With Atlanta Falcons starting running back Steven Jackson expected to miss two to four weeks with a thigh injury, fantasy owners should take a long, hard look at backup Jason Snelling ahead of Week 3's matchup with the Miami Dolphins.
Snelling, who is only owned in 12 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues coming into the weekend, should see an increased workload in the Atlanta backfield along with elusive teammate Jacquizz Rodgers.
In Week 2 against the St. Louis Rams, Snelling was the more dangerous of the two running backs. He carried the ball just twice, but turned those two opportunities into 19 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, Rodgers racked up just 17 yards on 11 carries.
But look for Snelling to do most of his damage through the air in Week 3. After all, the veteran caught four passes for 41 yards in Week 2, finishing with an average of 10 yards per touch when you factor in his performance on the ground.
Snelling has averaged nearly 33 receptions per season over the past four years in Atlanta and is on pace for a career-best 48 catches in 2013. At 5'11" and 234 pounds, Snelling is a strong, powerful runner in the open field who Matt Ryan will look to dump the ball off to when Miami's secondary wins the battle downfield.
The most encouraging stat of all for fantasy owners, though, is that Snelling was on the field for 30 of Atlanta's 65 snaps on offense last weekend against St. Louis.
That number should increase in Week 3, especially with Atlanta set to take on one of the league's worst rushing defenses in Miami. The Dolphins rank 25th in the NFL in fewest yards-per-carry allowed, giving up 4.6 per rush through the first two weeks of the season.
Miami allowed both Ahmad Bradshaw and Donald Brown to average 4.3 yards per carry in Week 2. The duo finished with a combined 95 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 22 carries.
On top of that, the Dolphins currently rank 20th in the league in fewest yards-per-reception allowed, surrendering 12 yards per catch coming into Week 3's matchup with Atlanta.
Therefore, Snelling will have a favorable matchup this weekend regardless of whether he's carrying the ball or catching it out of the backfield.
Considering his matchup and the fact that he's averaging 9.5 yards per rush and 9.7 yards per catch coming in, it makes zero sense to sit Snelling this weekend. With Jackson sidelined, he should have plenty of opportunities to build on his strong start against Miami.
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