Fantasy football Week 3: Top 10 matchups to attack

As you make your final lineup decisions for fantasy football week 3, check out these top 10 matchups to attack.

Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (12) makes a second quarter catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Most fantasy football teams are limping into fantasy football week 3 after a number of injuries to important players across the league last week. Whether you come in healthy or are trying to patch up your roster, it’s important to take into consideration the fantasy football week 3 matchups to attack. To find some of the matchups where players appear primed for success this weekend, check out the following slides.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to avoid all the injuries, but even if you haven’t you can overcome any shortages with good “coaching.” Just ask the Texans what that looks like after fantasy football week 3 got off to a horrible start for Houston owners. The Patriots played their third QB and still rolled the Texans on Thursday Night Football while limiting fantasy options Lamar Miller, Brock Osweiler, DeAndre Hopkins, and Will Fuller. Whether you’re ahead, behind, or haven’t started your matchup this week, check out the matchups you should try to target for a big Sunday and Monday.

To help you with your lineup decisions for the week, my Week 3 rankings have been updated, and you can also use our cool new start/sit advice tool. If you’re still uncertain based on your league’s quirks or other issues, you can always find me throughout the weekend on Twitter @FansidedFantasy to ask your specific question. It’s also a good idea to set a bookmark on our fantasy football hub to keep up with all our content this weekend and in the weeks to come. Tomorrow morning, you can find last-minute sleepers to give you a late boost, and make sure to check back Monday for the leading scorers, biggest busts, and most pleasant surprises of Week 3.

As you make those tough lineup calls remember to check out the players’ matchups. While over-weighting matchups can result in leaving good starts on your bench, analyzing some of the best matchups to attack can help you get players in a place where they could have monster weeks in fantasy football week 3. If you’ve played fantasy football for any length of time, you know just how huge matchups can be.

To see my top 10 fantasy football Week 3 matchups, check out the following slides starting with a QB/WR stack that should find plenty of success.

Sep 13, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) signals to wide receiver Willie Snead (83) during the second half against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees & Willie Snead vs Falcons

Brees has had a bit of an uneven start to the season going off for a monster Week 1 and ranking as the no. 2 QB of the week before struggling in New York Week 2 and only finishing as the no. 21 QB. One of the main difference in those two games was location. Brees is always a good play at home in the Superdome, but he sometimes struggles on the road.

This week, Brees is back home as he takes on the Falcons on Monday Night Football. Over the first two weeks of the season, Atlanta allowed QB’s to produce the third-most fantasy points in the NFL. Only the Raiders have allowed as many passing touchdowns as the Falcons who have give up 580 yards and seven touchdowns.

Brees looks set up for a bounce back week and be used as a top option his week at QB. The Saints defense has struggled, so he’ll probably need to produce good fantasy points to keep up with the Falcons’ attack which has also looked pretty good this season.

Free Willie!

One of Brees’s favorite targets so far this season has been second receiver and slot machine Willie Snead. Snead ranks second in the NFL behind Sterling Shepard of the Giants in catches and yards out of the slot with 164 yards on his 11 catches from that position. He has found the end zone as a slot receiver as well and started the year red hot overall with 226 yards and a pair of touchdowns total.

Snead’s matchup in fantasy football Week 3 is a tasty one since he’ll face the Falcons on Monday Night in what could be shootout. Atlanta has been especially vulnerable against receivers in the slot as well. They have been given up 7 catches for125 yards and a touchdown from the left slot and 10 more catches and a second touchdown from the right slot (according to NFL’s Next Gen stats).

Brees and Snead should be started with confidence in every season-long format. There’s also a strong case to be made for going with the combo stack in DFS formats that include Monday Night Football since they look likely to hook up for a big game in a high-scoring shootout.

Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs the ball during the first quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Gordon @ Colts

Gordon opened the season with a pair of strong games which has him ranked as the fourth best fantasy RB so far this season. After failing to score a touchdown in his whole NFL rookie campaign, Gordon has three rushing touchdowns in his last two games with 159 yards on 38 carries in the two contests.

Those numbers alone would make him a good play this week, but he’s an even better option since he’s clearly the feature-back now in San Diego. The Chargers lost Danny Woodhead for the season to an injured knee which leaves all the work in the backfield for Gordon to handle. He showed he can be effective as a receiver with three catches for 18 yards last week against the Jaguars.

While the Chargers brought in Dexter McCluster to help supplement Gordon, the sophomore back out of Wisconsin should pick up a pretty heavy workload moving forward. If he does the heavy-lifting this week against the Colts, he should be a top-ten back.

The Colts allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other team in the NFL in the first two weeks of the season. They have allowed five touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving) and over 400 total yards. Gordon should get to 100 yards and a touchdown fairly easily in fantasy football week 3, so get him in your lineup if you can.

Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (19) catches a pass and goes in for a touchdown as San Diego Chargers running back Kenneth Farrow (27) tries to defend during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs won 33-27 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Jeremy Maclin vs Jets

Revis Island used to be where fantasy football receivers went for a week of exile, but so far this season its been much more like a luxury resort. The fantasy points for opposing receivers have been flowing against the Jets defense as a whole, but especially for no. 1 receivers against Revis.

In fantasy football week 3, Jeremy Maclin gets to take on Revis as the Jets travel to Kansas City. Maclin has been extremely heavily targeted in the first two weeks of the season by Alex Smith, and the two should be able to connect for big fantasy points this week.

Even though the Chiefs’ offense couldn’t get into the end zone last week, Maclin was targeted a crazy 15 times hauling in six passes for 68 yards. He finished with 63 yards and a touchdown in the team’s Week 1 win against the Chiefs while drawing seven more targets. Only three receivers in the NFL have more targets than Maclin, so start him with confidence as a WR2 in fantasy football week 3, and I see him as having WR1 upside if he can abuse Revis like A.J. Green did in Week 1.

Sep 18, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Tyrell Williams (16) runs with the ball while defended by Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the first quarter of the game at Qualcomm Stadium. San Diego won 38-14. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Travis Benjamin & Tyrell Wiliams @ Colts

Keenan Allen’s absence opened up some nice opportunities for the other Chargers’ receivers to step up. They should be in a place to produce more good fantasy points this week as they face the Colts in Indy.

Last week, it was a monster week for Travis Benjamin who hauled in all six passes thrown his way for a total of 115 yards and a pair of scores. Benjamin served as both a useful possession receiver and the home run threat that he was last year in Cleveland. He caught a go rout for a 45-yard touchdown while also adding a nice six-yard score. He’ll continue to be the top option in the Chargers passing game this week.

On the other side of the field, Tyrell Williams has been outstanding as an emerging sleeper option and he also caught a touchdown in Week 2 finishing with 61 yards on three catches. He had six targets just like Benjamin and both should be startable options this week.

Williams and Benjamin are both nice plays against a shaky Colts’ defensive unit. While Indianaplis hasn’t given up a WR touchdown yet this season, their secondary is banged up and beatable in a good matchup for the Chargers’ pass-heavy attack in fantasy football week 3.

Sep 11, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Charles Sims (34) carries the ball to score a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the first half at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Sims vs Rams

The Bucs have been platooning their running backs the last couple of years with Doug Martin as the primary early-down option and Charles Sims as the nice third-down playmaker in the passing game. Sims will be in for a bigger role this week which makes him a good play against the Rams in fantasy football week 3.

Martin will be sidelined for a few weeks with a hamstring injury leaving Sims the bulk of the backfield responsibility. He’ll share a little bit of work with the Jacquizz Rodgers, but look for the third-year back from West Virginia to get almost all the touches.

Sims didn’t do much in Week 2 even after Martin left totaling just 24 yards on nine rushes and only four yards on three catches. The whole Bucs’ offense was a mess against the Cardinals, though, so they should find things a little bit better as they take on the Rams at home in Tampa.

In Week 1, the Rams defense was beaten up by Carlos Hyde and the 49ers, but they looked much better last week against the Seahawks. Even though the Rams aren’t an ideal matchup for a fantasy running back, Sims is in a good spot in fantasy football week 3 since he’ll get a ton of work both as a rusher and a receiver.

Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Tajae Sharpe (19) runs the ball against Detroit Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson (24) and linebacker Antwione Williams (52) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Tajae Sharpe vs Raiders

The Titans pulled off the upset last week against the Lions and come home 1-1 as they welcome in the Raiders. Tennessee shook up their offensive skill positions this offseason bringing in fresh talent at both running back and wide receiver. Their clear no. 1 receiver so far this season has been rookie Tajae Sharpe.

Sharpe played every single snap of the Titans’ win last week while Rishard Matthews was the second receiver with just 36 snaps. Sharpe only managed four catches for 33 yards after hauling in seven passes for 76 yards in Week 1. Sharpe hasn’t reached the end zone yet with the two passing TD’s going to Delanie Walker and Andre Johnson in last week’s win.

Sharpe is set up for success in fantasy football week 3, though, since Delanie Walker is dealing with an injury leaving him even more targets, and the Raiders have been horrible against the pass this season. Oakland allows more fantasy points to opposing WR than any other team in the NFL giving up 564 yards and five touchdowns to opposing WR in the first two weeks of the season.

Sharpe is a nice DFS option if you can get him at the right price, and he should be started as a WR3 or flex play in almost all formats in fantasy football week 3.

Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) completes a pass against the Cleveland Browns during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Flacco @ Jaguars

While Drew Brees is definitely a matchup to attack in fantasy football week 3, he is likely owned and started in almost all season-long leagues every week. He’s also going to be a very pricey DFS play given his name recognition and A+ matchup. If you need a cheaper QB play in fantasy football week 3 or are looking for a spot starter, check out Joe Flacco in a good matchup against the Jags.

Flacco didn’t look great last week in Balimtore’s win in Cleveland completing only 25-of-45 passes. He was able to lead his team back for the win, though totaling 302 yards and a  pair of touchdowns. Flacco’s final numbers were good even though he struggled.

The reason I like Flacco as a spot starter in fantasy football week three is that he’ll face the Jaguars in Jacksonville in what I think could be a sneaky-high scoring game. The Jags allowed six passing touchdowns and a rushing QB score in the first two weeks of the season and have yet to pick off a pass.

The Ravens have some improved weapons in the passing game, so I think Flacco and Blake Bortles will end up trading passing scores in Florida this week.

Sep 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Detroit Lions tight end Eric Ebron (85) catches the ball and is tackled by Indianapolis Colts defensive back Patrick Robinson (25) in the second half of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. the Detroit Lions beat the Indianapolis Colts by the score of 39-35. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Ebron @ Packers

Ebron is one of several tight ends that have emerged as fringe TE1 options early this season. Many owners are going to a streaming TE strategy, and Ebron is a nice option to grab if you’re switching yours out for this week.

In the first two weeks of the season, the Packers allowed a total of ten catches and 143 yards to opposing tight ends. In both their games this year, the opposing tight end found the end zone as well.

At the same time he heads into this good matchup, Ebron is starting to step into a larger role with the Lions’ passing attack. Last week, he hauled in four passes for 53 yards in the team’s tough loss to the Titans. He had an every better fantasy week in week 1 when he found the end zone and totaled 46 yards on his five catches.

The Lions are filling in for Calvin Johnson’s missing targets, and Ebron is one of the players who is getting more work as a result. He’s a great plug-and-play option for fantasy football week 3, and he can be had at a good price in DFS leagues as well. The Packers are a good enough option to make him your starter in fantasy football week 3.

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Shane Vereen (34) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Shane Vereen vs Washington

In the Giants first two games of the season, Shane Vereen has been surprisingly involved. He already has 20 carries in two games after totaling only 61 carries in 16 games last year. He has pulled in three passes in each game as well for a total of 47 yards.

He did have a fumble against the Saints in Week 2 but was able to total 66 yards. He couldn’t convert his goal line opportunities, but it was a good sign that he got those carries. Part of the reason for his increased workload was the injury to lead back Rashad Jennings. For fantasy football week 3, Jennings is questionable with a thumb injury and will play with a cast on his injured thumb.

If Vereen gets more work due to Jennings’ limitations, he should find a way to be productive. Washington gave up over 300 yards of total offense in the first two weeks to opposing running backs. In both their games, the opposing RB’s have scored two rushing touchdowns.

While Vereen is far from a lock, he does make sense as a cheap DFS option or as a plug-and-play flex option. Vereen is risky, but the matchup and his usage make him worth a long look in fantasy football week 3.

Sep 18, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins defensive end Jason Jones (98) reacts during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The New England Patriots won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Miami Dolphins defense vs Browns

The Dolphins defense has been so-so in the first two weeks of the season, but they can definitely be used as a nice streaming option in fantasy football week 3 based on their great matchup against Cleveland. Miami comes home for the first time this season as they welcome in the Browns. Cleveland will be starting their third quarterback in as many weeks, and they should be a nice matchup in Miami’s home opener.

Last week, the Dolphins defense looked really bad in the first half against Jimmy Garoppolo, but they rebounded in the second half allowing just ten points to the Patriots. They ended up with a pair of sacks and a forced fumble, but they still fell short in their comeback attempt in New England. The loss dropped them to 0-2 after they actually looked good holding the Seahawks to just 12 points in Week 1.

Miami’s defense has been inconsistent, but they should be set up for success as they take on Cleveland. The Browns will be forced to go with Cody Kessler who they drafted in the third round last year. Just a few days ago, Adam Schefter reported that Kessler was “not close to being ready to play.” Well, now he has to start, and that makes the Dolphins defense my matchup play of the week for fantasy football week 3.

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