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NFL Week 3 fantasy football start ’em, sit ’em

2RW867F Houston, Texas, USA. 17th Sep, 2023. Houston Texans wide receiver Nico Collins (12) avoid Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darrell Baker Jr. (39) after a pass reception during the fourth quarter between the Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX on September 17, 2023. (Credit Image: © Erik Williams/ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE! Credit: ZUMA Press, Inc./Alamy Live News

• Sit Geno Smith: While Smith went back to being an excellent player in Week 2, his matchup this week is unlikely to add up to significant passing yards.

• Start Raheem Mostert: The Miami Dolphins running back looks as good as ever and has minimal competition for touches at least for one more week.

• Start George Pickens: Pickens is the top wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers with Diontae Johnson out, and he is in a favorable matchup.

Estimated Reading Time: 14 minutes

Deciding who to start or sit in fantasy football can be as easy as looking at the PFF rankings and going with the higher-ranked player. This start ’em, sit ’em column digs a step deeper, looking into why someone you might typically start might not have a good week, or why someone overlooked might have a good week. In many cases, it’s the usual starters who should star, but we want to explore the borderline players, too.

WR:CB Matchup Chart



Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
  • Cousins is off to a strong start this season after grading as well as he did last season.
  • He hasn’t been making as many big throws, but he’s been more consistent. His adjusted completion percentage is up more than 5 percentage points and he is maintaining his same average depth of target.
  • This has led to his yards per attempt to increase from 7.1 to 8.1.
  • He’s been a borderline fantasy starting quarterback the past few seasons, and with how well he’s playing, he should be a fantasy starter more often than not.
  • The Vikings in Week 3 play the Los Angeles Chargers, who have allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season.
  • This included Tua Tagovailoa finishing as QB1 in Week 1 and Ryan Tannehill as QB14 in Week 2.
  • The Chargers have a 44.4 team coverage grade, which ranks third worst among all teams.
  • Cousins has top-five potential in this matchup.

Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
  • Goff is off to a solid start this season, averaging 19.0 fantasy points per game after recording 17.1 per game last season.
  • He achieved a 73.0 PFF passing grade or better in just two of the first 11 games last season but ended the campaign with a 73.0-plus grade in five of the last six games.
  • He has built on that strong finish with game grades of 73.8 and 78.6 in 2023.
  • His big-time throw rate has improved from 2.9% to 5.5%, while his turnover-worthy play rate has decreased from 3.6% to 1.3%.
  • The Lions have the sixth-best matchup for quarterbacks against the Atlanta Falcons this week, according to PFF's strength of schedule tool.


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