Week 3 Fantasy Football Projections: Underrated Starts for Deep Leagues
Need fantasy advice, but don't have the luxury of choosing between Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall?
Maybe you're in a league with 11 other complete fantasy nuts, guys that put in a waiver claim on New York Giants Andre Brown as they read the report that Ahmad Bradshaw wouldn't go against the Carolina Panthers.
In this league, every point counts and getting those underrated guys into the lineup is often the difference between a win and a loss.
Here are four underrated Week 3 starts for the deep, ultra-competitive leagues that most certainly are out there in the fantasy realm.
Quarterback: Alex Smith at Minnesota Vikings
So you took a flier on Alex Smith in the middle of your fantasy draft. Good choice. Smith's gone for over 200 yards with two scores and no interceptions in his first two games, and he faces a Minnesota secondary that has allowed a combined 101.1 QB rating to Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck in two games.
They've also surrendered four passing touchdowns and have yet to record an interception.
Jim Harbaugh prides himself on implementing an extremely balanced offensive attack, but Smith will throw it between 25-30 times and there's no reason to believe he won't be efficient again.
He won't get you 18 points, but he's a safe play that will produce.
Running Back: Mikel Leshoure at Tennessee Titans
The advice to start Leshoure is purely based on speculation, as the Lions runner returns from suspension this week.
However, ESPN's Chris Mortensen was asked a question on Twitter regarding the amount of carries he expects Leshoure to receive against the Titans, and responded with this answer:
RT @jsparxx13How much playing time do you think Mikel Leshoure will get in his first game back? >> they r excited about him. 15??— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) September 20, 2012
No, 15 carries doesn't typically translate to a player being a "good start", and Detroit Lions love throwing the football, but there's reason to believe the 2011 second rounder will have a solid game.
Though it's a bit early to use rankings as basis for fantasy decisions, the Titans have allowed 155 yards and 4.2 yards per carry on the ground in two games.
The Lions should get out to a big deal in this one, which should make Leshoure a viable fantasy runner in the fourth quarter.
Got to love the garbage time fantasy contributions.
Starting Leshoure's risky, but if you need help at the RB spot, take a chance this week.
Wide Receiver: Donnie Avery vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Starting Avery is probably the easiest choice of any player on this list. Yeah, really.
The 2008 second-round pick didn't make it as a St. Louis Ram, but he's moving into a integral role with Andrew Luck's Colts.
Last week, he was targeted 11 times and caught nine passes for 111 yards.
Reggie Wayne is probably Luck's favorite target, but Avery is a close second. The Jaguars defense is underrated, but its strength is in its front four, not it's secondary.
At home, look for Luck to build on a strong Week 2 performance and for Avery to get to double-digit targets again.
A great WR No. 3 option who could out-produce your other receivers.
Tight End: Scott Chandler at Cleveland Browns
Without David Nelson, Chandler is Buffalo's go-to red zone target. Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing only 19 passes and finishing with a mere 10 completions in a Week 2 thrashing of the Kansas City Chiefs, Chandler was targeted five times. He caught two passes for 53 yards, and even with the running game rolling, he was the recipient of a Ryan Fitzpatrick touchdown toss.
With the Browns looking to zero in on C.J. Spiller, don't be shocked if the 6'7'' Chandler gets some more red zone looks today. The Bills should be able to move the ball against Cleveland's defense that's allowed the 21st-most yards per drive through two games.
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