Fantasy Football Sunday Morning Start 'Em or Sit 'Em: Week 3: Peterson & More

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 23, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18:  Running back Ryan Mathews #24 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball in the third quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium on December 18, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Ravens 34-14.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Just hours before the start of Week 3 (for most teams anyways) I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:


Ryan Mathews, Running Back, San Diego Chargers

All indications are that Mathews will be full system go today...well, to an extent at least.  According to Kevin Acee (via Twitter):

Ryan Mathews will play vs ATL. Only question is how many carries. Especially this week, still expect Ronnie Brown on third down.

While that does limit his value, the Falcons defense has allowed 135 rushing yards per game over the first two weeks.  They also have allowed four rushing TDs (one behind the league leaders).  In other words, the matchup is an extremely enticing one.

While he may not be a must-start option, depending on your other options, he is pretty close based on this news.  Unless you are loaded at RB he is worth using in his first game back, especially considering his injury wasn’t to his legs.


Jonathan Dwyer, Running Back, Pittsburgh Steelers

While he has been dinged up this week, Dwyer has been listed as probable and is a lock to play this week.  That said, he is going to share carries with Isaac Redman, obviously limiting his potential appeal.  Granted the Raiders defense is not the Jets, but Dwyer is coming off a 12-carry, 28-yard performance.

While the Raiders have been porous against the run this season (147.5 yards per game), the time share and the potential for the Steelers to go heavy with the pass keeps Dwyer as more of a flex option.


Dustin Keller, Tight End, New York Jets

Manish Mehta (via Twitter) of the New York Daily News is reporting that: “I’ve been told Dustin Keller (hamstring) is out for tomorrow’s game vs Dolphins."

If you planned on using him, you will have to find another option.  Someone like Brandon Myers could be a nice last minute fill-in.


Adrian Peterson, Running Back, Minnesota Vikings

Talk about a tough spot: Peterson draws the toughest defense in the league in the San Francisco 49ers.  They have allowed 63.5 rushing yards per game and zero rushing TDs this season, after allowing a league-best 77.2 rushing yards per game and three rushing TDs (the second fewest was seven TDs) a year ago.

For what it’s worth, however, Peterson has looked surprisingly good over the first two weeks of the season.  While he may have problems generating significant yardage on the ground, he did have three receptions in Week 2 and has shown an ability to produce in that department in the past (he’s had as many as 43 receptions in a season).

I would expect the Vikings to continue to run their offense through Peterson and Percy Harvin, so the opportunity to produce will be there.  Obviously, if you have excellent alternatives I wouldn’t consider Peterson a must-start option. 

However, there is every reason to believe that he will be productive and could find the end zone (whether it is receiving or rushing) and I would keep him active.  He’s one of the top players in the game, and those players should generally remain in your lineup due to their upside.


Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver, Green Bay Packers

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in this story:

Jennings said he had a setback with his groin injury on Tuesday, but that he has been felling better and got through practice Friday with no problems. He said he’ll see how he’s feeling in the morning, but he indicated that no matter what he’s not going to be 100% on Monday.

Jennings is officially listed as questionable, which does give us hope that he will play (I would be a lot more skeptical if he was listed as doubtful).  However, it also is not something that you want to depend on, especially with the Packers playing on Monday night. 

It’s nice that Jennings is saying that he is going to play, but the situation is quickly shaping up as one to avoid.  With very limited potential replacements available if he’s scratched, you would be better served to go the “conservative” route with someone you know is playing today.


Pierre Garcon, Wide Receiver, Washington Redskins

According to the NFL's Adam Schefter (via Twitter): ”Redskins WR Pierre Garcon will not play today vs. Cincinnati.”

This shouldn’t be particularly surprising news, as Garcon was listed as doubtful and hasn’t played since lighting it up early in Week 1.  As we discussed earlier in the week, Leonard Hankerson is expected to start in Garcon’s place.  However, before counting on him today, keep in mind that Santana Moss and Aldrick Robinson should also see plenty of time.  At this point I would look elsewhere for a replacement.


Maurice Jones-Drew, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars

I know there were a lot of questions earlier in the year following his holdout.  However, with Rashad Jennings likely out (he’s listed as doubtful), Jones-Drew will carry the load against the Colts (a team allowing over 100 rushing yards per game early on this season).  Averaging 4.4 yards per carry over his first two games, Jones-Drew should be active in all formats.

Make sure to check out the rest of our Week 3 rankings: