The Duel

Bring in the Backups: Bench Players You Can Start This Week in Fantasy Football

Dan Israeli
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals
San Francisco 49ers v Cincinnati Bengals / Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While the motto for the first few weeks of the fantasy football season is "start your studs," different factors make that more difficult as the year progresses. Whether it's a flat-out injured player in your starting lineup, or an underperforming stud with a tough upcoming matchup, sometimes you need to consider your bench guys, especially if you're staring at 0-2 heading into Week 3.

Luckily, there are a lot of intriguing options to choose from this week, whether they are names plucked from the waiver wire or guys who've been sitting on your bench all season. For the purpose of this article, we are going to look at three guys who were likely reserves to begin the season, but can pay dividends as starters in the crucial week ahead.

1. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, San Francisco (Started in 30 Percent of Yahoo! Leagues)

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Drafted as a backup even in deeper leagues, Jimmy Garoppolo was coming off an uninspiring preseason and proceeded to bust in Week 1, mustering just 166 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception. He bounced back nicely last week, however, totaling 296 passing yards and three touchdowns to one pick. While the San Francisco 49ers ran wild in their big win over the Cincinnati Bengals, Garoppolo still looked like the elite QB the franchise had hoped for after trading for him in 2017, completing 68 percent of his passes while averaging 11.8 yards per attempt. Looking unbothered by his torn ACL from a year ago, Garoppolo draws a fantastic home matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs through two games.

2. Carlos Hyde, RB, Houston Texans (Started in 19 Percent of Yahoo! Leagues)

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Much to the chagrin of Duke Johnson owners, Carlos Hyde has carved out a significant role in the Houston Texans' rushing attack through two weeks. After running 10 times for 80 yards in Week 1, Hyde doubled his rushing total to 20 carries in Week 2, which he turned into 90 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Johnson got just six carries in Week 2, and failed to catch his lone target. The truth is, Deshaun Watson has never had a proclivity for passing to his running backs, even though Houston has been a run-heavy team under his command. This all adds up to Hyde looking like the early down and goal-line back for the Texans, and the preferable option in fantasy for the time being. He draws a solid matchup in Week 3 against the Los Angeles Chargers, who have given up the seventh-most fantasy points to running backs so far.

3. Marvin Jones Jr., WR, Detroit Lions (Started in 16 Percent of Yahoo! Leagues)

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The Detroit Lions look to be a run-heavy team in 2019, but game flow will always dictate otherwise. The team has played in two straight back-and-forth games, and may find themselves in another shootout this weekend on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. While Kenny Golladay has been the preferred option in the passing game so far, Marvin Jones Jr. is still playing plenty of snaps as the WR2 on the Lions. Detroit draws one of the best matchups possible this Sunday against the Eagles, who have given up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Just last week, Philadelphia gave up a 5-106-2 line to Julio Jones, as well as a 8-105-1 line to Calvin Ridley. If the Lions have to abandon the run game in Week 3, there should be plenty of opportunities for both wide receivers to feast on a generous Eagles' secondary.

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