-The return of Mikel Leshoure in Detroit has many Kevin Smith owners worried about what to do in a beautiful RB matchup as the Lions travel to Tennessee to face the Titans.
Leshoure looked great in the preseason and I am expecting a split that will cut into a significant amount of Smith's carries, possibly 12-15 touches for Leshoure.
I like Smith substantially more than Leshoure this week, though, and I would not be comfortable starting Leshoure as anything more than a speculative flex play until we get a real-game understanding of how the dynamics of this committee will play out.
-Chris Johnson has been a nightmare, and if he keeps running like a player who doesn't care, he may get benched in favor of Javon Ringer who has been cleared to play following his treatment for an elbow infection.
Ringer is nowhere near the athlete Chris Johnson is, but what good is athleticism whenever the player who carries the trait doesn't feel inclined to exhibit it on the football field?
Johnson is a mid-level RB2 at this point, and that is only because of his upside and potential. He has shown us nothing this season but pure garbage. If I'm a Johnson owner I'm picking up Ringer.
-The 49ers' offensive line has been amazing to start the 2012 season, and Frank Gore (and those who own him in fantasy) have been the primary beneficiaries.
I love the matchup against the Vikings for Gore, and think he may get off to a fast start. I also have a sneaky feeling about fellow 49ers RB Kendall Hunter, however.
Gore is getting up there in age, and Week 3 is about the time to start pacing your veteran runners, especially if you get out to an early lead. If so, I expect Hunter to be the greatest beneficiary of the garbage-time action to close things out.
-Adrian Peterson owners should be more worried than AP apparently is about his outlook against the best run defense in football. While Peterson feels that the 49ers haven't faced a run game like Minnesota's, I will say, unequivocally, that Peterson has never faced a run defense like San Francisco's.
-With Matt Forte officially out for Week 3, expect a top-10 performance from Michael Bush against the Rams at home.
-Why the Bills didn't just come right out and name C.J. Spiller the outright starter to start the 2012 season will always be a mystery to me.
Even when Fred Jackson returns, Spiller is the best RB on that roster, and an argument can be made that he is currently the best RB in the league.
Spiller remains an absolute must-start until further notice, and should be a top-four RB week in and week out until 31-year-old Fred Jackson returns.
-Demarco Murray faces a matchup at home against the Bucs that looks fairly juicy on paper, but I'm not sold that this is the week to get high on him.
If you own Murray, you will of course be starting him in hopes that the Bucs' run defense may revert to 2011 form in their trip to Dallas. I am not so sure that Greg Schiano sees that happening, though, and neither do I.
-Reggie Bush is coming off an absolute Week 2 fantasy monster facing a Jets team at home that has allowed two runners of relatively similar style in Daren McFadden and C.J. Spiller slash them in consecutive weeks.
Some may worry about the return of Daniel Thomas, and my question is: Why? What has Daniel Thomas ever done as a pro to make anyone think he is any sort of viable NFL option?
-Darren McFadden has been a relative disappointment so far to fantasy owners, and I do not see that changing against the Steelers this week. The good news is that the Raiders schedule opens up a good bit after a rough first stretch, so don't sell on him if he wets the bed again in Week 3.
-The Dolphins front seven is shaping up as a borderline-elite group that will be facing Jets' RB Shonn Greene who is far from elite. Look for other options if you have them.
-Darren Sproles is the only dependable starting RB on the Saints' roster for fantasy purposes, and I love him this week against the Chiefs who have had trouble matching up with other versatile, pass-catching RB weapons like Jacquizz Rodgers and C.J. Spiller.
-BenJarvus Green-Ellis looks absolutely terrific as a Cincinnati Bengal. In fact, he looks leaps and bounds better than I can ever remember him looking as a pro.
His offensive line as a run-unit is highly underrated, and Green-Ellis always falls forward for positive yardage in a very non-Cedric Benson manner. Green-Ellis faces a Washington defense that was carved up by sixth-round rookie Daryl Richardson last week. Get him in your lineups.
-Ryan Mathews appears poised to make his return for (the likely 0-2) owners who took him early in their 2012 drafts. The Falcons are a fairly bad matchup against fantasy RBs, but when healthy, Mathews has shown that he is capable of providing fantasy production based on volume of touches alone.
He has been practicing in full for nearly two weeks now coming off the broken clavicle, and I expect him to get his regular workload in what may shake out to be a lower-scoring affair than some are expecting. Strong RB2 play this week.
-If you own LeSean McCoy, you will be starting him, but temper your expectations. According to my eyes and my system, the Cardinals' defense is trending towards defensive juggernaut status.
-I love Maurice Jones-Drew this week and would only start three or four RBs ahead of him as he faces the Colts.
-Here are my best RB matchup plays for Week 3:
1) New York Giants RBs vs. Panthers (Why I loved Andre Brown.)
2) Cincinnati Bengals RBs vs. Redskins
3) Jacksonville Jaguars RBs vs. Colts
4) Indianapolis Colts RBs vs. Jaguars
5) Detroit Lions RBs vs. Titans
-Here are my worst RB matchup plays for Week 3:
1) Minnesota Vikings RBs vs. 49ers
2) Baltimore Ravens RBs vs. Patriots
3) Houston Texans RBs vs. Broncos
4) Atlanta Falcons RBs vs. Chargers
5) Green Bay Packers RBs vs. Seahawks