Week 3 Fantasy Football Advice

Wednesday, Sep 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm ET

This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 3 of the 2017 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.

Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Start 'em Matthew Stafford (DET, QB)
He may not have lit the world on fire last week (122 yards and 2 scores), but he didn't really have to against the Giants. He should rebound nicely for fantasy owners this week against the Falcons. He's projected for 18 points against a middle-of-the-pack Atlanta secondary. You'll find Stafford ranked inside our Top 5 this week making him a lock for QB1 production.
Start 'em Cam Newton (CAR, QB)
Can you believe that after two weeks, Cam Newton is the 18th-ranked QB? Expect him to have a nice fantasy day (and DFS play). He'll face a Saints defense that just gave up 25 points to Sam Bradford and 30 points to Tom Brady. No other team has given up more yards through the air than New Orleans. Newton is ranked #2 among QB's this week.
Start 'em Ty Montgomery (GB, RB)
We recommended Ty Montgomery last week and he found the endzone twice against the Falcons. Montgomery has played more snaps than any other running back in the NFL so far this year, and while there's a possibility that the Packers scale back his workload, he remains a top RB option - particularly against the Bengals who have given up the 2nd-most yards on the ground to running backs. Terrance West put up 14 fantasy points in Week 1 against them. Montgomery should be able to do at least that and likely better.
Start 'em Carlos Hyde (SF, RB)
Carlos Hyde cracks our Top 10 on FFN this week. He made fantasy owners proud last week when he put up 124 yards against the Seahawks. He'll face an easier matchup this week against the Rams who have allowed an average of 152 yards on the ground - 3rd-most in the NFL. He's also averaging an incredible 7 yards per carry. He should be considered an RB1 this week for Thursday night's game.
Start 'em Stefon Diggs (MIN, WR)

UPDATE: Sam Bradford is not expected to play this week making Diggs a risky option after last week's 2 receptions for 27 yards with backup QB Case Keenum.

Ranked 14th among wide receivers in our PPR rankings is Stefon Diggs. The Vikes are taking on Tampa Bay which gave up 290 yards through the air to the Bears and let Deonte Thompson and Kendall Wright put up double-digit fantasy points. This should be a nice matchup for Diggs (and Thielen) who will keep the Bucs' secondary on their toes. Diggs should be a high-end WR2 in fantasy this week.
Start 'em Kelvin Benjamin (CAR, WR)
Even though he didn't practice on Wednesday, Kelvin Benjamin needs to be in fantasy lineups this week for the same reasons we outlined for Cam Newton above. With Greg Olsen on I.R., we would anticipate some of those targets making their way towards Benjamin. A heavy workload against fantasy's worst secondary is a matchup that is simply too good to pass up. He's ranked 25th this week making him a solid WR3/Flex that should outperform his projections.
Start 'em Jason Witten (DAL, TE)
Ranked 7th this week and leading all tight ends in fantasy production, Jason Witten has once again risen to regular starter status. He'll face a Cardinals defense that was a lot scarier last season, but has failed to impress so far in 2017. They gave up 8 points to Jack Doyle last week (16 PPR). Given that Witten hauled in 10 of his 13 targets last week, there should be enough volume on those checkdowns to keep in safely in TE1 status.
Start 'em Zach Ertz (PHI, TE)
Ranked 4th this week among TE's is Zach Ertz coming off another game where his targets are on the rise. He pulled in 5 of his 10 targets for 97 yards last week. As long as Wentz continues to throw, Ertz remains in must-start status - especially against the Giants. Both Eric Ebron and Jason Witten put up double digits in standard and PPR scoring against them this season.
Start 'em Baltimore Ravens (BAL, DEF)
Their offense might not be as dynamic as in years past, but the Ravens defense has been very productive. They lead fantasy defenses and should have a plum matchup this week against the Rams in London on Sunday morning. Baltimore is ranked 3rd among all defenses this week.
Start 'em Giorgio Tavecchio (OAK, K)
The best kicker that you don't know is Giorgio Tavecchio who has been one of the most productive kickers in fantasy after two weeks. He has a sweet matchup against Washington this week. The Redskins have given up an average of 9 fantasy points to opposing kickers this year.
Sit 'em Eli Manning (NYG, QB)
The offensive line for the Giants has so many issues that Manning simply doesn't have much time to throw. It's hard to imagine that this is going to be helpful when he's facing a Philly defense that has allowed just 216 yards through the air and gave up an average of just 13 points to opposing QB's the past two weeks. With a ranking of 25th among QB's this week, Eli is not even startable in 2-QB leagues right now.
Sit 'em Carson Wentz (PHI, QB)
Who would have guessed that Carson Wentz would be the 3rd-best QB in fantasy after the first two weeks of the season? He has played tremendously well, but everything that goes up must come down, and we find Wentz ranked 19th this week among QBs. He's facing a Giants defense that has played better than their offense. They held Matthew Stafford in check last week with only 13 fantasy points. This is going to be a tough matchup for him.
Sit 'em LeGarrette Blount (PHI, RB)
The Philadelphia backfield is difficult to predict. After leading the league in touchdown runs, LeGarrette Blount has been reduced to an afterthought. He played just 6 snaps last week and had only one touch - a pass that went for no yards. Until we see the Eagles focus more on the run game, it's tough to recommend Blount which is likely why we see him ranked 49th among RBs this week.
Sit 'em Bilal Powell (NYJ, RB)
It would seem that as long as Matt Forte is healthy, Bilal Powell is not fantasy relevant. He has just 35 yards rushing and 17 yards receiving after two games. Even in PPR formats, Powell has been disappointing. He's in a timeshare on a terrible team - not the kind of criteria that spells fantasy success. He's ranked 28th this week making him a flex play at best against a Miami defense that Melvin Gordon put up 20 PPR fantasy points on.
Sit 'em Brandon Marshall (NYG, WR)
He missed a touchdown on Monday night that could have saved his fantasy day, but as it stands, it's too tough to trust Brandon Marshall in fantasy lineups. He has a whopping 2 catches for 27 yards after two weeks. He actually has more drops than he does catches. Combine that with a struggling Eli and a Philly defense that has kept all wide receivers under double digits (std scoring - Pryor had 12.6 in PPR), and Marshall no longer deserves a starting spot in your league.
Sit 'em Sammy Watkins (LAR, WR)
The Panthers and Seahawks ran all over the Niners, but they couldn't get a passing game going which makes it difficult to trust Watkins and the Rams' passing game this week. San Francisco has allowed just 4.2 fantasy points (6.9 PPR) to opposing wide receivers this year. That's a tough pill to swallow when putting Watkins into lineups. He's ranked 34th making him a low-end WR3.
Sit 'em Tyler Eifert (CIN, TE)
It's tough to trust Tyler Eifert right now. He's talented, but as has been the case during his career, he's questionable with an injury this week. He's ranked 17th among tight ends which likely owes a lot to his matchup against Green Bay. The Packers have allowed less than 4 fantasy points to TE's this year (less than 1 point in std scoring).
Sit 'em Jimmy Graham (SEA, TE)
It's hard to agree with this week's rankings which have Jimmy Graham at #8 among all tight ends. The Titans kept Marcedes Lewis to a doughnut last week and Graham is dealing with both a knee and ankle injury. After two games, we all expected more than just 4 catches for 9 yards out of Graham. Given his questionable status and the poor performance from the Seattle offense, it's probably best to leave Jimmy on the bench.
Sit 'em Washington Redskins (WAS, DEF)
Josh Norman is still an elite talent, but he can't do it all by himself. The Redskins will be heavily tested this week against a pass-happy Derek Carr and company. Washington's defense is ranked dead last in this week's rankings.
Sit 'em Adam Vinatieri (IND, K)
Mr. Dependable has been anything but in the floundering Indy offense. You can't put up points if you're not near the endzone. The Browns have been very tough on opposing kickers so far - surrendering just 4.5 fantasy points to them after two weeks.

Join the Discussion

nahmed45 CommentedSep 21, 2017 11:00 am

Demariyus Thomas or JJ Nelson this week?

Nerd CommentedSep 21, 2017 11:00 am

I know Thomas is dealing with a hamstring issue and Nelson has been the hot hand recently, but I'm still likely starting Thomas.

J0no CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

I have a trade offer on the table currently... My Lamar Miller for Derrick Henry and Tyrell Williams in a standard league. Would I be giving up on Miller at the exact lowest time and Henry at the highest? I just don't have confidence Miller can hold onto the starting job all year. Thanks!

my RBs: Bell, Miller, Martin, Kamara, Foreman
my WRs: Martavis Bryant, Watkins, Maclin, Corey Davis, Funchess

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

I'm not ready to throw the towel in on Miller just yet....

MonkfishOnCape CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

Watkins seems to have done OK

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

He sure did. This was posted on Wednesday before the game. He did very well and I was wrong on that one. I have no problem admitting when I'm wrong - my wife has me well trained.

Airnomad CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

Who would you flex in standard.. I have white starting RN
James white
Or j. Stewart

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

I'd probably start J Stew in standard scoring.

Dan KC CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

Hey Joe - you still like Diggs w Bradford out??? Not feeling it...🤔 Thx!

Buckshot CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

I have a trade offer Jarvis Landry for Doug Baldwin

Plummers Rocket Arm CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

Who would you flex? Brandin Cooks or Mike Gilislee? PPR

My Starters - RB- Ajayi, Hyde
WR- Jordy Nelson, Crabtree, Davante Adams

Buckshot CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

I have a trade offer Jarvis Landry for Doug Baldwin

huskerdan CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

Cousins or Siemians this week?

huskerdan CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

How is your "Start 'em" ranking for Diggs affected by Bradford being out again?

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2017 11:00 am

@Dan KC & @huskerdan - Diggs does take a hit with Bradford not expected to play. Looks like he dropped in the rankings as well - perhaps not far enough. 2 catches last week with Case Keenum throwing is not good for fantasy.

@Buckshot - not ready to give up on Baldwin. He's finished as a top 10 WR the last two years, but I wouldn't fault you for making the trade. Std scoring - Baldwin still projected for more points. PPR - it's Landry by 3 points over the course of the season.

@Plummers - I know he's been disappointing, but I'd still play Cooks in PPR. Gillislee in Standard.

@huskerdan - I'm hoping that Cousins bounces back here.

nahmed45 CommentedSep 23, 2017 11:00 am

Pick 2. Demariyus Thomas, jordy Nelson, keenan allen

Nerd CommentedSep 23, 2017 11:00 am

Thomas & Nelson.

Be sure to check the FFN rankings & projections. Good luck this week!

RaiderLuv4LIFE CommentedSep 24, 2017 11:00 am

Do I roll with ODB? I have E. Sandra on the bench. I have Gillisslee in my flex and Crab as my WR1.

Nerd CommentedSep 24, 2017 11:00 am

Rule #1: never sit your studs.

Iso CommentedSep 24, 2017 11:00 am

Hey nerd, I'm really torn on my lineup today, I'm 0-2 and need a win. I have to start 2 out of the following 3: Jermaine Kearse, Jamison Crowder and JJ Nelson. I'm leaning towards Kearse and Nelson bc Crowder had burned me the last 2 weeks. It's ppr scoring. Thanks !

Nerd CommentedSep 24, 2017 11:00 am

I agree and would start Kearse and Nelson. Good luck!

mrandell CommentedSep 28, 2017 11:00 am

I have T. Cohen and C. Thompson for flex this week. I like T. Cohen's big play potential and that he has a spot with or without howard. That being said, CT has been putting up crazy numbers week in and week out.

Who would you start for week 4?

Nerd CommentedSep 28, 2017 11:00 am

Thompson - better matchup.

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