Posted: Thursday, September 22, 2016
This is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for Week 3 of the 2016 NFL season. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid.
Please Note: This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Rob Gronkowski, or Antonio Brown. Instead, we take a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.
Start 'em Philip Rivers (SD, QB)
Coming in at #7 this week is Philip Rivers who faces an Indy defense that gave Stafford 26 points in Week 1. Even without Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead, Rivers had a big game last week throwing 4 scores. Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams stepped up and Antonio Gates should be targeted often as well. We're expecting Week-1-Stafford-like numbers for Rivers this week.
Start 'em Matt Ryan (ATL, QB)
This is the first time Matt Ryan has cracked our Top 10 QBs this year. Coming off two outstanding weeks, he'll face a New Orleans defense that gave up 18 points to Derek Carr in Week 1. Things are moving in Ryan's direction this season with Julio, Sanu, and Tamme playing well. If there's a shootout in Atlanta, Matty Ice should put up some hot numbers.
Start 'em Charles Sims (TB, RB)
We highlighted Charles Sims as the player to target in your drafts, and even though we didn't expect him to rise this early in the season, he should be in your fantasy lineup. He's ranked 15th in Std scoring and 13th in PPR this week on FFN. Carlos Hyde took the Rams for more than 20 fantasy points in Week 1, and without Doug Martin in the mix, don't be surprised to see Sims get close to that number.
Start 'em Melvin Gordon (SD, RB)
The season has been plagued with RB injuries and Melving Gordon owners stand to benefit. Ranked just outside the Top 10 this week is Gordon who will pick up some of the slack with Danny Woodhead's injury. Theo Riddick torched Indy for 28 points (ppr) while CJ Anderson pulled in 18 (ppr). The floor is nice and high for Gordon this week and his ceiling is even better.
Start 'em Marvin Jones (DET, WR)
You're not seeing things. Marvin Jones has cracked the FFN Top 10 WRs this week. Visiting the Packers in Green Bay, Jones is facing a Packers secondary that allowed Stefon Diggs to haul in monster fantasy points (24 std / 33 ppr) on Sunday night. Even amongst Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin, Jones is the guy to own in fantasy leagues from that receiving corp.
Start 'em Larry Fitzgerald (ARI, WR)
Also in the FFN Top 10 this week is Larry Fitzgerald - a fantasy staple for many years who has only gotten better. Buffalo has given up almost 300 yards through the air per game this year so there should be plenty of targets to go around. Marshall/Decker hauled in 40.7 pts (ppr) combined last week and Wallace/Smith took them for 26.1. Fitz and Floyd should put up similar numbers.
Start 'em Antonio Gates (SD, TE)
An experienced veteran, Antonio Gates has the opportunity to lead a young team of receivers in the absence of two of San Diego's more prominent pass catchers. He's ranked #2 this week on FFN against a porous Indy secondary that can be exploited. Assuming that Gates plays (hamstring - missed practice), we expect Rivers to look his way often - particularly in the redzone where he was found last week against the Jags.
Start 'em Jacob Tamme (ATL, TE)
It would appear that Jacob Tamme has finally found a home in Atlanta. While the Saints have not given up a score to a TE yet, they have given up the 3rd-most passing yards in the NFL at 336 yards/game. Tamme is averaging 8 targets per game and saw both the endzone as well as the century-mark in yardage last week.
Start 'em Miami Dolphins (MIA, DEF)
Don't let the #13 ranking this week fool you. The Dolphins are a must play and there's a good chance that they are still available in your league. The Browns offense is a mess with rookie QB Cody Kessler getting his first start, Corey Coleman out 4-6 weeks, and Josh Gordon still on suspension. As long as they can stack the box and bottle up the run game, it's Miami's day to shine.
Start 'em Josh Lambo (SD, K)
If you're streaming kickers, Josh Lambo could be your man this week facing an Indianapolis defense that has surrendered more points on the board than any other team.
Sit 'em Kirk Cousins (WAS, QB)
Locker rooms don't lie, and the Washington locker room is struggling with Kirk Cousins right now. He's ranked 18th on FFN this week against a Giants defense that has given up an average of 12 fantasy points through two games. Cousins will need to turn it around before he can be trusted to start for your team.
Sit 'em Andy Dalton (CIN, QB)
Ranked 25th this week on FFN, Andy Dalton has a bad combination of a sore/injured ankle and a Denver defense that kept Andrew Luck to just 10 fantasy points last week. Denver has allowed the 3rd-fewest passing yards per game this year at a measly 173 yards.
Sit 'em Matt Jones (WAS, RB)
The Giants have given up the 4th-fewest yards on the ground this year (71 yds/gm) including stopping Mark Ingram and Zeke Elliott. He also has a more dynamic Chris Thompson nipping at his heals for playing time. He's ranked 28th this week making him a low-end flex play at best.
Sit 'em Carlos Hyde (SF, RB)
Seattle's defense is pretty brutal and running backs have not fared well against them for the past three years. No surprise then to see Hyde ranked 32nd this week on FFN after watching the Seahawks keep Todd Gurley and Arian Foster at or under 10 fantasy points. Seattle has given up the 3rd-fewest rushing yards averaging just 64 yards/game.
Sit 'em Sammy Watkins (BUF, WR)
While Arizona has been a middle-of-the-pack defense after two games, they let both Mike Evans and Julian Edelman reach double-digit fantasy days, but Watkins isn't the top WR on his team like those guys are. In fact, Watkins (dealing with an injured foot) is playing behind Goodwin and Salas and averaging just 3 catches for 31 yards per game so far. Too risky to be anything more than a possible flex play.
Sit 'em Gary Barnidge (CLE, TE)
Will the real Gary Barnidge please stand up? He was invisible to RGIII. Josh McCown looked his way 5 times. Now we've got Cody Kessler which is why we're scratching our heads at Barnidge's #14 ranking this week. He's outside the TE1 territory, but even at 14, we think it will be tough for him to do much better given his situation and lack of involvement in this offense.
Sit 'em Jimmy Graham (SEA, TE)
I was just asked the other day if Jimmy Graham was still fantasy relevant. The short answer is no. The longer answer is that he just hasn't ever become a big part of that Seattle offense. Long gone are the Graham-Saints days. His #18 ranking this week is his best in a long time, but no, he shouldn't be on your roster.
Sit 'em Buffalo Bills (BUF, DEF)
Whether through the air or on the ground, the Cardinals are rolling right now. David Johnson is a beast and Larry Fitzgerald hoovers everything that comes his way. This is not the week that you want to depend on Buffalo's defense. You can stream another DST this week.
Sit 'em Brandon McManus (DEN, K)
Coming off a fantastic game last week, Brandon McManus will have his work cut out for him this week against the Bengals who should be able to pressure Broncos' QB Trevor Siemian all day long. You can't put points on the board if you can't get into field goal territory.