Fantasy Football Projections Week 3: Sleepers and Predictions

Luke CarltonContributor IIISeptember 24, 2011

Fantasy Football Projections Week 3: Sleepers and Predictions

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    Maybe not as wild as Week 1, but Week 2 was certainly full of excitement.

    Fantasy wise, there was plenty to talk about, with unforeseen outstanding performances from the likes of Vincent Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and Cam Newton. Despite their efforts, all three failed to pick up a victory for their respective teams.

    In other news, it's bad times for those who drafted Jamaal Charles, who tore his ACL against Detroit, sending not only Kansas City spiralling out of control, but also throwing a spanner in the works for teams who own the player.

    No need to worry though, as here comes your weekly picks and a couple of sleepers as well.

Last Week's Picks

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    Buffalo over Oakland – Correct

    Detroit over Kansas City – Correct

    Baltimore over Tennessee – Incorrect

    Indianapolis over Cleveland – Incorrect

    Tampa Bay over Minnesota – Correct

    Chicago over New Orleans - Incorrect

    New York over Jacksonville – Correct

    Pittsburgh over Seattle - Correct

    Washington over Arizona - Correct

    Green Bay over Carolina - Correct

    Dallas over San Francisco - Correct

    Denver over Cincinnati - Correct

    Houston over Miami - Correct

    New England over San Diego – Correct

    Atlanta over Philadelphia - Correct

    New York over St. Louis - Correct

New England @ Buffalo

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    Picks Against Spread - New England by nine

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    New England 94 percent
    Buffalo six percent

    My Pick - New England


    It's hard not to pick a fault in New England at the moment, they seem to be firing on all cylinders and the season has just begun.

    Tom Brady has continued his unbelievable form from last year and is carrying on making a mockery of opposing defenses on his way to putting an average of 463 yards a game. The Bills will be able to match them to a certain extent if this game turns into a shootout, though the Patriots have more firepower and weapons to put points on the board.

    All indications show that Brady is not going to slow down any time soon, which is why New England is my pick this week.



San Francisco @ Cincinnati

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    Picks Against Spread - Cincinnati by 2.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    San Francisco 66 percent
    Cincinnati 34 percent

    My Pick - San Francisco

    I would not be surprised at all if the Bengals won this game. I deliberated for a while over who to pick in this game. Cincinnati is at home, which usually is enough to swing my pick but I've got a hunch the 49ers will grab a win.

    Maybe it's a gut feeling as there really isn't much to pick between the two teams. The 49ers were unfortunate not to be 2-0 coming into this game but on the other hand, they haven't looked all that impressive.

    Meanwhile, Cincinnati haven't shown much to cause optimism, having beaten a poor Browns team and lost by a small margin against an equally poor team in Denver.

    It's hard to classify exactly why I believe the 49ers would win this game, as there is an even amount of pro's and there is con's. One thing which sticks out though is that the 49ers have more playmakers than the Bengals, which is enough to make me pick the west coast team.

Miami @ Cleveland

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    Picks Against Spread - Cleveland by two

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Cleveland 56 percent
    Miami 44 percent

    My Pick - Cleveland

    Just like the previous game, there is not much to choose from in this game. Whilst the Dolphins have been beaten by two playoff caliber teams at home, they have shown promising signs. Meanwhile, Cleveland stumbled upon their formula for success again last week—give the ball to Peyton Hillis.

    You can pretty much expect the same from the Browns this week as they look to capitalize on a Dolphin defence which is giving up just over 30 points a game and 122 yards on the ground per game.

    If this game is on TV, I suggest you avoid watching it.

    EDIT: Peyton Hillis ruled out for game is the cue for me to change my pick. I'll take the Dolphins, who were better on the road than they were at home last year. Let's just hope this isn't something I'm going to regret.

Denver @ Tennessee

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    Picks Against Spread - Tennessee by seven

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Tennessee 85 percent
    Denver 15 percent

    My Pick - Tennessee

    If you predicted Tennessee would emerge from the game against Baltimore with a victory, you deserve a medal.

    Who would have guessed Matt Hasselbeck would continue his career rejuvenation with a sublime 358 yards against one of the toughest, stingiest defences in the league.

    As for Chris Johnson, it's a confusing dilemma. He faces a very good matchup against Denver, who have given up an average of 131 yards on the ground and currently rank as the fifth worst run defence.  He could look for this game to get the spring back in his step and boost his truly awful 2.3 yard per carry average.

    Meanwhile, Denver scraped for a home victory against the lowly Cincinnati Bengals. They managed to get by without Knowshon Moreno and Brandon Lloyd last week but I'm not confident they can do the same this week.

    Home field advantage and an overall better team suggests Tennessee will take this one.


Detroit @ Minnesota

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    Picks Against Spread - Detroit by 3.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Detroit 84 percent
    Minnesota 16 percent

    My Pick - Detroit

    I may not have been on the Detroit bandwagon before but you can certainly count me as a believer now.

    How impressive have Detroit looked?! It's hard to believe that the this is the same team which only a few years ago finished 0-16. Credit goes to Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew for completely rebuilding the team from scratch.

    Then you have Minnesota, where you would be hard pressed to believe that just two years ago, they were a Brett Favre interception away from the Super Bowl. Donovan McNabb has looked far from impressive and other than Adrian Peterson, it's hard to see how they will win games.

    The Lions will look to continue their great form leading into their Monday night clash against Chicago next week, so give me the Lions.

Houston @ New Orleans

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    Picks Against Spread - New Orleans by four

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    New Orleans 87 percent
    Houston 13 percent

    My Pick - New Orleans

    Talk about a rough start to the season, the Saints have had to play the two teams which participated in the NFC Championship game and then face the seemingly playoff bound Houston Texans.

    I learnt from my upset pick last week not to pick against the Saints whilst they are at the Superdome and have Drew Brees under center. Brees looked unstoppable against a Bears defence which caused havoc against the Falcons and now faces a Houston defence which has looked good in the two games they have played, albeit against the Colts and Dolphins.

    Expect Sean Payton and the Saints offence to fully exploit the Texans defence and come away with the victory.

New York @ Philadelphia

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    Picks Against Spread - Philadelphia by 8.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Philadelphia 80 percent
    New York 20 percent

    My Pick - Philadelphia

    This pick became a lot easier when the Eagles stated that provided there are no setbacks, Michael Vick will play. The Giants will pressure Vick all day and it's up for debate whether Vick will make it through the whole game, but even an injured Mike Vick give the Eagles a greater chance of winning than Mike Kafka.

    As for the Giants, Mario Manningham may be out with a concussion and Hakeem Nicks is coming back from a hamstring injury. Throw Nnamdi Asomugha into the mix and it doesn't look promising for the Giants passing game.

    A depleted secondary will have to cover Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson and Steve Smith, so unless the Giants front seven can get relentless pressure on Michael Vick and force him out the game, the Eagles will fly on the road to victory.


Jacksonville @ Carolina

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    Picks Against Spread - Carolina by 3.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Carolina 91 percent
    Jacksonville nine percent

    My Pick - Carolina

    I underestimated the power of Cam Newton. I think it's fair to say many of us did. Two 400-plus yard games from a rookie quarterback is utterly ridiculous. And I wouldn't bet against him doing it again this week.

    Jacksonville have given up 431 passing yards in their two games this year. Cam Newton is averaging 427 passing yards a game. Something has got to give.

    As for Jacksonville, they will be giving Blaine Gabbert his first NFL start. Is anyone else excited to see what happens when two teams pit their rookie quarterbacks against each other with barely any passing options outside of their tight ends?

    Steve Smith and Mike Thomas are the only established receivers in this game and with both teams lacking elite talent on defence, it's definitely going to be interesting.

    On that note, give me the red hot yet still winless Carolina Panthers in this game.

New York @ Oakland

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    Picks Against Spread - New York by three

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    New York 81 percent
    Oakland 19 percent

    My Pick - New York

    This is a very nice upset pick for some people. With the Jets traveling across country and facing a Raiders team which looked impressive against the powerhouse Buffalo Bills last week.

    It seems like one of those games which Mark Sanchez plays poorly, costs the Jets a victory and everyone questions whether he has the skills to be a NFL quarterback, only for him to tear it up the week later.

    With all that in mind, I'm still taking the Jets.

    They are the stronger team and have an extremely strong and dominant defence which shouldn't get affected by jet leg (no pun intended). The offense has stepped it up a notch since last season, even if Plaxico Burress was nonexistent against the Jaguars last week.

    As for the Raiders, they may have looked impressive, but it was against the Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos. To put that in perspective, they were the second and third worst teams last year and are still far from being playoff caliber teams.

Baltimore @ St. Louis

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    Picks Against Spread - Baltimore by four

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Baltimore 95 percent
    St. Louis five percent

    My Pick - Baltimore

    This is a big statement game for the Ravens. They will be looking to prove that the victory against the Steelers was not fluke but a real showing of their skill. They looked disinterested last week against the Titans and it was almost as if they underestimated how good the Titans could be.

    As for St. Louis, their schedule doesn't get any easier. After facing the Eagles, Giants and now the Ravens, they face Washington before embarking on a two game road trip to Green Bay and Dallas before returning back to the Edward Jones Dome for a game against the New Orleans Saints.

    Nobody said being a division champ would be easy...


Kansas City @ San Diego

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    Picks Against Spread - San Diego by 15

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    San Diego 98 percent
    Kansas City two percent

    My Pick - San Diego

    In all my years of following football, I've never seen a division champion be 15 point underdogs against a team in their own division.

    Admittedly, I've been following football for all of four years, but it's still shocking how the Chiefs have gone from easily being the best team in the West to being thrown into the "Suck for Luck" debate. Losing their two best players on both sides of the ball in Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry surely didn't help their chances of retaining the division title.

    As for the Chargers, they seem primed to regain the AFC West following the collapse of the Chiefs and it doesn't even seem close. They pushed New England hard in Foxboro and look to have figured out that games in September actually count.

    Give me and 98 percent of Yahoo players the Chargers.

Green Bay @ Chicago

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    Picks Against Spread - Green Bay by four

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Green Bay 86 percent
    Chicago 14 percent

    My Pick - Green Bay

    For those of you who are regular readers, you will be well aware of my Bears bandwagon hype.

    Well, it's been a good ride.

    Rookie right tackle Gabe Carimi is out with a knee injury, which means that Frank Omiyale, a player who gave up 14 sacks last year, will take over. I mean no offense to Mr. Omiyale, but he is a horrific "football player."

    As for Jay Cutler, well, lets just hope the turf at Soldier Field is nice and spongy because it's going to need to cushion his fall quite often on Sunday.

    Bear this in mind though (see what I did there?), Chicago plays Aaron Rodgers and the Packers better than anyone else in the NFL. Look at the points the Packers offense put up on the Bears last year. 21, 20 and 10. The Bears have a scheme for the Packers and it works very well. They slow down the Packers and take away their explosive downfield plays.

    It may limit the Packers on Sunday, but the Bears offense will fail to keep up. Packers win but I'd be surprised if I saw a Green Bay blowout.

Arizona @ Seattle

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    Picks Against Spread - Arizona by 3.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Arizona 87 percent
    Seattle 13 percent

    My Pick - Arizona

    There is no doubt in my mind that Seattle are the worst team in the league and will not make the playoffs, so I thought I would use this picture to remind Seahawks fans of the better times. Remember that run? Priceless memories.

    Though they are at home, I believe the Cardinals are going to be too strong for Seattle. Arizona nearly won a game on the east coast, which is extremely rare for them and showed they can outlast a shootout with the Panthers. Hardly the best things to boast about but they have looked impressive and are a much greater team than they were last year.

    Meanwhile, the "Suck for Luck" campaign continues in Seattle...

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay

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    Picks Against Spread - Tampa Bay by one

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Atlanta 79 percent
    Tampa Bay 21 percent

    My Pick - Atlanta

    Atlanta are coming off a great win against the high flying Eagles and I expect them to collect their second win in Tampa.

    I'm surprised this counts as an upset pick against the spread. The Falcons emerged victorious when they visited Raymond James Stadium last year. However, I presume the bookies must consider the home field advantage enough to merit the Bucs as favorites.

    Either way you look at this game, it's going to be very close. The Falcons showed how potent their offense can be last week whilst the Bucs started to click in their away victory against the Vikings.

    Last year, the Falcons overcame a 10 point fourth quarter deficit to overcome the Bucs in a great game. I wouldn't be surprised if the result ended up very similar.

Pittsburgh @ Indianapolis

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    Picks Against Spread - Pittsburgh by 11

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Pittsburgh 98 percent
    Indianapolis two percent

    My Pick - Pittsburgh

    If only, Colts fans. If only...

Washington @ Dallas

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    Picks Against Spread - Dallas by 4.5

    Yahoo Community Pick'em

    Dallas 63 percent
    Washington 37 percent

    My Pick - Washington

    For anyone questioning whether or not a quarterback can play with a broken rib, I suggest you read up on Dan Pastorini's broken ribs.

    And I guarantee that will not be the first Dan Pastorini reference you hear this weekend.

    In 1978, Dan Pastorini had a Heisman Trophy winner and future NFL Hall-of-Famer in the backfield. His name was Earl Campbell.

    In 2011, Tony Romo has Felix Jones, who has as many rushing yards as Tony Romo has passing attempts.

    If Dallas had a great running back who Romo could give the ball to, meaning he could avoid being hit on every play, I may have been inclined to take Dallas. Add to the mix that Miles Austin is out for this game, and Washington seems the logical pick.

    I'm willing to count this as an upset.



Fantasy Sleepers: QB-RB-WR-TE-D/ST

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    QB - Matthew Stafford - Has been on fire so far and faces a weak Vikings secondary.

    QB - Ryan Fitzpatrick - Looks like it's gonna be a shootout and the Patriots have given up the second most passing yards so far.

    RB - Ryan Mathews - Facing the Chiefs and will look to build on a very strong performance last week in New England.

    RB - Michael Turner - Put up good numbers against the Bucs last year and has had back to back 100 yard games.

    WR - Steve Smith - Have you seen the numbers he's been putting up?

    WR - AJ Green - Had a good fantasy week last week and now plays a poor 49ers secondary.

    TE - Fred Davis  - The Redskins tight end you want on your team. 11 for 191 and a touchdown over Chris Cooley's two for 21 yards.

    TE - Rob Gronkowski - Aaron Hernandez is out and didn't Gronkowski get three touchdowns against the Bills last year?

    D/ST - Arizona - It's against Seattle.

    D/ST - San Diego - It's against Kansas City.

Fantasy Dreamers: QB-RB-WR-TE-D/ST

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    QB - Eli Manning - Eagles Secondary is greatly improved and will give Manning some problems.

    QB - Chad Henne - Game again Cleveland hardly screams shootout and they are surprisingly stout against the pass.

    RB - Felix Jones - He's not what the Cowboys were hoping for. Listed as questionable and Redskins are good against the run.

    RB - Cedric Benson - San Francisco have the best run defense in the league. Who would have guessed?

    WR - Hakeem Nicks - Nnamdi.

    WR - Michael Crabtree - Should start but it's a very risky move to play him. Questionable whether or not he is in game shape also.

    TE - Chris Cooley - See Fred Davis.

    TE - Ed Dickson - St. Louis giving up the least points to fantasy tight ends at the moment. And where did he go last week?

    D/ST - New England - Did I mention the chance of a shootout in Buffalo?

    D/ST - Houston - Though the numbers may look good, they were against the Dolphins and Colts. Drew Brees and the Saints are a different kettle of fish.