Locked in on Lockett | Wide Receiver Start or Sit – Week 3
Wow, what a weekend. We saw several of the top drafted wide receivers fail to reach double-digit fantasy points, a couple rookies have breakout performances, and well, lots and lots of injuries. I hope your fantasy team survived the whirlwind and you’re ready for more as week three is just around the corner. Every week I will provide you with my recommended start or sit wide receivers. I will not be discussing obvious must-starts like Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, etc. Instead I will be assisting in the tough lineup decisions such as Michael Floyd or John Brown? Or Tyler Lockett or Donte Moncrief? You get the idea. It is important to note that these are just recommendations and I always believe following your gut is the way to go when making a final start or sit call.
My suggestions will be based on numerous factors such as matchups, opportunities within the offense, and past performances, to name a few. All statistics provided are based on standard scoring (non PPR).
For more start or sit advice and any other fantasy football questions you may have, visit our forums where myself and all of our wonderful writers will be more than happy to help you out. You can also follow FTA on Twitter @FanTeamAdvice or myself @ajohnsonFTA. Finally, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this week’s matchups so be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.
Start of the Week: Tyler Lockett (vs SF)
Oh how quickly things can change in the NFL. Last week I had Tyler Lockett listed as a sit. This week, he’s not only a start, but he is my recommended start of the week. Why the sudden change? Well first of all, Lockett surpassed my expectations for him versus the Rams, mainly due to the 53 yard reception he had late in the fourth quarter. Add in the juicy matchup with the 49ers looming and Lockett is looking like a pretty delicious start this week. In two games against the Niners as a rookie, Lockett combined for 9 catches, 127 yards and 3 touchdowns. Through two games this season the 49ers defense ranks in the bottom half of the league in fantasy points per game allowed to opposing receivers. That’s including their week one game with the Rams who, with Case Keenum under center, have yet to score an offensive touchdown. Kelvin Benjamin and the Panthers offense destroyed the Niners secondary in week two. Benjamin racked up 108 yards and 2 touchdowns on 7 receptions. Overall, Carolina passed for over 350 yards. Lockett may only be Seattle’s number three receiver, but he’s their main big-play threat. I expect multiple long receptions and at least one touchdown for Lockett this week.
Bottom Line: Start Lockett as your WR3/Flex.
Jarvis Landry (vs CLE)
Jarvis Landry is undoubtedly one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL and in fantasy. Through his first two seasons, Landry caught 195 passes, an NFL record. He’s off to another great start in his third season. After two games, Landry has 17 receptions for 196 yards. His 23 targets are tied for second, just one behind Mike Evans. The opponent this week? The Cleveland Browns. The Browns rank in the bottom 10 of the league in fantasy points allowed to receivers. In week two, the Ravens passed for over 300 yards on the Browns while Mike Wallace torched the secondary for two touchdowns. I expect Landry’s high target count to continue, giving him plenty of opportunities to score fantasy points for your squad.
Bottom Line: Landry is a WR2 in standard leagues and a WR1 in PPR vs Cleveland.
Travis Benjamin (at IND)
With no Keenan Allen (ACL) and Danny Woodhead (ACL) leaving the game in the first quarter, Travis Benjamin stepped up Sunday and proved he can be the team’s number one receiver. Benjamin caught all six of his targets for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. Two of his catches went for over 40 yards, showing the big-play ability he brought over from Cleveland. Benjamin leads his team in targets (14) and the league in percentage of targets caught (93%) among players with at least 10. Going against a banged up Colts secondary, I project Benjamin to pick up right where he left off.
Bottom Line: Start Benjamin as a WR3/Flex.
Tajae Sharpe (vs OAK)
Wow, can the Raiders defense really be this bad? Oakland became the first team since 1967 to allow more than 500 yards of offense in its first two games. The 808 passing yards they’ve given up ranks last in the league (Steelers are next with 695). They’ve also given up the most passing touchdowns (7-tied with ATL), and opposing quarterbacks have a 131.4 passer rating against them. Pathetic, especially for a defensive unit that was expected to be pretty good according to most “experts.” In week three, it will be the Titans‘ chance to pick on the Raiders. Their top receiver is rookie fifth round pick Tajae Sharpe. Through two games, Sharpe leads his team in targets with 18 and is second with 11 receptions and 109 receiving yards. He’s yet to have his true breakout game, but with the Raiders coming to town, this could be the week.
Bottom Line: Put Sharpe in your Flex spot this week. There’s a good chance he finds the end zone vs OAK.
Others with favorable matchups: Mohamed Sanu (at NO), Brandin Cooks/Willie Snead (vs ATL), Will Fuller (at NE), Jeremy Maclin (vs NYJ)
Sit of the Week: Julian Edelman (*TNF* vs HOU)
For Patriots receiver Julian Edelman it’s been no Brady, no problem. However, with Jimmy Garoppolo injured, it is now a problem. Rookie third round pick Jacoby Brissett will start at quarterback for New England this week versus the Texans. Add the fact that the game is on Thursday, leaving little time to prep the rookie, Edelman is looking like a strong bench candidate for fantasy teams this week. In relief of Garoppolo, it was obvious the Patriots significantly scaled back the offense. Brissett completed 6 of 9 passes for 92 yards and was 1/3 for 7 yards when targeting Edelman. On the two incompletions it was obvious the two were out of sync. To make things worse, the Texans have allowed the eighth fewest fantasy points to receivers and are in the top three in fewest pass yards and touchdowns against. It’s a scary week to be an Edelman owner.
Bottom Line: Edelman is a flex in standard scoring and low-end WR3 in PPR formats at very best. Sit him if you can. Also note this game is on Thursday Night Football so set your fantasy lineups accordingly.
Sammy Watkins (vs ARZ)
Week two was just about as ugly as it comes for Sammy Watkins and the Bills. Watkins came into the contest with a foot injury and it clearly hampered his performance. The Jets held the third-year wideout to just 2 catches for 20 yards. He was not on the field for Buffalo’s final two possessions. The Bills fired offensive coordinator Greg Roman after the game, just another sign of the mess that is the Buffalo franchise right now. That’s probably enough right there to keep Watkins on your bench, but add in the matchup with Patrick Peterson and the Arizona Cardinals, and you’ve got yourself a sure-fire sit. Cardinals opponents have averaged just 239 yards through the air in two games. I wouldn’t count on Watkins’ season stat line of 6 catches, 63 yards improving much this week.
Bottom Line: I’m not starting Watkins this week and neither should you. He’s a high-risk WR3 vs ARZ.
Torrey Smith (at SEA)
In two games versus the Seahawks last season, 49ers receiver Torrey Smith had just one catch for 16 yards. That’s combined over two games. He did find pay-dirt last week but struggled to connect with quarterback Blaine Gabbert most of the day, catching just 3 of 10 targets. Smith has just 5 receptions for 68 yards on the year. Gabbert has been inconsistent to start the season, while the Seattle defense has been dominant. Opponents are averaging just 185 passing yards per game and the Seahawks have yet to allow a passing touchdown. As usual, the Legion of Boom ranks near the top of the league in fantasy points scored by opposing receivers.
Bottom Line: Torrey Smith is no better than a WR4 in a very difficult matchup.
T.Y. Hilton (vs SD)
For the second consecutive week, T.Y. Hilton is listed in this article as a sit. The Broncos held Hilton to just 41 yards on 4 receptions. If you left him in your lineup you were disappointed, to say the least. Don’t make the same mistake twice. As for his opponent, the Chargers are actually near the bottom of the NFL in passing yards allowed. However, thanks to cornerbacks Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers, no wide receiver has topped more than 75 yards. To make things worse, Hilton hasn’t scored since week 12 of last season. That’s seven straight games. It’s a slow start to 2016 but better days are sure to come. Don’t expect that to happen in week three, though.
Bottom Line: Just like last week, Hilton is not much better than a WR3.
Others with difficult matchups: A.J. Green (vs DEN), Kelvin Benjamin (vs MIN), DeAndre Hopkins (at NE), Michael Crabtree (at TEN)