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Week 3: Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em

Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE

What a week 2 for fantasy football huh folks? Not only did I successfully predict 2 touchdowns for Cleveland Browns RB Trent Richardson, but I also told the masses to start St. Louis Rams WR Danny Amendola, who exploded! Let’s hope the success continues into week 3. I know most have an attention span of about ten seconds, but here is my extensive fantasy football week 3 start em, sit em. As always, best of luck.

 

START ‘EM: 

QUARTERBACKS:

Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton

Andy is like a well kept secret. As of right now, he’s ranked in the top half of the rankings, while names like, Peyton Manning are below him. Dalton threw for 318 yards and three touchdowns last week, Now, Dalton faces a Washington Redskins secondary that has been scorched in the first two weeks of the season. Redskins defense has given up a whopping 649 yards through the air and six touchdowns.

Bengals are not a team loaded with talent, but WR A.J. Green and tight end Jermaine Gresham should have a field day if this turns into shootout.

San Francisco 49ers QB Alex Smith

Another quarterback that was not expected to be a top-tier QB, but as of right now, Alex is the 12th best fantasy quarterback, and he’s doing it in style. Through two games, he has thrown for a modest 437 yards, four touchdowns, and zero turnovers. The running game, with old-timer (but looking like a rookie), Frank Gore is opening the passing game up for Smith.

When you think about it, Smith has a solid core of targets he can rely on that include, TE Vernon Davis, WR Michael Crabtree who has had a solid start to the season, and even Randy Moss. A Minnesota Vikings secondary is enough for me to advise Smith as a start this week.

They have faced the likes of Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert and Indianapolis Colts rookie QB  Andrew Luck, the result; 484 passing yards and four total touchdowns. TO BLAINE GABBERT AND ANDREW LUCK. Sorry for the caps, but had to get my point across. Start em.

RUNNING BACKS:

Chicago Bears RB Michael Bush

I tried to warn Matt Forte lovers before the season started. I’m not saying he hasn’t been productive, but here we are in week 3, and both Bush and Forte have almost identical production, and Bush is now the starter. A sprained ankle will keep Forte and his owners out of action on Sunday. That leaves Bush as the workhorse, and I think he’s going to make it count. Bush has been here before, he knows how to fill the void, as he did for a few years, for the often injured Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden. The St. Louis Rams surrendered 176 rushing yards to the Washington Redskins last week. Look for the trend to continue.

Indianapolis Colts RB Donald Brown

Only being started in 20% of leagues on average, I think owners aren’t paying attention to the match up. It’s the Jacksonville Jaguars, folks. The worst run defense in the league through 2 weeks, giving up 321 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns. Brown has faced two solid defenses in the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears. 

He only saw a measly 9 rushing attempts in week 1, and that increased to 16 in week 2. I expect close to 20 in this game, and I expect him to make it count against a poor defense. Brown is a good flex option this week in my opinion.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin

Doug Martin has gotten 20+ carries in the first two games of the season, and that trend should continue in week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas ranks 20th against the run, and gave up a whopping 182 rushing yards last week to the Seattle Seahawks. The workhorse back should reach the 100-yard mark and reach the end zone against this below average rush defense.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Dallas Cowboys WR Miles Austin

I guess the Kevin Olgetree fan club will be canceled soon. Miles Austin and his hamstring seem to be just fine, and he’s proving it by being a top 8 fantasy wide receiver and top dog in Dallas. He has recorded a touchdown in both weeks, and was the only player to score last week against the Seattle Seahawks.

Now he faces a Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary, which happens to be the worst in the NFL, and were smoked for 500+ yards last week against Eli Manning and the New York GiantsAll systems are a go!

Chicago Bears WR Brandon Marshall

The Green Bay Packers owned Brandon Marshall last week, holding him to a lousy 24 yards on two receptions. Marshall owners should not fear some sort of fall out or anything of that nature. A match up against the Rams will help Marshall’s cause, and hush the critics who are already flapping their lips about him and QB Jay Cutler. The Rams do not have the secondary or a shutdown corner to contain a target like Brandon. He’s scoring on Sunday, believe that.

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe 

The Chiefs misery will most likely continue this week when they face an 0-2 New Orleans Saints team on the road. That doesn’t mean Bowe and his owners won’t benefit though. Let’s all be realistic here, the Chiefs will be losing in this game, and will at some point have to throw the ball. And the Saints defense is about as bad as the Chiefs are, so look for Bowe to benefit from any sort of passing game that KC might have.

TIGHT ENDS:

Cincinnati Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham

Like I’ve mentioned before, the Bengals do not have many offensive weapons. Behind A.J. Green and BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Gresham is the next best option. He certainly has been of to a slow start this season, but a team like the Redskins will help him find the end zone for the first time this season. Redskins are giving up an average of 11.5 points a game to the tight end position.

Tennessee Titans TE Jared Cook

Jared Cook has gotten faith from me this season. I’ve ruled him as a player with breakout potential, but we haven’t seen it yet. He has 7 receptions for 87 yards, and has yet to find the end zone. Now, he gets to face a Detroit Lions defense who have given up the fifth most fantasy points to the tight end position this season. They were also smoked by 49ers TE Vernon Davis last week. Titans offense is certainly struggling and might hinder Cook’s production, but I think they somehow connect this week.

Detroit Lions TE Brandon Pettigrew 

Speaking of the Detroit Lions, not many teams are worse at defending the TE position than them, but the Titans somehow managed to be dead last in this category. They have given up 227 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, the first week they faced the New England Patriots, so I will give them a pass for that week.

Week 2, however? They face the San Diego Chargers, WITHOUT Antonio Gates, and they still allow some guy named Dante Rosario to score 3 touchdowns on four receptions. Pettigrew is scoring on Sunday, bank on it!

 

SIT ‘EM: 

QUARTERBACKS: 

Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick

Michael Vick has been a turnover machine in 2012, turning the ball over 7 times in two games. With his trusted red zone target, Jeremy Maclin out with a hip injury, he might be in for a long day. The Arizona Cardinals are off to a hot 2-0 start, fresh off a road victory against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Vick might have to earn his fantasy points with his legs in this one, especially if he wants to keep the turnovers to a minimum.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman

Freeman shouldn’t be your fantasy QB starter to begin with, but if he is for some odd reason, I’d advise looking elsewhere this week. The Dallas Cowboys pass defense ranks 3rd in the NFL, giving up an average of 160 yards a game. The run defense in Dallas is another story, giving up 236 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns through two games. I suspect Doug Martin gets fed the ball early and often, and only way Freeman has a productive day is if he collects garbage time points.

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning and his owners had a hair-pulling Sunday night last week. He was picked off three times in the 1st half against the Atlanta Falcons and clearly struggled throughout the entire game. Things aren’t about to get any easier for Peyton and his owners, as they square off against what some consider the best defense in the NFL, the Houston Texans. In all fairness, the Texans have faced nobody this season, winning against the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars. You still can’t ignore the Texans defense, and there stout running game. They will most likely try to win the possession battle, keeping Manning off the field whenever they can. You can also figure Peyton is good for at least one or two turnovers on Sunday. Not an ideal match up, I’d look elsewhere.

RUNNING BACKS:

Houston Texans RB Ben Tate

I’ve said it before, I will say it again. Ben Tate could be an NFL starter on almost any team. He proved it last week, scoring twice against the miserable Jaguars. The reality however, is that Arian Foster is one of the best running backs in the game, and is top dog in Houston. Tate will have productive weeks, and be a non-factor in others. Don’t expect a repeat performance, Houston will need Foster for the full four quarters against the Broncos.

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Matthews

All I ever hear about Ryan Matthews is how good he is, and how he is a must-start. I beg to differ. Coming off a clavicle injury, Matthews is said to be ready to go for the Chargers week 3 match up  against the Atlanta Falcons. I just can’t see Matthews getting a heavy workload in this one, which will obviously hinder his production. If you own him, be patient as he gets back to game form, don’t expect the world from Matthews in his first week back off an injury.

WIDE RECEIVERS:

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald 

Can you say BUST? Larry is currently ranked 73rd in the rankings, and has yet to record a touchdown on the young season. Believe it or not, but the loss of QB John Skelton hurts Larry’s value. Whatever the reason may be, QB Kevin Kolb just can’t seem to get the ball to Fitzgerald. Larry was targeted 11 times in week 1, compared to just five in week 2. The Philadelphia Eagles pass defense has been terrific this season, ranked sixth against the pass, and only two NFL teams have given up less points to the WR position. Look for the struggles to continue between Kolb and Fitzgerald owners.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson

Jackson has been targeted roughly 40% of the time by his quarterback Josh Freeman. He has only managed 9 receptions through 2 weeks, but had 128 receiving yards and 1 touchdown against the New York Giants last week. The Dallas Cowboys secondary is stout, ranking third in the NFL, and have yet to allow a passing touchdown this season. The Cowboys can’t stop the run, but I can almost bet that they will have their eye on the Bucs top receiver.

New York Jets WR Santonio Holmes

Santonio might be the #1 option in the Jets offense, but that’s not saying much. He has 19 targets on the season, the most out of all the Jets wide receivers, but only has seven receptions. Holmes only has 7 receptions in five career games against the Miami Dolphins, and I don’t trust Mark Sanchez. Maybe Holmes reaches the end zone this weekend, but it’s still might not be enough to warrant a start.

TIGHT ENDS: 

Atlanta Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez 

Hate to put a guy like Tony on the sit’ em section, but he can’t possibly score every single week, can he? Last week, the Denver Broncos did a great job of shutting Julio Jones down, which opened the passing game up for Gonzalez. Obviously, Tony is a big part of the Falcons offense and one of Matt Ryan‘s favorite targets, but the San Diego Chargers have kept opposing tight ends out of the end zone thus far and I expect that to continue.

In PPR formats, Tony might still be a viable option, but I don’t think he scores this week.

Green Bay Packers TE Jermichael Finely

The Seattle Seahawks defense is highly underrated in my opinion. They proved it last week by dominating the Dallas Cowboys, and their secondary is no cakewalk. Seattle is ranked 6th against the tight end position, and have yet to allow the opposing tight end to reach the end zone. Greg Jennings should be back in the lineup for the Packers after missing week 2, and if Cedric Benson can punch in any goal-line carries, Finley could be erased from the equation.

 

Michael J. Igyarto is a featured columnist and fantasy football expert at Rant Sports

Follow Michael on twitter: @windycityiggy