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Sunday morning fantasy football decisions: Rankings, start/sit, sleepers, and busts for Week 3

By Daniel Kelley
Sep 23, 2018

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(Every Sunday morning, we’ll wrap up the week in fantasy football content with our Study Session, a last-minute guide to our top advice of the week, featuring the highlights of that week’s analysis. This is Week 3.)

For me, it was Week 5 of 2013.

I had six receivers on my fantasy team that year, and all six were close to each other in reputation. I had to start three, and I made my choices. Who were they? I don’t even remember. What I do remember — what I’ll never forget — are the names of the players I chose not to start. Alshon Jeffery, T.Y. Hilton, Rueben Randle.

Don’t remember what those three did in Week 5 of 2013? How dare you. Here, a refresher, courtesy our fantasy stats database:

That was 97 receiver points on my bench. The three I started … well, since I don’t remember who they were, I don’t know their point total. I do know it wasn’t 97.

It was my biggest fantasy regret of all time. I don’t think I made a wrong decision, but I clearly didn’t make the right one.

And look, you’re going to make mistakes. Starting your best possible lineup might happen a couple times a season, making the best possible waiver claims even less often.

The game is all about making the right choices as often as you can, knowing it’s not going to be 100 percent. But helping get you as close to 100 percent as possible is our weekly advice. Our writers put together the best looks at the week to come, looking at things in every possible way. Check it out.

This week on PFF Fantasy

Rankings and start/sit

These are the big-ticket items. Our overall look at what we’re doing and how we make those decisions. On Tuesday, Jeff Ratcliffe breaks down the best waiver claims of the week. Wednesday, he publishes his top 150 for that week. Thursday, Scott Barrett attempts to solve some of the top start-or-sit questions. Tuesdays also feature Mike Castiglione and Walton Spurlin offering advice for the key streamers (QB and DST, respectively).

A snapshot of the flex rankings

9.Saquon Barkley, NYG @ HOU (RB8) — Despite struggling on the ground, Barkley was still a beast last week thanks to a whopping 14 catches.
10.Christian McCaffrey, CAR vs CIN (RB9)
— Speaking of 14 catches, McCaffrey also caught 12 balls last week.
11.Julio Jones, ATL vs NO (WR2)
— He’s coming off a down week, but Jones should see plenty of volume and have a positive gamescript in this one.
12.Michael Thomas, NO @ ATL (WR3) — He’s the No. 1 fantasy wide receiver with a  massive 28 catches through the first two weeks of the season.

Two starts, two sits

START Carson Wentz in medium-sized leagues: He’s been practicing for over a month and has looked great by all accounts. Indianapolis ranks eighth-worst in pressures per dropback and were our worst secondary heading into the season.
START Theo Riddick in deep leagues: Riddick has seen tremendous volume in back-to-back losses, totaling four carries and 19 targets. Though production was poor, I like his upside this week, as 6.5-point underdogs against the Patriots.
SIT Matt Breida in shallow leagues: Alfred Morris has received four of the team’s opportunities inside the 10-yard line while Breida has only received one. I’m proceeding with caution until the volume tips more towards Breida’s favor.
SIT Derrick Henry in medium-sized leagues: When trailing, Lewis totals 15 carries and eight targets to Henry’s five carries and zero targets. … In PPR leagues, Henry is only a low-end RB4 this week.

Waiver claims to make

ADD Matt Ryan in shallow leagues: Ryan isn’t going to score two rushing touchdowns every week, but he will continue to be a QB2-plus and is still available in 19 percent of leagues.
ADD Austin Ekeler in medium-sized leagues: He’s currently eighth among running backs in fantasy scoring. While that’s unlikely to keep up, Ekeler should still be owned.
ADD Jake Butt in deep leagues: The young tight end is finally healthy and looks to be the Broncos top receiving tight end.

QB streamers

Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars: Given that Bortles has stood among the QB1s in fantasy for each of the last three years (QB13, QB9, QB4), it shouldn’t be all that surprising by now that he is capable of delivering the type of performance he turned in this past week in a win over New England.

DST streamers

New England Patriots: While two games is a very small sample size, the Lions have been the most generous offense when it comes to giving up points to opposing DSTs. More concerning is that the Lions are giving up points in every possible fashion, having allowed a pair of sacks, five interceptions, and a defensive and kick return touchdown.

Deeper dives

You come to use for more than the surface material. Our writers go deeper with thoughts on situations down the road and looking deeper into each week’s games.

Snaps, Pace, and Stats

Saints at Falcons: A slow pace projection is not necessarily a low point expectation. Both teams can score in a hurry, but they haven’t when facing each other lately. Last year’s matchups yielded well-below-average point totals of 36 and 37, with play totals of 119 and 121.

Trade value chart

Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver Broncos: Lindsay has officially entered the arena. His value increased more than any other running back this week. Lindsay is averaging 16 touches per week and currently ranks third in rushing yards. He’s not going to end the season near the top of the rushing leaderboard, but if he continues to see 12-plus touches, he’s going to be a viable flex option each week in fantasy.

Weather and venue adjustments

New York Giants: Eli Manning has some of the biggest home/road splits in football. You probably weren’t starting him anyway. You are starting Saquon Barkley (-1.2), regardless of the situation. I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention that Barkley is my No. 6 running back in a bad matchup.

RB committee report

Rashaad Penny trending UP: Seemingly out of nowhere, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll opted to ride rookie Penny in the second half of Monday night’s game in Chicago.
Rex Burkhead trending DOWN: After logging 18 carries in the opener, Burkhead saw only six carries against Jacksonville in Week 2. He played 15 out of 61 offensive snaps (25 percent) against the Jaguars, just ahead of rookie Sony Michel (13 snaps) but well behind James White (34).

DFS advice

We hit weekly DFS from all angles — bargains, stacks, fades, locks. We also look at the best ways to build a DFS lineup on DraftKings (tournament or cash game) and FanDuel (tournament or cash game). And Tyler Loechner tracks the biggest salary-changers from one week to the next.

Bargains

Jared Goff, QB, Los Angeles Rams: The Chargers’ pass defense is a shell of itself after injuries to Joey Bosa and multiple defensive backs — don’t let a Week 2 matchup against Josh Allen hide their dismantling in Week 1.
Danny Amendola, WR, Miami Dolphins
: Amendola is more of a dart throw given his personal slow start, but his price makes it easy one to take a chance on when you consider his matchup.

Locks

Corey Clement, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are sidelined this week, which means Clement should shoulder the load in Week 3. He had 11 touches for 85 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, playing 33 of a possible 79 snaps (42 percent).
Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs: Kelce also has one of the best individual TE matchups of the week going against the San Francisco 49ers, who have given up a touchdown to tight ends in each of their first two games.

Stacks

GREEN BAY PACKERS (Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb): Given Rodgers’ knee injury and his personal pessimism regarding it, the likely scenario is that his ownership will be low this week. When DFS players are not buying on Rodgers, it presents a perfect spot for tournaments.

Fades/Contrarian Plays

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans: Davis appears to be a terrific value … but is still too risky for me this week, with his starting quarterback questionable and up against the best cornerback duo in the NFL.

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