Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Fantasy Football Week 3: Quarterbacks - Fades, Sleepers, Matchups, DFS Bargains

Justin Herbert headlines as the quarterback start 'em of the week against a poor-performing Chiefs defense

UPDATED: September 24, 2021

Start ‘Em, Sit 'Em is the ultimate look at the best and worst matchups based on a PPR scoring system in fantasy football. This column will not cover the elite players in the NFL like Patrick Mahomes, Christian McCaffrey, Davante Adams, or Travis Kelce. Instead, I'll look at the players you have the most questions about to help you set the most effective starting lineup possible. For all of your final fantasy lineup decisions, be sure to check out my weekly player rankings which will be updated daily throughout the 2021 NFL season.

Week 3 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Start of the Week

Justin Herbert at Chiefs (1 p.m. ET, CBS): Herbert has averaged a brutal 14.1 points in his first two games of the season, which ranks him outside of the top 20 among all quarterbacks. I’d keep the faith though, as penalties and drops have been to blame in part for his slow statistical start. Herbert should put up a great line against the Chiefs, who surrendered six total touchdowns and 55.2 points to him in two 2020 contests.

Week 3 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em


Start ‘Em

Jalen Hurts at Cowboys (Mon., 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN): Hurts has had an impressive start to the season for fantasy managers, averaging more than 25 fantasy points in his first two games. He should find success against a Cowboys defense that has allowed an average of nearly 19 fantasy points a game to enemy quarterbacks in their last nine contests. They’ve also allowed the 10th-most rushing yards to the position in that time.


Matthew Stafford vs. Buccaneers (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX): Stafford had a mediocre stat line a week ago, scoring just 17.2 points in a win over the Colts. I'd keep him in lineups this week, as his next matchup against the Buccaneers could be a shootout. The over/under opened at 54.5, and Tampa Bay has allowed five touchdown passes and nearly 22 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in their first two contests of 2021.

Daniel Jones vs. Falcons (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Was I one season too soon on calling Jones a sleeper in 2020? It’s possible, as he ranks in the top five in fantasy points at quarterback after two weeks. He’d be ranked even higher if not for penalties and drops too. Next on the schedule is a date with the Falcons, who have allowed an average of more than 29 fantasy points a game to enemy signal-callers in their first two games.

Teddy Bridgewater vs. Jets (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS): Teddy Two Gloves has looked great in his first two games with the Broncos, throwing four touchdowns with no picks while averaging nearly 21 points a game. He’ll be a must-start in two-quarterback leagues against the Jets, who have surrendered 18 touchdown passes and an average of more than 21 points to field generals over their last nine games dating back to 2020.

More Starts

  • Derek Carr vs. Dolphins (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Ryan Tannehill vs. Colts (1 p.m. ET, CBS)
  • Kirk Cousins vs. Seahawks (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX)

DFS Bargains

  • Ryan Tannehill vs. Colts ($6,200)
  • Daniel Jones vs. Falcons ($5,800)
  • Teddy Bridgewater vs. Jets ($5,800)

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Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Sit of the Week

Joe Burrow at Steelers (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The Steelers gave it up to Derek Carr in a big way last week, but their defense was also down three important defensive players. I'd still beware of the matchup for Burrow, who threw three interceptions in last week's loss to the Bears. What's more, just two quarterbacks have scored more than 18 points against the Steelers in their last nine games at Heinz Field dating back to last season.

Sit ‘Em

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals (1 p.m. ET, CBS): I’m not sure about you folks, but Big Ben has looked, well, unimpressive in his first two starts. It'll be tough to trust him against the Bengals, who have been sneakily formidable against quarterbacks. Their defense has surrendered an average of just 219.2 passing yards and 16.1 fantasy points to opposing signal-callers in their last nine games dating back to last season.


Matt Ryan at Giants (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Ryan and the Falcons' offense looked terrible for the second straight week and has averaged a pathetic 15.5 points thus far. This week’s matchup against the Giants isn’t great either, as their defense has allowed an average of fewer than 17 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks in their last nine contests. Unless you’re in a two-quarterback league, Ryan needs to be on the bench.

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Jameis Winston at Patriots (1 p.m. ET, FOX): Fool me once, shame on you, Fool me twice, shame on me. I won’t let Winston fool me again, as he looked great in Week 1 only to post a huge stinker in his next game. That’s vintage Winston. I’d keep him on the sidelines against the Patriots, who have allowed just nine touchdown passes and an average of 15.5 fantasy points to enemy quarterbacks over their last nine contests.

Jared Goff vs. Ravens (1 p.m. ET, CBS): The decision to sit Goff might look odd on paper, as the Ravens have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in two games. However, their defense faced a red-hot Derek Carr in a shootout and superstar Patrick Mahomes in its first two games, so you can understand the high stat totals. Goff is clearly not on that same level and should be on the fantasy sidelines this week.

More Sits

  • Trevor Lawrence vs. Cardinals (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Taylor Heinicke at Bills (1 p.m. ET, FOX)
  • Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Packers (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC)

DFS Fades

  • Tom Brady at Rams ($6,800)
  • Ben Roethlisberger vs. Bengals ($5,700)
  • Taylor Heinicke at Bills ($5,600)

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. Click here to read all his articles here on SI Fantasy. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for your late-breaking fantasy news and the best analysis in the business!

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