The Fantasy Football Week 3 Notebook

Eric Mack@@EricMackFantasyFantasy Football Lead WriterSeptember 18, 2013

You didn't buy the belief that fantasy running backs are dangerous at age 30? How are Steven Jackson, Frank Gore and Darren Sproles working out for you in the young season?


You are still stubborn on those, perhaps, but now Jackson (thigh) has been ruled out for fantasy Week 3 at Miami, so good luck with him this week—oh, and the two to four weeks he might miss with the injury.

Older bodies are more susceptible to injury and don't bounce back as fast. You cannot argue with Mother Nature. Father Time is undefeated. And kids, let that be a lesson to you: Obey your parents.

You cannot necessarily like Jacquizz Rodgers or Jason Snelling as starters against one of the most underrated run defenses in football. You should love Matt Ryan and his receivers, though. Tony Gonzalez and Julio Jones are due for big weeks and Harry Douglas is a nice sleeper play, since Roddy White is still playing through a high ankle sprain.

So what do you do about making up for your draft-day indiscretion of drafting older running backs? You insurance them.

Here are some of my favorite running back fliers to take right now for potential large rewards later:

1. Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
2. Robert Turbin, Seattle Seahawks
3. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens
4. Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Le'Veon Bell, Pittsburgh Steelers
6. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts
7. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
8. Knile Davis, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins
10. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks

The first two names on this group might be the most added running backs in fantasy football next week. They figure to put up decent numbers even in backup or mop-up duty against the Colts and Jaguars run defenses, respectively. The 49ers and Seahawks are the two most run-heavy teams in football and they play defense well enough to be able to stick to the running game early and often.

Time to buy Jets!

Seriously. It is time to pick up and start Jets in fantasy football. It seems crazy, but the Jets proved to be solid against the Patriots last Thursday night and they are going to impose their running and defensive will on their opponents.

The Bills are the perfect next matchup for them. The Jets defense is a must-add unit as a streaming option, and the two-headed running back committee of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory will both prove fantasy worthy this week.

Powell is exaggeratedly underowned in fantasy at just 65 percent in CBS Sports leagues. He starts and got more carries and the touchdown against a very good Patriots run defense. The Bills don't have a good run defense, allowing the third-most rushing yards through two games this year and the second-most last year

Geno Smith, Kellen Winslow, Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill likely don't have to be added in fantasy at this point, but Powell, Ivory and the D/ST are definite adds, while Santonio Holmes is a nice sleeper buy-low guy, too.

Quarterback roster trends

Most added quarterbacks

1. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers
2. Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs
3. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
4. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams
5. Jason Campbell, Cleveland Browns

Rivers is still owned in just 79 percent of CBSSports leagues, up from 63 percent a week ago. The offense under a new regime is legit. It will convince you again Sunday against the surprisingly spunky Titans.

Most-dropped quarterbacks

1. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
2. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
3. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens 
4. Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
5. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns 

Big Ben and the Steelers are off to a slow start, but they will get going eventually. Le'Veon Bell (foot) and Heath Miller (knee) will help, but they are running a gauntlet of tough defensive teams on their schedule. Don't start any Steelers, if you can avoid it, against the Bears. After the Vikings in Week 4, the Steelers have a bye week and then the Jets and Ravens. Things won't open up until Week 8 (at Oakland).

Running back roster trends

Most-added running backs

1. James Starks, Green Bay Packers
2. Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins 
3. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos
4. Jason Snelling, Atlanta Falcoms 
5. Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens 
6. Andre Ellington, Arizona Cardinals 
7. Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons 
8. Bilal Powell, New York Jets 
9. Felix Jones, Pittsburgh Steelers 
10. Brandon Jacobs, New York Giants 

Congrats on getting Starks off waivers. Now sit him. You should not like his matchup against the Bengals run defense and the bye week looms thereafter. Eddie Lacy (concussion) should be fine to start again in fantasy Week 5. You probably wasted a claim on Starks.

Pierce is another backup that might get more carries this week, but he also faces a tough matchup in the Texans run defense. If Ray Rice (hip) plays, you probably cannot trust Pierce in your lineup in standard leagues.

Most dropped running backs

1. Vick Ballard (knee, out for the season), Indianapolis Colts
2. Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
3. Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints
5. Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks
6. Jonathan Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers
7. Monteel Ball, Denver Broncos
8. Shane Vereen, New England Patriots (wrist injury, out until at least Week 10)
9. Michael Bush, Chicago Bears 
10. Roy Helu, Washington Redskins 

The opportunity here lies with dropping Ball. The Broncos gave Ball a chance to do damage inside the red zone against the Giants, but he fumbled into the end zone and gave way to Moreno as a feature back. Moreno will eventually get injured, and the lack of touches for Hillman means Ball is just the inevitable Moreno injury away from serious fantasy consideration again. Buy low on Ball.

Wide receiver roster trends

Most added wide receivers

1. Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers
2. DeAndre Hopkins, Houston Texans
3. Marlon Brown, Baltimore Ravens
4. Nate Burleson, Detroit Lions
5. Austin Pettis, St. Louis Rams
6. Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans 
7. Aaron Dobson, New England Patriots
8. Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals
9. Rober Woods, Buffalo Bills 
10. Stephen Hill, New York Jets 

Royal and Hopkins went from sleepers to must-starts this week. Brown continues to impress as a rookie second option for Joe Flacco, but most of the rest of these guys are merely options to monitor and not trust as starters right now. 

Most dropped wide receivers

1. Lance Moore, New Orleans Saints
2. Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans
3. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Indianapolis Colts
4. Golden Tate, Seattle Seahawks
5. Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
6. Leonard Hankerson, Washington Redskins
7. Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers
8. Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders
9. Kenbrell Thompkins, New England Patriots  
10. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks

There are ample opportunities here. In fact, most of these guys are better adds than the most added receivers above. Thompkins is valuable amid the continued absence of Danny Amendola (groin), while Jeffery, Brown and Rice are going to emerge as must-haves during the bye weeks.

Tight end roster trends

Most added tight ends

1. Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears 
2. Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts 
3. Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals 
4. Garrett Graham, Houston Texans
5. Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers 

Fleener is the sleeper here. Not only did he catch a touchdown, but he also had one called back on a penalty. The fact he faces the San Francisco defense in Week 3 should keep you from starting him, though. Clay will regress below the fantasy threshold despite his hot start.

Most dropped tight ends

1. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles
2. Fred Davis, Washington Redskins
3. Dallas Clark, Baltimore Ravens
4. Zach Sudfeld, New England Patriots
5. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions

Have you heard this one before? Tight ends are dime a dozen. Most offer little in the way of consistency week to week and they tend to need that circumstantial 1-yard touchdown to score fantasy-worthy numbers. Rotate your tight ends like you do your rolls of toilet paper.

Defense/Special Teams roster trends

Most-added defense/special teams

1. Minnesota Vikings
2. Buffalo Bills
3. Kansas City Chiefs
4. New York Jets
5. Tennessee Titans

Fantasy owners are really missing the boat on the Jets. This is a good defensive team, perhaps even a top-five unit like Rex Ryan boasts. They are the must-add streaming play of Week 3 and it is not close compared to these others.

Most-dropped defense/special teams

1. Oakland Raiders
2. Philadelphia Eagles
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Carolina Panthers
5. St. Louis Rams

Those giving up on the Steelers are doing it too soon. Also, the Rams figure to have much better weeks ahead.

Kicker roster trends

Most-added kickers

1. Nick Novak, San Diego Chargers
2. Dan Bailey, Dallas Cowboys
3. Alex Henery, Philadelphia Eagles
5. Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks
6. Caleb Sturgis, Miami Dolphins

All of these are viable starts in all leagues right now, especially Bailey and Hauschka this week.

Most-dropped kickers

1. Randy Bullock, Houston Texans
2. Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens
3. Kai Forbath (groin), Washington Redskins
4. David Akers, Detroit Lions

Fantasy owners should be more actively dropping their disappointing kickers. Bullock really is blowing a chance at huge fantasy value with three misses this past week, while Tucker will be just fine and is one of the few kickers that should be considered immune to matchups.

Thursday night Start 'em, Sit 'em

For those in love with Jamaal Charles and yet complaining about his lack of carries Sunday better get a clue. First, you knew you probably weren't getting a week-to-week high-carry back. Second, he did plenty of damage in the passing game.

Charles has dealt with a foot issue from training camp and had a quad issue pop up in Week 1. It likely limited his planned rushing attempts early in the game. Also, with the short week looming, Andy Reid did the smart thing in monitoring the usage of his premium player.

So, managed usage and multiple nicks for Charles...sounds about what you should expect every week of the season. Forget about him being 100 percent at any point this season—as long as he is his "ready to play percent."

Start 'Em

• Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe
• Philadelphia Eagles: Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Alex Henery

Smith and Donnie Avery are the sleepers here. Philip Rivers and Eddie Royal did a lot of damage on the Eagles secondary in Week 2, so those looking for options at quarterback and wide receiver should look to the Chiefs. The Eagles are the worst team in fantasy against wide receivers, allowing an NFL-high 39 receptions and five touchdowns.

Sit 'Em

• Kansas City Chiefs: Knile Davis, Dexter McCluster, Anthony Fasano, Ryan Succop and Chiefs D/ST
• Philadelphia Eagles: Bryce Brown, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant, Brent Celek, Zach Ertz and Eagles D/ST

In what should be a wide-open game—the Las Vegas total is justifiably over 50—you cannot consider either the Chiefs or Eagles defenses. Reid will want to show that his offense can be every bit as potent as the one they traded him for in Chip Kelly's. This will be a bountiful game for the backs and receivers, particularly the premium ones.

Eric Mack, one of the giants among fantasy writers, is the Fantasy Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report this season. Follow him on Twitter, where you can ask him endless questions about your team, rip him for his content and even challenge him to a head-to-head fantasy game. You can also listen to him on his podcast that he deprecatingly dubbed the Fantasy FatCast.


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