Fantasy Football Week 3 Sneaky Starts

Photo: Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Two weeks of NFL action is in the books, and for some players/teams, we know more than ever. For others, we’re left shrugging, still trying to find elusive answers. Either way, Week 3 is a new opportunity to add to your win column by zigging with others zag. 

Let’s take a look at some players flying under the radar who are sneaky starts in Week 3 (please note, all players below are currently rostered in fewer than 25% of leagues):

Quarterbacks

None

“Wait, what? This isn’t helpful at all!”

Sorry about that, it’s just that everyone sort of already scooped up all the top QB sleepers this week. 

Daniel Jones comes in as my QB8 for Week 3, ahead of stars like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Matthew Stafford. But he was the second-most-added quarterback and 10th-most-added player (non-DST) this week. He’s got a great matchup on tap against a Falcons defense that’s allowed passers to score 27.6% more fantasy points than league average since the start of last season.

I’m sure a guy like Teddy Bridgwater meets the threshold. Well… nope. The Broncos’ signal-caller was the third-most-added quarterback this week, bringing him right above the cut-off point. He too is a top-10 quarterback in my rankings for Week 3 with a juicy matchup against the Jets. New York has allowed quarterbacks to score 13.5% more fantasy points than league average since the start of last season and Bridgewater has back-to-back 20-plus-point games under his belt already.

Justin Fields, my QB13, is rostered in half of leagues too... so, like, I got nobody. Feel free to start any of the three aforementioned players, but by my own rules they don’t qualify as ‘sneaky.’

Deep Sleeper: Zach Wilson (QB - NYJ)

Running Backs

(It’s rough out there, folks.)

Demetric Felton (RB - CLE)

Jarvis Landry’s multi-week absence from the Browns’ lineup opens up a slot role for the rookie out of UCLA who burst onto the scene in Week 2. Felton caught two passes for 51 yards and a touchdown against the Texans and may be one of Baker Mayfield’s go-to options on Sunday if Odell Beckham Jr. does not make his return. He’s essentially a wide receiver with a running back designation, so he could be worthy of a roster spot in deeper PPR/half-PPR leagues this week at home against an iffy Bears secondary.

OwnersBox Price: $4300

Jacques Patrick (RB - SF)

Good luck trying to figure out the 49ers’ running back situation. Here’s what we know now: Everyone’s hurt. There’s some optimism that Elijah Mitchell will be good to go by Sunday, but his final status—and even how much he’ll play if active—is up in the air. Trey Sermon may or may not play and may or may not actually get into the game if he does dress. His fantasy status is just one big shrug emoji right now. If I were to take a long, long shot on a San Francisco running back, give me the guy they signed off the Bengals’ practice squad earlier this week. The former XFLer brings a different dynamic to the 49ers’ backfield at 6-foot-2 and 231 pounds. I would not be surprised to see him get some goal-line work against Green Bay. If he falls into the end zone, he’ll be fantasy-relevant for the week.

OwnersBox Price: $N/A

Deep Sleeper: Trenton Cannon (RB - SF)

Wide Receivers

K.J. Osborn (WR - MIN)

There are four players on Minnesota with double-digit targets this season: Justin Jefferson (duh), Adam Thielen (makes sense), Dalvin Cook (checks out), and… Osborn. Osborn has emerged as the clear No. 3 target in the Vikings’ passing game and has 12 catches on 15 targets through two weeks. He kicked off the scoring for Minnesota last week with a 64-yard first-quarter touchdown against Arizona and faces another NFC West team that’s been fairly friendly to fantasy wide receivers. Since the start of last season, Seattle has allowed wide receivers to score 11.4% more fantasy points than league average. Osborn is a top-50 wide receiver this week.

OwnersBox Price: $4600

Darius Slayton (WR - NYG)

Despite a catastrophic drop in a Thursday Night Football loss to Washington last week, I wouldn’t be afraid to take a chance on Slayton this week in a glorious matchup against the Falcons secondary. Over its last 18 games, Atlanta has allowed fantasy wide receivers to score nearly 20% more fantasy points than average. While this could be the Kenny Golladay breakout week, a hip injury may slow down the recent free-agent signing a bit. If so, Slayton steps in as WR2 and the top deep threat for Daniel Jones. If Slayton gets 6-7 targets on Sunday against the Falcons’ defense (he’s got 13 through two games this season), he’s got a great chance to get in the endzone. 

OwnersBox Price: $4300

Tim Patrick (WR - DEN)

A repeat name from last week, Patrick found paydirt with a 3/37/1 performance on four targets against the Jaguars in Week 2. The Broncos have another solid matchup this week against the Jets at home. While New York is a more neutral matchup for fantasy receivers than Jacksonville, Patrick is still the WR2 and has had a nose for the endzone when pushed into a bigger role due to injury. Courtland Sutton and Noah Fant will be the target hogs for Denver’s offense, but Patrick has just as good of a chance to score as those two. 

OwnersBox Price: $4600

Deep Sleeper: Quintez Cephus (WR - DET)

Tight Ends

Albert Okwuegbunam (TE - DEN)

Can you name the Bronco that is tied for fourth on the team in targets, one behind Patrick and tied with KJ Hamler and both starting running backs combined? It’s Albert O! Okwuegbunam has caught all seven of his targets from Teddy Bridgewater this season, found the endzone once, and faces a Jets defense allowing a whopping 36.7% more fantasy points on average to tight ends since the start of last season. That feels like a recipe for success if you’re bargain-bin hunting for a tight end this week. Side note: Fant should FEAST this week.

OwnersBox Price: $3500

Cole Kmet (TE - CHI)

I’m not giving up on Kmet after one bad game. They say a young quarterback’s best friend is a quality tight end safety blanket. Well, Fields is making his first start on Sunday in Cleveland and could be looking Kmet’s way early and often. The Browns have allowed fantasy tight ends to score 22.2% more points on average since the start of the 2020 season, so this isn’t a matchup to shy away from. While Darnell Mooney likely receives the biggest boost with Fields playing over Andy Dalton, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kmet is a focal point of the Bears’ offense in Week 3 too.

OwnersBox Price: $3800

Deep Sleeper: Pat Freiermuth (TE - PIT)


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Written By:

Jaime Eisner

Managing Editor

Managing Editor of The Draft Network. He’s a former editor for Sports Illustrated, FanRag Sports and Arizona Sports. He’s the co-host of the TDN Fantasy Podcast and has an extensive background covering fantasy sports and sports betting.

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