I wrote this whole Week 3 preview, with my thoughts on every game along with start/sit calls for each one on Wednesday afternoon ... and then I lost it. It was my own fault. I hit a wrong button when saving, because I am, apparently, the least technologically savvy 35-year-old in America. Hence why you didn't get this in your inbox Thursday morning.
I've had to rewrite it, but there is a silver lining to that gray cloud, as we've got a bit more clarity on injuries than you typically would get Thursday morning -- no small thing this week, as you'll see. We've also got a bit more clarity on what could be potentially impactful weather even for Week 3, as there is a potential tropical storm in the Atlantic right now that could impact three games on the east coast this week. There are currently tropical storm warnings for the Carolinas and the Maryland coast, and that could impact games in Washington, Baltimore, and New York this Sunday.
That's not to say you should just bench everyone in those two games, because the effects might end up being minimal. But it's something we may be dealing with come Sunday, and it's something to keep in mind as we go through these games.
OK, that's plenty long for an intro. Let's get to the Fantasy Football Today team's Week 3 preview stuff to help you set your lineups:
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- Week 3 Position Previews: | | |
- Jamey, Dave, Heath's Rankings
- My Week 3 Rankings: | | |
And, if you still need help, you can email me at Chris.Towers@Paramount.com with the subject line "#AskFFT" to be included in a Sunday morning mailbag where I'll answer some of the most pressing questions heading until Sunday's lineup lock.
Now, here's my Week 3 preview:
🔍Week 3 Game Previews
There's something to watch in every game on the NFL schedule every week, even if you have to squint to see it sometimes. Here's a look ahead at every Week 3 game, with some notes on what Vegas is expecting to see, the latest injuries, and the toughest lineup decisions:
- Thursday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: 49ers -10; 45 O/U
- Implied totals: 49ers 27.5, Giants 17.5
The Giants finally got their offense going in the second half of Week 2 against the Cardinals, but it still took a furious comeback to avoid dropping to 0-2. That might be the spark they needed, but they're missing Saquon Barkley and two starting offensive linemen, so it's a pretty tough ask for them to win this one.
- Toughest lineup decision: Daniel Jones -- Sit. Jones was tremendous in the second half of last week's game, but the odds are stacked against him in this one. Barkley is a big part of everything the Giants do on offense. Add in the expected absences of left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Ben Bredeson and it's just asking an awful lot of Jones to be good against this defense. His rushing ability always makes it possible, but this feels like one that could get pretty ugly for the Giants pretty quickly.
Injuries to watch: Along with Barkley and two Giants OL being ruled out, Brandon Aiyuk (shoulder) is questionable. He looked slow to get up at multiple points in Week 2, and it impacted his playing time and production, so I'd prefer to steer clear for this week even if he plays in a game the 49ers should be able to win pretty handily.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Browns -3; 39.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Browns 21.25, Titans 18.25
The loss of Nick Chubb moved this line a few points in the Titans direction, but given how this offense besides Chubb has looked so far this season, I'm still a little surprised the Browns are favored here. Deshaun Watson has looked just as bad as he did last season, and expectations for this entire offense have to be much lower today than they were coming into the season.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jerome Ford -- Start. I've got Ford ranked as a top-20 RB for Week 2, but I can't say it's with a ton of confidence right now. He did rush for 106 yards on 16 carries Monday, but it's worth noting that 69 of those yards came on a single run -- an impressive run, to be sure, but it still means he averaged 2.5 yards per carry on his other attempts. And the Titans might just have a really good run defense, having allowed just 2.7 yards per carry through two games, including holding last week's add-and-start waiver-wire RB Joshua Kelley to just 39 yards on 13 carries. Add in the addition of Kareem Hunt, who probably won't need long to get up to speed in an offense he knows very well and ... it kind of sounds like I'm talking myself into sitting Ford. For now, I'll call him a low-end RB2, but not a must-start. We discussed Ford and much more on the FFT in 5 podcast Thursday.
- Injuries to watch: Derrick Henry (toe) was limited Wednesday, so we'll obviously watch this one. I'd expect him to play at this point, but I'd like to see him get to a full practice Thursday or Friday. On the other side, the key one to watch is Amari Cooper, who added a shoulder injury to the groin issue he played through in Week 2. I expect him out there this week, but he's still in the WR2 range for me, given the injuries and Cleveland's overall offensive struggles.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Lions -3; 46.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Lions 24.75, Falcons 21.75
The Falcons are 2-0, but I still think this line is weirdly low. The Lions look vulnerable through the air -- and they just placed safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson and pass rusher James Houston on IR -- but the Falcons don't really look capable (or willing) to take advantage of that at this point.
- Toughest lineup decision: Kyle Pitts - Start. Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again about whether Pitts is worth starting in Fantasy Football. Pitts saw just five targets in Week 2, despite the Falcons throwing 32 times, but don't mistake that for them adopting a more pass-heavy approach -- they still had the lowest Pass Rate Over Expected in Week 2 at 15.1%, because they threw just 14 times on 42 second-half snaps despite trailing for all but the final minute. The Falcons just aren't making Pitts the kind of focal point they should, which pushes him back to the low-end TE1 tier. I'm still starting him over pretty much anyone you might have paired him with except for Sam LaPorta, but he's also already down to TE11 in my Week 3 rankings. It looks like we're in for yet another season of just hoping for a big play and a touchdown from Pitts every week. Yes, I'm frustrated.
- Injuries to watch: Amon-Ra St. Brown (toe) returned to practice Thursday, a good sign for his chances of playing through this issue, but David Montgomery (thigh) did not. At this point, I'm not expecting him to play, which pushes Jahmyr Gibbs into the RB1/2 range and pushes Craig Reynolds into the "break glass in case of emergency" range. I wouldn't be surprised if he got double-digit carries in this one.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Packers -2; 43 O/U
- Implied totals: Packers 22.5, Saints 20.5
Derek Carr has just one touchdown through his first two games with the Saints, but I actually think he's played decently well. Jordan Love has six touchdowns, and I've been pretty unimpressed with him. Funny how that works. Hopefully, Love can get some of his weapons back to full health soon, because I fear there is plenty of regression coming for this offense.
- Toughest lineup decision: AJ Dillon-- Sit. I had Dillon as a top-12 RB last week with Aaron Jones sidelined, and he totally flopped. Dillon got the workload we wanted to see -- he played 67% of the snaps and ran routes on 56% of the team's dropbacks -- but just didn't do anything with it, rushing for 55 yards on 15 carries with one catch for 8 yards. Dillon had the size and athleticism as a prospect, but he really hasn't translated it into the kind of production we hoped for in the NFL. If Jones is out, he'll probably get enough work to be worth ranking in the low-end RB2 range, but at this point I'm just hoping for a touchdown from him to justify starting him.
- Injuries to watch: Christian Watson (hamstring) was a limited participant in practice Wednesday, but was not spotted at the start of Thursday's session, so it appears he's moving in the wrong direction after missing the first two games of the season. Aaron Jones was limited Thursday after sitting out Wednesday, so it looks like he might have a chance to play. On the Saints side, Jamaal Williams (hamstring) has not practiced and looks unlikely to play this week, so Kendre Miller is going to get one chance to start before Alvin Kamara returns from his suspension. He'll be in the low-end RB2 range for me this week.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Dolphins -6.5; 48 O/U
- Implied totals: Dolphins 27.25, Broncos 20.75
With five touchdowns to just one interception in two games, it sure seems like Russell Wilson is having a bit of a bounceback start to the season, but it's worth keeping the context in mind here -- without a 50-yard miracle Hail Mary at the end of Week 2, he would've been 17 for 31 for 258 yards and two touchdowns. That's not to say he isn't playing better, but I think it would be premature to say he's "back."
- Toughest lineup decision: Marvin Mims -- Sit. I'd bet most of you aren't really racking your brains trying to figure out if you should start Mims, who has just four catches through his first two games. But I just wanted to have an opportunity to write about him, because I think he represents maybe the best chance for this Broncos offense to take a big step forward. Despite hitting on two of the team's biggest plays in Week 2, he was still running as the No. 5 WR for the Broncos, behind Brandon Johnson, an undrafted free agent who had six catches last season and Lil'Jordan Humphrey, whose career highlight was having 70 receiving yards two years ago with Sean Payton's Saints. Mims gives the Broncos a badly needed deep threat, and I'm trying to stash him where I can because I have to believe he earned a bigger role with his Week 2 showing. Hopefully his breakout is coming.
- Injuries to watch: The key one to watch here is Jaylen Waddle (concussion), who hasn't been cleared from the protocol as of Thursday. We'll likely know well before kickoff Sunday if he'll be able to play, but make sure you have an alternative ready to go.
Both of these teams entered the season with real playoff aspirations, and one of them is going to be winless after Sunday. Hopefully, we'll see both teams play with the kind of aggression that leads to tons of Fantasy points, because this could be, dare I say, a bonanza.
- Toughest lineup decision: Alexander Mattison -- Start ... for maybe the last time. Mattison has gotten the workload we wanted, playing 73% of the snaps or more in each of the first two games. But he's struggled to do much of anything. That could change this week, and the stakes are suddenly even higher -- the decision to trade for Cam Akers, even for a minimal cost, suggests the Vikings are as unhappy with Mattison's play as Fantasy players. That doesn't mean Mattison is guaranteed to lose his role, especially not this week, with just two days of practice for Akers to get up to speed, but it does mean Mattison likely has to turn things around quickly or Akers is going to matter. This might just be a gross mess after this week, but I'll still rank Mattison as an RB2 for a good matchup.
- Injuries to watch: Austin Ekeler (ankle) didn't practice Wednesday, so we're still in wait-and-see mode here. If he plays, you're starting him as a top-five RB; if not, I'm still rolling Joshua Kelley out there as an RB2. He was a disappointment in Week 2, but he also played 79% of the snaps, so I'm not just going to write him off entirely because he struggled against what might be a really good Titans run defense. He should have more success against the Vikings.
Bills at Commanders
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Bills -6.5; 44.5 O/U
- Implied totals: Bills 25.5, Commanders 19
The Commanders are something of a surprise at 2-0, though they also have two one-score wins over two pretty bad teams, so let's not start planning that parade down Pennsylvania Avenue just yet (I don't know any other streets in D.C., would they do a football parade by the White House? I have no idea). This game could be a reality check.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jahan Dotson -- Sit. I'm trying to manifest the Dotson breakout game, because I've written about his disappointing start multiple times this week. The biggest concern here is that Dotson is running a full complement of routes so far, but just isn't earning targets, which is the exact issue he had as a rookie. Last season, he was in the bottom third of wide receivers with a 16.2% target per route run rate, and this season he's down to 15.8%. He's clearly a talented player who has shown he can be efficient on a per-target basis in the NFL, but he hasn't shown the ability to earn targets at a high enough rate to justify the preseason hype, and I'd be steering clear for now until he does show that. I wouldn't be opposed to trying to sell Dotson based on that preseason hype and hope that still lingers, .
- Injuries to watch: Dawson Knox (back) has missed both days of practice this week, so there's a real chance he doesn't play. I would move Dalton Kincaid up a few spots if that's the case, but he's still a fringe TE1 right now.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Patriots -2.5; 37 O/U
- Implied totals: Patriots 19.75, Jets 17.25
The Patriots have the 10th-lowest implied point total of the week based on those Vegas odds; the Jets are tied for the second-lowest. That kind of sums it up, doesn't it?
- Toughest lineup decision: Breece Hall -- Start. I'm kind of buying into the potential for a squeaky wheel game here, after Hall stated pretty plainly that the reason the Jets lost last week was because he didn't touch the ball enough. Sure, the Jets aren't just going to abandon what is surely a medical-based plan for Hall's playing time, but he also actually played one fewer snap in Week 2 than Week 1, and touched the ball four times after 11 in Week 1. I'd bet on double-digit touches this week, and with the RB position looking like kind of a mess right now, that's enough for me to lean toward starting him and hoping he breaks off a long run or two. He's certainly capable.
- Injuries to watch: Thankfully, there aren't really any Fantasy-relevant injuries to cover here, though Jets tackle Duane Brown didn't practice Wednesday with a new hip injury, so they could be shorthanded there.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Jaguars -9.5; 44 O/U
- Implied totals: Jaguars 26.25, Texans 17.25
My initial reaction to this game was that I felt like the Texans deserve more credit than they're getting. But they've been outscored by 27 points so far and rank in the bottom five in both scoring offense and defense, so I guess not. I've been impressed with C.J. Stroud's play, but they still seem a long way from being close to the Jaguars level.
- Toughest lineup decision: Trevor Lawrence - Start. Lawrence has been a pretty big disappointment so far, it's fair to say. He opened the season with two touchdowns in the first half of Week 1, but has been shut out since, and it was especially frustrating in Week 2, as he went 0 for 7 with a sack in the red zone. There's too much talent on this offense for Lawrence to continue struggling like that, though I will point out he has just two multi-touchdown games in his past seven, including that playoff game where he had four touchdowns and four interceptions. It's time for Lawrence to make the leap if he's going to do it.
- Injuries to watch: Zay Jones (knee) has missed both Wednesday and Thursday's practice sessions, putting him at risk of missing this game. That could push Christian Kirk into an even bigger role, coming off a breakout Week 2. He'd be in the WR3 range. We'll also keep an eye on Tank Dell, who was limited Wednesday with a thigh injury. He had a breakout performance in Week 2, so hopefully this doesn't derail him.
- Sunday, 1:00 p.m.
- Line: Ravens -8; 44 O/U
- Implied totals: Ravens -26, Colts 18
The Ravens look like a very, very good offense, but not necessarily a great Fantasy offense so far. Zay Flowers leads the team with a 27% target share, but more than half of those targets came on screens, pop passes, or RPOs in Week 1, so this might be a tough offense to buy into, with touches distributed too evenly for anyone but Mark Andrews to be a must-start option. Same as it ever was.
- Toughest lineup decision: Zack Moss -- Start. I don't know how sustainable Moss' role in Week 2 will end up being, because being asked to play 98% of the snaps probably won't keep any running back healthy. However, it speaks to the confidence the Colts have in Moss -- and the lack of confidence in their other options. Moss seems likely to continue to see a three-down role in Week 3, if not until Jonathan Taylor is healthy, and that is going to keep him very Fantasy relevant. The Ravens are a tough matchup, but Moss' passing game role (four targets, 91% route participation rate) keeps him firmly in the RB2 range in a bad week for the position.
- Injuries to watch: The main one here is Anthony Richardson (concussion), who hasn't practiced as of Thursday. I'd bet on the Colts playing it safe with Richardson and holding him out, but we should know well ahead of Sunday one way or the other. On the Ravens side, Justice Hill (toe) and Odell Beckham (ankle) have both been held out practice and look like they're at risk of missing this week's game. Gus Edwards is in the "touchdown or bust" RB2 class, while Melvin Gordon is an absolute desperate play if Hill is out.
- Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
- Line: Seahawks -6.5; 42 O/U
- Implied totals: Seahawks 24.25, Panthers 17.75
The Seahawks offense got back on track in Week 2, while the Panthers might be starting Andy Dalton. Why isn't this line higher?
- Toughest lineup decision: Miles Sanders -- Start. I can't say with a straight face that Sanders is a must-start RB, because he isn't. He's been right around a 60% snap share each of the first two games, which is fine but isn't the three-down role we were hoping for. However, 11 targets through two games is nothing to sneeze at, and unlike in Philadelphia, his 64% catch rate speaks more to inaccuracy from the QB than anything Sanders has done wrong so far. He's been pretty unimpressive so far, but we also know Sanders is a good runner, and the passing game role has been solid enough that I'm going to have a hard time not ranking him as a high-end RB2 even given the disappointing results so far.
- Injuries to watch: Bryce Young (ankle) hasn't practiced this week, and it sounds like the Panthers are preparing for the possibility of Andy Dalton starting this game. Offensive coordinator Thomas Brown did tell reporters he would be comfortable with Young starting even without practice reps leading up to the game, so this could come down to kickoff, but I'd bet on him sitting out if he doesn't get out there Friday. On the other side, DK Metcalf (ribs) didn't practice Wednesday, but he also told reporters, "I'm always 100%," so I'm assuming he plays.
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Chiefs -13; 48 O/U
- Implied totals: Chiefs 30.5, Bears 17.5
Things are not great in Chicago right now. Justin Fields has caught some heat for (fairly, in my opinion) noting that , and the team's defensive coordinator Tuesday after being away from the team for Week 2. The Chiefs have been a bit disjointed so far, but it feels safe to assume the Bears will be the cure for what ails them.
- Toughest lineup decision: Justin Fields -- Start. I think it's more than fair to be skeptical that Fields is the QB of the future for the Bears, but he was right to note that the coaching hasn't helped him out. Yes, in an ideal world, he'd develop enough as a passer that they don't need to build the entire offense around his rushing abilities. But we don't live in an ideal world, and I'm going to bet that the Bears are smart enough to know they need to use his best skills more. We've seen Fields emerge as a must-start Fantasy option without much passing production, and I still think he should be that. I think Fields and DJ Moore are the only players on the Bears I'd call "starts" right now, but I'm rolling with them this week.
- Injuries to watch: Darnell Mooney (knee) has been limited, but it sounds like he has a shot to play through it. The biggest concerns on the other side are Kadarius Toney (toe), who missed the first two days of practice, and Isiah Pacheco (hamstring), who returned Thursday. It looks like Pacheco's got a better chance of playing, but if he can't, Clyde Edwards-Helaire would be an interesting RB3 option in a bad week for the position.
Cowboys at Cardinals
- Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
- Line: Cowboys -12; 43 O/U
- Implied totals: Cowboys 27.75, Cardinals 15.75
The Cardinals have been surprisingly feisty, but the Cowboys haven't really been challenged yet and I can't imagine they will be this week. If you're in a survivor pool, the Cowboys and Chiefs should be your obvious picks this week if you haven't gone to that well yet.
- Toughest lineup decision: Jake Ferguson -- Sit. The Case for Ferguson as a late-round tight end option was that the Cowboys offense has been very good for the position with Dak Prescott as QB, and that's worked out pretty well so far -- Cowboys tight ends have two touchdowns and 13 targets through two games. The problem is, Ferguson has just 22 yards on his 11 targets and started losing playing time to Peyton Hendershot and Luke Schoonmaker, who scored his own goal-line touchdown in Week 2. I think Ferguson's time as a Fantasy relevant option may be coming to a close.
- Injuries to watch: Brandin Cooks (knee) was upgraded to a limited participant in practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with a sprained MCL. I wouldn't start him this week even if he plays.
Steelers at Raiders
- Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
- Line: Raiders -1.5; 43 O/U
- Implied totals: Raiders 22.25, Steelers 20.75
Boy, all that preseason hype for the Steelers offense feels like a long time ago, huh? They rank 27th in yards per attempt in the passing game and in yards per carry, and things look about as hopeless as they have the past couple of seasons.
- Toughest lineup decision: George Pickens -- Start. Pickens' role adjusted to the absence of Diontae Johnson in ways that should have you pretty optimistic if you drafted him. As SportsLine's Jacob Gibbs pointed out, Pickens had a career-high 35% target share and was Kenny Pickett's first read on 47% of his dropbacks, the highest mark of his career. Pickens has been used mostly as a downfield option before that, which limited his targets, but if they're going to treat him like more of a true No. 1, that changes his whole outlook. This offense still looks pretty bad, but Pickens could be a bright spot.
- Injuries to watch: Davante Adams practiced without limitations Wednesday after being evaluated for a concussion last week, so he looks good to go. Jakobi Meyers (concussion) was limited, and looks on track to be cleared to play. Adams is a WR1, and Meyers is a solid WR3 for PPR scoring even with a touch matchup.
Eagles at Buccaneers
- Monday, 7:15 p.m.
- Line: Eagles -5.5; 46 O/U
- Implied totals: Eagles 25.75, Buccaneers 20.25
Here's your reminder that we've got two Monday night games again this week -- and it won't happen again until Week 14, thankfully.
The Buccaneers have been one of the league's biggest surprises so far at 2-0, but clearly Vegas isn't buying in based on that line. The skepticism is warranted in my eyes -- they've allowed more yards per play than they've generated themselves, but have won the turnover battle 5-0,with 25% of their opponent's drives ending in a turnover. That's hardly sustainable.
- Toughest lineup decision: D'Andre Swift -- Start. I genuinely don't know what the Eagles are going to do with their backfield if Kenneth Gainwell is back this week, but Swift was too good last week to go away from. It might blow up in your face, of course -- he had just one carry in Week 1 with Gainwell healthy, after all. But my read on the Eagles backfield all along has been that they defaulted to Gainwell, a dependable option who knew the offense, while waiting for one of the newcomers to give them a reason to trust him. Swift did that (and a whole lot more) in Week 2, so I'm betting he'll remain the lead back here, even if 28 carries probably isn't happening again.
- Injuries to watch: As of publication, we haven't gotten any practice reports for either side, but Gainwell (ribs) and Boston Scott (concussion) are the key names we're watching here.
- Monday, 8:15 p.m.
- Line: Bengals -3; 44 O/U
- Implied totals: Bengals 23.5, Rams 20.5
This line started out with the Bengals as 6.5-point favorites, but with Joe Burrow's status still very much up in the air, it's fluctuated quite a bit since. Bengals -3 might be too generous if Jake Browning is making his first NFL start.
- Toughest lineup decision: Tee Higgins -- Sit. Higgins isn't a must-sit, to be sure, but I'd prefer to avoid him if I can. This Bengals offense has looked pretty dreadful so far, and while Higgins did have a good game in Week 2, there's a big difference between Burrow and Browning. I'll still give Ja'Marr Chase the benefit of the doubt as the more likely of the two to house a screen or slant, but expectations for both will be rightly lowered if Burrow is out. And given that the Bengals seem likely to play it close to the chest, we may not know if he's playing until Sunday's lineup lock, which makes this a stay-away for me if you've got other viable options.
- Injuries to watch: Bengals coach Zac Taylor wouldn't confirm whether Burrow would practice Thursday, though he was out there in uniform at least. I'd bet against Burrow playing at this point.