Fantasy Football Week 3 Start 'Em Sit 'Em: QB Edition
The quarterback is the most important position on your fantasy football team, but the way this season has gone, fantasy quarterback projections have been a bit unpredictable.
Guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are performing the way everyone thought they would, sure. However, there are some guys who have been complete fantasy surprises, like Cam Newton and Ryan Fitzpatrick and some who have been major disappointments, like Donovan McNabb.
This list, which is compromised of guys who should be starting in most fantasy leagues, is here to tell you which guys are in line for a big game or a bust.
Who is going to be a disappointment this week? Which guys are going to step up?
Let's start out with three guys who you must start in Week 3.
Three Must Starts
Tom Brady: New England Patriots (vs. Buffalo Bills)
This almost goes without saying, but start Brady this week. Next week. Every week until the end of eternity.
Through two weeks of play, Brady is leading the league in passing yards (940), is tied for most passing touchdowns (seven) and leads all players in fantasy points scored (62).
He has made both defenses he has faced look silly, especially Miami's in Week 1 where Brady threw for an incredible 517 yards.
If his stats don't already look ridiculous, listen to this: Cam Newton is currently No. 2 in the league in passing, and he's 86 yards behind Brady. Who's No. 3? Philip Rivers with 713 passing yards, 227 yards behind Brady.
He is certainly making his case felt for "Best QB of All Time" with his play thus far.
Philip Rivers: San Diego Chargers (vs. Kansas City Chiefs)
Rivers has looked good so far this season. Like I said, he's No. 3 in passing yards with 713, but this week, he will have an opportunity to gain ground on Brady and possibly pass Newton for the No. 2 spot.
His opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, just aren't very good defensively, and losing starting safety Eric Berry didn't exactly help them at all. It did, however, help all Chiefs opposing quarterbacks in terms of fantasy numbers.
Rivers should be poised to have a big game this weekend. In fact, he may even top Brady for highest-scoring player of the week.
Start him no matter what.
Michael Vick: Philadelphia Eagles (vs. New York Giants)
Michael Vick has been officially cleared to play, and that should make the Eagles feel a little bit better about this weekend's matchup against their conference foe New York Giants.
The Eagles, who are coming off an upsetting Week 2 loss in Atlanta, will be looking for a win to get back to the top of the conference, currently occupied by the undefeated Washington Redskins.
The Giants, who are No. 24 out of 32 teams in terms of passing defense, have already made Rex Grossman and Sam Bradford look good this season. Vick is more talented than both of these guys and also has a plethora of weapons at his disposal.
Vick should stay in the pocket more this week, in order to stay away from more severe injuries, but that doesn't mean that he will. Vick will likely play his normal style of football, and he's going to finish with a rather well-balanced stat line.
Start him. Don't be afraid.
Josh Freeman: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Opponent: Atlanta Falcons
Advice: Start 'Em!
Josh Freeman's passing touchdown numbers could be better, as he has only posted two through two games this season, but all that is about to change this week.
Freeman is facing an Atlanta Falcons defense that is currently No. 27 in terms of pass defense, averaging 301.5 passing yards per game. Every opposing QB has looked good against them this season, which includes Jay Cutler, Michael Vick and even Vick's backup Mike Kafka.
There's no doubt that Freeman and the Buccaneers passing attack is the main focus of Tampa's offense. Buccaneers running back, and projected fantasy breakout player, LaGarrette Blount has only rushed the ball 18 times in two games.
On the other hand, Freeman has already attempted 74 passes. Some of this can be attributed to being down on the scoreboard, because you're always going to pass more if you are trying to make a comeback. However, Blount and the rushing game really needs to get going in order to open more things up for Freeman.
This week, though, Freeman should be fine just throwing the ball a lot.
Freeman is going to be the best start in Week 3, if you are kind of on the fence about it.
Matt Ryan: Atlanta Falcons
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Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Advice: Sit 'Em!
Meet Freeman's adversary for the weekend. Matt Ryan has had an interesting fantasy season thus far, and that's likely due to the good defenses he has faced with the Chicago Bears in Week 1 and the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2.
In Week 1, Ryan didn't look terrible, but he also didn't look great. He finished the game 31-of-47 for 319 yards, one interception and zero touchdowns. He didn't get much help from his defense, who in turn made Jay Cutler look really good. He finished with just eight fantasy points.
Ryan's Week 2 fantasy performance was better, netting him 19 points, but his stat line was hard to judge. Ryan finished 17-of-28 for just 195 yards and two interceptions, but he also threw four touchdown passes and led his team to a fourth-quarter comeback victory.
Which Matt Ryan is going to show up this week? It's a toss-up. Tampa Bay does not have as good of a defense as Chicago or Philadelphia, so Ryan could see his stats improve.
However, Tampa Bay is next to last in terms of rush defense in the league, which means Falcons RB Michael Turner is going to be running all over the field this week. This could either help Ryan out, or it could decrease Ryan's value if Turner ends up with 30 carries.
Either way, Freeman is the better fantasy choice in this game. Sit Ryan this week if you have a better option.
Like the guy on the next slide...
Ryan Fitzpatrick: Buffalo Bills
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Opponent: New England Patriots
Advice: Start 'Em!
If you don't have Tom Brady on your team, starting his opposition may not be such a bad thing, either.
Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been a major fantasy surprise this season. After posting four disappointing years in the league, Fitzpatrick had a decent 2010 season, throwing for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns.
However, his interception tally was still high at 15, and there were much better options week in and week out for fantasy quarterbacks.
This season looks to be the best of his career. Through two games, Fitzpatrick has thrown for 472 yards, seven touchdowns and just one interception. Even though he's just averaging 236 yards per game, as opposed to Brady's ridiculous 470, Fitzpatrick is still the fifth highest scoring fantasy QB with 46 total points.
He hasn't exactly faced the best pass defenses in the world, as he has been pitted against Kansas City in Week 1 and Oakland in Week 2, but this week should be no different when New England comes to town.
New England is currently next to last in terms of pass defense, allowing an alarming 381 yards per game. To put it in perspective, Chad Henne completely destroyed their defense in Week 1, only to complete 12 of his 30 passes against Houston in Week 2.
If Chad Henne can score big on New England, then so can Fitzpatrick. Start 'em if ya' got 'em!
Joe Flacco: Baltimore Ravens
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Opponent: St. Louis Rams
Advice: Sit 'Em!
Did anyone ever think, "Hey, maybe this Joe Flacco character really isn't very good?" That's what it's starting to seem like to me, anyway.
Every season it seems like the Ravens have what it takes to make it deep in the playoffs, and every season Flacco is supposed to step up and be the guy to lead them there. However, every year is the same thing over and over: Flacco let them down.
I'm not taking anything away from Flacco's stats, which have been solid for the last two seasons. He just hasn't really stepped up when needed.
He looked great in Week 1 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, throwing for 224 yards, three touchdowns and leading them to an easy victory...
Then Week 2 happened. The Ravens laid an egg last week against a Tennessee Titans team they should be able to beat nine out of 10 times. The blunt of the blame can be placed on Flacco, who completed 15-of-32 attempts for 197 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
This week, Flacco goes up against the winless St. Louis Rams, who actually have the sixth-best passing defense in the league. They have already held Eli Manning to 200 yards and Michael Vick to 187 yards, so don't count on Flacco to have a huge game.
The Ravens have great odds of winning the game, but it will be due to Ray Rice and their defense, not Joe Flacco.
Cam Newton: Carolina Panthers
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Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars
Advice: Start 'Em!
Cam Newton just can't seem to get away from the spotlight. The rookie QB is seemingly always in the headlines; let's just be thankful that this time it's for his performance on the field.
Newton has been an absolute monster so far this year. He's No. 2 in the league in both passing with 854 yards and fantasy points scored with 55. Unfortunately, his Panthers squad is still winless, but that should change this weekend when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars.
In Week 1, Newton posted 29 points after throwing for 422 yards and two touchdowns against a lousy Arizona Cardinals defense. I thought his luck would run dry the next week, but, like he always seems to do, Newton stepped up.
In Week 2, Newton led his lowly Panthers team with 432 yards passing, 53 yards rushing and two total touchdowns, as they were able to hang with the defending champion Packers all the way through.
This week, Newton will lead his team to their first victory of the season, but he will have to get by a better than average Jaguars secondary who have already recorded three interceptions.
Newton showed last week that he was capable of making mistakes by throwing three interceptions, and he may make a few more mistakes this week, but until he proves that he is incapable of throwing for 400-plus yards and posting huge fantasy numbers, you have to ride his hot streak.
Roll the dice!
Tony Romo: Dallas Cowboys
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Opponent: Washington Redskins
Advice: Sit 'Em!
Secondly, even if Romo does play, the Cowboys will likely be more prone to run the ball and call more short, quick passing plays that keep Romo in and out of the pocket for as little time as possible. The last thing they want to do is get Romo severely injured and out for the season again.
Thirdly, the Redskins actually have a pretty good defense. They're in the middle of the pack in pass defense, allowing 235.5 yards per game, and they have a great run defense, allowing just 84 yards per game.
The doesn't bode well for a Cowboys running game that has been pretty non-existent this season. They are currently next to last in rushing yards per game with 54.5, but they have the third-best passing offense in the league.
This is due to both the weapons they have at wide receiver and the strong play of Tony Romo. Even though Romo "cost Dallas their Week 1 game," he has still played better than the majority of the starting quarterbacks in the NFL. The guy performs every week, statistically speaking anyway, and that's good enough for a starting spot on a fantasy roster.
This week doesn't look too promising, though. With the injury looming and a good defense with players willing to take shots at Romo's ribs, I'd say this is a good week to sit Romo if you have a better option.