Last-Minute Week 3 Fantasy Football Advice for Every Position on Your Roster
Half of you were big winners last week while half of you were dealt a painful loss. As fantasy football owners, we must remember one of the most important rules of fantasy strategy coming into this week:
Be ahead of the curve. Good investors don't do what everyone else is doing.
Weeks 3 and 4 of the fantasy football season are absolutely vital. This is when losing owners begin to panic and start to systematically dismantle their slow-starting squads via trades/fleece-jobs from winning owners.
Now is not the time to panic. While others panic, let loose and have fun. While others are turtling up; hanging on to preseason expectations and beliefs regarding their stud players, you take chances.
Recognize situations for what they are as opposed to what you thought they were going to be. It will take your competition another two to three weeks before they adopt this winning strategy. It happens every year.
As always, feel free to hit me up in the comments or on twitter with your sit/start questions. This is your Week 3 last-minute fantasy advice.
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-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
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-Calvin Johnson is still Calvin Johnson. The Lions WR/robot will give his fantasy owners a nice reminder this week as to why they drafted him the first round of their fantasy drafts.
-Speaking of the Lions, Nate Burleson was on the field for almost 90 percent of Week 2 snaps, and could be a sneaky flex-play in deep leagues against the No. 7 matchup for opposing WRs in Tennessee.
-Kenny Britt will have the ball-and-chain of a snap count lifted from his uber-athletic frame in a Week 3 return as the No. 1 receiving option in Tennessee. To say I am not comfortable with QB Jake Locker is an understatement, but we've seen what Britt can do while healthy, even through abysmal QB play.
-We must address Larry Fitzgerald. We must address his propensity for absolutely murdering the Eagles. If there is one player in this league who can currently be defined as a "team-killer" it is Larry Fitzgerald in regard to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Lets look at both sides of this coin. This fantasy coin some thought was gold, even given apparent rubbish at the QB position:
a) We have seen Fitzgerald go off on Philly for 146-yard, two TD fantasy explosions in the recent past with QBs like John Skelton throwing the ball. In his most recent four games against the Eagles, Fitzgerald has put up 456 yards and eight total touchdowns.
b) Most of those stats were put up catching balls from a future Hall of Famer. That is not really the case in Arizona these days, in case you haven't noticed. Arizona is in a horse race with Chicago this season for highest QB murder rate in the country.
Fitzgerald's production has been awful, and his body language on the field very obviously indicates he is much more frustrated with this situation than his fantasy owners.
-Austin Collie has returned to practice and who knows if he'll go. He has been upgraded to probable, but I don't trust him, and I don't know if these concussion-risk guys really trust themselves after getting too many.
NFL concussions seem to be aggregate in nature. You get one, the next one comes easier, and so on.
If Collie returns, it makes me cautious about Donnie Avery's prospects in this week's matchup, but I do like him much more than Collie moving forward.
Avery played every snap in Week 1 and most every snap in Week 2. OC Bruce Arians has made publicly known his love for Avery as a player. If someone dropped him in your league because they heard Collie was coming back, snag him. He's going to be a great player for you down the stretch.
Week 2 Fantasy WR 10-Target Club:
Danny Amendola- 16
Dwayne Bowe- 15
Hakeem Nicks- 15
Percy Harvin- 13
Brandon Lloyd- 13
A.J. Green- 12
Brian Hartline- 12
Calvin Johnson- 12
Santonio Holmes- 11
Demaryius Thomas- 11
Wes Welker- 11
Roddy White- 11
Miles Austin- 10
Donnie Avery- 10
Vincent Jackson- 10
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-Judging by the roster questions I get in the comments section, I realize that many of you play in 10-team leagues. If you do and Martellus Bennett is still unowned, snag him.
You should have already because now he is likely to have cleared your waivers next week. After three games, Bennett is on pace to be a top three-five, elite fantasy tight end this season.
-Antonio Gates is healthy, but his owners are still sick to their stomachs. Last week, Gates was a surprise last-minute scratch while his backup, Dante Rosario, went on to score three TDs that would have been Gates' had he played.
Gates is a must-start if you own him, and has proven relatively matchup-proof. Don't let his Week 1 stinker and the last-minute scratch make you forget how reliable Gates is when healthy.
-Fred Davis keeps leading this Redskins offense in targets. While he has been killing his fantasy owners, I can't help but think he is due to pop one off.
The Bengals at home is a prime spot to cash in on those targets. Their secondary is a mess and their LB corps is very, very suspect in coverage. If you've rolled with Davis this long, don't swap him out for a total scrub out of frustration. If he stinks it up this week, then start thinking about cutting bait for now.
-Dennis Pitta has been 2012's most intriguing addition to the Ravens offense and should be rostered in all leagues. He led all TEs last week with 15 targets and is utilized in a manner similar to Aaron Hernandez, lining up in multiple positions and showing immense athleticism. He should be considered a premium TE1 moving forward until he shows otherwise.
-Here are my top TE matchups for Week 3:
1) Lions TEs versus Titans
2) Giants TEs versus Panthers
3) Browns TEs versus Bills
4) Bucs TEs versus Cowboys
5) Seahawks TEs versus Packers
Here are my worst TE matchups for Week 3:
1) Broncos TEs versus Texans
2) Cardinals TEs versus Eagles
3) Ravens TEs versus Patriots
4) Bears TEs versus Rams
5) Packers TEs versus Seahawks
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-How can you start off with anyone except Robert Griffin III? He has been amazing, and now is the time to roll with him confidently.
Will there be bumps along the way? Yes. There will be with any fantasy QB. RG3 has shown that he has upside to be an elite fantasy option. Owners of RG3 should be looking to upgrade at another position by either moving him or the starting QB that you drafted.
-I don't like the Packers' chances for too much offensive success traveling to Seattle, and Aaron Rodgers owners should temper their expectations this week.
-Drew Brees will unleash an absolute fantasy monster coming back to the dome against a KC squad that Matt Ryan torched. I have Brees as my No. 1 QB for Week 3.
-Alex Smith is basically money in the bank as a player in a QBBC approach. They say that Matt Schaub is the "Ultimate Game Manager," but I think that Smith may have something to say about that. I have Smith this week, as I do most weeks, as a fringe QB1 in 12-team leagues facing a great matchup in Minnesota.
-The Colts-Jags game will be an interesting affair featuring two young, developing QBs in new systems. Luck has shown great promise to be a serviceable spot play with QB1 upside this season, but I don't like starting him this week against a Jacksonville secondary that is sneaky-good.
-I'm struggling most with Matt Ryan. My heart tells me this game in San Diego is going to be a shootout with lots of fantasy action on both sides.
My matchup algorithm tells me differently, though. I also don't like an East Coast finesse, timing team with elite outside weapons having to travel all the way west for an afternoon game.
-Mike Vick and the Eagles will have a chore on their hands traveling to the desert to face a surprisingly athletic and efficient Cardinals' defense.
One thing we know about Vick is that he always get his fantasy points. Even when he throws four picks and fumbles, he generally has the defense lathered up enough by the end of the game to come through with the QB1 numbers you have come to expect.
I still start Vick, but do so with a bit less confidence this week.