Start ’em: Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers (at Kansas City Chiefs)
Despite having a great rookie season, Justin Herbert has struggled a little bit to start his Sophomore season. Although Herbert hasn’t played all that well, his volume is still very favorable for fantasy managers. Herbert attempted 47 and 41 passes in weeks 1 and 2 respectively, which puts him top five in the NFL in passing attempts. I expect Herbert to again attempt 40+ passes this week against the Chiefs for several reasons. The first reason I expect this to happen is that this game has the second-highest over/under on the slate at 54.5 points. Additionally, the game script will likely allow Herbert to attempt many passes assuming that the Chiefs’ offense can hand their defense an early lead. Speaking of the Chiefs’ defense, they have been among the worst groups in the NFL this season, and I don’t expect them to all of a sudden turn it around against the Chargers who have many talented offensive players. Start Justin Herbert with confidence this week.
Start ’em: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills (vs Washington Football Team)
Like Herbert, Josh Allen has struggled a bit to start this season. Due to a monster breakout season last year, fantasy managers likely invested a high draft pick on Allen and have to be disappointed in him being the fantasy QB19 through two weeks. Last week against the Football Team, Giants quarterback Daniel Jones was able to run (95 yards and a touchdown on 9 attempts) and efficiently pass (249 yards on 22/29 completions with no turnovers a touchdown) all over their defense. Washington’s defense has the fourth-worst rush EPA/play so far this season, so I expect Allen to see an increase in his rushing attempts this week which gives him one of the highest fantasy ceilings of the week. Lock Josh Allen in as your QB this week, and expect him to rank as a top-five QB.
Sit ’em: Jameis Winston, New Orleans Saints (at New England Patriots)
Last week against the Jets, the Patriots defense had a field day. They picked Zach Wilson off four times and held him to a -0.42 EPA/play. Last week against the Panthers defense, who overall rank similarly to the Patriots’ defense so far this season, Jameis Winston played nearly as worse as Wilson throwing two interceptions, only passing for 111 yards, and had a -0.46 EPA/play. Winston and the Saints offense are in a tough position to have a bounce-back week against the Patriots and have one of the lowest team totals (20.5 points) on the slate. I would look for an alternative option at quarterback instead of starting Winston this week.
Sit ’em: Justin Fields, Chicago Bears (at Cleveland Browns)
As a result of an injury to Andy Dalton, Justin Fields will make his first NFL start. Fields was selected with the 11th pick in the NFL Draft and has sky-high potential. Although he has high-sky potential, I wouldn’t have Fields starting in single quarterback fantasy leagues this week. After Dalton was removed from last week’s game against the Bengals, Fields really struggled. He only completed six of 13 passes for 60 yards, threw an interception without throwing a touchdown, and fumbled (recovered by the Bears). The good news for Fields is that he had 10 rushing attempts which certainly increases his ceiling. Although Fields definitely could have a great game, I see him struggling in his first NFL start and would wait to see how he does this week before starting him at QB in fantasy leagues.
Start ’em: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs (vs Los Angeles Chargers)
One word to describe Clyde Edwards-Helaire’s fantasy performance since entering the NFL is disappointing. Edwards-Helaire was a fringe first-round pick in PPR leagues last year and was definitely a bust considering his ADP. This season, Edwards-Helaire went around the second/third round turn in PPR leagues and is currently the RB48. The good news for him is that he gets a favorable matchup against the Chargers this week. As I mentioned earlier, the game between the Chiefs and Chargers has the second-highest over/under on the slate at 54.5 points. So far this season, the Chargers defense has the third-worst rush EPA/play and it’s a tall task to limit the Chiefs offense in any form. Last week, the Chargers let Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard run all over them for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Everything in this game seems to be pointing towards a big from Edwards-Helaire.
Start ’em: Michael Carter, New York Jets (at Denver Broncos)
Last week against the Patriots, Michael Carter turned 11 rushing attempts and two receptions into 88 scrimmage yards. With Tevin Coleman already ruled out, I expect Carter’s usage to heavily increase this week against the Broncos. The Broncos defense ranks in the bottom 50% of rush EPA/play entering this week, so Carter isn’t in store for a difficult matchup. Additionally, Jets head coach Robert Saleh said he wants Zach Wilson to understand that it’s ok to play more “boring football” after a rough week against the Patriots last week, so I’d expect Carter to have increased targets this week on dump-offs and screens. This is definitely a risky start, but if you lack top-tier running backs on your teams, look to start Carter as a potential high-upside, low-floor play.
Sit ’em: Darrell Henderson Jr./Sony Michel, Los Angeles Rams, (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
The good news is Darrell Henderson Jr. is off to a great start this season as he’s currently the RB9 in PPR leagues. The bad news is that the Buccaneers have the best rush EPA/play and have only allowed 115 rushing yards over two games. Additionally, Henderson is a game-time decision tomorrow due to a ribs injury. If Henderson is able to play, I’m not confident that he’d be a workhorse back and I fear that the Rams would run a committee with him and Michel. If Henderson isn’t active, Michel would likely be the lead back. Even though Michel would probably see a bulk of the carries, I still wouldn’t start him due to how good the Buccaneers’ defense is. Be cautious starting Rams running backs this week.
Sit ’em: Melvin Gordon III, Denver Broncos (vs New York Jets)
Melvin Gordon III is currently the RB14 in PPR leagues which is really good considering his ADP among running backs was in the 30s. Unfortunately for Gordon fantasy owners, the Broncos are running a committee with Javonte Williams alongside Gordon. The Jets vs Broncos game has the lowest over/under on the slate at 41.5 points so there likely won’t be too many opportunities to score touchdowns. Although the game script will likely benefit Gordon, it will be difficult for him to get enough touches to make a huge impact. It would be challenging to rely on Gordon as anything more than a touchdown-dependent RB2 with an RB4 floor this week. Start Gordon at your own risk.
Start ’em A.J. Brown, Tennesse Titans (vs Indianapolis Colts)
Across two games, A.J. Brown only has seven receptions for 92 yards which makes him the WR47 in PPR leagues. Despite only hauling in seven catches, Brown has been targeted 17 times. Brown gets a favorable matchup against the Colts this week who have the third-worst dropback EPA/play on defense this year. In week 1, the Colts’ secondary surrendered 16 PPR points to DK Metcalf and 26 PPR points to Tyler Lockett. In week 2, Cooper Kupp had a monster game against the Colts totaling 36.8 PPR points. I know Brown has been a major disappointment so far this season, but you need to lock him in as a WR1 in your fantasy lineups this week.
Start ’em: Rondale Moore, Arizona Cardinals (at Jacksonville Jaguars)
Rondale Moore is off to a monster start in his rookie season. He has 11 catches for 182 yards and one touchdown which makes him the WR17 in PPR leagues. The Cardinals’ top receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, is a game-day decision per Kliff Kingsbury which could benefit Moore. If Hopkins is active, he might be used as a decoy since he isn’t fully. If Hopkins isn’t active, Moore should see even more targets which gives him a WR1 ceiling. The icing on the cake is that the Jaguars have the fourth-worst dropback EPA/play on the year and have already allowed Brandin Cooks (18.2 PPR points) and Cortland Sutton (24.9 PPR points) to have big games against them. Start Moore as a high upside, high floor receiver in week 3.
Sit ’em: Will Fuller V, Miami Dolphins (at Las Vegas Raiders)
With Tua Tagovailoa now on the IR, the Dolphins will turn to Jacoby Brisset to start at quarterback for the next few weeks. Last week after replacing Tagovailoa against the Bills, Brisset completed 24 of his 40 pass attempts for 169 yards and threw one interception without throwing a touchdown. The Dolphins are set to face the Raiders, who have been about middle of the pack defensively this season. Fuller will be making his season and Dolphins debut after missing the first two games due to finishing a six-game suspension that started last year and personal reasons. Fuller’s main strength is as a downfield target, but Brisset’s 5.3 aDOT is among the lowest in the league which doesn’t bode for Fuller catching deep passes. I would prefer to see how Fuller does this week before inserting him into fantasy lineups.
Sit ’em: Jakobi Meyers, New England Patriots (vs New Orleans Saints)
Jakobi Meyers is the Patriots’ presumed top wide receiver option, but Mac Jones has done a good job of spreading the ball to numerous offensive weapons. In week 1, Jones completed passes to seven different players while he completed passes to seven different players in week 2. The Patriots are playing against the Saints this week who have the seventh-best dropback EPA/play so far this season. Additionally, the game has the second-lowest over/under at 42.5 points. Unless Meyers catches a touchdown, I don’t see him as anything more than a WR3 this week, so I wouldn’t recommend starting him unless you’re desperate or in a deeper team league.