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Fantasy Football

Week 3 Start ‘Em Sit ‘Em: Is it Finally Time to Bench Saquon Barkley?

Nick Lepri

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Weeks 1 and 2 of the NFL season can induce panic in fantasy football players, but it is not yet time to frantically bench or release top draft picks just because of poor performances early in the season. Keeping tabs on the Week 3 fantasy football rankings is crucial to know where players are rising and falling throughout the week at any given position. I have compiled a list, much like a start ’em sit ’em, that analyzes the rankings to give you some must start and must-sit running backs for Week 3 of the NFL season.

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Week 3 Fantasy Football Start Sit: Running Backs

Must Start

James White — New England Patriots (vs. New Orleans Saints)

Following the exit of Cam Newton and the Patriots inserting Mac Jones as the starting quarterback, the door opened far wider for White’s potential. As it just seemed like Newton refused to throw the ball White’s way in 2020. While White is unlikely to grace ten plus rushes a game, all of his value comes from his receiving work. He saw six targets for six receptions and 45 yards last week against the Jets and added five rushes for 20 yards and a touchdown. White is an extremely safe running back week in and week out due to the receiving floor and if he finds his way into the end zone, he will have been a smash start for your team.

David Montgomery — Chicago Bears (at Cleveland Browns)

Montgomery is coming off a down performance in Week 2 compared to Week 1. In Week 1, we saw him torch the Rams’ defense for over 100 yards and a touchdown. In a much softer matchup against the Bengals in Week 2, he had just 61 yards, though he did see an uptick in the receiving game with three catches on four targets for 18 yards. The Browns’ run defense has been relatively solid this season, but they have only faced the likes of Mark Ingram II and Clyde Edwards Helaire. Montgomery should have a bounce-back game here against the Browns.

Chase Edmonds Arizona Cardinals (at Jacksonville Jaguars)

Edmonds is in for a huge game up against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. The Cardinals’ offense is scorching hot as they look nearly unstoppable at this point. In Week 2 against the Vikings, Edmonds had eight rushes for 46 yards and caught all five of his targets for 29 yards. He has yet to score a touchdown this season, which is destined to change with how many points the Cardinals have been hanging on these defenses. The Cardinals scored 38 points against the Titans and 34 last week against the Vikings. Expect Edmonds to have a heavy workload this week in Jacksonville.

Must Sit

Myles Gaskin — Miami Dolphins (at Las Vegas Raiders)

Gaskin entering the season was in a relatively solid situation in Miami. While many were calling for a committee, that has never come to fruition. This is not a terrible matchup against the Raiders defensively as Najee Harris and a combo of Ty’Son Williams and Latavius Murray played perfectly fine against them. With that said, the offensive line of the Dolphins is awful. There are turn styles that slow people down more than Jesse Davis. With Tua Tagovailoa likely out due to a rib injury and Jacoby Brissett becoming the starter, this is situation is going to be a disaster.

Saquon Barkley — New York Giants (vs. Atlanta Falcons)

Barkley has entered the must-sit category at this point in the season unless we start to see a real uptick in workload. In week 1 against the Broncos, Barkley saw 10 rushes for 26 yards and but managed just one catch for a single yard (on three targets). We could all see the reduced workload coming. Then in Week 2, he had one big rush for 41 yards against the Football Team but that was about it. Getting just 57 yards on 13 carries with two receptions for 12 yards. Until Barkley breaks free of this snap count, you cannot feasibly start him. This matchup against the Falcons may make you salivate, but it is a safe bet to let Barkley take a seat on the bench this week.

J.D. McKissic — Washington Football Team (at Buffalo Bills)

McKissic is in one of the most confusing situations at the running back position in the NFL. Throughout last season. McKissic was very involved as the third-down back for the Football Team, racking up 110 targets. Though, in Week 1, McKissic was essentially irrelevant with just one rushing attempt and one target. Whereas in Week 2 he had four rushes for 10 yards and a touchdown, with five receptions on six targets for 83 yards. What will happen in week 3? Likely a mix of the two, so let McKissic ride the pine this week, and you will have a much better idea on what to do next week against the Falcons.

Clyde Edwards-Helaire — Kansas City Chiefs (vs. Los Angeles Chargers)

It appears that Edwards-Helaire stinks, costing the Chiefs the game on Sunday Night Football against the Ravens with a fumble. Edwards-Helaire is averaging 3.3 yards per carry this season and just 1.5 targets per game. Just because he is on the Chiefs does not mean he is going to be a good player. While he could bounce back this week, it is worrisome to assume anything higher than a top-24 performance on the week.

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