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Week 3 fantasy football matchups preview

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New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Saints


Drew Brees: Start
Alvin Kamara: Start
Mike Gillislee: Sit
Michael Thomas: Start
Ted Ginn: Sleeper
Ben Watson: Stream
Saints DST: Beware

The Saints offense is about as concentrated as they come. Brees will spend much of the afternoon having target practice with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Ted Ginn is interesting as a big play piece in the offense and Ben Watson could see a target or two near the end zone. The Saints defense has been a disappointment so far this season. Things could have been worse last week were it not for some dropped passes by the Browns. They might not be so lucky this week against Atlanta.

Falcons


Matt Ryan: Stream
Tevin Coleman: Start
Devonta Freeman: Sit
Ito Smith: Deep sleeper
Julio Jones: Start
Calvin Ridley: Sleeper
Austin Hooper: Stream
Falcons DST: Sit

Matt Ryan isn't likely to run for a pair of touchdowns this week but the Saints secondary has proven to be vulnerable so far this season, which bodes well for his fortunes this week. As for running the ball, Tevin Coleman is a worthy substitute for the injured Devonta Freeman while Ito Smith showed sleeper potential with his play last week. Julio Jones will see his normal allotment of targets ... hopefully one of them leads to a score. Calvin Ridley seems to be getting comfortable in Taylor Gabriel's old role. Austin Hooper is a nice streaming option but the Falcons injury-riddled defense should be avoided.

Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Packers


Aaron Rodgers: Start
Jamaal Williams: Beware
Aaron Jones: Beware
Davante Adams: Start
Geronimo Allison: Sleeper
Jimmy Graham: Start
Packers DST: Beware

The news about Rodgers' knee this week will likely have fantasy managers spooked but he's shown in the first two weeks that as long as he's playing, he should be in your lineup. There is now a two-headed attack in the backfield, though Williams' abilities in pass protection should earn him more snaps than Jones. Reports this week indicated Jones may start out behind Williams and Ty Montgomery. Davante Adams is always poised for a big game while Allison is more of a ceiling play. Jimmy Graham's ability and status as a red zone threat make him hard to sit. The Packers defense, on the other hand, should be approached with caution.

Redskins


Alex Smith: Stream
Chris Thompson: Flex
Adrian Peterson: Beware
Jamison Crowder: Flex
Josh Doctson: Flex
Jordan Reed: Start

After a lackluster Week 2, this week's matchup feels like a chance for fantasy streamers to give Alex Smith some run. Chris Thompson's usage in the passing game makes him hard to sit -- especially in PPR leagues. Adrian Peterson's usage depends heavily on game-script, making him unpredictable. Washington's passing game isn't big on chunk plays, which means everyone not named Jordan Reed is a questionable start. Even Reed has a limited ceiling in an offense that doesn't stretch the field.

Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Colts


Andrew Luck: Beware
Jordan Wilkins: Sleeper
Nyheim Hines: Sit
Marlon Mack: Sit
T.Y. Hilton: Start
Jack Doyle: Sit
Eric Ebron: Stream

The good news is that Andrew Luck is back. The bad news is that he's been Captain Checkdown in the first two weeks. His 5.3-yard intended air yards per attempt is last in the NFL. That's bad news against an Eagles defense that doesn't offer much room for error. Jordan Wilkins looks like the best option in an otherwise crowded and clouded backfield. T.Y. Hilton should be in your lineup. Ryan Grant has sleeper potential as the No. 2 receiver in the offense. Jack Doyle won't suit up on Sunday and should be out of your lineups. That means more targets for early season surprise star Eric Ebron.

Eagles


Carson Wentz: Start
Jay Ajayi: Sit
Corey Clement: Sleeper
Nelson Agholor: Flex
Kamar Aiken: Deep sleeper
Zach Ertz: Start
Eagles DST: Start

Welcome back, Carson Wentz. Too bad a lot of your weapons are gone. With Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles out of action, Corey Clement figures to see a much larger role. Nelson Agholor and Zach Ertz will continue to be the central parts of the passing game but Kamar Aiken has sleeper potential as the No. 2 receiver. The Eagles defense is too good to leave on the bench, regardless of matchup.

Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Bills


Josh Allen: Sit
LeSean McCoy: Sit
Chris Ivory: Deep sleeper
Kelvin Benjamin: Sit
Zay Jones: Sit
Charles Clay: Sit

There's not much here to be excited about. One of the league's worst offenses faces one of the league's best defenses. Buffalo's best hope to move the ball, LeSean McCoy, is dealing with a rib injury that could keep him out of action. That could put extra pressure on rookie quarterback Josh Allen and a crew of inconsistent pass-catchers to pick up the slack. If McCoy can't go, Chris Ivory gets a little bump as a sleeper running back but isn't likely to find his way into many lineups.

Vikings


Kirk Cousins: Start
Dalvin Cook: Sit
Latavius Murray: Sleeper
Stefon Diggs: Start
Adam Thielen: Start
Kyle Rudolph: Start
Vikings DST: Start

The Vikings offense has been a high-flying unit through the first two weeks and there's no indication that the Bills will be the group to slow them down. That means you can start any of your Vikes with confidence. The exception is Dalvin Cook, who is going to miss this week's game with a hamstring injury. That makes backup Latavius Murray a tantalizing sleeper play for the week.

Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Raiders


Derek Carr: Sit
Marshawn Lynch: Flex
Jalen Richard: Deep sleeper
Amari Cooper: Flex
Jordy Nelson: Sit
Jared Cook: Sit

The Raiders offense has been a rollercoaster through the first two weeks. A trip to South Florida for a 10 a.m. body clock kickoff doesn't seem appealing. Marshawn Lynch has been a viable running back option in the first two weeks and should at least be flexed. For anyone feeling saucy, you could hope for an Amari Cooper redux, though it's been awhile since he gave us back-to-back big performances. Jared Cook is still one of the top tight ends in fantasy but it feels like just that ... a fantasy. Stream him if you must, otherwise look elsewhere for help.

Dolphins


Ryan Tannehill: Stream
Kenyan Drake: Start
Frank Gore: Sleeper
Kenny Stills: Start
Devante Parker: Flex
Dolphins DST: Stream

Ryan Tannehill hasn't been lights out in the first two weeks but he hasn't been terrible, either. The Raiders secondary could be a boost for his production. Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore both have potential against one of the NFL's worst rushing defenses. Kenny Stills should bounce back after being missing in action last week. If you believe in the Devante Parker breakout, this could be a week that bolsters your hope. For anyone streaming defenses, the Dolphins could be a sneaky play.

Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Broncos


Case Keenum: Sit
Phillip Lindsay: Flex
Royce Freeman: Beware
Demaryius Thomas: Flex
Emmanuel Sanders: Start
Broncos DST: Start

Case Keenum failed to take advantage of a good matchup last week. This week shouldn't inspire optimism. Phillip Lindsay is the Broncos back to start here. Royce Freeman isn't seeing the same level of opportunity but his touchdown upside means he should still be on rosters. The matchup isn't great but the number of targets that go to Thomas and Sanders means they should at least get starting consideration this week. The Broncos defense was torched last week but should still be started in most leagues.

Ravens


Joe Flacco: Stream
Alex Collins: Beware
Javorius Allen: Beware
Michael Crabtree: Flex
John Brown: Flex
Willie Snead: Sleeper
Ravens DST: Start

You might have better options to start than Flacco ... but you could also do worse this week. There's a committee afoot with Collins and Allen, making both of them risky starts for the week. All three of Baltimore's main receivers have the potential to put up a decent number this week. They also could leave you wanting. Neither of them should be more than flexes in Week 3. The Ravens defense can hopefully rebound from the beating they took from the Bengals last week and force a turnover or two from Case Keenum.

Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Bengals


Andy Dalton: Stream
Giovani Bernard: Start
A.J. Green: Start
Tyler Boyd: Sleeper
Tyler Eifert: Sit
Bengals DST: Sit

You can never be certain if Good Andy Dalton or Bad Andy Dalton will show up in a given week. This week, the Red Rifle should only be an option if you've exhausted most other avenues. With Joe Mixon out another week, Gio Bernard should see a full workload. A.J. Green is a starter, period. Tyler Boyd has usurped John Ross as Cincy's second receiver. Tyler Eifert's usage rates are too low right now to recommend starting him as more than a Hail Mary play.

Panthers


Cam Newton: Start
Christian McCaffrey: Start
C.J. Anderson: Sit
Devin Funchess: Flex
Ian Thomas: Deep sleeper
Panthers DST: Start

Right now, the entirety of the Panthers offense is Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey. The only other potential hope is that Devin Funchess sees more targets in the wake of Greg Olsen's absence. Ian Thomas has deep sleeper potential if you have the guts for it. Carolina's defense is worth a look against Dalton, who has a tendency to toss interceptions while under pressure.

New York Giants at Houston Texans, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


Giants


Eli Manning: Sit
Saquon Barkley: Start
Odell Beckham, Jr.: Start
Sterling Shepard: Sit
Evan Engram: Start

Odell Beckham is a must-start every week. Saquon Barkley's volume of touches means he should always be in your lineup. There's no such clarity for the rest of the Giants offense. As long as the offensive line struggles to open holes or protect the quarterback, the fates of Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram will always be in doubt.

Texans


Deshaun Watson: Start
Lamar Miller: Flex
DeAndre Hopkins: Start
Will Fuller: Start
Texans DST: Stream

The Texans offense hasn't had problems moving the ball, even if Deshaun Watson isn't throwing touchdowns as the same rate as he did last season. The Giants defense can be forgiving, which means good things for Houston's top two receivers. Lamar Miller has been a nice fantasy option as the only true option in the backfield. That should continue this week.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBS


Titans


Titans QB: Sit
Dion Lewis: Beware
Derrick Henry: Beware
Corey Davis: Sit
Titans DST: Stream

With injuries on the offensive line and Marcus Mariota attempting to play at less than 100 percent against one of the top defenses in the league, there isn't much to be excited about here. Dion Lewis could be asked to help out with pass protection, thereby limiting his production. This has the makings of a Derrick Henry-heavy game script, though the matchup isn't a favorable one for the Titans big back.

Jaguars


Blake Bortles: Stream
Leonard Fournette: Start
T.J. Yeldon: Sit
Keelan Cole: Flex
Dede Westbrook: Sleeper
Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Stream
Jaguars DST: Start

Leonard Fournette's expected return could change the dynamic of the Jaguars offense. The running back should see plenty of touches which should come at the expense of some Blake Bortles passing attempts. That will have a ripple effect across the rest of the Jacksonville passing game. Last week's breakout star Keelan Cole could come back to Earth a little bit this week. You don't need me to tell you to start the Jags defense but ... start the Jags defense.

San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs, 1:00 p.m. ET, FOX


49ers


Jimmy Garoppolo: Start
Matt Breida: Start
Alfred Morris: Flex
Pierre Garcon: Flex
Marquise Goodwin: Beware
Dante Pettis: Sleeper
George Kittle: Start

This should be the big Jimmy Garoppolo week we've been waiting for. The Chiefs defense has been as bad as its offense has been good and should offer hope to any Niners you would consider starting this week. The only caveat is Marquise Goodwin, who could be a game-time decision this week. Oh, and don't start the Niners defense. They're not likely to fare too well against the red-hot Patrick Mahomes.

Chiefs


Patrick Mahomes: Start
Kareem Hunt: Start
Tyreek Hill: Start
Sammy Watkins: Flex
Travis Kelce: Start

Did I mention that Patrick Mahomes has been red-hot to start the season? Because ... yeah. You're starting him with no questions. The same goes for Kareem Hunt, though we'd like to see him get more targets. All of the Chiefs main pass-catchers are in play, including Sammy Watkins, who came back to life last week. If he can do it again this week, it might be worth including him in the conversation going forward.

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams, 4:05 p.m. ET, CBS


Chargers


Philip Rivers: Beware
Melvin Gordon: Start
Austin Ekeler: Flex
Keenan Allen: Start
Mike Williams: Beware
Chargers DST: Beware

The Chargers have one of the NFL's better offenses but this week's matchup against the Rams is reason to be concerned. It's hard to sit any of the Bolts' skill position players -- including breakout star Austin Ekeler -- but the Rams defense has been formidable this season. Philip Rivers has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league this year but anyone starting him this week should do so cautiously. Even the Chargers defense is a "beware" start against an efficient and effective Rams offense.

Rams


Jared Goff: Start
Todd Gurley: Start
Brandin Cooks: Flex
Cooper Kupp: Flex
Robert Woods: Beware
Rams DST: Start

It seems there isn't a defense that the Rams offense can't exploit. The Chargers have given up yards through the air, so Jared Goff and his trio of wide receivers are all variations of good starts in Week 3. You're starting Todd Gurley without even worrying as he remains the centerpiece of the offense. Even against the Chargers offense, the Rams defense is worth a starting nod.

Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


Cowboys


Dak Prescott: Sit
Ezekiel Elliott: Start
Cole Beasley: Beware
Deonte Thompson: Sit
Tavon Austin: Sit
Cowboys DST: Stream

The Seahawks defense isn't what it once was but the Cowboys offense hasn't given anyone reason to be confident in anything beyond Ezekiel Elliott. Cole Beasley has been Dak Prescott's top target but an injury could keep him out of action. If you were considering starting him, prepare to have a contingency plan in place.

Seahawks


Russell Wilson: Beware
Chris Carson: Flex
Rashaad Penny: Sit
Tyler Lockett: Sleeper
Brandon Marshall: Deep sleeper
Will Dissly: Stream
Seahawks DST: Beware

Until the Seahawks can figure out a way to protect the quarterback, it's getting harder to advocate starting Russell Wilson. That makes it hard to start Tyler Lockett and Brandon Marshall. Through it all, Will Dissly has been one of the most consistent parts of the Seattle offense. Stay away from the Seattle running backs. Stream the defense, if you're in a pinch.

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals, 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX


Bears


Mitchell Trubisky: Sit
Jordan Howard: Start
Tarik Cohen: Sit
Allen Robinson: Start
Taylor Gabriel: Sleeper
Trey Burton: Stream
Bears DST: Start

The Bears offense is starting to come together, but it's far from a finished product. Until Trubisky proves himself to be more than a game manager, he should be on your bench. However, that doesn't mean you need to avoid Jordan Howard and Allen Robinson, who are dominating the touches so far. Tarik Cohen has not been the Swiss Army Knife we expected and we're still waiting for Trey Burton to have a breakout week. The Bears defense is carving its name among the elite stop units in the game and should be started every week.

Cardinals


Sam Bradford: Sit
David Johnson: Beware
Chase Edmonds: Sit
Larry Fitzgerald: Beware
Ricky Seals-Jones: Sit
Cardinals DST: Sit

Things look bleak for the Cardinals offense. David Johnson is their only hope -- if Mike McCoy can figure out how to use him. Beyond that, there's nothing else to consider in this offense, even Larry Fitzgerald. It wouldn't be a surprise if we saw rookie Josh Rosen take some live snaps before this game is over.

New England Patriots at Detroit Lions, 8:20 p.m. ET, NBCk


Patriots


Tom Brady: Start
Rex Burkhead: Flex
James White: Flex
Sony Michel: Sleeper
Chris Hogan: Flex
Josh Gordon: Sit
Phillip Dorsett: Sleeper
Rob Gronkowski: Start
Patriots DST: Stream

The Lions defense hasn't offered much resistance this season, so Tom Brady and company should be all systems go this week. The only potential confusion could be in the backfield with Sony Michel joining James White and Rex Burkhead. This is likely the last call for Chris Hogan with more receiving weapons joining the squad. Josh Gordon will likely make an impact for this team but this isn't the week to consider starting him.

Lions


Matthew Stafford: Sleeper
Lions RBs: Sit
Golden Tate: Start
Marvin Jones: Flex
Kenny Golladay: Flex
Lions DST: Sit

Detroit's offense is one-dimensional. The running backs have offered no real production through two weeks, leaving the burden on Matthew Stafford and his receivers. Nonetheless, there has been enough volume to feed all three wideouts -- though Kenny Golladay may have surpassed Marvin Jones in the passing game pecking order. Stay far away from the Lions defense.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN


Steelers


Ben Roethlisberger: Start
James Conner: Start
Antonio Brown: Start
JuJu Smith-Schuster: Start
James Washington: Sleeper
Jesse James: Stream
Steelers DST: Beware

The "Big Ben is bad on the road" narrative is going to be tested this week against a bad Buccaneers defense. If Roethlisberger can rise above that weird trend, it will boost everyone else's production. James Conner should rebound against Tampa's bad run defense. Antonio Brown will test the squeaky wheel theory after airing his frustrations this week. JuJu Smith-Schuster will see plenty of targets with rookie James Washington having sleeper appeal. The Steelers defense hasn't shown enough to warrant being in lineups this week.

Buccaneers


Ryan Fitzpatrick: Start
Peyton Barber: Sleeper
Mike Evans: Start
DeSean Jackson: Start
Chris Godwin: Flex
O.J. Howard: Start
Buccaneers DST: Sit

There could be at least one more week of "Fitzmagic" available against a struggling Steelers defense. The way Tampa has stretched the field in the vertical passing game, all three receivers are viable fantasy options this week. Peyton Barber has sleeper potential versus a run defense that is bottom three in the NFL. O.J. Howard has made Cameron Brate a thing of the past in the passing game. Just say no to the Bucs defense.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who really just needs some sleep. Tell him about your slumber habits via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat (marcasg9).

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