After two exciting weeks of Thursday Night Football, Week 3 brought us a snoozer. The San Francisco 49ers were clearly too much for a short-handed New York Giants team missing the likes of Saquon Barkley on offense and Azeez Ojulari on defense. The game had its moments and saw Christian McCaffrey and Brock Purdy continue the stellar starts to their 49ers careers. On the defensive side of the ball, Nick Bosa got his first sack in six games, Kayvon Thibodeaux got home for his first sack of the season, and Micah McFadden emerged as the Giants’ off-ball linebacker to roster. Looking ahead to this weekend, we will take a look at five players fantasy managers should do their best to plug into their lineups and five others who are better left on benches despite promising upside. Let’s dig in.
IDP Start em, Sit em – Week 3
Quay Walker (LB – GB)
Quay has been on fire to start the season, racking up LB1 outings in each of the first two weeks. Week 1 saw him tally one solo, three assists, one tackle for loss, and a pick six (one interception, one pass defended, and one touchdown). He followed that up with eight solos, nine assists, and one pass defended. He is looking every bit the star that the Packers drafted him out of Georgia to be and has cemented himself in the LB2 conversation at a minimum. The LB2 of off-ball linebackers on the season tap Quay as a top-15 play for a plus Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints.
K’Von Wallace (S – ARI)
Wallace has been excellent for the Cardinals in the old Jalen Thompson role (who now plays at nickel) and should continue to rack up the counting stats against the Dallas Cowboys this weekend. A versatile do-it-all safety, Wallace has elite DB2 upside if he can start to show some consistency. For Week 3, he is a sneaky DB2 option who is a must-start as a DB3. Wallace has 15 total tackles and two passes defended through the first two weeks of the season and should continue to put up DB3-level or better outings as long as he is in the starting lineup. Budda Baker‘s injury all but ensures that he will be for at least the next four weeks. Roll with K’Von where needed.
Osa Odighizuwa (DT – DAL)
Osa has been on a tear for the Dallas Cowboys and is playing all over the defensive line. He has three sacks in two games and saw his snap count jump from 26 percent to 51 percent in Week 2. The fact that he responded with three pressures and a sack suggests that he should see a similar snap share in Week 3. His snaps have remained relatively static at 27 and 24, so treat him as more of a DL3 than a DL2 for this weekend as we monitor his snap share in games with 65 or more defensive snaps. If you can start three or more defensive linemen in your league, an effort should be made to try to find a way to plug him into your lineup for a tasty matchup against the Arizona Cardinals.
David Long (LB – MIA)
David Long saw his snap count jump to 84 percent in Week 2, giving hope that Andrew Van Ginkel getting most of the snaps beside Jerome Baker in Week 1 was indeed gameplan specific. Long is an LB2 option on the Dolphins’ defense when we can be sure he is starting, but for now, it is better to treat him as an LB3 play. His five solos, three assists, one sack, and one tackle for loss accentuate his upside when he is in his expected role, and with a plus matchup against the Denver Broncos on the docket, he is someone you want to start as an LB3/flex1. Tap Long when needed in deeper leagues.
Tracy Walker (S – DET)
Tracy Walker is set to enter the starting lineup following the possible season-ending injury to Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Walker is working his way back from an injury of his own and played just nine snaps in Week 2 after playing zero in Week 1. The injury to CJGJ opens up starter snaps at either nickel or safety, depending on what the Lions want to do with impressive rookie Brian Branch. The most likely scenario is Branch logging the bulk of his snaps at nickel while Walker takes over for CJGJ. Walker was in the midst of a highly productive fantasy season before the injury and could quickly return to the top-15 conversation when he starts feeling comfortable again.
Brian Asamoah (LB – MIN)
Asamoah looks like he got Wally Pip’d by rookie linebacker Ivan Pace. Pace started Week 2, playing 79 percent of the snaps. He is clearly ahead of Asamoah, but in a dramatic turn, the veteran played a lower snap share in Week 2 than he did in Week 1. This suggests that Pace may be separating himself in the competition, meaning Asamoah is nothing more than an ocean-deep league stash. The talent is legit, but if he has no current path to meaningful snaps, those outside of 16+ deep bench leagues will want to look elsewhere for Week 3 and beyond.
Damone Clark (LB – DAL)
Damone has been a major IDP disappointment through two weeks of the season. He saw his snap share drop from 66 percent to 36 percent in Week 2 and will face more competition for snaps when Donovan Wilson returns and increases the usage of three safety sets. Clark is still a worthwhile stash in deeper leagues but belongs far from starting lineups for Week 3. Let him string together a couple of strong performances before starting him anywhere.
Emmanuel Ogbah (DE/DL – MIA)
Ogbah has become an afterthought on the Dolphins’ defense thanks to Bradley Chubb’s acquisition and Andrew Van Ginkel’s emergence. Ogbah played an identical snap percentage (22 percent) in Week 2 as he did in Week 1. The only difference between the two weeks is that Jaelan Phillips missed Week 2. The fact that Ogbah did not see any increase in snaps despite the star pass rusher missing in action suggests that Ogbah is purely a package player at this point. The snaps he was supposed to take inside have yet to materialize, and AVG is simply too hot to keep off the field at this point. Phillips is expected back this weekend, so Ogbah needs to remain on benches in deep leagues.
Andre Chachere (S – ARI)
Chachere is expected to draw the start in place of the injured Budda Baker, but there is a chance that the Cardinals opt to put Jalen Thompson back at safety and use Antonio Hamilton at nickel. There is also the possibility that they experiment with both deployments in Week 3. Chachere is still someone to stash in deeper leagues, but you may want to leave him on your bench this weekend, even if you are down a starter like Budda or Chauncey Gardner-Johnson. Look elsewhere for Week 3.
Willie Gay (LB – KC)
Gay has struggled to start the season, managing just three solos and five total tackles through two games. If that wasn’t bad enough, he saw his snap count drop from 67 percent in Week 1 to 58 percent in Week 2. Gay is in a platoon with Drue Tranquill, something that, if history is any indication, may frustratingly last all season. Gay is still definitely worth the stash in deeper leagues but is impossible to trust even as an LB3 until he starts to show some consistency or separates himself from Tranquill in the snap department. Look elsewhere for Week 3.