My 5 Studs and 5 Duds piece will be a weekly series where I talk about five guys I’m locking into my lineup and five guys that I’m taking out if at all possible. These recommendations will primarily be matchup-based and will vary greatly from week to week. I plan to try my best to stay away from the studs that you plan on starting anyways and dive a little deeper. All of these recommendations also assume a PPR format but would not change much, if at all, in standard.
For more fire takes, be sure to check out Senior Writer, Jen Smith’s Start/Sit article for Week 3.
5 Studs and 5 Duds
Devante Parker (MIA) @ NYJ – Parker gets a dream matchup against the soft defense of the New York Jets this week and should easily capitalize. The Raiders just put up 45 points last week and it’s definitely possible that the Dolphins have a similar outing. Michael Crabtree routed the Jets to the tune of six catches for 80 yards and three TDs. He bullied the Jets secondary and Parker should do the same. Jay Cutler showed last week that he was not averse to throwing it Parker’s way. Parker had four receptions for 85 yards and saw a total of nine targets. Cutler proved that he isn’t afraid to just throw the ball up to his “faster Alshon” and let the Parker go get it. Parker should have a great week in which he dominates the Jets CBs and Cutler keeps slinging the ball. Fire him up as a strong WR2 this week!
Golden Tate (DET) vs. ATL – We’ve seen back to back performances from Matthew Stafford, in which he played very well against two good defenses, in the Arizona Cardinals and the New York Giants. Now he gets a great matchup against the Atlanta Falcons and Golden Tate should reap the reward. Tate plays primarily out of the slot and therefore will not see a lot of Desmond Trufant who typically covers the outside and will likely cover Marvin Jones. Randall Cobb was tearing the Falcons apart before he left the game with a shoulder injury and Tate could very well do the same. Tate has seen 16 targets through two weeks and is Stafford’s favorite target. Tate should eclipse the 10 target mark and be a very valuable asset this week. Fire em’ up!
Randall Cobb (GB) vs. CIN – The Cincinnati Bengals are not good and the Packers should run up the score on them. Cobb has seen 22 targets for 15 receptions and 145 yards this season. It’s clear that he is once again a key cog in this offense. He could be utilized even more this week, as Jordy Nelson is 50/50 to play. With or without Jordy in the game, Cobb will be used and will see plenty of work against a bad Bengals defense. It should be noted that Cobb left the game with a shoulder injury of his own on Sunday night but I expect him to play. If he’s active, fire him up and put him in your lineup!
Christian McCaffrey (CAR) vs. NO – Christian McCaffrey hasn’t put up the kind of production most who drafted him expected. This is the week that all changes. The Panthers take on the Saints this week and that Saints defense is fantasy heaven. The Saints have allowed the most yards per game of any team this year and have also allowed the most catches and yards to RBs. McCaffrey has been on the field for a lot of Carolina’s snaps this year and although he is splitting work with Jonathan Stewart, McCaffrey is easily the more talented player and better pass catcher. I fully expect the Panther’s to exploit that mismatch and heavily use McCaffrey in the rushing and receiving game. This is the week that McCaffrey finds the end zone for the first time and it may even happen twice. Fire em’ up as a solid RB2!
Zach Ertz (PHI) vs. NYG – Zach Ertz is already having a good year, as he has 18 targets for 13 receptions for 190 yards. Following the trend of last year, he is Carson Wentz’s favorite target, as he is looked at early and often. The Giants have a solid defense but have shown a weakness against TEs as Jason Witten shredded them in Week One and Eric Ebron posted a solid outing in Week Two. Ertz is more talented than both those tight ends and more involved in his respective offense. Wentz will likely exploit this weakness of the Giants and Ertz could easily have a 10 target game where he is finally able to find the end zone. He should be a top-five tight end this week so fire em’ up!
Jordan Howard (CHI) vs. PIT – For two consecutive weeks, Howard has been out-produced by rookie Tarik Cohen and I don’t expect that to stop yet. The Bears are not good and figure to be playing from behind in most games, which doesn’t exactly play to Howard’s strengths. He dropped the catch to win the game in Week One and only saw one target the following week. This does, however, play to Cohen’s strengths, as he excels as a pass catcher and is dynamic in space. I don’t expect Cohen to supplant Howard as the starter but work will likely continue to be split and they face a tough Steelers’ defense this week. Fade Howard this week and potentially rest of season.
Lamar Miller (HOU) @ NE – There is a myriad of problems for Lamar Miller right now. The Houston offense doesn’t look good as Deshaun Watson gets settled in, the offensive line looks like a revolving door, and he has D’Onta Foreman breathing down his neck. Foreman had 12 carries last week and looked better than Miller at times. Head coach, Bill O’Brien, has also stated that they want to get Foreman more involved. Add all these problems on to the fact that they play a typically tough Patriots defense and it isn’t looking great for Miller. Miller could be startable once things clear up in Houston and Watson gets comfortable but I’m fading Miller in a minus matchup.
Dez Bryant (DAL) @ ARI – Dez Bryant has struggled quite a bit through the first two weeks, as he faced talented CBs. He has seen 25 targets but only registered nine catches for 102 yards and one touchdown. Bryant has always been a very CB dependent receiver and typically struggles against top corners. Well, once again, Dez will line up against a top corner this week. Patrick Peterson is one of the league’s premier corners and will likely shadow Dez for much of the game. Dak Prescott may continue to target Dez heavily but it may not matter if he can’t find a way to succeed against Peterson. I’m fading Dez this week until he can find a way to beat top corners.
Alshon Jeffrey (PHI) vs. NYG – Jeffrey has seen his fair share of deep targets this year but it seems like Carson Wentz is struggling to connect with him. Jeffrey draws a matchup with Janoris Jenkins this week, one of the league’s best corners. Jeffrey is still the best wide receiver on his team but he doesn’t have the best matchup. Wentz should be looking Zach Ertz’s way, which will take targets away from Jeffrey. Even when Wentz does look Jeffrey’s way, it may not matter as Jenkins will be covering him. Fade Alshon Jeffrey this week in a bad matchup and what should be a low-scoring game.
Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen (MIN) vs. TB – I’m cheating a little here by talking about two players but let me have it. Sam Bradford was out last week and the offense struggled. Diggs and Thielen had a combined performance of 7 receptions for 71 yards, which is less than ideal, to say the least. This came after they both torched the Saints in Week One. In Week Three, they play a Tampa Bay defense that has been playing well ever since the second half of 2016. They just forced four turnovers against the Bears and it may not be too much prettier if Case Keenum starts for the Vikings again. I will caveat this by saying that if Sam Bradford is 100% and active, that I would feel comfortable with Diggs and Thielen. However, with Keenum at the helm, they are a hard fade in Week 3!