NFL Fantasy Week 3: Sleeper quarterbacks

I guess the days of looking for a sleeper or streamer quarterback who could put up 15-17 points for a week are gone. Aaron Rodgers scored 16 points last week. He was the QB-18. We’ll have to look for 20 point scorers if we’re going to keep up with the Bortles, Daltons, and Cousins of the world.

With a little luck, maybe one of these sleeper quarterbacks will make us stop talking about Mahomes and Fitzpatrick for a while, too:

Best Bet: Deshaun Watson, Texans vs. Giants

In preseason sleeper articles, including Deshaun Watson would have been laughable. After all, he was supposed to average 500 yards and 5 touchdowns a week, if you believed the NFL Fantasy owners who made him the overall QB-2, just after Rodgers and ahead of Tom Brady.

But the first two weeks have not been kind to Mr. Watson. He enters Week 3 as the overall QB-17. Though his Week 2 performance against Tennessee was good, it was against the Titans… and it wasn’t Watson-esque. Now he faces the Giants, NFL Fantasy’s fifth-best defense against quarterbacks in the early going.

But it is the early-going. New York has faced Blake Bortles and Dak Prescott, and neither was looking for too many points in games their defenses won. New York’s top-ranking against wide receivers is also in peril with a groin injury to cornerback Eli Apple.

Both teams are in desperation mode after 0-2 starts. The return of Will Fuller alongside Deandre Hopkins gives Watson what he needs to bounce back into top-five NFL Fantasy scoring territory this week.

Good bet: Alex Smith, Redskins vs. Packers

Washington’s new quarterback managed to throw for just under 300 yards without a touchdown last week. His receiving corps, largely lauded in the offseason, has not impressed thus far. Running back Chris Thompson led the team in receptions and receiving yards.

Tight end Jordan Reed was second in receptions. To be fair, wide receiver Jamison Crowder led the team in rushing. Which brings us to another realization Redskins coach Jay Gruden and Alex Smith discovered in Week 2.

They can’t trust their running game and Adrian Peterson to control the game any more than the Cardinals could last season. Peterson followed up his monster Redskins’ debut with a 1.8 yards-per-carry dud in Indianapolis.

Washington signed two veterans (and former first-round picks) in Breshad Perriman and Michael Floyd this week, ostensibly due to injury concerns. But it also should serve as a wake-up call to Josh Doctson, Paul Richardson, and Jamison Crowder.

Throw in a meeting with the powerful Packers offense, and it bodes well for a bigger passing performance from Alex Smith. Even on one leg, Aaron Rodgers will make Smith throw to the end zone.

Not the worst bet: Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Cowboys

Another preseason high draft pick (ADP QB-4) wallowing in the depths of the NFL Fantasy scoring charts (at QB-16), Russell Wilson seems to have a bigger hole to climb out of than Deshaun Watson.

Knee injuries to his top receiver and favorite target, Doug Baldwin, leaves Wilson throwing to Tyler Lockett, Brandon Marshall, and Jaron Brown. His favorite target seems to be tight end Will Dissly, drafted more for his blocking than receiving talents.

Wilson faces a Dallas Cowboys defense that is either better than anyone expected or who faced two offenses with more concerns than anyone expected. The answer to that is probably somewhere in the middle.

What makes Wilson a sleeper against Dallas is in the quarterback’s desire. He is extending plays and making throws in desperation. At home in their home opener, he’ll continue that. The difference is that he and his weapons are becoming more familiar with each other and that will help Wilson break out in Seattle.

Don’t bet on it: Andy Dalton, Bengals at Carolina

Cincinnati fans are excited about their team’s 2-0 start. Andy Dalton finds himself among the top ten NFL Fantasy scoring quarterbacks. Life is good on that side of Ohio.

The Panthers defense is upset over their Week 2 showing against Atlanta. They followed up an impressive shutdown of Dallas by letting the Falcons score 31 points.

Cincinnati and Dalton fall in between the Cowboys and the Falcons when it comes to offensive weapons. Carolina expects to return to the playoffs in 2018. They know a win against Cincinnati is important, and it starts with shutting down Andy Dalton.

But what do I know? My sleeper quarterbacks have mostly failed me so far this season. They all scored more than 12 points, so maybe when the defenses catch up, they won’t look as bad. In the meantime, let’s see if I stepped up my game for you in Week 3.

This article was originally published on sports