Fantasy Football Rankings: Week Three Risers

Michael WhooleySenior Writer ISeptember 26, 2009

DENVER - SEPTEMBER 20:  Running back Correll Buckhalter #28 of the Denver Broncos rushes for a 45 yard touchdown against the Cleveland Browns during NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on September 20, 2009 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Browns 27-6.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

The NFL is an ever changing landscape, from year to year, week to week, and even day to day. Hence, the Bruno Boys bring to you our Week 3 Edition of the Fantasy Risers and Fallers.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept behind the article, it’s rather simple. Risers and Fallers highlights those players who have seen their fantasy football value for the weekend’s upcoming games either rise (increase) or fall (decrease).


QB Matt Cassel (Kansas City Chiefs)

Cassel, who looked good in his return game in week 2, did not experience any setbacks with regards to his knee during the week and is set to go against the Philadelphia Eagles. Nevertheless, there are much better options this week than Cassel, so if you can, try to avoid starting the Chiefs’ quarterback.

QB Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

The shoulder injury that has Brees listed as probable is on his non-throwing arm, meaning his fantasy owners should have no worries about using him against the 31st-ranked pass defense of the Buffalo Bills.

QB Mark Sanchez (New York Jets)

Sanchez, who is listed as probable due to tendinitis in his knee, seems certain to go this weekend as the Jets take on the Tennessee Titans.

So far, Sanchez has looked very similar to Matt Ryan in 2008. He’s worthy of dropping into your line-up if you’re dealing with injuries at the QB position.

QB Kevin Kolb (Philadelphia Eagles)

Thanks to Donovan McNabb being doubtful for Sunday’s action yet again, Kolb will get another chance to start for the Eagles, and he makes for a sleeper play in week 3 against the Chiefs.

After all, he is coming off a 391 yard, 2 TD, and 3 INT performance that tallied him 17 fantasy points.

QB Seneca Wallace (Seattle Seahawks)

Wallace will be under center for the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, thanks to Matt Hasselbeck’s rib injury.

While Wallace looked solid at times in 2008 filling in for Hasselbeck, we don’t expect the same for this week 3 contest with the Chicago Bears. There are much better options than Wallace this week, even in start-two-QB formats.

QB Jason Campbell (Washington Redskins) 

His ankle may be better, but Campbell is just too inconsistent for our liking. With that said, though, if you’re in a bind due to the injury to McNabb or Hasselbeck, Campbell makes for a decent fill-in play against the Detroit Lions.

RB Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)

Stewart’s owners were probably a bit worried when they saw the news that the Panthers’ back missed Thursday’s practice.

The good news, though, is that Stewart returned to the practice field on Friday, making it abundantly clear that his Thursday absence was not due to a setback, but rather simply to let his injury heal even more.

Stewart will go Monday Night and makes for a nice flex play against the Dallas Cowboys.

RB Cedric Benson (Cincinnati Bengals)

One of the hotter backs in the league right now, Benson has been running with a purpose so far this season, becoming a pleasant surprise to fantasy owners, which is why his owners will be happy to hear that despite a banged up ankle, Benson will play against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The match-up isn’t ideal, but with the way Benson has been running, he has to be in your line-ups; however, expect low-end RB2 numbers from him in week 3.

RBs Jerome Harrison and James Davis (Cleveland Browns)

Harrison and Davis will be the benefactors of a hamstring injury to Browns’ starting running back, Jamal Lewis, which will more than likely keep the back out of the Browns’ week 3 game.

Still, while Harrison and Davis will get an opportunity to show case their stuff, we wouldn’t use either against a stout Ravens’ D. However, it is worth fantasy owners’ time to monitor how the two backs do.

The Browns are looking to jump start their run game in any way possible, so if one of these two shines, an expanded role moving forward should be expected.

RBs Felix Jones and Tashard Choice (Dallas Cowboys) 

According to ESPN, odds are that Barber will be held out of the Cowboys’ week 2 match-up with the Carolina Panthers.

Barber’s absence opens the door for both Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Jones now becomes a solid RB2 play, while Choice becomes a strong flex option.

RB Correll Buckhalter (Denver Broncos)

Buckhalter posted a big showing in week 2, going for 76 rush yards on 9 carries, 30 receiving yards, and a score.

It looks like he’ll have an excellent chance at posting another big game as rookie running back, Knowshon Moreno, suffered a groin injury in practice on Thursday causing him to be questionable for week 3’s action.

Like Mike Bell in week 1 and week 2, Buckhalter is an excellent situation to post big time numbers thanks to an injury.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars)

A limited participant in practice on both Thursday and Friday, MJD is fully expected to go on Sunday against a Texans’ defense that just got burned big time by Tennessee Titan running back, Chris Johnson.

Check back with the Bruno Boys on Sunday to see if anything changes with regards to his status, but as it looks now, MJD makes a stellar RB1 play in week 3.

RB Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings)

After being limited on both Wednesday and Thursday, Peterson was able to fully participate in Friday’s practice. He seems a safe bet to go on Sunday, which means like with every week, he needs to be in your line-up.

RB Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints)

Thomas is probable for Sunday’s match-up with the Bills; however, even better news for his owners is that Mike Bell has officially been designated as OUT for week 3’s action.

While reports have surfaced that Lynell Hamilton will take on most of Bell’s workload, Saints’ coach Sean Payton has refuted those rumors. Thomas looks to be in-line to take on the role he occupied at the end of 2008.

RB Justin Fargas (Oakland Raiders)

The good news for Fargas is that the Raiders will activate him for the first time all season. The bad news for Fargas is that they do not plan on getting him more than a couple of carries. Continue to stay away.

RB LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)

Based on past history, one has to assume that despite not practicing during the week and being listed as questionable, Eagles’ running back, Brian Westbrook, will play on Sunday.

So, why does McCoy appear as a “riser?” Simple, even if Westbrook does play, McCoy should see a few additional carries as the Eagles will look to keep their banged up back healthy. Use McCoy as a flex play.

RB Willie Parker (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Parker’s start to the season has been, to put it nicely, awful as the Steelers’ back has amassed just 66 rushing yards on 27 carries.

However, despite his poor play, offensive coordinator Bruce Arlans is sticking with the back, refuting reports that back-up Rashard Mendenhall would start working more series.

Parker could be used as a flex play in week 3 against a Bengals team he has owned at Paul Brown Stadium.

RB Darren Sproles (San Diego Chargers)

With LT ruled out for this week’s contest, Sproles will once again be the featured back for the Chargers.

While the Dolphins are tough against the run, feel confident using Sproles as a RB2 as he will continue to play a solid role in the Chargers’ passing game.

RB Frank Gore (San Francisco 49ers)

Niners’ running back Frank Gore already has 4 TDs on the season and appears to be back to top form.

He’ll have a true test this weekend against the Minnesota Vikings’ rush defense, but the good news for his owners is that Gore will be on the field to take the test as he’s probable despite an ankle sprain.

RB Derrick Ward (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

With teammate Cadillac Williams dealing with a sore knee suffered due to the artificial turf in Buffalo, Ward will be the Bucs’ starter in week 3 and looks to get a heavier workload than normal.

Add in the fact that Ward will be highly motivated as he goes against his old team, the New York Giants, and you have to like him as a RB2 play this weekend.

RB Ladell Betts (Washington Redskins)

Check on Sunday, but if Portis is unable to go, Betts makes for a very intriguing week 3 play. After all, the match-up would pit Betts against a Detroit Lions’ squad that is giving up 134.5 rushing yards per game in 2009.

As the featured back, Betts would be no lower than a flex option and possibly could perform as a strong RB2.

WR Anquan Boldin (Arizona Cardinals)

After living with a questionable label for the first two weeks of the season, Boldin’s owners can rest easy heading into week 3 as the Cardinals’ wide receiver has a probable designation.

The Colts pass defense has looked these first two weeks, but the Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins do not possess the aerial attack that Arizona has. As always, with Boldin healthy and on the field, have him in your line-up.

WR Steve Breaston (Arizona Cardinals)

Despite being listed as questionable once again, Breaston is expected to suit up and play for the Cardinals on Sunday night in their match-up with the Indianapolis Colts. He’ll occupy the No. 3 wide receiver slot for the Cardinals and should fill a similar role for fantasy owners as a WR3.

The Colts possess an excellent pass defense, but Breaston is coming off a 83-yard performance, and there’s a strong possibility that Arizona will have to air it out often to keep up with Peyton Manning and the Colts.

WR Chris Henry (Cincinnati Bengals)

Henry is probable and will play against the Steelers, who have been surprisingly susceptible to the pass so far this season.

Still, we’re waiting for Henry, one of this year’s hot sleeper picks, to wake up before we actually insert him into our line-ups.

WR Kevin Walter (Houston Texans)

A disappointment thus far to all those fantasy owners that drafted him, Walter, who has missed the first two weeks of the regular season looks poised to return in week 3 as head coach Gary Kubiak went on record to say that he believes Walter will be on the field Sunday against the Jags.

Walter makes for a strong WR3 play thanks to the way Houston Texans’ quarterback Matt Schaub looked in week 2’s action.

WRs Joey Galloway and Julian Edelman (New England Patriots)

Much of whether these two really see a jump in value on Sunday will depend on whether WRs Randy Moss and Wes Welker, both of whom are listed as questionable, can go on Sunday.

If Moss and Welker can’t go, look for these two to receive a healthy amount of targets from Mr. Brady.

WR Mario Mannigham (New York Giants)

Manningham, the hottest fantasy football waiver wire pick-up, practiced fully on Friday. It appears a safe bet that Manningham will play on Sunday.

Look for him to continue to build his rapport with Eli Manning against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who have been burnt by many deep passes so far in 2009. Manningham makes a solid WR2 option in this one.

WR DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)

The questionable listing over a probable one was not what Jackson’s owners wanted to see after the wide out suffered a groin injury; however, Jackson was able to practice Friday, which is indeed a step in the right direction for playing on Sunday.

Check on Jackson’s status prior to game time, but if he can go, employ him in your line-up against the Chiefs.

WR Jeremy Maclin (Philadelphia Eagles)

With Kevin Curtis listed as doubtful, reports are surfacing that rookie, Jeremy Maclin, will get a chance to start his first NFL game of his career this weekend.

If your wide receiver corps is hurting, Maclin may be a sneaky week 3 play. However, as he has just 2 career catches, don’t expect too much from the rook.

TE Tony Gonzalez (Atlanta Falcons)

Gonzalez’s fantasy owners got a scare when the tight end appeared on the injury report earlier this week due to a back injury.

However, Gonzo’s name was removed from the Falcons’ injury report on Friday. He’ll be on the field and is a must-start if you own him.

TE Jeremy Shockey (New Orleans Saints)

Shockey is listed as probable for what’s a great match-up with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills have allowed 4 TDs to tight ends in the first two weeks of the season, so look at Shockey as a strong TE1 option for week 3.

K Jason Elam (Atlanta Falcons)

Dealing with a hamstring injury, Elam is good to go on Sunday against New England. With only 11 fantasy points on the season though, you may want to think about looking elsewhere for your kicker position.

K Mason Crosby (Green Bay Packers) 

Despite sitting out practice on Friday, Crosby is expected to go in an excellent match-up against the St. Louis Rams. Take the fact that the Packers did not go out and bring in another kicker as a strong sign that Crosby’s injury is not serious.

K Rob Bironas (Tennessee Titans)

The Titans’ kicker is listed as questionable and did not practice Friday. The team, though, has not added any kicker to the roster, which is a strong indication that Bironas will take on his usual kicking duties against the Jets.



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