Week 3 is often what I call "indicator light" week for fantasy football. It's like the indicator light on your car when you are low on gas or oil. The light flashes to let you know you are dangerously close to an issue. You can drive a little more, but you could end up on the side of the road if you don't attend to it promptly. So if your high-priced stud has yet to give you any kind of return on your investment by the end of Week 3, attend to that issue immediately. It doesn't mean scrap the whole car, but best to have it examined. It is a critical week for start/sit decisions and the future of your fantasy football teams.
And speaking of what you have to do, allow me to lay out the rules for this column again. I will not be suggesting to start any WR or RB who is a "consensus" RB1 or WR1 (i.e. typically a player in the top 12 for his position that week). Likewise, I will be not suggesting that you sit an RB or WR who is not typically in the top 30 at either position.
Any other rules you want me to follow, go ahead and send 'em my way (@MarkStrausberg). If enough of you want to be stricter, looser, or whatever you suggest, I will adjust my approach accordingly.
So with the "rules of the road" let's get this car on the road to the Week 3 start/sits!
START These RBs
Jacques Patrick, San Francisco 49ers vs. Green Bay Packers
I've seen Patrick outside the top 50, but I've got a feeling by kickoff, we will see him listed as an RB3 at the worst. Double-check the injury reports, but as of now, the 49ers' backfield looks similar to Baltimore, where the Ravens seemed to have signed anyone and everyone they could after J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill all went down with season-ending injuries. I saw this earlier in the week and it made me smile:
But while Ravens seemed to grab every back available past his prime, the 49ers went for young upside, and that includes Patrick. He turned some heads when he was in the XFL and deserves to be on an NFL roster. And as we know, in head coach Kyle Shanahan's system, nearly any running back can succeed. If Patrick gets even 15 touches on Sunday, I expect him to make the most of it. I went and grabbed him in nearly half of my leagues. So if I'm wrong on this one, it will be as big of a detriment to myself as it may be to you.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
This feels a little too obvious to me, but I was shocked to see where he was ranked in a few places. Maybe I'm underrating James Conner. Or underrating the Jacksonville defense. But I don't think I am. I know it's just two games, but the Jaguars are in the bottom third of the league when it comes to preventing fantasy points to RBs. They have already shown improvement after being the second-worst in the league last year. They will continue to be better than last year, but that doesn't mean they are suddenly going to be great. And yes, Conner has 58 snaps played in the first two weeks, but Edmonds has seen 36 percent more (79 snaps). And that discrepancy was even higher last week. And Edmonds has nine targets. Conner has zero. Edmonds is the primary back.
I know, Edmonds has yet to find the end zone, but that's because the Cardinals are scoring at will. As mentioned, Edmonds has nine targets and leads the team in carries. You didn't draft Edmonds for his TD potential, or at least you should not have. But he should be making a house call soon. Edmonds' TDs/carries rate is so horribly under-index, he's gonna have to score soon just because of the law of averages. I think it's pretty reasonable to expect it to happen versus Jacksonville.
SIT These RBs
Myles Gaskin, Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders
Gaskin hasn't been that good and the Raiders' defense has been good. He doesn't even have 75 rushing yards total and now his starting quarterback is on the shelf? Meanwhile, the Raiders held the Steelers to 39 rushing yards this past week and the week before recovered two fumbles. Every part of the script foreshadows the lack of a premier game for Gaskin.
I know (hope?) Gaskin might not have cost you very much draft capital, but I'd definitely bring him back to the dealership if you can. Calling him a lemon might be generous. If the dealer gives you even 50 cents on the dollar, I'd take it. I know some folks have Gaskin ranked as an RB2 this week. I'd trust those folks less than a cross-eyed mechanic.
D'Andre Swift, Detroit Lions vs Baltimore Ravens
I presume you saw how the Ravens pretty much nullified Clyde Edwards-Helaire? Even though I think Swift is the more talented player, there are zero reasons to think he will do much better. We know the Ravens are pretty good at keeping running backs down. And after beating Kansas City, their confidence will only be higher. This game could get out of hand real quick. So even if Swift manages to hold his own, I expect the Lions to abandon the run pretty quickly. The volume just won't be there. I almost didn't include Swift, as it seems nearly too obvious, but I'm seeing him in the top 20 RBs this week, which is wayyyyy too high
Plus, I'm kind of hoping that if Detroit can get their running game going, it goes the way of Jamaal Williams. Seriously, I think he's got quite a few fans and I'm just one of them:
START These WRs
Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars
I hit on Moore last week, and we are going back to the well on this one. I honestly can't believe how many leagues he's still available in and how low he is still ranked! Kyler Murray is on absolute fire, and I don't see Jacksonville extinguishing him. And perhaps you didn't notice, but Moore has more targets than anyone else on the Cardinals. He's currently fantasy football's 19th-best WR. Maybe he drops down into the 20s, but he is easily a WR2. Period.
Darnell Mooney, Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
I was slow to come around, but I believe in Justin Fields. My thinking is the whole "rising tide lifts all boats" and therefore Mooney should see his stats rise as well. Maybe I'm wrong. But I would ignore all the noise you are hearing about how great Cleveland's defense is. They are allowing the 10th-most passing yards in the league. Mooney is far riskier than Moore, but I'd take a chance on the young Bear this week as well.
SIT These WRs
Ja'Marr Chase, Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
I've been fading Chase, and he has made me look pretty stupid so far. But that's because he has managed to score a long touchdown in back-to-back weeks. Few WRs produce long TDs three weeks in a row and it's even rarer by rookies.
But forget any kind of historical trends. The reason I'd sit Chase is that of the Bengals top three WRs, he has the lowest target share at 20 percent. Tyler Boyd has a 23 percent share and seems to be Burrow's safety blanket. Meanwhile, Tee Higgins looks like the team's real WR1 with a 27 percent target share. And with Pittsburgh likely to allow fewer passing attempts this weekend, I wouldn't bank on Chase getting a bunch of targets or scoring a long TD. Higgins is listed as doubtful on the injury report with a shoulder injury, so his availability could impact Chase's outlook, but I'm still not crazy about him for Week 3.
Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns
If you're reacting like John McEnroe and want to scream at me, "You can't be serious!," the answer is I'm not. I looked at all the other top 25 WRs and couldn't find a single one I'd bench. And that includes Robinson. So instead of this being a true "sit," let's simply call it a "minor downgrade". I like Robinson this week and have him in my top 30.
However, if I'm weighing Robinson against another potential WR2, I'm making Robinson my WR3 this week. Or if you are playing in, say, an eight-team or maybe even a 10-team league, you can probably do better for your second WR. The fact that he is averaging just three receptions a week and has less than 60 combined receiving yards on the season is concerning. As I detailed with Darnell Mooney, I expect the Chicago passing attack to start an incline this week. But I don't KNOW that it will. And I want to see it happen before I consider ARob a "set it and forget it" option. Robinson might be a great "buy low" candidate, but he is not an obvious start in shallow leagues, so he is my default reluctant choice here.
— 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.