Trying to capitalize on advantageous matchups. That’s the name of the game when it comes to fantasy football.
Yes, you always should start Patrick Mahomes and Christian McCaffrey regardless of who the Kansas City Chiefs and the Carolina Panthers, respectively, are playing. But for the lion’s share of players across the league, matchups very much should be taken into consideration and potentially influence fantasy lineup decisions.
In Week 3, for example, we recommend starting a quarterback who’s largely been a fantasy afterthought for his entire career to date. On the flip side, we’re going to advise you to put one of the game’s best wide receivers on your bench.
Here are our fantasy starts and sits for the upcoming NFL slate.
Sam Darnold, QB, Carolina Panthers
Darnold’s transition to Carolina has been a seamless one thus far. He’s thrown for a combined 584 passing yards with three touchdowns and only one interception through two games with his new team. A favorable matchup awaits Darnold and the Panthers on Thursday night when they visit the Texans. Houston thus far hasn’t been as bad defensively as most expected, but the unit still isn’t very good.
Chase Edmonds, RB, Arizona Cardinals
Arizona’s offense as a whole should be able to feast against Jacksonville on Sunday. But considering the Jaguars have allowed the fifth-most fantasy to points to running backs, it could be a particularly big day for Edmonds. He also is a factor in the Cardinals’ passing game and has hauled in receptions on all nine of his targets on the season to date. Not to mention, James Conner hasn’t proved to be much of a handcuff yet.
Robert Woods, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Woods is off to a slow start to the season, only accounting for eight catches through two games. But we wouldn’t be shocked to see the veteran wideout post a breakout performance against the Bucs, who’ve struggled against the pass on the young campaign. Even the lowly Atlanta Falcons were able to rack up 300 passing yards against Tampa Bay. With a ton of attention likely fixated on Cooper Kupp, Woods could see his targets — and production — jump.
Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers
After an abysmal season-opening performance, the Packers offense played more to its standard Monday night. This included Tonyan, who notched three catches for 52 yards with a score. He should be able to keep it rolling against the San Francisco 49ers, who’ve allowed the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
You might be inclined to give Cousins a look in Week 3 following his three-touchdown showing in the desert and 351-yard clip against the Cincinnati Bengals. But the Seahawks have a more formidable pass defense than those teams, and Minnesota very well could opt to lean on Dalvin Cook and the ground game. Seattle through two weeks has allowed the second-most fantasy points to RBs.
Antonio Gibson, RB, Washington Football Team
One team that hasn’t been weak against the run thus far? The Buffalo Bills, who will host Gibson and the Football Team on Sunday. The Bills limited both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Miami Dolphins to 75 rushing yards or less in Weeks 1 and 2, respectfully, and have yet to allow a touchdown on the ground. Buffalo likely will zero in on Gibson and force WFT backup quarterback Taylor Heinicke to try and win the game for the visitors.
Amari Cooper, WR, Dallas Cowboys
You might be surprised to learn the Eagles have allowed the fewest fantasy points to wide receivers entering Week 3. Philadelphia has achieved this despite going up against multiple dynamic playmakers like Calvin Ridley, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Cooper came back down to Earth last weekend after his monster Week 1 and will be nursing sore ribs when the Cowboys host the Eagles. Look for other receiving options this week.
Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
Gesicki has yet to be much of a factor for the ‘Fins this season. He was held without a catch against the New England Patriots and only logged three grabs in Week 2 against Buffalo. Gesicki on Sunday will go up against a Raiders defense that has been surprisingly strong against TEs thus far. Las Vegas only has allowed seven receptions with no touchdowns to players at the position through two games.