Hate to Love/Love to Hate: Week 3 Fantasy Football

Thursday night football is the start of the weekend for all you fantasy football players.

And quite honestly I’m not a huge fan of starting a player for a Thursday night game unless his name is Kareem Hunt.

The not-so-sexy showdown at 7:25 p.m. tonight (Thursday) at Levi’s Stadium features two NFC West teams as the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams.  

If you have the option to start someone else from this game, I would highly recommend it, however, there is a particular matchup that intrigues me for this contest.

Pierre Garcon shouldn’t be starting for you but he’s due for a breakout game. The 49ers have scored 12 points this season — all of them coming off field goals.

The Rams defense had a strong outing Week 1 as they put up 29 points against the Indianapolis Colts but Washington shredded them in Week 2.

San Francisco and Brian Hoyer will put up points against the Rams and the wide receiver that will catch that touchdown will be Garcon. He’s been targeted 15 times in two games and put up a solid 14 points in Week 1 without a touchdown catch.

If you are struggling with a flex option or even a second wide receiver I wouldn’t shy away from starting Garcon.

I would highly recommend not starting anyone else in this game besides the obvious choice of Rams running back Todd Gurley.

Here’s my fantasy love to hate, hate to love for Week 3.

Love to Hate — Quarterbacks

I own Matthew Stafford in a few of my leagues and I’m 8-0 through two weeks of fantasy play. I know you don’t care but you should care that Stafford is on my love to hate list this week. A solid Week 1 outing against the Arizona Cardinals, Stafford didn’t have that same production in Week 2 against the New York Giants.

He’s thrown six touchdowns but also has one interception and one fumble. He’s coming off a 12 point week and will face Vic Beasley(less) Atlanta Falcons defense at home, however.

One thing that scares me with Stafford is that Atlanta had an interception, fumble recovery and touchdown against Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay even though they allowed 23 points.

Hate to Love — Quarterbacks

I hate that I love this option for Week 3 because I don’t believe he is a viable No. 1 option long term but Carson Wentz against a banged up New York Giants secondary is a great start this week. In back-to-back weeks he’s thrown for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns.

The downside is that he’s thrown two interceptions but if the Giants sit Janoris Jenkins due to a lower-body injury, Wentz could be on the horizon for a breakout week. Not to mention Wentz has put up 18 and 24 fantasy points, respectively in the first two weeks. If I can consistently get around 20-points from my quarterback, I’m a happy fantasy player.

I’m a big consistency guy and so is Ben Roethlisberger. The Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Chicago to face the Bears this weekend and I hate to love that the guy that just beat the Minnesota Vikings is bound for a solid week. Chicago has allowed 23 points in its first two games and their defense is averaging 2.5 points per game this year.

Only 34 percent of fantasy owners are starting Roethlisberger, which is a tad surprising since he has four touchdowns this season and just one interception. With a core of weapons on the outside, Roethlisberger who ranks 10th overall in air yards per attempt is gearing up for a big week against the winless Bears.

Love to Hate — Running backs

Does anyone know what’s going on in the backfield in New Orleans? I mean seriously it looks like a crap shoot trying to pick running backs down there.

Is Mark Ingram the guy? What about Adrian Peterson and rookie Alvin Kamara? This is just a situation I don’t want my fantasy team associated with.

Ingram has shared carries with both these players but he hasn’t even reached 10 or more attempts in a single game this season even though he’s posted back-to-back 11 point weeks.

Ingram hasn’t reached the end zone and this week the Saints travel to Carolina. Even with his 4.9 yards per carry, I’m not sure Ingram is a for sure play this week against a tough Panthers defense and a crowded New Orleans backfield.

Listen, the Panthers haven’t played anyone special yet this season but they are holding opponents to just 120 rushing yards, which ranks fourth amongst teams that have played two games this season.

Hate to Love — Running backs

Cleveland Browns running back Isaiah Crowell made headlines this week about not getting enough carries. He’s averaging 13.5 carries this season but has failed to rush for over 40 yards in each of Cleveland’s first two games. I hate to love Crowell for Week 3 just for the reason he asked Hue Jackson for more touches.

The Browns are 0-2 and something needs to change. Why not hand it off to Crowell 20-plus times for a change? If this does happen I like his chances to break a long run and find the end zone against a defense that’s given up 48 points in two games.

Chris Thompson is coming off a two-touchdown performance against the Los Angeles Rams and he’s scored double-digits for points in his first two weeks of the season.

Thompson and the Washington Redskins face Oakland Sunday night and if Rob Kelley sits with his rib injury, Thompson will see more carries. He’s only owned in 81.8 percent of ESPN leagues and of those owners, only 12.6 percent of them are starting him.

Thompson and the Redskins are going to be in a back-and-forth game as Washington and Oakland are ranked sixth and seventh in points per drive this season.

Love to Hate — Wide Receivers

J.J. Nelson is being picked up in a lot of leagues and he is owned in 44 percent of them but his touchdown streak will end this week against the Dallas Cowboys. All good things must come to an end.

I’ve talked a lot about players getting their first touchdown of the season this week but Nelson is going to cool off.

Last week against Indianapolis he found the end zone and caught five balls for 120 yards. He’s also questionable this week so you should take that into consideration as well.

Hate to Love — Wide Receivers

A receiver that is flying up the free agent list is New York Jets wideout, Jermaine Kearse. In ESPN league’s he’s owned in just 26.5 percent of leagues but he leads the Jets in targets, catches and touchdowns.

In a high-scoring affair with Oakland in Week 2, Kearse finished with four receptions for 64 yards and two touchdowns that turned out to be 22 fantasy points.

The Jets rank in the bottom half of the league in scoring but whenever there’s a player that’s the clear No. 1 receiver hanging on the wire, I would take him down. NYJ’s opponent this week — Miami Dolphins who allowed 323 passing yards last week to Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay.

A receiver that I hate to love because his teammate is a top 5 wideout in this league is Mohamed Sanu. An interesting statistic here is that Sanu leads the Atlanta Falcons with 11 catches this season.

He doesn’t have a receiving touchdown through two games but has posted 23 fantasy points in those contests. The Falcons are facing the No. 1 fantasy defense in the Detroit Lions this week but it’s hard to bet against Matt Ryan and that offense.

Julio Jones gets the most attention and that’s why Sanu is having a great start to the 2017-18 season plus he is only owned in 30 percent of leagues.

He’s bound to get that first touchdown reception with his team-leading receptions.

Love to Hate — Tight Ends

I’m going to catch some heat for this one but I love to hate Delanie Walker this week and I truly think he shouldn’t start for your fantasy squad. Since 2016, the Seattle Seahawks have allowed 43 receiving yards per game to tight ends.

Walker has put up solid numbers this season but I think the Seahawks defense is a bad matchup for Walker and the Tennessee Titans. Seattle held Martellus Bennett to 43 receiving yards Week 1 and held both San Francisco tight ends to a combined 19 yards in Week 2.

I believe Pittsburg tight end Jesse James against Chicago is a better option than Walker against a solid Seahawk defense.

Hate to Love — Tight Ends

I’m not a big Green Bay Packers fan but Martellus Bennett is a must start and I hate to love that.

Bennett has yet to post double-digit fantasy numbers this season but he’s been targeted 17 times. That’s third most out of all the tight ends in the league.

Pace Maier is the sports editor at North Dakota's oldest weekly newspaper. He's a big fan of Minnesota sports and loves his Boise State football. You can catch up with him @pacetheacend