Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Who Are the Smart Matchup Plays?

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IISeptember 22, 2011

Start 'Em, Sit 'Em Week 3: Who Are the Smart Matchup Plays?

0 of 25

    With Week 3 of the fantasy season just around the corner, it's time to figure out who to start and who to sit. It's time to consider what the smart matchup plays are.

    We won't tell you anything obvious such as you need to start Philip Rivers against the Kansas City Chiefs or that you need to sit anyone on the Indianapolis Colts when they take on the Pittsburgh Steelers. That type of information is a given and we don't want to waste your time with trivial analysis.

    What we will do is give you big-name players to sit and surprise players to start based on who has the smart matchup play.

START: Cam Newton

1 of 25

    Matchup: Jacksonville Jaguars


    Cam Newton will probably throw an interception or two, but that shouldn't stop you from starting him. He is likely to have another 400 yard passing game, a touchdown or two through the air and one or two more on the ground.

    The Jaguars' defense looked awful against the New York Jets and I expect Newton to have another big game.

SIT: Blaine Gabbert

2 of 25

    Matchup: @ Carolina Panthers


    On the opposite side of the field is Blaine Gabbert who will be making his first career start in the NFL.

    Don't be a fool and pick him up thinking he will lead your team to fantasy victory. He won't.

    He isn't going to be the focal point of the offense and he will likely struggle in his first professional game.

START: Andy Dalton

3 of 25

    Matchup: San Francisco 49ers


    By the end of the year, Andy Dalton may be the best rookie quarterback in the league. He threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Denver Broncos.

    He should have similar success against the 49ers. One big thing that Dalton has going for him is his ability to limit mistakes. In fact, he has yet to throw an interception which is a good thing for your fantasy team.

START: A.J. Green

4 of 25

    Matchup: San Francisco 49ers


    If I'm expecting Andy Dalton to have a big game, then A.J. Green is a must start for your fantasy team. 

    He has caught a touchdown in both games this season and I wouldn't be surprised if that streak continues for another week. Against San Francisco's weak secondary, Green may even put up over 100 receiving yards.

SIT: Frank Gore

5 of 25

    Matchup: @ Cincinnati Bengals


    I've been high on Frank Gore for a few years now as a fantasy player, but I also seem disappointed by him at the end of the season.

    Gore hasn't shown anything special this year as he is averaging under three yards per carry in his first two games. He goes up against an underrated run defense and I can't see him gaining many yards this week.

START: Matthew Stafford

6 of 25

    Matchup: @ Minnesota Vikings


    Anyone who doesn't plan on starting Matthew Stafford every week in fantasy football needs to find a new hobby.

    As of right now, I would put Stafford in the category as the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. He has simply played amazing in two weeks and shows no signs of slowing down.

    Of course, it helps to have a guy named Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to, which Stafford takes full advantage of.

SIT: Adrian Peterson

7 of 25

    Matchup: Detroit Lions


    This is the only time you will ever sit Adrian Peterson in your entire life.

    The Detroit Lions have one of the stingiest run defenses and have already shut down LeGarrette Blount and Jamaal Charles this year. Peterson will be the next talented running back to have a difficult time running the ball against the Lions' defense.

    Plus, if the Lions' offense scores quickly and often, this game could turn into a shootout, which means Peterson won't receive many carries.

START: Kyle Orton

8 of 25

    Matchup: @ Tennessee Titans


    If Luke McCown can have a quality fantasy game against the Tennessee Titans, a player like Kyle Orton should be able to have a monster fantasy game.

    Remember, after McCown beat the Titans, he went on to post a 1.8 quarterback rating the following week. That just shows how poor the Titans' pass defense is and Orton should be able to exploit it. 

    Over 300 yards and a few touchdowns is almost certain for Orton this week.

SIT: Vince Young/Mike Kafka

9 of 25

    Matchup: New York Giants


    Whoever ends up starting for the Philadelphia Eagles this week, whether that is Vince Young or Mike Kafka, they don't deserve to be your starting quarterback just because they play for the "dream team."

    Both players are inexperienced in the Eagles' offense and they play the Giants who did a very good job at shutting down Sam Bradford on Monday night. It will be a very long game for whoever is under center and that doesn't bode well for your fantasy team.

START: LeSean McCoy

10 of 25

    Matchup: New York Giants


    While you're sitting whoever is quarterbacking the Philadelphia Eagles, LeSean McCoy is a must start.

    Without Vick, McCoy will become the focal point of this offense. He will most likely see the most carries he has seen in his career and will also get plenty of opportunities as a receiver out of the backfield.

    I expect McCoy to have one of the better fantasy weeks for a running back this week.

SIT: Sam Bradford

11 of 25

    Matchup: Baltimore Ravens


    Before the season started, I was really high on Sam Bradford. Unfortunately, he hasn't quite lived up to expectations and appears to be stuck in a sophomore season slump.

    He's only completing a little over 50 percent of his passes and has only thrown one touchdown in two weeks. Eventually, Bradford will figure it out and get back into a nice groove, but it won't be this week against an angry Baltimore defense.

SIT: Ryan Fitzpatrick

12 of 25

    Matchup: New England Patriots


    It has to stop sometime for Ryan Fitzpatrick, right?

    No player has been more surprising this year than Fitzpatrick, but he has a very difficult divisional game this week against New England. The Patriots have owned the Buffalo Bills in recent years and it won't be any different this year.

    As much as I would love to see Fitzpatrick have another big week, the Patriots will cause too many turnovers for him to be a viable fantasy option.

START: Rob Gronkowski

13 of 25

    Matchup: @ Buffalo Bills


    With Aaron Hernandez missing this week, Rob Gronkowski will see a major increase of passes thrown his way. He has already proven to be one of Tom Brady's favorite targets near the end zone and that won't be changing anytime soon.

    Gronkowksi is almost guaranteed at least one touchdown reception this game and two or three certainly isn't out of the picture.

SIT: Mark Sanchez

14 of 25

    Matchup: @ Oakland Raiders


    I've never been a big fan of Mark Sanchez and throwing two interceptions against the Jacksonville Jaguars doesn't instill any more confidence in me.

    Even though the Raiders gave up a big game to Ryan Fitzpatrick last week, I think they come back and play stingy defense at home against the New York Jets. This will be a close game throughout, but Sanchez will get back to his old ways of throwing more interceptions than touchdowns.

SIT: Jason Campbell

15 of 25

    Matchup: New York Jets


    Jason Campbell is another hot quarterback coming off a big fantasy week that you shouldn't get too invested in too quick.

    Remember that the Oakland Raiders are a run-first team and this matchup against the New York Jets will be a defensive battle. Campbell will be asked to be a game manager and won't have a big fantasy week.

START: Dexter McCluster

16 of 25

    Matchup: @ San Diego Chargers


    With Jamaal Charles being injured and Thomas Jones looking older and older each game, Dexter McCluster looks like the best fantasy option for the Kansas City Chiefs.

    What makes him so valuable is his versatility. He can play running back or wide receiver in real life and in fantasy football. With the Chiefs attempting to regain any type of respect they once had, they will need the big play ability of McCluster, which should help him to see plenty of touches this week.

SIT: Chad Henne

17 of 25

    Matchup: @ Cleveland Browns


    After opening the season with a big fantasy game against the New England Patriots, Chad Henne fell back into his old ways last week against the Houston Texans. Still, many people feel that Henne is a must start from here on out.

    I'm not a believer in what we've seen from Henne so far. He goes up against a tough Cleveland defense and with the breakout performance from Daniel Thomas last week, we will see a much more balanced attack from the Miami Dolphins.

    There are plenty of other better options at quarterback, so don't suffer through another mediocre performance from Henne.


SIT: Jay Cutler

18 of 25

    Matchup: Green Bay Packers


    Even though Green Bay has basically been a punching bag for opposing quarterbacks, I'm still sitting Jay Cutler rather than starting him.

    With basically no offensive line for the Chicago Bears, Green Bay is going to attack Cutler often and be very successful at it. We saw how easily the New Orleans Saints were able to put pressure on Cutler and what happened when they did.

    He may end the game with over 300 yards, but that will be countered with plenty of interceptions and maybe a fumble or two.

START: Matt Forte

19 of 25

    Matchup: Green Bay Packers


    The beneficiary of the majority of Jay Cutler's passes this week will be thrown to Matt Forte. The Packers gave up 100 receiving yards to Jonathan Stewart last week and Forte is a much better receiver than Stewart.

    Don't expect many yards on the ground from Forte, but he should be well over 100 total yards for the game and will most likely add a receiving touchdown.

START: Kevin Kolb

20 of 25

    Matchup: @ Seattle Seahawks


    The Seahawks are playing very poorly right now and if Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers can have a great fantasy game against them, then Kevin Kolb should be able to light them up.

    The key player to Kolb's success will once again be Larry Fitzgerald. Since Seattle really doesn't have anyone to shut him down, Kolb should be able to find him with ease and have a big fantasy week.

SIT: Matt Ryan

21 of 25

    Matchup: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers


    After a tough performance in Week 1, Matt Ryan came back and had a four touchdown game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night.

    While it's always good to see improvement, Ryan will struggle again this week on the road against their division rivals. Even though Tampa Bay is giving up over 400 total yards of offense, they aren't allowing their opponents to score very many points.

    I've been on the fence about Ryan in the first two weeks and my gut tells me that his Week 1 performance is closer to what we will see this week against the Buccaneers.

SIT: Josh Freeman

22 of 25

    Matchup: Atlanta Falcons


    It's going to be a tough game for both Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman, so I'm sitting both of them this week.

    Freeman might be less of a shocker than Ryan because he has yet to really find the groove that he had last year through the first two weeks of the season. Neither of his performances make me confident in starting him this week and until I see him limit his mistakes, I'll have a tough time starting him for the rest of the season.

SIT: Arian Foster

23 of 25

    Matchup: @ New Orleans


    There are two reasons why I'm sitting Arian Foster.

    First, Foster isn't completely healed from his injury. In fact, playing last week was probably a poor decision and it could make his full return take even longer.

    The second reason is Ben Tate. He has been outstanding in Foster's absence, so the Houston Texans have no need to rush Foster back onto the field.

    I'm sitting Foster this week and I'm starting...

START: Ben Tate

24 of 25

    Matchup: @ New Orleans Saints


    Yeah, I'm starting Ben Tate. Remember when Steve Slaton had a huge rookie year and then struggled through injuries and lost his job to Arian Foster. Doesn't this look eerily similar to that?

    Tate is averaging over 100 yards rushing a game and he is likely to keep that rolling against a Saints' defense that isn't very good. Until Foster is back to full health, Tate is a must start.

START: Devery Henderson

25 of 25

    Matchup: Houston Texans


    The only type of league that Devery Henderson isn't a good choice for is PPR leagues because he isn't going to have the most receptions on his team.

    With that said, don't be surprised if Henderson leads the New Orleans Saints' in receiving yards and touchdowns even with fewer receptions. He has become a true deep threat for Drew Brees and with Marques Colston still injured, Brees will continue to look at Henderson for those deep passes.

    With this game against Houston likely to be an offensive shootout, expect Henderson to have a big fantasy week with another 100-yard receiving performance and a touchdown or two.