Week 3 Fantasy Football Projections: Mike Wallace and WRs Set to Explode

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystSeptember 18, 2012

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 09:  Wide receiver Mike Wallace #17 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his 3 yard touchdown reception against the Denver Broncos in the fourth quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 9, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

We're two weeks into the 2012 NFL season, and while some familiar names litter the top scorers at wide receiver such as Victor Cruz of the New York Giants and Reggie Wayne of the Indianapolis Colts, top dog Danny Amendola of the St. Louis Rams is something of a surprise.

As you sit down to set your Week 3 lineups, here's a look at a trio of fantasy options at wide receiver who have the sort of favorable fantasy matchup that should portend a big statistical outing.


Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers

It was a very tumultuous offseason for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, as a protracted contract impasse led to the fourth-year pro not joining the team until just before the season started.

However, it doesn't appear to have taken Wallace long to round into form, as he reeled in five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers' Week 2 win over the New York Jets.

Wallace admitted to Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that there's still some rust to shake off.

"I think I could be even better now if I would have gone through training camp. I would have liked to be in training camp, but you know ... I think I'm moving in the right direction," Wallace said Sunday. "I'm helping my team, that's all that really matters."

The 26-year-old could easily be in for his biggest game of the season when the Steelers travel to face the Oakland Raiders, who allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts last year and whose secondary has been ravaged by injuries.


Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens

Many fantasy football pundits predicted a breakout second season for Baltimore Ravens speedster Torrey Smith after a rookie campaign in which Smith's first three NFL receptions all went for touchdowns and he averaged nearly 17 yards a catch.

To this point, however, the former Maryland standout has been relatively quiet, catching only four balls through two games, but he has managed to garner 108 receiving yards thanks to a long bomb in Week 1. 

The stage should be set for Smith to enjoy his first big outing of 2012 this Sunday night in the big AFC showdown with the New England Patriots, who surrendered the most fantasy points per game to opposing receivers in 2011. Smith lit up the New England secondary for 82 yards and a score in the AFC Championship game last year.


Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Brandon LaFell was a player I touted as a fantasy sleeper entering the 2012 season, and so far the third-year pro is making me look pretty good, reeling in nine catches for 155 yards and a touchdown through two games.

It certainly doesn't hurt that playing opposite star wide receiver Steve Smith means plenty of single coverage for LaFell, and the 25-year-old told Rod Green of The Charlotte News-Observer that he knows he owes much of his ascension to his battery-mate.

“Man, it felt great today. We got out there and got into a rhythm,” LaFell said. “Cam found me a lot today. We just got out there and made plays. I got real confident early because I kept getting the ball and I kept continuing to roll. With Steve pulling double teams and I’m getting one-on-ones, I’ve got the biggest smile on my face in the stadium. That’s going to happen a lot this year. I always tell Smitty I go off how you go.”

LaFell's strong start to the 2012 season should continue this Thursday night against the New York Giants, whose banged-up secondary has allowed the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers so far this year.