Week 2 was a nightmare for some Fantasy managers — specifically those who saw their starting quarterbacks (in two-QB and Superflex formats) go down with injuries. We now turn the page to Week 3. There are glaring Week 3 examples of players you should start and sit. There are also examples of sleepers who could provide unexpected production and big names who could flop based on these Week 2 matchups. Every week we’ll break down every game on the slate and pinpoint the players you need to know in every matchup.
All lines from Caesars Sportsbook.
The line wants us to believe: Carolina’s just not quite good enough to score another blowout. My guess is the oddsmakers aren’t convinced the Panthers can match their implied point total of 25.5 and think they’ll win by one score or less. But rookie Davis Mills will have just a few precious days of practice before making his first NFL start against a defense that has a league-high 10 sacks. I’m not convinced the Texans will score more than 14, and I am convinced the Panthers can get more than 22.
The line wants us to believe: Atlanta’s hopeless. The Falcons were within three points on the road at Tampa Bay last week when Matt Ryan threw two pick-sixes. That was good to see, but the reality is that the Falcons defense is just too weak. It has allowed 32-plus points in consecutive games and is now set to battle a rested Giants offense that should load up Saquon Barkley with plenty of touches. It’s the scariest sentence I’ll type today: The Giants should find a way to win.
The line wants us to believe: Jacksonville is competitive. The Jaguars have lost both games by at least 10 points — why expect anything different now? Apparently, the oddsmakers think differently as they’re begging you to take the Cardinals. Maybe they think this is a trap game for Arizona since they play the Rams in Week 4. Maybe they’re laying the biggest trap of the season for bettors, but the fact is there are no compelling reasons to believe Jacksonville is close to being a good team on either side of the ball.
The line wants us to believe: L.A.’s mistake-filled ways will continue. Untimely drops by their top three receivers and really lame penalties have robbed them of at least four touchdowns this season. This is a good week to get their act together against a Chiefs squad Justin Herbert nearly beat in his first NFL game. Now he has better coaching, plus the Chiefs haven’t looked like a team that could blow out anybody thus far. Expect the Bolts to keep it tight.
The line wants us to believe: The Lions are a bad team. The reality is that the Ravens have played two close, competitive games where fumbles basically determined the winner. The oddsmakers seemingly knew they could get away with bloating the line because people would take the Ravens no matter what. Detroit has made plenty of mistakes but it has not played scared and has fought hard in every game. This is a spot for them to keep up with the Ravens
The line wants us to believe: Even with their injuries, the Steelers are a better team. Expect a wake-up call for the Steelers here — the Bengals have played hard through most of their first two games and are catching Pittsburgh with a depleted front seven and an ailing Ben Roethlisberger playing behind a bad offensive line. Cincinnati’s front was able to pressure the Bears a decent amount last week (three sacks). Don’t be shocked if the Bengals find a way to win outright.
The line wants us to believe: Chicago isn’t as good as last week suggests. The Bears nearly blew a 17-point lead with under 7 minutes to play last week, but they also had a pair of dropped touchdowns including an improbable one from Allen Robinson. Chicago’s actually a more dangerous team with Justin Fields under center since he will challenge downfield more than Andy Dalton. In the 20 games Kevin Stefanski has coached, the Browns have won by seven-plus points just six times. Cleveland should win, but the Bears should keep it close.
The line wants us to believe: Even with Jacob Eason, the Colts aren’t a pushover. Indy has to hit the exacta of protecting Eason and stopping Derrick Henry all game long. The former will be easier to do than the latter — Tennessee is league-average in sacks and has the sixth-lowest pressure rate at 14.1%. But Henry’s put up over 100 yards in three straight against the Colts, two of which were convincing Tennessee wins. The oddsmakers may have devised a terrific trap here, but the hunch is the Titans will pull away late.
The line wants us to believe: Bill Belichick’s defense will overwhelm Jameis Winston. Honestly, that’s not hard to believe. What might be harder to believe is that Sean Payton’s offense won’t find clever ways to keep this game close. Both teams sport quality defenses, but it’s the Saints that might get tested more so than the Pats, who figure to try controlling the clock in an effort to win. This will also be the Saints’ third straight game away from New Orleans.
The line wants us to believe: Buffalo is a dominant NFL team. The Bills might get there, but they’re not there yet. Washington was gifted a win last week, and while they haven’t shown enough to make anyone believe they could win at Buffalo, they also haven’t shown anything to suggest they could be blown out. They’ve played two close games against two mistake-prone teams. Josh Allen has been a mistake-prone passer through two weeks and will be challenged here. This seems too easy to take Washington, but my guess is the public will be all over Buffalo.
The line wants us to believe: The Raiders aren’t as good as their record says. It’s interesting that Vegas won by six against Baltimore and nine against Pittsburgh but are only getting 3.5 here. But under the surface of a 2-0 Raiders team is a squad with a depleted O-line, a still-not-good defense, a suspect run game and, most importantly, a hurt quarterback. It absolutely feels like the oddsmakers want you to take them, so don’t. The Dolphins defense should find a way to keep the game close if not win outright.
The line wants us to believe: The Broncos are capable of a third straight blowout win. The oddsmakers knew they’d have to give the Jets a lot of points — I’m surprised it’s only 10.5. They might have gotten away with more because no one really wants to take the Jets even with a bunch of points. The only concern is that the Broncos will do what it takes to win and not necessarily annihilate an opponent, and Zach Wilson has shown some positives through two weeks. I’d still chance it with Denver.
The line wants us to believe: This will be a close, fun, high-scoring game. The Rams haven’t been tested by a prolific offense yet, and the Bucs haven’t taken on a challenging defense yet. It will be fascinating to see how the Rams try to get after Tom Brady — I wonder if they’ll try to blitz him like the Saints did last year. Going against Brady has always been a dangerous endeavor but the Rams should have enough on both sides of the ball to take him down.
The line wants us to believe: The Packers’ win over the Lions means nothing. This is an absolute trap line — why else would the oddsmakers give you points with Aaron Rodgers?! The Packers deserve credit for bouncing back against Detroit, but their defense still has some holes in it and the 49ers have proven to be cagey through two games. Stick with the home team.
The line wants us to believe: The Vikings really are an explosive offense. Kirk Cousins has looked sharp through two weeks but the Vikings were stuck at 24 points in an overtime loss in Week 1 and only topped 30 points last week thanks to a pick-six. Their implied total of 26.75 points seems a tad too high. Can’t say the same of Seattle, who has posted at least 28 points in each game so far.
The line wants us to believe: What happened to these teams in Week 1 were illusions. It really feels like the oddsmakers are counting on the public to take Dallas on the strength of their Week 2 win, which was pretty fortunate given the Chargers’ mistakes. Philadelphia is a better squad than what they showed against the 49ers, but the loss of pass rusher Brandon Graham on defense is going to hurt all year. If the Cowboys stick with their run game, they’ll cover this spread.