Welcome back to Start-Sit here at 5th Down Fantasy! Every fantasy manager wants to know the correct answer to “Who do I start and who do I sit?” We do our best each week to help you make the right choices, here and each Sunday morning on Twitter (follow @5thDownFantasy and tweet your questions to our start/sit thread which starts every Sunday at 12:15 PM EST)!
Each week you will get an outlook of which players have great opportunities and those who don’t, based on 1/2-point PPR. Of course, you need to start your fantasy studs every week, which is why this article will mostly avoid mentioning star players like Ezekiel Elliott, Travis Kelce, or Lamar Jackson.
If any of your fantasy team’s players are mentioned, make sure to put your team into context before applying the advice; a player we deem worthy to “sit” may be your best shot at winning, so make sure to think through any decisions before they are executed.
In the end you need to play the best lineup that you feel confident in, however you get there.
Week 3 Start/Sit — Quarterback
START – Gardner Minshew II (QB, JAX)
Whether it be his talent, gorgeous mullet or his magical mustache, Gardner Minshew can flat out play football.
Each week he has put up 20-plus fantasy points and he currently sits as a top-12 quarterback for the season. What is also encouraging is the fact that he has six touchdowns through two games and he usually gets four-to-five rushing attempts per game as well. That is a solid baseline for fantasy and one that you should look to exploit — especially against a team like the Dolphins who have been torched by two mobile quarterbacks in 2020, Cam Newton and Josh Allen.
Seeing that Newton and Allen combined for 572 passing yards, 93 rushing yards and six total touchdowns against this Miami defense, Minshew should be able to cash in on this opportunity. Minshew has forced his way onto the fantasy scene but nevertheless he seemingly has become a formidable fantasy piece. You should have zero doubts that he will come through in Week 3 for your team.
START – Matthew Stafford (QB, DET)
Stafford marches into Week 3 with what seems to be a healthy Kenny Golladay.
The return of his number one receiver certainly makes you high on Stafford this week but their matchup against Arizona really takes the cake. Here we have a bullish Vegas line which has an over-under sitting at 54.5 points, with the Cardinals being six-point favorites. When you see a line like this you really hope to see the back and forth affair that these teams are projected for.
The Cardinals match up well against fantasy quarterbacks and wide receivers so far, ranking seventh-best and first-best respectively, but it is important to put their season into perspective. So far the Cardinals have yet to face an offensive force like the Lions, who routinely shred secondaries when healthy.
Stafford will also be a much tougher opponent to shut down compared to their previous two quarterback matchups, Jimmy Garoppolo and Dwayne Hasksins. I see the Lions driving all over this Arizona defense and I also see the Cardinals shredding the lions defense. Chase the points in this match up and start Stafford with certainty.
SIT – Tom Brady (QB, TB)
Tom Brady shouldn’t be viewed as a must-sit, but you should certainly pivot from him if you can replace him with confidence. It is important to know that Brady’s floor will be there in this game but in terms of hitting anywhere near his ceiling, it’s far fetched at best.
Tampa Bay faces off against Denver at home this week and one thing is for sure, Denver wants to play at a slow pace. With the injuries that the Broncos have sustained they will look to win the field position battle, play tough defense and control the time of possession. Even though Denver will likely fail at this, these factors aren’t ones that make me high on Brady.
The biggest reason to pivot from Brady seems to be the low over-under on the game, which is only 43.5 points (second lowest for the week). Brady has had a tough time lighting up the box score this year and he’s already thrown three interceptions in as many touchdowns. Here in Week 3, the waiver options within single-quarterback leagues are too plentiful to trust Brady without a second look.
Week 3 Start/Sit — Running Back
START – Austin Ekeler (RB, LAC) / Joshua Kelley (RB, LAC)
You already know that Ekeler is a start after Week 2, but the sneaky start you could play in Week 3 is Joshua Kelley.
Through two weeks Kelley has finished with double-digit fantasy production, which is wonderful given he is a rookie behind Ekeler. Kelley’s touches are through the roof as well, finishing with 12 touches in Week 1 and 25 in Week 2.
Both Ekeler and Kelley can be started with confidence this week as they run up against the Carolina Panthers. Carolina’s run defense is clearly an issue and will continue to be throughout 2020. Through the first two weeks, they have given up 82.5 fantasy points to the running back position, which is the most in the league.
Los Angeles is also starting a rookie quarterback which could encourage the coaching staff to feed their rushing attack further. You also have upside in Kelley because if this game gets ugly the Chargers may work the clock by feeding the ball to Kelley. The first-year back shouldn’t be jammed into lineups but I love him as a flex with RB2 upside. He is a wonderful play in 12-team leagues and deeper, and also in two-flex leagues.
Ekeler is a clear start as well, but honestly you should not be shocked if Kelley finishes above Ekeler this week.
START – Melvin Gordon (RB, DEN)
With injuries all around the offense, Denver is left with Melvin Gordon as the clear-cut stud for this offense. In Week 1 he had 18 touches, which was nice because Phillip Lindsay was there to vulture some of them away. Then Lindsay was lost to injury, and in Week 2 Gordon’s touches increased.
Now here in Week 3 the Broncos are without Drew Lock, Phillip Lindsay and Courtland Sutton. Because of the lack of offensive star-power I expect 22-to-25 touches for Gordon, if it stays competitive which is possible with Jeff Driskel at quarterback.
Gordon’s touchdown equity also went up once these injuries happened and you can expect Denver’s limited red zone trips to go through him. Gordon’s success against Tennessee and Pittsburgh’s defense also makes me confident to play him against Tampa Bay since they are the sixth-worst team at defending against the running back position.
With Driskel being competent enough to move the ball against Tampa Bay, Gordon is a nice fantasy piece from this game
SIT – Antonio Gibson (RB, WAS)
Antonio Gibson’s emergence seems imminent, however in Week 3 he should be a player to pivot from.
Last week against the Cardinals Gibson scratched at success, he even scored a touchdown, but the game script became so lopsided that rushing attempts were phased out. This is the most dangerous element of playing Gibson: he easily can be game scripted out due to low passing volume and because Washington is not good.
Looking at Week 3 only makes me bearish on Gibson’s outlook as the Browns have a very solid defensive front. This is the same team that was able to hold Joe Mixon to 86 scrimmage yards on 20 touches in Week 2. If this game goes as it should it likely means that Cleveland will take care of Washington and they will be forced to pass the ball in order to stay competitive, which hurts Gibson.
There will be other opportunities for Gibson but Week 3 is not one you want to put stake in.
Week 3 Start/Sit — Wide Receiver
START – CeeDee Lamb (WR, DAL)
In his first two weeks as an NFL player, CeeDee Lamb is the most talented wideout on his roster and the tape shows that. He is quick, sure-handed, explosive, and has game-breaking skillsets.
Lamb is certainly a player you should be much higher on after seeing his usage in both weeks and this week against Seattle, playing Lamb is all about the matchup. Seattle will come into Week 3 as the worst team in fantasy at defending the wide receiver position and have given up a total of 110 fantasy points (the next closest team is Minnesota at 89.6 fantasy points).
That alone is enough evidence to start Lamb but to further the narrative, the over-under to this game is a whopping 55.5 points. Just for a simple comparison, Kansas City and Baltimore’s Week 3 over-under is 53.5, meaning Vegas expects more points in this spot than a game featuring Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson. Dallas is also five-point underdogs which makes it more likely that Dak Prescott will have to sling it around to keep it close or to pull off a win.
Of course Amari Cooper is still king on this team, and you should like both him and Gallup this week, but expect CeeDee Lamb to get peppered with targets. Managers with both Gallup and Lamb should stick with Lamb at this point until Gallup can show consistency. One thing is certain: one of these weeks Lamb will explode in value, his skillset is too good to contain.
START – D.J. Chark (WR, JAX)
We have yet to see a ceiling game from D.J. Chark in 2020 but through two weeks he has faced two stingy defenses. Despite this, Chark still wound up finishing as a WR3 in both weeks and even hauled in a touchdown.
As Miami travels to Jacksonville for a Thursday game, you can’t help but feel that a ceiling game is coming against the Dolphins. Miami’s defense has not been able to stop their previous opponents thus far and have surrendered 78.7 fantasy points to the wide receiver position, which is the third-worst. Looking at the projected game totals, we have a 47.5 over-under with Jacksonville being three-point favorites. What is interesting about this line is that the over-under has increased 3.5 points since opening, so Vegas expects more points to be scored than originally forecasted.
Like Vegas, I feel this could be a high-scoring affair due to the quarterbacks on either side of the ball. Both quarterbacks have the ability to sling it and that would greatly benefit Chark. All of this should have you high on Chark and you should start him expecting a WR1 or WR2 finish.
SIT – Stefon Diggs (WR, BUF)
While 2020 has gone very well for the dynamic wideout, you have to show regard to Buffalo beating up on two historically bad teams.
Diggs is also bound for regression unless his quarterback can maintain 35-plus pass attempts per game, which seems counterintuitive to their team’s identity. And let’s be honest, throughout Diggs’ career he has randomly disappeared in games due to his boom-or-bust nature.
My biggest concern lies in Jalen Ramsey and his shadowing of Diggs. Ramsey can certainly lock down any receiver on any given week. He is tall, athletic and most importantly, a stud. There are also concerns with Aaron Donald and the Rams’ push on the defensive line; if they are able to get pressure in the face of Josh Allen it could easily cause him to tuck it and run more. Or at the least it would prevent deep routes from forming down-field, which is something that would certainly kill Diggs’ ceiling.
The Rams are the fourth best team in fantasy at defending against the wide receiver position for a reason. Diggs can absolutely torch this take, but historical data and certain elements of this match up should have you low on Diggs this week.
Week 3 Start/Sit — Tight End
START – Logan Thomas (TE, WAS)
Thomas’ success is certainly tied to quarterback Dwayne Haskins. In Week 2 Haskins targeted Thomas nine times, but the connection just did not happen and this is the risk of playing Thomas. Despite this, in Week 3 Thomas has a chance to prove his worth to fantasy managers.
With Washington coming in as seven-point underdogs according to Las Vegas, this game script should feature lots of passing situations for Haskins and Thomas to hook up. Digging a little deeper you also can see that Cleveland has been the friendliest team against tight ends so far in 2020, allowing 41.8 fantasy points to the position. Further, tight ends are notoriously touchdown-dependent and Cleveland has already surrendered three touchdowns to the position this year.
Thomas is not an autostart but with his floor and touchdown upside in Week 3, he is a guy you can start.
START – Mike Gesicki (TE, MIA)
Gesicki has made it onto this column over the last two weeks as a “sit” (which I was very wrong about in Week 2), but in Week 3 you can start Gesicki with ease.
Reviewing Gesicki’s season through two weeks you can see that his target baseline will be there, the success just depends on the quarterback’s play. Going up against Jacksonville, Miami will enter as three-point underdogs with a 48-point over-under.
For Jacksonville, their defense has been better than preseason rankings suggested but they certainly are not a unit that shut teams down. With the infamous Minshew-Mullet on the other side of Miami, you can easily see this game hitting the over if both teams stay competitive.
The Jags also come in as the third-worst team at defending tight ends in fantasy, which is nice because Gesicki leads the NFL in red-zone targets within the 10-yard line (4).
Either way this game goes, Miami should be able to move the ball and that will certainly involve Gesicki. He is a top-12 start for his position this week.
SIT – Hunter Henry (TE, LAC)
Henry’s Week 3 outlook starts with his team’s matchup against the Panthers. Looking at the projected game totals it does not favor a Charger passing attack. In fact, the game comes in as one of the lowest over-under totals for Week 3 at 44 points, with the Chargers being 6.5-point favorites.
Knowing that they are the better team, the Chargers will want to make it easy for their rookie quarterback which starts with running the ball successfully. When the running game is going strong, it undoubtedly helps suppress first-year quarterback mistakes. This makes me bearish on Henry because Carolina comes in as the worst rushing defense in the NFL and they have yet to stop anyone in 2020, or 2019 for that matter.
Factor in Christian McCaffrey’s injury and the Panthers could have a difficult time moving the ball which could lead to a lopsided score, to Henry’s demise.
The final piece to this puzzle is that Carolina’s defense has been great at defending against the tight end position in 2020 and is currently the sixth-best team in fantasy at doing so. Carolina even held Darren Waller to 7.5-fantasy points in Week 1. There are tons of reasons to expect a dud performance from Henry and that is why I will look to pivot from him. Henry is never a “must sit” but you certainly shouldn’t expect much out of him this week.