Week 3 is almost upon us, and it’s been another week of shake ups in the world of fantasy football. Each week is a testament to the fluidity of the game, and if your an owner who isn’t on the ball with updates and match ups, you could be left behind early in the season in the dreaded 0-3 hole that owners cringe at the thought of climbing out of. So let’s delve into the Start’ems for week 3.
Cam Newton – He has been a fantasy monster, starting off better than anyone could have predicted without sounding absurd, but Cam can’t keep his average of 41.5 throws a game going all season. Newton will come back to earth when his arm starts to get sore. It just won’t be this game. After throwing for 432 yards against the Packers defense, Newton should be set to light it up against a banged up Jacksonville squad.
Ryan Fitzpatrick – The other Fitz, Fitzpatrick, is quietly tied for most touchdowns thrown so far this season with 7 (That’s tied with Tom Brady and Matt Stafford). He will be facing the Pats in what has already been deemed to be a shootout. You have to be licking your fantasy chops on this one. With the Bills’ Stevie Johnson (6’2′), David Nelson (6’5′), and Scott Chandler (6’7′), the Bills will have a distinct height advantage over a New England secondary that was exposed for it’s small size. The Bills have become a pass first team and as of now are showing no signs of slowing.
Matt Hasselbeck – What’s the difference between Hasselbeck the Titan and the Seahawk? Pretty simple, a legit wide out, Kenny Britt and an O-line that gives him time to pass. He’s is currently averaging 60 yards more in per game average that his best season in Seattle. He faces a wreck of a team in Denver that likely won’t have an aged Champ Bailey, who sadly is their best corner.
Rex Grossman – Last year he put up 322 yards and 4 TDs against Dallas, and they didn’t have a banged up secondary at the time. This year the Redskins will have a better run game and have a solid underneath threat in Fred Davis. Dallas will likely shut down the run as they have during their first 2 games, so Grossman and the Skins will look to air it out.
Others I like: Tom Brady – After Brady’s first 2 monster games it goes without saying, the Bills and Patriots should be a shootout. Kevin Kolb – He has been solid for the Cards and going against a Seattle team that looks wretched, you have to think Kolb is in for a big day. Matt Schaub – The Texans are becoming a run first team, but against the Saints they will have no choice but to air it out to try an keep up with the Saints offense.
Ryan Mathews – I have been raving about Mathews all week long. After a terrible first season, most fantasy owners avoided Mathews like the plague. After last week, where he clearly looked like the more talented back over Mike Tolbert, as he was drafted to be, Mathews’ stock is booming. The Chargers are including him more in the passing game, and with Tolbert being slowed with a calf injury, he will begin his ascent to RB1 status as of this week against a brutally bad Chiefs defense.
Rashard Mendenhall – Speaking of brutally bad defenses, the Colts continue to show that the team’s depth and player personnel is paper thin. They might circle around the mantra of “Protect this house” Sunday night, but that won’t likely last throughout. For all the team’s defects, their run defense is probably the worst. Mendenhall and the Steelers should look to run a bit more after Ben Roethlisberger’s ankle injury last week. You may see Mendenhall spelled by back up Isaac Redman, but Mendenhall will get his.
Chris Johnson – Ok, I know, Johnson a sleeper? Consider the fact that he has a total of 77 yards on the ground 2 games. I’m simply saying that he is due. He is an elite talent and the Denver Broncos will be the recipient of some built up frustration in the Titans’ run game.
Others I like: Ahmad Bradshaw/ Brandon Jacobs – With Philly ranking 30th against the run and not looking like they are improving much, the Giants should look to run more. Daniel Thomas – Miami realized early that Bush might not give them the power run game they want and with Thomas’ outburst last week he could look to build on last week’s success. Mike Tolbert – I said earlier that I love Mathews over Tolbert for the season and I do, but the Charger will likely go up enough for Tolbert to get his fair share too.
Steve Smith – After 2 seasons of slowly fading into mediocrity, Smith has reemerged behind the arm of Cam Newton and Ron Rivera’s no run offense. With 2 games in the bag, Smith leads the league with 334 yards receiving. As with Newton, the numbers will slow down at some point, but not Sunday against the Jags. Smith is Cam’s favorite target with 11 and 13 targets in the first 2 games, 5 more than any other player on the team in each game. Run’em till they slow down.
Santana Moss – Despite what many people write about Moss as the “Cowboy Killer”, he has only topped 100 yards once in the past 3 seasons. However, Moss has a knack for big plays against Dallas, and with the team being depleted in their secondary will be vulnerable to Moss’ big play capabilities.
Jeremy Maclin – With questions all about concerning his health over the off-season, Maclin erupted for 13 catches, 171 yards, and 2 TDs against the Falcons. With injuries being concern for DeSean Jackson and Michael Vick, he could cash in against a limping Giants secondary. Even with Vick back, the trust in Maclin should be there, as he is more likely to play than D-Jax and is probably the safer play.
David Nelson – Nelson is another player I have been high on this week. He is a 6 foot 5 receiver with 4.45 speed, playing from the slot. He will face a Patriots D that has had trouble covering from the slot, as well as against taller wide outs. He should prove this week that his 13 targets last week was no aberration, and instead the start of a great season. He could be huge in PPR and even bigger if Stevie Johnson hurts his groin further as he runs himself out trying to get a contract extension.
Others I like: Larry Fitzgerald – He faces the Seattle D, need I say more? Kenny Britt – It’s no longer a secret that Britt is a top tier receiver in fantasy, he faces a bad Denver team, minus Champ Bailey. AJ Green – Dalton and Green are developing a rapport that could be recognized for years in fantasy, this week should prove a good one for the 2 rookies.
Fred Davis – If you’ve been following my blog, then it’s no secret that I love the new look Fred Davis. The more athletic tight end is performing like top 5 fantasy tight end, and this week at Dallas looks to be another week where Davis will look like the best receiving option for Washington.
Rob Gronkowski – Gronk hasn’t missed a beat despite, skepticism by people, like myself, that questioned if he could repeat a 10 TD rookie season. Well he can, and he also could exceed those numbers. With Aaron Hernandez out, Gronkowski will see at least a slight bump in targets, and maybe even when he returns. Could be the number 1 fantasy tight end out there.
Jason Witten – After a slue of injuries to the Cowboys in San Francisco, Witten seems to be the lone survivor. The Cowboys starters, Tony Romo, Felix Jones, Miles Austin, and Dez Bryant all are suffering the questionable tag, with Austin being out for sure. Witten did reportedly suffer bruised ribs, but he will play Monday and is likely to be the best receiver on the field, if Dez doesn’t play. He will be the focal point of a pass first offense with either Romo or Kitna in.
Others I like: Jimmy Graham – A secret no more for the Saints, Graham will continue to see a a bump in targets with Colston sidelined and being the big target that he is. Dustin Keller – He has had a great start to the season with back to back games scoring a TD, he should continue his great play against Oakland. Jermichael Finley – The Bears surrendered 72 and 79 yards to opposing tight ends over the first 2 weeks of the season, and an athletic TE like Finley, who burned the Bears for 9 catches and 115 yards last season, should be a good play.
John Kasay – Kasay booted 3 field goals last week, including a 53 yarder, showing he still has a leg the Saints can rely on. In another potential shoot out this week, Kasay could come up big.
Neil Rackers – Hmmm…see the above aforementioned shootout.
Robbie Gould – Gould has quietly had 5 field goals himself over the first 2 weeks, and on leaky offense in the Bears, that can sometimes be a full go and sometimes sputter through out the game, he finds himself on a team that can move the ball well, but not so much in the red zone. They are questionable with their wide outs, as well as in the power run game. Translates into a great forecast for fantasy kickers, and especially against a bend but don’t break Packers D.
Others I like: Stephen Gostkowski – Another benefactor of a possible shootout. Dan Bailey - The Cowboys may struggle to get the ball in the end zone will all of their injuries, but they should be able to move the ball enough to get Bailey his tries, and after getting a chance to redeem himself after a botched kick last Sunday, Bailey should be booming with confidence in the Cowboys home opener.
Baltimore – The Ravens have proved vulnerable to the pass, but with the Rams missing Steven Jackson and likely missing Carnell Williams, they will be able to focus help on their harrowing secondary.
San Diego – It’s kind of sad to watch the Chiefs team crumble the way they have, and to lose Charles really is a shame, but it’s the name of the game. The Chargers D will take advantage of their division rival, who they shut out the last time they played.
Arizona – The Cardinal’s defense has been shaky at best, but against a shaky offense in Seattle, the team could finally show some dominance.
Others I like: Cincinnati – A defense that hasn’t been talked about much could be in for a good day against a struggling 49ers offense. Pittsburgh – The Colts are bad on offense. Period. Detroit – The Vikings, and McNabb, have struggled to put together a viable passing game, and though they have Peterson the Lions have an improving D.
Thanks for reading. Please post any comments or questions here or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow me on Twitter @dwillPSB.
About the Author
Written by David Willow
My name is David Willow. Your NFL and Fantasy Jedi. I have lived in Dallas, TX most of my life. I have been following both football and basketball since I was a child. I love being able to research and analyze different players and teams. I've been a fantasy sports enthusiast for around 8 years with some titles to back that. I have a Bachelors degree in History with a minor in English. Other hobbies include me being part of an acting workshop for five years, playing guitar, and working out. Hit me up with any comments, questions or opinions.