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Commissioner’s Corner: Week 3 Fantasy Football Start ‘em or Sit ‘em

Buccaneers defense expected to have a solid fantasy week

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett pressures Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in week 2
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Week 2 is in the books, and so is another week of Fantasy Football. Hopefully you all fared well with all the injuries. Although it’s starting to get a little hairy for some of you, there are plenty of waiver wire pick ups available, and that latest trade you rejected is starting to look really nice.

Given how the season started, it’s no surprise we’re seeing so many injuries. Especially the hamstring issues. Some fantasy owners were massacred in week 2 because of injuries to players like Saquon Barkley, Raheem Mostert, Davante Adams and even Michael Thomas being held out. Owners depended on these guys as your RB1 or WR1, likely picking them up in rounds 1 and 2 of your drafts. Now they’re hurt, and you need to rely on depth.

It’s a lot easier for those of you with 10-owner leagues, but for those of you in deeper 14-owner leagues, it’s disastrous heading into week 3 and beyond with so much uncertainty. Michael Thomas (ankle) is still not cleared to play (we should find out Friday). Julio Jones (hamstring) is now on the injury list and considered questionable. Barkley (knee) is out for the year (if you’ve been living under a rock). Mostert (knee) will be out for several games, and other influential fantasy players like Davante Adams (hamstring), Malcolm Brown (finger) and Christian McCaffrey (ankle) are all wait and see.

Let’s look on the bright side of week 3 though. Maybe I can offer some lineup advice for those of you in those injury situations, so you can get back in the W column.

Starter Recap

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady threw for 1 touchdown and 217 yards in week 2 against the Carolina Panthers
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I started Bucs QB Tom Brady. His PRK went from 11 to 20 because the running game was so strong in week 2 against the Panthers. Brady had a 65.7% PCT accuracy, giving him 217 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Even though the Bucs won, it was much more attributed to the stellar performance put on by Fournette and Jones II. Brady is only getting warmed up though, and he’s showing that the chemistry with Godwin and Evans is improving. Even though the running game seems to be a focus for Coach Arians and OC Byron Leftwich, Brady is still a very good option as your starting quarterback.

Broncos RB Melvin Gordon III (RB12) was my starting running back. He had a decent outing against a very good Steelers defense this past week. He pounded the ground as the primary Broncos back with Philip Lindsay sidelined for the game. He netted 70 yards on 19 carries, 2 catches for 14 yards resulting in 16 FPTS for week 2. I however do not think he’s a good start for week 3 going up against Tampa Bay.

Buffalo WR John Brown (WR7) had an amazing outing in week 1 with 19 FPTS and he certainly didn’t disappoint in bringing in WR1 numbers once again in week 3. He raked in 18 FPTS on 4/6 receptions for 82 yards and 1 TD. He averaged 20.5 yards per target, which I’m sure could be shutdown against the right defensive secondary, but overall, he’s a must start no matter the match up.

Ravens tight end Mark Andrews (TE11) is still one of Lamar Jackson’s go to guys. Unfortunately, he appeared to be shut down in week 2 with only getting 58% of the snaps. The decision to remain conservative with him in week 2 proved harmful to Andrews owners. He only brought in 1 reception for 29 yards and no touchdowns, but I’m looking at this as a freakish poor performance and will not be the norm.

Since most defenses and kickers are streamed, I’m not going to get into the weeds on those fantasy positions any more. I will say though that your go-to kickers should be seated by now. Butker, Koo and Tucker should remain on most rosters, and if you’re looking for a new kicker, consider Daniel Carlson (K3) from Las Vegas.

Pay attention to how well the team puts themselves into field position to allow for extra point and field goal opportunities to determine which kicker works for you in any given week, because your kicker points could determine whether you win or lose each week.

Defensive scoring seems to dance around a bit, and changes up from week to week, but should still be strongly considered and watched. Most leagues start their DST scoring with 10 points already. Those are 10 free points! Keep an eye on the opposing team match ups, your sack leaders and interception rates.

Defenses like the Niners, Ravens, Bucs, Patriots and Steelers are all going to continue to do well from week to week. There are sleepers that you should look at closer though like the Colts and the Washington Football Team. The Bucs are expected to have a fantastic defensive game against the Denver Broncos. Shaq Barrett comes back to Mile High Stadium to hopefully rack up a few of those sacks on former Florida Gator Jeff Driskel. I also think the Buccaneers secondary will exploit the Lock and Sutton injuries and shut down the passing game.

Let’s get into week 3 start ‘em or sit ‘em picks.


NFL: New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks
Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns in week 2 against the Patriots
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Russell Wilson (QB1), Seattle Seahawks (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

Of what I’m sure will be the second game of the week only next to the Chiefs @ Ravens. Wilson continues his MVP bid and is expected to dominate against the Cowboys that allowed 386 TOT YDS, of which included 273 yards in the air against the Falcons. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett and Chris Carson are all in full form and racking up plenty of fantasy value. Wilson reached QB1 status after last week’s top performance of 40 FPTS with 288 yards and 5 touchdowns against a New England defense that once was a DST1 just one year prior.

Sit: Deshaun Watson (QB20), Houston Texans (@ Pittsburgh Steelers)

Watson has been fairly disappointing from a fantasy perspective. I ended up picking him up as my QB1 in the 4th round. I think he was the 3rd quarterback off the shelf after Jackson and Mahomes. Although I’m sure he’ll prove to get better, but the lack of Deandre Hopkins seems to be proving to be Watson’s Achilles heel.

He’s currently sitting at a 20 PRK with only 30 TOT FPTS through the first 2 weeks. He’s heading into his toughest defensive contest against the Steelers who have only allowed 18.5 PPG. Even though you may be benching Watson, make sure you have a strong substitution. most QBs that went in the 7th or higher rounds as most owner’s QB2 option like Stafford, Garoppolo (out), and Burrow may not be viable options either.

Running Back

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers running back Joshua Kelley scored 12 fantasy points (PPR) against the Kansas City Chiefs with 23 carries and caught 2 passes for 113 TOT YDS
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Joshua Kelley (RB22), Los Angeles Chargers (vs. Carolina Panthers)

This young man has been on a lot of radars lately. He originally went undrafted in most fantasy leagues, he’s now found himself on 62% of rosters. Although he shares the backfield with Austin Ekeler, Kelley is expected to tote the rock frequently and the two-headed monster in LA could look exactly like the Bucs did in week 2 against the Panthers.

Sit: Leonard Fournette (RB14), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@ Denver Broncos)

As I was looking through other sites to see what their start/sit picks were, I’m seeing Fournette in the start category more times than not. Here’s my take......I know we want to hang onto something as Buccaneers fans. I know everyone wants to believe that the Bucs are still trying to figure out who our bell-cow running back is that will tote the rock 80% of the time, rack up over 100 ypg, and score a ton of touchdowns.

This isn’t how it’s going to work, folks. We saw Fournette and Rojo get fairly equal carries last week. Although Fournette’s stats were higher, don’t be misled. Coach Arians has already stated he’s planning on handing over some of the decision making over to Brady this week, and Godwin has been cleared to play. The Bucs have 3 very good running backs, and 3 very good tight ends, and 4 very capable wide receivers that they can continue to spread the ball around with in each game.

The head ball coach also recently said that he does not plan on taking the starting job away from Ronald Jones II, because he wants Fournette to be fresh in the 4th quarter. So there’s that.

Wide Receiver

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys
Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley makes a catch in the end zone against the Cowboys in week 2
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Calvin Ridley (WR1), Atlanta Falcons (vs. Chicago Bears)

So, I really like this pick and I actually can’t believe his PRK designation. The next best fantasy receiver is DeAndre Hopkins with 49 FPTS on the season to Ridley’s 63. Julio is a little banged up and questionable heading into week 2. Even if Jones is a go, they should give him the lighter side of workload and get Ridley heavily involved.

Ridley went gangbusters against the Cowboys in week 2 raking in 29 FPTS on 7 receptions for 109 yards despite the loss. He blew up in week 1 against the Seahawks with 34 FPTS. He should undoubtedly be at the top of your rosters at this point and considered a WR1 must start. Only when Julio Jones is fully healthy and Ryan starts spreading the ball around that you should consider benching him outside of bye weeks.

Sit: A.J. Green (WR58), Cincinnati Bengals (@ Philadelphia Eagles)

I’m just as surprised as most are to see WR58 next to his name, but it’s a very real PRK for the veteran wideout. Green has been horrendous this year gaining any type of chemistry with his new quarterback. Burrow threw over 60 passes against Cleveland and Green only had 13 of those targeted to him. Green ended week 2 with a measly stat line of 3/13 for 29 yards. Not good! Don’t lean on any historic reference with Green until he proves otherwise.

Tight End

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders
Raiders tight end Darren Waller scored 28 fantasy points (PPR) against the Saints in week 3 of the 2020 season
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Start: Darren Waller (TE2), Las Vegas Raiders (@ New England Patriots)

Waller has emerged as a top tight end and should be considered a top fantasy option, especially in PPR leagues. He broke out in week 2 with 28 FPTS catching 12/16 of his targets for 105 yards and 1 touchdown. I had him starting in week 1 against the Panthers, but was a bit lackluster with only 10 FPTS, but still not too shabby. So, I’m going to stick with Waller through most of the season as a viable TE1 option along with Kittle, Kelce and Andrews.

Sit: Evan Engram (TE21), New York Giants (vs. San Francisco 49’ers)

Engram only has 14 FPTS on the season, and has not really made the comeback that many fantasy owners were anticipating. He did see an uptick in targets last week, but only after Barkley (out for the season) and Shepard (IR) went out of the game. Although I would like to say he’s a definite start, he just hasn’t shown a whole lot yet to turn the keys over. I wouldn’t hang my hat on him this week against a solid San Fran defense. There are several better options to choose from.