With injuries mounting at the running back position, fantasy owners will have to rely on committee backs with upside this week.
Ben Tate vs. Titans -
If you’re in need of some help at your flex position, give Ben Tate a start against the Titans defense. Last week Mikel Leshoure ran for 100 yards against Tennessee and the week before they made the likes of Ronnie Brown and Jackie Battle look like viable starting running backs.
Expect Tate’s workload to be closer to fifteen touches on a day where the Texans will walk away with an easy victory. We could even see Tate find the end zone more than one time, like he did against the Jaguars.
When Houston is matched up against playoff-caliber teams, Tate isn’t worth using, but against lesser opponents he’s an option to start going forward.
Andre Brown @ Eagles -
While Ahmad Bradshaw claims he will be active this week, don’t think for a minute the Giants won’t keep Andre Brown involved in the game plan. I like Brown to out work Bradshaw both in production and carries this week.
The Eagles have done a much better job this year against the run, but expect them to struggle at times, as the Giants will spread them out with their passing attack.
Denarius Moore @ Broncos -
Darrius Heyward-Bey is down with a concussion and second-year receiver Denarius Moore is in his third game back from a prolonged hamstring issue. Moore has been active in the Raiders' passing game since return to the field and I expect him to threaten 100 yards and a score this week.
Because the Raiders are so depleted at receiver, expect Moore to be a weekly option going forward, and I don’t care if teams try to take him away. Carson Palmer is on the downside of his career, but he loves Moore’s skill set and won’t shy away from keeping him involved.
DeSean Jackson vs. Giants -
Fantasy owners who only pay attention to stats will be disappointed in DeSean Jackson last week, but remember who was on the field against him. As long as Patrick Peterson is around in Arizona, the Cardinals have the luxury to man him up in single coverage and roll help to the other side of the field.
With Jeremy Maclin out of the lineup last week, it was easy for the Cardinals to focus on Jackson as a matchup to take away, and they clearly had the personnel to do it.
This week is a different story. The Giants have struggled against receivers and Maclin is expected back on the field. Get Jackson in your lineup as he has a history for killing the Giants.
Joe Flacco vs. Browns -
If there is any blemish on Flacco thus far it’s that the Ravens game plan wasn’t aggressive enough in Philadelphia to allow Flacco to win that game. Baltimore put the game in his hands against the Patriots and he led them to victory with an impressive performance.
With Dennis Pitta and Torrey Smith emerging as quality targets, Flacco is worthy of starting in fantasy lineups against a weak Browns secondary.
Andy Dalton @ Jaguars -
Love what offensive coordinator Jay Gruden does to allow his players to matchup in winning situations. Andrew Hawkins and Armon Binns are making an impact and that is good news for Jermaine Gresham and A.J. Green. My only concern for Andy Dalton is pass protection, as he’s taken some hard hit’s early in the season.
Playing against the Jaguars this week, expect the Bengals to have another high-scoring game as Dalton throws for 300 and at least two scores.
Dennis Pitta vs. Browns -
I was a big fan of Pitta coming out of BYU and he’s clearly ready to make an impact in the Ravens offense. Few tight ends in the game have as many targets as Pitta through three weeks and he’s clearly going to be a favorite of Flacco’s going forward.
Antonio Gates @ Chiefs -
Not ready to give up on Gates, but it’s been a frustrating start to the season. We hoped for more as he looks recovered from his ailing foot problems that have kept him off the field at times over the past two seasons.
The good news for Gates owners is that he made it through the Falcons game without re-injuring his ribs so let’s hope he gets things going in Kansas City.
Kyle Rudolph @ Lions -
I liked Rudolph as a sleeper at the tight end position this summer and thus far he’s getting it done for his squad. Rudolph, who has three touchdowns in the young season, plays against a Lion secondary that has yielded three touchdowns to tight ends in the past two weeks.
Ahmad Bradshaw @ Eagles -
He might be on the field this week but look to Andre Brown as a better play. Let’s see how Bradshaw is used throughout this game.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts the game for New York, but I’m willing to bet it will be Brown who see’s more work, and especially short yardage work, as Bradshaw is coming back from a neck injury.
Fred Jackson vs. Patriots -
Great news that Jackson is back working out and it might even play this week. That said, look to Tashard Choice as a better play this week. Jackson will see an increase in touches in the coming weeks, but I doubt he’s ready for more than 10 touches at this time.
Chris Johnson @ Texans -
Ok, this is an easy one, but after watching this guy tank last season and he helped a couple of my fantasy teams tank early on, I just love putting his name down in this section.
Johnson may find his groove against weak run defenses, but effort continues to be an issue, and we can clearly say last year’s problems were more than just conditioning.
Marques Colston @ Packers -
Colston doesn’t look right and a leg injury must be the culprit as he’s having problems putting in full practices through the week. Look to Lance Moore as a better fantasy play going forward until Colston shows up.
Kenny Britt @ Titans -
Britt was making an impact against the Lions but an ankle injury late in the game, hurts his odds of making it back to starting lineups. Hold onto him, as his upside is still solid in what will be a pass heavy attack in Tennessee.
Tony Romo vs. Bears -
Sorry for recommending Romo as a start option last week. The Buccaneers gave up over 500 yards passing to Eli Manning the week before, but Romo struggled thanks to continued struggles on the front line.
Until this offensive line can give him decent time, it’s hard to trust him against respectable defenses. The Bears have 14 sacks on the young season, so you know protection will be a problem this week.
Packers Defense vs. Saints -
Green Bay’s defense has put together two solid performances in a row, but this week they will be hosting the Saints. While New Orleans will lose this game, they should put up enough offense to make the Packers defense worth keeping on the bench.