It’s Week 3 of fantasy football. Is your quarterback healthy?
Both the Saints‘ and Steelers’ high-scoring attacks are slowed down, leaving fantasy owners who were reliant on those offenses to seek production elsewhere.
START: Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys: The Dolphins were the league’s worst fantasy defense against opposing quarterbacks with the now-traded Minkah Fitzpatrick. Even without WR Michael Gallup, Prescott — who put his running skills on display in Week 2 — continues his impressive start to the regular season.
SIT: Cam Newton, QB, Panthers: He was in a walking boot on Wednesday, lending belief he may not be available against the Cardinals. Even if he was, Newton has yet to generate a touchdown and his minus-2 rushing yards is a sign that something’s wrong. If Newton’s not mobile, the Panthers offense becomes running back Christian McCaffrey facing eight-man fronts.
START: Austin Ekeler, RB, Chargers: Houston is 25th in receiving yards allowed to opposing running backs, a stat that sounds nice to fantasy owners of Ekeler, who averages 13.5 yards per reception and has two receiving scores. A third straight game of at least 130 yards from scrimmage is a strong possibility.
SIT: Carlos Hyde, RB, Texans: With Duke Johnson already making him a non-factor in the passing game, Hyde will have to find holes against a Chargers defense that bounced back from being dominated by Colts RB Marlon Mack in Week 1 by limiting the Lions to just 94 yards on 28 carries last week.
START: Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions: Only the Redskins have a worse fantasy defense against opposing receivers than the Eagles, who have given up five touchdown passes and eight completions of at least 20 yards. Golladay has scored in each of his first two games and should exceed his 9.5 targets per game average. Don’t be shocked if Golladay is among the top 10 scorers at his position this week.
SIT: Courtland Sutton, WR, Broncos: Emmanuel Sanders is clicking with Joe Flacco, having been targeted 20 times along with scoring in each of the first two games. Sutton will get a downfield shot or two, but the Denver passing game will find it hard to get on track against a surprisingly good Packers defense that is fourth in fewest fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts.
START: Vance McDonald, TE, Steelers: New Steelers starting QB Mason Rudolph found McDonald for a pair of scoring receptions in last week’s loss to the Seahawks and will be in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 targets as Rudolph looks to him as a security blanket while getting comfortable in the starting role.
SIT: Trey Burton, TE, Bears: Prior to Chicago’s game-winning drive in Week 2, Burton had one target. He finished with just two catches for 5 yards on three targets. He’s still not at 100 percent, so Burton will be little more than a role player and occasional decoy against the Redskins on Monday night.
START: Nelson Agholor, WR, Eagles: Philly may be without starting wideouts Alshon Jeffrey (calf) and DeSean Jackson (groin), thrusting Agholor into the spotlight against a Lions pass defense that has seen 66 passes targeted at receivers the first two weeks. Agholor went 8 for 11 in targets at the Falcons in Week 2 and will be a high-volume receiver.
SIT: Kirk Cousins, QB, Vikings: That’s not a typo: Cousins’ 8.2 QBR is real. He struggled in last week’s loss to the Packers, and his 52.4% completion rate is near the bottom of the league. At some point, Minnesota‘s going to need him to offer the offense more than giving 20-plus touches to RB Dalvin Cook.
START: Tom Brady, QB, Patriots: He’s thrown for at least two touchdown passes in each of the past six games against the Jets and eight of his past 10. WRs Antonio Brown and Josh Gordon are a big reason why he’s averaging 13.8 yards per completion, his best total since 2011.
SIT: Josh Gordon, WR, Patriots: Gordon has just nine targets in two games. The Patriots will continue to spread the ball around, leaving Gordon only a handful of opportunities each game. If the Pats seek to find balance and emphasize the running game against the Jets, then Gordon’s potential for production will be further limited.
START: Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons: Off to a slow start, Freeman has averaged just 2.2 yards per carry. Along come the Colts, who are 30th in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing running backs. This could lead a big game from Freeman, especially for those using him in PPR formats.
SIT: Tarik Cohen, RB, Bears: Rookie David Montgomery is already limiting Cohen’s touches. He’ll remain the back of choice in Chicago’s passing game, but the sluggish start from QB Mitchell Trubisky makes Cohen a very difficult add to any fantasy offense at this point.
START: Marquise Brown, WR, Ravens: That he was targeted 13 times in last week’s win over the Cardinals was a sign QB Lamar Jackson doesn’t see him strictly as a deep threat. The Chiefs are 24th in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers and didn’t get tested much by the Raiders in Week 2. That will change, as Brown and Jackson will face off against Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City‘s potent passing attack.
SIT: Mason Rudolph, QB, Steelers: There were signs that Rudolph could be fantasy-viable after replacing Roethlisberger. Don’t get fooled into buying a breakout effort by the second-year passer on the road against a 49ers defense that has four interceptions this season.