Fantasy Football 2013: Booms, Busts and Deep Sleepers for Week 3
It’s Week 3 already, and as a fantasy football owner, you are either in celebration mode (2-0), panic mode (0-2) or right-in-the-middle mode (1-1). Regardless of where you stand, you’re probably looking at Week 3 with dire importance. In this slideshow I will highlight some booms, busts and deep sleepers to keep an eye on in a critical week of fantasy football.
Obviously, I won’t be telling you to start Aaron Rodgers or sit Geno Smith. No, what will follow are the players who can either break out or break down. Just make sure the former are in your lineups and the latter are on your bench.
So, let’s dissect the matchups and get into some booms, busts and deep sleepers for this week.
Here are some rock-solid starts that could go boom this week.
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
While Russell Wilson didn’t have great passing stats (142 yards and a touchdown) in his game against San Francisco, Wilson will now take on the putrid Jacksonville Jaguars at home this Sunday, and he can only go up from here.
Seattle's offense will still run through Marshawn Lynch, but facing a Jags squad that hasn’t had to be tested in the air (having squared off against Alex Smith of the Chiefs and Terrelle Pryor of the Raiders), Wilson should get back to posting near elite numbers in an attempt to get back into a groove.
Expect Wilson to have close to 300 yards passing with two or three scores.
Eric Decker, Denver Broncos
While Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker are higher in the pecking order for targets in Denver, Eric Decker could go off, too, in the Broncos game against the Oakland Raiders on Monday night.
The Raiders may be playing decent enough defense, but they haven’t quite faced an offense as loaded as Denver. Peyton Manning could go off, and expect him to spread the wealth. Besides, Decker is coming off a great day in New Jersey when he caught nine passes for 87 yards against the Giants.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs
Although not off to the greatest of starts (eight receptions for 86 yards and a touchdown through two games), Dwayne Bowe makes for a fantastic start in Thursday night’s affair in Philadelphia.
You see, Chiefs coach Andy Reid will be making his return to Philadelphia, and he’d love nothing more than to come into Philly and stick it to his old team. And one way to exploit Philadelphia is through the air, seeing as the Eagles have allowed 360.5 passing yards (second to last in the league) and five touchdowns through the air.
Expect the game plan to revolve around Bowe getting plenty of looks.
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
Regardless if Andre Johnson is playing or not, as he is dealing with a concussion, Hopkins could still be in line for a big day. Hopkins is coming off a fantastic afternoon against the Titans this past Sunday when he hauled in seven receptions for 117 yards and a touchdown.
This week Hopkins and the Texans will be facing a Ravens squad that allowed Peyton Manning to rack up 462 yards and seven touchdowns against them in Week 1. While Matt Schaub is no Manning, he should fare much better than Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell (who faced the Browns in Week 2), and he should target Hopkins a lot—with or without Johnson available.
Here are some players who may go bust this week.
Any Pittsburgh Steeler skill position player
This may be a long year in the Steel City.
The Steelers offense is a total mess, and from Ben Roethlisberger down to the tight ends, any Steeler position player is a risky fantasy start these days. Roethlisberger has passed for 442 yards and two touchdowns so far, and while that is OK, it’s not eye-popping. And forget any Steelers running back, as Pittsburgh ranks second to last in the NFL in rushing (37.5 rushing yards per game).
This team is lacking playmakers, and with the departure of Mike Wallace in the offseason and injuries to Heath Miller and Le’Veon Bell, Roethlisberger and any Steelers skill position players are just not recommended starts at the moment. Not to mention, this week the Steelers take on the Bears in Chicago, so if the Steelers’ playmakers are to get going, it shouldn’t come this week.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Heading back to California (where he played college ball at Stanford) and facing off against his old college coach (Jim Harbaugh), Andrew Luck may find the sledding too tough in San Francisco this weekend.
The 49ers have faced off against Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson thus far. They allowed Rodgers to throw for 333 yards and three touchdowns (but, hey, Rodgers can throw on anyone), and while they got ambushed in Seattle on Sunday night, the 49ers did limit Wilson to 142 passing yards and a touchdown.
Expect Luck to have numbers more similar to Wilson than Rodgers, as playing San Francisco should be no walk in the park.
Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts
Sure, Marshawn Lynch rushed for 98 yards while scoring three total touchdowns against San Francisco on Sunday night. However, Ahmad Bradshaw is no Marshawn Lynch.
As usual, the 49ers have a stout run defense, and they shut down the Packers run game in Week 1. Expect Bradshaw to put up numbers more in line to what Eddie Lacy posted against the 49ers (14 carries for 41 yards), while coming nowhere close to what Lynch did on Sunday.
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
Daryl Richardson has not exactly lit the world on fire and has only rushed for 98 yards with no touchdowns in two games thus far.
He may have a tough time busting loose this week in Dallas as the Cowboys rank 10th against the run (allowing 82 rushing yards per game), while not allowing a rushing touchdown yet. On Sunday the Cowboys limited Jamaal Charles to just 55 yards rushing. In fact, Alex Smith was the Chiefs’ leading rusher (57 yards) in Sunday’s game.
With Sam Bradford excelling this year, expect the Rams to keep airing it out in this affair.
Looking for lottery-pick sleepers? Well, take these four players on for size.
Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
As mentioned before in the Russell Wilson slide, the Seahawks passing game should break out with the Jaguars coming to town, and Golden Tate should be the prime beneficiary.
I get that people are down on Tate right now, as he’s only recorded five receptions for 70 yards. However, don’t expect Tate to be dormant for too long, and as Wilson’s main weapon in the passing game, expect Tate to break loose soon. This week’s game with the Jags is just the matchup to get him going.
Andre Ellington: Arizona Cardinals
Eventually the Cardinals will want to get use out of their young running backs, and Andre Ellington may be just the guy to run loose for Arizona. While Rashard Mendenhall is still tops on the depth chart, Ellington is likely to be more incorporated in the game plan going forward.
On Sunday against the Lions, Ellington rushed for 20 yards on four carries but also recorded two receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. Ellington has impressed so much that head coach Bruce Arians claimed he “can carry the load," per the Cardinals website blog.
This week the Cardinals are on the road against the Saints, who have allowed 248 yards rushing thus far on the season. With the Saints still a work in progress on defense, Ellington makes for a sneaky play.
Bilal Powell, New York Jets
While probably owned in the majority of leagues, Powell is likely not starting for many owners these days. Powell has been solid out of the gate, rushing for 77 yards on 25 carries while also scoring in Thursday night’s game against the Patriots.
Although Powell has to share carries with Chris Ivory, both could actually make good plays this week when the Jets face the Bills at home. Powell gets the edge here, though, because he was the preferred back late in the Patriots game while also the favored back at the goal line.
The Bills are allowing 141.5 rushing yards a game (30th in the NFL), and with Geno Smith still lacking consistency, the game plan should involve a lot of handoffs to the running backs.
Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins
Want a Hail Mary tight end? Well, look no further than Charles Clay of the Dolphins.
Thus far on the season, Clay has reeled in 10 catches for 163 yards. Not bad for an afterthought on draft day. Ever since Dustin Keller was lost for the season, Clay has stepped up and been a viable target for second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Dolphins will face off against Atlanta, and they can be thrown on, having given up an average 346.5 yards (29th in the NFL) through the air. Atlanta may win this game going away. Tannehill and Co. may be playing catch-up, and Clay could, at the minimum, get some garbage-time stats.
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