Nick Mensio

Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em

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Week 3 Start 'Em or Sit 'Em

Saturday, September 23, 2017


Happy Week 3, everyone. Start ‘Em or Sit ‘Em is geared toward season-long leagues but can also be used for daily fantasy purposes, as these are players I’ll likely have some exposure to over the weekend.

QUARTERBACK

Start of the Week: Cam Newton vs. Saints: Newton hasn’t looked quite right in his two games since offseason shoulder surgery with QB16 and QB21 finishes against the 49ers and Bills. He has missed a number of throws, and it’s fair to wonder if he’s still knocking the rust off after attempting just two passes this preseason. If there is any spot to get “right,” this is it. The Saints are dead last in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks and have surrendered the most passing yards and touchdowns through two weeks. Sam Bradford was the QB3 in Week 1 and Tom Brady the QB1 last week. Both players won their respective conference’s Offensive Player of the Week awards. Newton had mixed results against the Saints last season, going for 322 yards and two scores in Week 6 before managing just 192 yards and one touchdown in Week 11. If Newton can’t do it this week, it might be time to consider cutting bait until he gets everything together. Saints-Panthers has the third-highest total on the board at 47 points. Carolina’s 26.26 team total is the fifth-highest of Week 3.

Starts

Jay Cutler at Jets: There aren’t many enticing streaming options on the board this week. Cutler qualifies as one of the better ones. In his Dolphins debut last week, Cutler completed 72.7% of his passes at a 7.0 YPA clip while tossing one touchdown and no picks. The Fins head back out on the road again, but the Jets haven’t posed much of a threat through two weeks. They’ve surrendered the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, including the QB6 (Tyrod Taylor) and QB5 (Derek Carr) finishes. Miami is a healthy 6.5-point favorite, so we are sure to see a ton of Jay Ajayi on the ground again, but there should be enough red-zone and big-play chances to give Cutler a shot at a top-12 week. The Dolphins’ implied team total of 24 is one of the better numbers on the board.

Matthew Stafford vs. Falcons: Stafford lit up the Cardinals for the QB2 finish in Week 1 and was well on his way to another big game last Monday night against the Giants before Jamal Agnew returned a punt 88 yards for a touchdown, giving Detroit a two-touchdown lead to squat on in the second half. Stafford only threw the ball 21 times total and four times after the half. Detroit now gets a potential shootout against Atlanta at home at Ford Field. This game’s 50-point total is the second-highest on the board, and the Falcons are just three-point favorites. Mike Glennon looked at least serviceable in the Week 1 loss to the Falcons before cratering last week in Tampa Bay. And Aaron Rodgers was held in check for part of the night but could’ve had a much bigger Week 2 if Jordy Nelson didn’t get hurt and Martellus Bennett didn’t commit several drops. Boosting Stafford’s stock for Week 3 is the Falcons will be without top sack man Vic Beasley after he strained his hamstring last Sunday night. Not only will this one likely be high scoring, the pace figures to be rather fast.

Derek Carr at Redskins: The yards haven’t been there for Carr through two games, but that mostly has to do with the Raiders nursing comfortable leads in the second half and running the ball. Oakland heads back out on the road for Sunday Night Football in D.C. against a Redskins defense that got shredded by Carson Wentz for 307 yards and two scores in Week 1 to finish as the QB5 before Washington kept Jared Goff at bay in Week 2. Carr is far more likely to have a Wentz performance than a Goff one. Raiders-Redskins has the highest total of the week at 54.5 points, while Oakland’s implied team total of 29 is the highest on the board. There’s a good chance the Raiders are going to be able to move the ball down the field with relative ease. Carr is a top-notch QB1.

Sits

Trevor Siemian at Bills: Siemian has been dynamite through two games and is the current overall QB2 behind Alex Smith and just ahead of Carson Wentz. (Not sure anybody could have guessed that.) Siemian’s performances have him getting plenty of national love. But the truth of the matter so far is that he’s been doing this with incredible success in the red zone. He’s only attempted five passes inside the 10-yard line, yet has four touchdowns. That number is bound to regress to the mean. The Bills have quietly stood tall against the pass after two weeks, shutting down Josh McCown and Cam Newton in Weeks 1 and 2. The competition may not be stiff, but that’s what Buffalo has done. Also working in Buffalo’s favor is new Bills OC Rick Dennison was Siemian’s OC in Denver last season and surely knows all of his strengths and weaknesses. Much like Mike Glennon going back to Tampa to face old coach Dirk Koetter, I’m expecting Siemian to be knocked back down a peg or two. Buffalo and Carolina are the only two clubs yet to allow a passing score. Siemian faced Bills coach Sean McDermott’s defense in Carolina last year and threw for just 178 yards with a 1:2 TD:INT mark. Albeit this Buffalo squad is completely different, but don’t expect another QB1 finish this week. The 40-point over-under for Broncos-Bills is the lowest total of the Sunday-Monday main slate.

Tyrod Taylor vs. Broncos: Dating back to last year, Taylor has been so much better at home than on the road, and this time he’s coming back to New Era Field after a brutal QB24 finish at Carolina last week. Denver’s pass defense has surprisingly been picked apart a bit through two weeks, but Philip Rivers, despite throwing three touchdowns, only passed for 192 yards in Week 1. And Dak Prescott needed 50 passes last week to manage 218 yards and two scores, while tossing two picks. Denver was destroying Dallas, allowing Prescott plenty of garbage time. This Broncos-Bills game has a three-point spread and minuscule 40-point total. Buffalo’s team total of 18.5 is one of the lowest of the week. I’m not expecting any of Jordan Matthews, Zay Jones, Andre Holmes, etc. to be able to create enough space to make anything happen. If the Bills are going to pull this one out, it’s going to be on LeSean McCoy and possibly some Taylor runs. He may be able to eek out 50 rushing yards or so due to the Broncos playing a ton of man coverage, but it won’t be enough to make Taylor usable as a confident QB1. He’s a decent 2-QB league option as a top-18 or -20 QB.

Jameis Winston at Vikings: Before the season, Winston was being mentioned as a possible MVP candidate with the Bucs looking to take the next step in the NFC. In his first game of the season, Winston finished as the QB19 at home against the Bears. The Bucs destroyed Chicago 29-7, so there was no need for Winston to uncork many throws in the second half, but he still completed just 60% of his passes. Winston is loaded with all the talent in the world, but he hasn’t yet consistently put it all together for long stretches. It’s too hard to trust him going up to Minnesota against a pass defense that absolutely shut down Drew Brees (as much as one can) in Week 1 and then performed well enough in Week 2 against Ben Roethlisberger. Winston is a notch below those two among quarterbacks. Expect there to be some big plays on the field for DeSean Jackson, but Mike Evans is going to have to deal with shutdown CB Xavier Rhodes all afternoon. Rhodes essentially takes away one part of the field and just held Antonio Brown to a 3-28 line for much of Week 2. Plus, the Vikings’ pass rush is one of the best in the league. Leave Winston on benches this Sunday.


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Nick Mensio is a football writer for Rotoworld.com. The 2014 NFL season marks his third with Rotoworld. He can be found on Twitter at @NickMensio.
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