It's time to test some depth. As an unfortunate barrage of injuries heat up waiver wires (and hopefully trade markets), the edges of fantasy rosters will prove pivotal in Week 3. That makes it more important than ever to obtain an advantage with fringe starters.
NFL injury reports and signings update through the week, but we're taking a relatively early look at the FantasyPros consensus rankings to identify debated starters and sleepers. For quarterbacks, tight ends and defenses, that means players ranked around No. 12 in the rankings, but for running backs and wide receivers, who typically enjoy two starting spots apiece in fantasy leagues, that fringe drops down to around No. 24 and beyond.
One start and one sit will be listed at each position, followed by analysis of two
QB: Gardner Minshew II, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins
RB: Joshua Kelley, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers
WR: Laviska Shenault Jr., Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins
TE: Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins at Jacksonville Jaguars
D/ST: Cleveland Browns vs. Washington Football Team
QB: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Green Bay Packers
RB: Zack Moss, Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams
WR: Michael Gallup, Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks
TE: TJ Hockenson, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals
D/ST: Los Angeles Rams at Buffalo Bills
Start: Laviska Shenault Jr., WR, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins
It's not every week that a sleeper-turned-streamer can be considered a fringe starter, but this is no ordinary week, and Laviska Shenault Jr. is no ordinary player. Ranked as the WR46, the explosive wideout feels like a much stronger bet than many of the receivers ranked ahead of him. That includes WR26 A.J. Green, who draws a tough matchup with Darius Slay and whose connection with Joe Burrow is unproven, and WR29 Will Fuller V, who dropped a goose in Week 2.
Shenault has had four targets and three receptions in each game this season, but he went from two carries in Week 1 to five in Week 2. With a modest pattern of increased usage, the 6'1", 227-pound rookie hasn't broken out just yet, but his 119 yards and one touchdown on the year are intriguing when coupled with DJ Chark Jr.'s limitation in practice and a matchup with the mediocre Miami Dolphins defense.
Head coach Doug Marrone has praised Shenault's ability to play quarterback, running back and wide receiver, with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden agreeing that "he's really all three." Having made the most of his increased opportunities, and with practice reps opening up, one has to imagine that "Huncho" (and his 6.7 average yards per carry) will be leaned upon more in Week 3 against a Miami team that has given up 52 points through two contests.
Sit: Zack Moss, RB, Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Los Angeles Rams should not be the consensus D/ST7 on the week, but that's not because Zack Moss will be tearing them up. Moss could, but it would be surprising given the expected game script and his recent usage.
Ranked as the RB23, one ahead of teammate Devin Singletary, this should actually project as a matchup favoring the latter. In a comfortable Week 1 win over the New York Jets, Moss received three fewer looks (carries and targets) than Singletary. In a tighter Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins, he saw five fewer. Singletary is the more trusted playmaker and receiver, ensuring his participation in closer matches.
The Rams are a tougher test than either prior opponent, so Moss will likely receive an even lower portion of the backfield work. He's talented and possesses upside but is less deserving of a fantasy start than many backs ranked behind him.