Daniel Jones has more fantasy points than Russell Wilson. Clyde Edwards-Helaire has more fantasy points than Jonathan Taylor and Christian McCaffrey. Noah Brown, Jahan Dotson, Garrett Wilson and Corey Davis are all top-20 wide receivers. Besides the top tight ends like Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews and Darren Waller, it seems as though the fantasy gods are rolling dice to determine how other tight ends will score each week. That's power of the small sample size. I don't blame you if you're on tilt or close to it. We have to continue to hold firm for another week or two to let the fantasy universe's checks and balances to bring some order to the chaos.
There are anomalies every year. In 2021, Zach Pascal had 35.1 fantasy points through two games, making him the WR18 to that point. He finished with 94.5 points (WR74). Unless you have really deep benches in your league, you're better off sticking with proven talent in these first few weeks both in who to start and sit, as well as your waiver wire adds. Churning the end of bench is smart; dumping half your roster is not. That doesn't mean guys like Dotson or Wilson are bound to fall off, we just have to maintain a skeptical attitude until they flesh out their range of potential outcomes.
This message of exercising patience is similar to one I wrote about in my Week 2 Cheat Sheet, but it bears repeating.
So in this Week 3 Cheat Sheet, I don't want to spend much time focusing on the marquee fantasy players across the league, and instead I want to focus on borderline players who are either at the end of your starting lineup, the end of your bench and near the top of a 12-team league's waiver wire.
1. It's Time, Travis Etienne Time
Now that the preseason hype has mostly worn off. Now that fantasy managers have grown impatient. That means of course it's time for Travis Etienne to break out. This week the Jaguars travel to SoFi Stadium to face the Los Angeles Chargers. Like a year ago, the Chargers are struggling to get a push upfront defensively. They are a tiny bit better this year thanks to some defensive upgrades like Khalil Mack, Sebastian Joseph-Day and Kyle Van Noy, but they haven't been tested yet.
Last season, the Chargers allowed the fifth-most points to running backs and teams knew it, compiling 438 RB carries against them, most in the NFL. While L.A. hasn't yet allowed a rushing touchdown to running backs, they've faced underwhelming committees (Raiders and Chiefs) that weren't committed to the run in Weeks 1 and 2. Jacksonville has 47 RB carries through two games, tied for eighth-most. While you may prefer James Robinson this week—you wouldn't be wrong in that assessment—I'm taking it a step further in my belief that Etienne and Robinson will outperform projections this week.
The Jaguars are second in overall DVOA and while I'm not convinced they can win this game, they'll be playing from a small deficit for most of the game. More passing situations equal more playing time for Etienne, who on just 13 carries has 67 yards (5.2 ypc) and five receptions for 51 yards. And with the offense taking small steps forward through two contests, I expect Etienne to flash what we were all hoping for just a couple weeks ago.
2. Down on Chase Edmonds
With the Buffalo Bills dismantling every opponent thus far, I don't believe even the red-hot Dolphins will be able to keep this game particularly close. With the game script out of his favor and Buffalo taking this game over quickly, I believe Chase Edmonds will be phased out of the gameplan early. This isn't exactly a revelation as Miami was passing at-will last week, leading to Edmonds only earning six touches against the Ravens. To make matters worse, Raheem Mostert saw an expanded role with 14 touches, so even if the game script is more favorable, a split backfield limits Edmonds's potential.
3. Kyle Wood's Trade Targets
I wanted to take a moment to highlight my colleague Kyle Wood's Week 3 Trade Targets article. The TL;DR of it is that he recommends buying Austin Ekeler, CeeDee Lamb and Kyle Pitts. He also recommends selling on James Robinson, Antonio Gibson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
These are all well-known players and I say that because it's easy to sometimes fall into a conservative trap in your approach to trading. Just like we don't want to start a guy just because he scored a lot of points last week, we don't want to avoid trading for a guy because he hasn't yet found his stride this season. This is my concession in relation to what I discussed in the intro to this article. We still don't have much information about how the season will play out, but established players have multiple seasons on their resume we can fall back on.
While fantasy managers probably won't want to trade away Ekeler, Lamb or Pitts at much of a discount from their preseason value, it's absolutely worth pursuing and you never know how stressed they may be. You can put your league on tilt early with a big acquisition like this or exploit a manager enthused about an unproven player.
4. My Week 3 Friggin' Bums
Every week, I'll highlight eight players (two at each position) that I like who are rostered in less than 50% of Yahoo leagues. You can think of them as desperation plays or salary punts in DFS contests.
- QB Daniel Jones, NYG (vs. DAL)
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo, SF (at DEN)
- RB Mark Ingram II, NO (at CAR)
- RB Jerick McKinnon, KC (at IND)
- WR Treylon Burks, TEN (vs. LV)
- WR Sterling Shepard, NYG (vs. DAL)
- TE Hayden Hurst, CIN (at NYJ)
- TE Logan Thomas, WAS (vs. PHI)
5. Week 3 SI Fantasy Must-Reads
Before setting your lineups, make sure you check out some of the world-class fantasy lowdown from our SI Fantasy analysts:
- Michael Fabiano's Start 'Em, Sit 'Em
- Michael Fabiano's Week 3 rankings
- Shawn Childs's Week 3 projections
- Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups
- Week 3 Trade Targets
- Week 3 Dynasty Stock Watch
- IDP Waiver Wire Report
- Week 3 Good News, Bad News
- Early Week 3 Waiver Wire Pickups
- Top 10 Week 2 Fantasy Takeaways
- Fantasy Impact: Trey Lance Out, Jimmy Garoppolo In