Before I get into the Week 3 fantasy start/sit advice for quarterbacks, tight ends and defense/special teams, here's a little peek behind the curtain. I have zero affinity, negative or positive, towards the San Francisco 49ers. They are like any other team to me. However, I do feel like recently I've been all over them like white on rice. (Notice that's lower case. I'm not talking about Reggie or Randy on Jerry). And perhaps that's why this week's Start/Sit, I feel the need to go the other way. That's right, I'm forecasting against them.
So be aware that my start/sit advice might be a little sentiment driven. However, I did steer you right last week when I said to sit Andy Dalton against the 49ers.
Of course, this feels like a very strange week with all the injuries. This week's leaders could be a who's who of "Who's Dat?" at each position. So with that in mind, let's start with two signal-callers who have limited experience.
Start Mason Rudolph, Steelers at 49ers; Sit Kyle Allen, Panthers at Cardinals
I have already mentioned earlier this week in my DFS picks that the Cardinals could be a surprise defensive play. And for the price, I do like them. That was also before it was confirmed that Allen would start this week. Because the truth is I like Allen the player and I think he could become a very good quarterback. He might even have a great game this week.
But I can't get this quote out of my head:
Just needs to "speed himself up a bit?" That sounds like a bright-eyed doe about to get completely run over by the Mack trucks known as NFL-level defensemen. And in case you hadn't already figured it out, "RR" is head coach Ron Rivera. If your coach thinks you need to speed things up a little bit, can you imagine what an opposing defensive coordinator is thinking? Allen might be good, but I'm not taking any chances on him this week.
However, I am playing Rudolph this week. Unlike Allen who went undrafted, Rudolph was the first quarterback taken on Day 2 (3rd round, 76th overall) of the 2018 draft. Rudolph also has a much stronger supporting cast around him including former teammate James Washington. Rudolph and Washington connected for an unprecedented 35 touchdowns and 4,188 yards during their time together at Oklahoma State. Additionally, unlike Allen, Rudolph has had a whole week to prepare and practice with the starting unit. Don't expect Mahomes-ian numbers out of Rudolph, but a solid 250 passing yards and two touchdowns? I am.
Start Greg Olsen, Panthers at Cardinals
It's early, but the Cardinals have given up the most fantasy points to TEs. I wouldn't go trading for Olsen, but if he's already on your team, don't go hunting elsewhere for a tight end. Start him.
Sit Will Dissly vs. Saints
Many might be tempted to start the TE flavor of the week, Dissly. Dissly broke out last week, but New Orleans is surprisingly stout against tight ends. The Saints are giving up less than six fantasy points per game to the position. Furthermore, we've seen this before. After two weeks last year, Dissly was third in fantasy scoring among TEs. He got hurt, played in just two more games, and finished 17th. Maybe he won't get hurt again this season, but you can wait at least one more week to see if this is for real or just more teasing.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
Start Cleveland Browns DST vs. Rams
I said it was a strange week, right? Well, just the sound of taking the Browns versus a Sean McVay-coached team sounds like a bad idea. But I have them as a low-end DST1 in my rankings this week for a reason. First off, the Browns return home and I always give the home defense a slight edge. Secondly, I know it was the Jets, but the Browns impressed me on Monday night. It seemed that half of the time the Jets had the ball that there were two or three defenders in the backfield in less than two seconds. Sure, a better offensive line might have limited that to just one defender. Yet you only need one guy to get pressure on a quarterback.
And the Browns are actually in third in pressure percentage. And while Jared Goff has improved a lot of parts of his game while under McVay, he still struggles when pressured. I suspect Cleveland pressures Goff just enough to make a mistake or two, and end up finishing the day as one of the top dozen fantasy DSTs.
Sit Mystery Team X
Looking over all of the possibilities this week, I was really struggling to find a team that I would sit that wasn't an obvious sit. For example, we all know the Ravens are a pretty good defense. But if given the choice, are you starting them against the Chiefs in Arrowhead? No way. And the Ravens are only the ninth-best fantasy DST this year. But what if I offered you a DST that was above the Ravens and is currently the fifth in scoring?
What if I told you they have allowed only 40 combined points this year? They are allowing an average of fewer than 375 yards. But they're not just a team that is tough to put together a long drive against. This DST has yet to score a touchdown but does have five takeaways. The team they are playing will be without the services of a 100-catch, All-Pro-caliber wide receiver. He will be replaced by a player that has a total of eight touchdown catches in his five seasons in the league. Intrigued, right?
Don't be. Or do you really want to start the Jets against the Patriots this weekend?
— Written by Mark Strausberg, a member of the Athlon Network Contributor, who despite his youthful exuberance and good looks has been playing fantasy sports before Wildcats or Hoosiers even made it to VHS. Got a fantasy sports question or thought? Hit him up on Twitter @MarkStrausberg.
(Top photo by Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers, courtesy of steelers.com)