Fantasy Football: Eliminator Picks for Week 3 and Preview of Key Matchups

Marco PatitucciContributor IISeptember 18, 2012

Can Luck get his second NFL victory in Week 3?
Can Luck get his second NFL victory in Week 3?Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Another series of upsets rocked the NFL in Week 2, but this time there were major implications in eliminator and survivor challenges.

The New England Patriots were the No. 1 selection of Week 2 but suffered an upset at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, 20-18.There nearly was even more devastation to pool entries as the New York Giants (a popular selection and my Week 2 pick) needed a late comeback to beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 41-34.

Although the Patriots loss was the big killer, there were other significant misses for the field. The Oakland Raiders' loss in Miami and the Washington Redskins' loss in St. Louis support the strategy of only selecting the strongest teams in away games.

Previous Selections

Week 1: Detroit Lions

Week 2: New York Giants

Key Matchups

 How has New Orleans fared without head coach Sean Payton on the sidelines? Well, the Saints’ offense has continued to put up points, but the defense is at or near the bottom of the league defending against the run (32nd) and the pass (26th), resulting in a 0-2 start to the season.

A home game against the Kansas City Chiefs could be the turning point for the team, and about 20 percent of entries are banking on a Saints’ victory in Week 3.

This game is likely to be a high-scoring affair, as each team already has allowed 40 points in a game this season. Although the Saints are nine-point favorites and likely winners, there’s other matchups I feel more confident in this week.

 The San Francisco 49ers are a popular selection this week as they have beaten two of last years' playoff teams: the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. In Week 3 they face a Minnesota Vikings team that has played two close games this season: a win against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

Although this could be considered a “trap” game for the 49ers, they certainly have proven they are one of the league’s elite in 2012. The 49ers would be a safe pick in Week 3.

The Chicago Bears are seven-and-a-half-point favorites against the St. Louis Rams. Although the Bears beat up the Colts in Week 1, they looked overmatched against the Packers. Their offense was unable to get anything done as Jay Cutler was sacked seven times in the Thursday night game.

St. Louis is coming off a huge win over the Redskins, and they can bring the pressure as well. I’d avoid this one.

The Indianapolis Colts host the Jacksonville Jaguars as two young quarterbacks face off for their first divisional matchups. Andrew Luck collected his first NFL victory and looked sharp on Sunday against Minnesota as the Colts won 23-20. Blaine Gabbert’s Jags lost to the Texans 27-7, and Gabbert sustained a glute injury during the game.

The Colts are not one of the most popular picks of the week, appearing on only about three percent of entries. But this would be a good week to take the Colts and get a win with a team that probably won’t be a playoff contender.


Upset Watch

The Cleveland Browns are three-point underdogs at home against the Buffalo Bills. This should be a competitive contest, and the Browns are in a good position to get their first win of the season.

Cleveland lost a close one to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, but rookies Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson both put forth quality contributions. The Cleveland defense also sacked Andy Dalton six times.


Final Thoughts

 The safest eliminator option of the week would be the 49ers, with the Saints not far behind. But with the 49ers on the road and the Saints not in top form yet, it’s a good opportunity to use an average team in a good spot to nab a victory this week. The Colts, at home against the 0-2 Jaguars, are that team.


Week 3 Selection: Indianapolis Colts