If you drafted wisely and have a strong bench you will likely face lineup decisions on a weekly basis. Those decisions can often make or break fantasy seasons. For example, owners who decided to play Dante Pettis, Josh Gordon or Donte Moncrief over Christian Kirk or Emmanuel Sanders probably cost themselves a win. It’s small lineup decisions like those that can leave fantasy owners saying the dreaded words “my bench outscored my starters.”
In order for that not to happen, it’s vital to be aware of players drawing tough matchups that pose a significant risk to your fantasy success. You need to remember this is not a start/sit feature, but instead a look-ahead at potential starts where the threat to post less than desired point totals is significant. Let’s take a look at several players who check that box in Week 3.
And if you're looking for replacements in your lineup, here are some Week 3 Sneaky Starts.
Marcus Mariota, TEN (at JAX)
Mariota was great on the road in Week 1 as the Titans upset the Browns. But after passing for three touchdowns in the opener, he struggled last week against the Colts. He only posted 154 yards through the air, which was good for a scant 12.9 fantasy points. We’ve now learned that Mariota suffered a quad injury in that contest, and playing on a short week against a Jaguars defense on the road is a reason for real concern for his fantasy owners. In addition, the sharps out in Vegas have wagered heavily, backing ‘under’ the posted total (39) with high winds in the forecast. Temper all expectations for a high-scoring affair on Thursday night.
Derek Carr, OAK (at MIN)
After an efficient outing in Week 1, Carr offered a glimmer of hope that big things could still be on the horizon in 2019—even with the sudden defection of star WR Antonio Brown. However, Carr struggled mightily in Week 2 at home vs. the Chiefs and now he goes on the road for a tough matchup against the Vikings. In addition, there is concern that Carr could be without his new favorite target: WR Tyrell Williams, who suffered a hip pointer in Week 2. This is a really difficult spot to trust Carr, even if you are looking to replace Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger in your lineup.
Joe Mixon, CIN (at BUF)
Saying Mixon has struggled to open the 2019 campaign is an understatement to owners who invested high draft capital over the summer. Through two games, Mixon has just 27 yards on the ground. He’s managed a paltry total of 9.4 PPR fantasy points. Fighting through an injured ankle combined with going on the road to Buffalo, Week 3 will present another difficult endeavor. The model projects the less than fully healthy Mixon as a low RB2/flex start with major bust potential.
Nick Chubb, CLE (vs. LAR)
Chubb has posted double-digit PPR fantasy points in both of his games to start the season. Last week against the Jets, he found the endzone for the first time against a short-handed defense. However, in Week 3 Chubb and the Browns will face a stout Rams defense that just shut down the prolific Alvin Kamara. There is no way you should be benching Chubb this week, but all owners need to temper expectations in a tough matchup for a Browns squad that has failed to display consistent play from their offensive line. That could be a recipe for disaster against Aaron Donald and arguably the best defensive line in the league.
Corey Davis, TEN (vs. JAX)
Davis hauled in three of his five targets in Week 2 for 38 yards after being shut out on the stat sheet in Week 1. Many high stakes players projected Davis as the Titans’ WR1 coming into the season. However, it has become clear that he has fallen well behind rookie A.J. Brown and veteran TE Delanie Walker in a run-heavy offensive scheme. In a matchup we previously highlighted above that is expected to be affected by high winds, fantasy owners should search for a less risky alternative.
Tyrell Williams, OAK (at MIN)
Williams has returned substantial value to owners who invested mid-to-late round draft equity so far in 2019, emerging as Derek Carr’s top weapon. In two games, Williams has grabbed 11 receptions for 151 yards and two scores, landing him as the overall WR18 in PPR formats. However, Williams is dealing with a hip pointer suffered in the Week 2 loss to Kansas City and now draws one of the top cornerbacks in the league in Minnesota’s Xavier Rhodes. Facing off with Rhodes, at less than full strength, lands Williams among the riskiest starts at the wideout spot in Week 3.
Jared Cook, NO (at SEA)
Many high stakes players were bullish on their projections on Cook joining the Saints' offense in 2019. But with Drew Brees out for an extended period of time, Cook will continue to struggle. Cook has only managed to grab four of his 10 targets this season and has failed to find the endzone. With Teddy Bridgewater locking onto WR Michael Thomas and the Saints leaning heavily on RB Alvin Kamara, it’s hard to envision Cook breaking out in Week 3 in a tough matchup on the road in Seattle.
Noah Fant, DEN (at GB)
Fantasy owners are still waiting for QB Joe Flacco’s career penchant for heavily targeting his tight ends to come to fruition as the signal-caller for the Broncos. His talented rookie tight end had four grabs for 33 yards last week against the Bears, but 24 of those yards came on one play. Even at fantasy’s weakest position, it’s hard to trust Fant in Week 3 going into Lambeau against a Packers defense that is on the rise. Fant could be asked to stay in and afford more pass protection as opposed to running routes. The risk of inserting Fant outweighs any potential upside in Week 3.
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