>Thursday Lunch: Fantasy Football – Week 3

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

>By Nick Gallaudet
After a crazy week 1, things have returned to normal a bit, and we are starting to get a feel for how this season is going to shape up. I just wanted to shout out to fellow Sack Lunch writer Evan who ignored my advice last week and kept Jahvid Best on the bench. Hopefully, he’ll listen this week.

WR Demaryius Thomas DEN: He exploded on to the scene last week and had a great NFL debut and looks to be the #1 receiver on an underrated fantasy passing team. Add him.
WR Louis Murphy OAK: This guy needs to be on your team. With Bruce Gradkowski looking like then new Raiders QB, Louis Murphy’s value goes through the roof. Gradkowski is in love with this guy and he put up huge numbers last year with Gradkowski throwing to him for part of the season.
QB Bruce Gradkowski OAK: Gradkowski found a way to win last year for the Raiders and he looks to do the same this year. He’s not the prettiest QB, but he’s fairly consistent and loves to throw deep, so he’s worth a look if you need a QB.
WR Deon Butler SEA: He’s worth keeping an eye on at this point. Hasselbeck went to him early and seems to be emerging as one of Hasselbeck’s favorite target, but be careful; he’s still a Seahawk.
RB Mike Tolbert SD: With Ryan Matthews going down in the first half of their game against Jacksonville last week, Tolbert got a majority of the reps and looked like Maurice Jones-Drew. Matthews hasn’t looked very good thus far, and I wouldn’t recommend starting him yet. But, if you have Ryan Matthews, I’d consider picking him up.
RB John Kuhn GB: With Grant out and Jackson looking mediocre, Kuhn got a lot of carries this week and looked pretty good. He may steal some carries from Jackson and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a real fantasy threat this season.
On to the games…
Tennessee: QB Vince Young was pulled in Sunday’s game, but he will start this week. The Colts passing game housed the Giants last week, but I don’t expect the Titans to have a huge game through the air. I see the Titans getting back on track by riding RB Chris Johnson, so TE Bo Scaife is the only one I would start in the Tennessee passing game.
NY Giants: The Titans pass defense has been pretty good this year, but I expect QB Eli Manning to have a decent fantasy game. He put up his numbers last week with the game clearly out of reach, but he won’t have to deal with the Colts pass rush this week. He won’t light up the scoreboard this week, but he should be good for a TD or two. I do want to talk about his WRs, though. I think people are going to overreact to the way WR Steve Smith has been somewhat left out of the passing attack this year. His numbers will come back up when people begin to realize WR Hakeem Nicks needs to be covered. Don’t fret Smith owners, he’ll come around.
Tennessee: RB Chris Johnson was shut down last week; however, the Giants are not the Steelers. The Giants gave up 160 rushing yards to the worst rushing team over the last two years. Chris Johnson will get back on track and possibly in a big way this week.
NY Giants: RB Brandon Jacobs threw a temper tantrum last week and was yanked from the game after terrible production. He reportedly will ask for a trade, and RB Ahmad Bradshaw owners will rejoice. It was only a matter time until Bradshaw stole the majority of the carries from Jacobs, and it appears the time has come. That being said, the Titans have been decent against the run, but Bradshaw is worth a start.
Start ‘em:
Tennessee: RB Johnson
NY Giants: RB Bradshaw
Sit ‘em:
Tennessee: All WRs
NY Giants: RB Jacobs, WR Mario Manningham
Pittsburgh: QB Dennis Dixon got hurt, so it looks like QB Charlie Batch’s team until Big Ben comes back, but their passing game was non-existent last week. I don’t think there will be much value in anyone in the Steelers passing game this week, even though we still don’t really know if the Buccaneers are for real yet.
Tampa Bay: The way the Steelers defense has been playing, no one on the Bucs is worth considering at all this week, even though QB Josh Freeman has had a pretty good season thus far.
Pittsburgh: Tampa Bay has been pretty strong against the run, and they should be able to stack against the run against this week, but I’d still start RB Mendenhall because the Steelers defense will give their offense plenty of chances to score.
Tampa Bay: The Panthers stuffed them last week. They may not gain a yard this week on the ground.
Start ‘em:
Pittsburgh: RB Mendenhall
Tampa Bay: None
Sit ‘em:
Pittsburgh: WR Hines Ward
Tampa Bay: Everyone
Cincinnati: Carolina has given up 5 TDs through the air this season, so expect the Bengals to try to score with the pass. QB Carson Palmer proved in week 1 he was capable of putting fantasy numbers up and he should do the same this week. WRs Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco are Palmers two favorite targets and look for them each to haul in a TD this week.
Carolina: The Jimmy Clausen era is officially upon us, and WR Steve Smith is going to suffer. I still don’t exactly know what to expect from the Bengals defense, but I expect them to carry over the momentum from last week and shut the Panthers pass game down. While I’m not too high on Smith this week, he is so dynamic he could make something happen this week.
Cincinnati: RB Cedric Benson does not look like the same back from the last couple of years, and the Panthers have been sneaky good against the run this year, holding opponents to around 3 yards a carry this season. Look for Benson to get 50-70 yards and maybe a TD this week.
Carolina: RBs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart have not produced the way they were expected to, but something has to give. I think the Panthers will look to the run early to take the pressure of Clausen, but the reality is that with both backs healthy, it’s difficult to identify which one will have a big day. Because of that, I would look elsewhere for production.
Start ‘em:
Cincinnati: QB Palmer, WR Owens, WR Ochocinco
Carolina: None
Sit ‘em:
Cincinnati: None
Carolina: QB Clausen
Cleveland: QB Jake Delhomme may miss his 2nd straight start, but it doesn’t really matter who starts, because the Baltimore defense has been suffocating this year, and a poor Browns team is not really the kind of team that will buck that trend so stay away from Browns receivers this week.
Baltimore: QB Joe Flacco has looked like garbage this year. It was one thing to be shut down by the vaunted Jets defense, but the Bengals, who were torched by Tom Brady in week 1, made Flacco look like Trent Dilfer. The Browns have held their own on defense, but they have yet to face an elite passer, but I just don’t think Flacco has the confidence to put up big numbers this week. I’m reluctant to recommend any Raven pass catchers until Flacco proves the first two weeks were just a fluke.
Cleveland: The Browns couldn’t run the ball against the Chiefs, so I don’t hold out much hope that they’ll be able to do so against the stout Ravens run D. That coupled with the fact that RBs Jerome Harrison and Peyton Hillis are splitting carries makes the Browns runners a poor option this week.
Baltimore: Cleveland gave up 140 yards to the Chiefs last week, and Baltimore will probably try to rely more heavily on the run this week. Expect RBs Ray Rice and Willis McGahee to both get a lot of opportunities this week. I don’t expect either to have giant games, but they both look poised to have a big game.
Start ‘em:
Cleveland: None
Baltimore: RB Rice, RB McGahee
Sit ‘em:
Cleveland: Everyone
Baltimore: QB Flacco
Dallas: QB Tony Romo’s fantasy numbers have definitely been down this year, but they’re not as bad as people think. Last week was respectable, but he definitely needs to improve to be considered a top-tier QB. Houston may be just what the doctor ordered, because in two weeks they’ve allowed almost 900 yards passing. Expect Romo to get his share of yards this week, and probably a score or two. That means WRs Miles Austin and Dez Bryant and TE Jason Witten will get their points, too.
Houston: QB Matt Schaub got back on track in a big way last week. Houston’s offense is so dynamic that they deserve a start every week. Dallas was passed on last week, and that will happen again this week. WR Kevin Walter has turned in back-to-back solid performances and should be started again, as well as elite WR Andre Johnson.
Dallas: The Dallas rushing game has been nonexistent this season. Until they figure out how they’re going to use their three-headed monster, I’d stay away from all three, especially against the Texans’ solid run D.
Houston: RB Arian Foster came back down to earth last week, but still had a good game, gaining 138 total yards. Dallas has done a good job against the run this year, but Foster is still a start because the Texans will put up points.
Start ‘em:
Dallas: WR Austin, WR Bryant
Houston: QB Schaub, WR Johnson, WR Walter
Sit ‘em:
Dallas: All RBs
Houston: None
San Francisco: QB Alex Smith looked good in the second half of the Monday Night game, but I’m still not comfortable relying on him for fantasy points. He used TE Vernon Davis and RB Frank Gore a lot against the Saints and it seemed to work, so look for Davis and Gore to play a big part in the passing game again. I expect the 49ers to ride Gore this week so I don’t see a lot of points for WRs Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree.
Kansas City: QB Matt Cassel is just not producing this year. There is no value in the Chiefs passing game this week. They need to prove they know what they’re doing before I would consider starting any of their receivers.
San Francisco: RB Frank Gore rebounded in a big way against the Saints with over 160 total yards and 2 TDs. Even though KC has been decent against the run this year, they haven’t been dominant and haven’t really faced a team built around a back like Gore. I think Gore will have a similar week and carry the SF offense this week.
Kansas City: One thing the 49ers have been able to do well this year is stop the run. I don’t see the Chiefs being to productive on offense at all this week, including on the ground. So unless you have no other options at running back, I’d leave RBs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles on the bench.
Start ‘em:
San Francisco: RB Gore, TE Davis, SF Defense
Kansas City: K Ryan Succop
Sit ‘em:
San Francisco: WR Josh Morgan, WR Michael Crabtree
Kansas City: QB Matt Cassel, RB Thomas Jones, RB Jamaal Charles
Detroit: QB Shaun Hill had a big game last week, but that won’t happen again. Minnesota’s defense has been pretty much the lone bright spot for the Vikings this year. WR Calvin Johnson caught his first TD of the season last week, but other than that, was a little underwhelming, and hasn’t really shown us a whole lot this season. TE Brandon Pettigrew had a big game, and could be a weapon this week, and is the only pass catcher from Detroit I would recommend starting.
Minnesota: We find out who QB Brett Favre will be this season this week. After two terrible games, this is Favre’s chance to prove he can still contribute. The Bears and Eagles have carved the Lions pass defense up this year, and the Vikings look to do the same. I personally don’t think Favre will rebound the way people expect him to, but this is a good matchup for him, so he is worth giving one last chance. TE Visanthe Shiancoe is Favre’s only reliable target and is a must-start this week.
Detroit: RB Jahvid Best has 5 TDs in 2 weeks, but don’t let that fool you. He has run for 98 yards in two games. While he has fared better through the air, he’s not going to put up those numbers every week. I expect him to come back down to earth this week against an exceptional Vikings defense, and would look elsewhere for production.
Minnesota: RB Adrian Peterson has really shown me something this year, taking the offense on his back and carrying it well. Peterson should have a huge week against a defense that gave up 120 yards to LeSean McCoy.
Start ‘em:
Detroit: TE Pettigrew
Minnesota: RB Peterson, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN Def
Buffalo: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick will get the start this week… not that that really changes anything for the Bills. The Sanchize did have his way with the Patriots defense last week in the 2nd half, but, as hard as it is to believe, Fitzpatrick makes Mark Sanchez look like Peyton Manning. With as little talent as the Bills have and as mad as the Pats are, there is no real shot at the Bills having any fantasy relevance for a while.
New England: QB Tom Brady is angry and feels like he has something to prove. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is a repeat of last year’s New England/Tennessee game where Brady threw 19 TDs by halftime. Start everyone that has anything to do with the Patriots passing game.
Buffalo: RB Marshawn Lynch was given the bulk of the carries against the Packers and was respectable. If there are any points to be had in the Bills offense, they will most likely go to Lynch and that makes him worth considering.
New England: RB Laurence Maroney is a Bronco and RB Kevin Faulk is out for the season, so the notoriously crowded New England backfield is down to only RB Fred Taylor and BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Green-Ellis got the majority of the touches last week, but Taylor got more when they were blowing out Cincinnati. I feel like Taylor will get the carries this week and that he is definitely worth starting, but you never know with The Hoodie.
Start ‘em:
Buffalo: RB Lynch is the only Bill you should even consider.
New England: QB Brady, RB Taylor, WR Randy Moss, WR Wes Welker, K Gostkowski, NE Def.
Sit ‘em:
Buffalo: Everyone not named Marshawn
New England: QB Drew Bledsoe
Atlanta: QB Matt Ryan is tough to get a read on, but the way he lit up the Cardinals was remarkable, even if it was against the Cardinals. It’s given me a little confidence in him, especially the way the Saints defense played against Alex Smith last week. I don’t think he’s going to go for 3 TDs like last week, but he should fare well, and WR Roddy White should benefit.
New Orleans: I have not been impressed by QB Drew Brees this year. He has been steady but has not put up the numbers everyone expected. Owning a Saints WRs is completely frustrating: All of them are capable of scoring big points, and all of them are capable of catching two balls for 33 yards. I’ve given up predicting who will do what, just know that Brees is going to have a decent day and if you have a Saints receiver, like I do, start them and hope Brees hits him.
Atlanta: RB Michael Turner went down with a groin last week, but don’t worry. Even with RB Jason Snelling’s dominant performance, the job is Turner’s and he will be back this week. The Saints could not stop Frank Gore last week, so look for Turner to duplicate Gore’s performance this week, with fewer catches.
New Orleans: RB Pierre Thomas had over 100 total yards last week, and you can put him down for around that every week. The only question, as always with the Saints, is who will score? Tim Hightower tore up the Falcons last week, so I think Thomas could do the same this week.
Start ‘em:
Atlanta: RB Turner, WR White
New Orleans: RB Thomas
Sit ‘em:
Atlanta: RB Snelling
New Orleans: None
Washington: QB Donovan McNabb looked really good last week, and did exactly what the Redskins brought him in to do. WRs Santana Moss and Joey Galloway are finally putting up decent numbers again, and TE Chris Cooley is an especially good option this week against a bad Rams defense. Start McNabb and Moss this week and hopefully Galloway will be able to haul in another bomb this week.
St. Louis: The Redskins have allowed a lot of pass yards this year, and St. Louis will look to exploit it with their rookie QB Sam Bradford. I think Bradford can put up good numbers this week, and look for him to go to his new favorite red zone target WR Mark Clayton (hopefully you followed my advice and used his 2 TDs last week to earn a victory).
Washington: RB Clinton Portis may be on his last legs. He looked awful last week, despite getting 2 TDs (both happened to be from 1 yard out). Darren McFadden ran the Rams all over last week though, so maybe there is hope. I personally wouldn’t start Portis, however.
St. Louis: RB Steven Jackson had a rough game against the Raiders last week, which is not a good sign. The Redskins have also been pretty good against the run this year, but first-round pick Jackson is good enough to warrant a start every week.
Start ‘em:
Washington: QB McNabb, WR Moss
St. Louis: QB Bradford, WR Clayton
Sit ‘em:
Washington: RB Portis
St. Louis: None
Philadelphia: QB Michael Vick looks like he may be for real. He’s turned in a week and a half of solid quarterbacking, and if Phillip Rivers and Kyle Orton are any indication, he’s ripe for another good performance. Jacksonville has had a couple poor defensive weeks, especially against the pass. I like Vick to have another solid day, and look for WRs DeSean Jackson and WR Jeremy Maclin to have good games.
Jacksonville: QB David Garrard made a complete 180 from week 1 to last week culminating in his benching. A bright spot last week was the fact that WR Mike Sims-Walker woke up and had a decent day. Philly has been susceptible to the pass this season and I expect Garrard to rebound a little and look for Sims-Walker to have a good week, too.
Philadelphia: RB LeSean McCoy lit up the Lions defense last week, but don’t count on it again. Andy Reid always runs a pass heavy offense, and even last week, McCoy only had 16 carries. The Jags do have a little trouble against the run, so he could have a decent game, but definitely not like last week.
Jacksonville: Is RB Maurice Jones-Drew a bust? Probably not, but he has not looked very good the first two weeks. It’s only a matter of time until he breaks out and has a big game. I don’t think it will be this game, but at the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if he did break out this week.
Start ‘em:
Philadelphia: QB Vick, WR Maclin, WR Jackson
Jacksonville: WR Sims-Walker
Sit ‘em:
Philadelphia: None
Jacksonville: None
Oakland: QB Bruce Gradkowski was named starter after QB Jason Campbell was ineffective and it’s a good thing for Raiders fans. Gradkowski just finds a way to win, and WR Louis Murphy will be the main beneficiary. Murphy is Gradkowski’s favorite target and it showed last week, with Murphy hauling in a TD. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey is also a good option this week, especially against a struggling Cardinals defense.
Arizona: QB Max Hall saw some action last week (correctly predicted by Sack Lunch writer Will) which is a bad sign for anyone involved in the Cardinals passing game. QB Derek Anderson’s job is not safe, and WRs Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston have no one throwing to them. Nnamdi Asomugha will make it hard for Fitzgerald to put up any numbers this week, so if I were to start anyone in the Arizona passing game, it would be Breaston, but don’t bank on anything significant.
Oakland: RB Darren McFadden has turned in two uncharacteristically good statistical weeks this season, but that could change with RB Michael Bush coming back from a thumb injury. I think Oakland can run the ball well against a defense that the Falcons shredded last week, but I don’t think McFadden or Bush will have a monster week. With that being said, I would start McFadden over Bush.
Arizona: RB Tim Hightower broke an 80-yard run last week, but other than that, the Cardinals didn’t really even give him, or anyone else, a chance to run, totaling 13 carries as a team. RB Beanie Wells said he feels like he’ll play, but I’m not so sure. If Wells does play, Hightower’s value is instantly decreased, but if Wells is out, Hightower is worth a start. Monitor this situation as the week progresses.
Start ‘em:
Oakland: QB Gradkowski, WR Murphy
Arizona: RB Hightower, only if Wells is out
Sit ‘em:
Oakland: None
Arizona: QB Anderson, WR Fitzgerald
San Diego: QB Phillip Rivers took it to Jacksonville last week; throwing for over 300 yards and 3TDs. Seattle was housed by Kyle Orton, allowing 307 yards and 2 TDs. This should spell big day for Rivers, but I urge you to think twice. Seattle was dominant at home against the 49ers, and you can expect the crowd to be just as into this game. I do think Rivers will have a decent game, and TE Antonio Gates will get his points, but I think Rivers will be closer to 200 yards passing and 1, maybe 2 TDs.
Seattle: QB Matt Hasselbeck is tough to figure out. He seems to play poorly, but at the same time turn in serviceable fantasy games, while other times he’ll execute his game plan and have ho-hum numbers. San Diego did make the usually efficient David Garrard into a turnover machine last week, and I think Hasselbeck may be in for the same this week. I don’t think Seattle’s passing game will produce anything noteworthy this week.
San Diego: RB Ryan Mathews has been less than impressive this season, and that was before he got hurt last week. Seattle stuffed Frank Gore at home in week 1. Mike Tolbert has looked pretty good this season. All of this spells poor week for Mathews. I think Tolbert will steal some valuable red zone carries and RB Darren Sproles will be used enough depreciate Mathews value enough to warrant a benching this week on your fantasy roster.
Seattle: RB Justin Forsett has been the guy for Seattle this year, but that title earned him all of 8 carries last week. That, coupled with the fact that San Diego completely shut down Maurice Jones-Drew last week is enough for me to sit Forsett.
Start ‘em
San Diego: TE Gates
Seattle: None
Sit ‘em:
San Diego: RB Mathews
Seattle: RB Forsett
Indianapolis: QB Peyton Manning is a must start, especially with Champ Bailey banged up. TE Dallas Clark and WRs Reggie Wayne and Austin Collie are Manning’s favorite targets and all three should continue to produce the way they have been.
Denver: QB Kyle Orton has had a couple pretty good statistical games this season, and he should be able to put up decent numbers this week. He will take his fair share of hits, but he will have plenty of opportunities to throw, especially if the Colts score as they did last week. Rookie WR Demaryius Thomas emerged as the Broncos top target last week and should not only be added to your team, but he should also be started.
Indianapolis: RBs Joseph Addai and Donald Brown both had good games against the Giants last week. I expect the two of them to split carries evenly again this week, but to have a little less production. I feel better about starting Addai, but I would probably stay away from both of them.
Denver: RB Knowshon Moreno had a tough time against the suddenly impressive Seahawks run defense last week, but should be able to rebound against the porous Indy run defense as long as the Broncos don’t let the game get away and he doesn’t throw his helmet into the stands. I think he is worth a start and should see the end zone this week.
Start ‘em:
Indianapolis: QB Manning, TE Clark, WR Wayne, WR Collie
Denver: RB Moreno, WR Thomas
Sit ‘em:
Indianapolis: RB Brown, WR Garcon
Denver: WR Gaffney
NY Jets: It was a tale of two weeks for the Sanchize to kick of the 2010 season. QB Mark Sanchez had a career-high 3 TDs last week against a bad Pats defense, a week after he had an abysmal week against Baltimore. I think we will see more of the week 1 Sanchez this week against the Dolphins defense that was all over Brett Favre last week. Sanchez won’t have the home crowd support and I think it will affect him and as a result I think only TE Dustin Keller will have any production in the passing game.
Miami: WR Brandon Marshall is really the only player in the Miami passing game worth considering for a start, and with Revis out, he may have a decent game, otherwise. I’d steer clear of the Miami passing game.
NY Jets: Adrian Peterson ran up and down on Miami last week (until that goal line stand in the 4th quarter). I feel like this is where this game will be won or lost, and if RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene can produce, the Jets will win: but that is irrelevant. This is about fantasy, and Tomlinson has looked a lot better than Greene has this year. Tomlinson appears to have some quickness back, and of the two running backs, he looks like he will get the majority of the touches and has a bigger day, but this has defensive struggle written all over it.
Miami: Other than RB Ronnie Brown’s 51 yard run last week against Minnesota, the Dolphins were bottled up by a good Minnesota run defense, and I expect it to be more of the same against the Jets even better run defense. I would look to another running back for points this week.
Start ‘em:
NY Jets: TE Keller…I guess
Miami: WR Marshall? Nobody is going to get points in this game. Start both defenses.
Sit ‘em:
NY Jets: QB Sanchez
Miami: QB Henne, RB Williams
Green Bay: QB Aaron Rodgers is an elite fantasy QB and has reached must start status, especially against a Bears defense that has given up a decent amount of pass yards this season. Rodgers spread the ball around a lot last week, with TE Jermichael Finley putting up the best numbers, and I suspect this week will be similar.
Chicago: WR Devin Hester emerged last week and looked pretty good. QB Jay Cutler and the Bears were able to respond to early pressure from the Cowboys and have a great day, but will they be able to do the same against a good Packers defense. The Packers picked off Cutler six times last season, but this is a new system and I expect Cutler to have a good game, as well as WRs Johnny Knox and Devin Hester.
Green Bay: RB Brandon Jackson was supposed to be the waiver savior last week, but he didn’t do much with his newfound opportunity. Backup RB John Kuhn was much more impressive and ended up splitting carries pretty evenly with Jackson. The Packers were not able to do much on the ground against a bad Bills defense, so don’t look for much this week against a better Bears D.
Chicago: RB Matt Forte has not done a whole lot on the ground this year, but he is putting up great receiving numbers in Mike Martz’s offense. Look for Forte to continue his mediocre ground numbers and be a major contributor through the air.
Start ‘em:
Green Bay: QB Rodgers, TE Finley
Chicago: QB Cutler
Sit ‘em:
Green Bay: RB Jackson
Chicago: WR Aromashodu
QB Tom Brady NE
RB Adrian Peterson MIN
RB Frank Gore SF
WR Louis Murphy OAK
WR Wes Welker NE
WR Andre Johnson HOU
TE Visanthe Shiancoe MIN
K Stephen Gostkowski NE
DEF Baltimore

  1. >Denver RB Knowshon Moreno is out against the Colts, RB Correll Buckhalter is a good start this week against the poor Colts run defense.

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