Welcome to Week 3’s start/sit column. Each week throughout the regular season, I will go over a few players at each major position and tell you whether you should make room in your lineup for them or pull them out of a starting spot. Players labeled “starts” are non-obvious options that either have a good matchup or are trending in the right direction, ranking higher for me than consensus this week. Players labeled “sits” are ones I have concerns about leading into the week but are in a significant amount starting lineups. This article is most helpful for those in full- or half-point PPR leagues.
As always, you should make the final call on all of your lineup decisions. This column is intended to be a piece of your research puzzle and/or a resource to highlight some specific names that may have been overlooked in my weekly rankings. Without further ado, here is Start/Sit for Week 3:
START: Ryan Tannehill (QB - TEN)
In what feels like a repeat of my start/sit columns from late last season, Tannehill continues to be overlooked despite putting up very solid numbers to begin the season. He had a very 2019-Tannehill-esque game in Week 2 against the Jaguars, throwing 24 times with a quartet of touchdowns, but his 19.36-point performance in Week 1 was nothing to sneeze at, either. Through two weeks, Tannehill is the QB10 in total points. He’s facing off against an inexperienced Vikings secondary that’s allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to quarterbacks so far this season. Plus, there’s at least a chance that he’ll have top receiver A.J. Brown back in some capacity for this game. Tannehill is a top-10 play this week.
START: Gardner Minshew (QB - JAX)
I’m fully buying into Minshew Mania after being a bit skeptical this offseason. I’m not saying the Jaguars are going to be any good or that Minshew is going to be a top-10 quarterback every week, but given his success so far this season and the presumed passing volume that comes with playing on a team with a poor defense, he’s one of the best matchup plays available on the waiver wire. This week is a great example. The Dolphins have allowed the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and will be traveling to Jacksonville on a short week. This game has all the ingredients for a shootout and I want a piece of it. Minshew is a top-12 quarterback in Week 3 after putting up 46.28 fantasy points over the first two weeks.
SIT: Drew Brees (QB - NO)
Brees is going to have to prove to me that he’s worthy of being a QB1 again before I start him. Through two weeks, Brees is the QB23 in total points, behind players like Teddy Bridgewater and Jimmy Garoppolo (who didn’t even finish Week 2’s game due to an injury). I don’t believe all of his issues are just Michael Thomas-related, and regardless, Thomas won’t be playing this week anyway. Brees may be back at home, in prime time, with a neutral matchup for fantasy purposes, but I simply don’t trust him to be productive enough. One more bad game and the rest of the country will catch up and create a ton of “is Brees washed?” noise. He’s not a top-20 player for me this week and he’s droppable for better streaming options.
START: David Montgomery (RB - CHI)
Currently sitting as the RB17 so far this season, Montgomery has looked really good to begin the regular season despite fighting through a groin injury in training camp. He’s averaging more than five yards per carry (5.03) and has been used a little bit more in the receiving game so far this year with three targets in both Week 1 and Week 2 after averaging 2.19 per game as a rookie. He actually led all Bears in receiving with 45 yards and a touchdown against the Giants last week. Montgomery has another good matchup this week against the Falcons, a team allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to running backs so far this season. Given all the injuries to prominent running backs, Montgomery is a top-18 running back this week.
START: D’Andre Swift (RB - DET)
Frequent readers of my work know that I usually come at you with a bunch of numbers, stats, trends, etc. when it comes to fantasy football analysis. This is one of those rare times that I’m simply going to go with a gut feeling. As I said on the TDN Fantasy Podcast this week, I think this is the Swift breakout week—I have him ranked in my top 20. He’s being used quite frequently in the passing game and has a solid matchup against the Cardinals. Swift had five targets in Week 1 and got five more in Week 2 despite dropping a potential game-winning touchdown the week before. He caught all five of those Week 2 targets for 60 yards. The Lions will likely be playing from behind against a high-powered Cardinals offense and Swift is the only trusted pass-catching back of the trio. He’s also led all Detroit backs in snaps each of the last two weeks. I would not be surprised if he has a 7-8 catch day against Arizona.
SIT: Melvin Gordon (RB - DEN)
Let’s take a deeper dive into the stats because I bet you’re surprised to see Gordon as a “sit” with a “green” matchup on your lineup page. Christian McCaffrey managed to find the end zone twice in Week 2, so the numbers are a bit skewed when it comes to Tampa Bay’s defensive ranking. The Buccaneers were the No. 1 run defense in the NFL last season. Through two games this season against elite talents like McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara (as well as Latavius Murray), they have allowed only 2.55 yards per carry to running backs (120 total rushing yards on 47 carries). If Gordon finds his way into the end zone, he’ll have a solid fantasy day but his floor this week is quite low. The Buccaneers will stack the box and force Jeff Driskel to beat them (likely playing from behind). He’s not an RB2 for me this week and is only worth starting as a flex at best, preferably in a multi-flex league.
START: Diontae Johnson (WR - PIT)
Johnson is nursing a toe injury and may not practice much this week, but something similar happened last week and he not only played, but had eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. He leads all Steelers in targets and has quickly developed chemistry with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. There’s no reason to believe Roethlisberger will shy away from him this week at home in a neutral matchup against the Texans. Johnson is the WR18 so far this season and is a WR2 in Week 3.
START: CeeDee Lamb (WR - DAL)
As I wrote in this week’s rookie stock watch column, Lamb clearly looks like the Cowboys’ No. 2 wide receiver right now. His 14 targets are second only to Amari Cooper (23) and he’s coming off his first 100-yard game as a pro. While he’s yet to find the end zone, he’s got a glorious matchup against a banged-up Seattle secondary that’s allowed the most fantasy points to wide receivers this season, by far. The Seahawks have allowed nearly 12 more fantasy points to wide receivers over the first two weeks of the season than the next-worst team (Minnesota). Lamb is a WR2 this week in what should be an epic shootout. I think he gets his first career score as well.
SIT: A.J. Green (WR - CIN)
Maybe this is a bit of an overreaction after his poor Thursday Night Football performance, but Green just doesn’t look like himself right now. He caught just three of his 13 targets from Joe Burrow against the Browns. It was just as bad watching it live as it looked on the stat sheet. There are too many quality receivers to choose from before bye weeks start to take a chance here, especially in a neutral matchup against the Eagles. I have Green outside of my top 30 this week.
START: Mike Gesecki (TE - MIA)
Dolphins slot receiver... err tight end Gesecki had one of the best catches of the season in Week 2 and should be in your starting lineup on Thursday Night Football against a Jaguars team allowing the third-most points to fantasy tight ends this season. After a pedestrian Week 1, Gesecki was a monster in a tough Week 2 matchup against the Bills, racking up eight catches, 130 yards, and a score on 11 targets. I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to look Gesicki’s way early and often this week.
SIT: Rob Gronkowski (TE - TB)
While I wouldn’t be shocked if a few more targets go Gronkowski’s way this week after it’s been a front-page news story all week, it’s clear that he’s not going to be used anywhere close to the way he was in New England despite still having Tom Brady as his quarterback. Gronkowski is a phenomenal blocker and is an asset to the Buccaneers in that area, but that’s worthless to fantasy managers. He’s not ranked in my top 20 this week and I’m not starting him until further notice. He’s droppable in all formats.