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Fantasy Football: OL/DL matchups to target and avoid in Week 3

Atlanta, Georgia, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston (2) throws a pass against the Atlanta Falcons in the second half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

Whether fantasy managers are looking for some important tie-breakers in fantasy start/sit decisions or a DFS advantage, understanding which teams have the advantage in the trenches can be a key to weekly fantasy football success. These are some of the more crucial matchups to be aware of as fantasy managers head into Week 3.

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OFFENSIVE LINE MATCHUPS TO TARGET

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

The Saints' 27% (tied for first) pressure-to-sack conversion rate doesn’t quite tell the whole story of how good their offensive line has been this season. Outside of the guards, New Orleans boasts three offensive linemen with 74.0-plus pass-blocking grades, led by left tackle James Hurst with a 90.9 pass-blocking grade.

The Panthers defensive line does not make for an overly concerning matchup for this group, as it ranks 30th in pass-rush grade so far this season. The Panthers’ top pass-rusher, Brian Burns, is the biggest threat, but with Carolina choosing to drop him into coverage at a high rate (22% of his snaps) through two weeks, that threat is diminished enough for the Saints to be dominant in Week 3.

TOP PLAYER(S) TO TARGET

QB Jameis Winston: The Saints signal-caller has ultimately been his own worst enemy so far this year, as he’s responsible for 30% of his sacks, but he should be in for a better week given the matchup.

No quarterback has more big-time throws (three) this season when time-to-throw is 2.5 seconds or less than Winston. Carolina’s defensive line has managed a slightly below-average 13.8% pressure rate when the opposing team's time-to-throw was 2.5 seconds or less, so there should be room for Winston to operate quickly and efficiently in Week 3.

WRs Michael Thomas and Chris Olave: The key beneficiaries on the receiving end of Winston’s positive matchup are bound to be Thomas and Olave. Specifically, Olave, whose massive unrealized Week 2 game has been well documented in Josh Hermsmeyer’s buy-low air yard model this week, with a chance to have an even bigger day in the box score this week.

Olave posted a very high 62% total in air yards this past week, and no quarterback has a higher percentage of air yards (76.9%) when free of pressure this season than Winston.

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS @ DENVER BRONCOS

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