It’s that time again. Here are your fantasy start and sits for Week 3.
Must Start Players
Phantom: Joe Flacco, BAL - He isn’t a guy that gets fantasy owners excited, but he’s no stranger to big weeks. Baltimore is one of the worst rushing teams in the league, averaging 3.0 yards per rush (ranked 29th) so it’s not surprising that Flacco is airing it out this year. And with new targets like Mike Wallace and the healthy Dennis Pitta, Flacco definitely has some options in the passing game. After a 45 attempt showing last week in Cleveland, he now faces a Jacksonville defense that gives up the 6th most fantasy points to quarterbacks. This could be one of those big weeks.
Sisemore: Marcus Mariota, TEN - Mariota has been decent so far but points have been a little hard to come by. This week, he’ll be up against the league’s worst pass defense. Oakland is giving up on average over 400 passing yards per game. If there were ever a time for Mariota to stand in the pocket and deliver, it’s now.
Phantom: Davonta Freeman, ATL - If you have been disappointed with your investment in last year’s top fantasy running back, it’s understandable. He’s averaged 6.5 fantasy points thus far and hasn’t found the end zone. But this week, Freeman faces a New Orleans defense that has allowed the fourth most points against running backs. There could be a lot of fantasy points in this game, and Freeman will get a chunk of it.
Sisemore: Christine Michael, SEA - With Thomas Rawls likely out this week, Michael is an under the radar starter for the Seahawks. Seattle has had some issues sticking with their run game but the 49ers are giving up 120 rushing yards per game. With all the injuries at running back this week, Michael makes sense as a low-end RB1.
Phantom: Jeremy Maclin, KC - The Chiefs receiver is tied for fifth with Antonio Brown with 22 targets this year. He’s Alex Smith’s favorite receiver. And this week the Chiefs will face the New York Jets, who give up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers (34.5).
Sisemore: Stefon Diggs, MIN - Usually, you would not want to start a receiver opposite a defense like Carolina but they haven’t been all that menacing. Seemingly, the Panthers are sort of like the Cowboys where they play to their opponents level. Diggs is a must-starter now as he emerged as Sam Bradford's number one guy, 182 yards, 9 catches, and a touchdown last week against the Packers. Give Diggs the ball.
Even Diggs himself is surprised he was selected.
When the Uber arrives 5 seconds after you ordered ithttps://t.co/jZM9rE1JRn— Master Tesfatsion (@MasterTes) September 19, 2016
Phantom: Eric Ebron, DET - The Lions tight end has been very average so far this season, but this week he faces a Packers defense that yields the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Green Bay has given up a receiving touchdown to a tight end in both games this season. Ebron has the most red zone targets for the Lions so far this season and already has one touchdown to his stat sheet.
Sisemore: Dennis Pitta, BAL - I don’t believe it’s too early to say that Pitta has finally returned to become that weapon that Joe Flacco has always wanted. Last week, Pitta had 100 receiving yards for the first time since 2012. He had a double-digit fantasy score for the first time since week 14 of the 2013 season. He's a must-start in your lineups going forward.
Phantom: Dolphins (vs. Browns) - After allowing only 12 points to the Seahawks in Week 1, Miami defense was looking sharp. But then, they allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to throw three touchdowns before getting hurt in the third quarter. This week, they face third-stringer, Cody Kessler and things should be a lot easier for the defense. This game has pick-six written all over it.
Sisemore: Buccaneers (vs. Rams) - Los Angeles has only been able to score 9 points and the Bucs are a "duh" start of the week. Their quarterback play has been bad, their offensive line has struggled and it's affecting all parts of their offense. For at least one week, the Bucs should have a good outing.
Take A Seat, Sucka
Phantom: Blake Bortles, JAX - The Jags third-year quarterback is usually good for 300+ yards and some touchdowns. It’s tough to put him on your bench, but this might be the week to do just that. He goes against a Ravens defense that allows the fourth fewest points to quarterbacks, with a paltry 9.5 points/game. He’s struggling to take care of the ball and has already thrown three picks on this season. Bortles is used to these struggles and can still make up some ground in garbage time, however the Ravens aren’t a team that is going to jump out on anyone. Both their games this season have been decided by six points or less.
Sisemore: Russell Wilson, SEA - Wilson is a potential "bust" this week and he’s only had one monster game against the 49ers which came last season where he put up 250 passing yards and two touchdowns. Wilson is bothered by an ankle injury and his offensive line has been the same question mark as last season. His two top targets in Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockette are both nursing knee injuries. This week, it’s better to let him ride the bench.
Phantom: Latavius Murray, OAK - There are many reasons to avoid Murray this week. The most glaring one is the fact that he’s facing the stingiest fantasy defense for running backs. The Titans are only allowing 7.5 pts/game to their opponents RBs. Murray’s always had some flex appeal due to a high floor that comes from getting 15 carries a game, however, that could now be a problem as well. Running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are now splitting touches with Murray and that’s just bad news for a fantasy running back.
Sisemore: Ryan Matthews, PHI - Yes, Matthews has three touchdowns but don’t expect a repeat performance against the Steelers. Matthews has been solid for Philadelphia but they are starting to use Darren Sproles a lot more. Though Matthews has done well in the red zone, the Steelers have one of the best red zone defenses in the league. You can find another running back to start this week even if there are a ton of injuries piling up.
Phantom: Randall Cobb, GB - The Packers wide receiver is off to a rough start this season as he’s only had 10 total fantasy points over the first two games. Cobb has big play ability and will have better numbers when he starts scoring touchdowns, but his mediocre targets numbers are cause for concern, particularly in the red zone. He’s been a top five red zone target in each of the previous two seasons, but so far this year, he’s on the wrong end of a 2:1 ratio with fellow receiver, Jordy Nelson. Without those end zone looks, Cobb becomes very humdrum.
Sisemore: Demaryius Thomas, DEN- Trevor Siemian doesn’t seem to want to put the ball downfield. Whether it’s Denver’s elite rushing attack or their great defense, they don’t have to take many chances. This week against the Bengals is not a good time to expect Thomas to return to the upper echelon of receiving performances with the great defensive backs in Cincy.
Phantom: Gary Barnidge, CLE - The Browns Pro Bowl tight end was completely invisible in Week 1 with Robert Griffin III at quarterback. Then, he started to resemble his old self last week when he caught four passes for 37 yards before Josh McCown got hurt. Now, with rookie QB, Cody Kessler getting the start, it’s tough to say what will happen. One thing for certain though - the Dolphins have two safeties, Reshad Jones and Abdul-Quddus, who are outstanding in coverage. Barnidge’s struggles will continue.
Sisemore: Coby Fleener, NO- Despite what you may think about keeping him hidden on the depth chart, Fleener is a bust all the way. He had a tremendous opportunity last week against the New York Giants who struggle with tight ends and came away with two receptions for 29 yards. Drew Brees is not getting production out of Fleener and its time for him look elsewhere.
Phantom: Giants (vs. Redskins) - While the sequel to the Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Josh Norman will garner all the attention, the real battle could be on the other side of the ball when Trent Williams attempts to block Olivier Vernon. The Redskins left tackle hasn’t allowed a single QB pressure thus far this season. This is still a very big divisional game as the Redskins must win this battle to avoid going 0-3, with two divisional losses. Kirk Cousins is third in the league in passing yards (693) and will have to air it out to keep the Redskins in the game.
Sisemore: Eagles (vs. Steelers) - The Eagles were a pretty good start in Week 2 but that ends when they go against perhaps the NFL’s most explosive offense. The Eagles have relied on their pass rush to do most of the talking but they have faced two really bad teams in Cleveland and Chicago. Now, they are going up the AFC pick for the Super Bowl. It’s likely the Steelers put up points in bunches and that will test this defense dramatically.
Cowboys Start Of The Week
Ezekiel Elliott - you might as well pencil Zeke’s name in is this spot until he breaks out because everyone is expecting it to happen. And with the Bears missing so many defensive starters, there’s a good chance it happens Sunday night. It’s going to be glorious to watch Zeke get into the second level and show off his speed.
Cowboys Sit Of The Week
Jason Witten - the Cowboys veteran tight end saw his targets drop from 14 to 4 from Week 1 to Week 2. He’s a great safety net for the Dak Prescott, but with each new rep, the rookie is getting more and more comfortable. With Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley getting a lot of looks, it doesn’t leave a lot of opportunities for Witten.