Before we dive into Week 3’s start or sit fantasy advice for quarterback and defense/special teams (DST), let’s see how Week 2’s tips panned out.
Start Derek Carr (24.96 fantasy points) – Carr is going to be airing it out a lot if the Raiders’ defense continues to give up so many yards and points.
Sit Russell Wilson (11.56 FP) – Wilson and the whole Seahawks' offense looks out of sorts and have only scored one touchdown in two games
I also warned you against starting Andrew Luck (10.08 FP) against the Broncos and he was eaten alive by the best defense in football
Sit Matt Ryan (27.84 FP) – What was I thinking telling you to sit a QB against the Raiders?
Start Eli Manning (12.32 FP) – Eli didn’t throw for a single touchdown against the Saints at home last week despite throwing for 368 yards.
I said it might be worth it to start Jameis Winston (4.62 FP). Oops! Five turnovers later…
START THESE QBS...
Matt Ryan, ATL (at NO, Mon.)
Ryan is playing his best football in years. Julio Jones may be dealing with a calf sprain, but Jacob Tamme is catching everything and Mohamed Sanu seems to be keeping defenses far more honest than post-2012 Roddy White or Harry Douglas ever could. This week the Falcons travel to New Orleans to face a Saints defense that allows secondary receivers to put up good numbers against them. Just look at Michael Crabtree in Week 1 and Sterling Shepard last week. The fact is that this game very well could be a shootout, and you want a piece of that. Ryan also leads the NFL in passer rating with 121.4 and is second in both passing yards (730) and touchdowns (five).
Phillip Rivers, SD (at IND)
If you started Rivers last week, you were quite pleased with his four touchdowns and 23.8 fantasy points in a win over the Jaguars. More importantly, he did it without Keenan Allen and (for a time) Danny Woodhead. This week he's facing a questionable Colts pass defense that hardly has any healthy cornerbacks and has allowed an average of 18.7 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Rivers is in for another big game.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (vs. OAK)
Just like last year, it’s smart to start as many offensive players against the Raiders as you can and this week the Titans are the lucky team that gets to welcome the Raiders to town. The Raiders have allowed the most passing yards (808) and touchdown passes (seven) through two games. Even if they suddenly right the ship, there’s no reason to think Mariota won’t at least put up a decent game for the Tom Brady owner or the one who is streaming QBs. Mariota is averaging a completely serviceable 250-2-1 line as a passer alone, and he should easily do better than that this week.
MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...
Ryan Tannehill, MIA (vs. CLE)
Sure, most of Tannehill’s 26 fantasy points (standard scoring) last week came in garbage time against the Patriots, but for fantasy purposes, we finally got a glimpse of what the Dolphins' passing attack could be like with a healthy DeVante Parker. Now Tannehill gets a juicy matchup at home against the Browns, which have allowed at least 275 passing yards and two touchdowns in both of their games so far. Tannehill should be able to join Carson Wentz and Joe Flacco in that club, giving him an excellent chance at another 20-plus fantasy point performance this week.
SIT THESE QBs...
Derek Carr, OAK (at TEN)
Carr has been better than advertised to start the season, scoring 23.36 fantasy points in Week 1 and 27.96 fantasy points in Week 2. Those numbers look great but are a little inflated because in both games the Raiders' defense has been so bad the games turned into shootouts. Carr should have a quieter performance this week on the road against a Titans defense that has allowed just 20 points per game and has given up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season.
Andy Dalton, CIN (vs. DEN)
Dalton was better than expected last week against the Steelers, throwing for 366 yards and a touchdown to give him 19.3 fantasy points. But Dalton was limping badly after the game and this week, he gets Denver. Denver is eating QBs for lunch and leaving them worse for the wear by the time the game is over. Just last week the Broncos held Andrew Luck to 197 passing yards while sacking him five times and forcing him to turn it over twice. Chances are Dalton isn’t going to fare much better.
Jameis Winston, TB (vs. LA)
Winston has had quite the polar opposite starts to his season. He had four touchdown passes in Week 1... and four interceptions in Week 2. Next up is a date with the Rams, which held Russell Wilson to a modest 11.56 fantasy points in a win over the Seahawks last week. Winston also has thrown one or fewer touchdown passes in five of his eight career games at Raymond James Stadium.
YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...
Russell Wilson, SEA (vs. SF)
Wilson can easily play his way out of his two-game funk to start the season, and the 49ers just gave up a monster performance to Cam Newton (353 yards, 4 TD passes) on the road. This also is the second of back-to-back road games for San Francisco, and Wilson had his way with the NFC West rivals at home last year (260 yards, 3 TD passes). But that’s the only game against the 49ers with multiple touchdowns in his past five meetings and his only performance with more than 250 passing yards over that span. It's not so much the defense this week as Wilson looking off, and his ankle injury from Week 1 could be a problem. Factor in the offensive line struggling and Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett both dealing with their own injuries, and it could be another tough game for Wilson.
Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)
START THESE DSTs...
Miami Dolphins (vs. CLE)
The Dolphins should be the most added defense off the waiver wire this week and a matchup against the Browns is the reason. Opposing defenses have scored an average of 10.5 fantasy points in two games against Cleveland, and now rookie quarterback Cody Kessler is being thrown into the fire. Miami should fish out a huge performance.
New York Giants (vs. WAS)
The Giants' defense looks pretty darn solid so far this season, and it showed in last week's 12-point performance against the Saints. Next up is a date with the Redskins and Kirk Cousins, who has three touchdown passes and 10 giveaways in four career games vs. Big Blue. The G-Men are still available in a lot of leagues.
SIT THESE DSTs...
Buffalo Bills (vs. ARI)
Whether it's Rex or Rob, the Ryans haven't been able to turn the Bills’ defense into a viable option on the field or in fantasy. That isn't going to change this week against the Cardinals, wich figure to pepper this unit with a performance that will scorch the scoreboard at New Era Field. Sit the Bills.
Philadelphia Eagles (vs. PIT)
The Eagles' defense has produced a combined 21 fantasy points over the first two weeks of the season, which ranks seventh at the position. Still, starting this unit against Ben Roethlisberger, DeAngelo Williams, Antonio Brown and an explosive Steelers’ offense is not something fantasy owners should be doing this week.
— 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.