Fantasy Football Rankings, Week 3: Model that beat experts says start O.J. Howard, sit Michael Thomas

A number of players who were drafted high have been a major disappointments through the first two weeks of the NFL schedule. Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans has recorded just six receptions for 89 yards and zero touchdowns, while teammate Chris Godwin has stolen the show in Tampa Bay with 11 receptions for 174 yards and two scores. San Francisco's George Kittle, who was one of the first tight ends taken in many leagues, has just 108 receiving yards and zero touchdowns this season. The same can be said for Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, who's been held in check with just 103 receiving yards. But can these players rekindle their magic and shoot up the Fantasy football rankings in Week 3? Fans everywhere know having a reliable set of Fantasy football rankings is the key to knowing which players will explode and which should be left on your bench. The team at SportsLine has a history of helping owners come out on the winning end trades, Fantasy football waiver wire pickups, start-sit decisions. You should see their rankings before entering your Fantasy football picks this week.

Last week, the model advised owners to bench Saints QB Drew Brees, saying he'd finish outside the top 15 quarterbacks. The result: Brees finished with just 38 passing yards and an interception before exiting the game with a thumb injury. Anyone who benched him dodged a major bullet.

Now, the model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has revealed its Fantasy football rankings for Week 3 of the NFL season. One player the model loves this week: Buccaneers tight end O.J. Howard. 

Tampa Bay's athletic tight end has been underutilized through the first two weeks of the season. Despite logging 60 snaps in Tampa Bay's 20-14 win over the Panthers, Howard received zero targets. The third-year pro will look to bounce back in Week 3 against the Giants, who have had issues defending tight ends thus far this season. In fact, in their Week 1 loss to the Cowboys, the Giants gave up two touchdown receptions to opposing tight ends. The Giants' defense also ranks 30th in the NFL in passing yards per game, allowing opponents an average of 321 yards through the air.

That's why SportsLine's model ranks Howard as the No. 6 tight end this week even though he's only being started in 54 percent of CBS Sports leagues.

And a massive shocker: Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas, who's recorded 10 receptions in each of his first two games, stumbles big-time and doesn't even crack the top 20.

Thomas is expected to be the most negatively-impacted player following Brees' injury. The fourth-year receiver will likely see fewer targets and his ceiling will be significantly lowered by a scaled-back playbook with Teddy Bridgewater or Taysom Hill under center. And while Thomas has had 13 targets in each of his first two games, a Week 3 matchup against a Seahawks defense that allowed fewer than 200 passing yards last week doesn't bode well for New Orleans' No. 1 receiver. He's a player to consider putting on the bench in Week 3 and is squarely out of the WR1 conversation.

The model is also calling for a surprising quarterback you aren't even thinking about to finish in the top 10 of its 2019 Fantasy football rankings for Week 3. This pick could be the difference between winning big and going home with nothing.

So who should you sit and start this week? And which surprising quarterback could lead you to victory? Visit SportsLine now to get Week 3 Fantasy football rankings for every position, plus see which QB is going to come out of nowhere to crack the top 10, all from the model that out-performed experts big time last season.

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