by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Trying to decide who you should start or sit this week? Let’s take a look at a few potential decisions owners have and try to sort through them:
Start – Alex Smith – Kansas City Chiefs – at Los Angeles Chargers
This simply isn’t the same Alex Smith we’ve become accustomed to seeing. He’s always carried the perception of being a game manager, not taking his shots to make big plays. Maybe it’s the dynamic play makers around him, who can turn a 5 yard dump-off into an 80 yard TD at any moment, but Smith owns a 9.8 yards/attempt over the first two weeks of the season. That places him fourth among QB with at least 30 attempts, ahead of Tom Brady (9.5), Drew Brees (7.9) and Aaron Rodgers (7.1). His 5 TD places him one behind the league leaders and he also hasn’t thrown an INT.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Chargers have allowed the fifth most points per week to opposing quarterbacks. Couple his performance thus far and the matchup and he’s got to be viewed as a viable option in all formats.
Sit – Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks – at Tennessee
It’s no secret that the Seahawks offense is in disarray, with offensive line issues wreaking havoc on Wilson and the rest of the skill players. Wilson has been sacked 6 times over the first two weeks, failing to throw for over 200 yards in either game and managing just 1 TD. With Thomas Rawls getting healthy it’s possible they try to control the clock with the running game and then you have his road splits from last season to consider:
- Home – 13 TD vs. 3 INT
- Road – 8 TD vs. 8 INT
In two-quarterback formats he’s usable, but in single-quarterback leagues the risk likely outweighs the reward.
Start – Lamar Miller – Houston Texans – at New England
There’s obviously a bit of risk involved here, as the Patriots could build up a big lead and force the Texans to throw the football to keep up. At the same time the Texans should be trying to control the clock and protecting their rookie quarterback, which is going to allow Miller ample opportunities to carry the football (especially early in the game). The Patriots are currently allowing the most points per week to opposing running backs, including the fourth most rushing yards and two receiving TD (something that Miller will factor in as well, with 5 receptions and 57 yards).
Start – Javorius Allen – Baltimore Ravens – at Jacksonville
The loss of Danny Woodhead has thrust Allen into a big overall role, as he showed how productive he can be in both the running and passing game in Week 2:
- Rushing – 14 carries for 66 yards
- Passing – 5 receptions for 35 yards and 1 TD
While the team has other options it would seem like Allen is going to remain the featured back. Against an improving, but not elite, defense and with Joe Flacco still working his way into form this is a good opportunity to try and exploit.
Sit – Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints – at Carolina
The Panthers have allowed the third fewest rushing yards thus far, and the only two teams below them are the ones who have played just once over the first two weeks (70 rushing yards). Maybe Ingram can make an impact in the passing game, but he’s also going to have to battle Adrian Peterson and Alvin Kamara for touches. Uncertainty plus a tough matchup means he’s impossible to trust.
Sit – Mike Gillislee – New England Patriots – vs. Houston
The Texans defense is a tough one and while Gillislee is a viable FLEX, he’s a TD dependent option who is averaging 3.5 yards per carry over the first two games and doesn’t play a role in the passing game. In other words if Houston can keep him out of the end zone he’s going to have no value, and dating back to 2016 Houston has allowed 11 rushing TD over the past 18 regular season games.
Wide Receivers (Two-Receiver Formats)
Start – Kelvin Benjamin – Carolina Panthers – vs. New Orleans
This should be a no-brainer with Greg Olsen sidelined, though people could be distracted by Devin Funchess or Christian McCaffrey. As we’ve said in other articles Benjamin should be the biggest benefactor of the absence and should be a must use option in most weeks. The Saints are allowing the most points per week to opposing wide receivers (28 receptions, 461 yards and 3 TD), making him that much stronger of a play.
Sit – Jeremy Maclin – Baltimore Ravens – vs. Jacksonville
Is he the top receiver for the Ravens? Perhaps, though they do have other options as well (like Mike Wallace). Whether he’s the top option or not, the Jacksonville defense has allowed wide receivers to catch just 15 passes (on 33 targets) for 176 yards over the first two weeks. While Allen is a good play at the RB spot, any of the Ravens’ receivers are tough to trust.
Wide Receivers (Three-Receiver Formats)
Start – Devante Parker – Miami Dolphins – at New York Jets
The New York Jets have allowed the third most points per week to opposing wide receivers, with the 4 TD allowed being the biggest issue. While Jarvis Landry got most of the attention from Week 2, Parker was targeted 9 times by Jay Cutler and as the rapport improves so will the results. With Landry not being a real threat in regards to TD, Parker should be the team’s best performer this week.
Sit – Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars – vs. Baltimore
Over the first two weeks he has turned 16 targets into just 7 receptions and is going to share the “lead” role with Allen Hurns. That makes him impossible to trust, regardless of the matchup.
Start – Hunter Henry – Los Angeles Chargers – vs. Kansas City
After being shutout in Week 1, not even receiving a target, Henry was targeted 7 times and turned in 7 catches for 80 yards. It’s obvious he needs to be a significant part of the passing game, and in a contest that could go back and forth there’s little doubt that he’s going to play a big role once again. Don’t shy away from him.
Sit – Jimmy Graham – Seattle Seahawks – at Tennessee
We touched on it with Russell Wilson, but the offense is a mess and Graham’s production simply hasn’t been there (4 catches for 9 yards). He’s also battling an ankle injury, so even if he does play how effective is he going to be?
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 3 rankings: