With two weeks now in the rear view mirror, there are definitely some surprises that may be more than a trend or a flash in the pan. Now with two home teams, the city of Los Angeles has already been an interesting story. After a complete demolition of Indianapolis in Week 1, the Los Angeles Rams appeared to be a force to be reckoned with. Although they fell behind early in Week 2 against Washington, the Rams kept their foot on the pedal until quarterback Jared Goff led the team’s final drive with a game-ending interception. Across town, the Los Angeles Chargers fell to 0-2 after a gut-wrenching home defeat to Miami. With Week 1 ending with a game-tying field goal blocked from Chargers kicker Younghoe Koo, Week 2 was more difficult to swallow as Koo missed the game-winning kick. The Chargers’ combined loss deficit after their first two games is only five points, but seems like a story we’ve watched in previous seasons back in San Diego.
Many fantasy owners may use Week 3 as the last straw for several of their players that have completely fallen off the fantasy radar. Here’s looking at you Andy Dalton, Eli Manning, Brandon Marshall, Mike Wallace, Joe Mixon, Adrian Peterson, Bilal Powell, LeGarrette Blount and Paul Perkins.
I accidentally selected two wide receivers for last week’s “Dive,” but have ensured this week’s dive will offer recommended starts for one player at each position for Week 3 (quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end and defense/special teams). With no major weather concerns forecasted for any games this week, take a dive with me and enjoy another great week of football!
QB Cam Newton,Carolina Panthers
Carolina quarterback Cam Newton is playing more like a shell of his former self this season than the award-winning MVP from two seasons ago. Although he did accumulate 27 rushing yards last week, Newton seems to be following suit with the pocket passing strategy alluded to during the preseason, which hit a speed bump with the loss of tight end Greg Olsen with a broken right foot. If there was one game to start Newton, it would be during Carolina’s Week 3 home contest against division rival New Orleans. New Orleans’ secondary has worsened since last season and has been torched for three touchdowns apiece already by Sam Bradford and Tom Brady, including an average of almost 400 passing yards per game. Over his career, Newton has more touchdowns and passing yards against the New Orleans than any other team so expect him to post one of his better stat lines this season.
Week 3 projection: 250 passing yards, 25 rushing yards, 2 TD
RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers
With coach Mike Shanahan taking the reins, many fans and fantasy owners were optimistic about the San Francisco offense this season. San Francisco is currently winless with zero touchdowns after the first two weeks. The lone bright spot has been the success of running back Carlos Hyde, who is the fourth-leading rusher in the league and averaging a whopping 7 yards per carry as well as serving as a key force in the passing attack. San Francisco welcomes its division rival, the Los Angeles Rams, on Sunday. The Rams have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs through two weeks this season, including 222 yards on the road to Washington last weekend. Expect 12-15 carries from Hyde which should also open up the passing game for Brian Hoyer, who has not looked comfortable thus far with his new team. Start Hyde as a RB2 with RB1 upside Thursday!
Week 3 projection: 100 total yards, TD
WR Devin Funchess, Carolina Panthers
With tight end Greg Olsen capturing 75-80 catches, more than 120 targets, and more than 1,000 receiving yards over the last three seasons, someone on Carolina’s receiving corps will need to step up. Although tight end Ed Dickson will the new starter and see a major increase in snaps, wide receiver Devin Funchess is expected to be biggest beneficiary of opportunity. Funchess has been hyped over previous seasons, but has managed only one game of more than 100 receiving yards. The young, talented receiver will be a WR3 or flex option in Week 3 against New Orleans, who has surrendered the most points to opposing wideouts. Whether he is poised for another breakout game or not, Funchess should be primed for a solid performance.
Week 3 projection: 75 receiving yards, TD