It’s time to move on to the next set of NFL fantasy football matchups in Week 3. You’ve learned a lot already about your teams and players—you’ve probably even worked the waiver wire to pick up some new players.
Now that you have some new faces, you have to weigh whether or not to put them in your lineup.
The decisions are big and the consequences can be huge if you miss by even a point or two. Here’s some help so that you make the right call before this week’s games.
Start ‘Em: QB Matt Schaub, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens
Matt Schaub has his flaws, and sometimes has a tendency to turn the ball over at inopportune times. Sure, he’ll throw a game-tying interception in the fourth quarter, but he’ll also throw for a ton of yards and reward fantasy owners for rolling the dice.
With a competent No. 2 receiver in rookie DeAndre Hopkins, it has been Schaub who has carried the Houston Texans to their 2-0 start, not their highly touted rushing game.
This week, he’ll get a matchup against a Baltimore Ravens secondary that is a shadow of its former self. Peyton Manning put up seven touchdowns on them in Week 1—expect Schaub to get at least two and a lot of yards. You could do worse at quarterback in Week 3.
Sit ‘Em: QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans
Philip Rivers silenced critics in the first two weeks, exploding as one of the top fantasy quarterbacks in the NFL. He did it without supposed superstar receivers, too, and he even made Eddie Royal a viable fantasy option.
But Rivers’ luck is going to run out against the Tennessee Titans this week. Malcom Floyd, Rivers’ longest-tenured target other than tight end Antonio Gates, was carted off the field last week and is out indefinitely, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
With Floyd out, the much-improved Titans pass defense should fare much better than the Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans have against Rivers and Co.
Start ‘Em: RB Joique Bell, Detroit Lions vs. Washington Redskins
The Detroit Lions have been incorporating Joique Bell into their game plan even with Reggie Bush healthy. Now that Bush is banged up with a knee injury, expect Bell to continue to gain more involvement.
Bush’s MRI results were encouraging, and he could be available to play in Week 3, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:
Lions believe RB Reggie Bush’s knee injury is not serious and he could be available to play as early as Sunday vs. WASH.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 16, 2013
Even if Bush does suit up, though, you have to believe the Lions will be cautious with his workload. He probably won’t be as effective, either. Bush is an explosive runner who could see a drop-off in production with a knee injury ailing him. It's a good week to take advantage of Bell's recent production.
Sit ‘Em: RB David Wilson, New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers
If you’re still starting David Wilson at this point, you’ve got some depth issues on your fantasy roster. While it’s hard to give up on him after just two poor starts, Wilson has quickly fallen out of favor and is firmly in Tom Coughlin’s doghouse.
Even if he's involved in the game plan this week, the Carolina Panthers present plenty of challenges for the New York Giants' offensive line. Wilson, and any Giants back for that matter, should be kept out of your lineup until someone emerges and they have a more favorable matchup altogether.
Start ‘Em: WR Steve Johnson, Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Now that we’ve established a baseline for Steve Johnson with rookie quarterback EJ Manuel behind center, it’s safe to say he’s not going to suffer from a fantasy standpoint this year.
To this point, Manuel has looked to Johnson often, and he has delivered some big plays. He’s currently tied with another Johnson—Calvin—with 26 points through two games.
The New York Jets have proven to have a better defense than expected, but they’re still capable of giving up some big plays in the passing game. If Manuel looks to exploit that, you can be sure it’ll be Johnson getting the targets.
Sit ‘Em: WR Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings
After serving a two-game suspension, you might have hoped to deploy Josh Gordon this week to help your fantasy receiver corps. Think again. The Cleveland Browns have been abysmal offensively, and it doesn’t look like things are going to get any better before they get worse.
On Wednesday, the team announced third-string quarterback Brian Hoyer will start their Week 3 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings:
BREAKING: Head Coach Rob Chudzinski has informed Brian Hoyer that he will start at quarterback Sunday at Minnesota.— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) September 18, 2013
Hoyer has been a career backup and hasn’t really ever shown us anything to believe he’ll be able to take advantage of a beatable Vikings defense. It’s best to keep Gordon stashed for now until we see signs of life out of Cleveland.