Week 3 Fantasy Football Start ‘Em/Bench ‘Em: Quarterbacks

Week 2 is in the books, and now fantasy football owners aim to lock in their Week 3 lineups. When evaluating the schedule for the upcoming week, some games should be shootouts on paper, a few matchups could go either way, and plenty of teams are in prime positions to be upset. To help you fill out those Week 3 fantasy football lineups, let’s break down which quarterbacks you should start and which should remain squarely on your bench this week.

Start ’em: Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Quarterback Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates a touchdown | Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It’s Monday Night Football; Atlanta Falcons against the rival New Orleans Saints. There’s a good chance that anyone who has Matt Ryan on their roster is probably at least contemplating the idea of using him in Week 3. The Saints’ pass defense is pretty much terrible so far. This season has allowed 451.5 yards-per-game through the air, ranking them No. 31 in the NFL. Ryan should light up the scoreboard on Monday, but have no fear because Drew Brees will likely do the same. Expect a high-scoring game.

Bench ’em: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Quarterback Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins has experienced a rough start to the season | Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Kirk Cousins bet on himself this offseason, taking the franchise tag instead of agreeing to a long-term extension with the Redskins. So far, this looks like a bad decision. The Redskins are 0-2 through two games, and Cousins has thrown for 693 yards, just one touchdown, and three interceptions. His quarterback rating has dipped all the way down to 78.5. Now, Cousins and the Redskins draw a Giants team who have allowed 308 yards-per-game to opponents through the air, ranking them No. 8 in the league. It’s best to just stay away this week and hit the waiver wire.

Start ’em: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Marcus Mariota should have a field day against the Oakland Raiders | Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Last week, Marcus Mariota faced a great opportunity but his performance was mediocre when all was said and done. It wasn’t a bad showing, but this weekend we should expect huge things from him. Mariota and the Titans will take on the only team in the NFL who’s worse statistically in the passing game than the Saints. This, of course, is the Oakland Raiders, who have allowed a ridiculous 517.5 yard-per-game to opponents. Mariota has a prime opportunity in front of him. Leaving him on your bench this week would be a terrible idea.

Bench ’em: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Quarterback Andy Dalton considers his fantasy football potential | Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Andy Dalton may bounce back from a brutal Week 2 showing this Sunday, but it’s highly unlikely. The Bengals draw the Denver Broncos, who boast one of the scariest defenses in the NFL. Fortunately, most people who own Dalton likely have another quarterback on their roster, because the Broncos have only given up 293 yards-per-game on average through the air this season. Dalton and A.J. Green may connect once for a touchdown, but if the Bengals want to win this game, they need to control the clock a bit.

Start ’em: Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Ryan Tannehill of the Miami Dolphins has a more favorable fantasy outcome in Week 3 | Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

Many fantasy football owners have probably sat on (or dropped) Ryan Tannehill through two weeks of the season. It’s understandable, but with weapons like Jarvis Landry, DeVante Parker, and even Kenny Stills, Tannehill has strong upside. To go along with that, he’s taking on a Cleveland Browns team that is in shambles right now. Aside from allowing 392.5 yards through the air on average this season, the Browns are throwing rookie quarterback Cody Kessler into the fire. The Dolphins will have the ball frequently and should have no issues scoring points.

Bench ’em: Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills

Week 3 Fantasy Football Start 'Em/Bench 'Em: Quarterbacks
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor of the Buffalo Bills faces a tough Cardinals team in Week 3 | Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Tyrod Taylor was saved in Week 2 from a fantasy football perspective thanks to two passes. The first was an 84-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin and the second was a 71-yard touchdown to Greg Salas. Were they beautiful? Absolutely. Should we expect that consistently? Not a chance. This week, Taylor draws an Arizona Cardinals defense fresh off a four-interception performance against Jameis Winston, who threw four touchdowns in Week 1. The Cardinals are clicking on all cylinders right now. Taylor could be in for a rough week.

Statistics courtesy of ESPN and Pro-Football-Reference.