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

by Zachary Hanshew | @ZaktheMonster | Featured Writer
Sep 24, 2021

Well, the fun couldn’t last forever, right? After starting the season with two excellent Thursday night matchups, we got a stinker to start Week 3, and to make it worse… Christian McCaffrey left the contest early with a hamstring injury. We’ll all be hoping for a speedy recovery from fantasy’s golden boy, and now that last night’s ugliness is behind us, we can look ahead to the rest of the week’s matchups.

Once the season begins, the most difficult parts of any fantasy manager’s week are 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
Dalvin Cook is a week-winner due to his big-play ability and proficiency as a receiver out of the backfield

Expected Volume
Travis Kelce is always heavily targeted as one of Kansas City’s top pass-catching options

David Montgomery finished 2020 as an RB1 thanks to a highly-favorable end-of-season schedule

Surrounding Talent
Sam Darnold has a strong group of skill-position players around him now that he’s in Carolina

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.

I’ll also include DST 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 DST grade are: Matchup, Turnovers, Sacks, and Points Allowed.

The link to the original Quick Grades Google Document can still be found below. 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
  • Fade of the Week: A notable player who could be in for a let-down performance

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. These grades assume full health at the time the article is published on Friday morning. 

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Running Backs


Wide Receivers




Tight Ends



  • Start of the Week: Buffalo Bills
  • Stream of the Week: Las Vegas Raiders
  • Fade of the Week: Washington Football Team


Player Search, Find

Running Back

Wide Receiver


Tight End


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

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

Featured, Featured Link, NFL, Start/Sit, Weekly Advice