Fantasy Football Week 3: Joe Mixon, Jonathan Stewart highlight sleepers with big-game potential

Let's hope that Thursday night's game between the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers was a preview of things to come for Week 3. That game was awesome.

Nearly every relevant player - sorry Cooper Kupp - had a big performance on Thursday in the Rams' 41-39 victory. Jared Goff and Brian Hoyer each scored at least 29 Fantasy points. Todd Gurley and Carlos Hyde were over 20 points. And three receivers ( Sammy Watkins , Pierre Garcon and Robert Woods ) had at least 10.

Imagine if every game this week produced those kinds of results? We'd have a boatload of bonanzas.

Unfortunately, every game won't be that high-scoring, and we'll have some duds. We also have plenty of injuries to monitor leading up to Sunday.

But we have some guys listed here in our Week 3 sleepers that can help you produce at a high level. And hopefully these guys will score like Goff and Hoyer, Gurley and Hyde and Watkins and Garcon.

We'd all love to see that.

Editor's Note: Projections are provided by CBS Sports and not Jamey Eisenberg.  

Quarterback sleepers
16.8 Projected points
Trevor Siemian Denver Broncos QB
We all knew Siemian would be the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback through two games, right? While that's a surprise, clearly, give him some credit. He's done a nice job under offensive coordinator Mike McCoy; the offensive line has also played great and his receiving corps with Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders has been fantastic. Siemian has scored at least 25 Fantasy points against the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys at home, and we hope he'll have the same success on the road. Buffalo has played well against Josh McCown and Cam Newton , but this should be the Buffalo Bills toughest test yet. Siemian should be considered a low-end starting option in this matchup.
15.3 Projected points
Andy Dalton Cincinnati Bengals QB
Dalton has been awful through two games, and he's scored a combined four Fantasy points against Baltimore and Houston. While those are tough defenses, Dalton should have posted better stats than a combined 394 passing yards, no touchdowns and four interceptions. And we all know the storyline now going into Week 3 at Green Bay with the Cincinnati Bengals switching offensive coordinators from Ken Zampese to Bill Lazor, which hopefully will inject some life into this offense. Dalton is also in a situation where he will likely be chasing points on the road this week. I'm expecting Dalton to bounce back with a strong performance against the Green Bay Packers . This will be his first outing with at least 20 points.
14.5 Projected points
Carson Palmer Arizona Cardinals QB
Palmer has failed to take advantage of what looked like good matchups through the first two games against Detroit and Indianapolis. He's combined for 27 Fantasy points over that span, and he lost two of his best weapons in the process in David Johnson (wrist) and John Brown (quad) -- although Brown could hopefully return in Week 4. Palmer's offensive line has been banged up too, but don't give up on him yet. Not this week. This is Arizona's first home game, which will work in Palmer's favor, as he averaged 20 Fantasy points at home last year. I also don't have a lot of faith in the Cowboys defense, especially since Siemian beat them up last week for 231 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Palmer is worth using as a low-end starting option this week.
Running back sleepers
6.0 Projected points
Joe Mixon Cincinnati Bengals RB
It's a leap of faith to trust Mixon as a starter this week since he's been stuck in a miserable timeshare through two games with Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard . But there are two things I like about him in Week 3. The first is the offensive coordinator change to Lazor, a sign of desperation for this team. The Bengals need to lean on their playmakers, and Mixon is their best running back. The second thing I like is Packers defensive lineman Mike Daniels (hip) is hurt, and if he's out that could offset Cincinnati's offensive line woes. The Packers just allowed three total touchdowns to Atlanta's running backs in Week 2, and Mixon will hopefully get a hefty workload at Lambeau Field.
10.1 Projected points
Jonathan Stewart Carolina Panthers RB
I'm still starting Christian McCaffrey ahead of Stewart, especially in PPR, but I'm excited about this backfield in this matchup with the New Orleans Saints . And Stewart could have his second game with double digits in Fantasy points. He's already had at least 15 touches in each game, and he had 18 carries for 65 yards and two catches for 17 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 at San Francisco. New Orleans has already allowed four running backs to score at least nine Fantasy points in a standard league this year, and Stewart has a tremendous track record against them. In his past five meetings with New Orleans, Stewart has 92 carries for 405 yards (4.4 yards per carry) and five touchdowns, and four catches for 39 yards. He scored three touchdowns in two meetings with the Saints last year. You should plan on using Stewart as a No. 2 Fantasy running back this week.
7.3 Projected points
Darren Sproles Philadelphia Eagles RB
It's hard to know how the Philadelphia Eagles will use their running backs this week. LeGarrette Blount appears to have fallen out of favor with the coaching staff, and Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement don't appear headed for a heavy workload. Sproles led the team in touches in Week 2 at Kansas City with 10 carries and two catches, finishing with 78 total yards (although he lost a fumble). In his past two games against the New York Giants last year, Sproles had 71 total yards in one meeting and 63 total yards and a touchdown in another. So far this year, the Giants have allowed a running back to score at least eight Fantasy points in each game, with Ezekiel Elliott reaching that mark in Week 1 and Ameer Abdullah following in Week 2. Sproles should be considered a flex option in all leagues and a low-end starter in PPR.
6.7 Projected points
Javorius Allen Baltimore Ravens RB
Allen could end up as the starter if Terrance West (thigh) is out, but he will play a big role even if West is active. It's not an easy game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London, but Allen has at least 20 touches in each game this year and should continue to be heavily involved in the passing game. In Week 2 against Cleveland, the first game without Danny Woodhead (hamstring), Allen had 14 carries for 66 yards and five catches for 35 yards and a touchdown on six targets. The Jaguars have also allowed at least 90 total yards to a running back in both games this year with Lamar Miller and Derrick Henry .
8.2 Projected points
Chris Thompson Washington Redskins RB
The Washington Redskins have a couple of injuries that could impact Thompson this week, but either way he will be involved in what should be a shootout against the Oakland Raiders . If Rob Kelley (ribs) is out then Thompson might get a few more carries, and if Jordan Reed (chest) sits then Thompson might see an uptick in targets too. He's off to a great start this year with six carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns and seven catches for 81 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets. The Raiders allowed Matt Forte to go for 91 total yards in Week 2 on nine carries for 53 yards and four catches for 38 yards, and Thompson could have a similar stat line, especially if Kelley is out or limited.
7.2 Projected points
Duke Johnson Cleveland Browns RB
The Cleveland Browns need help in their receiving corps with Corey Coleman (hand) out, and Johnson should hopefully see a bump in targets. He had a solid performance in Week 2 at Baltimore with four carries for 21 yards and three catches for 59 yards on six targets. He has 11 targets through two games, and we hope to see his total touches trend toward double digits on a consistent basis. The Indianapolis Colts have already allowed three catches to a running back in two games against Gurley and Andre Ellington , and Johnson is clearly better in PPR.
5.4 Projected points
Theo Riddick Detroit Lions RB
This is one of my favorite players here given the matchup with the Atlanta Falcons , since they are terrible against pass-catching running backs. Last year, Atlanta allowed the most receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns to running backs, and so far Tarik Cohen (eight catches for 47 yards and a touchdown on 12 targets) and Ty Montgomery (six catches for 75 yards and a touchdown on seven targets) have hurt them through the air. I'm expecting Ameer Abdullah to play well this week, but Riddick should be a huge weapon for the Detroit Lions . He's a great flex play in standard leagues and a must-start option in PPR.
Wide receiver sleepers
7.5 Projected points
Devin Funchess Carolina Panthers WR
Funchess should benefit the most with Greg Olsen (foot) out, and he had seven targets in Week 2 against the Bills with four catches for 68 yards. He will get more targets now and is worth a flier in this favorable matchup at home against the Saints. New Orleans has already allowed six passing touchdowns, with receivers getting three of them, including the Minnesota Vikings having multiple receivers go off for at least 15 Fantasy points in Week 1 with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen . I like Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin this week, and Funchess is worth a look as a starter in deeper formats as well.
4.7 Projected points
Rashard Higgins Cleveland Browns WR
Another player who should benefit from an injury is Higgins, since Corey Coleman is out, and Higgins might even be the No. 1 receiver for the Browns for the foreseeable future given Kenny Britt struggles. In Week 2 at Baltimore, Higgins had seven catches for 95 yards on 11 targets, and he should have the chance for double digits in targets again this week at Indianapolis. The Colts have already allowed Cooper Kupp and J.J. Nelson to score at least 13 Fantasy points in the past two games, and Higgins should be considered a No. 3 Fantasy receiver with upside this week.
6.8 Projected points
Jermaine Kearse New York Jets WR
We'll see if the return of tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins from his two-game suspension has a big impact on this passing game, but Robby Anderson (knee) is also banged up for the New York Jets . That should allow Kearse to keep operating as the No. 1 receiver for Josh McCown. Through two games, Kearse has 11 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 14 targets against the Bills and Raiders. The Miami Dolphins don't have the best secondary, so Kearse can again be productive, especially if the Jets are chasing points. He's someone to consider as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.
4.9 Projected points
Kendall Wright Chicago Bears WR
He's the last man standing of any notoriety in this receiving corps, and he's worth a look in PPR leagues since the Chicago Bears will likely be chasing points. Wright had 10 targets in Week 2 at Tampa Bay and finished with seven catches for 69 yards. Pittsburgh has yet to allow a receiver to gain more than 53 yards, which was Coleman in Week 1, and he's the lone receiver to score. But Wright should see plenty of volume and can be a serviceable flex option in deeper PPR leagues.
2.4 Projected points
Danny Amendola New England Patriots WR
You'll have to keep an eye on Amendola's status prior to Sunday, but it appears like he will play in Week 3 after sitting out Week 2 with a concussion. The last time we saw Amendola was in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs , when he had six catches for 100 yards on seven targets, and he will operate as the Julian Edelman (torn ACL) replacement all year when he's healthy. The Houston Texans haven't allowed a touchdown to a receiver yet this year or a receiver to gain more than 67 yards, but Edelman torched Houston in the playoffs last year with eight catches for 137 yards. We doubt Amendola does that, but he does have potential as a No. 3 Fantasy receiver this week.
7.5 Projected points
Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings WR
Thielen was great in Week 1 against New Orleans with nine catches for 157 yards on 10 targets, but he struggled in Week 2 at Pittsburgh with five catches for 44 yards on six targets. The matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers was a big part of his struggles, but he also had a quarterback downgrade with Sam Bradford (knee) out and Case Keenum in. Bradford is out again, but Thielen is still worth trusting as a No. 3 receiver this week, even with Keenum. Thielen has the best matchup for the Vikings since he will avoid Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves and see most of his playing time on slot corner Robert McClain . I don't love Thielen in standard leagues, but he's a solid No. 3 receiver in PPR for Week 3.
Tight end sleepers
5.1 Fantasy points
Benjamin Watson Baltimore Ravens TE
Watson led the Baltimore Ravens in targets in Week 2 against the Browns with eight, and he finished with eight catches for 91 yards. He could be heavily targeted each week since Dennis Pitta led Baltimore in targets in 2016 with 119, and Pitta is no longer on the team. The Jaguars gave up six catches for 91 yards and two total touchdowns to the Tennessee Titans tight ends last week. Watson should be highly owned this week since every Greg Olsen (foot) and Tyler Eifert (back) owner is looking for a replacement option, and Watson has top-10 upside against Jacksonville.
5.5 Fantasy points
Coby Fleener New Orleans Saints TE
There are two trends working in Fleener's favor this week. The first is he's scored in each of the past three games that Willie Snead has been out going back to last year, including the first two weeks of this season. This is the final game of Snead's three-game suspension. Fleener also scored in both meetings with the Carolina Panthers last year. Carolina has allowed a combined eight catches for 50 yards to opposing tight ends this season in George Kittle and Charles Clay , but the Saints will be the best passing attack the Panthers have faced this season. Fleener is worth using for one more week as a starter until Snead returns.
5.5 Fantasy points
Ed Dickson Carolina Panthers TE
With Olsen out, Dickson gets the chance for an increase in playing time and potentially targets. And the Saints have allowed a touchdown in each game this season to Kyle Rudolph and Rob Gronkowski . Dickson had two catches for 26 yards on three targets in Week 2 against Buffalo when Olsen went out, but he is worth a flier in deeper leagues this week. It would not be a surprise to see him score a touchdown given his matchup with New Orleans at home.

Week 3 DFS advice

Here's one of my FanDuel lineups for Week 3:

  • QB: Matthew Stafford ($7,900) vs. ATL 
  • RB: Ty Montgomery ($7,200) vs. CIN 
  • RB: Theo Riddick ($5,600) vs. ATL 
  • WR: A.J. Green ($7,500) at GB 
  • WR: Golden Tate ($7,400) vs. ATL 
  • WR: Keenan Allen ($7,200) vs. KC 
  • TE: Zach Ertz ($6,500) vs. NYG 
  • K: Stephen Gostkowski ($5,200) vs. HOU 
  • D: Denver Broncos ($5,100) at BUF

I'm leaning on the Lions here in their matchup with the Falcons at home, which is why I stacked Stafford, Tate and Riddick. All three have the chance to be great this week, especially with Atlanta dealing with injuries to the pass rush.

Montgomery should again have the chance for a solid outing against the Bengals, who are down linebacker Vontaze Burfict (suspension) for one more game. And in that same game in Green Bay, look for Green to have his first breakout performance against the Packers, especially if the Bengals are chasing points as expected.

Allen should continue to play well against the Chiefs, and Ertz has the chance for a big game against the Giants. I also paid up for Gostkowski and the Broncos defense because they're worth it given their matchups in Week 3.

Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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