Fantasy Football Start 'Em Sit 'Em Week 3: 5 Guys You Play and 5 You Must Bench
Who are the guys that can win you the week, and who are the guys that will be complete duds in Week 3?
Taking into consideration players' performances so far this season and looking at Week 3 matchups, I'll take you through who should get the start and who should ride the pine.
There is no purpose in advising against first-rounders or early fantasy draft picks. For the most part, they should see the field week in and week out.
Here are the mid- to late-round guys that you should be sold on for the week, and those players which you should pull with no hesitation at all.
Start 'Em: Devery Henderson
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The passing offense of the New Orleans Saints has been on fire this season. In just two games, Drew Brees has racked up an astonishing 689 yards, including six touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Devery Henderson is the receiver that has benefited the most from Brees' stellar play. Injuries to Lance Moore and Marques Colston have also contributed to Henderson's exceptional numbers.
Lance Moore is slowly being worked back into the offense and will eventually cut into the other receivers' yardage, but Colston is out at least a few more weeks with a broken collar bone (Colston played in Week 1 and Moore played Week 2).
Henderson has nine receptions for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first two weeks of the season, and he will be at home in Week 3 facing the Houston Texans.
While the Houston defense has improved with the 3-4 defense of new defensive coordinator Wade Philips and the offseason addition of Johnathan Joseph, that's not a good enough reason to sit Henderson this week.
Start 'Em: Fred Davis
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Of course, there are the obvious starts of Rob Gronkowski and Dustin Keller, who are atop fantasy leagues in points so far this season, but Fred Davis should be starting in every league, too.
Davis is one of Rex Grossman's favorite targets this season. He has even been more productive than the Washington Redskins' wide receivers.
Davis has 11 receptions for 191 yards and a touchdown, and he has been targeted 13 times.
The Redskins' leading receiver, Santana Moss, has 11 receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown. Moss has been targeted 17 times.
Davis has been fantastic in only missing two attempted connections, and he is also getting targeted as a deep threat, averaging 17.4 yards a reception.
Davis and the Redskins are up against a Dallas Cowboys team that has given up a touchdown to tight ends in both of its games.
Although the Cowboys don't usually give up a ton of yardage to tight ends, with Chris Cooley playing as well, Dallas will have to pick their poison, and it would be hard enough to stop Davis even if Cooley wasn't on the field.
Grossman might not be the ideal quarterback, but he has performed well so far and will be looking for his tight ends on Sunday. This makes Davis well worth a start.
Start 'Em: Ryan Mathews
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Ryan Mathews has had a solid start to the season. Mathews has 10 receptions for 135 yards and 109 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Mike Tolbert has been the main hindrance to a Mathews start in many fantasy leagues.
Tolbert might be in Norv Turner's doghouse after a poor performance which included a fumble in Week 2 against the New England Patriots, but Tolbert will likely still get a decent chunk of the Chargers' carries.
Even with the threat of Tolbert taking away some of his carries and touchdowns, Mathews is worth playing in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs defense has been horrendous, and Fred Jackson ran all over the Chiefs in Week 1.
With Mathews' ability to catch the ball and break a long run, he should get a start at home Week 3 in San Diego.
Start 'Em: Ryan Fitzpatrick
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I have to admit, like most people, I have a tendency to be a prisoner of the moment, but Ryan Fitzpatrick's thrilling last-minute comeback victory over the Oakland Raiders in Week 2 isn't the only reason the Harvard graduate made the list.
Fitzpatrick has throw for 472 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Even more impressive is that Fitzpatrick has put up those numbers with a nameless receiver core (although Davis Nelson is making some noise after an outstanding game in Week 2), besides last year's fantasy breakout, Stevie Johnson.
Fitzpatrick's statistics have been very good this season, but Week 3 also provides an ideal matchup.
The Bills play the New England Patriots in Buffalo. If you think the Oakland Raiders game was a shootout, just wait for this one.
Fitzpatrick will be throwing the ball all day against a defense that gave up 416 yards to Chad Henne in Week 1.
If your first-string quarterback is injured, has a bad matchup or just hasn't been playing well, you should play Fitzpatrick and expect big numbers this week.
Start 'Em: Ben Tate
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The Houston Texans had high hopes for Ben Tate last year before a broken ankle in preseason took him out for all of 2010-2011, but Tate bounced back and has looked great thus far.
Through two games, Tate has 219 yards and a touchdown while sharing time with other backs.
Tate has taken advantage of a hamstring injury that kept Arian Foster out in Week 1 and limited him in Week 2 (Foster reaggravated the injury after trying to play and will not play Week 3).
With Derrick Ward not expected to play Week 3 in New Orleans against the Saints either, Tate will carry the load with Steve Slaton getting a sporadic run here and there.
The Saints defense isn't bad at stopping the run, but the team definitely won't keep Tate from putting up a decent yardage total.
Sit 'Em: Percy Harvin
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Percy Harvin is a tremendous talent. There is no question about that. Yet, outside of Adrian Peterson, the Minnesota Vikings offense hasn't done a whole lot this season.
Harvin has been used in the return game, as a running back and as a wide receiver, but he has only posted 83 receiving yards and 33 rushing yards in two games this season (he has one kickoff return for a touchdown).
Havin has the potential to put up a monster game every week, but even against the Detroit Lions, he isn't a sure thing.
If Donovan McNabb can pick up his play in the weeks ahead, Harvin should start, but until then it is better to wait and see.
If you have a better option than Harvin in Week 3, play someone else.
Sit 'Em: DeAngelo Williams
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Most people figured that after DeAngelo Williams signed a giant contract with the Carolina Panthers, he would be the foundation of the offense. However, Williams' production has been pretty disappointing so far.
Williams has just 17 rushing attempts for 43 yards in two games, compared to 13 attempts for 33 yards by Jonathan Stewart.
Williams did have five receptions for 29 yards, but Stewart has pulled down 10 catches for 114 yards.
Not only is Williams being used sparingly in the running game, but Cam Newton threw for over 400 yards in back-to-back games, and he rarely looked in Williams' direction.
The Panthers are at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, and while the Jaguars offense has been dreadful, their rush defense has excelled.
Don't expect Williams to get going against the Jaguars. In two games, the Jaguars have only given up 83 yards rushing to running backs.
Williams has the ability to put up huge numbers, but you should say away from starting him until the Panthers' running game improves.
Sit 'Em: Bears Defense
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After an excellent performance against the Atlanta Falcons in the Chicago Bears' opening game, the defense got burned by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints in Week 2.
Brees threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns in the game.
And even though the Bears defense played well in Week 1, Matt Ryan still threw for 319 yards (but the Falcons did abandon the run because they were playing from behind).
In most weeks the Bears defense will be a good start, but facing another team that likes to air the ball out in the Green Bay Packers and a fantastic quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, it would be smart to find a better matchup in Week 3.
Sit 'Em: Cedric Benson
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Cedric Benson started the season out with a great game against the Cleveland Browns, where he had 121 rushing yards and a touchdown.
In his next game against the Denver Broncos, a team that Darren McFadden ran for 150 yards against, Benson had only 59 yards.
The Cincinnati Bengals are committed to the run, and Benson should have a very good season, but his performance in Week 2 was dismaying (his struggles were largely a product of a poor game by the offensive line though).
Adding to the uncertainty, Benson doesn't have the best matchup in Cincinnati against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.
The 49ers have been dominant against running backs, and if Benson couldn't do much against the Broncos, you should wait for a better matchup before giving Benson the start.
Sit 'Em: Pierre Garcon
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The Indianapolis Colts offense hasn't been able to produce without Peyton Manning, and that doesn't bode well for Pierre Garcon.
Kerry Collins has targeted Garcon 11 times, but he only has six receptions for 67 yards.
At least that's better than Austin Collie, who has been targeted 13 times and has only caught 3 passes for 24 yards, but that isn't much consolation to those who have Garcon on their teams.
The Colts play at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3. The matchup alone makes Garcon a horrible play, but with Kerry Collins at quarterback Garcon probably shouldn't start at any point this season.