Week three is already upon us and by now you should have a better understanding of where your team sits. If you were one of those drafting Chris Johnson or Jamaal Charles as your starter chances are you are 0-2 right now. We should know more about both players after this week as both have nice match ups if their teams can keep it close. Let’s take a closer look at these two players along with more in this week 3 fantasy football preview.
New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers –
There are a lot of injuries in this game, the most prominent being Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw. Both players have already been ruled out for Thursday night’s match up. You can thank the short week for that. If you are looking for a player to fill the target void, look no further than Martellus Bennett. I have been singing the tight end’s praise for 3 weeks now, so he is most likely been plucked off your waiver wire by now. If you own him, get him into your line up, I see big things for Bennett tonight with Victor Cruz drawing double coverage all night. If you need to replace Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown will get the start but I bet we see more of David Wilson than you think. I am seeing a time share until Wilson seizes the job or Bradshaw comes back. I expect Cam Newton to be lights out in this one and Steve Smith is strong enough to beat any corner back especially one as overrated as Prince Amakamura. Don’t’ be surprised if Brandon Lafell has his big coming out party tonight, he has building moment the last two games.
St. Louis vs. Chicago –
Nice match up here for Matt Forte, it’s too bad he is most likely out with an ankle injury. If you own Michael Bush get him in your lineup and expect at least 80 yards with a score. Brandon Marshall should have nice bounce back game with Jay Cutler putting up respectable numbers as well. I don’t expect big things out of last week’s breakout wide receiver, Danny Amendola. There is a good chance he scores, but these Chicago corners are better than advertised and should be able to keep him in check. Keep an eye on Steven Jackson’s injury status as kick off approaches. If he can’t go, expect a committee led by Daryl Richardson.
Buffalo vs. Cleveland –
CJ Spiller should once again go nuts against a soft Cleveland front seven which should open things up for Steve Johnson to get his wheels going in week three. Ryan Fitzpatrick could prove serviceable in deeper leagues. Don’t expect the same results from Brandon Weeden or Mohamed Massaquoi, The Bills defense is better than most think and should prove it this week. If you own Trent Richardson it is likely you paid for him so you are starting him no matter what. He should find room and be a bright spot on this young offense.
Tampa Bay vs. Dallas –
Shoot out, take two? For Fantasy football’s sake, let’s hope so! Tony Romo may not pass for 500 yards like Eli Manning did last week but he should easily pass for 300 finding Miles Austin for a touchdown or two. Romo and Dez Bryant do not seem to be in sync right now so expect Romo to lean on Miles Austin in this one. If that Tampa defense plays the way it did last week, the passing numbers should be big. On the flip side, I am not sure Tampa will be able to keep up but they will try. Vincent Jackson will draw the number one wide receiver coverage making Mike Williams a sneaky bet to score. Both Demarco Murray and Doug Martin should have solid fantasy outings.
New York Jets vs. Miami –
Brian Hartline was undoubtedly one of the first names to fly off the waiver wire after his performance last week. This week should be a bit tougher as he draws lock down coverage from Darrel Revis. Despite the Jets image as a run stopping defense, Reggie Bush should still put up good numbers and score – he is just about all they’ve got! The Jets should have an easy time scoring giving Shonne Green some added value, garbage time counts too!
San Francisco vs. Minnesota –
Hold on to your hats, this one could get ugly. The 49ers defense is nasty and will give this Minnesota offense fits. That said, I cannot recommend sitting Adrian Peterson unless you have better options. I don’t see a ton of scoring coming from Minnesota but I could see a couple touchdowns most likely coming through the air. You’re starting Percy Harvin regardless of match up. Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter should get plenty of work salting this game away so you could do worse than Kendall Hunter in deep leagues.
Kansas City vs. New Orleans –
This is Jamaal Charles’ last chance to get it going before I am officially worried. We all know the stats on guys coming back from knee surgery and we all know the odds are not in his favor. The saints have been getting killed against the run in their first two games making this a now or never scenario for the former top 5 pick. I do expect the other running backs to get touches but if I have to start one its Charles. For the Saints, I’m getting all my players in; this Kansas City defense is soft. Mark Ingram should have some flex value as the saints run out the clock late.
Cincinnati vs. Washington –
This is my pick for game of the week. Both defenses are good enough to keep it interesting yet soft enough to permit nice fantasy outings for your starters. I could see Benjarvis Green-Ellis scoring in this one and approaching 100 total yards once again. For all of you Alfred Morris owners, watch this be the game he gets “Shanahan’d” you know its coming, you heard it here first. If he gets the carries, he will be a fine flex option.
Detroit vs. Tennessee –
I think both Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford get on track in this one connecting for at least one score. There is nothing about either defense that scares me so the score could get up there in this one if the offenses decide to show up. Be careful if you are starting Kevin Smith. This could easily become a platoon as Mikel Leshoure is finally ready to play after injuries and suspension. This is Chris Johnson’s last chance for me. If he does not get 50 yards and a touchdown or 100 yards from scrimmage I would recommend selling him for 80 cents on the dollar if you can get it. I would give it one more week before starting Kenny Britt unless you are a desperate Hakeem Nicks owner.
Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis –
This should be another fun one for Andrew Luck and co. I am thinking both Donnie Avery and Reggie Wayne get loose for a deep ball or two and maybe, just maybe Donald Brown gets in the end zone. I wish I could say the same for The Jacksonville receivers but that offense just looks awful. Maurice Jones-Drew will get his but the rest of them need to remain on the bench until further notice. Sneaky pay this week is the Colts Defense / Special teams – if you are brave.
Philadelphia vs. Arizona –
This Arizona Defense has been sneaky good thus far in 2012. I think that stops here with the Eagles coming to town. Lesean McCoy should run wild and Michael Vick should get back on track. Keep an eye on Jeremy Maclin and Desean Jackson prior to kick off; both have been limited in practice. That said I would start Brent Celek with confidence this week, someone has to catch the ball. For Arizona I am only starting Larry Fitzgerald who should turn things around this week despite drawing top corner coverage.
Atlanta vs. San Diego –
Matt Ryan will get his; it’s just a matter of who he decides to throw it to. Week one saw Julio Jones going off, while week two saw Roddy White going off. It’s going to be most likely one or the other but both players are must starts. Tony Gonzalez is a strong start in this one drawing a ton of targets and the trust of Matt Ryan. All of the above are must starts barring injury. I expect Malcolm Floyd to get bottled up drawing the main focus of this decent Atlanta defense but Antonio Gates should be a go and should score.
Houston vs. Denver –
I am downgrading all Broncos’ players against this tough Houston Texans defense. They will still get you points if you must start any of them but don’t expect the numbers to be as high as normal. If I have any comparable options, I am sitting Peyton Manning in this one. The Denver defense is better than most think so I would certainly start my studs like Arian Foster and Andre Johnson, but don’t get cute and try to start Ben Tate unless you have no other options.
Pittsburgh vs. Oakland -
Ben Roethlisberger should be a low end number one fantasy football quarterback in this one. It certainly helps that the Pittsburgh running game is in the toilet. Three touchdowns is not out of the question. Darren Mcfadden has got to get it going sooner or later and this is as a good a chance as ever, the aging Pittsburgh defense is not quite as scary as it has been in years past. I think Mcfadden gets it done this week.
New England vs. Baltimore -
Tough defensive match up for Tom Brady and co. but they have the tools and know how to get the job done. I give Wes Welker an upgrade back to must start status with Aaron Hernandez down for the next few weeks and in this game, the underneath stuff that has become his bread a butter should be there. I would give a small downgrade to Stevan Ridley if Benjarvis Green-Ellis and Lesean McCoy didn’t just chop through this defense in weeks one and two respectively. Start Ridley with confidence. For Baltimore, I think we are all still waiting for that big breakout game from Torrey Smith and this very well could be it.
Green Bay vs. Seattle -
For those of your starting the Seattle Defense for weeks one and two, don’t get cute this week. Despite their struggles, this is still Green Bay and they will still light you up. Greg Jennings should be a go in this one boosting the value of Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson. If you own Cedric Benson and do not have a better option I would start him this week, he seems due for a touchdown after last weeks encouraging performance. For Seattle, I could see Russell Wilson having a decent fantasy game trying to keep up with Green Bay. Feel free to start him in 2 quarterback fantasy leagues. Your starting Marshawn Lynch but trying to guess which receiver will catch the touch downs impossible at this point in the season, look elsewhere for a wide receiver.