Fantasy Football: Emergency Pickup and Start Options for Week 3

John ZaktanskyCorrespondent ISeptember 26, 2010

Really desperate for a running back to start for Week 3? Try Correll Buckhalter, who is available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues and will start for Denver in place of injured Knowshon Moreno against a porous Indy run defense.
Really desperate for a running back to start for Week 3? Try Correll Buckhalter, who is available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues and will start for Denver in place of injured Knowshon Moreno against a porous Indy run defense.Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

For those who’ve missed it, has been on the air Saturday mornings for three weeks running so far on KGSO sports radio out of Wichita, KS. The response has been overwhelming, especially today when we had eight callers asking mostly sit-start questions.

And of course, most weren’t simple sit-start softball lob type queries, but moreso questions about sleeper players for this week that could be scooped up and used right away.

Here are a few of the players we discussed on air as guys who can be found in at least some leagues that have the potential to score big this week.

WR Louis Murphy, OAK. A favorite target for the newly annointed Bruce Gradkowski, Murphy is playing against a defense in Arizona that has surrendered the fifth most points among all clubs to receivers at 24.5 per game. The contest will go back and forth, and Gradkowski will be plenty motivated to show that he is the right choice at QB.

Cincinnati’s team defense. The Bengals continue to slip under the collective fantasy radar in terms of being a solid fantasy option. However, this week especially, against newly promoted rookie signal caller Jimmy Clausen and what will be a very one-dimensional opponent (expect Carolina to run the ball more than ever to keep pressure off Clausen), the Bengals should thrive.

RB Mike Tolbert, SD. The official starter for at least one week in place of the injured Ryan Mathews, Tolbert has been looking really good this season. He’s a big bulldozer of a back that pounds the ball forward. I expect him to get at the very least one TD against a Seattle team that has been pretty decent against the run, but won’t be good enough to stop a bowling ball in motion.

QB Sam Bradford, STL. Through two weeks, which team has allowed the most points to opposing QBs? If you guessed the Redskins, you’d be right on the money. Bradford has shown poise far beyond his years, has a few under-rated pass catching options and will be throwing the ball pretty heavily all game.

RB Correll Buckhalter, DEN. OK, remember we aren’t talking about elite start options here. However, Buckhalter projects as the starter for a Broncos squad that is missing Knowshon Moreno this week (and likely next week, too). The Colts defense has been really, really generous to opposing running backs. While the Broncos will probably be playing catch up, Buckhalter should do enough to merit an emergency start this week and is available in 80 percent of Yahoo leagues.

QB Brett Favre, MIN. He turned off many, many people last week after four major turnovers and an all-around bad game against Miami. However, Favre seems to thrive the most in situations where he is emotional and trying to prove something. The Lions are a good whipping boy for Favre, who turns around his disappoint season for at least one week.

RB Benjarvus Green-Ellis, NE. If all else fails and you really need a last-minute plug-in at RB, Green-Ellis could be a solid option. He’s available in 96 percent of Yahoo leagues, but due to injuries has emerged as the top back in a backfield that usually spreads the ball around a lot. At the moment, the only real options back there are Green-Ellis and Fred Taylor, but Green-Ellis offers more upside and actually out-carried all Patriot backs last week. This time around, New England gets a savory matchup with the Bills. They’ll be running the ball plenty protecting their lead.

RB Peyton Hillis, CLE. Not a good matchup at all for Hillis, but he will be starting (or at least getting a decent amount of carries) against the Ravens this week. Would only use him as last resort type player.

WR Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ. With Braylon Edwards not starting (he will likely play some, but not in lead role), Cotchery could be a nice sneaky play Sunday night. And, he’s available in 60 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Want last-minute free game-by-game projections for Week 3? Pick your matchup:  PIT@TB | CLE@BAL | TEN@NYG | SF@KC | DAL@HOU | BUF@NE | DET@MIN | CIN@CAR | ATL@NO | WAS@STL | PHI@JAX | OAK@ARI

Or, Week 3 positional rankings: QB | RB | WR | TE

All our Week 3 strategy, including important trade sell high, buy low candidates can be found here.