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Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 3

Week 2 is in the books and the top 2 QBs are probably not who you’d expect. I’m not sure which of them is hotter right now. On the one hand, Patrick Mahomes has kicked off his career with 10 touchdowns in 2 games. On the other hand FitzMagic has given us this:

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Honestly, I’ll just call it a tie for now.

Of course, the most important question is which hot commodities should you be starting in fantasy this week. Before we dive in, let’s look at how we did last week.

Week 2 Starts – Tyler Eifert, Eric Ebron, Quincy Enunwa, James White, Jared Cook

We were on the right track with Eifert as Baltimore did allow a 7/79/0 line to Bengals tight ends. Unfortunately, that line was split up between Eifert, Tyler Kroft, and C. J. Uzomah, so those who started Eifert got burned. Cook and Ebron both did alright with 4/49/0 and 3/26/1 lines, respectively. Not what you probably would have hoped for, but starting them shouldn’t have sunk your team either. White was a solid start in PPR formats as anticipated, catching 7 passes for 73 yards and chipping in 11 yards on 4 carries. Enunwa also looked good, posting a 7/92/0 line.

Week 2 Fades – Lamar Miller, Melvin Gordon, Brandon Marshall

For a not-quite feature back, Miller’s 68 rushing yards was bland, and his 2 catches for 2 more yards didn’t help. Brandon Marshall also struggled to a 4/44/0 line. I’d count both fades as correct. As for Gordon…well, he did only total 66 yards on 15 touches. Hard to ignore the 3 touchdowns though. The PPR crowd appreciates that 6 of those 15 touches were catches too. Ekeler did cut into Gordon’s touches as anticipated, but it was more an “everyone wins” deal than a “backup cuts into starter’s value” deal.

Week 2 Feeling Lucky – Adrian Peterson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Leonard Fournette

Fournette wound up not playing, so it’s a little hard to judge that call. With regard to the backups, if just Corey Grant or T. J. Yeldon racked up all the yards and catches it would have been a solid boom week. As it stands with them splitting, it was kinda meh for both. The other two, however, were the essence of this boom-or-bust section. Peterson was either going to go ham on a weak Colts D or achieve little on few touches while the Colts ran away with the game. AD got stuck with the latter, posting a mere 50 yards on 14 total touches. Fitzpatrick, on the other hand, continued his blazing streak against the defending Super Bowl champs, putting up another 402 yards passing with 4 touchdowns and a pick.

So overall, not a great start to the fantasy season, but not a terrible one either. Let’s see if we can learn from our mistakes as we jump into this week’s picks.

Start

Tyler Boyd

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Boyd is coming off a solid effort against the Ravens where he posted a 6/91/1 line, and he’s been out-playing the more heralded John Ross thus far. Next up on the docket is a matchup with Carolina. The Panthers aren’t necessarily the easiest opponent, but they aren’t exactly tough against slot receivers either. They surrendered a 7/73/0 line to Cole Beasley in a game where the rest of the Cowboy offense was completely shut down. Then they gave Calvin Ridley the first 4 catches of his career for a team-leading 64 yards and a touchdown. The situation is right for Boyd to post another solid flex-worthy week.

Houston D/ST

NFL: New England Patriots at Houston Texans

The Texans defense hasn’t been so hot this year. They did okay in a game that approximately no one started them in against the Patriots, then failed to do much of anything against a bunch of Titans backups. Here’s the thing though; both of those teams get the ball out of the QB’s hand quickly, negating any pass rush the defense may have regardless of offensive line play. The Giants not only don’t get the ball out of Eli Manning’s hands that quickly, their offensive line is terrible. Making matters worse, the Giants are squaring off against a Texans offense that’s slowly heating up, which will force the Giants to throw more. On the road. Against the trio of J. J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney. Keep an eye on Clowney’s health, but this has the makings of a breakout week for this defense.

Jimmy Garoppolo

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans

Despite all the hype, Garoppolo really hasn’t been all that useful in fantasy this season. Week 1 at Minnesota obviously was going to be a clunker, but even hosting Detroit his yardage was on the low side as the Niners nursed a lead. This week is where it changes. Hosting Patrick Mahomes and the white-hot Chiefs offense, Garoppolo will likely be playing in catchup mode all day as the San Fran defense is in no shape to stop the hottest offense in the NFL. With no clear #1 target (an injury to Marquise Goodwin only serves to muddy the waters) it’s hard to say exactly which receivers will benefit the most, but suffice to say Garoppolo will be dishing to all able-bodied receivers he can find. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a pick or two show up on the final scorecard, but he should have a few touchdowns to balance it out along with a lot of yardage.

Will Dissly

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Dissly burst onto the scene in week 1 with a surprising 100-yard performance against the Broncos. He then followed that up with another touchdown against the Bears. Next up are the Cowboys, who have been surprisingly solid against outside receivers but not so much against tight ends as Even Engram just lit them up for a 7/67/1 line. The Cowboy pass rush is surprisingly potent, which will encourage Russell Wilson to find his checkdown targets. Dissly won’t put up monster numbers, but he could very well find himself in the end zone for the third time in as many games.

Ryan Fitzpatrick

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I swear I’m not doing this just because Fitzpatrick is too photogenic for words. Between last week and this week he legitimately belongs on this list. History tells us that the Fitzmagic only lasts so long before it turns into Fitztragic. Logic tells us that this change isn’t happening this week. The Steelers defense has not looked good so far, and the entire Pittsburgh team is notorious for its awful home/away splits. After watching Fitzpatrick dismantle the Saints in the Superdome and the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles, an under-performing Steelers defense should be no trouble at all. The real question is what does he wear to his next press conference…

Fade

Saquon Barkley

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From a fantasy perspective, Barkley hasn’t been too bad. After all, he’s posted over 20 points both games so far in PPR. Looking at the numbers though, this production clearly isn’t sustainable. Over half his production in week 1 came on a single 68-yard touchdown run, and most of his value in week 2 came on the back of 14 catches. Enter Houston. The Texans have been pretty tough against the run this year as they held both the Patriots and Titans under 3 YPC. Combined with the Giants’ sad excuse for an offensive line, this does not bode well for Barkley’s rushing numbers this week. What’s more, the Texans aren’t allowing many RB catches either. Patriots scatback James White was held to 4 catches on 9 targets, and the Titans’ RBs only saw a single catch combined. You probably have to start Barkley if you have him, but don’t get your hopes up for a boom week.

Travis Kelce

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Kelce has been bipolar through 2 games. After recording a single catch in week 1, he posted a spectacular 7/109/2 line last week against the Steelers. Expect the bipolar trend to continue this week against the Niners. It’s hard to judge how San Francisco did against the Lions tight ends (as that would require a Lions tight end to be fantasy relevant at all), but in week 1 the Niners held Kyle Rudolph to a single catch. Granted it was for a touchdown, but that’s still no small feat given how much Kirk Cousins liked to target his tight ends in Washington. With how bad the Niners are against wide receivers anyway, Kelce is likely to take a back seat again as Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins light up the scoreboard.

Dalvin Cook

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

As Cook fantasy owners may have noticed, Cook has been struggling to run the ball effectively. He currently owns a scant 3.0 YPC through 2 games. If you think Buffalo is the cure-all, think again. The Bills defense has actually been pretty stout against the run – allowing a mere 3.1 YPC to any running back not named Austin Ekeler – so Cook’s efficiency isn’t going to be getting any better. He could salvage some fantasy value in the form of volume or catching passes as Buffalo has been susceptible to receiving backs, but the Vikings seem intent on not overworking Cook after he tore his ACL last year. If Minnesota jumps out to an early lead as they are expected to do, Cook figures to get plenty of rest as Latavius Murray handles the majority of touches.

David Johnson

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David Johnson has had a rough start to his Comeback Player of the Year bid. With an apparently dysfunctional offense around him, he’s just not seeing that many touches. His efficiency isn’t terrible, but it isn’t all that great either. Neither of these things are going to get better as the new-look Bears defense comes to town. The Bears have held opposing running backs well under 4 YPC and haven’t been allowing many running back catches either. It’s going to be another rough game for DJ.

Feeling Lucky?

T. Y. Hilton

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Obligatory Colts player for the Luck-y pun. Through 2 games the Philadelphia defense has been utterly incapable of containing receivers, first giving up over 150 yards to Julio Jones and then getting absolutely torched by the Bucs. Hilton has the same potential to put on a show, especially with Andrew Luck back at full strength. The risk here is trying to figure out exactly how the Eagles stack up in the trenches. Philly won last year by dominating the line of scrimmage and preventing their weaker DBs from being picked on by getting pressure on the QB. This year, they’ve failed to really do that through 2 weeks. Is that the doing of solid Falcon and Buccaneer offensive lines, or is it a sign that maybe there are cracks in the armor of the defending Super Bowl champs? For the Colts’ part, they’ve actually kept Luck fairly upright this year. If Indy’s O-line gives Luck some time, Hilton could easily surpass 150 yards. If the Eagles D-line returns to last year’s form, Luck won’t have the time to get Hilton the ball.

Sony Michel & Rex Burkhead

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Ah Beli-tricks. How we haven’t missed thee. The Patriots backfield was pretty easy to read week 1 as preseason defections and injuries limited the choices to Burkhead for rushing attempts and James White for receiving attempts. With Sony Michel making his debut last week, we’re back to the Patriots backfield we all know and hate. The silver lining here is that the Patriots play Detroit next. The Lions just gave up 138 yards to Matt Breida after giving up 162 yards to the lackluster duo of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell in week 1. There will be production to be had here. The question is which running back will get it?

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