The injury bug struck the NFL hard in Week 2. Here’s a recap of last week’s games, followed by Week 3’s best bets:
WEEK 2 RECAP
Browns 35, Bengals 30: Both Baker Mayfield and rookie Joe Burrow will be solid streaming candidates in most fantasy formats going forward.
49ers 31, Jets 13: Here’s hoping Raheem Mostert doesn’t miss too much time, because he was looking like a peak Chris Johnson before he suffered a MCL sprain.
Bears 17, Giants 13: High volume (almost 17 touches per game) will help David Montgomery maintain his RB2 status.
Cowboys 40, Falcons 39: Never has a player been vultured like Ezekiel Elliott was vultured by Dak Prescott against Atlanta — Prescott had three rushing touchdowns from inside the two-yard line.
Packers 42, Lions 21: Aaron Jones had three total touchdowns against Detroit. When Jones scores, he scores in bunches. He had six games with multiple touchdowns in 2019.
Titans 33, Jaguars 30: A passing offense that is asserting itself along with zero touchdowns for Derrick Henry (although he’s averaging almost 30 touches per game) through two games might make Henry available in your league. I’d send a feeler text to check-in on a price-tag.
Colts 28, Vikings 11: Jonathan Taylor received a Henry-like 28 touches, but actually did score a touchdown. This is only the tip of the iceberg for the talented rookie.
Bills 31, Dolphins 28: Who had Josh Allen on pace for 5,816 passing yards, 48 touchdown passes and zero interceptions after two games?
Rams 37, Eagles 19: Keep an eye on: rookie (and route technician) Van Jefferson matched the targets (five) of Robert Woods and Tyler Higbee. Jefferson only had one fewer than Cooper Kupp.
Steelers 26, Broncos 21: Diontae Johnson has double-digit targets in each game this season and there’s a significant gap between him and JuJu Smith-Schuster (23 to 14).
Buccaneers 31, Panthers 17: The buy-low moment for Leonard Fournette (116 total yards and two touchdowns) may already be over.
Cardinals 30, Football Team 15: Kyler Murray is on pace to surpass Lamar Jackson’s quarterback rushing record from a year ago — 1,264 to 1,206.
Chiefs 23, Chargers 20 (OT): Rookie Justin Herbert starting at quarterback is good news for those who have Keenan Allen.
Ravens 33, Texans 16: Brandin Cooks may be the biggest boom-bust option in fantasy the rest of this season. He has huge upside in Houston’s offense with Deshaun Watson as his quarterback, but his concussion history scares me.
Seahawks 35, Patriots 30: If DK Metcalf (92 yards on four receptions and a touchdown) can torch reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore, then there’s no ceiling with the way Russell Wilson is playing right now.
Raiders 34, Saints 24: Rookie receiver Henry Ruggs didn’t produce much (only one reception for four yards) fantasy-wise on Monday night, but he did draw a pass interference call on a deep ball late to help seal the victory for Las Vegas. It illustrates how much other teams have to respect him already.
Follow me on Twitter @UTEddieBrown if you have questions throughout the week.
Here are best bets for Week 3:
MIAMI AT JACKSONVILLE
Obvious starters: DeVante Parker (MIA), Mike Gesicki (MIA), James Robinson (JAX).
Who to start: My gut tells me Ryan Fitzpatrick (MIA) has a big game, but I’m not sure what the circumstances are in where you would feel he is your best option this week. The Dolphins run game is a mess, but Myles Gaskin (MIA) has flex value in PPR thanks to 10 receptions in two games to start the season. Preston Williams (MIA) deserves flex consideration in deeper leagues with a solid matchup after facing two truly difficult secondaries in New England and Buffalo. I expect Gardner Minshew (JAX) to make it three straight weeks with at least three touchdown passes. Keelan Cole (JAX) has earned flex consideration with at least five receptions and a touchdown in each game this season.
Who to sit: The volume is simply too low to trust Matt Breida (MIA) at this point. Jordan Howard (MIA) remains touchdown-dependent. D.J. Chark (JAX) is out with a chest injury. I’d bump him down to a solid flex option when he returns until we see the targets befitting a No. 1 wide receiver — he only has seven targets in two games. Tyler Eifert (JAX) remains a touchdown-dependent option at tight end. Chris Thompson (JAX) only has value in the deepest PPR formats.
Sleeper: Rookie Laviska Shenault (JAX) has a healthy 13 total touches in two games and has been utilized in the pass and run game. It’s only a matter of time before he has a breakout performance. He has flex value in deeper leagues.
CHICAGO AT ATLANTA
Obvious starters: Allen Robinson (CHI), David Montgomery (CHI), Matt Ryan (ATL), Calvin Ridley (ATL), Todd Gurley (ATL).
Who to start: You’re starting Julio Jones (ATL) if his hamstring allows him to play. Russell Gage (ATL) is a premium flex option in PPR with WR3 upside after producing 15 receptions on 21 targets through two games. Hayden Hurst (ATL) is a borderline TE1 in most formats.
Who to sit: Keep Mitchell Trubisky (CHI) on your bench despite the matchup. Maybe he’ll be useful when bye weeks kick in. I’m fading the Bears D/ST on the road against a high-octane Atlanta offense. Anthony Miller (CHI) can’t help you from the sidelines, which is where he spent most of his time against the Giants. I’m fading Tarik Cohen (CHI) until he has more impact in the passing game.
Sleeper: Jimmy Graham (CHI) faces a defense that has allowed at least seven receptions and a touchdown to tight ends the first two weeks of the season.
L.A. RAMS AT BUFFALO
Obvious starters: Robert Woods (LAR), Cooper Kupp (LAR), Tyler Higbee (LAR), Josh Allen (BUF), Stefon Diggs (BUF), Bills D/ST.
Who to start: The Rams D/ST is good and Allen has to throw an interception at some point, right? Decent volume and his playmaking ability make Devin Singletary (BUF) a solid flex option despite a tough Los Angeles defense. At least four receptions, 70 yards and touchdown in each game help John Brown (BUF) maintain flex value. Cole Beasley (BUF) maintains his flex value in deeper PPR formats with at least four receptions and 58 yards in each game this season.
Who to sit: This is a difficult matchup to trust Jared Goff (LAR) unless you don’t have a better option. I’m fading Malcolm Brown (LAR) with an injured finger against an elite defense. Rookie Zack Moss (BUF) looks touchdown-dependent and is dealing with a toe injury.
Sleeper: There are a lot of negative indicators here (matchup, travel), but Darrell Henderson (LAR) looked electric against Philadelphia and is essentially Los Angeles’ only healthy running back.
WASHINGTON AT CLEVELAND
Obvious starters: Terry McLaurin (WAS), Nick Chubb (CLE), Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE).
Who to start: A guarantee of double-digit touches keep rookie Antonio Gibson (WAS) in the flex conversation. Logan Thomas (WAS) is a TE1 against a defense that has allowed three touchdowns to his position in two games this season. Good usage and production makes Kareem Hunt (CLE) a premium flex option with RB2 upside in most formats. The Browns D/ST are a solid streaming candidate against an evolving offense.
Who to sit: There’s not enough targets for the talented Steven Sims (WAS) to eat. Baker Mayfield (CLE) looked sharp against Cincinnati, but we’re a ways from inserting him into our lineup, unless you’re desperate. It’s clear a hip injury has limited Jarvis Landry (CLE) so far this season. Six targets in two games make Austin Hooper (CLE) better utilized on your bench.
Sleeper: The Football Team D/ST features a pass rush that is for real and an underrated run defense.
TENNESSEE AT MINNESOTA
Obvious starters: Ryan Tannehill (TEN), Derrick Henry (TEN), Titans D/ST, Dalvin Cook (MIN), Adam Thielen (MIN).
Who to start: Corey Davis (TEN) deserves flex consideration with A.J. Brown sidelined. Jonnu Smith (TEN) is a borderline TE1 in most formats against a defense that got toasted by Indy’s Mo Alie-Cox for 111 yards on five receptions.
Who to sit: I can’t imagine who would start Kirk Cousins (MIN) after how he looked against the Colts on Sunday. Both Vikings tight ends (Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith) are being ignored — eight targets this season between them. This is not the Vikings D/ST we’re used to. Rookie receiver Justin Jefferson (MIN) has looked good. He just needs more targets.
Sleeper: Adam Humphries (TEN) has flex value in the deepest PPR leagues with at least five receptions in two straight games.
LAS VEGAS AT NEW ENGLAND
Obvious starters: Josh Jacobs (LV), Darren Waller (LV), Cam Newton (NE), Julian Edelman (NE), Patriots D/ST.
Who to start: N’Keal Harry (NE) is a solid flex option with a healthy 18 targets in two games.
Who to sit: It’s hard to recommend Derek Carr (LV) against a good secondary coming off a bad game no matter how sharp he looked against New Orleans. Sony Michel (NE) is a touchdown-dependent option. Rex Burkhead (NE) only has value in the deepest of PPR formats.
Sleeper: Rookie receiver Henry Ruggs (LV) is as good a lottery ticket you can find in fantasy this week. It’s only a matter of time before he breaks a 50-plus yard touchdown.
SAN FRANCISCO AT N.Y. GIANTS
Obvious starters: 49ers D/ST, Evan Engram (NYG).
Who to start: You’re starting George Kittle (SF) if he’s active. Jerick McKinnon (SF) deserves flex consideration in deeper PPR formats on the strength of his first two games and all of the 49ers’ injuries at running back. Darius Slayton (NYG) deserves flex consideration due to decent usage so far and his scoring acumen. Golden Tate (NYG) should have flex value in most PPR formats with WR3 upside.
Who to sit: Jordan Reed (SF) is touchdown-dependent unless Kittle remains sidelined. It’s hard to trust any 49ers wide receiver with Nick Mullens at quarterback. Even a depleted 49ers defense is a tough opponent for Daniel Jones (NYG) this week. I’m fading Devonta Freeman (NYG), Wayne Gallman (NYG) and Dion Lewis (NYG) until we see how they’re utilized in the wake of Saquon Barkley’s season-ending injury.
Sleeper: An increased role due to injuries give Jeff Wilson (SF) flex appeal in deeper standard leagues.
CINCINNATI AT PHILADELPHIA
Obvious starters: Joe Mixon (CIN), Miles Sanders (PHI), Zach Ertz (PHI), Dallas Goedert (PHI), Eagles D/ST.
Who to start: The targets (22 over two games) still there for A.J. Green (CIN). Tyler Boyd (CIN) maintains flex value with WR3 upside in most PPR formats.
Who to sit: Joe Burrow (CIN) will have value as the bye weeks unfold. It’s best you look for upside somewhere else until Carson Wentz (PHI) rights the ship. DeSean Jackson (PHI) remains a boom-or-bust proposition. Boston Scott (PHI) only has value in the deepest PPR leagues.
Sleeper: Former second-round pick Drew Sample (CIN) had seven receptions on nine targets against Cleveland and C.J. Uzomah is done for the season.
HOUSTON AT PITTSBURGH
Obvious starters: Deshaun Watson (HOU), Ben Roethlisberger (PIT), James Conner (PIT), Steelers D/ST.
Who to start: David Johnson (HOU) is only a flex option against the vaunted Steelers defense. Brandin Cooks (HOU) also deserves flex consideration. You’re starting JuJu Smith-Schuster (PIT) assuming he can practice and play with a banged up knee. There’s WR2 upside with Diontae Johnson (PIT), who has looked like the Steelers No. 1 wide receiver through two games. It’s only a matter of time before Eric Ebron (PIT) finds the end zone.
Who to sit: After a no-show against Baltimore, Will Fuller (HOU) is a boom-or-bust option with a difficult matchup. Randall Cobb (HOU) only has value in the deepest PPR formats at this point. A difficult matchup forces an emerging Jordan Akins (HOU) to the bench. Benny Snell (PIT) only has value if Conner is hobbled or sidelined.
Sleeper: Rookie receiver Chase Claypool (PIT) is averaging 25.4 yards per reception and it’s clear the Steelers are committed to involving him in the offense.
N.Y. JETS AT INDIANAPOLIS
Obvious starters: Jonathan Taylor (IND), T.Y. Hilton (IND), Colts D/ST.
Who to start: The matchup makes Philip Rivers (IND) a solid streaming candidate this week if you don’t like your primary quarterback’s opponent.
Who to sit: There’s not a single Jet I would consider starting this week against a really good Colts defense. The return of Jack Doyle (IND) only clouds the value of Mo Alie-Cox (IND). Nyheim Hines (IND) usage is just confusing after the first two games.
Sleeper: With Parris Campbell sidelined, I expect Michael Pittman Jr. (IND) to play a larger role in Indy’s pass attack and this is an inviting matchup if you’re seeking a flier against a stronger opponent of if you’re dealing with injuries.
CAROLINA AT L.A. CHARGERS
Obvious starters: D.J. Moore (CAR), Austin Ekeler (LAC), Keenan Allen (LAC), Hunter Henry (LAC), Chargers D/ST.
Who to start: Mike Davis (CAR) deserves flex consideration as Christian McCaffrey’s replacement. Robby Anderson (CAR) has at least six receptions, 109 yards or a touchdown in both games this season. Rookie Joshua Kelley (LAC) deserves flex consideration in all leagues with an average of almost 19 touches per game so far.
Who to sit: I’m fading Teddy Bridgewater (CAR) against a good defense with his top weapon sidelined. You can’t ask for a better debut out of Justin Herbert (LAC), but you’re only using him this week if you’re out of options. Mike Williams (LAC) remains a boom-or-bust option.
Sleeper: I expect more Curtis Samuel (CAR) with McCaffrey out.
TAMPA BAY AT DENVER
Obvious starters: Chris Godwin (TB), Mike Evans (TB), Buccaneers D/ST, Melvin Gordon (DEN).
Who to start: Leonard Fournette (TB) is the running back you want in this offense and has RB2/flex potential against an average run defense. Noah Fant (DEN) has at least four receptions, 57 yards and a touchdown in both games this season.
Who to sit: I’m fading Tom Brady (TB) and his checkered history in the Mile-High city. Ronald Jones (TB) is too inconsistent to trust and his upside is limited with Fournette around. Both O.J. Howard (TB) and Rob Gronkowski (TB) appear volume-starved and touchdown-dependent. Look for rookie K.J. Hamler (DEN) to take on a bigger role with Courtland Sutton sidelined, but I’ll need a bigger sample size (and Drew Lock to return) before I start recommending the dynamic playmaker.
Sleeper: Rookie Jerry Jeudy (DEN) has clear flex value as the No. 1 wide receiver here and WR3 upside.
DETROIT AT ARIZONA
Obvious starters: Kyler Murray (ARI), DeAndre Hopkins (ARI), Kenyan Drake (ARI).
Who to start: Matthew Stafford (DET) is a borderline QB1 in most leagues, especially with the impending return of his top target Kenny Golladay (DET). Rookie D’Andre Swift (DET) deserves flex consideration in deeper PPR leagues. T.J. Hockenson (DET) has had at least four receptions, 56 yards or a touchdown in each game this season. The Cardinals D/ST is a sneaky streaming option at home with this matchup.
Who to sit: Marvin Jones (DET) remains a touchdown-dependent option with flex potential in deeper PPR formats. Danny Amendola (DET) only has value in the deepest PPR formats. Adrian Peterson (DET) and Kerryon Johnson (DET) remain touchdown-dependent. Struggling Christian Kirk (ARI) is now dealing with a groin injury.
Sleeper: Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald (ARI) still has value in deeper PPR formats and could see even more opportunity than normal if Kirk is sidelined.
DALLAS AT SEATTLE
Obvious starters: Dak Prescott (DAL), Ezekiel Elliott (DAL), Amari Copper (DAL), Russell Wilson (SEA), Tyler Lockett (SEA), Chris Carson (SEA), DK Metcalf (SEA).
Who to start: I know you’re starting to doubt Michael Gallup (DAL), but trust in the talent and the offense. Rookie CeeDee Lamb (DAL) has earned flex consideration in most leagues.
Who to sit: Greg Olsen (SEA) remains touchdown-dependent. The volume isn’t there to trust David Moore (SEA) or Carlos Hyde (SEA).
Sleeper: Dalton Schultz (DAL) is a sneaky streaming option after he had nine receptions, 88 yards and a touchdown against Atlanta.
GREEN BAY AT NEW ORLEANS
Obvious starters: Aaron Rodgers (GB), Aaron Jones (GB), Alvin Kamara (NO), Jared Cook (NO).
Who to start: You’re starting Davante Adams (GB) if his hamstring allows him to play.
Who to sit: Allen Lazard (GB) only has value in deeper standard leagues at this point, but there’s upside if Adams is sidelined. Bench Drew Brees (NO) if you have someone with a better matchup. The problem has always been Tre’Quan Smith (NO) repeating a good performance. It’s hard to trust Emmanuel Sanders (NO) at this point, but I know the Sean Payton needs to get him involved with Michael Thomas out. Latavius Murray (NO) remains touchdown-dependent. Both defenses are good, but this is a difficult matchup for both.
Sleeper: Target-share (at least six targets in both games) seems to suggest Marquez Valdes-Scantling (GB) will benefit if Adams is limited or sidelined.
KANSAS CITY AT BALTIMORE
Obvious starters: Patrick Mahomes (KC), Travis Kelce (KC), Tyreek Hill (KC), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (KC), Lamar Jackson (BAL), Mark Andrews (BAL).
Who to start: Marquise Brown (BAL) has flex value with WR3 upside with five receptions in each game this season.
Who to sit: Sammy Watkins (KC) is in the NFL’s concussion protocol and could miss Monday night. Mecole Hardman (KC) and Demarcus Robinson (KC) are merely lottery tickets in human form at this point. Mark Ingram (BAL) looks like he’s touchdown-dependent in a crowded backfield. You have more trustworthy options than Miles Boykin (BAL) at this point.
Sleeper: Rookie J.K. Dobbins (BAL) clearly has the highest upside at running back for the Ravens. He scored two touchdowns in his debut and then he produced 61 total yards on three touches against Houston.
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