As fantasy players look to set their Week 3 lineups, some will be scrambling to find a replacement for Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and others will have to monitor injuries to Bears running back Jordan Howard and Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson. Managing injuries is an unfortunate part of playing fantasy football, but here are some suggestions that’ll help you decide who to start in Week 3.
— Cam Newton, Carolina vs. New Orleans
Newton’s been slumping, and this matchup against the Saints could jump-start his season. So far, the Saints have yielded the most fantasy points per game (FPPG) to opposing quarterbacks, as well as the highest average passing yards per game (389). Newton has thrown for at least 315 yards in three of his last four meetings against the Saints, including 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions.
— Jay Cutler, Miami at New York Jets
Cutler takes on a Jets defense that’s given up the most points (66) this season. They’ve surrendered five passing touchdowns (second most), and with opposing quarterbacks averaging 8.1 yards per pass attempt against them, this could be the week that Cutler connects with big play receiver DeVante Parker for a long touchdown pass.
— Theo Riddick, Detroit vs. Atlanta
Riddick is one of football’s best pass-catching running backs. He faces a Falcons defense that gave up the most receptions to RBs (109) in 2016, and again leads the NFL in that category this season (19). Riddick is more valuable in fantasy leagues using point-per-reception (PPR) scoring.
— Jay Ajayi, Miami at New York Jets
Ajayi is matched up against a Jets defense that’s yielded 5.4 yards per carry (YPC) this season, and the most yards on the ground (370). If the Dolphins jump out to a big lead in this game as expected, they’ll likely use their ground game in order to run out the clock, providing Ajayi ample opportunity to pad his stats.
— Melvin Gordon, LA Chargers vs. Kansas City
The Chiefs have given up the second most rushing touchdowns in football this season (3), and with 11 TDs in his last 15 games, Gordon has a knack for finding the end zone.
— Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina vs. New Orleans
We’ve already discussed how bad the Saints pass defense is, and with Greg Olsen sidelined for six to eight weeks with a broken foot, Benjamin could lead the Panthers in targets this week.
— Rashard Higgins, Cleveland at Indianapolis
Higgins could be a sneaky play this week. He was targeted 11 times, and caught seven passes for 95 yards in Week 2. With Corey Coleman out with a broken hand and Kenny Britt slumping, Higgins could again be heavily targeted in Week 3. With their best cornerback, Vontae Davis, yet to play, the Colts have given up the third most FPPG this season. Don’t sit a proven fantasy producer in order to get Higgins in your lineup, but if you play in a deep league or your team needs help at the WR or flex spot, he could be an option.
— Zach Ertz, Philadelphia vs. New York Giants
Ertz is a top 3 tight end in PPR leagues, and top 7 in standard scoring leagues this season. The Giants have given up the sixth most FPPG to tight ends, as well as touchdowns to Jason Witten in Week 1 and Eric Ebron in Week 2.
— Jack Doyle, Cleveland at Indianapolis
In his first start for the Colts, second year QB Jacoby Brissett targeted Doyle eight times, and the tight end responded by catching all eight targets and adding 79 receiving yards. The Browns gave up the most FPPG to tight ends in 2016 and have surrendered the second most this season. Doyle should be heavily targeted again this week.
— Marcus Mariota, Tennessee vs. Seattle
The Seahawks have given up just one passing TD to opposing QBs this season. Coincidentally, the Titans pass offense has gotten off to a slow start, scoring just one touchdown. Despite breaking a leg last season, Mariota can still run the ball, however the Seahawks have been effective against mobile quarterbacks.
— C.J. Anderson, Denver at Buffalo
Anderson is second in the NFL in rushing with 199 yards, however he faces a Bills defense that has given up the third fewest FPPG to RBs this season. Anderson will give the Bills run defense its toughest test to date. The season is still young, but they’ve limited opponents to just 2.7 YPC, and have yet to allow more than 50 rushing yards in a game.
— Alshon Jeffery, Philadelphia vs. New York Giants
Jeffery has the second most targets among Eagles receivers this season and will face a tough Giants secondary. The Giants have allowed a total of six catches and 68 receiving yards to their opponents’ WR1s this season, and if shut down cornerback Janoris Jenkins is healthy enough to play in Week 3, Jeffery could be in for a long afternoon.
— Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati at Green Bay
Eifert is one of the most talented tight ends in football, however he’s injury prone. His status for Week 3 is in question due to back and knee injuries. If Eifert does play, he could be limited and with the Bengals having scored just nine points so far this season it might be best to find another option.
This column was provided to The Associated Press by the Fantasy Sports Network, http://FNTSY.com