Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 3: Start James Robinson, Adam Thielen; Sit Aaron Rodgers, Rashaad Penny

Fantasy Football Start/Sit Week 3: Start James Robinson, Adam Thielen; Sit Aaron Rodgers, Rashaad Penny article feature image

Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: James Robinson.

With overreaction week in the rearview mirror, we turn our attention to Week 3 of the NFL season. 

A number of shocking things happened in Weeks 1 and 2, and setting lineups might be a serious chore with the sheer number of injuries and befuddling situations for fantasy.

Below are some players at each position you should start in Week 3, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.

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Week 3 Start 'Em

Quarterbacks to Start

Derek Carr, Raiders (at Titans)

Carr struggled in his first game of the season against the Chargers. He tossed three interceptions, two touchdowns and finished as the QB17. He bounced back nicely in Week 2, completing 25 of 39 attempts for 252 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, finishing as the QB11.

I have maintained that Carr will be a week-to-week streaming option based on the matchup, which looks pretty tempting this week against the winless Titans.

Tennessee has given up 62 points over its first two games, even putting Giants quarterback Daniel Jones on the fantasy radar. Carr is a low-end QB1 this week with upside.

Carson Wentz, Commanders (vs. Eagles)

Don't look now, but Wentz might be the new king of garbage time. He passed for 313 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions in Week 1 against the Jaguars and threw for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in Week 2 against the Lions.

Wentz is the QB4 through two weeks behind only Lamar Jackson, Josh Allen and Jalen Hurts — just as everyone predicted. The ex-Eagle gets his revenge game in Week 3 against his former squad, which looks like it could be a high-scoring affair.

He is a fringe QB1 this week with upside and an excellent streaming option for managers who lost Dak Prescott or Trey Lance.

Wide Receivers to Start

DK Metcalf, Seahawks (vs. Falcons)

Metcalf has been a disappointment thus far, tallying just 71 receiving yards over two games and finishing as the WR64 in half PPR in back-to-back weeks.

He does, however, have 13 targets over that span and had a monster catch called back on a silly, ineligible player downfield penalty. Meanwhile, Tyler Lockett caught nine of 11 targets for 107 yards in the game against the 49ers.

Metcalf remains my favorite of the two and he should bounce back nicely with the Falcons on deck. Atlanta's defense ranked 29th in pass DVOA last season and has given up the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers this year.

Metcalf is a high-end WR3/flex with upside in a positive Week 3 matchup.

Drake London, Falcons (at Seahawks)

This year's rookie wideout class has been astounding, and London, who was the first receiver off the board, is no exception.

He had a strong debut, catching five of seven targets for 74 yards in Week 1 against the Saints to finish as the WR33. He followed that up with eight catches on 12 targets for 86 yards and a touchdown in Los Angeles, finishing as the WR9.

It's unfortunate that his ascension has come somewhat at the expense of tight end Kyle Pitts. That said, I am rolling with the hot hand with the Seahawks on deck.

Seattle has been stingy against receivers, but that being said, it faced a Broncos team that couldn't get out of their own way in Week 1 and a George Kittle-less 49ers team that had to scramble after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. London belongs in lineups as a borderline WR2.

Adam Thielen, Vikings (vs. Lions)

Thielen has been a bit underwhelming thus far.

In Week 1, he caught three of four targets for 36 yards to finish as the WR65 as he took a backseat to the Justin Jefferson Show. In Week 2, the entire Minnesota offense was stumped by the Eagles; the Vikings' No. 2  caught four of seven targets for 52 yards and finished as the WR54.

I'm expecting a big game from the Vikings offense with the division-rival Lions on deck. Detroit's defense has allowed 65 points in their first two games and has been eighth-worst against wide receivers in fantasy this year.

Thielen should be considered a WR3/flex with upside in a game with the highest point total (53).

Garrett Wilson, Jets (vs. Bengals)

Wilson was my favorite waiver add of the week and deserves to be rostered in 100% of leagues.

He saw eight targets for four catches and 52 yards in his NFL debut against the Ravens. He followed that up with an incredible performance in Week 2 with eight catches on 14 targets for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Browns.

There's a good reason Wilson was the betting favorite to be the first receiver drafted in this class: His pedigree, speed, route running and overall athleticism are a problem for opposing defenses.

This week Wilson faces the Bengals who, on paper, have been tough against opposing wide receivers. That said, they've faced the Mitch Trubisky-led Steelers and a Cooper Rush-led Cowboys squad so far.

Wilson's whopping 22 targets in two games makes him an attractive, high-floor WR3/flex option.

Running Backs to Start

Miles Sanders, Eagles (at Commanders)

Sanders has been solid through two weeks.  He had 15 touches for 105 all-purpose yards and a touchdown in Week 1 against the Lions and saw 20 touches for 86 yards in Week 2 against the Vikings.

He is tied with Antonio Gibson as the RB11 in half PPR, which is pretty good considering he was banged up in training camp and drafted somewhere around RB30. He now has a mouthwatering matchup on deck against the NFC East-rival Commanders, whose run defense has been torched by the Jaguars and Lions, and has given up the second-most fantasy points to running backs this year.

Sanders should be started with confidence as a RB2 this week.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Chiefs (at Colts)

After Travis Kelce and Patrick Mahomes, Edwards-Helaire has been the most consistent Chiefs player in fantasy this season.

He tallied 10 touches for 74 scrimmage yards and two touchdowns in Week 1, finishing as the RB6. He followed that up with a 12-touch, 118-yard performance in Week 2, finishing as the RB10.

This week, the Chiefs take on the Colts, who were just shut out by the Jaguars and may not put up much of a fight. I suspect this game script will favor the run and Edwards-Helaire will see significant work as a result. He is a high-end RB2 with upside in Week 3.

James Robinson, Jaguars (at Chargers)

I am once again asking you to start James Robinson.

After making a miraculous recovery from a torn Achilles he suffered in December, the former undrafted free agent has out-touched 2021 first-round pick Travis Etienne 37 to 18 and out-snapped Etienne 79 to 62 through two weeks.

Robinson has finished as the RB8 and RB7 so far and is looking like the No. 1 option out of the Jacksonville backfield. He is a low-end RB2 against the Chargers and I would not hesitate to start him over Etienne.

Damien Harris, Patriots (vs. Ravens)

Harris has been the only usable running back in New England through two weeks.

He saw 11 touches for 58 all-purpose yards in Week 1 to Rhamondre Stevenson's 10 touches for 27 yards. In Week 2, he had 17 touches for 87 yards and a touchdown to Stevenson's 10 touches for 51 yards.

Harris had a bit of a scare toward the end of last week's contest against the Steelers, but it sounds like he should be good to go against the Ravens. He is a RB3 option against Baltimore's middle-of-the-road run defense.

Tight Ends to Start

Gerald Everett, Chargers (vs. Jaguars)

Everett is looking like one of the best early season waiver steals.

The Chargers tight end was solid in Week 1 with three catches for 54 yards and a touchdown. He saw a whopping 10 targets in Week 2 and caught six passes for 71 yards; he is the TE4 in half PPR through two weeks.

I would sit him if Justin Herbert (ribs) is out. Otherwise, Everett is trending toward being a locked-in TE1 rest-of-season.

Tyler Higbee, Rams (at Cardinals)

Like the entire Rams offense, Higbee was disappointing in Week 1. He caught five of 11 targets for 39 yards, finishing as the TE17. He bounced back in Week 2 against Atlanta and caught seven of nine targets for 71 yards — good enough for a TE8 finish.

The Cardinals' defense has been lit up by tight ends this season, though in fairness, they have faced Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. I expect this game to be decently high scoring, which could mean opportunities for Higbee. He is a low-end TE1 for Week 3.

Defenses to Start

Packers D/ST (at Buccaneers)

Green Bay's defense was drafted in the top seven according to FantasyPros ADP. It was terrible in Week 1 against the Vikings, but bounced back in Week 2 against a hapless Bears squad that did not put up much of a fight.

This week, the Packers face the Buccaneers, who have struggled offensively. Quarterback Tom Brady will be without his star wideout Mike Evans, who was suspended for one game, and could be without both Chris Godwin (hamstring) and Julio Jones (knee) — neither of which practiced Thursday.

This game is likely to be low scoring — especially with multiple Packers receivers on the injury report — and has an over/under of 42 points.

Week 3 Sit 'Em

Quarterbacks to Sit

Aaron Rodgers, Packers (at Buccaneers)

Putting Rodgers in the "sit" column sounds spicier than it actually is.

The four-time MVP was abysmal Week 1 in Minnesota, completing 22 of 34 attempts for 195 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. He finished with just five fantasy points and was 32nd among quarterbacks.

In fairness, Green Bay's offensive line was hobbled and Allen Lazard sat out with an ankle issue. Rodgers bounced back in the Packers' home opener against the Bears, completing 19 of 25 attempts for 234 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions, though a QB17 finish still doesn't inspire much confidence.

He has a much tougher matchup on the road this week against the Buccaneers, whose defense has allowed just 13 points and one touchdown all season. Toss in the fact that four of his receivers — Sammy Watkins (hamstring), Christian Watson (hamstring), Randall Cobb (illness) and Lazard (ankle) — recorded DNPs on Thursday, Rodgers could be playing seriously shorthanded. He falls outside of the top 12 this week for me amid these difficult circumstances.

Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers (at Broncos)

Garoppolo is the most obvious replacement for managers who lost Lance last week, though I would be wary of putting him in my lineup in his first start this year.

The 30-year-old was the QB18 in 2021 with 15 starts; he had his best season in 2019 during San Francisco’s Super Bowl run when he was the QB14.

Garoppolo finished as the QB14 in Week 2 after completing 13 of 21 attempts for 154 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, and tacking on four rushing attempts for five yards and a touchdown. He will have fringe-QB1 potential in the right matchups, which won't come this week against the Broncos.

Denver's defense has allowed the fifth-fewest fantasy points to signal-callers this year and this game isn't expected to be high scoring (O/U 45). He is a firm sit in Week 3.

Wide Receivers to Sit

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chiefs (at Colts)

Smith-Schuster was given a prime opportunity to take over as the Chiefs' No. 1 wideout with Tyreek Hill off to Miami. He has yet to "carpe diem," however, and has just nine catches for 89 yards over two games.

The former Steeler is the WR67 in half PPR this year and doesn't offer much upside against a Colts team that ranks 10th against fantasy wide receivers this year. Smith-Schuster is a low-end WR3 who can be benched for better options.

Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (at Broncos)

Unlike the Dak Prescott situation in Dallas, I am actually cautiously optimistic about the 49ers' skill-position players under Jimmy Garoppolo.

First, there is a titanic difference between going from Dak Prescott to Cooper Rush versus Trey Lance to Garoppolo. That said, I still can't trust Aiyuk — the WR50 through two weeks — in a brutal road matchup against the Broncos.

As painful as it has been to watch Denver offensively (and by Denver, I really mean Nathaniel Hackett), its defense has allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this year. Aiyuk is a risky WR3 with downside in Week 3.

Darnell Mooney, Bears (vs. Texans)

The WR26 in 2021, Mooney was drafted as the WR33 this year according to FantasyPros ADP with the hope quarterback Justin Fields could take a step forward in Year 2.

So far, Mooney has fallen short of his lofty expectations. He has just two catches for four yards over two games despite playing 90% of snaps in each contest.

Mooney has potential,  but we could very well be witnessing version 2.0 of Allen Robinson's 2021 season. He will remain seriously limited in the Bears' offense and isn't startable — even against the Texans.

Allen Lazard, Packers (at Buccaneers)

Lazard had an OK — not great — season debut for the Packers in Week 2. He hauled in two of three targets for 13 yards and scored a touchdown, finishing as the WR45 for the week.

The targets are unimpressive and the matchup this week is scary against the Buccaneers, who have been extremely stingy against the pass. Lazard was also limited in practice on Wednesday and a non-participant on Thursday, which is definitely something to monitor heading into Sunday.

Even if he plays, he is a no-brainer sit for me this week .

Running Backs to Sit

Devin Singletary, Bills (at Dolphins)

Through two weeks, the Bills have one of the more confusing backfields in fantasy football.

In Week 1, Singletary led with 10 touches for 52 all-purpose yards while Zack Moss saw 12 touches for 36 all-purpose yards; rookie James Cook was a non-factor. In Week 2, Cook led the backfield with 11 carries for 53 yards, Singletary had eight touches for 21 scrimmage yards and Moss had three carries for 17 yards.

My takeaway is that none of these running backs can be trusted barring a major change. Singletary is a low-end RB3 this week in Miami.

Melvin Gordon III, Broncos (vs. 49ers)

Gordon has scored exactly six points in Weeks 1 and 2 in half PPR and is currently the RB45. The more worrisome trend, however, is his split usage with Year 2 running back Javonte Williams.

In Week 1, Gordon shared snaps with Williams 27 to 38. That gap widened in Week 2 to 23 to 47. Gordon will likely always have some kind of role, though I think it's probably in the Broncos' best interest to give Williams the ball more.

Workload aside, the matchup isn't great. The 49ers have allowed the seventh fewest fantasy points to running backs this season. Gordon is a low-upside RB3 in Week 3.

Rashaad Penny, Seahawks (vs. Falcons)

Penny looked decent in Seattle's season opener against Denver. He saw 12 rushes for 60 yards and caught two passes for seven yards, finishing as the RB36.

His role was cut down significantly in Week 2, however, with rookie Kenneth Walker III making his NFL debut and Travis Homer also being involved.  Penny had six carries for 15 yards, Walker saw six touches for 15 all-purpose yards and Homer saw six touches for 42 all-purpose yards. Homer, Penny and Walker had a snap split of 22, 20 and 12, respectively, in the effort.

The total on this game is 42 and the Falcons have been surprisingly decent against running backs so far. I don't want any part of a three-headed backfield that could be bottom five this year. Penny is a risky play this week and moving forward.

Chase Edmonds, Dolphins (vs. Bills)

Edmonds has been extremely underwhelming through two weeks.

He saw a decent workload in Week 1, tallying 16 touches for 65 scrimmage yards to finish as the RB31 in half PPR. In Week 2, Edmonds took a backseat to veteran Raheem Mostert, and saw just six touches for 41 yards to Mostert's 15 touches for 79 yards.

I'm not sure if this is an indication of how the Dolphins plan to deploy their backfield moving forward, but it is enough to warrant concern — especially against the Bills.

Buffalo has been very good against opposing running backs this year and kept Derrick Henry in check in Week 2. Edmonds cannot be trusted in fantasy lineups this week. 

Tight Ends to Sit

Mike Gesicki, Dolphins (vs. Bills)

Gesicki turned heads with a highlight-reel touchdown in Week 2, which I suppose atoned somewhat for his Week 1 flop.

His five targets this season dwarf in comparison to Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle's combined 29, however. Through two weeks, Gesicki has posted a TE55 finish and a TE4 finish in half PPR, which makes him a volatile touchdown-dependent play.

The Bills have been solid against most positions this year and have allowed the eighth-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. Gesicki is a desperation TE2 play in Week 3.

Albert Okwuegbunam, Broncos (vs. 49ers)

Okwuegbunam had preseason hype that vaulted him into top 12 consideration in fantasy drafts. His ADP was TE14 in half PPR, which means he would have had to make a massive jump from his previous two seasons in which he was the TE62 and TE29.

The optimism was not unfounded given the Broncos' major upgrade at quarterback, though that has done little to nothing to boost Okwuegbunam's production. He caught five of six targets for 33 yards in Week 1 and laid a goose egg in Week 2.

The 49ers have been the toughest team through two weeks against tight ends. Okwuegbunam is a firm sit and potential drop candidate for better options on the wire.

Defenses to Sit

Colts D/ST (vs. Chiefs)

Indianapolis' defense was drafted in the top three according to FantasyPros ADP. It was OK — not great — against Davis Mills and the Texans in the season opener and a complete dud in Week 2 against Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars.

The unit recorded zero sacks, zero turnovers and allowed 24 points last week. The Colts face a much more fearsome Week 3 opponent in a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs team that has scored 71 points in the first two games.

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