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NFL Fantasy Week 3: Start ‘em, Sit ‘em- Quarterbacks

It used to be so simple. There were elite quarterbacks and bad quarterbacks and a group in the middle whose performance relied on match-ups and weather. I’d write a start ‘em or sit ‘em piece and look brilliant week in and week out.

Now we have new kids throwing six touchdowns and young defenses rudely stifling the best quarterbacks in history. Andy Dalton just had a top-ten NFL Fantasy scoring week in a primetime game! And some perennial backup I thought retired became the third quarterback in history to throw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in back-to-back games.

What is up with Ryan Fitzpatrick anyway? The guy is apparently too old to remember how to shave or find his own clothes, but there he is listed as the QB-1. He totally disrespected the opinions of NFL Fantasy experts around the world by overwhelming the defending Super Bowl defense. Now, he forces me to start him against Ben Roethlisberger on a Monday night.

It’s a topsy-turvy NFL Fantasy world out there right now. Let’s see if I can make enough sense of it to pick a few start ‘em and sit ‘em options for Week 3.

Start this guy: Drew Brees (at Atlanta)

See what is happening here? The craziness of the 2018 season has us discussing Drew Brees as if there could be a doubt about starting him. In the preseason, we received questions about how much the Saints running prowess would affect Brees’ NFL Fantasy output.

Then he got stifled for a half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and followed that up with three quarters of bad football against Cleveland. Both of those games were in New Orleans. Now Brees and the Saints face the Falcons in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s NFL Fantasy defense was a preseason sleeper favorite before a couple of key injuries. Do they have enough left to stop Brees for all four quarters? Can they at least hold him to a mortal QB-14 finish like the Browns?

Not a chance. Brees told reporters there is a sense of urgency in Week 3. Fans are restless, and the Saints can’t afford a second NFC South loss this early in the season. That doesn’t bode well for the Atlanta Falcons. Brees and the Saints ruin the Falcons’ week with a big offensive game.

Sit this guy: Phillip Rivers (at the LA Rams)

There are few teams I’d sit the Chargers quarterbacks against, but one of them is the Rams. Their defense is not even completely together yet. Aaron Donald doesn’t have a sack or even a tackle for loss. The new pieces are doing well but are still gelling with the personalities around them.

I’d mention the six straight quarters of shutout football, but I’m not sure the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals make that as impressive as it sounds.

The edge goes to the Rams secondary over the Charger receivers, the Rams defensive line can handle Rivers’ O-line, and the linebackers can contain the pass-catching backs. It’s too much to start Rivers.

Start this guy: Jimmy Garoppolo (at Kansas City)

You know how we look for bad offenses to stream defenses against? Kansas City has the type of defense we’ll stream quarterbacks and wide receivers against. They continue to give up massive amounts of yards and points.

As long as Pat Mahomes keeps throwing touchdowns, opposing quarterbacks will have no choice but to attack the Chiefs’ through the air. Garoppolo will re-acquaint himself with his wide receivers and rack up NFL Fantasy points in a desperate attempt to keep up with his counterpart.

Sit this guy: Andy Dalton (at Carolina)

Cincinnati’s quarterback defied NFL Fantasy expectations by turning in a QB-8 performance in a prime time Thursday Night Football affair against a top-rated defense.

Carolina’s defense defied expectations by letting the Falcon’s Matt Ryan run for two touchdowns and convert all four of his red zone opportunities.

My philosophy is to always take the motivated defense over the hot offense. Carolina shows the home crowd their defense is as good as ever. Andy Dalton and the Bengals come back to reality.

Start this guy: Matt Stafford (vs. New England)

Maybe the Jets really did know Matt Stafford’s hand signals. From the look of things in Week 2, Stafford changed them up. Detroit’s passer put memories of his Week 1 disaster behind him with a 300-yard, 3-touchdown showing in San Francisco.

He is a better quarterback in the friendly confines of Ford Field. Facing Tom Brady coming off a loss will force Stafford to come up big for a second week. Brady is destined for a top-3 NFL Fantasy finish. He’ll pull Stafford right along with him.

Sit this guy: Dak Prescott (at Seattle)

Lost in Monday Night’s defensive display by the Chicago Bears was the credible effort made by the Seahawks’ defense, despite being on the field for most of the game.

Jordan Howard couldn’t run the ball at all against the Seattle front seven. The team added two interceptions and are tied for the league lead with five. Mitchell Trubisky had a lower QBR than Russell Wilson.

Despite the offseason turnover in personnel, I think the Seahawks defense can play even tougher in their home opener. Prescott’s performance was better, but far from good against the Giants. Expectations that the Cowboys beat up a weak Seahawk defense are misguided.

Going into overtime…

Russell Wilson won’t be the statue Eli Manning was last week. He will bounce back from the beating he took in Chicago with a crowd-pleasing return to NFL Fantasy stardom.

I shouldn’t have to mention that even though Derek Carr looked better, facing a surprisingly solid defense in an early east-coast game does not bode well for the Raiders’ quarterback.

Deshaun Watson gets it together this week at home against the Giants. The Giants are not sure Eli Apple will play, leaving the secondary even weaker than usual. Look for a big week, even with his offensive line issues.

Last season, Jared Goff did most of his NFL Fantasy damage against mediocre or poor defenses. He was below average against better D/STs. The Chargers are not as good without Joey Bosa, but they are good enough to make me think about sitting Goff this week.

Full disclosure

Ryan Fitzpatrick made me look pretty silly for benching him in Week 2 and Blake Bortles, too. Overall, it was a disastrous week for me in quarterback sit ‘em and start ‘ems with only half my predictions working out.

At least I’m treading water until the craziness of the 2018 season settles down a bit. I’m feeling pretty good about Week 3.