Studs, Duds, & Sleepers: Week 3

September 19, 2019

In real estate, they say the most important thing is location, location, location. A good piece of property in a great location is a key to a great investment. Well, in fantasy football, the most important thing is matchups, matchups, matchups. A good player with a great matchup can be the key to a great season (or week), and in Week 3 there are some great matchups if you have Cowboys and Patriots players.


Dak Prescott, QB, Dal:

Dak is off to a white hot start in 2019, piling up seven touchdowns through two weeks and accounting for nearly 380 yards per game. While his success is not solely a result of the Cowboys playing two of the worst defenses in the league in weeks one and two, it certainly has helped. Well, believe it or not, the schedule gets even easier for Dak and the Cowboys in Week 3 as the worst defense in the league visits Dallas. The Dolphins have been giving up more than 500 yards per game, 195+ on the ground and another 315+ in the air. Translation? Dak and friends should have big weeks this week and if you have any Cowboys on your roster, you would be wise to play them. The only thing fantasy owners need to worry about is how long will he play.


Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dal:

I expect Week 3 to be Elliott’sfirst big game of the 2019 season, because like Dak, he gets to play the Dolphins. Elliott is slowly getting back into football shape and returning to his normal workhorse role – and as a result, his touches, and value, keep growing. After a limited role in Week 1 (13 rushes, 53 yards), Elliott carried the ball 23 times last week for 111 yards, and for the second straight week, had a touchdown. Now the Dolphins come to down, a team which is giving up 195.5 rushing yards per game. With the Cowboys line and the Dolphins lack of talent, thinking Elliott could have 200+ yards from scrimmage this week is not unreasonable.


Christian McCaffrey, RB, Car:

McCaffery makes his second straight appearance on the ‘Studs’ list… but hopefully this week, actually cashes in for us! Like the Cowboys, McCaffery has a great matchup in Week 3, going up against a Cardinals defense giving up 450+ yards per game, nearly 150+ on the ground. With Newton struggling and still nursing a foot injury, expect a heavy dose of McCaffrey in Week 3.


Cowboys Defense:

And just like that, we are back to Cowboys! After being shut out last week and outscored 102-10 through the first two weeks, we may as well just reserve a spot on this list each week for whichever defense gets the opportunity to pay the Dolphins.


Adam Thielen, WR, Min:

With just 8 receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, Thielen has a had a disappointing start to his 2019 campaign, but that should change in Week 3 when the Vikings take on the NFL’s worst pass defense. The Raiders are surrendering 341 yards per game through the air and should kick start Thielen and the Vikings pass offense.


Patriots’ Defense:

Ok, I lied in Week 1 when I said having two defenses in the ‘Studs’ category would be rare. Apparently, it will be the norm, and here is a good bet on who it will be….the defenses who play the Dolphins and the Jets! The Patriots defense gave up three points to the Steelers in Week 1 and shutout the Dolphins in Week 2. In other words, they are surrendering 1.5 points per game! To make them more enticing in Week 3, the Patriots get to play at home against a Jets offense which is averaging 9.5 points per game and will be starting a third string rookie quarterback. A second straight shutout is a realistic possibility.


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JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pit:

Smith-Schuster finds himself on the ‘Duds’ list not because I am saying you shouldn’t start him – he is still the top receiving option in the Steelers offense – but because he was drafted to be a WR1, and a player who will carry your team. He is not that right now. With no touchdowns and averaging just 13 points per game in PPR (less in non-PPR), te is more a WR2/Flex option…and that was with Ben Roethlisberger at the helm. This is an offense that was struggling mightily before Roethlisberger’s season ending elbow injury, so I don’t expect the Steelers offense (or Smith-Schuster) to vastly improve behind Mason Rudolph, a second year player making his first NFL start against a top 10 Niners defense coming off a four sack afternoon in Cincinnati.


James Conner/Jaylen Samuels, RB, Pit:

Conner was injured last week (knee), but sounds like he will play. The question will be, how much – a question which affects Samuels as well. Either way, Connor and Samuels have combined for just 76 yards on 26 carries over two weeks and with Mason Rudolph making his first NFL start against a good Niners defense, Connor and Samuels are flex options at best.


Teddy Bridgewater, QB, NO:

Bridgewater may be a viable starting option in a few weeks once he gets in rhythm with the offense, but he was less than impressive in his relief of Drew Brees last week – 17/30, 165 yards, 0 touchdowns. To make matters worse, he and the Saints travel to Seattle to play the Seahawks defense. I am taking a ‘wait and see’ approach with Bridgewater. If you picked him up, but have another viable quarterback, I would leave Bridgewater on the bench this week.


Michael Thomas, WR, NO:

See my analysis on Bridgewater. Like Smith-Schuster, you have to start Thomas if you have him because he is still a top five receiver, but he is likely to produce at levels far below what you were expecting when you drafted. With Bridgewater making his first start of the year, on the road, in Seattle, Week 3 doesn’t look promising for Thomas – or any Saints players for that matter.


LeVeon Bell, RB, NYJ:

Bell enters Week 3 with just 128 yards, a 3.4 yards per carry mark and zero rushing touchdowns. If you have him in a PPR league, his receptions have been keeping his numbers respectable. However, Bell is going to be facing Belichick, in Foxborough, with a third string rookie quarterback making his first start. It is safe to say Bill is going to have one focus for his defense, stop Bell. If I had Bell, he would be on my bench this week.




Nelson Agholor, WR, Phi:

While the 2015 first round pick has mostly been a disappointment thus far in his career, both in fantasy and real football, he has shown some glimpses of promise, and last week was one of those. Thanks to a slew of injuries – DeSean Jackson (groin), Alshon Jeffrey (calf), Dallas Goedert (calf) – Agholor’s role expanded greatly and he delivered, to the toon of 10 receptions, 118 yards, and 1 touchdown on 16 targets. Expect Agholor to see a lot of targets again this week against a Lions team ranked 24th against the pass.


Carlos Hyde, RB, Hou:

Put your hand up if you had Carlos Hyde as the fifth leading rusher through Week 2…put all your hands downs! While Hyde offers nothing in the passing game (1 reception for 2 yards), he appears to have established himself as the Texans top back. Not bad for a running back most of us got from the waiver wire, right? Unfortunately, Hyde doesn’t have any touchdowns, but that will change. I don’t particularly like the matchup against the Chargers, Hyde is averaging 5.8 yards per carry and saw his carries double from Week 1 to Week 2 (10 to 20). Expect Hyde to continue to get 20+ touches per game if he keeps running like this…and if that happens, the touchdowns will come.


Miles Sanders, RB, Phi:

Look, I was high on Sanders before the season, and up until this point – 53 yards, 2.5 ypc – to say he has been a disappointment, would be an understatement. However, I am not giving up on him just yet, and given the way the Eagles receiving corps has been decimated by injuries, I expect Sanders’ role to expand this week in both the running and passing game. 25+ touches is reasonable and any player who you expect to get 25+ touches is worth at least a flex start.


David Montgomery, RB, Chi:

With just 24 carries, 80 yards and 1 touchdown, Montgomery would be high on the list of early season disappointments thus far. That could change this week when he gets to go against the Redskins, the league’s second worst run defense. 20+ touches should be expected for Montgomery in Week 3, making him a viable flex starter.


Cole Beasley, WR, Buf:

If you are in need of another wide receiver – and you play in a PPR league – you may want to see if Beasley is available. Not a sexy pickup, but a guy that has value because of volume and could have a big day against a Bengals defense that was brutal last week and has historically struggled against slot receivers like Beasley. Believe it or not, Beasley is second on the team in receptions (9), targets (13) and yards (123). In most PPR scoring formats, that is 10+ points a game, not bad for a waiver wire pickup.

*Be sure to check out our COMPLETE RANKINGS, updated through Sunday, before locking in your lineups.

  • Categories: NFL

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