Kickoff: Sunday, September 25 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Betting Odds: MIN -6, 53.5 Total on Oddshark
Writer: Drew DeLuca (@DrewDeLaware on Twitter)
Jared Goff (Start, QB1), Nate Sudfeld (Sit)
Two games into the 2022 season, Jared Goff is the QB9 in fantasy football. That’s right: Jared Goff is currently a QB1, and he’s doing so without first-round pick Jameson Williams. However, according to composite Week 3 projections on FantasyPros.com, the general industry consensus pegs Goff as the QB18 this week against a Minnesota Vikings defense that just gave up 333 passing yards to Jalen Hurts despite a positive game script for the Eagles for the duration of the contest.
Most industry experts are slow to recognize what’s happening in Detroit, but that doesn’t mean you should keep Goff on your bench. Goff has been good in his own right, so it’s absolutely safe to start him against a Vikings defense that has allowed the third most passing yards so far this season.
D’Andre Swift (Start, RB2), Jamaal Williams (Start, Low-end Flex), Craig Reynolds (Sit)
D’Andre Swift broke out in a big way against the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening week of the season before tweaking an ankle. He garnered only seven touches in Week 2 but was surprisingly efficient (12.4 yards per touch) while playing through injury. As electric as Swift is, his ceiling remains somewhat capped as long as Jamaal Williams keeps averaging 12.5 touches per game. Williams, who has averaged over 11 PPR points per game so far this season, offers standalone flex value in that timeshare role, with upside for more in the event Swift aggravates his injury during the Lions’ Week 3 matchup.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Amon-Ra St. Brown (Start, WR1), D.J. Chark (Sit), Josh Reynolds (Sit), Quintez Cephus (Sit), Kalif Raymond (Sit), T.J. Hockenson (Start, TE1)
We’ve all had our embarrassing moments, right? I once suggested that healthy versions of Swift and T.J. Hockenson would render Amon-Ra St. Brown a boom-or-bust option. Then, I doubled down on that take. *Sigh*. Mistakes were made. Here are the top scoring wide receivers so far this season:
Quite literally, St. Brown has been as good as anyone so far this year, as he has morphed into a must-start. However, D.J. Chark‘s prospects are mercurial by comparison. Chark is a nice, back-pocket bestball option, but he’s best left on fantasy benches in managed leagues, as are Josh Reynolds, Quintez Cephus, and Kalif Raymond. Those decimated by injuries could do worse than Chark as a desperation flex, but most fantasy managers likely have better options. Hockenson, who has received a steady seven targets in each of the Lions’ first two games, could benefit from additional defensive attention paid to St. Brown. It wouldn’t surprise us to see Hockenson (finally) finish as a strong TE1 this week.
Kirk Cousins (Start, QB1)
Kirk Cousins was absolutely abysmal in Philadelphia on Monday night, throwing for a pedestrian 221 yards on 46 attempts. Cousins threw three interceptions for the first time since he tossed a trio of picks into the hands of Indianapolis Colts defenders nearly two years prior to the day (September 20, 2020). Nevertheless, expect Cousins to bounce back against the Lions: only two defensive units around the league have surrendered more fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks so far this season. Expect Cousins to rebound and post the kinds of numbers his fantasy managers envisioned when taking him as a value in the latter part of the middle rounds on draft day.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1), Alexander Mattison (Sit), Kene Nwangwu (Sit), Ty Chandler (Sit)
We mentioned in last week’s Sit/Start write-up that the Eagles’ defense would show significant improvement in the coming weeks. We just didn’t see it happening so quickly, much to the chagrin of those of us with Dalvin Cook shares. That said, we see great things in store for Cook in Week 3: a finish as the overall RB1 of the Week 3 slate is within Cook’s range of outcomes against a Lions defense that is one week removed from coughing up four rushing touchdowns to four different players in early September of this year. Conservatively, expect over 100 total yards and at least one score.
Meanwhile, Alexander Mattison will continue to serve as a complimentary piece with little starting value. However, he’s still productive when given opportunities: he has averaged 4.4 yards a carry or better in three of his four professional seasons to date. We won’t start him, but he’s a worthy stash, given his tremendous upside in the event of a tragic injury to Cook. Kene Nwangwu and Ty Chander should remain on waiver wires everywhere.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Justin Jefferson (Start, WR1), Adam Thielen (Start, Flex), K.J. Osborn (Sit), Jalen Reagor (Sit), Irv Smith (Sit)
Like most red-blooded American fantasy football analysts, we expected Justin Jefferson to do much more last week, despite the presence of Darius Slay. The former Detroit Lions corner and his mates in the secondary positively shut down Jefferson and his fellow Vikings receivers: Slay recorded two picks and notched a career-high five passes defended. The good news: the Vikings will once again move Jefferson around to create ideal matchups, and he’ll a much easier day against Jeff Okudah, Will Harris, and Mike Hughes. A solid trio, that unit is nowhere close to the same caliber as the Eagles’ grouping of Slay, Pro Bowler James Bradberry, and Avonte Maddox.
Adam Thielen remains too touchdown-dependent for our liking, and K. J. Osborn‘s matchup is unlikely to bear fruit. The former is still a decent flex option against a subpar Lions pass defense, and we could make a case for the latter on teams that feature Mike Evans (suspended) and a host of injured wide receivers. By default, however, we project Osborn as a “Sit” this week.
Former Eagles first-rounder Jalen Reagor was showered with boos whenever he touched the football, which was primarily on punt returns. He offers tantalizing speed, but hasn’t put it all together, and lacks opportunity at the moment. We’re also sitting Irv Smith, Jr. After ghosting fantasy managers in Week 1, Smith rewarded his more patient fantasy GMs with a touchdown and subsequent garbage time work last week. While he just misses the cut in traditional 12-team leagues from a projections standpoint, Smith offers boom-or-bust potential in larger leagues.