Just hours before the start of Week 3 (for most teams, anyway) I know many people have questions running through their heads. Who should I start? Who should I sit? Let’s take a look at how some of the recent news changes things:
Trent Richardson – Running Back – Indianapolis Colts
If he had more than a handful of days with the Colts, there wouldn’t be a question. However, the trade came down late in the week, and you have to wonder how much of the offense he’s been able to absorb. The Colts draw the 49ers, and that’s not a team you want to risk missed blocking assignments against.
Chances are he doesn’t take over as the full-time back until Week 4, leaving the field on third downs and obvious passing situations. Could he score a TD or two? Absolutely, and that keeps him on the discussion as a RB2. However, your other options will dictate whether you want take the risk.
This is probably the only time we will say this, but Richardson is not a must-use option for the coming week.
Ray Rice – Running Back – Baltimore Ravens
He’s missed practice all week and was given a doubtful tag on the injury report. While the Ravens have talked about him being a game-time decision, it’s hard to imagine him playing—and even if he does, how productive will he really be? At this point it’s recommended for him to be on all fantasy benches.
Bernard Pierce – Running Back – Baltimore Ravens
With Rice likely out, Pierce suddenly emerges as a consideration depending on your other options. His matchup isn’t ideal (Houston has allowed 99.5 rushing yards per game over the first two weeks, though it has not yet yielded a TD) and Pierce has only mustered 2.8 yards per carry early in 2013.
That said, he was impressive in his rookie year (4.9 yards per carry), including amassing 212 yards on 36 carries over the final two weeks of the regular season. He carried that into the postseason as well, averaging 5.2 yards per carry. Throw in his ability to function as a receiver out of the backfield, and there is definite upside.
He’s worth considering at your FLEX spot and also can be considered a potential RB2, though the upside is limited due to the matchup.
Joique Bell – Running Back – Detroit Lions
The Lions have an extremely favorable matchup against the Washington Redskins, so even if Reggie Bush was to play, Bell would be worth considering as a FLEX play. If Bush doesn’t play? Bell could potentially post RB1-type numbers and is a must-use option. The Redskins have allowed 201.0 rushing yards per game, by far the most in the league. They’ve also allowed more than 300 passing yards per game (another area where Bell will contribute) and nine total TDs.
The reports on Bush have been mixed in the days leading up to Sunday, with some reporting that he’s expected to play and others saying that the Lions are going to keep him out in order to have him for the full season. With a 1 p.m. kickoff, we will at least know the decision early enough in the day to adjust our plans.
At this point, our best guess is Bush sits, so we would plan on using Bell in all formats. That said, monitor the news this morning to see if anything changes.
Andre Johnson – Wide Receiver – Houston Texans
The NFL’s leader in targets over the first two weeks, the concussion he suffered in Week 2 is not going to keep him out of action. Consider him a viable WR1 in all formats.
Roddy White – Wide Receiver – Atlanta Falcons
He’s listed as questionable, though expectations are that he is going to play. Of course, he’s played the first two weeks but has been extremely limited and served more as a decoy then anything. Until he proves that he’s ready to produce, he can’t be trusted unless you are desperate.
Eli Manning – Quarterback – New York Giants
His potential value has grown throughout the week, especially as he is set to take on a Panthers secondary that is decimated by injuries. For as many questions as the Giants have, you can’t throw a second-tier secondary out there and hope to stop Manning and company. Throw in the Giants’ struggles running the football, and we should get another big performance from Manning. Outside of the elite QBs in the league, chances are Manning deserves to be in your lineup. Consider him almost a must-start option.
Josh Gordon – Wide Receiver – Cleveland Browns
The trade of Trent Richardson means the Browns are likely going to pass, and pass a lot. The thing is they have an unproven QB making his first start (though, you can argue that it’s actually an improvement) and Gordon is just back from a two-game suspension. He’s a borderline WR3, depending on your options, but don’t be surprised if it takes him a week or two to get up to speed.
Vernon Davis – Tight End – San Francisco 49ers
Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area is reporting that:
“Tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) did not practice at all this week. He worked with an athletic trainer on a side field while his teammates participated in their final practice of the week. Harbaugh said the decisions on whether to play Davis and McDonald will be made 90 minutes prior to game time when teams are required to submit a list of seven inactive players.”
Unless you have another viable tight end scheduled to play at 4 p.m. or later, it’s impossible to trust Davis at this point. If you roll the dice and he doesn’t suit up, you are going to be left with few alternatives. Considering he hasn’t been practicing, it’s too big of a risk to take, especially considering the young tight ends who have emerged over the first two weeks of the season.
Don't forget to check out all of Rotoprofessor's Week 3 Fantasy Rankings!