I’m sorry. I was an M-V-Sucker for Marquez Valdes-Scantling last week. That’s back-to-back weeks where I’ve recommended starting a WR that can be found in the free-agent pool that ended up with a goose egg performance. This week is about getting on the right track with my start recommendations.
Here’s the good news though. Each passing week we get a better picture of receiver roles and team tendencies. The key to finding receivers rostered in less than 50-percent of leagues with startable upside is to follow the Air Yards. This week is no different when it comes to my two start recommendations.
With only 22 wide receivers starting in over 50-percent of ESPN leagues, there’s only one sit recommendation I have this week. But if you follow me on Twitter (@aaronstew09), I will provide one more receiver that’s starting in over 50-percent of leagues that I don’t believe will finish in the top-36. Let’s look at Week 3 START and SIT recommendations for the WR position.
Emmanuel Sanders (BUF) – START
After two weekly finishes outside the top-60 wide receivers in fantasy football, Emmanuel Sanders finds himself available in 80-percent of ESPN leagues. Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills offense haven’t clicked yet, but buy the dip on this offense!
Allen’s 805 Air Yards ranks No. 2 in the NFL, but his 277 (No. 15) Completed Air Yards ranks in the middle of the league. That’s over 500 Unrealized Air Yards for the Bills offense! This brings us to Sanders. He has 235 (No. 12) Air Yards, with 145 (No. 7) being Unrealized Air Yards.
Sanders’ 85.9-percent (No. 29) Snap Share is right behind teammate Stefon Diggs‘ 87.3-percent. Diggs’ 28.2-percent (No. 11) and Cole Beasley‘s 21.8-percent (No. 35) Target Share dwarf Sander’s 17.9-percent (No. 55). However, Diggs and Beasley draw two top-30 cornerbacks as their primary coverage according to the Cornerback Rankings.
Meanwhile, Sanders will face rookie Benjamin St. Juste (No. 109-ranked CB), who runs a 4.60 (20th-percentile) 40-Yard Dash. The Washington Football Team defense does not match well with the Buffalo Bills’ pass-happy offense. According to Pro-Football-Reference, they have allowed 350 (eighth-most) Completed Air yards. This is the game where the Bills get back to their 2020 form.
Mike Evans (TB) – SIT
Regardless of whether Antonio Brown plays or not, Mike Evans is a sit for me in Week 3. Opposing tight ends are targeted 19 times in two games against the Rams’ defense. According to Pro-Football-Reference, that’s the fourth-highest in the NFL. Jack Doyle (8 targets) and Cole Kmet (7 targets) each caught five passes against the Rams. Rob Gronkowski should be the No. 2 option in this high-scoring affair.
The Rams’ defense is top-5 in Yards Per Reception Allowed (9.6) and Yards Per Target Allowed (6.4) per Pro-Football-Reference. Evans’ primary coverage is the No. 1 cornerback in the Cornerback Rankings, Jalen Ramsey. In Week 1, we saw the Bears target Ramsey ten times with minimal success (6 catches, 44 yards). The Colts the following week barely looked his way (three targets).
Similar to last season, Evans is a touchdown-dependent fantasy option. His 18.5-percent (No. 52) Target Share mirrors his 2020 average (18.0-percent). Last season, Evans finished with five catches for 49 yards on nine targets against the Rams. A touchdown allowed him to finish inside the top-24. With Chris Godwin drawing the more favorable matchup in David Long (No. 56-ranked CB) and Gronkowski set to smash in a TE-favorable matchup, don’t hold your breath on a top-36 performance by Evans.
Elijah Moore (NYJ) – START
It’s impossible to go wrong with a receiver when his last name is Moore. The D.J. Moore breakout top-12 season is here. Rondale Moore‘s huge Week 2 performance saw his percentage rostered jump by +47.6-percent in ESPN leagues. Is Week 3 Elijah Moore‘s turn to shine?
The Denver Broncos defense is terrifying, but the Jets are Vegas’ biggest underdog this week at 10.5 points. Negative Game Script favors the passing game and Moore’s 82.3-percent (No. 37) Snap Share leads the Jets receiving room. Only Braxton Berrios has a higher Target Share (26.1-percent) than Moore (17.4-percent), but Berrios will be matched up with top slot cornerback Bryce Callahan (No. 6-ranked cornerback).
Gunslinger Zach Wilson threw four interceptions last week. Through two games, what we’ve learned about Wilson is that he’s looking to air it out in the pros, even to the detriment of his team. He leads the league with 13 Deep Ball Attempts and averages 9.8 (No. 3) Air Yards Per Attempt.
Moore leads the Jets with 173 (No. 32) Air Yards, with 134 (N0. 9) being Unrealized Air Yards. The Broncos defense, thanks to Callahan, take away the check-down options and allow an Average Target Distance of 10.8. That is the highest in the NFL according to Pro-Football-Reference.
Sterling Shepard and Marvin Jones lead their teams in Air Yards against the Broncos defense in their weekly matchup. Both finished with top-20 weekly performances, while the rest of their receiver teammates were irrelevant in fantasy football against the Broncos. There’s a 70-percent chance he’s available in your ESPN leagues right now. If you need a high-upside FLEX play, it’s unlikely you’ll find a better free-agent option than Moore.