2021 Season: It's a Match! Three Matchups to Exploit in Week 3

(Photo Credit: All-Pro Reels)

Zach Crutcher (@ZackyNFL)
The Lateral Contributor

Whether it is bye week troubles, a late injury, or waiting on a rookie stash to finally get an opportunity, sometimes a warm body in the FLEX spot is all you need. Enter: It's A Match! These waiver recommendations are strictly to be considered plays for this week only. If they work out longer term than that, great. But that is not the expectation.

Also, all players are rostered in 50% or less of ESPN leagues. If there are better players still available in your leagues, go get them instead.

It's A Match! Three Matchups to Exploit in Week 3

Washington Football Team at Buffalo Bills (1pm Sunday)

Who to add: J.D. McKissic, Running Back (Washington Football Team) [49% ESPN]

Can we acknowledge how bizarre it is that last year's RB17 in points per reception (PPR) fantasy football is rostered in fewer than 50% of ESPN leagues? Especially after he put up a respectable 20.3 PPR fantasy football points against the New York Giants last Thursday? Seriously, right now J.D. McKissic has an identical season-long point total to fantasy darling Antonio Gibson, but none of the respect. 

Luckily, you can take advantage of that discount. The Washington Football Team gets the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. With new quarterback Taylor Heinicke under center for Washington, McKissic has found life as a safety valve for the inexperienced veteran. Last week, McKissic stayed on the field during two-minute drills and stole some of the goal line carries from Gibson already. Week 3 against the Bills could be a shootout against Buffalo's high-octane offense, and Washington may be forced to throw more than they would like. If that is the case, it is a boon to McKissic rather than Gibson. 

Atlanta Falcons at New York Giants (1pm Sunday)

Who to add: Daniel Jones, Quarterback (New York Giants) [30.5% ESPN]

Of all the crazy storylines to emerge this season, Daniel Jones being a top-5 fantasy football quarterback is certainly one of them. But should it be? 

Back in 2013, Rich Hribar of SharpFootballAnalysis wrote about Konami-code quarterbacks and the impact that rushing provides for quarterbacks in standard fantasy football scoring. Rushing yards are two and a half times more valuable than passing yards and rushing touchdowns are one and a half times more valuable than passing touchdowns. This means mobile quarterbacks that can use their legs are at an inherent advantage in fantasy football compared to traditional pocket passers. 

This is definitely the case for Jones. Thanks in large part to the 122 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns through two weeks, Daniel Jones is averaging 25.4 points per game. All while only throwing just two passing touchdowns. New York Giants fans and Jones's fantasy football managers alike can look forward to their Week 3 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta has allowed eight passing touchdowns so far through two weeks. Three to Jalen Hurts in Week 1 and five to Tom Brady in Week 2. The Falcons were also unable to handle the mobility of Jalen Hurts in Week 1, giving up 62 rushing yards to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback. If Jones can maintain his rushing workload and throw multiple passing touchdowns, we could be looking at a massive game from a streaming quarterback.

Arizona Cardinals at Jacksonville Jaguars (1pm Sunday)

Who to add: Christian Kirk, Wide Receiver (Arizona Cardinals) [24.6% ESPN]

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense has not given up fewer than 20 points in a game since Week 15 in 2019 against the (then) Oakland Raiders. They gave up at least 24 points in 15 straight games in 2020. Star Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is surrounded by receiving talent with wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Rondale Moore, and Christian Kirk and running back Chase Edmonds. With that high-powered offense, it is difficult to imagine the Cardinals not demolishing the Jaguars' pitiful defense. 

Jacksonville is particularly weak against the quarterback and wide receiver. They have allowed 295.5 passing yards per game over their first two contests this season, and that was against Houston Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Denver Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Murray is a tier above (at least) and should have no problem exploiting this matchup. Which makes Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk a great, cheap addition. In Week 1 against the Tennessee Titans, Kirk posted a 5/70/2 line for 24.0 PPR fantasy football points. If you like Kirk's chances of finding the endzone again this Sunday, starting him in the FLEX could pay off handsomely. Back in 2020, we saw Kirk score 20+ PPR fantasy football points in three straight games. This Jacksonville game could be the beginning of a similar streak for the former college superstar.

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