Week 3 Fantasy Sleepers: Under-the-Radar Starters That Will Lead You to Victory

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2013

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 15: Quarterback Alex Smith of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass down field against the Dallas Cowboys during the first half on September 15, 2013 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)
Peter Aiken/Getty Images

While fantasy football is often about mitigating risk and identifying the most consistent players who give you a chance to win, gut feelings still come into play on a weekly basis. It may not necessarily make sense to sit one of your highly drafted players, but if it works out, then it could mean the difference between winning and losing.

Fantasy owners are always faced with those types of dilemmas, and there figure to be plenty of them in Week 3 as a number of star players are either dealing with injuries or slow starts. With that in mind, there are several mid-level players with ideal matchups who could potentially go off this week.

Here are three fantasy sleepers who will go a long way toward helping you win your fantasy matchup if you start them in Week 3.


Alex Smith (QB - KC)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith has been viewed as a "game manager" since his early NFL struggles, and those types of signal-callers generally aren't ideal for fantasy success. Smith has been on the borderline of fantasy relevance for the past couple seasons, though, and he now appears to be developing into a reliable starter.

Smith obviously shouldn't be started over the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees, but owners without a dominant passer should consider rolling with Smith in Week 3.

Through two weeks, Smith hasn't eclipsed 223 passing yards in a game, but he has four touchdowns as opposed to no interceptions. Smith has also done plenty of damage with his legs to the tune of 82 yards. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Smith has more rushing yards on his own than two entire teams do on the season.

Smith is no Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton in terms of rushing ability, but he can handle himself in that regard and will continue to contribute yards on the ground. Most importantly, though, Smith and the Chiefs will face a Philadelphia Eagles defense on Thursday night that has surrendered more than 360 passing yards per game.

Since head coach Andy Reid will be eager to beat his old team, look for him to loosen Smith's reins in Week 3.


Joique Bell (RB - DET)

Detroit Lions running back Joique Bell is one of the better backup running backs in the league, and he always seems to produce when given an increased role. Despite playing second fiddle to Reggie Bush, Bell is one of the best backs in fantasy through two weeks.

With Bush not practicing and possibly on the verge of missing Week 3 due to injury, according to Brad Evans of Yahoo! Sports, Bell could potentially put up monster numbers.

Not only does Bell have a ton of ability, but he has an ideal matchup on the horizon. This week the Lions will face the Washington Redskins, who are the worst team in the league against the run by a wide margin. Washington is allowing 201 rushing yards per game, and the 'Skins even allowed the Green Bay Packers to break their ridiculously long streak without a 100-yard rusher when James Starks broke the century mark last week.

All of that bodes very well for Bell.

Even if Bush does play, Bell is still an excellent flex start because he catches passes and may receive some goal-line work. Bell has two touchdowns and 10 receptions already this season, and those statistics figure to look even better after Week 3. Even if Bell can't keep up this pace all year long, he is a fantastic option in Week 3.


Kendall Wright (WR - TEN)

It's understandably difficult to trust the Tennessee Titans passing game right now as quarterback Jake Locker hasn't proven capable of being a long-term NFL starter. If Locker is ever going to snap out of it, though, this is the week to do it.

In the event that Locker does play well, wide receiver Kendall Wright is the most likely beneficiary as he leads the team in targets this season, according to Raymond Summerlin of ProFootballAddicts.com.

Wright looked good in Week 2 as he caught seven passes for 54 yards and a score against the Houston Texans. Wright's yards-per-catch average certainly isn't in line with type of explosive ability he possesses, but that may change this week.

The Titans are slated to face the San Diego Chargers, who are the worst in the NFL against the pass. The Bolts have allowed more than 375 passing yards per game through two contests, so Locker and Wright have to be licking their chops.

Based on how much the Chargers have been throwing in their own right, this one has shootout written all over it. Wright shouldn't start over elite-level wide receivers in fantasy, but he is a high-ceiling flex or No. 2 receiver this week based on the matchup alone.

There is some danger involved as the likes of Kenny Britt and Nate Washington could steal targets, but Wright is Locker's favorite receiver, and he is most likely to put up big numbers in Week 3.


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