Kickoff: Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland
Betting Odds: WAS +6.5, 47 Total on Oddshark
Writer: Drew DeLuca (@DrewDeLaware on Twitter)
Jalen Hurts (Start, QB1), Gardner Minshew (Sit)
Jalen Hurts put on a clinic against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. In fact, he became the first person in NFL history to complete over 80 percent of his passes, throw for over 300 yards, and rush for multiple touchdowns all in the same game. Only Lamar Jackson (318 yards passing, 119 yards rushing, and four total touchdowns) and Tua Tagovailoa (six touchdown passes) put up more points than Hurts in Week 2. You really don’t need us to tell you to start Hurts this weekend, but we’ll do it anyway:
Start Jalen Hurts.
Miles Sanders (Start, RB2), Kenny Gainwell (Sit), Boston Scott (Sit)
Miles Sanders is back, baby! One week after amassing 100+ total yards, Sanders rose up as the alpha in a crowded Eagles backfield, logging 17 of 23 total handoffs, recording 20 total touches. By comparison, Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell combined for a measly 8 touches. However, Hurts still posted 11 carries, and claimed both rushing touchdowns. The only thing keeping Sanders from RB1 territory: the presence of a prolific rushing quarterback who vultures touchdowns and eats up yards between the 20s.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR1), DeVonta Smith (Start, WR3), Quez Watkins (Sit), Zach Pascal (Sit), Dallas Goedert (Start)
It’s hard to believe, but after a Week 1 statement game and a Week 2 effort in which he was once again led the team in targets, A.J. Brown has yet to score a touchdown as a Philadelphia Eagle. Expect that to change this week in Washington: only three teams have allowed more passing touchdowns than the Commanders so far this season.
After an alarming Week 1 in which he logged zero catches, DeVonta Smith caught all seven targets for 80 yards. The speedy Quez Watkins, also shut out during the season opener, caught his first two passes of the season. His 53 yard touchdown was the first thrown by Hurts this season. Zach Pascal remains a non-factor, but Dallas Goedert, fresh off a solid 5-82-0 outing, is a clear start this week. He’s projected to finish as the TE5 in Week 3, according to FantasyPros’ Week 3 Expert Consensus Rankings, and should once again post double-digit fantasy points.
Carson Wentz (Sit, QB2), Taylor Heinicke (Sit)
Carson Wentz has posted two straight games with over 300 passing yards and three touchdowns. He is the QB5 through the first two weeks of the season. So why is he a sit, especially when facing his old team in a revenge game? Well, one problem with this tired narrative: it’s a revenge game for both sides.
A factor of far more relevance: the Eagles absolutely manhandled the very same Minnesota Vikings offense that embarrassed the Green Bay Packers a week before. The pass rush forced Kirk Cousins into several costly mistakes, and an improved secondary made the Vikings pay. Wentz is known for holding the ball far too long, fumbling, and taking sacks.
So far in 2022, Wentz has the fifth-highest sack rate (percentage of times sacked when dropping back to pass) of any quarterback in the league. Just one year removed from leading the NFL in interceptions thrown, he should continue these trends in Week 3 as Eagles fans descend on FedEx Field in a hostile takeover.
In case we’re not clear:
Sit Carson Wentz.
Antonio Gibson (Start, Flex), J. D. McKissic (Sit), Jonathan Williams (Sit)
The Commanders tried their hardest to keep Antonio Gibson out of the huddle during a wild preseason. For the second week in a row, Gibson commanded an 82 percent share of the backfield carries. He was far less efficient in Week 2 against the Lions, however, compiling only 41 yards on 16 touches. He did manage to salvage some value for his fantasy managers by crossing the stripe. As long as he keeps getting volume, he’ll continue to add value to fantasy lineups. We don’t love his matchup this week, but he’s a sensible flex option.
Meanwhile, J. D. McKissic caught all seven of his targets for 54 yards and added nine more on the ground on two carries. While he makes a serviceable emergency flex (or RB2 for Zero RB drafters), most fantasy managers will have better options. Jonathan Williams has yet to log a carry this year and can be safely left on all waiver wires.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (Start, WR3), Jahan Dotson (Sit), Cam Sims (Sit), Dyami Brown (Sit), Dax Milne (Sit), Logan Thomas (Sit, TE2)
Back in August, fantasy experts and armchair analysts alike expected Terry McLaurin to be the lead dog in this passing attack. Curtis Samuel led the team in targets in both contests to date, however. Samuel’s team-leading 20 targets rank 14th in the NFL to date, so we can’t sit him despite a less-than-desirable matchup. McLaurin’s most reasonable range of outcomes equates to a point total in the WR2 range, but we won’t be surprised if Samuel outperforms him for the third straight week.
Jahan Dotson burst on the scene by catching three passes in Week 1, two for touchdowns. Dotson managed to score again in Week 2, pumping new life into his stock. Unfortunately, he has yet to reach the 60-yard receiving mark in a game so far this season, and his YPRR (Targets Per Route Run) was third worst in the league.
Given his place in the pecking order of this passing game, Dotson needs to keep catching touchdowns to retain fantasy relevance, at least in the short term. His rightful place is on fantasy benches, which is at least a step up from the waiver wire, where Cam Sims, Dax Milne, and Dyami Brown belong. Logan Thomas has been surprisingly effective out of the gate, collecting more targets than any other tight end on the roster. Yet, we still don’t see him racking up TE1 numbers against an improved Eagles defense. Thomas is a palatable spot-start for those faced with injury challenges, but he’s best left on the bench in leagues of traditional size.