If the Week 3 opener is any sign, fantasy football owners are in for a fun weekend of action.
Thursday, the Los Angeles Rams visited the San Francisco 49ers and took a 41-39 win while quarterback Jared Goff tallied one of the most notable lines via his 23.58 points.
If Goff is slinging touchdowns while his offense puts up 40, there is hope the fantasy landscape has escaped the odd defensive-minded ways of the first two weeks of the season.
Below, let's compare some of the week's best on-paper matchups to identify the best and then break down some start 'em, sit 'em decisions.
|Matthew Stafford (ATL) vs. Drew Brees (@CAR)||Matthew Stafford|
|Cam Newton (NO) vs. Ben Roethlisberger (@CHI)||Cam Newton|
|Jay Cutler (@NYJ) vs. Derek Carr (@WAS)||Jay Cutler|
|Kirk Cousins (OAK) vs.Tom Brady (HOU)||Tom Brady|
|Matt Ryan (@DET) vs. Aaron Rodgers (CIN)||Matt Ryan|
Start: Matthew Stafford (ATL)
Don't hop off the Matthew Stafford train just yet.
One could think the Detroit Lions quarterback could regress at any moment, as he has in the past. But a potential shootout with Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons isn't the time to bank on a regression.
Through two games, Stafford has six touchdown passes against one interception. He dropped 28.08 points in the opener, then 13.18 in the second game on all of 15 completions, two of which went for touchdowns.
That second total came against the hapless New York Giants. Given Ryan and the Falcons offense will put up plenty of points, Stafford might be headed for his highest point total of the season.
Sit: Dak Prescott (at ARI)
The problem with names is simple—they're just names.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott is just a name right now. He's scored 17.12 and 17.92 points over his first two games, which doesn't sound horrible until one realizes the former came via 39 attempts and the latter a whopping 50.
If Prescott flirts with 40 attempts on the road against the Arizona Cardinals, he's going to have a bad time, to say the least. Those Cardinals coughed up nearly 30 points to Stafford in Week 1, then turned around and allowed less than 10 the following week.
Prescott doesn't have the weapons around him like Stafford does to put up comparable numbers. Still searching for his first 20-point outing, owners can do better at a good streaming position than hope he finally hits the mark.
|Le'Veon Bell (@CHI) vs. Jordan Howard (PIT)||Le'Veon Bell|
|Kareem Hunt (@LAC) vs. Jay Ajayi (@NYJ)||Kareem Hunt|
|Christian McCaffery (NO) vs. Lamar Miller (@NE)||Lamar Miller|
|Melvin Gordon (KC) vs. Ty Montgomery (CIN)||Melvin Gordon|
|Dalvin Cook (TB) vs. Leonard Fournette (BAL)||Dalvin Cook|
Start: Chris Carson (at TEN)
It's time to hop aboard the Chris Carson train.
Injuries and productivity have Carson looking like the top back on the Seattle Seahawks depth chart going into a Sunday contest against the Tennessee Titans.
Carson had a breakout usage game in Week 2, turning 20 carries into 93 yards while the only other back to register a carry did it five times. He also saw two targets through the air.
While Carson's fantasy numbers won't blow away owners just yet, he easily projects as a strong second running back this week based on usage alone. It only helps that someone like Jacksonville Jaguars back Leonard Fournette cruised to 12.10 points on 14 carries against the unit already.
Sit: Mark Ingram (at CAR)
Remember Mark Ingram?
The New Orleans back has indeed seen his opportunities slashed this year, not just because of Adrian Peterson, but because of Alvin Kamara.
A fine fantasy workhorse back one year ago, Ingram has only 14 carries through two games, the same number as Peterson. And while his 10 targets through the air seem great, Kamara has 13.
Miserable usage aside, Ingram now has to deal with the Carolina Panthers, meaning the unit that has allowed the second-fewest points to opposing backs on average through the first two weeks, which is even more impressive when remembering the two lead backs the unit shut down were Carlos Hyde and LeSean McCoy.
|Antonio Brown (@CHI) vs. Jarvis Landry (@NYJ)||Antonio Brown|
|Keenan Allen (KC) vs. Kelvin Benjamin (NO)||Kelvin Benjamin|
|A.J. Green (@GB) vs. Golden Tate (ATL)||A.J. Green|
|DeAndre Hopkins (@NE) vs. Terrelle Pryor (OAK)||Terrelle Pryor|
|Doug Baldwin (@TEN) vs. Odell Beckham (@PHI)||Odell Beckham|
Start: Terrelle Pryor (OAK)
One can almost feel the Terrelle Pryor breakout game coming.
Make no mistake—one of the Washington Redskins' premier additions this offseason has started the season off in dud fashion, scoring 6.6 and 3.1 fantasy points.
But silver linings persist. He's been targeted 14 times already. Los Angeles Rams corner Trumaine Johnson shut Pryor down in Week 2, but the Oakland Raiders don't have a player like that on the roster.
And those Raiders already allow the 13th-most points to opposing wideouts on average, a week ago even doing the unthinkable by letting New York Jets wideout Jermaine Kearse tally 18.4 points on four catches, two of which went for touchdowns.
The usage is there, and so is the talent. If the timing is down between Pryor and Kirk Cousins, so is the exploitable matchup.
Sit: Stefon Diggs (TB)
Minnesota Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs is one of the more disappointing stories of the young season so far.
Not because Diggs has underperformed either—this is a what-could-have-been situation.
Diggs exploded in Week 1 with 20.7 points via two touchdowns with an accurate Sam Bradford under center. Bradford missed Week 2 and Diggs tallied 3.1 points.
Bradford won't be able to give it a go in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which is bad news considering that unit through one game has only allowed a single touchdown to a wideout anyway.
Diggs will bounce back at some point, but he needs the right quarterback under center.
|Travis Kelce (@LAC) vs. Jordan Reed (OAK)||Travis Kelce|
|Zach Ertz (NYG) vs. Kyle Rudolph (TB)||Zach Ertz|
|Hunter Henry (KC) vs. Jason Witten (@ARI)||Hunter Henry|
|Delanie Walker (SEA) vs Cameron Brate (@MIN)||Delanie Walker|
|Charles Clay (DEN) vs. Martellus Bennett (CIN)||Martellus Bennett|
Start: Benjamin Watson (at JAC)
Yes, that Benjamin Watson continues to thrive in the NFL and yes, he's worth a start in Week 3 at a position owners can stream on a weekly basis and find success.
Watson had a silent Week 1, as his Baltimore Ravens didn't work him into the game plan. That changed in Week 2, when he inhaled all eight of his targets for 91 yards, good for 9.1 points.
Doesn't sound like much, but like clockwork, the Jacksonville Jaguars are once again one of the worst teams against the position. This time they allow the third-most points to tight ends on average and one week ago let two Tennessee Titans tight ends tally a minimum of nine points.
Rest assured the Ravens watched the film and have big plans for Watson.
Sit: Evan Engram (at PHI)
Now would be the time to slow the roll on Giants rookie tight end Evan Engram.
Engram has 12 targets over two games and looked good totaling 10.9 points in Week 2 by grabbing four of his seven targets for 49 yards and a score.
On paper, Engram's matchup looks great as well considering the Philadelphia Eagles surrender the ninth-moist points to opposing tight ends so far.
One problem with that last bit, though—the Eagles faced Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce to start the season.
Engram isn't either of those guys and his quarterback, Eli Manning, plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in football tasked with stopping one of the best pass rushes in football. He's an undercover sit candidate capable of tanking a lineup.