Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 3


Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 3

The fantasy football season is underway, and if you've started the year 0-2 just remember teams like the Seahawks, Colts and Ravens - playoff contenders - are, too.

Then again, so are the Bears.

OK, so 0-2 isn't the best place to be. But an 0-3 start? That'll have you looking at your roster like DeMarco Murray at Sam Bradford:

But that's why we're here to help. If you've been punished by injuries - Dez Bryant and Tony Romo have been the season's earliest casualties - or are still waiting for your early-round picks to show up - C.J. Anderson and Demaryius Thomas can get going whenever they'd like - your starting lineup becomes more important ever. That's why we've picked out 12 players for you to consider getting into your lineup and 12 others who should ride the pine in Week 3.

[RELATED: Fantasy Football Podcast - Week 2 upsets and other disappointments]

If you've got specific questions, drop us a question on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Without further adieu, let's get into it:


John Brown, WR, ARI (vs. SF) - Boy, that Cardinals offense is hummin. Fantasy owners are thrilled to see Carson Palmer healthy because he's making the top options in that offense look good on your team. Larry Fitzgerald is coming off a career game and I don't think he can replicate it the next week. Brown should get a lot more looks at home against a 49ers defense and his game-changing speed should attract Palmer's eyes on some big plays. This should be Brown's breakout week. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Charles Clay, TE, BUF (@ MIA) - Call this the revenge game. Every player wants to do well against his former team and Clay will be no different this Sunday. In a week that has a lot of not-so-great tight end matchups or injury situations, Clay is a nice play (yes, I know that rhymes). Give him a spot start against this shaky secondary. (Professor)

Jared Cook, TE, STL (vs. PIT) - Look. He is no Gronk or Travis Kelce, but if you're looking for a plug and play tight end in Week 3, look no further than Cook. Why? The Steelers literally can't cover a tight end. They allowed four combined touchdowns to the Patriots in Week 1 and followed up that weak performance by letting Vernon Davis haul in five passes for 62 yards. If you're chasing a tight end touchdown, Cook is your guy this weekend. (Scott Krinch)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (vs. OAK) - Fantasy relevance in Cleveland? Fantasy relevance in Cleveland. Crowell, who was slept on in most fantasy drafts a few weeks ago, looked good against the Titans in Week 2, racking up 72 yards on just 15 carries and a score. The number of carries weren't great, but they were three more than Duke Johnson, who only rushed for 43 yards on his 12 attempts. Now Josh McCown is back, and against a subpar Raiders rush defense it looks like a good time to roll with Crowell. Johnson is going to hang around for the time being, but this is still Crowell's job to lose. He's a fine flex play this week. (Mark Strotman)

Justin Forsett, RB, BAL (vs. CIN) - The Bengals are susceptible to plenty of fantasy production coming through the air out of the backfield if the first two weeks are any indication. Forsett is a solid receiver and he and the Ravens need to get back on track offensively. I'm betting it comes this week. (Tony Andracki)

Andre Johnson, WR, IND (@ TEN) - This passing offense has to break out at some point, right? Johnson has looked downright awful through two weeks, catching seven of 17 targets for just 51 yards and no scores. The perfect remedy for that? An 0-2 start and a date with the miserable Titans secondary. You'll find it to be a trend in this week's start/sit, but we're really high on the Colts passing attack busting out in a big way. Johnson has 10 touchdowns in 22 career games against the Titans, the most against any opponent he's faced. That trend continues, as the 34-year-old veteran is this week's version of Larry Fitzgerald and has himself a big day. Get him in your lineup as a fine flex play. (Strotman)

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David Johnson, RB, ARI (vs. SF) - In the preseason, Johnson was a nice stash. Week 1 he proved to be a true home-run hitter, scampering 55 yards for a score on his first touch in the NFL. In Week 2 we saw even more flashes of brilliance, as he took the opening kick 108 yards for a score and picked up a second touchdown as part of a 42-yard rushing afternoon. With Andre Ellington on the bench for one more week, now's the time to cash in on Johnson's ability to find the end zone. Squaring off against a Niners team that was absolutely gashed in Week 2 against the Steelers, Johnson may not earn the volume numbers, but he has the upside to explode on one or two touches. He's an excellent flex play with RB2 upside this week. This could be his most valuable week the rest of the season. (Strotman)

Dion Lewis, RB, NE (vs. JAX) - Oh you thought Lewis was going into Bill Belichick's doghouse after fumbling in Week 2? It's cool, I thought the same thing. Luckily for Lewis and his owners, the Patriots coaching staff ignored the turnover and kept feeding him the rock. Through two games, Lewis is the NFL's No. 5 fantasy running back in terms of points scored. He's playing in 85 percent of snaps (even with LeGarrette Blount back) and appears to have enough talent to return, at worst, RB2-type numbers his season. Oh and he's playing the Jaguars on Sunday. Need I say more? (Krinch)

Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI (@ NYJ) - The Eagles have been horrendously disappointing this season in both real life and fantasy. The only thing saving Matthews from being disappointing himself has been garbage time production. But he has been productive and that's all that matters. He should have another good game again this week going up against a Jets team that is only in the middle of the pack at limiting WR fantasy points. Matthews is ranked as the No. 22 WR for Week 3 by ESPN, but he should be higher. (Andracki)

Donte Moncrief, WR, IND (@ TEN) - Moncrief showed the nation how talented he is against the Jets in a game that was pretty ugly all-around for the Colts. Andrew Luck can't afford another bad game and he shouldn't have one against this Titans defense. With T.Y. Hilton not 100 percent after a short week, Moncrief could be the beneficiary of a desperate Colts offense. He's absolutely worth the start. (Professor)

Carson Palmer, QB, ARI (vs. SF) - Yes, we love the Cardinals offense this week. As John and I discussed in studio, Palmer has been underrated, but that needs to change. He's a Top 10 QB this season, he has plenty of weapons and he has another solid matchup this week against a Niners defense that clearly can't find any consistency right now. (Andracki)

Terrance Williams, WR, DAL (vs. ATL) - Would you look at that. In his first game as the Cowboys' No. 1 wideout since Dez Bryant broke a bone in his foot, Williams had five receptions on seven targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. I understand that Brandon Weeden is now his quarterback and that is never good for anybody, but Dallas literally has nobody else at wide receiver right now. In Week 3 Williams draws the Falcons secondary, who are ranked in the middle of the pack against opposing receivers. I'm expecting them to drop down the ranks as the season goes on, especially after Williams torches them. (Krinch)



Keenan Allen, WR, SD (@ MIN) - After a monster Week 1 (15 rec, 166 yds), Allen had just two catches for 16 yards and lost a fumble in Week 2. That kind of inconsistency just kills in fantasy and now Allen goes up against an underrated Vikings defense that is sixth in the league at limiting opposing WRs through the first two weeks (Andracki)

Brandin Cooks, WR, NO (@ CAR) - Have the Saints come marching in yet? I was extremely high on him coming into this year, thinking he could be a low-end WR1 but that hasn't panned out yet. Part of it is Drew Brees being hurt but the other part is teams likely trying to take Cooks out of the equation because he's the best talent the Saints have on offense. The Panthers are really good at taking away your best receiving target and with Brees possibly being out (and certainly nowhere near 100 percent) I'm staying away from Cooks this week. (Professor)

Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL (@DAL) - Hey look! Tevin Coleman is hurt and Freeman has the backfield all to himself. While I'm sure Freeman owners are excited about that, they can't be excited about his matchup against an underrated Cowboys defense. They just don't give up a lot of yards on the ground (ask DeMarco Murray that). The Falcons offensive line also isn't elite enough to open up holes all day for Freeman so unfortunately, he should remain on your bench even though he will get the majority of the touches. (Professor)

Frank Gore, RB, IND (@ TEN) - Yes, there are more reasons to have Gore on your bench other than that hilarious goal-line fumble in the third quarter last Monday night. Although that sort of capped off a second straight average performance for Gore, I still like his outlook this season. I'm just not sure it's the right play this week against the Titans. If you read up on Andre Johnson's or Donte Moncrief's "start" write-up, we're predicting Andrew Luck to break out in a big way in Week 3. Simply put, one of the league's best quarterbacks is due for a gigantic performance. It should come against a defense that allowed Johnny Manziel a 133.9 passer rating. That'll mean fewer touches for Gore, who has just three receptions in two games. If you don't have a better option, start Gore. Just be aware Sunday will belong to Luck and the receivers. (Strotman)

Melvin Gordon, RB, SD (@ MIN) - As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of the Chargers this week. The Vikings defense is better than its shown the first two weeks of the season and Gordon has been disappointing thus far. Danny Woodhead is vulturing all kinds of fantasy production from Gordon and as a result, the rookie hasn't been a must-start. You should avoid him this week, too. (Andracki) 

Mark Ingram, RB, NO (@ CAR) - I've been looking for the right time to sit Ingram and Week 3 seems perfect for it. Before the season started I didn't hold back my disdain for the Saints running back. Outside of a three-game stretch in 2014, his numbers have been mediocre at best. Through two games he's averaging just over 10 points per game, which isn't bad for a flex player, but it isn't good for owners who drafted him in the second round. Expect that number to dip after Sunday's game against the Panthers goes final. Carolina hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in 2015. I'm guessing that trend continues. (Krinch)

Charles Johnson, WR, MIN (vs. SD) - Raise your hand if you reached on Cordarrelle Patterson in 2014. Now raise your hand if you did the same with Johnson in 2015. Maybe you should stay away from any Vikings player not named Adrian Peterson. I know I will. It's not time to drop Johnson yet, but there's definitely a major cause for concern. So far, Johnson has caught just five passes for 37 yards. Teddy Bridgewater isn't looking his way, nor throwing the ball down field, and his outlook doesn't appear any brighter with a dangerous Chargers secondary looming on Sunday. (Krinch)

Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC (@ GB) - I wouldn't say it's been a bad start for Maclin, but it certainly hasn't been Philadelphia-like. Nine receptions for 109 yards and - shocking! - no touchdowns for the Chiefs wide receiver hasn't told the whole story (ahem, Alex Smith), but it's enough to keep him on the bench against a Packers defense that is A) putrid against the run and B) coming off a nice performance against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson threw for 206 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and I'll take the under on those numbers for Alex Smith this week. Jamaal Charles should run free Monday night, but it'll be yet another week until Maclin finally starts hitting homers that win his owners a matchup. (Strotman)

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Doug Martin, RB, TB (@ HOU) - I haven't lost faith on Martin as putting together a successful RB2 season with Jameis Winston under center and two viable wide receivers flanking him. If the offensive line can hold up, Martin should return solid value. But against a stout Texans defense looking to make a statement at home at 0-2, this isn't the week for the Running Back Formerly Known as the Muscle Hamster to get going. Feel good about having him, and maybe buy low on him, but his 130 yards and one lost fumble aren't any kind of reason to start him this week either. It's coming, just not this week. (Strotman)

Lamar Miller, RB, MIA (vs. BUF) - Man, this Dolphins offense is scaring me. It's not moving the ball well at all and is a nightmare for fantasy owners. Miller is having a rough start and I don't see it getting better this week at all. He's not only banged up but he's also going up against a very stout defense. Don't give up on him yet but don't put him in your lineup this week. (Professor)

Rams D/ST (vs. PIT) - The Rams are definitely a unit you want to own. Why? They get to the quarterback and most leagues reward at least one point for every sack. However, with a dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers offense looming, the Arizona Cardinals offensive arsenal on deck and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the hole, it's time to park their unit on the bench for the next three weeks if you have an open roster spot. If not, they need to be dropped until a Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. (Krinch)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (vs. DEN) - The Broncos are the best team in the league against the pass. Stafford may be the most frustrating fantasy QB to own given his potential, how often he throws the ball, his weapons and subpar production. Add it all up and this is a classic sit option this week, even if you just had one of the QBs that just went down to injury. (Andracki)

The amount of money you'll need to get into Bears-Patriots will make your head hurt

The amount of money you'll need to get into Bears-Patriots will make your head hurt

It costs a lot of money to see the GOAT, apparently. 

According to TickPick, a secondary-market ticket site, the get-in price for Sunday's Bears-Patriots matchup is currently sitting at a nice, plump $356. 

That price is, according to this article in the Chicago Sun-Times, more expensive than a ticket to No. 3 Clemson vs. No. 16 North Carolina State ($161) and No. 5 LSU vs. No. 22 Mississippi State (39$??) combined. It's also over 100 percent (116, to be precise) higher than the Bears' following game against the New York Jets. 

This is on top of what is, according to CNBC, already the most expensive gameday experience in the NFL. Soldier's average beer costs $9.50, coming in as the 2nd-most expensive cup of Bud Light Foam, behind only San Fransisco. 

Honestly though, it's not even that cold yet. Who needs heat/electricity when you can have nosebleed seats and *one* beer instead! 

Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context


Putting Bill Belichick’s complimentary comments about the Bears in context

Bill Belichick had plenty of good things to say about Matt Nagy and the 2018 Bears during a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. Some of the highlights:


On the Bears’ season as a whole:


“The Bears have lost two games, one on a game when they were in control of the game and another one they lost in overtime. This really looks like a 5-0 team to me, if you change one or two plays. You can say that about a lot of teams, but that’s the league we’re in.”


On Mitch Trubisky:


“I think he’s done a good job of getting ball to the players that are open or in space and letting them be playmakers. He has a lot of them. That’s the quarterback’s job is to deliver the ball to the playmakers and let them go. I think he’s done a good job of that. He’s a tough kid, which I respect. That’s what we would ask our quarterbacks to do, to make plays to help our team win, to get the ball to the players that are open and in space. It’s not about stats. It’s about doing what you need to do to win.”


On Tarik Cohen’s usage:


“He plays about a little bit less than 50 percent of the time and he’s in a lot of different places, he’s hard to find. He’s a dynamic player that can run, catch, really threaten every yard of the field from sideline to sideline, up the middle, deep. You can throw it to him, you can hand it to him and he’s elusive with the ball and he’s elusive to be able to get open so the quarterback can get him the ball. Those are great skills to have. Any one of those is good and he’s got several of them.


“He’s very hard to tackle. But they do a great job mixing him, not just putting him in the game but who he’s in the game with, what the combinations are and then where they locate him and so forth. There are a lot of multiples. It’s hard. Coach Nagy does a good job with that and he’s a special player that you gotta know where he is at all times.”


On Trubisky’s 54-yard bomb to Taylor Gabriel on Sunday:


“That’s about as good a throw and catch as I’ve seen all year. The execution on that was like 99 out of 100. It was a great, great throw, great route, great catch. There was like a few inches to get the ball in there 50 yards downfield and that’s where it was.”


On Akiem Hicks’ impact, who played for the Patriots in 2015:


“He’s hard to block. It doesn’t make any difference what the play is, you can run to him and he’s hard to block. You can run away from him, and he makes tackles for loss on the back side. He’s quick and can get around those blocks when there’s more space back there because everybody is going to the front side. He can power rush. He can rush the edges with his quickness. He’s a very, very disruptive player. He’s hard to block on everything.


“I appreciate all of the plays he makes. He makes plays on all three downs, against all types of plays, whether it’s reading screen passes or power rushing the pocket to help the ends, to help (Leonard) Floyd and Mack and (Aaron) Lynch rush on the edge. He’s a powerful, disruptive guy. (Eddie) Goldman has done a good job of that. (Bilal) Nichols has done a good job of that too. They have some really powerful guys inside that are hard to block, and they change the line of scrimmage in the running game and the passing game. It really creates a problem, frees up the linebackers in the running game and helps the ends because the quarterback can’t step up in the pocket in the passing game.”


On Matt Nagy:


“Obviously he's done a great job, as has Ryan with building the team. They have a lot of good players. They have a really experienced staff and they do a great job in all three areas of the game. They're good in the kicking game, they're good on defense they're good on offense. They have highly-skilled players in all three areas.


“It's a well-balanced football team that does a lot of things well. Run the ball. Stop the run. Throw the ball. Rush the passer. Intercept passes. Return kicks. Cover kicks. Cover punts. They're at the top of the league in all those categories. Turnovers. Points off turnovers. It doesn't really matter what area you want to talk about, they're pretty good at all of them. That's why they're a good football team.


“Coach Nagy and his staff certainly deserve a lot of credit. It's not a one-man band. They're all doing a good job. It's a good football team. I'm sure there will be a lot of energy in the stadium this week. It will be a great test for us to go into Chicago and be competitive against them.”


While listening to Belichick rave about the Bears, this missive from former Patriots general manager Michael Lombardi stands out:


“Whenever Belichick tells the media on Mondays or Tuesdays that he has already moved on to the next game, trust me, he’s not lying. I worked with Bill for five years in Cleveland, and then during the 2014 and 2015 seasons in New England. Belichick treats every game like a Super Bowl; no detail is too small, no possible scenario or situation goes overlooked. I have heard Belichick break down a bumbling Jaguars team as if it was the reigning two-time Super Bowl winner and treat Blake Bortles like he’s the second coming of Aaron Rodgers. Belichick does it with tape to back up his claims, only showing his team the opponent’s greatest strengths. (With Bortles, I swear, he must have used George Lucas to doctor the video.) No Patriots opponent is underestimated or taken lightly — EVER.”


One of the myriad things that make Belichick the best coach in the NFL — and maybe the best coach in NFL history — is how he never takes an opponent lightly, and then how he’s so successful at scheming against what an opponent does best.


The Bears are undoubtedly better in 2018 than they were in the John Fox era, or when these two teams last met in 2014 (when New England waxed a moribund Marc Trestman side, 51-23). And a lot of Belichick’s points are valid – that throw Trubisky made to Gabriel was outstanding, for example.


But Belichick talks this way about every team he faces. And that, again, is part of what makes him the best at what he does.