Injuries are wasting no time.
As the rest of Week 3 approaches, a handful of significant injury concerns arise for fantasy owners. Guys such as Ray Rice, Steven Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew are banged up after Week 2, causing owners to look for alternate options for the time being. Luckily, I have my off the radar guys who could provide you with some very strong fantasy production in the absence of your roughed up studs.
Sam Bradford @ Dallas Cowboys: Don’t look now, but Bradford is currently sixth-best fantasy signal caller in football right now. Many pegged 2013 as a breakout year for Bradford, and so far so good. Through two games, the former number one overall pick has thrown for 651 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions. We knew that the Rams would want to throw the ball more with their new weapons on the outside, and after two games, Bradford has thrown the ball 93 times, which is tied for third-most in the league. More importantly, Bradford has remained upright this season, which is something that could not be said for him his entire career. This week’s matchup against the Cowboys is a favorable one, as this unit is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season, and have already surrendered six passing scores. Suddenly, Bradford has tons of weapons in the passing game, and is penciled in as my 13th-ranked signal caller for this week. If you have a shaky option like Tom Brady or Eli Manning, I think I would lean towards Bradford over both, interestingly enough.
Robert Turbin vs Jacksonville Jaguars: With so many running backs banged up, Turbin could be a very sneaky play this week. Yes, I know he is the backup to Marshawn Lynch, but the Seahawks are going to neutralize the Jags this weekend. Yes, I felt even neutralized wasn’t a strong enough word to describe how ugly this game will be. Anyway, with the Seahawks likely running down the clock for the entire second half. Turbin could very well see 10-12 carries in this contest, with a possibility of scoring. Seattle won’t continue to pound the rock with Lynch if they don’t need to. Instead, Turbin will get some late work, and considering the Jaguars are allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing rushers, it’s a great matchup. If you are dealing with an injured back and are in a deeper league, Turbin may be worth a look.
Nate Burleson @ Washington Redskins: The Lions throw the football more than anyone. Meanwhile, the Redskins are pretty much worse at stopping the pass than anyone. You do the math. Burleson tends to get overlooked because he is 85-years old (kidding), but he’s actually a solid option this week against a Redskins secondary that has allowed 621 passing yards and six touchdowns through just two games. Burleson, meanwhile, has actually been targeted a solid 14 times this year, resulting in 13 grabs. This game could be an absolute shootout, and despite the hype surrounding some of the younger Detroit receivers, I think Burleson is a strong top-30 option in this matchup. All of the attention will be focused (as always) on Calvin Johnson, so if Burleson can get passed the corners, even he can destroy that awful safety corp.
Brian Hartline vs Atlanta Falcons: I stated that both Hartline and Mike Wallace will eclipse 100 receiving yards in this contest in my bold predictions column, so of course Hartline should be considered a start here. The Falcons secondary looks extremely vulnerable, as they have surrendered the 5th-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers through two games. And despite Wallace being the number one option in the passing game, quarterback Ryan Tannehill likes to look for Hartline as well, as the 26-year old has a healthy 23 targets already. I think the Dolphins will have to throw the ball a good amount to keep up with the Falcons in this contest, and Hartline is more than capable of beating a secondary that is allowing the fourth-most yards per game in the league (346.5).
Jordan Reed vs Detroit Lions: Let’s get right to it. Fred Davis isn’t very good, and should be dropped in all leagues. Even when he was healthy last year, he was hardly a big part of the offense, but during the days of Robert Griffin III, tight ends haven’t been utilized a ton. Still, Reed, a rookie out of Florida, has looked very strong thus far, grabbing eight balls for 56 yards and a score. He’s been targeted more times than the veteran Davis. Considering that Davis (ankle) is questionable for this contest, Reed may have a huge opportunity here. This game has all the signs of a shootout, so Reed could produce.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.