Who To Start, Who To Sit In Fantasy Football Week 3: Start Daniel Jones & Courtland Sutton, Sit Joe Burrow
Getty Images. Pictured: Courtland Sutton (left) and Joe Burrow (right).
Setting your fantasy football lineups each week can be difficult.
Below are some players at each position you should start for Week 3 of the 2021 NFL season, as well as some players you should consider sitting based on matchups, injuries and trends.
Need personalized start/sit advice? Email email@example.com with your questions each week to be featured in this article and on Action’s Fantasy Flex podcast every Thursday hosted by yours truly.
Week 3 Start ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Start
Jones is QB5 through two weeks after a monster game on Thursday night. Much of his production came on the ground, where he tallied nine rushes for 95 yards and a touchdown against a tough Washington front seven. Jones is a low-end QB1 this week in a plush matchup against the Falcons, whose defense ranks dead last in points allowed this season.
Cousins is QB10 through two weeks and has a bevy of offensive weapons including Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and even K.J. Osborn to put up major points in this game. This game has shootout potential with one of the highest point totals of the week at 55.5. Cousins is an excellent streaming option with top-12 upside against the Seahawks’ subpar defense.
Wide Receivers to Start
Sutton stole the show in Week 2 with Jerry Jeudy sidelined with a high-ankle sprain. He reeled in nine of 12 targets for 159 yards, though he did not catch a touchdown and finished as WR7 in half PPR. The Jets aren’t the fantasy cheat code they used to be, but I do expect the Broncos to force some turnovers and dominate time of possession. Sutton is this team’s top option for now and should be considered a low-end WR2 this week against Gang Green.
Williams scored for the second week in a row and saw the highest target share on the team. He reeled in seven of 10 targets for 91 yards and a touchdown and is currently WR5 through two weeks in half PPR. The Chargers face the Chiefs defense this weekend, which is another solid matchup with shootout potential (o/u 54.5). Start Williams with confidence as a WR2 with upside this week.
Moore’s rostership jumped from 34% to 64% after this round of waivers following a monster game in Week 2. The rookie caught seven of eight targets for 114 yards and a touchdown against the Vikings and finished as WR6 in half PPR. Perhaps even more surprising is that he has more targets than DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Green and Christian Kirk so far this season. Even as the WR4 in this offense, Moore is a high-upside WR3/flex play against Jacksonville’s permeable secondary, which has allowed the sixth-most receiving yards per game this year.
Brown put on a show in the Ravens’ thrilling Sunday night game against the Chiefs. He reeled in six of 10 targets for 113 yards and scored for the second straight week, finishing as WR8 in half PPR. He and the Ravens face the Lions’ below-average pass defense, which lost 2020 first-round cornerback Jeff Okudah in Week 1. Brown is a high-upside flex play and borderline WR2 this week.
Running Backs to Start
Saquon Barkley, Giants vs. Falcons
Gone are the days when Barkley was a set-it-and-forget-it, locked-in starter each week. He has disappointed managers so far and ranks 47th among running backs, averaging just 5.6 points per game in half PPR. To his credit, Barkley has faced two tougher opponents to start the year — the Broncos and Washington. He gets a much easier matchup in Week 3 against the Falcons, who have allowed an NFL-worst 40 points per game. Barkley is a high-end RB2 this week with RB1 upside.
Ty’Son Williams, Ravens at Lions
Williams is RB13 through two games in half PPR and gets his third consecutive favorable matchup this week on the road in Detroit. Veteran Latavius Murray was utilized in Week 2 and saw nine carries for 36 yards and a touchdown, while Williams saw 13 carries for 77 yards and caught two passes for 16 yards. Murray will likely eat into Williams’ workload slightly, but this system — which tallied the most rushing yards last year — is still a run-first offense (though much of that production comes from quarterback Lamar Jackson). Start Williams with confidence as a solid RB2 against the Lions.
Who is the Cowboys’ best running back and why is it Tony Pollard? In all seriousness, Pollard looked fantastic in the Cowboys’ Week 2 win over the Chargers. He picked up 13 carries for 109 yards and a touchdown and caught all three targets for 31 yards — good enough to finish as RB4 in half PPR. His counterpart Ezekiel Elliott also had a good game and finished as RB7 for the week. With the way things are trending, Pollard will undoubtedly have a role in this offense beyond being Elliott’s understudy. He is a solid flex play this week with upside.
Chase Edmonds, Cardinals at Jaguars
It should be a cardinal rule to 1) alway start the Cardinals players on your roster, and 2) start your players against the Jaguars. It’s a great matchup for Edmonds, who looks like the more effective running back on this depth chart. He has seen 29 touches for 181 scrimmage yards while James Conner has seen 24 carries for 79 yards and has had zero involvement in the passing game thus far. This will be a committee, but Edmonds remains an RB2 in this favorable matchup.
Tight Ends to Start
Dallas Goedert, Eagles at Cowboys
Goedert was held to just two targets and 24 yards in Week 2 and finished as TE29 in half PPR. It’s worth noting that Zach Ertz didn’t do much better, catching one pass for six yards. Goedert is the top tight end on the depth chart and should bounce back in a big way against the Cowboys defense, which ranks 27th against fantasy tight ends this season.
Hooper is an interesting start, even in a tougher matchup against the Bears this week. Jarvis Landry is on injured reserve with a sprained MCL, which will open up targets in the short passing game. Odell Beckham Jr., who hasn’t played this season, could make his season debut in this game, though it’s unclear what kind of snap count he could be on returning from a major injury. Hooper has a path to finish as a TE1 this week with the Browns’ banged up receiving corps.
Defenses to Start
Cardinals Defense (at Jaguars)
The Cardinals D/ST recorded just one sack and finished second-to-last in Week 2 against the Vikings. It’s a letdown after their No. 1 finish in Week 1 against the Titans, but this is a fantastic bounce-back spot opposite an Urban Meyer-coached Jacksonville team, which, in spite of many high-profile additions this offseason, has scored the fourth-fewest points this year (behind only the Falcons, Jets and Dolphins). The Cardinals are a top play this week.
The Saints D/ST is another unit that was a letdown in Week 2. They finished as the second-best team defense in Week 1, but allowed 26 points in Week 2 to the Panthers, finishing 16th. This is a positive matchup for the unit to get back on track against rookie quarterback Mac Jones and the Patriots’ anemic offense.
Week 3 Sit ‘Em
Quarterbacks to Sit
Ryan Tannehill, Titans vs. Colts
I’m not in full panic mode over this Titans offense quite yet, but there has certainly been cause for concern through two weeks. The offensive line has allowed the second-most sacks per game (tied with Cincinnati and behind only the Jets), which has clearly impacted Tannehill’s production. Tannehill — who finished as QB7 through 16 weeks last year — is currently QB26 with just one passing touchdown. There are likely better options on the waiver wire (see: Teddy Bridgewater vs. the Jets and Daniel Jones vs. the Falcons). I would even consider starting Sam Darnold in Houston over Tannehill this week .
Burrow has looked pedestrian through two weeks, due in large part to the ongoing woes of the Bengals’ Penei Sewell-less offensive line. The former Heisman Trophy winner scored two touchdowns in each of the Bengals’ first two games, but threw three interceptions in Week 2 against the Bears. He is currently QB21 and has another tough matchup on deck on the road against the Steelers defense, which has kept Pittsburgh alive in spite of Ben Roethlisberger’s missteps thus far. Burrow completed just 21 of 40 attempts for 213 yards and one touchdown in his first matchup against the Steelers in 2020 and was sacked four times. Sit him in favor of one of the aforementioned waiver wire signal-callers.
Wide Receivers to Sit
Marvin Jones Jr., Jaguars vs. Cardinals
Jones has scored in each of the first two games this year and is currently WR15 in half PPR. I have nothing against Jones in a vacuum, but I’m finding it difficult to trust anyone in this Urban Meyer offense. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence has thrown five picks to four touchdowns and has a 50% completion rate through two games. I’m sitting Jones until I see improvement from the offense as a whole.
Corey Davis, Jets at Broncos
Davis posted a two-touchdown game in his debut for the Jets, but was brought back down to earth against the Patriots. He finished as WR95 after recording two catches for eight yards. Better days are ahead for Davis and Zach Wilson, who won’t be playing Bill Belichick every week, but Davis is still a sit for me against the Broncos’ tough pass defense which has allowed the fifth-fewest passing yards per game this season.
DeVante Parker, Dolphins at Raiders
Parker should theoretically perform well in a soft matchup against the Raiders, who have been middle-of-the-road against the pass so far, but he has a number of factors working against him. For one, receiver Will Fuller is expected to make his debut for Miami this week. This was supposed to happen last week, as Fuller was serving out a six-game suspension that began last season. He will ultimately cannibalize some targets from Parker and perhaps Jaylen Waddle, though I’m less concerned about Waddle given he primarily lines up in the slot. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will also miss this game after suffering a rib injury last week. Jacoby Brissett has been named the starter, which I do not necessarily consider a huge downgrade, but his presence does hurt the deep threat players like Parker and Fuller. Parker is simply too risky to be a week-to-week starter in this ineffective Dolphins offense.
Tyler Boyd, Bengals at Steelers
I’m concerned about Boyd for many of the same reasons I’m concerned about Burrow. The Bengals’ offensive line woes are a copy-paste from last season and it’s a tough matchup against the Steelers’ secondary. Toss in the fact that Boyd is now the No. 3 option on the Bengals’ depth chart behind Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, it’s not a recipe for success this week.
Running Backs to Sit
Henderson is banged up dealing with a rib injury he suffered during the team’s Week 2 matchup against the Colts. The team is optimistic he can play this week, but even if he were fully healthy, it’s not a great matchup against the Buccaneers’ run defense, which has allowed the second-fewest rushing yards per game this season (57.5). I expect to see a fair bit of Sony Michel in this game and more reliance on the passing game, since Tampa has been exploitable through the air.
Devin Singletary, Bills vs. Washington
Singletary is RB16 through two weeks in half PPR and appeared to have the starting job locked down when Zack Moss was a surprise scratch in Week 1. However, Moss returned in Week 2 and was utilized on the goal line significantly. He saw eight carries for 26 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for eight yards, while Singletary saw 13 carries for 82 yards and a touchdown and caught two passes for nine yards. Best case scenario, this is a split backfield moving forward, with the looming possibility that Moss could be the top option (which was the assumption going into the season). Singletary is a sit this week against Washington’s tough defensive line.
Jamaal Williams, Lions vs. Ravens
Williams had a monster Week 1 and finished as RB4 with D’Andre Swift one spot behind him at RB5. In Week 2, Williams finished as RB44 with Swift as RB20. His increased usage has been a function of Swift’s injury status (Swift has been dealing with a groin injury since the preseason that has hampered his fantasy production). I foresee his role decreasing as Swift gets healthier. This, coupled with the bad matchup against a Ravens defense that has been tough against the run and has allowed the sixth-fewest rushing yards this year, makes Williams an easy sit this week.
Ronald Jones II, Buccaneers at Rams
Jones was named the team’s starter ahead of the Falcons game and was ultimately out-touched seven to 15 by Leonard Fournette. Who could have predicted? I want nothing to do with a backfield wielded by Bruce Arians (a.k.a. Kyle Shanahan lite) moving forward, but especially against the Rams’ tough run defense. Sit Jones and Fournette in this matchup.
Tight Ends to Sit
It’s unlikely you are in a position to sit Tonyan, who finished as TE5 in half PPR last week, but this matchup is tough. The 49ers held Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert to three catches and 30 receiving yards last week. T.J. Hockenson did have a good game against them in Week 1, but he was also peppered with targets as the team’s No. 1 option. This could be a letdown week for a touchdown-dependent Tonyan.
Mike Gesicki, Dolphins at Raiders
Gesicki is borderline droppable at this point. The Dolphins’ tight end has scored 5.6 fantasy points all season — all of which came in Week 2 after a Week 1 goose egg. This is a good matchup on paper for Gesicki, but with a less-than-ideal quarterback situation and an additional mouth to feed with Will Fuller returning, Gesicki is an easy sit for me this week.
Defenses to Sit
49ers Defense (vs. Packers)
The 49ers D/ST has finished top 10 in each of the first two weeks and will likely be started in many leagues due to name recognition. That said, they are going up against the Packers, who bounced back in a big way on Monday night and put up 35 points against the Lions. It’s not a good matchup and you should probably look to the waiver wire for better options this week.
Bears Defense (at Browns)
The Bears D/ST is another name that will likely have a high start percentage based on name recognition. It’s true the Bears have a great defense (finished in the top three last week against the Bengals), but this Browns team has put up a lot of points so far this season and ranks sixth in points per game, one spot behind the Rams. The Bears D/ST finished 28th in Week 1 against the Matt Stafford-led Rams and are a sit this week in a tough matchup.