Welcome back to another week of Spin’s Fantasy Factory! I’m Spin, UConn’s self-proclaimed “fantasy football expert,” and even though the “expert” portion of that title may be a bit of an overstatement, that doesn’t stop me from doing what I’m passionate about: Providing just a bit more fantasy insight to help you set your lineup for the upcoming week.
I know what you’re thinking: That is one weird thing to be passionate about. Even so, we’re now making our way into Week 3 of the 2022-23 NFL campaign, and I still have permission to release this weekly segment, so maybe I’m not the only one who likes to put on my General Manager cap and lead my fantasy team to fantasy lore!
Last week, I named three players that I recommended sitting for Week 2. To keep things fresh this week, I’ve chosen to focus on three players that you should definitely start based on matchups, projections, schemes, or even just a plain hunch that I have. Without further ado, here are three favorable matchups for Week 3 of the NFL season:
Start: Michael Pittman Jr., WR, Indianapolis Colts vs. KC
Pittman did not suit up for the Colts in the team’s embarrassing 24-0 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars last Sunday, though his team surely wishes that he could’ve. The team was simply unable to get their offense rolling at any point in that game, especially quarterback Matt Ryan. In his second game since taking over as Indy’s top quarterback, the veteran completed only 16 out of 30 passes for 195 scoreless yards and three interceptions. Without Pittman, Ryan’s top target on the day was Ashton Dulin. It was clear that Ryan missed having his top receiving option available, especially following a summer in which reports emerged from training camp noting that Ryan and Pittman had built tremendous chemistry together. If Week 2 was any indication, the Colts’ passing attack simply can’t operate without Pittman present.
Week 1 displayed Pittman’s importance to his team, as he and Ryan connected for nine catches for 121 yards and a touchdown against the Houston Texans. Week 3 provides yet another favorable matchup for Pittman, as his Colts will host the high-powered Kansas City Chiefs for Indianapolis’ home-opener. Kansas City, led by all-world quarterback Patrick Mahomes and eventual Hall of Fame head coach Andy Reid, will be Indy’s toughest test of this young season. Neither of the Chiefs’ two starting cornerbacks, L’Jarius Sneed and Rashad Fenton, are especially inspiring names, and both are matchups that Pittman could take advantage of. The Chiefs are known to put points on the board in bunches, which means that the Colts may need to shift to a more pass-focused game plan in search of their first win of the season. Not to mention that coming off of an offensive letdown last week, Ryan will have his sights set on his most trusted receiver in this one. Expect another elite performance from the third-year pro.
Start: David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears vs. HOU
It seems that Montgomery’s breakout performance has been in the works for some time. He’s been the preferred option in a run-first Chicago offense since he was made a third round NFL pick in 2019, though fantasy managers haven’t exactly been kind to the Iowa State product. According to FantasyPros, Montgomery was the 17th running back selected from draft boards this summer. Given the rushing upside of quarterback Justin Fields and his knack for scoring goal-line work, it’s understandable that managers were willing to pass on Montgomery for a player with higher touchdown upside. That upside may very well shine through as early as Week 3 when the Bears take on a weak Houston front-seven.
The Texans have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to running backs through two games this season, and were in the bottom half of points allowed to the position last year. It’s the perfect scenario for Montgomery, who hopes to build off of an impressive 136 total yards on 17 touches last week in Chicago’s loss to the Packers. These stats came even after the Bears found themselves in trouble on offense after penalties, sacks, and a massive negative game score line made them fall behind Green Bay early, and the team shifted to a more pass-heavy approach in the first half of the contest. The Bears returned to the run game in the second half, and Montgomery led the offensive charge. He’ll continue to have opportunities with the ball as one of Chicago’s premier playmakers against Houston, where he’ll hope to make a visit to the seemingly elusive endzone. Even with his capped touchdown upside, Montgomery makes for a great start in one of the week’s most enticing matchups.
Start: CeeDee Lamb, WR, Dallas Cowboys at NYG
This pick is actually fairly ironic, given that I put Lamb on my list of players that should’ve sat in Week 2. I explained that, given the inexperience of Dallas quarterback Cooper Rush and the defensive assignments that Lamb draws, fantasy managers should hold off on starting Lamb until he and Rush showed enough chemistry on the gridiron. Well, one game was all that I needed to wait.
Last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Lamb managed to record seven catches for 75 yards. Though the statline isn’t the most eye-popping, the big takeaway here is that Lamb managed to draw 11 targets as the clear go-to target for Rush. It was also a drastic improvement over his abysmal two-catch, 29 yard-performance to open the season against the Buccaneers. Through two games, Lamb has amassed 22 total targets, so opportunities won’t be lacking for the 2020 first-round pick. The Cowboys will travel to New York to take on the 2-0 Giants on Sunday, who have been known to have one of the better secondaries in the NFL over the past few seasons, But Lamb’s target share and elite playmaking with the ball in his hands makes it hard to turn away from him in any matchup. It won’t matter whether it’s Rush or someone else throwing the ball in Week 3 — the ball will find its way to Lamb, and that’s all that fantasy managers should care about.