So how did I do in dispensing sound fantasy advice when it comes to wide receivers and tight ends in Week 3?
Start Steve Smith (30.6 fantasy points) — He’s the only option on the Ravens and he just keeps producing.
Start Brandon Marshall (14.9 FP) — Forget that ugly lateral. He is back to being a superstar.
Start Travis Benjamin (8.5 FP) — He scored another touchdown, I told you he might be worth the risk.
Sit Brandin Cooks (7.9 FP) — Couldn’t get anything going with Luke McCown under center.
Amari Cooper (11.4 FP) — Two weeks in a row I said sit Amari Cooper. That won’t happen a third time.
So who made the cut this week?
Teams on bye: Patriots, Titans
START THESE WRs...
Rishard Matthews, MIA (vs. NYJ, London)
Matthews has been one of the most pleasant surprises in all of fantasy football so far and he has played so well that he is now a must own in all 12-team leagues. Matthews appears to have a firm grasp on the No. 2 WR spot on a Dolphins team that has been throwing it more than they would like because they can’t get their run game going and have been playing from behind. This week Miami is in London to play the New York Jets, who may be without Darrelle Revis (and if Revis does play, he will probably be matched up with Jarvis Landry), and have already given up the 13th-most fantasy points to WRs this season. This makes Matthews a great WR3/flex play this week.
Ted Ginn Jr., CAR (at TB)
No that’s not a typo, I’m actually suggesting that you start Ginn this week against the pathetic Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense. Ginn has led all Panthers receivers in targets the last two weeks and seems to be developing great rapport with Cam Newton. Again, he’s not more than a WR3/flex play, but when someone is getting targeted as much as Ginn, and actually turning those targets into steady fantasy points, it’s time to start thinking logically instead of throwing Green Bay’s new WR3 Ty Montgomery out there and hoping that he turns into Jordy Nelson.
Jordan Matthews, PHI (at WAS)
Don`t give up on Matthews just because he didn`t really produce last week (he was stuck on Revis island) and that it appears Sam Bradford might not be a great fit for Chip Kelly`s offense after all. Matthews is going to bounce back this week with an outstanding game. This week Philadelphia travels to Washington to play a pass defense that surrendered 31 fantasy points to Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle one week ago. You can bet that Kelly is going to exploit Washington`s secondary in this game.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Travis Benjamin, CLE (at SD)
Hear me out before you think I’m crazy. Benjamin is still available in a lot of leagues and he has scored at least one touchdown in every game this season. Even the elite receivers can’t say that. Now of course you aren’t going to rely on Benjamin as your No. 1 wide receiver, but he is a good flex play this week as the Browns travel all the way out west to take on the San Diego Chargers. Believe it or not Josh McCown played pretty well last week in his return as the Browns’ starting QB and he has shown no hesitation to throw the ball deep down field in Benjamin’s direction. It’s been working so far, so look for it to continue.
SIT THESE WRs…
Vincent Jackson, TB (vs. CAR)
Last week against the Saints, even with Austin-Seferian Jenkins not playing and Mike Evans just getting back into game shape from a hamstring injury, Jackson managed to catch only two balls on four targets for 40 yards. That’s just not good enough for a guy you are probably starting as your WR2. Things don’t get much easier this week for Jackson and the rest of the Buccaneers as they play one of the best defenses in football in the Carolina Panthers, who will no doubt keep Jackson to a similar anemic stat line.
Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs. OAK)
The good news for Jeffery owners is that he should return from his various injuries this week. The bad news is that he returns with Jimmy Clausen as his starting quarterback. With Clausen under center that means the Bears will lean heavily on their running game and any passes will be short throws to Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. To make things worse for Jeffery, the Raiders' pass defense has actually been solid, at least against wide receivers. Oakland has allowed just one touchdown catch to a WR this season. Too bad the Raiders can't cover tight ends.
John Brown, ARI (vs. STL)
Brown is really good and a favorite target of Carson Palmer, so his time will come, just not this week. Look for the Palmer-to-Fitzgerald combo to keep rolling this week and Brown to be held to under 10 fantasy points. The Rams have surrendered just 14.37 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts, so there might not be enough of an opportunity for Brown to produce this week.
YOU`VE BEEN WARNED...
Jarvis Landry, MIA (vs. NYJ, London)
This all comes down to what type of league you have Landry in – PPR or standard. Landry has been a beast in PPR formats so far in 2015 with 24 catches already, but he`s not even in the top 20 in standard leagues. This week Landry is most likely going to be lined up opposite Darrelle Revis, rendering Landry useless in standard leagues and probably a WR3 at best in PPR.
START THESE TEs...
Tyler Eifert, CIN (vs. KC)
So Eifert put up a big bagel on the stat sheet last week. That’s right – he had zero catches, for zero yards which means zero touchdowns. Instead Andy Dalton kept throwing the ball to A.J. Green (who had 227 yards and two touchdowns) and Marvin Jones (97 yards). But don’t jump off the Eifert bandwagon just yet. Keep in mind that Eifert scored 22.4 fantasy points in Week 1 and 10.9 fantasy points in Week 2 and was heavily targeted by Andy Dalton in those first two games. Look for that trend to continue this week, as Eifert should play a bigger role against Kansas City and should finish with a stat line closer to six catches for 65 yards and toss in a red zone touchdown for good measure.
Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs. OAK)
You could say that Bennett has been a disappointment to start the 2015 season. After all, he was widely considered the No. 3 tight end heading into the season. But 13 catches for 118 yards and only one touchdown so far just doesn’t cut it. Sure it doesn’t help that the whole Bears offense (other than Matt Forte) has struggled and now he is catching passes from Jimmy Clausen, but this is the week where Bennett turns things around. The Bears play the Raiders, a team that just let Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge get over 100 receiving yards last week plus a touchdown. If the Bears are going to have any chance of finally winning a game they are going to need to lean on Bennett, as he is the only dependable receiving threat they have when Alshon Jeffery is out of the lineup.
Jordan Reed, WAS (vs. PHI)
The Redskins might stink, but Reed sure doesn’t. Reed is breaking out right before our eyes as he has been one of the most consistent tight ends so far this season. When you look at the tight end position, you always want to take into consideration total targets, and Reed has been a target monster this year. Last week against the Giants he had nine targets, he caught six of those for 96 yards, which is good and totally awesome if you are in a PPR league. This week the Redskins play against an Eagles defense that is struggling and won’t be able to contain Reed. He will keep on rolling in Week 4 and with DeSean Jackson still nursing a hamstring injury, Reed should once again push close to 100 receiving yards.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Owen Daniels, DEN (at MIN)
It took some time but Daniels finally had the game that everyone had been expecting of him. He was targeted an outstanding nine times last week by Peyton Manning, which means that he is finally gaining trust in Daniels. It also helps that Daniels caught a great touchdown pass, something that Manning won’t forget when they are in the red zone this week against the Vikings. Denver is struggling mightily to run the ball, so you know that the Vikings are going to try and lock down Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, which should open up some space for Daniels. Five catches for 60-plus yards isn’t a bad game for a tight end that you might have to start if your starting tight end (like Gronk) is on a bye this week.
SIT THESE TEs...
Jared Cook, STL (at ARI)
Cook has had an excellent start to the 2015 season, until last week when everything came to a crashing halt as he had only one catch for seven yards, burning many fantasy owners who were jumping on the Cook bandwagon. Even though Cook is leading the Rams in targets and seems to be Nick Foles' favorite target, he is not a good sleeper pick this week. The Rams play the Cardinals, a defense that just simply crushed the 49ers last week – scoring an incredible 28 fantasy points thanks to four picks, two of which were returned for touchdowns. With the bye weeks starting this week, many folks will be looking for a tight end to pick up off the waiver wire, but Cook isn’t the answer.
Kyle Rudolph, MIN (at DEN)
Usually Rudolph is a low-end TE1 that you can start and hope he scores a touchdown, especially in a Norv Turner offense that loves to feature the tight end. Different story this week as you should probably look elsewhere as the Vikings are going up against the Broncos and their dominant defense and it looks like the way the Vikings need to win games is keep the ball out of Teddy Bridgewater’s hands and instead hand it off to Adrian Peterson.
Jordan Cameron, MIA (vs. NYJ, London)
Cameron had a nice start to his Dolphins career, catching seven passes for 135 yards in his first two games. Then last week with the Dolphins trying desperately to climb out of a huge hole against the Bills, he scored a mere 1.6 fantasy points and now faces a tough opponent all the way in London this week. The Jets have allowed the third fewest fantasy points, an outstanding 3.17 point per game, to tight ends so far this season.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Richard Rodgers, GB (at SF)
Rodgers is one of those tight ends that you start and know that if he doesn’t score a touchdown, he’s not going to score enough points to help you win your weekly matchup. He just doesn’t get enough targets – even with Jordy Nelson and now it looks like Davante Adams out of the lineup. Aaron Rodgers has shown that he will throw to Richard Rodgers in the red zone, but are you willing to gamble that they connect for a touchdown this week against the 49ers?
— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.