Fantasy football can be a brutal game, simply because of the sheer amount of luck that goes into it. Sometimes, a player slated for a big week has an unexpected off-game, or a backup nobody saw coming steals all of the touchdown love.
Still, after some success with our picks last week, we’re back trying to predict who might break out in Week 3 of the NFL.
This week, our picks include some big-name players who we expect to bounce back after surprisingly quiet games in Week 2 and some backups who are slated to have productive games.
Take a look below for who you should consider starting this week.
1. New York Jets at Cleveland Browns — Quincy Enunwa, WR, Jets
Week 2 stats: 11 targets, 7 catches, 92 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 29 among WRs
Why he could break out: Enunwa leads the Jets in targets and catches by far, pulling in 13 catches off 21 targets so far. The Browns have ceded big games to Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster in Week 1 and Michael Thomas in Week 2. Enunwa isn’t on the level of those receivers, but he could be set up for a big week against a team that defends the run well.
2. Buffalo Bills at Minnesota Vikings — Latavius Murray, RB, Vikings
Week 2 stats: 4 carries, 19 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 44 among RBs
Why he could break out: Things might fall in place for Murray this week. First, Dalvin Cook left Week 2 with a hamstring injury, so the Vikings might be extra cautious with their top back if he plays at all. Second, the Bills have been outscored by a combined 55 points by the Ravens and Chargers so far. At home against an elite Vikings team, things might get out of hand. If the Vikings go up by multiple scores, the team might start handing the rock to Murray, and he might eventually find the end zone.
3. New York Giants at Houston Texans — Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants
Week 2 stats: 4 targets, 51 catches, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 5 among WRs
Why he could break out: Chances are, you’re starting Odell Beckham Jr., regardless of matchup. But for fans who soured on him after a quiet outing against Dallas, we’re betting he bounces back this week. The Texans haven’t shut down passing games, getting outscored by Blaine Gabbert and the Titans in Week 2 and giving up 123 yards to Rob Gronkowski in Week 1. The Giants may make it a point to force-feed Beckham this weekend with the season more or less on the line.
4. Green Bay Packers at Washington Redskins —Chris Thompson, RB, Redskins
Week 2 stats: 4 rushes, 13 catches, 93 total yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 20 among RBs
Why he could break out: Thompson was our pick last week and we’re going back to him this week. He’s been the most consistent player in Washington’s offence, and Green Bay is below-average in yards allowed per carry and just gave up 259 combined yards to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen in Week 2. Thompson has been most effective as a receiver.
5. San Francisco 49ers at Kansas City Chiefs — George Kittle, TE, 49ers
Week 2 stats: 4 targets, 2 catches, 22 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 6 among TEs
Why he could break out: Kittle had a strong Week 1 showing, then went quiet in a good matchup against the Lions. It may have been an aberration. The 49ers took a big lead early, then started running the ball. Kittle also had a potential touchdown opportunity but was held by the Lions when he broke free. The Chiefs have bled points so far this year and just gave up 138 yards and a TD to Steelers’ TE Jesse James last week.
6. Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins — Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders
Week 2 stats: 10 targets, 10 catches, 116 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 17.3 among WRs
Why he could break out: The Raiders made good on their promise to get Cooper more involved in Week 2, and he delivered with just his third 100-yard game the last two seasons. Cooper is tough to trust, but if he posted such a big game against the Broncos, he might be in line for more against a Dolphins team that is 24th in passing yards allowed per game.
7. Indianapolis Colts at Philadelphia Eagles — Corey Clement, RB, Eagles
Week 2 stats: 6 carries, 5 catches, 85 total yards, 1 TD
Consensus ranking: 40 among RBs
Why he could break out: Jay Ajayi and Darren Sproles are both questionable this week, and even if they play, Clement should be the featured running back. With Carson Wentz also returning, the offence may open up, giving Clement a chance to rack up carries and catches even against a seemingly improved Colts defence.
8. Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars — Keelan Cole, WR, Jaguars
Week 2 stats: 8 targets, 7 catches, 116 yards, 1 TD
Consensus ranking: 32.3 among WRs
Why he could break out: Cole had a breakout game against the Patriots in Week 2, making one of the best one-handed catches you’ll see all year. The Titans have thus far given up 113-yard and 106-yard games to Will Fuller and Kenny Stills, respectively. Our bet is Cole can get behind the rebuilt Titans secondary for some big plays.
9. Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers — Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals
Week 2 stats: 6 carries, 4 catches, 42 total yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 16 among RBs
Why he could break out: Bernard is slated to become the Bengals’ No. 1 back while Joe Mixon is out. He’s put up big fantasy numbers in the past when he’s had a bigger role. The Panthers got shredded on the ground last week by Tevin Coleman of the Falcons. Bernard has the opportunity to have a big week.
10. Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens — Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos
Week 2 stats: 4 targets, 4 catches, 96 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 18.3 among WRs
Why he could break out: Sanders has thus far been Case Keenum’s favourite target. While the Ravens’ pass defence is solid, Sanders should be matched up against Tavon Young, who has given up two touchdowns already this season, per FantasyPros.
11. New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons — Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Week 2 stats: 9 targets, 5 catches, 54 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 3.3 among WRs
Why he could break out: Duh. You’re starting Julio Jones. Thus far, Jones is sixth in the league in receiving yards but has not reeled in a touchdown. The Saints have been burned by several wide receivers on deep passes this year. With the Falcons appearing to find a groove in Week 2, expect Jones to make some big plays and perhaps finally find the end zone.
12. Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams — Brandin Cooks, WR, Rams
Week 2 stats: 9 targets, 7 catches, 159 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 20 among WRs
Why he could break out: Cooks had a big game in a tough matchup in Week 2. Interestingly, the Rams moved Cooks, a deep, outside threat, around the field to exploit matchups. The Chargers are a tough defensive matchup, but the Rams figure to find ways to get Cooks open, and the game script should allow him to see as many if not more targets this week.
13. Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals — Trey Burton, TE, Bears
Week 2 stats: 4 targets, 4 catches, 20 yards, 1 TD
Consensus ranking: 8.3 among TEs
Why he could break out: Burton has been a relative disappointment so far, but Week 2 saw him catch all of his targets and find the end zone. In Week 1, Redskins tight end Jordan Reed had 4 catches for 48 yards with a touchdown against the Cardinals. With the Bears growing more comfortable in their offence, Burton has a chance to break through in Week 3.
14. Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks — Will Dissly, TE, Seahawks
Week 2 stats: 5 targets, 3 catches, 42 yards, 1 TD
Consensus ranking: 19 among TEs
Why he could break out: Neither of these teams offers much reliability beyond Ezekiel Elliott on the Cowboys. Dissly is second in targets on the Seahawks and has found the end zone both weeks. His yardage dropped in Week 2, but his snap count jumped. He might be the safest bet on Seattle.
15. New England Patriots at Detroit Lions — Rex Burkhead, RB, Patriots
Week 2 stats: 6 carries, 22 yards, 0 TDs
Consensus ranking: 28.3 among RBs
Why he could break out: The Patriots backfield is tough to figure out. While Sony Michel had a bigger role in Week 2, Burkhead still played more snaps and had more carries in the first two weeks. The Lions have been beaten up by Isaiah Crowell and Matt Breida so far, and Belichick may lean on Burkhead, particularly if the Patriots go up big.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers — JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Steelers
Week 2 stats: 19 targets, 13 catches, 121 yards, 1 TD
Consensus ranking: 10.3 among WRs
Why he could break out: Smith-Schuster has thus far been the go-to receiver in Pittsburgh. Though Tampa Bay’s offence has received lots of attention, their defence has been shredded by receivers all over the field. Smith-Schuster should continue to thrive as a near WR1.
Now, see where every NFL team ranks heading into Week 3…
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