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Fantasy Insider: Value Plays & Strong Starts For Week 3

Scott Engel at gives you an inside look at Week 3 around the NFL from a fantasy football perspective.

Scott Engel of is in his seventh season of Fantasy Football analysis on Scott is an inaugural member of the Fantasy Sports Writer's Association's Hall of Fame and a former FSWA Fantasy Football Writer of the Year Award Winner. He can be heard on FNTSY Radio every morning and seen on FNTSY Sports Network daily on CenturyLink's sports package and Dish Network.

After two weeks of Fantasy Football play, it's important to keep a level-headed outlook. Two weeks does not make a season, and you cannot overreact to much of what you have seen already. By the same token, some strong new trends and players are clearly emerging. You have to judge each player and situation individually. Some slow starters will likely bounce back, while other players who came out of the gate hot may not sustain the momentum. With proven veterans, in many cases, you should know their recent histories and still have faith in them. With new breakthrough performers, ride the wave while you can, but nothing is for certain just yet. We help you keep a steady focus here, and check out my full lineup rankings for Week 3 on for those very tough decisions.

Running Backs

Theo Riddick vs. ATL:The Falcons have allowed an NFC-high 27.10 Fantasy Points Per Game on to opposing running backs, and that is in a standard format. Riddick is pinpointed here for his PPR prowess but you can consider him for standard usage as well. The Atlanta back seven is vulnerable to pass-catching RBs and Riddick is one of the best.

Christian McCaffrey vs. NO: The Saints have allowed 27.00 FFPG to the position, second-most in the NFC. This could be the exciting rookie's breakout game. He could make the most of every touch this week and the Saints defense will be very susceptible to his versatile big-play abilities.

Javorius Allen vs. JAC:The Jaguars defense is looking good, but has allowed 197 rushing yards and two ground scores to opposing running backs so far. Allen had a good preseason and is parlaying it into a strong beginning in 2017. He is versatile and will get touches as both a runner and receiver. Allen is a viable flex play if you are pressed for a RB starter.

James White vs. HOU:White has become the Patriots' premier RB, as he has proven to be useful as a pass-catcher and occasional runner. The Texans defense will spend a lot of time on the field this week and White will get may check-down looks as Tom Brady looks to get rid of the ball quickly. He is an especially strong start in PPR formats if you play in an custom league.

Wide Receivers

Doug Baldwin vs, TEN:The Titans allow 26.10 FFPG to opposing WRs on, fourth-most in the AFC. Baldwin should have his best game of the season so far this week. The Titans have a formidable front seven, but Russell Wilson can get the ball to Baldwin on screens and quick hitters to counter an aggressive push, and he can then make things happen after the catch. If Wilson can get Baldwin in favorable matchups vs. the Tennessee defensive backs behind the front seven as well, he'll have advantages with more open field.

Jermaine Kearse vs. MIA:The former Seahawk has recaptured his flair for the big play so far with the Jets. Whether New York is playing from behind or is in a tight divisional game with the Dolphins, Kearse will certainly be a factor. Josh McCown has quickly found that Kearse is his most trustworthy pass-catcher because of his experience and savvy. The Kearse for Sheldon Richardson deal has produced good early returns for both sides so far.

J.J. Nelson vs. DAL:He was added by over 49.000 owners this week, boosting his ownership rate to 50.4 percent. The Cardinals cannot depend on their running game and must attack a shaky Cowboys pass defense to remain competitive this week. Nelson is on the rise and is Arizona's only true playmaking threat outside of Larry Fitzgerald right now.

Terrelle Pryor vs. OAK:Washington's prized free agent acquisition is off to a slow start, but this is his week to get on track. Pryor has a fine matchup against the Oakland secondary, and Kirk Cousins needs to get in rhythm with Pryor to stabilize the passing game. He'll also have to target Pryor frequently with some of his other top pass-catchers dealing with injuries.

The Seahawks and Titans face off on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2023. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. PT. Take a look back through history at the Seahawks' matchups against the Titans.


Dak Prescott vs. ARI:The Cardinals allow 17.96 FFPG to QBs, second-most in the NFC. Prescott will deliver the Fantasy goods no matter what the game flow is. If the Cowboys are dominating time of possession like they so often do, his great efficiency produces optimum results. He can also pad his stats playing from behind as we saw last week.

Kirk Cousins vs. OAK:The Raiders allow 17.29 FFPG to this position, fifth-most in the AFC. Cousins is at home and is a strong bet to hit his passing stride this week. He may also have to throw often to keep up with the Oakland offense.

Tight Ends, Kickers & Defense/Special Teams

Jason Witten is looking like a must-start right now, and Coby Fleener is off to an impressive start. Austin Hooper should bounce back this week and Zach Miller is a respectable plug-in. …. Pittsburgh is a top defensive streamer at Chicago and the Jaguars should be locked in vs. Baltimore. Tampa Bay is also very viable. … This should be a very good week for Graham Gano, and Dustin Hopkins will display his better form.

Seahawks Fantasy Focus

The Titans have a strong defensive front wall, so Seahawks running backs will have to work hard for their yardage, but they're still a worthy flex play. We noted above the statistical points that favor the Seattle WRs in this matchup, which of course bodes better for Russell Wilson, who remains a Top 12 Fantasy start this week. He should be expected to keep Paul Richardson and Tyler Lockett in the game flow, and both are worth a look if you need an option in a very deep league. The defense can certainly withstand the solid Tennessee running game and while the Titans have a solid offensive line, expect Marcus Mariota to be hurried and hit. Start the Seahawks defense as you normally would.

For more lineup recommendations and insights from Scott Engel and his team, register now for the Xclusive Edge In-Season Fantasy Football package at readers get five dollars off with promocode "seahawks" at checkout.

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