual-threat, keeping them honest, I expect some decent running lanes for the Eagles in week 3.
Javonte Williams – He has looked better than Melvin in the run game (minus 1 breakaway in week 1), and I expect this game to get out of control quickly. They’ll give their rookie some good run-time in week 3 to wind this game down quickly.
Gerald Everett – I like what the Seahawks have been doing, and if you’re streaming, Everett is a solid TE to plugin for week 3 against a lackluster Minnesota defense.
Evan Engram – If he’s active, he’s a great spot start here. He’s still a freak athlete and was the #1 targeted player on the Giants last year. It won’t be quite as generous, but Daniel Jones looks for him. Against the Falcons defense, he has the upside to start on your team.
Maxx Williams – Arizona found a TE that they’ll actually target! Coming off a 7 target 7 catch game for 94 yards and a touchdown, Maxx Williams should make your list as they play a truly horrific Jaguars defense.
Noah Fant – He has been great so far, don’t stop now! They play the Jets and should feast.
Streaming defense of the week – Carolina Panthers vs. Houston. Davis Mills is starting at QB. The team is in shambles. It should be an absolute sack and INT festival for the stout Carolina defense.
Trevor Lawrence – He was OK in week 1, bad in week 2, and until we see Urban and crew get it together, he can live on the bench. Which stinks! But it’s the savvy move against an improved pass rush in Arizona.
Taylor Heinicke – The Buffalo defense is improved from last year. Heinicke impressed in week 2 but will struggle against the buffalo pass rush and corner play. I expect a “meh” 15 or so points from Heinicke in week 3. Maybe a good buy-low option after he lets fantasy owners down?
Famous Jameis – He had a massive week 1 but looked God awful last week. Granted, the Saints were without 7? Coaches this week due to COVID. But they catch no breaks as they head into New England.
Ben Roethlisberger/Mason Rudolph – The oline is terrible, and even though they’re playing Cincinnati, I’d be hesitant to plug in this mundane QB group.
Chase Claypool – It hurts my heart to have him here, but unless Diontae Johnson misses week 3, I’m looking elsewhere. Pittsburgh has been pretty ugly on offense and, though the Bengals aren’t striking fear into the hearts of opponents, anybody outside of the #1 option on Pittsburgh is just plain lucky if they produce for fantasy.
Corey Davis – Week 1 was dope, week 2 was trash, and it doesn’t get much prettier for Zack Wilson in week 3 against the Broncos defense. Vic Fangio is going to eat the jets alive.
Sony Michel – If Darrell Henderson sits (injury), it will be tempting to play the Rams “lead RB.” But Tampa is … just … really good against the run. Sony isn’t an accomplished pass catcher. I’m steering clear.
Any Buccaneers RB – The hodgepodge RB committee is impossible to play, particularly against the Rams stout defensive line.
Jonnu Smith/Hunter Henry – We all thought the offense would run through the tight ends, but that has failed to materialize thus far. The saints have a good defense, and he hasn’t seen enough volume for me to trust them. Look elsewhere.