Fantasy Football Week 3 Predictions: Predicting Top Rookie Performers

Matt SteinCorrespondent IISeptember 21, 2012

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 16:  Trent Richardson #33 of the Cleveland Browns runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 16, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It is a difficult decision to place your fantasy football team in the hands of an NFL rookie. However, as we've seen through the first two weeks of the season, there are a handful of rookies who are capable of carrying your team to victory.

Today we'll project the highest-scoring rookies for Week 3 of fantasy football.


QB Robert Griffin III vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Despite being only two weeks into the NFL season, Griffin has already become a must-start in every fantasy football league. In fact, his matchup against the porous pass defense of the Bengals makes him one of the best starts this week.

Last week, the Bengals defense gave up 322 yards and two touchdowns to Brandon Weeden. Yeah, that's the same Brandon Weeden that threw four interceptions and zero touchdowns the week before.

Look for Griffin to have an absolute field day against Cincinnati while flirting with top scoring honors for Week 3.


RB Trent Richardson vs. Buffalo Bills

Richardson showed in Week 2 why he was highly regarded as the best running back prospect since Adrian Peterson. He ran with power and agility on his way to 109 yards and a touchdown against Cincinnati.

Now he gets the Bills in Week 3, and they haven't exactly been stellar against the run in two weeks. Buffalo is giving up an average of 134 rushing yards per game and nearly 33 points per game.

With the Cleveland Browns weary of Buffalo's aggressive pass rush, they will be content to hand the ball to Richardson all game long. As long as Cleveland can stay close in this game, there is no reason that we won't see another huge performance from Richardson.


RB Doug Martin vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys got dominated last week by the Seattle Seahawks, and a big reason for that was the play of running back Marshawn Lynch. Lynch had 26 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers already showing they want to pound the ball on the ground this year, they could have similar success against Dallas. The beneficiary of the Buccaneers offense has been Martin, who is averaging 24 touches per game.

While he hasn't been stellar through the first two weeks, any running back getting that many carries becomes a threat to have a huge week. Considering what Dallas just went though with Lynch, look for Martin to have a career game in Week 3.


WR Justin Blackmon at Indianapolis Colts

After playing exceptionally well during the preseason, Blackmon has struggled mightily to start the regular season. Through two games, he only has three receptions for 24 yards.

While those numbers should certainly make you wary of starting him, there is a more important number in his Week 3 matchup against Indianapolis: Quarterbacks have a 158.3 quarterback rating against cornerback Vontae Davis.

Davis has been targeted 11 times and has given up 10 receptions for 143 yards and two touchdowns. Simply put, if Davis is on Blackmon, there is a great chance that the rookie will have a fantastic game in Week 3.

Of course, this also depends on quarterback Blaine Gabbert not going 7-for-19 with 53 yards, but my gut tells me that was more a fluke performance than what we'll consistently see from Gabbert.


TE Coby Fleener vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Through two games, Fleener has already been targeted 14 times by Andrew Luck. While those 14 targets have only produced eight receptions and 98 yards, the fact that Luck is looking for Fleener so often makes him a quality start this week.

We all know how great a relationship Fleener and Luck had throughout college, and this will finally be the week that we see it in the NFL.