Fantasy Football Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Week 3 lineup advice, best matchups, DFS picks

Week 3 in fantasy football has managers again scrambling for more answers for injured players. Austin Ekeler, Diontae Johnson, Aaron Jones and Aaron Rodgers were among those not available to play in Week 2. Now headliners such as Joe Burrow, Anthony Richardson, Saquon Barkley, David Montgomery, Jamaal Williams and most sadly, Nick Chubb, have added to the attrition across positions.

Now with more backups in the playing pool, the start ’em sit ’em lineup decisions have become more difficult for Week 3. There’s also considering past early disappointments and near future bad matchups. 

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Here’s a look at “The Decider’s” Week 3 rankings and recommendations for season-long leagues, along with some DFS values to target on DraftKings and FanDuel. If you have specific lineup questions, check out RotoBaller’s industry-leading “Who To Start?” tool below and compare up to four players across all positions.


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Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Must starts

  1. Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs (vs. CHI)
  2. Justin Herbert, Chargers (at MIN)
  3. Josh Allen, Bills (at WAS)
  4. Jalen Hurts, Eagles (at TB)
  5. Lamar Jackson, Ravens (vs. IND)
  6. Tua Tagovailoa, Dolphins (vs. DEN)
  7. Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. LAC)
  8. Dak Prescott, Cowboys (at ARI)
  9. Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars (vs. HOU)
  10. Joe Burrow, Bengals (if he plays. vs. LAR)

Stronger starts

11. Russell Wilson, Broncos (at MIA). Let Russ Cook? Not exactly, but Denver’s running game and defense have underachieved, putting the passing, rushing, and winning burden on Wilson. That can continue via a lot of garbage on the Dolphins’ D.

12. Jared Goff, Lions (vs. ATL). Goff could have done without his pick-six last week, but he’s home and dealing. It doesn’t hurt that the Falcons’ D is not particularly daunting.

13. Justin Fields, Bears (at KC). He finished as QB20 last week with passing and running limitations, but here’s hoping the Chiefs will be so far ahead they’ll be fine with him compiling meaningless combined stats.

14. Sam Howell, Commanders (vs. BUF). The matchup seems tricky, but he’s at home and should get it done with volume trailing Josh Allen big.

15. Matthew Stafford, Rams (at CIN). Stafford has been a 300-yard machine early, but he has only one TD to show for it. He’ll get a pair here with his young targets.

16. Jordan Love, Packers (vs. NO). The Saints are a tough draw, but he got hot on the road with three TDs in each of the first two games and can get at least 250 yards and two TDs here.

DFS picks

Kirk Cousins, Vikings (vs. LAC, $6,900 DraftKings, $7,800 FanDuel). Cousins is going bonkers with pass-happiness with three terrific weapons who can all go off on the Chargers.

Desmond Ridder, Falcons (at DET, $5,000 DraftKings, $7,000 FanDuel). He’s the cheapie contrarian option given his running and just enough red-zone passing in a shootout can pay off with sneaky ROI.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Weaker starts

17. Anthony Richardson, Colts (at BAL). Richardson (concussion) looks iffy to play, and the Ravens can be tough on his running given they practice vs. Lamar Jackson. Should he go, he gets his first tricky road test.

18. Brock Purdy, 49ers (vs. NYG)

19. Deshaun Watson, Browns (at TEN). The Titans give up plenty to wide receivers, but Watson is playing poorly and his line is breaking down. They also aren’t getting much beyond Amari Cooper. The running also may not compensate this week.

20. Geno Smith, Seahawks (vs. CAR). The Seahawks should relentlessly run on the Panthers to play better complementary football to boost a struggling defense. Carolina is also set up with a solid pass rush and secondary.

21. Daniel Jones, Giants (at SF)

22. Derek Carr, Saints (at GB). Carr keeps taking a lot of dents and making some of the same old mistakes despite his loaded receiving corps. The Packers are easier to run on vs. pass against.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Running backs

Must starts

  1. Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (vs. NYG)
  2. Tony Pollard, Cowboys (at ARI)
  3. Bijan Robinson, Falcons (at DET)
  4. Derrick Henry, Titans (vs. CLE)
  5. Kenneth Walker, Seahawks (vs. CAR)
  6. Travis Etienne, Jaguars (vs. HOU)
  7. Josh Jacobs, Raiders (vs. PIT)
  8. Kyren Williams, Rams (at CIN)
  9. Jahmyr Gibbs, Lions (vs. ATL)
  10. Rhamondre Stevenson, Patriots (at NYJ)
  11. Breece Hall, Jets (vs. NE)
  12. Joe Mixon, Bengals (vs. LAR)
  13. Miles Sanders, Panthers (at SEA)
  14. Raheem Mostert, Dolphins (vs. DEN)
  15. Brian Robinson Jr., Commanders (vs. BUF)
  16. Isiah Pacheco, Chiefs (vs. CHI)
  17. Najee Harris, Steelers (at LV)
  18. Alexander Mattison, Vikings (vs. LAC)
  19. D’Andre Swift, Eagles (at TB)
  20. James Conner, Cardinals (vs. DAL)
  21. Javonte Williams, Broncos (at MIA)

Stronger starts

22. Tony Jones Jr., Saints (at GB). With Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller hamstrung, the Saints should roll with Jones for one game in a plus spot on the ground.

23. Jerome Ford, Browns (vs. TEN). Ford is the other hot waiver pickup to plug-and-play. He won’t be Nick Chubb vs. a tough Titans front, but with some burst and catches, he can give you an OK RB2 day.

24. Rachaad White, Buccaneers (vs. PHI). He looked bad in Week 1 but was more effective with his versatility in Week 2. This matchup isn’t great, but he keeps getting the volume.

25. Gus Edwards and 26. Justice Hill, Ravens (vs. IND). They should be interchangeably busy on the ground in this game script, so it may come down to TDs.

26. Tyler Allgeier, Falcons (at DET). Allgeier cooled off with usage and in other respects playing off Bijan Robinson, but the Lions struggled near the goal line vs. Kenneth Walker last week.

27. Roschon Johnson, Bears (at KC). He’ll need to be on the field a lot for pass protection for Justin Fields, which could lead to another outing mirroring Week 1.

DFS Picks

Breece Hall, Jets (vs. NE, $5,600 DraftKings, $6,400 FanDuel). He’s a big-play runner against a team that can give up big runs, and he will get plenty of touches at home to explode after being an afterthought in Dallas.

Isaiah Pacheco, Chiefs (vs. CHI, $5,400 DraftKings, $5,700 FanDuel). You’ll want diversified shares of this absolute blowout, and here’s a good bet Pacheco will clean up in the second half with 80-plus yards and at least one TD.

QBs | RBs | WRs | TEs | D/STs | Kickers

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Running backs

Weaker starts

28. AJ Dillon, Packers (vs. NO). Dillon seems slower and not the simple plug-and-play for key touches with Aaron Jones (hamstring) out, but it hasn’t added up yet to effective running. The matchup is tough, too.

29. James Cook, Bills (at WAS). The Commanders are solid overall against the run and don’t allow much to backs in the passing game.

30. Dameon Pierce, Texans (at JAX). The offensive line is hurting big-time, and the Jaguars have come out and played the run well early.

31. Zack Moss, Colts (at BAL). The Ravens will definitely force Anthony Richardson or Gardner Minshew to pass to win, and that’s their weakness compared run-stopping anyway.

32. Dalvin Cook, Jets (vs. NE), Keep him in the kitchen with his brother with poor usage.

33. Joshua Kelley, Chargers (at MIN) No Austin Ekeler (ankle) means Justin Herbert throwing like nuts.

34. Matt Breida, Giants (at SF). He suits up in a revenge game as the first next man up for Saquon Barkley (ankle), but facing San Francisco’s D won’t yield a repeat of Kyren Williams.

35. Khalil Herbert, Bears (at KC). Herbert is holding on for the most touches for now, but watch out for more of the talented Roschon Johnson.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Wide receivers

Must starts

  1. Justin Jefferson, Vikings (vs. LAC)
  2. Stefon Diggs, Bills (at WAS)
  3. A.J. Brown, Eagles (at TB)
  4. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Lions (vs. ATL)
  5. Tyreek HIll, Dolphins (vs. DEN)
  6. Mike Evans, Buccaneers (vs. PHI)
  7. DeVonta Smith, Eagles (at TB)
  8. Keenan Allen, Chargers (at MIN)
  9. Davante Adams, Raiders (vs. PIT)
  10. CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (at ARI)
  11. Calvin Ridley, Jaguars (vs. HOU)
  12. Chris Olave, Saints (at GB)
  13. Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins (vs. DEN)
  14. Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals (vs. LAR)
  15. Puka Nacua, Rams (at CIN)
  16. Mike Williams, Chargers (at MIN)
  17. Tee Higgins, Bengals (vs. LAR)
  18. Deebo Samuel, 49ers (at LAR)
  19. Amari Cooper, Browns (at TEN)
  20. DK Metcalf, Seahawks (at DET)
  21. Chris Godwin, Buccaneers (vs. CHI)
  22. Tyler Lockett, Seahawks (at DET)
  23. Zay Flowers, Ravens (at CIN)
  24. Brandon Aiyuk, 49ers (at LAR)
  25. Nico Collins, Texans (at JAX)
  26. Garrett Wilson, Jets (at DAL)

Stronger starts

27. George Pickens, Steelers (at LV). Pickens can smoke this secondary for big plays the way Gabe Davis did in Week 2.

28. Jordan Addison, Vikings (vs. LAC). Addison has scored twice on long balls from Kirk Cousins, and the Chargers give up plenty of that.

29. Michael Pittman Jr, Colts (at BAL). He’s the clear top target for Anthony Richardson or Gardner Minshew, and the Ravens’ coverage is shaky.

30. DJ Moore, Bears (at KC). Moore is a tough cover with his versatility, and they will make sure they get him involved like was in Tampa.

31. Tutu Atwell, Rams (at CIN). Atwell is still valuable as a high-floor WR3 as Puka Nacua keeps on rising, too.

32. Terry McLaurin, Commanders (vs. BUF). He was their best wideout option in Denver and can get free a few key times vs. the Bills.

33. Drake London, Falcons (at DET). The Lions have better inside coverage, and London is set up for another good line that includes a TD.

34. Courtland Sutton, Broncos (at MIA). Sutton did fine as youngsters made big plays last week, and he can get some viable production away from Xavien Howard.

35. Michael Thomas, Saints (at GB). The Saints are somehow sustaining three wide receivers, and Thomas is looking like he has a high usage floor every week.

36. Skyy Moore, Chiefs (vs. CHI). He received some high-leverage shots against the Jaguars and didn’t disappoint, and he has a good chance to score again on the hibernating Bears.

DFS picks

Stefon Diggs, Bills (at WAS) $8,100 DraftKings, $8,000 FanDuel). This will be a massive Diggs game after the Commanders’ secondary got crushed in Denver.

Jordan Addison, Vikings (vs. LAC, $5,500 DraftKings, $6,800 FanDuel). He’s priced just right as a nice pivot for a stack with Kirk Cousins in tournaments.

Tank Dell, Texans (at JAX, $3,600 DraftKings, $5,400 FanDuel). You don’t need too much from him playing off Nico Collins in garbage time to get 3X-4X return.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Wide receivers

Weaker starts

37. Marquise Brown, Cardinals (vs. DAL). The Cowboys gave up a big-play TD to speedy Garrett Wilson, but it doesn’t happen again here with this guy who can fly.

38. Jahan Dotson, Commanders (vs. BUF). So much for Sam Howell locking into him. Dotson needs to show more to be trusted by the team or fantasy owners.

39. Gabe Davis, Bills (at WAS). The Commanders have a decent secondary, and they don’t need to use too much of him on the road to win.

40. DeAndre Hopkins, Titans (vs. CLE). Skip D-Hop and dump his slowed-down self out of the lineup against great cornerbacks.

41. Jerry Jeudy, Broncos (at MIA). Jeudy is showing little punch post-injury, so you can’t go here with confidence.

42. Jakobi Meyers, Raiders (vs. PIT). It’s hard to trust him post-concussion on Sunday night.

43. Rashid Shaheed, Saints (at GB). Shaheed needs shot plays to work, and the Packers don’t give much. 

44. Romeo Doubs and 45. Christian Watson, Packers (vs. NO). It looks like a deeper pass-catching corps than expected for Jordan Love, and an uncertain, spread-it-around approach vs. the Saints’ defense doesn’t look good for anyone.

46. Christian Kirk, Jaguars (vs. HOU). Kirk will give way to a Calvin Ridley game outside.

47. Treylon Burks, Titans (vs. CLE). He was doing a little more last week but not enough for us to start him.

48. Elijah Moore, Browns (at TEN). If it’s not Amari Cooper or David Njoku, Deshaun Watson can be stuck not doing much else.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Tight ends

Must starts

  1. Travis Kelce, Chiefs (vs. CHI)
  2. Mark Andrews, Ravens (vs. IND)
  3. T.J. Hockenson, Vikings (vs. LAC)
  4. Darren Waller, Giants (at SF)
  5. Sam LaPorta, Lions (vs. ATL)
  6. Dallas Goedert, Eagles (at TB)
  7. Hunter Henry, Patriots (at NYJ)

Stronger starts

8. George Kittle, 49ers (vs. NYG). He’s not doing it yet with Brock Purdy again, but he could explode for a boom at any moment, like right here.

9. David Njoku, Browns (at TEN). He will get more intermediate receiving work from Deshaun Watson with no Nick Chubb.

10. Evan Engram, Jaguars (vs. HOU). He’s not exciting anymore and this matchup is meh, but he can give you back-end starting production.

11. Pat Freiermuth, Steelers (at LV). He was not involved well the past two weeks, but the Raiders can be giving to the position.

12. Kyle Pitts, Falcons (at DET). What? Yeah, we’re taking a good shot on him to score after he just missed an end-zone target vs. the Packers.

13. Cole Kmet, Bears (at KC). The Chiefs are still leaky against the tight end, helping Sam LaPorta and Evan Engram put up decent days.

14. Cade Otton, Buccaneers (vs. PHI). Otton has the cheat code matchup lining up with some rising usage.

15. Zach Ertz, Cardinals (vs. DAL). The matchup isn’t good, but he’s seeing a ton of targets and the Cowboys can conjure up past good Eagles vibes.

16. Hayden Hurst, Panthers (at SEA). He’s toggling between Adam Thielen as Bryce Young’s limited security blanket of choice, and it’s his turn in this matchup.

DFS pick

Sam LaPorta, Lions (vs. ATL, $4,000 DraftKings, $5,200 FanDuel). The rookie has been building up to a true breakout game, and he’ll also finally find the end zone.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Tight ends

Weaker starts

17. Dalton Kincaid, Bills (at WAS). Dawson Knox got the TD love last week and Kincaid was modest otherwise.

18. Tyler Higbee, Rams (at CIN). They’re not needing to use the tight end much with the young wideouts balling.

19. Luke Musgrave, Packers (vs. NO). The Saints are still solid against the position.

20. Gerald Everett, Chargers (at MIN). The wide receivers will do plenty for Justin Herbert without him.

21. Chigoziem Okonkwo, Titans (vs. CLE). So much for him being a key big-play element in their bad passing offense.

22. Jake Ferguson, Cowboys (at ARI). This is getting too red-zone committee-y again for us.

23. Juwan Johnson, Saints (at GB). Foster Moreau is getting to be more involved knowing Derek Carr well.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Start ‘Em: Defenses

Stronger starts

  1. Cowboys (vs. ARI)
  2. 49ers (vs. NYG)
  3. Chiefs (vs. CHI)
  4. Steelers (at LV)
  5. Browns (at TEN)
  6. Patriots (at NYJ)
  7. Ravens (vs. IND)

8. Seahawks (vs. CAR). They get to attack Bryce Young in their hostile home.

9. Packers (vs. NO). Derek Carr is playing poorly, and Green Bay can make big plays.

10. Rams (at CIN, if no Burrow). The Rams’ D can overachieve vs. Jake Browning.

11. Jaguars (vs. HOU). They’ll be more like Week 1 here at home.

12. Dolphins (vs. DEN). The Broncos are just sloppy enough with sacks and mistakes to make this work.

DFS pick

Jets (vs. NE, $2,800 DraftKings, $3,900 FanDuel). They are your sneaky stack with Breece Hall against Mac Jones and the Patriots.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sit ‘Em: Defenses

Weaker starts

13. Titans (at CLE). Deshaun Watson can clean up a few things this week at home.

14. Buccaneers (vs. PHI). They get the emotional home prime-time bump after playing so well early, but the Eagles can explode at any time.

15. Eagles (at TB). They have considerable holes, and the Bucs are keeping Baker Mayfield clean.

16. Saints (at GB). In reality, they’ve been good in two weeks, but they’ll be shaky in Lambeau.

17. Bengals (vs. LAR). No bump for them against a red-hot Matthew Stafford at home at night.

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