It’s kind of crazy, but we’re about to pass the first third of the fantasy football regular season. It’s really tough to make the playoffs after starting 0-3, but it’s basically impossible if you get to 0-4. Take a serious look at yourself if you’re 0-3. It’s time to make moves and trade elite players for parts that can provide upside going forward. Antonio Brown can only do so much if you had the likes of Adrian Peterson, Keenan Allen, Thomas Rawls, Donte Moncrief, and Danny Woodhead filling out your roster. Be smart with the deals, but don’t hold out like some kind of shmuck. You’re going to need to trade an elite player to get something in return. Target the team who has guys to give up. The same goes on the flip side. You should be targeting 0-3 teams if you’re 3-0 and have depth. Now is the time to make moves. Desperation leads to decisions.
Below is a list of guys I’m focused on for one reason or another this week. They’re especially important in daily fantasy sports (DFS) leagues like DraftKings. If you’re curious about guys you don’t see listed here, you can always find me on Twitter (@MrT_BroBible) to ask questions, but remember to mention league specifics like PPR. You can always ask about trades as well.
You Know Who You Should Start?
Joe Flacco (QB – Baltimore)
The Ravens have ridden their cupcake schedule to a 3-0 start and they get another beatable opponent this week. Oakland has given up the most passing yards of any team in the league so far, but people will be quick to point out that Tennessee didn’t get anywhere last week. The “exotic smashmouth” offense that the Titans run is hot garbage compared to what Baltimore can do. Joe Flacco has thrown at least 33 passes in each game so far and will air it out again this weekend at home where he’s historically been a strong quarterback.
Melvin Gordon (RB – San Diego)
Last week we were disappointed with what Gordon produced against Indianapolis, but he’s got another shot at getting it done in this spot. The Saints have given up a league-high six rushing touchdowns in three games, while also giving up over 150 rushing yards in two of those three games. San Diego will be able to move the ball in this one, so that sets up Gordon for some potential scores and hopefully some yardage as well.
Matt Jones (RB – Washington)
It’s been a rough start to the season for Jones and we’re all fair to evaluate how talented he actually is. His long run on the season is only 14 yards, which is less than Orleans Darkwa of the Giants, who’s only gotten 11 carries all season. This is the week for Jones to step his game up since the Redskins, like the Chargers above, should be moving the ball up and down the field with ease. Jones will get goal line opportunities and the game flow should allow him to generate heavy usage in the second half. That shapes up his fantasy game quite nicely.
Desean Jackson (WR – Washington)
Say what you want about Desean Jackson, but he’s damn productive when he’s on the field with Kirk Cousins. Jackson exploded through the second half of last year and he’s kept it going so far this year. He has gone for 96 or more yards in two games so far and gets to line up against the pedestrian Browns secondary this week. The Browns have allowed the most fantasy points to receivers so far this year, so it’s a nice weekend to dress up in Washington’s uniforms.
Travis Benjamin (WR – San Diego)
Benjamin has been the San Diego receiver that people are chasing in the aftermath of Keenan Allen’s injury and for good reason. He put up 115 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2 and followed that up with another 82 yards in Week 3. He may not be getting as many targets as Tyrell Williams and Dontrelle Inman, but he always makes the most of his targets. He’ll get plenty this weekend as San Diego goes nuts against New Orleans, who give up yards to receivers like Derek Jeter used to give out autographed baseballs to his lady friends.
Jimmy Graham (TE – Seattle)
The Jets defending of tight ends this season is an abomination. I’m pretty sure Travis Kelce is still running free through the middle of Arrowhead Stadium catching balls. Now Jimmy Graham gets a chance to eat up the Jets and he looks ripe for the task after announcing that he was back to his old tricks last week. Even if Russell Wilson doesn’t play, rookie Trevone Boykin will look to his safety blanket.
Other guys you should start: Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego), Kirk Cousins (QB – Washington), Brian Hoyer (QB – Chicago), Trevor Siemian (QB – Denver), LeGarrette Blount (RB – New England), Jeremy Hill (RB – Cincinnati), Isaiah Crowell (RB – Cleveland), Jordan Howard (RB – CHI), Cameron Artis-Payne (RB – Carolina), Dwayne Washington (RB – Detroit), Marvin Jones (WR – Detroit), Allen Hurns (WR – Jacksonville), Tyrell Williams (WR – San Diego), Jamison Crowder (WR – Washington), Terrance Williams (WR – Dallas), Hunter Henry (TE – New Orleans), Zach Miller (TE – Chicago), Jason Witten (TE – Dallas), Vance McDonald (TE – San Francisco)
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Eli Manning (QB – N.Y. Giants)
The Giants offensive line hasn’t been a strong suit the last few years and the same applies this year. That’s quite daunting when the Giants head to Minnesota this weekend given the Vikings lead the league with 15 sacks. The pressure the Vikings has generated limited teams to no 300 yard passing games and only three passing touchdowns all season. That doesn’t bode well for Eli’s production when other QBs out there have juicier match-ups.
Jerrick McKinnon (RB – Minnesota)
It’s nice that McKinnon out-touched Matt Asiata 17-7 last week, but McKinnon’s breakout isn’t coming this week. The Giants haven’t allowed 100 rushing yards to running backs in any game so far this year and they’ve only allowed one touchdown. With the Giants banged up in the secondary due to injuries to Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, Minnesota’s best attacking with their receivers and tight ends this week and McKinnon can do his thing next week.
Christine Michael (RB – Seattle)
Michael truthers have been waiting years for last week’s game. Michael looked like he was shot out of a cannon as he blazed for a couple early touchdowns and a 100-yard game. Unfortunately his cannonball is about to drive head first into a brick wall. The Jets haven’t allowed more than 78 rushing yards to RBs in any game this year and have only allowed one rushing touchdown. The results from RBs against the Jets come in the passing game, which is not Michael’s forte.
Jeremy Maclin (WR – Kansas City)
It’s hard not to start Maclin given his general consistency, but feel free to sit him out this week if you have viable options. Pittsburgh has held receivers in check so far this year, only allowing one passing touchdown to receivers while holding down the yardage totals. A.J. Green didn’t do much against Pittsburgh. Jordan Matthews only had 19 yards to cover up his touchdown. You see where we’re going here.
Michael Crabtree (WR – Oakland)
As mentioned above, Baltimore has had a cushy schedule so far, so we’re not exactly sure how good their defense is. So far they’ve done a pretty good job at holding down the opponent’s passing game. Wide receivers haven’t combined for more than 164 yards in a game against Baltimore this season. While Oakland has quality receivers, including Crabtree, this reminds you of the Titans game where the Oakland receivers didn’t really go off. Don’t expect much from the Texas Tech alum in this onel.
Dwayne Allen (TE – Indianapolis)
Most tight ends are in good spots this week, so we’re jumping across the pond to analyze the London game. The Jaguars defense certainly hasn’t looked great this year, but it has limited Jared Cook (who came into the year with hype) in the opener, Antonio Gates in Week 2, and Dennis Pitta last week. TE is a position where you need to believe in matchups if the talent level isn’t there. Allen doesn’t have elite talent, plus there’s Jack Doyle looking for targets. Allen was originally drafted as a blocking-type TE, so remember that when you’re choosing who to fill the spot this week.
Other guys you should sit: Matt Ryan (QB – Atlanta), Jameis Winston (QB – Tampa Bay), Marcus Mariota (QB – Tennessee), Charles Sims (RB – Tampa Bay), Tevin Coleman (RB – Atlanta), Latavius Murray (RB – Oakland), Orleans Darkwa (RB – N.Y. Giants), Sterling Shepard (WR – N.Y. Giants), Quincy Enunwa (WR – N.Y. Jets), Mohamed Sanu (WR – Atlanta), Adam Humphries (WR – Tampa Bay), Jesse James (TE – Pittsburgh),