Fantasy Football: FFT’s favorite bench stashes, best Week 3 matchups, players set to regress


Hello, everyone. Dan Schneier (@DanSchneierNFL) here. We’ve made it through Week 2 and unfortunately we didn’t make it through unscathed. There were several key injuries that will have a major Fantasy impact and specifically we saw the worst of it at the quarterback position. There will be two and likely three new starting quarterbacks in Week 3 — two are backups that we can’t get excited about — one is Justin Fields. We can and should get excited about Fields. 

Every week I will get together the Fantasy Football Today crew to provide me responses to a panel of questions that could help you win your week and ultimately (hopefully) your league. This week we’ll dive into early-season breakouts due to regress, vice versa, bench stashes and more. Without further ado, let’s dive right in:

1. Which early-season breakout is due for regression?

Adam: Sterling Shepard could be a solid #3 WR in PPR leagues, but I’m not buying his breakout. Evan Engram could be back this week and I expect more production from Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley in the passing game, plus Daniel Jones is allergic to passing TDs. Shepard needs to be rostered but see if you can trade him for an early underachiever. 

Dave: Rob Gronkowski won’t catch two touchdowns every week! It’s against the laws of physics! Look, he’s absolutely worth starting but it’s impossible to come up with a better way for him to start the season. Unfortunately, there’s not much room for improvement here — be prepared to deal with some stinky weeks from Red Zone Robby G. 

Jamey: I hope it’s not Rob Gronkowski, but he’s clearly not scoring two touchdowns every week. Or is he? At some point soon he’ll be the one left out of the party. We saw that in Week 1 with Mike Evans and Week 2 with Antonio Brown. Tom Brady has a buffet of great targets at his disposal, so someone will have a dud game each week, and Gronkowski could be next. I hope not because Redzone Robby G has been awesome so far this year, but obviously, some bad games are on the horizon.

Chris: I think Rob Gronkowski is probably the most obvious name. As good as he has been, he’s not going to score a touchdown on 30% of his targets — even if he is likely to score more often than your average tight end in this offense, obviously. The problem is, the Buccaneers spread the ball around so much, and Gronk is probably going to be touchdown-dependent for most of the season. You can trust him as a starter, but if someone views him as something more than that — as a true difference maker — consider trading him.

Heath: Definitely Gronk. He has one of the highest career touchdown rates of all time and this year he’s scoring at a rate three times higher than he has in his career. I would love to trade him for George Kittle, Mark Anders, or even Noah Fant in PPR.

2. Which early-season dud is due for regression?

Adam: The touchdowns are coming for Mark Andrews. I’m a little concerned about his yards because Sammy Watkins is a factor in the passing game, but Lamar Jackson has thrown just six passes in the red zone and only one pass inside the 10 yard line this season. That’s where Andrews shines and I expect that to be the case going forward.  

Dave: Justin Herbert is due. Through two games his offense has had six drops and six penalties that have cost Herbert roughly 175 yards and definitively four touchdowns. He should be performing much much better than what his Fantasy point total suggests. 

Jamey: Robert Woods was supposed to be the star receiver for the Rams this year, but so far Cooper Kupp has been Matthew Stafford’s go-to guy. I hope he continues going to Kupp, but it would be nice to see Stafford spread the wealth to Woods also. He had nine targets in Week 2 at the Colts, so better days are ahead, and the Rams will likely be throwing a lot in Week 3 against Tampa Bay. If you still can, buy low on Woods now before it’s too late.

Chris: Robert Woods and A.J. Brown are my picks. Woods actually has a slightly higher target share than he had last season, while his average depth of target has risen from 6.7 yards to 9.1. This is exactly what we hoped we would see with the addition of Matthew Stafford, and it’s going to turn into big production soon. Don’t worry. The same is true for Brown, who struggled with drops in Week 2, but is still getting a bunch of very valuable targets. He’s never had issues with drops in the past, so I see no reason to think he won’t be an elite WR moving forward. 

Heath: Assuming he’s healthy, A.J. Brown should be a lot better moving forward. His catch rate (41.2%) is way down from his career mark and I just don’t believe we have any reason for that to be true. I still expect him to be a top-10 wide receiver rest of season.

3. Who is the one player you’re most excited to stash on your bench right now?

Adam: Michael Carter had an increased role and a fairly productive day in Week 2. The Jets coaching staff will not feature him yet, but perhaps his time is coming. He’s worth stashing. And how about Taysom Hill? Would anyone be shocked if the Saints made a QB change?

Dave: Another dud week from Javonte Williams and I’ll be racing to acquire him via trade. I still think he’s Denver’s best running back and I still believe he’ll have the chance to prove as much by Halloween. Remember how so many rookie runners waited until November and December to break out last year? Don’t be shocked to see it happen again this year. 

Jamey: I’ll go with Tony Pollard, who’s been excellent in tandem with Ezekiel Elliott and would be a star if Elliott ever missed any time due to injury. Through two games, Pollard actually has more PPR points than Elliott (31.3-21.6), and it’s been fun to watch Pollard play. I’m hopeful for Elliott having a big season, but Pollard should be rostered in 100 percent of leagues for his lottery-ticket upside. And he can be a useful flex in deeper leagues as well.

Chris: If Rondale Moore counts, it’s him. If we’re looking a little deeper, I would say Will Fuller, who may have been dropped in some of your leagues after he was inactive for the first two games. I’m worried about the state of the Dolphins passing game with Tua Tagovailoa’s injury — as well as the play of the offensive line — but if Fuller can get on the field and the offense stabilizes, I still think he has must-start upside. He could help the offense take a big step forward after an awkward start.

Heath: Probably Elijah Moore. We saw the Week 1 breakout from Ja’Marr Chase and the Week 2 breakout from Rondale Moore. I don’t think we’ll get a Week 3 breakout from Elijah Moore, but I don’t think it’s that far down the road either.

4. Who is your favorite matchup-based start for Week 3?

Adam: Marquise Brown at Detroit and DeVonta Smith at Dallas come to mind. In Smith’s case, the Cowboys have allowed 90 or more yards to four WRs in two games. Meanwhile, Brown looks like a legitimate breakout right now and Detroit’s secondary is injured and vulnerable. 

Dave: I must be taking crazy pills to suggest Evan Engram as a matchup-based start. Managers desperate for tight ends should lock up Engram just in case he plays. Atlanta’s been ravaged by tight ends in each of its first two games and Engram should hopefully see enough work in the Giants offense to displace Darius Slayton and take advantage of a bad Atlanta pass defense. 

Jamey: Ty’Son Williams has the chance to go nuts against the Lions in Week 3. We’ve already seen Detroit struggle with Elijah Mitchell and Aaron Jones, and Williams could be next. While it’s risky to trust a Baltimore running back right now given the rotation of Williams, Latavius Murray and Devonta Freeman, I like Williams the best and expect him to have a big outing in Week 3.

Chris: I try to not put too much weight on matchups, but it’s hard to ignore Sam Darnold against the Texans, Daniel Jones against the Falcons, and Teddy Bridgewater against the Jets. Of course, it’s not just because of the matchups — I’ve also been impressed by how all three have looked so far. They could all be top-12 QBs this week — and I have Bridgewater ranked that way.

Heath: Pick a Giant, any Giant. But mostly, it’s Daniel Jones. The Falcons have surrendered 72 Fantasy points to opposing QBs in their first two games. I love that Jason Garrett is running JOnes more, and that he’s running Jones inside the 10 yard line. He’s a top-six QB in my projections and a top-12 guy in my rankings.

5. What’s your best advice for any team who has started 0-2?

Adam: PANIC! Your team is awful and you should quit! Wait, wait, nevermind! Don’t quit. Evaluate your team, and if you still like your players then r-e-l-a-x and get a win this week. Put out some buy low offers for George Kittle and Mark Andrews if you need a TE. Take a look at Justin Herbert as a buy low QB.

Dave: Quit your league, tick off your friends and spend the rest of the fall catching up on Danielle Steel novels. Or … just stay patient. Reconsider some of your lineup decisions — can you learn anything from the choices you made? And also consider a trade. Teams that are 2-0 are beginning to have dreams of running the table and might overpay for a player. You could trade off a very good quarterback for a decent starter and a good running back or receiver to better your lineup. 

Jamey: Don’t panic. Remember, we have an extra game this season, so you have more flexibility to catch up in your league. But you might want to be aggressive with some trades. It’s never a bad idea to shake up your roster, especially if you can find the right trade partner.

Chris: Relax. It’s going to be okay. Probably. Fortunes can change very quickly in Fantasy, and you can probably make the playoffs in a six-team playoff at 8-6, so you definitely aren’t anywhere close to out of it. But you do need to identify what your weak spots are and start working to fix them. That doesn’t mean making a panic trade, but it does mean being honest about what your team’s chances of turning it around are, and which players are likely to get you there. When it comes to setting your lineup, maybe you stop worrying about safety and start shooting for upside a bit more often.

Heath: DO NOT PANIC. But also, if you have some “stashes” it might be time to move them. The odds of 0-2 teams are much higher than 0-3 teams so guys that we expect to help us later in the year need to be moved for guys who can help you right now. Just not in a panicked manner.





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