Week 3 of the fantasy football season is finally here, and the Rotoworld crew has everything you need leave the weekend with a win. Patrick Daugherty answers your lineup questions with his Week 3 Rankings, Nick Mensio tells you who to start and who to fade in Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em, Ian Hartitz dives into which receivers are destined for production in his WR/CB Matchups Analysis, Hayden Winks breaks down every matchup in his Fantasy Forecast Column, and I give leans to Week 3's most explosive performances in my Player Props Column.
I'm also here to shed some light on the most important injury situations facing fantasy owners heading into the weekend. The sister resource to this column is the Rotoworld News Page, which will have every single inactive and all the late-breaking news up to kickoff and beyond. I'll also join Josh Norris and a rotating member of the crew every Sunday morning at noon ET on the Rotoworld Fantasy Football Show to answer all of your pressing start/sit decisions.
Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Start/Sit Tool, Trade Analyzer, Consensus Rankings, Projections and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!
Lions @ Eagles
*Coach Doug Pederson settled on ‘Q’ for Alshon Jeffery (calf) despite the fact the Eagles’ No. 1 wideout failed to get any work in this week. With DeSean Jackson (abdominal) already ruled out, fully expect Nelson Agholor and No. 57 overall pick J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to run in three-wide sets with either Jeffery or, more likely, Mack Hollins. Agholor’s target share in three games sans Alshon last season notably increased from 14 percent to 21, but JJAW shouldn’t go overlooked as the rookie logged 74-of-80 snaps following Philly’s plethora of injuries in Week 2. Ample practice time should help him buoy that workload into production similar to his preseason (12/147/1) numbers as a sneaky FLEX play.
Jets @ Patriots
*While New York’s aforementioned injuries coupled with AB’s surprising release would usually spell positive game script for Sony Michel, the Patriots will quietly be without fullback James Develin (neck) and potentially short tight ends Matt LaCosse (ankle, questionable) and Ryan Izzo (calf, questionable). That instead entails a heavy dosage of three-wide sets with Josh Gordon, Phillip Dorsett, and Julian Edelman being featured. James White also likely gets the nod over Michel considering New England also has to make due with backup LT Marshall Newhouse, who signed 11 days ago, protecting Tom Brady’s blindside.
Raiders @ Vikings
*Josh Jacobs (groin) and Tyrell Williams (hip) are both in following a mid-week scare. Jacobs’ impact is still a looming concern since he reportedly lost 10 pounds in the past six days due to illness.
Ravens @ Chiefs
*Baltimore will still be without No. 1 CB Jimmy Smith (knee), which is extremely detrimental given the Ravens’ early season propensity to get scorched for 10.1 YPA from 11 personnel through Week 2. Mark Andrews is technically questionable, but it’s already been confirmed he’ll play.
*Even if LeSean McCoy (ankle, probable) suits up, mid-week beat tealeaves suggest Darwin Thompson will have a sturdy role in place of Damien Williams (knee, out), with Darrell Williams getting the nod on early-down reps. Thompson's a zero RB starter and deep league FLEX option for his receiving role in a matchup that skyrocketed to a 55 total after initially opening at 51.5. Sammy Watkins, Demarcus Robinson, and Mecole Hardman are all easy WR2 plays with potential to win their position outright.
(A lot has been made about the surfacing rain in the forecast for kick-off, but reminder precipitation doesn’t matter unless it includes wind speeds of 20-plus mph. Start all your Ravens and Chiefs players with utmost confidence barring a hellacious breeze.)
Falcons @ Colts
*There were whispers early in the week that OT Kaleb McGary (knee) wouldn’t be ready for Sunday, but his full participation in Friday’s practice bucked that hearsay. It’s now or never for Devonta Freeman against Indy’s lackadaisical front-seven that’s allowed the third-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, including 10/117/2 receiving from the backfield.
*Marlon Mack (calf) was upgraded to limited participation on Friday. Sounds like he’ll play, but it wouldn’t hurt having Jordan Wilkins (candidate to lead in early-down usage) and/or Nyheim Hines on standby. Hines notably averaged 8.5 targets in four game sans Mack last year.
Broncos @ Packers
*Jimmy Graham (groin) is technically questionable, but odds are coach Matt LaFleur finally gets a peek at #TeamPreseason star Robert Tonyan after the 25-year-old’s 5/51 preseason and 28-yard splash play against the Bears in Week 1.
Dolphins @ Cowboys
*As if it could get any worse, the Fins will likely be without starting LB Trent Harris (foot, questionable), safeties Reshad Jones (ankle, out) and Bobby McCain (shoulder, questionable), and DE Charles Harris (wrist, questionable).
*Michael Gallup’s knee scope and Tavon Austin’s concussion opens the door for Devin Smith to continue run as Dallas’ WR2. He’s arguably a WR3/FLEX option as the Cowboys are currently 22.5-point home favorites.
Bengals @ Bills
*Cincinnati could be down to its third-string tackle with Cordy Glenn (concussion) still in the league’s protocol and Andre Smith (groin) slapped with the ‘Q’ tag. Coach Zac Taylor also said starting LG Michael Jordan (knee, questionable) wouldn’t start even if he’s deemed healthy enough to play.
*No. 74 overall pick Devin Singletary (hamstring) is officially out, entrenching Frank Gore as Buffalo’s starter ahead of third-down runner T.J. Yeldon. In positive game script as a six-point favorite at home, Gore isn’t the worst RB2 for Week 3. Josh Allen’s 17 percent target rate to running backs (3 percent below league-average) is concerning for Yeldon’s usage.
Giants @ Buccaneers
*While Sterling Shepard was cleared in time to participate in Daniel Jones’ debut, both Cody Latimer (concussion, out) and Bennie Fowler (hamstring, questionable) could be nixed from taking part Sunday.
*No. 5 overall pick Devin White’s (knee, out) sideline-to-sideline prowess will be missed against New York’s road-grating o-line.
Panthers @ Cardinals
*Perhaps there’ll be a time to worry about Kyle Allen being under center in the future, but Week 3 against Arizona’s No. 24 pass defense DVOA isn’t it. The backup’s upside is only enhanced by the Cardinals’ league-high rate of opposing plays allowed. Fire up D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, and Greg Olsen with confidence.
*With a full week of practice under his belt, David Johnson’s wrist injury is clearly a thing of the past. Kawann Short’s (shoulder) absence in the middle of Carolina’s trenches is quietly a plus for Johnson on the ground.
Steelers @ 49ers
*James Conner (knee) got in a full practice on Friday and thus avoided Pittsburgh’s injury report altogether. He’ll suit up and play, the question is how much. Expect Jaylen Samuels to sprinkle in, but not enough to warrant FLEX consideration in shallower leagues. Conner can be considered an RB2 in what’s actually a tremendous spot for the new-look Steelers Offense with Mason Rudolph throwing to JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, and rookie Diontae Johnson in three-wide sets. I would be shocked if Donte Moncrief plays a single snap on Sunday. All could be boosted further in RotoPat’s Rankings if questionable starters Jimmie Ward (hand), Nick Bosa (ankle), Jaquiski Tartt (toe), and Dee Ford (quad) are declared inactive.
*The Niners would normally garner high offensive regards with stud Steelers LB Vince Williams (hamstring) ruled out, but sixth-round rookie Justin Skule is a true question mark in place of LT Joe Staley (leg, out).
Saints @ Seahawks
*Tre’Quan Smith (leg) and Ted Ginn (thigh) are both questionable to play with some machination of Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill. Even if either/both are active, odds are Austin Carr gets full run in the slot for Keith Kirkwood (hamstring, injured reserve).
*The big news from Friday was Rashaad Penny’s tweaked hamstring in the final 20 minutes of Seattle’s walkthrough. Chris Carson would become an all-too-obvious RB1 if Penny’s ruled out considering the latter has soaked up 29.8 percent of Seattle’s offensive snaps through two weeks.
Texans @ Chargers
*Acquired LT Laremy Tunsil (ankle) should suit up despite being listed as questionable.
Rams @ Browns
*Starting RG Austin Blythe (ankle) is questionable for Sunday night despite failing to get in any work this week. He’ll be replaced by Jamil Demby. But the most impactful injury of note for Los Angeles remains TE Tyler Higbee’s (chest) absence since the Rams have utilized 11 personnel (one tight end) on 82 percent of their offensive plays. Odds are 85th-percentile SPARQ specimen Gerald Everett (6’3/239) plays nearly every down after being involved on 71.6 percent of Los Angeles’ offensive snaps just last week. He’s a prime streaming option given Cleveland’s abundance of injuries (see below).
*Jared Goff’s and Everett’s matchups are only heightened with starting CBs Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams questionable with nagging hamstring ailments, SS Morgan Burnett (quad, questionable) limited throughout the week, and FS Damarious Randall (concussion) and OLB Christian Kirksey (chest) already ruled out. Goff’s woeful road splits make him merely a matchup-based QB2 with room for upside. Demetrius Harris is also a sneaky streaming option with David Njoku (wrist, injured reserve) out for the foreseeable future. Harris has historically been used primarily as a run blocker, but he’s the pick-to-click ahead of ‘Zona castoff Ricky Seals-Jones as an immediate red zone threat. I personally rank Week 3’s streaming TEs (in order) Jason Witten > Gerald Everett > Demetrius Harris > Vernon Davis.
Bears @ Redskins
*Trey Burton (groin) has been limited throughout the week, but it’s hard to rely on him as anything more than a flier since Matt Nagy has consistently limited his skill players upon return from injury, most recently Anthony Miller’s 15-snap involvement in Week 1.
*If there were ever a spot for Mitchell Trubisky to to get off the schneid, it would be Monday night against a Skins defense potentially short starting corners Quinton Dunbar (knee) and Fabian Moreau (ankle). Jordan Reed (concussion) could return for this one, but the safer play is rostering Vernon Davis as if he’ll start.