Fantasy: Start, Sit, Stash, Quit - Week 3
SSSQ is a weekly look at under-the-radar fantasy players to consider starting and potential busts you should leave on your bench. We also identify breakout candidates to stash on your roster and players you can safely cut.
Kirk Cousins, Vikings
Cousins is the highest-scoring fantasy quarterback through two weeks, averaging 354 passing yards and three touchdowns per game.
Now he enters a matchup with the Chargers, who are allowing the second most fantasy points to QBs this season. The game also has the highest projected point total on this week's slate at 54.5.
Working with one of the league's best pass-catching corps, Cousins is a strong QB1 play in this potential shootout.
Boone's projection: 324 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, INT
Other QBs to start
- Jared Goff vs. Falcons
- Dak Prescott at Cardinals
Raheem Mostert, Dolphins
Mostert has been the unquestioned lead back in Miami with Jeff Wilson on injured reserve, Salvon Ahmed dealing with a groin injury, and rookie De'Von Achane being brought along slowly.
The 31-year-old is eighth among running backs in fantasy points per game and should maintain that level of production against a Broncos defense that's been one of the top-10 friendliest matchups for ball carriers in 2023.
Even with Jaylen Waddle in concussion protocol and potentially set to miss Week 3, the Dolphins are still 6.5-point favorites at home over Denver. Mostert is primed to deliver a big day.
Boone's projection: 76 rushing yards, 22 receiving yards, 3 receptions, TD
Other RBs to start
- Jahmyr Gibbs vs Falcons
- Joshua Kelley at Vikings
- Miles Sanders at Seahawks
George Pickens, Steelers
Fresh off a career-high 127-yard, one-touchdown performance on Monday night, Pickens continues to show signs of being a player on the verge of a breakout season.
It certainly helps that Diontae Johnson is on IR, allowing Pickens to operate as the Steelers' No. 1 receiver en route to 17 targets over the first two outings.
He's now up against the Raiders, who have already given up four touchdowns to wideouts this season and just got carved up by Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis for a combined 13 catches, 158 yards, and a score.
Boone's projection: 89 receiving yards, 6 receptions, TD
Other WRs to start
- Nico Collins at Jaguars
- Jordan Addison vs. Chargers
- Josh Reynolds vs. Falcons
Sam LaPorta, Lions
LaPorta became an instant contributor to the Lions' offense with 10 catches and 102 yards over his first two NFL appearances. That's enough to make him a top-10 fantasy tight end so far.
Normally rookie tight ends are brought along slowly, but LaPorta has seen 82% of Detroit's snaps - the eighth-highest mark at his position league-wide.
With star receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown playing through a toe injury, LaPorta could be counted on even more against the Falcons, who have been the 10th easiest opponent for fantasy tight ends this season.
Boone's projection: 64 receiving yards, 5 receptions, TD
Other TEs to start
- Kyle Pitts at Lions
- Dalton Kincaid at Commanders
Jordan Love, Packers
Love has the second most fantasy points among quarterbacks - and he's accomplished that feat without one of his best wideouts, Christian Watson, available.
While the 24-year-old's production has been a pleasant surprise for fantasy managers, we need to be realistic about the small sample size.
The Bears and Falcons didn't present a real test. But, this Sunday's matchup against the Saints is a different story. New Orleans is allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to QBs, has given up just one touchdown pass on the year and held both opposing passers they've faced under 200 yards.
Boone's projection: 194 passing yards, TD, 2 INTs, 16 rushing yards
Other QBs to sit
- Derek Carr at Packers
- Ryan Tannehill at Browns
James Conner, Cardinals
Conner has been a solid fantasy RB2 over the opening two weekends, averaging the 16th most fantasy points per game.
But the difficulty is about to be ratcheted up against the stifling defenses of the Cowboys in Week 3 and the 49ers in Week 4.
Fantasy managers should not only be looking to replace Conner in their lineup right now, but they should be attempting to sell high before his value takes a hit.
Boone's projection: 45 rushing yards, 11 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other RBs to sit
- Dameon Pierce at Jaguars
- Rachaad White vs. Eagles
- Breece Hall vs. Patriots
DeAndre Hopkins, Titans
It's unclear how much Hopkins' ankle injury might affect him this week, but it was definitely a limiting factor in Week 2.
The veteran wideout's playing time and effectiveness dropped off dramatically as he only saw the field on 60% of the Titans' snaps and earned just five targets.
To make matters worse, he now has to battle a Browns' defense that's been the second-hardest matchup for receivers this year. If Hopkins can't find the end zone, it could be a long day for anyone who starts him.
Boone's projection: 48 receiving yards, 4 receptions
Other WRs to sit
- Jahan Dotson vs. Bills
- Christian Kirk vs. Texans
- Jerry Jeudy at Dolphins
Luke Musgrave, Packers
Musgrave is another rookie tight end who's bucking the trend and starting already.
While his usage has been excellent (82% of the snaps), his production has left something to be desired (3-50-0, 2-25-0).
The Saints are the toughest opponent for fantasy tight ends, a distinction they also held in 2022. There will be plenty of weeks where Musgrave can slide into your lineup, but this isn't one of them.
Boone's projection: 26 receiving yards, 3 receptions
Other TEs to sit
- Gerald Everett at Vikings
- Chigoziem Okonkwo at Browns
Craig Reynolds, Lions
When David Montgomery got injured last week, Reynolds (2% rostered) stepped in and split time with explosive rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.
With Montgomery expected to miss a of couple weeks, Reynolds is the favorite to play alongside Gibbs as a between-the-tackles grinder and possible goal-line back. In that role, Reynolds could return weekly RB3/flex value.
While it's possible Zonovan Knight could earn some of those touches, Reynolds has been in the system longer and made the most of his limited opportunities a year ago. Knight can also be stashed in extremely deep leagues.
Jonathan Mingo, Panthers
Mingo (11% rostered) has been a full-time player in the Panthers' offense and wasn't impacted at all by DJ Chark Jr.'s return last week.
We've seen a lot of this year's rookie receivers make big plays already and, with the kind of usage Mingo is getting, it's only a matter of time before Carolina's second-round pick gets in on the fun.
Even with Bryce Young expected to miss a week or two, Mingo is an intriguing bench stash who could emerge as a fantasy starter if the Panthers can find their rhythm on offense.
Quarterback (1QB): Derek Carr, Bryce Young
Running back: Ezekiel Elliott, Rashaad Penny
Wide receiver: JuJu Smith-Schuster, Tyler Boyd
Tight end: Cole Kmet, Dalton Schultz