If you’re like most fantasy players out there, you’re going to be spending lots of time this week looking at all sorts of rankings and projections in an effort to make an educated decision on your lineup for Week 3.
Most novice fantasy players are focusing too much of their time and effort on projecting the numbers they expect from their stars.
As we say each week, it’s a huge mistake.
Most sites are going to have some type of a top-10, 15, or 20 list that focuses too much of the spotlight on players like Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Chris Johnson.
If you’re reading this, you know that spending too much time on that information is completely useless. The real decisions have nothing to do with your star players and everything to do with your flex players and No. 3 or No. 4 options.
We define the “sneaky matchup player” as a second or third-tier player on your team who you’re likely debating against someone else or not considering at all. These players won’t be found in the top 10 for weekly projections or rankings, but they'll have some potential for the week based on a variety of factors.
This column will give you some names to consider adding to the superstars you already have in your lineup. After all, these players tend to make or break a few critical weeks every single year.
Some of these players will be successful and others will fail. It’s inevitable. In fact, here’s how we did last week with our 20 Sneaky Plays for Week 2.
Five We Hit On
1. Michael Vick: 284 passing yards, 37 rushing yards, two touchdowns
2. Eddie Royal: Five catches, 65 yards, one touchdown
3. Jacoby Jones: Six catches, 53 yards, one touchdown
4. Malcom Floyd: Three catches, 95 yards, one touchdown
5. Mark Clayton: Two catches, 24 yards, two touchdowns
Five We Missed On
1. Davone Bess: One catch, 12 yards
2. Mike Williams (SEA): One catch, seven yards
3. Fred Taylor: Five carries, 11 yards
4. Mike Thomas: Four catches, 43 yards
5. Tony Scheffler: One catch, five yards
Here are this week’s sneaky plays.
1. Laurence Maroney vs. IND
What a strange couple of weeks for Maroney owners, eh? First, he gets himself squarely in the New England doghouse. He then gets traded to Denver and left for dead.
Now, Moreno inexplicably pulls his hamstring late in the week, making Maroney the probable starter on Sunday. Crazy.
2. Marcedes Lewis vs. PHI
I’ve never been the biggest Lewis fan, but he followed up his two-touchdown performance from Week 1 with five catches and 70 yards in Week 2. Is this the year he keeps it going?
3. Demaryius Thomas vs. IND
After declaring himself very questionable to play, Thomas made his NFL debut with eight catches for 97 yards and a score.
The hype machine is going a little overboard right now and Denver is very much a WR-by-committee team, but Thomas is flex worthy until further notice.
4. LaDainian Tomlinson @ MIA
Hard to imagine LT ever being on this list, but here he is. His play so far has made him look, well, 28.
In all seriousness, there’s a pep in his step we haven’t seen for quite some time.
The Jets are going with it and he’s going to be good for 10-15 touches, with possible goal-line work as well.
5. Tony Moeaki vs. SF
Those who are avid DLF readers know I never jumped on the Cassel bandwagon. That’s a wagon train that’s emptying quickly, but he does seem to have chemistry building with Moeaki, who made a fine TE2 play this week.
6. Louis Murphy @ ARI
Murphy finally broke through with 91 yards and a score last week against St. Louis. The change at quarterback could suit him well here.
7. Mike Tolbert @ SEA
Don’t be concerned about starting a fullback. The last time we saw a situation like this, LeRon McClain starting piling up wins for fantasy owners. He should be a solid play, while Mathews is doubtful this weekend.
8. Sam Bradford vs. WAS
It would have been great if the Rams could have somehow acquired Vincent Jackson, but it just wasn’t meant to be. I’ve seen enough from Bradford to believe he’s worthy of consideration if you have a league that starts two quarterbacks.
9. Aaron Hernandez vs. BUF
Look for New England to drop the hammer on Buffalo this week. Hernandez has shown some great ability thus far and just needs one big play to reward his owners. We’ve seen he’s capable of just that.
10. Mario Manningham vs. TEN
Quick, name the Giants' leading receiver so far in terms of yards. Hakeem Nicks? No. Steve Smith? Try again. It’s Manningham, who has already amassed 160 yards in the first two games.
11. Deon Butler vs. SD
Butler had a very quiet five-catch, 50-yard performance last week. He’s worth a look in a game where Seattle should be forced to abandon the run.
12. Bruce Gradkowski @ ARI
I honestly have no idea what the Raiders are doing. That must mean it’s football season! Gradkowski isn’t terrible, but the Cardinals may be.
13. Nate Washington @ NYG
I’ll eat some crow if he puts together a good season, but he’s well on his way with back-to-back games with a score.
14. Marshawn Lynch @ NE
I hate recommending any Bills player right now, but Lynch may be an underrated player this week. The team wants to ease CJ Spiller back into the mix and Lynch is the beneficiary.
While he likely won’t score, he’s a good guy to play if you’re just simply looking for a safe 5-8 points.
15. Josh Morgan @ KC
Morgan has become a bigger part of the offense with Crabtree’s recent antics. Look for him to get a healthy number of targets in a game the 49ers really need to win.
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