Fantasy Football Week Three: Starts, Sits, and Sleepers

 

Aug 26, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) and middle linebacker Kwon Alexander (58) get pumped up prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

As there is with every week, Week 2 of the NFL season had some fantasy football surprises, both good and bad.

One surprise on the field of live action took place in Arizona this past week as the Cardinals stomped the Buccaneers by a score of 40-7. Fantasy football heroes were hard to come by on Tampa’s roster as pretty much everyone had a down day.

For second year quarterback Jameis Winston it was a stark reminder he still has plenty of room to grow. After throwing an interception on the Bucs’ first possession of the game it didn’t get any better outside of one touchdown drive, and the gunslinger finished with four interceptions to his single scoring throw.

Starting running back Doug Martin left in the first half with a hamstring injury and has since been ruled out for three weeks. This places Charles Sims firmly in the starting role while Jacquizz Rodgers will play the backup.

None of the running backs finished with stat lines to speak of and fantasy football owners were certainly disappointed with anything they got from Martin and Sims.

For receivers, it was a career day for second year player Adam Humphries who hauled in six catches for 67 yards. The lack of a touchdown keeps his scoring to single digits though as Mike Evans caught the Bucs’ only touchdown strike boosting his fantasy line to an acceptable 16 points in PPR (.5 pts per catch).

The Buccaneers defense was torched for all but seven of the Cardinals’ points as Carson Palmer connected on three touchdown passes including one to Larry Fitzgerald in the endzone despite overly aggressive coverage on the part of one Brent Grimes.

Week 2 is history though, and all involved will look to get better this weekend as Dirk Koetter leads his team into their home stadium for the first time against the Los Angeles Rams.

On to Week 3!

Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Adam Humphries (11) runs after making a catch against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 40-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Sunday, 25 September @ 4:05 PM

The Buccaneers have licked their wounds and are coming home for a chance to rebound.

 

START: Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST

Yes, I said start the Buccaneers’ defense and special teams unit. The same which gave up 33 points to the Cardinals and scored -3 points in my fantasy league. Just take a minute and let that wash over you for a minute.

Right now this defense is a mixed bag of confusion and I don’t blame anyone who dropped them – if you had them in the first place – and I certainly won’t begrudge any fantasy football owner who promptly sent them back to the pool after their performance in Arizona.

Remember this though, we’re two games in and this is a defensive unit which came in admittedly “on our high horse” according to Lavonte David, and were facing one disaster after another following four turnovers by the Bucs offense.

Note: Yes, Winston turned it over five times, but only four led to Arizona possessions as one was at the end of the game.

This week they’re facing a Rams offense which ranks last in passing offense and 28th in rushing.

If Tampa every had a prime setup to bounce back and get some momentum on their side, it’s here against Los Angeles.

This same offense dismantled the Bucs defense last year with pretty much the same starting cast.

In 2016 though, the relocated franchise has come out flat and Mike Smith will look to get his unit firing on all cylinders Sunday.

SIT: WR, Tavon Austin

There some obvious names to sit here: Case Keenum, Austin Seferian-Jenkins and even Vincent Jackson are all must sit players for the time being.

Star wideout Tavon Austin may not be the most obvious though. While the Rams offense has struggled he’s really struggled.

He did break 10 points last week in a win against the Seahawks, but those ten put him just over 15 on the year.

His highest weekly ranking thus far is 48th in the league meaning unless you’re in some kind of crazy 24 team league he doesn’t even crack WR2 in fantasy football scoring.

The young man is talented, there’s no doubt about it, but this offense just hasn’t clicked and he’s a big piece missing. From Week 1 to Week 2 he lost three targets as Kenny Britt’s went up.

Keenum isn’t looking good to anyone but he’s much better to the veteran than the speedy youngster.

This fact coupled with the Buccaneers’ struggles against taller and stronger receivers so far this year points to Britt being the man to have – if any – from the Rams receiving group.

It’s not time to release him yet, but sit Austin here.

SLEEPER: WR, Adam Humphries

For two straight weeks Adam Humphries is going to be our sleeper. He made good on the prediction last week as he put up a respectable nine spot.

If you saved some cap money with his signing and used it to land Kelvin Benjamin or Matt Forte then you’ll be happy with his production.

This week his contribution could get even better. He’s starting to look like one of Winston’s favorite targets as he went from five in Week 1 to eight in Week 2.

In fact, Humphries was just one target behind Vincent Jackson for second highest on the team.

The offense got him more involved in the second half of last week’s loss, which is when the team had their two best offensive drives of the game – even though one ended in Winston’s fourth pick of the game.

Humphries should see a continued increase in his workload and will have a shot at making those who gamble on his fantasy football potential very proud.

Sep 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) makes a touchdown reception against Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) during the second quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Ravens @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

The Jaguars disappointingly under-performing defense tries to stifle the undefeated Ravens.

 

START: WR, Mike Wallace

As disappointed as Buccaneers fans might be with their team’s real-life performance, Jaguars fans have to be even more so.

The Jags were one of the year’s favorite teams to make a jump towards the playoffs after signing powerhouse free-agents and having one of the better graded draft classes of the off-season.

0-2 is how they’ve started and a big part of it goes to their defense.

Giving up the fifth most points to quarterbacks and wide receivers each this looks to be a good early season match-up for the suddenly revitalized Mike Wallace.

With back-to-back Top-15 fantasy football scoring finishes at his position, the veteran wide receiver looks to have gelled rather quickly with his new team’s starting quarterback.

If Jacksonville can’t get their defensive woes under control, then Wallace is in line for another good fantasy performance.

 

SIT: RB, Justin Forsett

Jacksonville is giving up, on average about 15 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs. This isn’t a bad number for a guy like Justin Forsett.

The problem here is he’s not the only back getting work. Consistently over the past two weeks Forsett has had a bout a 60-40 split for fantasy points with backup Terrance West.

With neither running back breaking into double digits yet this season it’s not a stretch to believe neither back will be fantasy football relevant for the duration of the season.

With Kenneth Dixon waiting in the wings for his chance to show up and show out, it may not be realistic to expect either of these guys to even get enough carries later in the year to justify keeping them on your roster at all.

Somewhere in Forsett is the man who busted his way onto the fantasy radar just a short time ago, but for now it seems Baltimore is being run by a fairly even committee.

 

SLEEPER: RB, Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory returned to practice this week after missing the first two games following a hospital stay for an undisclosed illness.

His absence gave second year running back T.J. Yeldon the shot he wanted to show his team he could be the feature back for a Jaguars offense which is built to score big and score fast.

Unfortunately for Yeldon he’s done the opposite. His Week 1 fantasy performance was saved somewhat due to a touchdown score, but outside of that he’s been very vanilla.

Blake Bortles and the rest of the offense have found it harder to execute as a result, and Ivory’s return is surely a breath of fresh air.

He was limited in practice so don’t get too excited, but if you see him suiting up it may be time we see if he can be the same back he was coming out of New York.

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) before the game against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Redskins @ New York Giants

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

The Rumble at MetLife

START: QB, Eli Manning

Since Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season Eli Manning had only thrown for over 350 yards and fewer than two touchdowns once.

Had he added two scores to his stat line last Sunday against the Saints he would have eclipsed 24 points scored for fantasy football owners and finished the week as a Top-5 quarterback.

Alas, he didn’t, but don’t expect it to become a habit. Enter the Washington Redskins who have been victims to the pass in both of their losses to this point.

In Week 1 Antonio Brown had a field day against “Not Josh Norman” and Washington followed that up by letting Dak Prescott throw for 292 yards against them last week.

This week there’s a three-headed wide receiver monster waiting for them in New York and the ‘Skins have no way of stopping it consistently.

Manning should be in for a big day and I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes up for the lack of touchdowns last week in a big way.

 

SIT: WR, DeSean Jackson

The most unlikely division winner of 2015 has gotten off to one of the worst starts of the year going 0-2 and being nearly doubled up on points scored by their opponents.

The seemingly good news about this would be the amount of passing this team has to do. The bad for owners and fans of DeSean Jackson is the lack of production he’s had in his second year with the team.

Currently the big-play machine sits third on his team with nine catches. Granted those catches have gone for 142 yards, but his zero touchdowns to go with it make the numbers feel empty.

Jamison Crowder on the other hand has almost 50 fewer receiving yards but is the only Redskins player with a touchdown catch this year.

This discrepancy gives Crowder about three more fantasy points on the season thus far. Besides this, Jordan Reed is one of quarterback Kirk Cousins’ favorite targets as he’s tied with Crowder for the most targets on the team.

The Giants are giving up fewer than 19 points to fantasy receivers after two weeks, and the defense is only going to get better if it can avoid major injuries.

 

SLEEPER: K, Dustin Hopkins

In our daily and weekly fantasy football special of the week we have Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins.

The special teams stud has started the season 6-for-6 on field goal tries and has ranked in the Top-10 among kickers in each week to start the 2016 season.

In Week 3 he’ll face the New York Giants who are beginning to have the appearance of being the league’s premier bend-don’t-break defense.

Giving up an average of 12.5 points per game to opposing kickers makes this the most field goal friendly team in the NFL, and Hopkins is one of the better ones.

The story line is going to be Odell Beckham Jr. vs Josh Norman as NFC East rivals for the first time, but Hopkins could be the hero to give you some crucial special teams points in your individual games.

Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Packers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

Lions looking to make it two in a row at Lambeau.

 

START: QB, Aaron Rodgers

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is having a bad start to his season.

Currently, he ranks 30th in passing yards per game with just 206, and he’s 13th in the league with three touchdown passes.

He acknowledged the need for his-self to step up, and I believe he will in this divisional game against the Lions.

For Rodgers and Green Bay to stay near or at the top of the NFC North they have to be able to perform within their division and simply cannot afford to drop two in a row here.

In 2015 the perennial MVP Candidate torched Detroit by throwing for over 250 yards and two touchdowns in each contest.

They say you can’t keep a good man down and Rodgers is too good to stay down another week.

 

SIT: RB, Theo Riddick

If Theo Riddick wasn’t on a roster in your league to start the year then he probably landed on one following his two touchdown performance opening weekend against the Colts.

If he wasn’t picked up then, well he probably is now, and if you got him then you’re probably considering him as a sleeper to take advantage of the injury to lead back Ameer Abdullah.

Well, not so fast my friend – I just made that up.

The Green Bay Packers defense has been the second best team against opposing running backs so far this year allowing just 9.2 points.

Riddick may be the guy now in Detroit, but this is a touch match-up and while he may be attractive to start, you need to go with a more consistent option for this week.

 

SLEEPER: TE, Eric Ebron

No risk no reward right?

Tight end Eric Ebron hasn’t been the dominant force some thought he would be for Detroit after being drafted.

This year he’s been fairly consistent at least with five catches in Week 1 and four more in Week 2. Not Pro Bowl catch totals by any means, but respectable.

He’s hit nearly 50 yards in each of his first two games as well and has a touchdown from their Week 1 victory over the Colts.

In targets, Ebron is third on the team behind wide receivers Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.

This week could be the young tight end’s week though. The Green Bay Packers are great at containing fantasy running backs, but less great against tight ends.

In their Week 1 game against the Jaguars, Green Bay surrendered a combined seven catches for 112 yards and a score. In Week 2, Kyle Rudolph had a more modest catch total but also got in the endzone giving his owners a double-digit output as well.

If you give Ebron a try this week he’ll save you cap space for sure, if he’s in your league’s free-agent pool he may be an interesting flier against a tight end friendly defensive unit.

 

Sep 1, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry (14) carries the ball prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Hard Rock Stadium. Tennessee won 21-10. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Browns @ Miami Dolphins

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

Two 0-2 teams trying not to go 0-2-1.

 

START: WR, Jarvis Landry

Is there really any question who to start here? Yes, Tannehill did put up 23 points last week and finished in the Top-10. In fact, he’s barely outside the Top-10 in total scoring for 2016.

The reason he’s been so successful is Jarvis Landry who has almost 10 more catches than the team’s second leading receiver and nearly 100 more receiving yards to go with it.

The only thing missing from making Landry a week in and week out fantasy football favorite is touchdowns. For one, Tannehill has only thrown two touchdowns; secondly, neither has gone to Jarvis.

Cleveland is giving up more than 28 fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this year, and if for no other reason than volume alone, Landry is the guy to start here.

 

SIT: RB, Arian Foster

I could probably just turn this into a list which says, “everyone other than Jarvis Landry.”

Instead I’ll go with something someone may actually be thinking about. Do you start Arian Foster against a Browns defense giving up 16+ fantasy points per week to running backs? NO.

First of all, the chances Foster even plays aren’t that great, but if he does he’s already proven to fantasy owners – and his real owners for that matter – he can’t stay healthy.

Nothing against Foster of course, he seems like a great guy, but he simply isn’t made to take NFL punishment.

If he steps on the field this Sunday it could be for one play or 100. You never know, and it isn’t worth the gamble.

 

SLEEPER: Miami Dolphins D/ST

If anyone other than Landry scores big in this match-up call it a surprise nobody saw coming but at the same time can understand it happening.

With the caliber of defense on each side there’s no telling who might explode for a one-week fantasy football display of earthshaking proportions.

However, if I’m making a somewhat educated guess on who the main target is to pull out a shocking result, it’s going to be the Dolphins D/ST unit.

The Browns are giving up the fourth most points to opposing fantasy defenses so far this season. Some may say one of those games came with Robert Griffin III at the helm, but remember Josh McCown threw two interceptions in his Week 2 debut.

An interesting item to note here is the fact Jarvis Landry has fielded four punts for Miami with three fair catches. His one return though went for 16 yards and if you let that guy go 16 yards on a punt return then you were dangerously close to letting him go all the way.

On kick returns, rookie Jakeem Grant is averaging 33.5 yards per return with a long of 45. If Cleveland tackles like they normally do, then there could be some exciting return opportunities in this one.

 

Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson (22) runs the ball in the fourth quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

 

Denver Broncos @ Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

Broncos go for three straight wins to start the Trevor Siemian Era.
 

START: RB, C.J. Anderson

C.J. Anderson started his year off right with an impressive Week 1 performance. In Week 2 he had another decent day running for 74 yards and a touchdown.

Concerning to Anderson’s owners though has to be the nine touches given to rookie Devontae Booker who turned his opportunities into 46 yards and a 5.1 yards per carry average.

The Bengals defense is surrendering 20.7 points per week to running backs facing them; seventh most in the NFL.

If the Broncos offense can give their team a lead then both running backs should be in line for good workloads and Anderson will still get a chance to produce despite the potential rise of Booker.

 

SIT: RB, Jeremy Hill

You never can tell which Bengals running back is going to get the most work any given week, but two weeks into the year Hill has been the odd man out of this pass happy offense.

When he has gotten touches he hasn’t done much with them as he’s averaging just 2.7 yards per carry with 20 combined carries through two games.

Giovanni Bernard on the other hand has 11 catches to go with his own 10 carries and has totaled 144 yards of offense with those opportunities.

Neither produces enough consistently enough to be relied upon, but Hill is certainly less valuable at this point between he and Bernard.

 

SLEEPER: TE, Tyler Kroft

Replacing Tyler Eifert is no easy task and to this point Tyler Kroft has done so marginally.

In two games Kroft has three catches and 35 yards with no touchdowns to this point.

Meanwhile C.J. Uzomah has five catches and 68 yards with most of those coming in Week 1.

Uzomah is nursing an injury but is expected to play, and Eifert is back at practice although he shouldn’t be playing this week.

This give Kroft an opportunity to shine as his team faces a defense extremely skilled at stopping opposing wide receivers.

In order to move the ball Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will have to look at his tight end more than he may prefer, and if Kroft can convert his chances to fantasy football points then this could be the week to insert him into your lineup.

Sep 18, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) catches a touchdown pass past Green Bay Packers cornerback Damarious Randall (23) in the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

Battle of the Backup Running Backs

 

START: WR, Stefon Diggs

Second year receiver Stefon Diggs is not going to keep producing the way he has been the first two games this season, but he’s the clear number one in Minnesota which makes him a name to consider every week.

Most would probably be surprised to find out the Panthers defense is only allowing an average of 14 fantasy football points to wide receivers this year after the departure of Josh Norman and Roman Harper.

Carolina’s defense simply hasn’t looked as dominant as they had been last season and Diggs has the tools necessary to cause them fits all day long.

The lack of touchdown catches for the young receiver is concerning, but the volume he’ll receive from Sam Bradford should keep him in your lineup.

 

SIT: WR, Tedd Ginn Jr.

This is the Anti-Diggs. The Vikings defense is giving up more fantasy points per game than Carolina’s, and Ginn is looked at as a homerun hitter.

The problem with Ginn is his strength. He’s a touchdown dependent wildcard with little consistency.

Going up against Minnesota’s defense Ginn is sure to get some targets, but his three catches on the year thus far shows just how much those targets are producing.

Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen are getting monster shares in this offense, and Ginn is the one getting them stolen from him.

Sit him here and hope he doesn’t explode for two catches, 120 yards and two touchdowns.

 

SLEEPER: RB, Cameron Artis-Payne

With starter Jonathan Stewart out second year back Cameron Artis-Payne is expected to be the feature back this Sunday and the Auburn product says he’s ready.

In 2015 the then rookie impressed in limited opportunity tallying 183 rushing yards on 45 carries averaging 4.1 yards per carry.

His only touchdown of the year came in Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he’ll be looking for another this week.

For his first start of 2016 Artis-Payne draws the Cincinnati Bengals who are currently giving up more than 20 fantasy points per game to running backs.

He’s big risk big reward, but if you need to save cap room this week, give this young Panther a look for your lineup.

 

Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs with the ball against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 40-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals @ Buffalo Bills

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

Will a new offensive coordinator give the Bills’ defense a boost?

 

START: RB, David Johnson

David Johnson has firmly entrenched himself for every week consideration for all leagues and daily/weekly fantasy contests.

In two weeks Johnson has totaled 275 yards of offense and a touchdown.

This week he takes on Buffalo’s weak defense which has been running back friendly to the tune of 20+ fantasy points per week.

Another bad performance by the Bills’ defense may lead to another offensive coordinator being fired, but it should also lead to another good fantasy outing for this second year running back.

 

SIT: Buffalo Bills D/ST

The Arizona Cardinals offense led by quarterback Carson Palmer and future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald is averaging just one point given up to opposing defenses through two weeks.

Following a 40-7 shellacking of the Buccaneers, the Bills should be on full alert this week and will have problems matching up against all of the weapons at Bruce Arians’ disposal.

There isn’t a whole lot of confidence in Northwest New York these days, and you shouldn’t have any confidence in this unit for your fantasy football lineups.

 

SLEEPER: WR, Marquise Goodwin

We all saw Marquise Goodwin burn Darrelle Revis last Thursday Night.

Entering this match-up against the Cardinals we could see some more fireworks by the Olympic hopeful.

Sammy Watkins is out and Goodwin is really Tyrod Taylor’s only other deep option on the roster.

The Bills are going to have to throw to stay in the game, and they’ll have to throw deep to give LeSean McCoy some running room.

If this is the gameplan then it’s right up Goodwin’s skill set and he should get more than a few chances to try and take the Cardinals’ secondary deep.

Sep 18, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Tajae Sharpe (19) runs the ball against Detroit Lions cornerback Nevin Lawson (24) and linebacker Antwione Williams (52) during the second quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Oakland Raiders @ Tennessee Titans

Sunday, 25 September @ 1:00 PM

The Slash Brothers look to cut-down Mariota and the Titans

 

START: WR, Tajae Sharpe

The Oakland Raiders have shown they are susceptible to the pass in their match-ups against the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.

You probably won’t see Marcus Mariota go for almost 400 yards, but he should get some opportunities to throw as long as his offensive line can give him a few seconds to find Sharpe.

The rookie has busted down the doors after being underrated in this year’s draft and has given Titans fans a reason to cheer early.

He leads the team currently with 18 targets through two games with the second most targets going to tight end Delanie Walker with 11.

It’s clear Sharpe and Mariota are looking to connect often, and Oakland has been a pass friendly defense in 2016.

 

SIT: RB, Latavius Murray

Latavius Murray was thought to be the Raiders feature back entering 2016 but the running back hasn’t gotten the workload many hoped he would.

The intention may be keeping him fresh for a playoff push, but fantasy football owners don’t want to hear it I’m sure.

DeAndre Washington has eaten up 12 carries in two games while breakout star Jalen Richard has taken nine himself for 101 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, the starter has had just 22 carries in the same span and totaled 116 yards while scoring twice.

The talent is still there, so we have to believe the coaches are just preserving him, but if you want to preserve your fantasy chances then leave him sitting until his time comes later in the season.

 

SLEEPER: QB, Marcus Mariota

I just can’t imagine Marcus Mariota going for 350+ and three touchdowns, even against the Raiders defense.

Still, here we are and Oakland certainly looks vulnerable to a shoot-out with plenty of opportunity for the former Duck to air it out like he used to.

The duo of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin will definitely be looking to put the pressure on the second year quarterback, so he’ll have to stand up to the intensity if he’s going to get his team their second win of the year.

For fantasy owners though, we don’t need him to win, we just need him to throw touchdowns. He may, and he may throw more than a few.

Start him at your own risk, but it could be big.

Sep 11, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks running back Christine Michael (32) rushes with the ball during the second quarter in a game against the Miami Dolphins at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks won 12-10. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

San Francisco 49ers @ Seattle Seahawks

Sunday, 25 September @ 4:05 PM

Rawls’ return in jeopardy at home against Division Rival

 

START: RB, Christine Michael

After stopping 2015 Offensive Rookie of the Year Todd Gurley to 47 yards rushing on 17 carries the 49ers defense turned around and surrendered 100 on 16 carries to Carolina’s Fozzy Whitaker.

The average still has the San Francisco defense ranked among some of the top against the run, but those averages can be misleading sometimes.

Seattle will have a full arsenal of offensive weapons on hand looking to jump start an offense which hasn’t been overly impressive for long stretches.

Christine Michael has been individually impressive however, filling in for the injured Thomas Rawls who is looking like another scratch for Week 3.

If you haven’t picked this guy up, go out and do so.

 

SIT: QB, Blaine Gabbert

Blaine Gabbert has led his team to a 1-1 start which is probably one win more than anybody expected them to get in the first quarter of the season.

While he got the win he hasn’t gotten the stats totaling just 413 yards in two games. He’s also averaging an interception per game, which may increase following his contest against the Legion of Boom.

Seattle is also 1-1 and can purely point to their defense for getting them the one victory this season.

With the Seahawks looking to get their offense on track San Francisco could find themselves force to abandon the run which falls squarely into the strength of Richard Sherman and company.

This outcome could be disastrous for Gabbert who simply doesn’t look equipped to handle a defense of this caliber right now.

SLEEPER: San Francisco 49ers D/ST

The Seattle Seahawks first two games of the year came against the Miami Dolphins and Los Angeles Rams.

Neither team has an elite defense yet both opposing defense/special teams units finished in the Top-10 of fantasy football scoring when they faced this franchise.

Bottom line is the Seahawks offense has been disoriented and ineffective for the majority of both their games.

This has inflated the scoring output of the defenses facing them, and if this offense can’t get it together then the 49ers D/ST could be in for a good number.

 

 

Sep 11, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive back Eric Berry (29) celebrate after the game against the San Diego Chargers at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City won 33-27. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

New York Jets @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, 25 September @ 4:25 PM

Jamaal Charles trying to come back as Brandon Marshall tries to stay on the field

START: Kansas City Chiefs D/ST

The Chiefs defense has been fairly pedestrian this season putting up one point in Week 1 and seven more in Week 2.

Starting them here is dependent on a couple of factors as they enter a game which certainly looks tough on paper.

Both wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker have appeared on the Jets’ injury report with Marshall looking like a long-shot to play Sunday.

Decker himself was limited in practice on Thursday so he’ll probably be a go, but he’ll be hampered with a shoulder injury going against a hard hitting secondary.

Matt Forte looks good-to-go for this match-up, but there’s no doubt this New York offense is banged up.

If two or more can’t go for the Jets then start this unit.

 

SIT: RB, Charcandrick West

With Jamaal Charles still on the mend it looks like Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West will still carry the load for the Chiefs in Week 3; or will they?

In two weeks so far West has been out-utilized by Ware who has had 11 more carries and two more catches.

West also hasn’t made as good of use from the touches he has gotten as he’s averaging 6.7 yards per carry but just 3.7 yards per reception.

The workload is going to lean more and more towards Ware the longer West takes to become a consistent performer instead of a boom or bust change of pace back.

 

SLEEPER: WR, Jeremy Maclin

Jeremy Maclin is the Chiefs’ leading receiver with 11 catches and 131 yards.

He could be making a substantial deposit to his season totals if the Jets defense holds true to form this weekend.

Gang Green has given up the second most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far averaging 35.4 points sacrificed per game.

If Maclin and Smith can lead a similar attack then the payoff could be big against what appears to be an opportunity in this Week 3 match-up.

Sep 19, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews (81) reaches for a pass as Chicago Bears cornerback Bryce Callahan (37) defends during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Philadelphia Eagles @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Sunday, 25 September @ 4:25 PM

Battle of Pennsylvania

 

START: WR, Jordan Matthews

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews has quietly taken full advantage of the rise of rookie Carson Wentz.

Matthews has been targeting a staggering 23 times this season which ties him for the second most targets of any player in the NFL.

The Steelers secondary can be exploited as they are giving opposing wide receivers nearly 20 fantasy points every week.

With two games in a row with at least 6 catches and 71 yards there’s no reason not to have Matthews in your lineup if you have him, or pick him up in your daily/weekly games.

He’ll cost a bit more than other receivers, but the volume opportunities mean you should get good production.

 

SIT: TE, Jesse James

In his first campaign as the Pittsburgh Steelers starting tight end Jesse James has eight catches for 60 yards and one touchdown.

He’s been an important part of the offense with Martavis Bryant suspended and Markus Wheaton nursing an injury.

The expected return of Wheaton this week will take away some looks for James which could be the least of his fantasy stock problems.

Philadelphia got torched almost weekly in 2015 but their defense has stepped up this season.

Allowing just over one point per week to tight ends facing the Eagles defense, this unit is playing much better in its current state.

If you don’t have another tight end you should look at getting one, and if you’re investing in daily games use this week to find a better match-up at the tight end position.

 

SLEEPER: WR, Eli Rogers

Eli Rogers had a boom week against the Washington Redskins getting six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown.

In Week 2 he was a fantasy football bust getting just one catch for nine yards and no score.

So Week 3 brings a dilemma: do you start the second year receiver or find another option.

In deeper leagues this question may be more potent than say an eight team league.

Important to consider is the fact Rogers is fourth on the team with 10 targets and just three in Week 2.

However, with Antonio Bryant being his normal dominant self and Markus Wheaton nearing his debut for the season, Rogers could find himself in more single coverage as attention shifts away from him.

This would allow him to work in space more and make plays after the catch.

Saying this play would be a gamble is an understatement, as only the bravest of fantasy owners will look at this player.

 

Sep 11, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts tight end Dwayne Allen (83) catches the ball while Detroit Lions defensive back Rafael Bush (31) tackles him in the second quarter of the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

 

San Diego Chargers @ Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, 25 September @ 4:25 PM

Who will Luck throw to?

 

START: TE, Dwayne Allen

When the Colts kept Dwayne Allen over Andrew Luck’s college teammate Coby Fleener it really sent a message.

It also put a lot of pressure on Allen to make good on his team’s confidence in him, and to this point he’s done well.

Six catches, 78 yards and one touchdown aren’t going to have fantasy football owners stacking future picks to trade for the tight end, but it’ll keep him relevant for lineups everywhere.

The Chargers are still missing rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, and with him, a serious pass rush.

Tight ends against San Diego have been taking advantage as the Chargers have given up an average of 12.1 points per game to opposing players.

Allen will look to do the same and may get some extra looks as the Colts have several injuries to key offensive weapons this week.

 

SIT: Indianapolis Colts D/ST

Chargers second year running back Melvin Gordon has new life in what was considered to be a struggling young career.

Due to this and the play of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers along with other key names, San Diego is allowing opposing defenses to score just one point on average per game.

The Colts defense hasn’t scored more than two points in any game this year, including a -3 point performance in Week 1.

This defense was known to be a weakness for Indianapolis and they haven’t done anything yet to prove the NFL community wrong.

If you have this team release them, if you refuse to do so then at least don’t start them. Unless you enjoy losing.

 

SLEEPER: RB, Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon struggled in his rookie season out of Wisconsin and was in need of a strong start to his 2016 campaign.

He’s started with a Top-15 finish in Week 1 (17.7 points) and a Top-10 finish in Week 2 (21 points).

The loss of his teammate and backfield brother Danny Woodhead will certainly hurt the team, but it will benefit his fantasy owners as Gordon’s involvement in the game should increase significantly.

The Colts defense has been the worst against other team’s running backs this year and have donated 34.6 points per game to their cause.

Gordon should be able to take full advantage of a weak defense and continue his resurgence in 2016.

Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) is tackled by Washington Redskins inside linebacker Will Compton (51) during the second half at FedEx Field. The Dallas Cowboys won 27 – 23. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Chicago Bears @ Dallas Cowboys

Sunday, 25 September @ 8:30 PM

Sunday Night in Jerry’s World 

START: TE, Jason Witten

Jason Witten has been a safety net for rookie Dak Prescott hauling in 12 passes and taking them for 117 yards total.

Going against the Bears defense Witten could become the star of the game as Chicago looks to pressure the young quarterback giving the veteran tight end a chance to work in space.

With Cole Beasley and Witten combining to lead the Cowboys in receiving it’s obvious just how much Prescott leans on these two targets.

Chicago is currently surrendering 7.9 points per game to tight ends, but Witten should have a legitimate shot at getting his first touchdown of the season and expanding that average significantly.

 

SIT: RB, Jeremy Langford

Jeremy Langford was looked at to be the replacement for Matt Forte, but while his predecessor has been enjoying his typical brand of success the younger back has struggled.

Threatening his status as the Bears starter is the potential of rookie running back Jordan Howard who is averaging 7.3 yards per carry; although it’s only on three carries.

Langford should still get the majority of the work here against the Cowboys, but unless he can break his early season trend he’ll be in danger of getting replaced for good.

Dallas is playing in the middle of the pack against running backs meaning Langford has a chance, but it won’t come easy.

Keep him on your bench until he re-establishes himself in the Windy City.

 

SLEEPER: Dallas Cowboys D/ST

Jay Cutler isn’t expected to play at least a couple Sundays meaning the Bears will start Brian Hoyer in his place.

Alshon Jeffrey hasn’t practiced this week either and the team is possibly looking at a situation where they’ll be missing their starting quarterback and best wide receiver in Week 3.

Adding to the pressure will be the struggles of Jeremy Langford who seems to have been promoted to starter just a bit too soon.

All of this means the Cowboys defense could be in for a big game if they can exploit the struggles in Chicago and force Hoyer who will be looking to prove something to many people.

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) fourth quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

 

 

Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints

Monday, 26 September @ 8:30 PM

Shoot-Out on Monday Night

 

START: QB, Drew Brees

Both quarterbacks in this game should be good starts as these two shouldn’t repeat the Saints’ Week 2 low scoring contest.

Passing will be the theme of the night and there should be plenty of deep passes to go around.

Atlanta is giving up 25.3 points to opposing quarterbacks this year and Brees has performances of 14.5 and 31.4.

Again, you really can’t go wrong here, but with the stable of receivers at Brees’ disposal he gets the edge over Matt Ryan and his Julio Jones dependent numbers.

 

SIT: RB, Mark Ingram

Mark Ingram has only carried the ball 22 times in two games as the passing game continues to dominate in New Orleans.

The Falcons stifled the Buccaneers’ above average run attack in Week 1 but was gashed for well over 100 yards against the Raiders.

Ingram can be effective when the Saints are protecting a lead, but the defense just isn’t equipped to protect a lead long enough for the former Alabama star to really get going.

If the Saints get a big lead then maybe he’ll regain some fantasy football relevance, but otherwise he’s an easy sit for Week 3 on Monday Night.

 

SLEEPER: RB, Devonta Freeman

Devonta Freeman was the highest scoring running back in fantasy football for 2015, but his 2016 isn’t getting off the ground very well.

The Falcons facing New Orleans could kick start his season however as the Saints are allowing 23.5 points per game to running backs this year.

Tevin Coleman has outplayed Freeman in both match-ups this year, but the Falcons still seem to lean towards Devonta for the majority of the work.

If the young running back can’t get it going against this match-up then his 2016 will be in serious jeopardy to see if he can regain his fantasy dominance.

Sep 18, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) tries to pass the ball while under pressure by Carolina Panthers defensive end Mario Addison (97) during the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers defeated the 49ers 46-27. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s Recap our selections for this weekends’ match-ups…

STARTS:

 

QB, Eli Manning

QB, Aaron Rodgers

QB, Drew Brees

RB, C.J. Anderson

RB, David Johnson

RB, Christine Michael

WR, Mike Wallace

WR, Jarvis Landry

WR, Stefon Diggs

WR, Tajae Sharpe

WR, Jordan Matthews

TE, Dwayne Allen

TE, Jason Witten

Kansas City Chiefs D/ST

Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST

 

 

SITS:

Sep 11, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Chicago Bears running back Jeremy Langford (33) during the game against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

QB, Blaine Gabbert

RB, Theo Riddick 

RB, Arian Foster

RB, Jeremy Hill

RB, Justin Forsett

RB, Jeremy Langford 

RB, Mark Ingram

RB, Latavius Murray

RB, Charcandrick West

WR, Tavon Austin

WR, DeSean Jackson

WR, Tedd Ginn Jr.

TE, Jesse James

Indianapolis Colts D/ST

Buffalo Bills D/ST

 

 

SLEEPERS:

QB, Marcus Mariota

RB, Chris Ivory

RB, Devonta Freeman

RB, Cameron Artis-Payne

RB, Melvin Gordon

WR, Adam Humphries

WR, Marquise Goodwin

WR, Jeremy Maclin

WR, Eli Rogers

TE, Eric Ebron

TE, Tyler Kroft

K, Dustin Hopkins

Miami Dolphins D/ST

San Francisco 49ers D/ST

Dallas Cowboys D/ST

 

September 18, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates with wide receiver Andre Holmes (18) for a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Falcons defeated the Raiders 35-28. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

 

Week 2 Review

Top Starters

Injuries to starting running backs hurt our Week 2 picks and struggling offenses sank the efforts of our tight ends. Two Top-3 starters redeem the batch a bit.

QB – Derek Carr (25 Points – #3 QB)

RB – Ezekiel Elliott (12.7 Points – #13 RB)

WR – Kelvin Benjamin (22.8 Points – #3 WR)

TE – Julius Thomas (7.1 – #16 TE)

Top Sit Performances

Two Top-10 finishes for our sit picks. Rivers and Crowell rising above injuries to their roster to produce well for those who took the risk.

QB – Philip Rivers (23.8 Points – #6 QB)

RB – Isaiah Crowell (20.8 Points – #2 RB)

WR – Jarvis Landry (11.7 Points – #18 WR)

D/ST – San Francisco 49ers D/ST (6.0 Points – #20 D/ST)

Top Sleepers

Two Top-10 finishes for our sit picks. Rivers and Crowell rising above injuries to their roster to produce well for those who took the risk.

QB – Ryan Tannehill (23.1 Points – #7 QB)

RB – DeAngelo Williams (19.2 Points – #3 RB)

WR – Adam Humphries (12.7 Points – #39 WR)

 

 

 

 

Sep 18, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) passes the ball against the New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

 

Playing daily fantasy football games are not as simple as plug and play. It’s a delicate balance of fiscal responsibility and talent management. Here we provide a couple options which should prove affordable and full of possibilities.

The Starters

A lineup built completely of starters recommended here at The Pewter Plank.

QB – Eli Manning vs Washington Redskins

RB – David Johnson vs Buffalo Bills

RB – Christine Michael vs San Francisco 49ers

WR – Stefon Diggs vs Carolina Panthers

WR – Jordan Matthews vs Pittsburgh Steelers

WR – Jarvis Landry vs Cleveland Browns

TE – Dwayne Allen vs San Diego Chargers 

K – Graham Gano vs Carolina Panthers

*D/ST – Tampa Bay Buccaneers D/ST

The Sleepers

A lineup built with nothing but Sleepers. 

QB – Marcus Mariota vs Oakland Raiders

RB – Cameron Artis-Payne vs Minnesota Vikings

RB – Melvin Gordon vs Indianapolis Colts

WR – Jeremy Maclin vs New York Jets

WR – Marquise Goodwin vs Arizona Cardinals

WR – Eli Rogers vs Philadelphia Eagles

TE – Eric Ebron vs Green Bay Packers

K – Dustin Hopkins vs New York Giants

D/ST – Dallas Cowboys D/ST vs Chicago Bears

*no players or teams listed as starters for this week’s match-ups

 

 

 

Sep 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Brandon Williams (26) defends a pass against Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals won 40-7. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

So there we have it. Week 3 NFL action is underway with the New England Patriots continuing to win in the face of Tom Brady’s suspension.

Moving forward The Pewter Plank is looking to expand our fantasy football coverage with a weekly questions and answers article to be posted every Saturday evening to get you ready for your weekend conquest.

Want to see your Tweets in digital print and get some crucial fantasy advice from the Pewter Plank staff? Send those questions to our official Twitter feed, to any of our contributors, or simply use #PewterProjections. We can’t get to them all of course, but we’ll get to as many as we can each week.

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