Assembling a championship-winning fantasy football roster in the draft is only half the battle. Now, knowing which of your players to start and who to sit on a weekly basis is the best way fantasy football managers can improve their chances of winning each week.
Here are some undervalued players to consider starting and others to sit in Week 3 of the 2021 season. And as always, be sure to consult FullTime’s Week 3 fantasy football rankings.
Sam Darnold (QB) Carolina Panthers
Through two weeks Darnold has looked outstanding. He is a legitimate QB2 right now and it would not be a shock if he slips into the QB1 conversation against the Houston Texans. Currently, he is sitting with 584 passing yards, three passing touchdowns, a rushing TD, and just one interception. I’m betting on Darnold to light up the Texans’ secondary on Thursday Night Football.
At no point with the lowly New York Jets did he ever have passing weapons like DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, Terrace Marshall, and Christian McCaffrey. The only real concern is that the Panthers are beating the Texans so mercilessly that they don’t throw quite as much in the second half. Even so, a lot of the Panthers’ rushing attack is just dump-offs to CMC. Best of all you can probably grab Darnold off waivers if you need a QB this week and he’s a no-brainer in Superflex leagues.
Damien Harris (RB) New England Patriots
Harris is now a weekly start regardless of your scoring format or Belichick fears until further notice. This is definitively his job and you no longer have to worry about Rhamodre Stevenson or JJ Taylor swooping in and suddenly taking over the backfield. Through two weeks he’s now handled 39 carries for 162 yards and a TD. He’s even caught three passes, which is a bonus.
The volume is there, the scheme and personal are there and he looks strong carrying the ball. I’m sliding him in my starting lineup against the Saints who at this point we know nothing about. They have looked like two completely different teams from Week 1 to Week 2 so there is no reason to fear them at the moment. We tell you to play your studs and Harris is looking a lot like the stud many predicted him to be this season.
Kareem Hunt (RB) Cleveland Browns
Hunt has his ups and downs and is at times difficult to predict weekly. However, the absence of Jarvis Landry for at least the next three weeks could noticeably boost Hunt’s opportunities in the passing attack. All those dump-offs Landry sees have to go somewhere and the running backs and tight ends look like the most likely beneficiaries.
He was already a Flex option, but this just gives him another boost. Don’t worry about a poor Week 2, that was just game script that swayed the way of Nick Chubb. Look for Hunt to bounce back against the Chicago Bears and it could be in a big way if he can find the end zone. You should be able to ride Hunt for about a month while the injured Browns’ pass-catchers try to get healthy.
J’Marr Chase (WR) Cincinnati Bengals
This could be the perfect storm for Chase. The matchup is perfect because the Bengals will have to throw against the Steelers. After all, that line will not be able to move the ball against a very tough Pittsburgh rush defense. Joe Burrow may even have enough time to get the ball out on occasion due to the groin injury of premier pass rusher TJ Watt.
Another injury may work in Chase’s favor as Tee Higgins is dealing with a shoulder injury to which we do not know the extent. Nonetheless, these two young wideouts are essentially a coin flip each week so an injury to one is enough to swing the pendulum to the other. I’m targeting Chase as the top receiver in Cincy this week and a very solid start.
Mike Williams (WR) Los Angeles Chargers
I have no doubts you’re sick of hearing about the imminent breakout of Mike Williams, but I’m reluctantly going to state that it is finally upon us. BMW to this point has looked like the WR1 for the Chargers as he currently leads Keenan Allen in targets, receptions, and touchdowns. I’m not going to go as far as to say I’m taking Williams over Allen for the rest of the season, but his production and volume have been a pleasant surprise.
He has been a top Fantasy option to this point and has turned his 22 targets into 15 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs. I have never been a BMW truther, but if he’s on your fantasy roster you likely are. This is why you drafted him so plug him in your starting lineup against the Chiefs and ride him until the wheels fall off. Get him in now because the wheels could fall off due to his lengthy injury history and past inconsistencies.
Austin Hooper (TE) Cleveland Browns
This is another case of the Browns having to throw to someone. With Landry and Odell Beckham sidelined, Hooper should see an increase in targets. While two other tight ends are fighting for targets in Cleveland, Hooper is the best of the trio and the most heavily targeted. If you are streaming tight ends this is a solid option off the waiver wire. The volume should be there and he’s more than capable in the red zone and that’s what we’re looking for when streaming TEs.
Derek Carr (QB) Las Vegas Raiders
The sits this week are featuring a lot of very good players and few QBs have been better than Derek Carr through two weeks. He’s the current league leader in passing yards and sits as the QB4. However, this week isn’t the week to sit him for the guy you drafted to be your QB1. Aside from this having a classic Raiders let-down game written all over it, the Dolphins pass defense is brutal.
Don’t let the 35-0 Dolphins’ loss last week mislead you. Their defense as a whole played well and their pass defense is among the best in the NFL. The offense was just so awful it doomed the entire team. Even if Jacoby Brissett is under center it’s hard to count on that type of performance again. If Carr is on my roster I’m not riding the hot hand and avoiding that Dolphins’ secondary.
Joe Mixon (RB) Cincinnatti Bengals
I’m well aware sitting Mixon may not be a realistic option for many Fantasy owners. However, if you’re starting him don’t get your hopes up. The Steelers rush defense will destroy the Bengals’ rushing attack. They are tough to run on for the best of offensive lines, so the Bengals are in a whole heap of trouble traveling up to Heinz field. This is not going to be a good day for Mixon owners and if you have another option, you should consider it.
Darrell Henderson (RB) Los Angeles Rams
We go from a terrible matchup to an absolute nightmare of a matchup with the Bucs. I’m at a point with them where I’m not sure there is a running back good enough for me to not at least consider going with another option when they face Tampa Bay. I’m sitting Henderson this week who is already going into the game banged up. If he were to miss the game this sit suggestion applies to whoever leads the backfield in his place.
Michael Pittman (WR) Indianapolis Colts
Pittman had his breakout game last week and it was great to see. He also has a great matchup this week against the Titans. So everything appears to be lining up for him. Unfortunately, his quarterback will likely be Jacob Eason who currently sits with negative Fantasy points on the season. Carson Wentz sprained both his ankles and looks unlikely to play this week. If he does end up playing get Pittman in your lineups. Nonetheless, if Eason is starting I just can’t trust any Colts’ pass-catcher this week.
Jaylen Waddle (WR) Miami Dolphins
Waddle has had a strong start to his career and immediately emerged as Tua Tagovialoa’s go-to guy in Miami. Then Jacoby Brissett came in and didn’t look his way at all. Brissett played more than three quarters and scored precisely 0 points behind a putrid offensive line. If Tua is out this week you cannot plug Waddle in your lineup and if Tua is active it’s tough to trust he’s going to make it four quarters with bruised ribs behind that line. Tua’s beat-up body is enough for me to pull the plug on Waddle Week 3.
Maxx Williams (TE) Arizona Cardinals
Williams had a career day last week catching all seven of his targets for 94 yards. Don’t take the bait. I know sometimes with tight ends you’re stuck searching for anyone that can give you anything. Don’t do it though. We have seen enough of Williams and the Cardinals’ offense to know this isn’t going to be a thing. Leave him on your waiver wire and go get someone else. I don’t care how good he looked, the volume he saw, or the fact that Kyler Murray looks like he can support 10 passing options right now. That was a one-week thing and you should avoid Williams.
DRAFT YOUR WEEK 3 TEAM and see what kind of phenomenal fantasy football roster you can build. It only takes minutes to complete. Once you’re comfortable that you’ve built the winning roster, submit your squad and enjoy watching them roll up the points throughout Week 3!
The three highest-scoring rosters for the week win the above prizes, but everyone who enters is still in contention for the Mock Draft World Championship, which runs all season.