The bye weeks are here and they’re awful. Why do NFL players need a break after playing three regular season games? Then they have to play 14 games in a row without a break? The whole purpose of the bye is to allow teams to heal. This kills any momentum teams have early in the season. And none of this even relates to fantasy football, which we’re discussing here. We’re three weeks in and now I need to find two receivers to start because I own Demaryius Thomas and A.J. Green. That blows. But it’s okay because that’s why I’m here.
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 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 Know Who You Should Start?
Philip Rivers (QB – San Diego)
A borderline starter when fantasy teams were drafted, Rivers hasn’t disappointed his owners this year. He was decent in Week 1 and has excelled in the last two games. Now he faces the Jaguars, who have allowed the most points to fantasy quarterbacks through three weeks. If Rivers does as well as the worst quarterback performance against the Jaguars this year, he’s still putting up 288 yards and two touchdowns. Lock and load him up for this week.
Matt Asiata (RB – Minnesota)
Asiata isn’t a great athlete. In fact, he might not even be a good athlete, but he’s somehow a starting running back in the NFL right now. He’s not one to recommend on a weekly basis because of his limited ability, but he’s got a juicy opportunity this week. Atlanta was gashed with the run in the first two weeks of the season and would’ve been last week had Tampa not fallen flat on their face in the first half. Atlanta went up big. Tampa had to abandon the run and didn’t put up the usual numbers. With Teddy Bridgewater starting at QB for Minnesota this week, the Vikings will rely on Asiata because he’s a good pass protector and they’ll give him at least 20 touches.
DeAngelo Williams (RB – Carolina)
Weeks when six teams are on the bye are really tough on your lineup. You’re searching deep to find replacements for your starters who are on the rag. That’s why you need to look at players like Williams. He has a nice situation this week because his backup and goal line vulture are both out injured. The Ravens are decent against the run, but Williams will see plenty of the rock this weekend. With Cam Newton protecting his sore ribs, look for Williams to grab a touchdown and enough yardage to help you this weekend.
Markus Wheaton (WR – Pittsburgh)
The Buccaneers got gashed in the secondary last week and things don’t look much brighter from them this week. They’ll likely focus their coverage on Antonio Brown, which should leave Wheaton to do work on the other side. Wheaton hasn’t blown up since Week 1, but the stars are aligning for him to do so on Sunday.
Deandre Hopkins (WR – Houston)
Hopkins has been a bit of a revelation in the early part of the season. He’s a second-year player who was a first-round draft pick, so the talent is clearly there. The Texans, however, are featuring him more as Andre Johnson ages and receives more attention on the other side. Coach Bill O’Brien acknowledged his week that Hopkins needs to get the ball more. Feed the beast Bill. Feed it!
Delanie Walker (TE – Tennessee)
With three weeks of data, we’re seeing which defenses struggle to cover tight ends. Indianapolis limited Jacksonville last week, but I’ll give you a cookie if you can name the Jaguars’ tight ends. They struggled against Julius Thomas and Zach Ertz. Walker is in that talent range, so look for him to succeed this weekend.
You Know Who You Should Sit?
Andrew Luck (QB – Indianapolis)
Chances are you’re not ready to bench the top-ranked fantasy QB through three weeks, but Luck may have some issues against Tennessee. The Titans have limited QBs this year. They’ve only given up two passing touchdowns in three games and have faced decent QBs named Romo, Smith, and Dalton. While Luck is a step better, owners could explore a better option on their bench like Rivers. Luck’s not one to start in daily fantasy sports games.
Joqiue Bell (RB – Detroit)
I’ve been backing Bell all season despite a mediocre start because he’s getting more carries and goal line opportunities than Reggie Bush. Bell, however, faces a Jets defense that has limited the likes of Eddie Lacy and Matt Forte in the last two weeks. Those guys get more touches than Bell, so that doesn’t bode well for his output.
Chris Johnson (RB – N.Y. Jets)
You’ve probably realized by now that a change of scenery hasn’t helped Chris Johnson. Shame on you if you haven’t. Chris Ivory is clearly the better player and the Jets’ acknowledged this week that they may need to get Ivory more of the football. The Lions’ defense is great against the run to begin with, so this makes Johnson’s prospects for this weekend even worse.
Torrey Smith (WR – Baltimore)
I was big on Smith coming into the year because he’s young and had gotten better every season. Steve Smith has ruined everything. Carolina is reasonably good against wide receivers too. Bench Smith until further notice.
Desean Jackson (WR – Washington)
According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants’ starting cornerbacks are two of the top five rated CBs in the league. Jackson is nursing injuries and coming off the high of beating up on his old team last week. As much as he loves destroying the Giants too, he’ll likely sink this week. Pierre Garcon usually does well with Kirk Cousins behind center, so their chemistry tops anything Jackson has with Cousins.
Zach Ertz (TE – Philadelphia)
Just as I said when talking about Walker, we know which teams can cover TEs and which can’t. San Francisco has gotten the job done against TEs, not allowing more than 50 yards to any TE so far. They have some of the best linebackers in the league, so look for Ertz to struggle as Philadelphia works the receivers and running backs more often.