All of my start/sits will be geared toward 12-team, .5 PPR leagues. For a more comprehensive list of how I’m viewing every fantasy-relevant player this week, check out my rankings along with the rankings of Matthew Berry, Patrick Daughtery, and Lawrence Jackson. Feel free to ask me Start/Sits on Twitter (X?) and drop me a follow as well.
Start: Justin Fields
If Luke Getsy isn’t going to design rush attempts for Fields, we’ll just have to find them ourselves. Luckily for us, the Bears are 12.5-point dogs and should be forced to let Fields drop back upwards of 50 times. The Chiefs’ defense ranks eighth in pass rate over expected against and has faced the ninth-most plays through two weeks. Fields has scrambled at the fourth-highest rate in the league and ranks first in yards after contact per attempt. He sits at second in Pro Football Focus rushing grade. By hook or by crook we are getting a bevy of Fields rush attempts in Week 3.
Start: Kirk Cousins
The Vikings have a 26.5-point implied team total and their matchup with the Chargers has the highest game total (54 points) of the season. Minnesota’s pass rate over expected of +8.4 percent is second in the league. Cousins leads the NFL in passing touchdowns and is second in passing yards. In a barnburner of a shootout, his pace won’t be slowing in Week 3.
Sit: Jordan Love
Love has been lighting it up to start the season. He leads all quarterbacks in touchdown rate and has six scores on the year. On the other hand, he has played the No. 18 and No. 31 defenses by EPA per dropback. Last year, those teams—Atlanta and Chicago—ranked 29th and 32nd. His upcoming opponent, New Orleans, ranked eighth last year and sits at fourth through two weeks.
Sit: Matthew Stafford
Like Love, Stafford’s strong opening makes him worth an add off the waiver wire, but his Week 3 matchup leaves a lot to be desired. The Rams travel east to face the Bengals. The game has a 43.5 total that has the potential to crater if Joe Burrow is ruled out. Even LA’s team total has fallen nearly two points from its 22.25 open. With either a banged-up Burrow or a backup quarterback under center, expect the Bengals to keep the pace of this game slow and the scoring capped.
Start: Gus Edwards
Justice Hill is a long-shot to play in Week 3, putting Edwards in the driver’s seat for the Baltimore backfield. The Ravens backfield as a whole ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing expected fantasy points. Edwards ranks 12th in rushing fantasy points over expected per carry this year and has been above zero in that metric in every year of his career.
Start: Joshua Kelley
In his first start of the year, Kelley played on 78 percent of the Chargers’ snaps, ran a route on 66 percent of Justin Herbert’s dropbacks, and earned 62 percent of LA’s carries. This week, his team has a 27-point total. Austin Ekeler did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday after missing Week 2, so he appears to be on the wrong side of questionable for Week 3. All of my Kelley optimism is contingent on Ekeler sitting, but we appear to be heading in that direction.
Sit: Najee Harris
The below stat simply doesn’t sound true (it is).
The Steelers have *0* rushing yards before contact this season (PFF)
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) September 20, 2023
Pittsburgh’s line is providing zero push for its running backs and Kenny Pickett has yet to garner the respect of defenes. If Harris was getting all of the backfield touches, that would be less of an issue. However, he has only earned 57 percent of the Steelers’ carries on a 56 percent snap share. His route rate of 47 percent is only six points higher than Jaylen Warren’s cut of the routes.
Sit: Dameon Pierce
Just like last year, Pierce can be as efficient as he wants on the ground, but if he doesn’t produce as a receiver or find the end zone, all of his broken tackles will be for nothing. He has just one carry inside his opponent’s 10-yard line this season and is averaging a paltry .34 yards per route run. The only difference between this year and last year is that he isn’t efficient on the ground right now either. Pierce is averaging 2.4 yards per carry. He is a clear stay-away until Houston starts getting him shots at the goal line.
Start: Gabe Davis
Davis busted in Week 1 versus an elite Jets secondary but rebounded against a poor Las Vegas defense last week. In Week 3, the Bills face a Washington defense that has allowed the third-highest rate of 1+ EPA plays this year. The average depth of passes against them is the 11th-highest in the league. When a defense is designed to and can successfully stop big plays, Davis will be a clear fade. Against a mistake-prone unit like the Commanders, fire up Big Play Gabe.
Start: Nico Collins
Collins ranks sixth among all wide receivers targets, third in air yards, and seventh in PPR points. The Texans are in for another likely stomping, this time at the hands of the Jaguars, but that should translate to more passing volume for Houston’s offense. Through two losing efforts, C.J. Stroud has thrown 91 times for 626 yards.
Sit: Garrett Wilson
Among receivers with at least 10 targets, Garrett Wilson ranks 49th in catchable target rate. New York rank 26th in pass rate over expected and 30th in situation-neutral pace.
The Jets will play excruciatingly slow and run the football often with Zach Wilson under center. When he does throw, it won’t make it to Wilson at a high clip.
Sit: D.J. Moore
Though I’m optimistic about Justin Fields’ odds of putting together a good fantasy outing, I’m less interested in D.J. Moore. His target share lept from six percent in Week 1 to 24 percent in Week 2, but that still only resulted in six looks, all of which he caught. If even one or two of his targets are inaccurate, the PPR Ponzi scheme collapses in on itself. Moore’s .1 targets per route run and 15 percent target share on the season are still major concerns heading into Week 3.
Start: Taysom Hill
Last year, Hill ranked 10th in explosive run rate and fourth in yards after contact per carry. Among all players with 10 carries this year, he sits at 11th in yards after contact per attempt and fourth in explosive run rate. Hill is a powerful runner who is consistently set up to take advantage of unassuming defenses.
This week, the Saints are without Alvin Kamara for the last time, and Jamaal Williams for the first time. They will be relying on rookie Kendre Miller and practice squad call-up Tony Jones. I expect more high-efficiency looks for Hill until Kamara returns.
Start: Cole Kmet
Our third and final Chicago player on the list is the team’s leading receiver by targets (13) and receptions (nine). Kmet also has a respectable 24 percent air yards share on the year. He is currently pacing the Bears’ tight ends and receivers in targets per route run. If you’re looking for a galaxy-brain DFS stack this week, Fields-Kmet is as fun as it gets.
Sit: Dalton Kincaid
Kincaid will likely make an appearance in this column as a start soon, but for now, his role simply isn’t big enough to crack the top 15 players at his position. He has run a route on 67 percent of Josh Allen’s dropbacks and has a 4.3 aDOT. He has not been targeted inside the 10-yard line yet.
Sit: David Njoku
Njoku’s 11 percent target share ranks behind players like Durham Smythe, Tyler Conklin, and Irv Smith. He has only been targeted on one out of every 10 routes. He doesn’t have an end zone target yet. Even if his role grows (it should), Njoku still has to overcome the barrier of his terrible quarterback play. Deshaun Watson is 30th in EPA per play and 28th in completion percent over expected.