Fantasy Football: Week 3 Karma To Carry You To Victory
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Whether you're 2-0 or 0-2, we all face lineup questions each and every week. I'm here to try and guide you through the pitfalls and help you find the not-so-obvious guys to plug in and/or avoid in order to help you find fantasy football success.
Read 'em and win.
- Michael Vick vs. Jacksonville-The Jags secondary has shown itself to be vulnerable while Vick is playing a better brand of quarterback than he has ever played in his career. With the weapons that he now has at his disposal—Vick is the right call. Vick's a strong possibility to be a Top 5 QB this week and, if he keeps it rolling, to be the fantasy football breakout QB of 2010.
- Kyle Orton vs. Indianapolis-Orton already plays in a pass-first offense and now, with starting RB Knowshon Moreno out, it's safe to assume that Josh McDaniels won't change his offensive philosophy against the Colts. With new toy Bay Bay Thomas joining the Broncos' stable of role players at wideout, look for Orton to threaten 300 yards and 2 TDs this week. Need further convincing? Orton leads all NFL quarterbacks so far this season in completions of 20+ yards with eleven.
- Brett Favre vs. Detroit-Why Old Man Favre after two horrible weeks? Well, the fact that he's playing the Lions is a good start. Look for this to be the week the Vikings' passing attack starts to click since the Lions will have to overplay the run against the beast that is Purple Jesus. Think Ryan/Sanchez last week. I'm looking for three TDs through the air.
- Donovan McNabb vs. St. Louis-"Donnie McFootball" topped 400 yards last week vs. Houston and I expect him to be another solid start this week against a soft overall Rams defense. McNabb has really looked "under the radar" good in the first two weeks, displaying improved mobility and a more accurate arm than we've seen from him over the last couple of seasons. He looks like a man trying to prove a point. You might as well come along for the ride.
- Darren McFadden vs. Arizona-Unless you have ridiculously good RBs you should be starting Run DMC against the Cardinals. Michael Bush should be back this weekend, but he'll have to play his way back into football shape before he puts a dent in McFadden's production. Enjoy another strong week from McFadden, just don't get too attached. He is a strong sell-high candidate after Week 3. If guys like Maurice Jones-Drew, Ray Rice, and Michael Turner continue to slump you may want to fish DMC before Bush catches the Cable Guy's attention again and turns the Raiders' backfield into a full-blown time share again.
- Tim Hightower vs. Oakland-Same game, same situation. Beanie Wells should be back to steal loads of carries in the near future, so don’t hesitate to sell high on Hightower after he exploits the Raiders D. Don't be sentimental with Hightower either. "Better deal" him in a heartbeat if you get a solid nibble next week.
- Correll Buckhalter vs. Indianapolis-Clearly this is not for everyone since this is still pre-bye week territory. However, if you're a Moreno owner or a Ryan Mathews owner who didn't handcuff Mike Tolbert, then Buck isn't a bad play for you. He should get about 15 touches against a soft Colts run defense and that should be enough to put up low-end RB2/flex numbers. Vulture Alert: Laurence Maroney will be playing his first game in a Denver uni and could become the hot hand.
- Austin Collie vs. Denver-Collie's season is starting off reminiscent of Brandon Stokley’s 2004 in Indy when the Colts had three wide receivers go over 1,000 yards. Collie looks like a very safe WR3 each week going forward and even a strong WR2 this weekend with Pierre Garcon out and the possibility of the Broncos starting two rookie corners. Collie could be poised to go off.
- Dez Bryant vs. Houston-Before the 2010 season kicked off, no team in NFL history had ever given up two consecutive games of 400 yards or more passing. Enter the Houston Texans and their sorry excuse for a secondary. Three weeks in row may be asking a lot, but I still expect Bryant to get his first career TD catch and be heavily involved in the Cowboys passing game this Sunday.
- Jeremy Maclin vs. Jacksonville-Vick likes Maclin in the red zone. Hence, the two TD receptions through the first two games of 2010. Look for Maclin’s numbers to improve as Vick gets more and more comfortable with him between the 20's. It wouldn't shock me to see Maclin match DeSean Jackson's production this season.
- Brent Celek vs. Jacksonville-Do not give up on him yet. It's just too early to give away a player the ilk of Celek. He has a good matchup this week and should get more looks than he has so far this season. Remember, Mike Vick's favorite weapon in Atlanta was always his tight end, Alge Crumpler.
- Bengals D/ST vs. Carolina-Carolina is giving rookie QB Jimmy Clausen his first start. On top of that, the Panthers O-line has looked awful through two weeks and, aside from Steve Smith, they aren't getting any production from their wide receivers. The Bengals should be a nice source of sacks and turnovers this week.
- Redskins D/ST vs. St. Louis-The Redskins defense has actually played better than the statistics indicate. The Rams offense is limited to Steven Jackson and upstart WR Mark Clayton. While rookie QB Sam Bradford has looked solid at times, the Washington 3-4 defense featuring Brian Orakpo, LaRon Landry, and DeAngelo Hall should make it a frustrating day for him.
- Matt Ryan vs. New Orleans-Don’t expect another 3 TD game from "Matty Ice". The Saints should roll coverage over to Roddy White and blitz Ryan a good bit. It's the Gregg Williams modus operandi. If Michael Turner doesn’t get the running game going, Ryan and the Falcons won’t have a chance Sunday.
- Mark Sanchez vs. Miami-It would also be foolish to think "Sanchize" repeats his Week 2 performance. The Dolphins D is playing great with Karlos Dansby, so this should be a low scoring battle on Football Night in America. Look for Sanchez to be closer to Week 1 as Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer ask him to play conservatively rather than take chances.
- Arian Foster vs. Dallas-The Cowboys D has been effective against opposing running backs through two weeks and the Texans will be missing their starting left tackle. I see this one turning into an all-out aerial battle and Foster to have a tough time getting the production many of his owners are expecting after his Week 1 explosion.
- Cadillac Williams vs. Pittsburgh-The Steelers shut down Chris Johnson last week, ending his streak of twelve consecutive 100-yard games. That doesn't bode well for Cadillac. No way Caddy gets going against Pittsburgh if CJ28 couldn’t do it. Leave Cadillac in the garage.
- Browns RBs vs. Baltimore-I'm instituting the "Ravens D Rule". Don't start anybody versus Baltimore. They are dominating everyone right now and it's inadvisable to start even the best guys against them. But especially not two guys in a timeshare on a bad team. Avoid Peyton Hillis and Jerome Harrison. In that order.
- Larry Fitzgerald vs. Oakland-Derek Anderson a.k.a. Nuke Laloosh is killing Fitz and, to add insult to injury, this week he draws Nnamdi Asomugha. It pains me to say it, but if you have any other reasonable option I’d advise using him instead of Fitzgerald. As good as he is, he can't throw the ball to himself and Kurt Warner is busy dancing with a bunch of people you kinda know.
- Mike Williams vs. Pittsburgh-The Pittsburgh D is virtually the same as the Ravens D right now. As a sensible fantasy football player, you'll want to avoid them at all costs right now. Williams, the talented rookie receiver, should have one of his worst days this season and should be left on your bench.
- Johnny Knox vs. Green Bay-Charles Woodson is a tough matchup for any receiver. In particular, finesse guys like Knox. Mike Martz and Jay Cutler are spreading the ball around and hitting the hot hand(Matt Forte) through two weeks of the season and I don't expect Knox to be that guy for at least one more week.
- Brandon Pettigrew vs. Minnesota-The Vikings are always solid against opposing tight ends, so don’t chase points on Pettigrew this week. In fact, I don't even see Pettigrew being ownable in anything but the deepest of leagues. Rookie tight ends Tony Moeaki, Jermaine Gresham, and Aaron Hernandez are all better options.
- Cowboys D/ST vs. Houston-Like I said earlier, don't be surprised to see a lot of passing and a lot of points in this "Battle for Texas". I even advised one guy on Twitter to start the Chiefs D/ST over Dallas. If Jay Cutler and the Bears could abuse the Cowboys last week, imagine what Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, et al can do.
Some guys to monitor as potential bye week replacements are: RB Keiland Williams(Redskins), RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis(Patriots), RB Laurence Maroney(Broncos), WR Devery Henderson(Saints), WR Louis Murphy(Raiders), WR Deon Butler(Seahawks), and the aforementioned Moeaki(Chiefs) at tight end.
As always, good luck to you all. Enjoy the euphoria of another NFL Sunday.
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