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Quick Grades Week 3 (Fantasy Football Start or Sit Advice)

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Sep 25, 2020

After an unbelievably unfortunate weekend of injuries, we’ve made it back for Week 3. Last week, the fantasy world watched on in collective horror as Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Raheem Mostert suffered serious injuries that will have a major impact on the rest of the season. The rest of the season, however, begins now. This week, we see significant changes throughout the positional grades and plenty of “what-if’s,” “could-be’s,” and “maybes” with plenty of guys knicked up heading into the week. It’s an unusual week for fantasy football, but hey, that fits in just fine with the rest of this stinkin’ year. We saw a less-than-epic battle of the facial-haired quarterbacks on Thursday Night Football, so Dolphins and Jags players are excluded from this one, but as always, we’ve got the rest of the fantasy-relevant players graded (and then some!).

Once the season begins, the most difficult part of any fantasy manager’s week is start or sit decisions. These lineup choices can make or break a week, but unfortunately, not everyone has time to sit down and read lengthy fantasy advice articles. That’s where Quick Grades comes in. Each week of the football season, I’ll be providing a condensed and easily digestible chart of grades for over 250 fantasy-relevant players based on the following four criteria:

Fantasy Ability
Despite a tough matchup, Christian McCaffrey took a screen pass 90 yards to the house last week

Expected Volume
Zach Ertz is always heavily targeted as one of Philadelphia’s top pass-catching options

Tyreek Hill got loose for 200 yards against Cincinnati’s porous secondary

Surrounding Talent
Sam Darnold has one of the weakest receiving corps in the league

Each of those criteria will be graded on a scale of 1-25, with the cumulative total resulting in a final grade (A+ to F) and a recommendation based on that grade. The criteria are weighted differently based on position, so it’s not a direct 1-for-1 conversion. Surrounding talent refers to offensive line for RB, quarterback play for WR and TE, and skill-position talent for QB.

The players are sorted by grade in descending order with the highest grades at the top and the lowest at the bottom. The highest-graded players receive A+ (Must start), and the lowest receive F. However, there are varying degrees of the F grade, and some players with this grade are flex plays, desperation plays, Hail Mary plays, or should remain on your bench, depending on the grade and position.

This week, I’m adding D/ST grades, and just like the skill-position players, there will be four criteria used for grading on a scale from 1-25, and final grades will be from 1-100. The four criteria for a D/ST grade are: Matchup, Turnovers, Sacks, and Points Allowed.

The charts are screenshots of a spreadsheet, but the link to the original can be found below. Because players are not searchable within the sheets in this article, they’ve been added to the bottom of the page so that they can be searched and referenced quickly. In addition to the player grades, I’ll provide:

  • Start of the Week: A player outside of the elite, weekly must-starts who could have a big week
  • Stream of the Week: The best player who will likely be available on your waiver wire
  • Deep-League Stream of the Week: The best player who is less than 5% rostered in Yahoo leagues
  • Fade of the Week: A notable player who could be in for a let-down performance
  • Tough Calls: Two similarly valued players who may give fantasy managers difficult decisions

Link to Full Quick Grades Document

It’s easy to see that an ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grade makes a player a must-start, but it might not make sense at first glance why some players are rated ‘C’ or worse and still have ‘Start,’ ‘Strong Start,’ or ‘Flex’ attached to their names. Because of all the different variables that go into a player’s performance in any given week, only those players with the absolute highest potential, best matchup, and strongest talent get ‘A+’ or ‘A’ grades. Therefore, even solid plays will earn grades that may appear sub-optimal on the surface, but it’s all relative from position-to-position. The hard cutoff is 50 for every position, as grades lower than this will earn a ‘Desperation’ or ‘Hail Mary’ tag in every situation.

Now that I’ve covered the basics, let’s get to the grades. Best of luck in all your matchups this week, and if you have any questions, please hit me up on Twitter @ZaktheMonster.

Note: As always, remember to check back on FantasyPros ahead of kickoff to get the latest injury news. I’ll provide “what-if” grades in the event that an injured player doesn’t suit up, but otherwise, these grades assume full health at the time the article is published on Friday morning. 

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Running Backs

Alvin Kamara retains his spot atop our grades for this week, as his floor and ceiling are both ridiculously high right now. Familiar faces round out the top of the class, with Miles Sanders slotted back in thanks to his strong performance in a Week 2 return. A pair of 49ers backs get a big bump, Mike Davis rises significantly, and… is that Devonta Freeman?

Start of the Week: Joshua Kelley (LAC)

Stream of the Week: Jeff Wilson Jr.

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Giovani Bernard (CIN) 4% Rostered

Fade of the Week: David Johnson (HOU)

Tough Calls: After a monster Week 2, Aaron Jones faces a much tougher task in Week 3 in the form of the Saints’ stout rush defense. Conversely, Kenyan Drake gets a solid draw against Detroit and grades out just slightly better than Jones here.

* With Zack Moss out, Devin Singletary becomes a ‘C+ Start’
* If Josh Jacobs is out, Jalen Richard becomes a ‘D Flex’

Wide Receivers

It’s more of the same for our highest-graded wideouts this week, though there are a couple of notable injuries in Davante Adams and Julio Jones, who have both missed practice time this week. D.K. Metcalf continues to see his stock rise, and are all three of the Cowboys’ wideouts set to feast in a sumptuous matchup with Seattle?

Start of the Week: CeeDee Lamb (DAL)

Stream of the Week: KJ Hamler (DEN)

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Darnell Mooney 1% Rostered

Fade of the Week: Emmanuel Sanders

Tough Calls: Amari Cooper comes in just a half point ahead of Atlanta’s dynamic duo of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, and it’s due to his matchup. Seattle has been a sieve for air yards this season, and Cooper should be the primary beneficiary of this juicy matchup. He gets the edge over the Falcons’ talented twosome.

* If Julio Jones is out, Calvin Ridley becomes an ‘A+ Must Start’
* If Kenny Golladay is out, Marvin Jones becomes a ‘D+ Flex’ and Danny Amendola becomes an ‘F Desperation’
* If Davante Adams is out, Marquez Valdes-Scantling becomes a ‘D+ Flex’ and Allen Lazard becomes a ‘D Flex’
* If Jerry Jeudy is out, KJ Hamler becomes a ‘D+ Flex’
* If John Brown is out, Stefon Diggs becomes a ‘B+ Must Start’
* If Brandin Cooks is out, Will Fuller becomes a ‘C Start’
* With A.J. Brown out, Corey Davis becomes a ‘D+ Flex’ and Adam Humphries becomes a ‘D Flex’
* Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards are limited this week


This week, it’s not Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes getting the highest grade. Squaring off against an ultra-porous Seattle secondary, Dak Prescott takes head-of-the-class honors for Week 3, with a TRIO mobile signal-callers just behind him for their respective matchups. Russell Wilson should continue to cook, as he grades out as an ‘A’ once again.

Start & Stream of the Week: Mitch Trubisky (CHI)

Fade of the Week: Drew Brees (NO)

Tough Calls: Mitch Trubisky is a start this week due to his solid matchup with Atlanta, though Ryan Tannehill comes in just ahead of him with a solid matchup of his own in Minnesota. Coming off a huge Week 2, the Titans signal-caller has the edge.

Tight Ends

Once again, Travis Kelce comes in with the highest tight end grade of the week, though target monster Darren Waller is just fractions of a point behind him. Tyler Higbee and Jonnu Smith continue their ascents and find themselves among the highest-graded options of Week 3.

Start of the Week: Eric Ebron (PIT)

Stream of the Week: Mo Alie-Cox (IND)

Deep-League Stream of the Week: Dan Arnold (ARI) 0% Rostered

Fade of the Week: Austin Hooper (CLE)

Tough Calls: The top-two picks this week come down to Darren Waller and Travis Kelce, though Kelce gets the slight edge here due to his surrounding talent. Waller is the unquestioned top option in Las Vegas’ passing game, and he’ll likely be the focus of Bill Belichick’s defensive gameplan.


Two of top-5 at the position might seem a little unfamiliar, but the Buccaneers will face Jeff Driskel, and WFT has played good football so far. The Cardinals’ D/ST has been better than expected in 2020 and get a strong draw against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, and the Giants’ D/ST makes a sneaky play against Nick Mullens and a banged-up 49ers’ offense.

Start of the Week: Washington Football Team

Stream of the Week: Arizona Cardinals

Deep-League Stream of the Week: New York Giants 2% Rostered

Fade of the Week: New Orleans Saints

Player Search, Find

Running Back

Wide Receiver

Tight End



  • Pittsburgh Steelers A+ Must Start
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers B+ Strong Start
  • Washington Football Team B+ Strong Start
  • San Francisco 49ers B Strong Start
  • Indianapolis Colts C+ Start
  • Tennessee Titans C+ Start
  • Los Angeles Chargers C Start
  • Los Angeles Rams C Start
  • New York Jets D+ Start
  • Baltimore Ravens D+ Start
  • Arizona Cardinals D+ Start
  • New York Giants D+ Start
  • Philadelphia Eagles D+ Start
  • Denver Broncos D+ Start
  • New England Patriots D Start
  • Atlanta Falcons F Desperation
  • Cincinnati Bengals F Desperation
  • Seattle Seahawks F Desperation
  • Green Bay Packers F Desperation
  • Cleveland Browns F Desperation
  • New Orleans Saints F Desperation
  • Chicago Bears F Desperation
  • Kansas City Chiefs F Desperation
  • Houston Texans F Bench
  • Carolina Panthers F Bench
  • Buffalo Bills F Bench
  • Las Vegas Raiders F Bench
  • Dallas Cowboys F Bench
  • Detroit Lions F Bench
  • Minnesota Vikings F Bench

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Zachary Hanshew is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Zachary, check out his archive and follow him @zakthemonster.

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