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NFL Fantasy Football: Start 'Em/Sit 'Em - Week Three

Week three NFL matchups and how they'll affect your fantasy football team.

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

OK, a couple of my teams have come back down to Earth a little bit since week one.  In my standard league, I'm 2-0 thanks to some impressive play from DeMarco Murray and Randall Cobb.  In my other two leagues, the .5 PPR Hogs Haven league and my other full PPR league, I'm now 1-1.  I was a major disappointment in the HH league after Marques Colston got completely blanked and in my full PPR league I couldn't complete a late comeback after Pierre Garcon's beautiful streak of five-catch games came to an end at the wrong time for me.  Nonetheless, I'm 2-0 or 1-1 in all of my fantasy leagues and the Redskins are 1-1 so all is good.  Very rarely do teams find success after starting 0-2 in fantasy or the actual NFL.

Let's review a little bit of my advice from last week:

  • I knocked it out of the park with the Packers WR's prediction.  I mean, you could have gone with Jordy, Cobb, or both and you would have been thanking me and Aaron Rodgers for your victory.  Nelson in particular had a monster day with nine catches, 209 yards, and a TD... on 16 targets!  That's nuts.  And Cobb went out and got himself a pair of TD's and a two-point conversion to go with 'em.  Big game for both of those guys.
  • I completely whiffed on Antonio Gates.  I just didn't see that coming at all.  I mean, did anyone see anything like what the Chargers did to the Seahawks coming?  Didn't think so.  Still, three TD's and nearly 100 yards is a big miss.  My bad.
  • I will say I did have a big win with the Gio Bernard pick, though.  A lot of people saw that one coming, but no one said these all had to be crazy bold picks.  Bernard was great against Atlanta (as was the entire Bengals team) and you just knew he was in for a big day.  I'd say 169 total yards and a TD qualifies...
  • Morris also delivered pretty well, as expected.  85 yards and 2 TD's is big time.
  • Manning threw a couple picks (that was easy to see coming) and Romo was garbage as expected.

Let's see what week three has in store, shall we?


Start 'Em

Russell Wilson, SEA (vs Denver Broncos) - Yeah, I'm sticking with Wilson for the third week in a row.  He crushed them in the SB last year and now he gets them in the vaunted Seattle stadium.  He's been solid and steady for two weeks straight now getting about 200 yards, 2 TD's, and 0 INT's both weeks.  I see no reason for him to not continue that this week. 

Andrew Luck, IND (@ Jacksonville Jaguars) - You saw what RGIII/Kirk Cousins did to them last week, right?  You saw the Eagles hang 34 in a half on them two weeks ago, right?  Jacksonville isn't stopping anybody.  Oh, and Andrew Luck's pretty good, too.  I'll say 275+ passing yards, 2+ TD's, and 10-20 rushing yards.

Matt Ryan, ATL (vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers) - The Bucs don't appear to be very good.  Ryan's going to bounce back after last week in a big way at home in Atlanta.  Who's covering Julio and Roddy?  325+ yards and 2+ TD's.

Sit 'Em

Peyton Manning, DEN (@ Seattle Seahawks) - Calm down.  Seriously, calm down.  I'm not saying you have to sit Peyton Manning.  I'm just saying this could very possibly and even probably be his worst game this year.  If you have him, you he was likely your top pick and your back-up isn't likely to come close.  This has more to do with his opponent than him.  No QB does well in Seattle.  I'll repeat, no QB does well in Seattle.  I know Seattle's defense was good, especially at home, but I still started Aaron Rodgers in week one against them just like most of you will still start Peyton Manning against them this week.  It was a mistake.  I had Kaepernick on the bench and I should have played him... over Aaron Rodgers.  Manning might be a little better than Rodgers, but that just goes to show that nobody is a completely automatic no-brainer when they're playing Seattle in Seattle.  Y'all watched the SB last year...  300 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (@ Carolina Panthers) - The Panthers defense has been tough this year.  I mean like really tough.  I don't like this match-up, especially on the road.  The Steelers are a team built around Le'Veon Bell right now and I'm expecting a lot of him, even against the Panther front seven.  Thus, I can't see Big Ben, who's a marginal starter anyway, really being worth the start this week.  225 yards and 1 INT.

Tony Romo, DAL (@ St. Louis Rams) - I repeat, Tony Romo is garbage.  Don't start him.  This isn't the first week I've said this and I've always been right.  The Cowboys aren't very good in the first place, but when their offense actually gets its stuff together and produces, it's thank to a great RB in DeMarco Murray.  It's a shame that a talent like Dez Bryant is wasted with no-back Romo throwing his way this season.  Also, even though the Rams are much worse with no real QB right now, their defense is still pretty formidable and they're at home.  225 yards, 1 TD, and 1 INT.

Running Back

Start 'Em

Joique Bell, DET (vs Green Bay Packers) - Look, before the season everyone pretty much expected this Detroit backfield to get a little less Reggie Bush-heavy and even out to more of a 50-50 split.  It's gone even further the other way.  Bell is the better back and the lead back in Detroit right now.  He's a better fantasy option than Bush and he's a great choice against at home against Green Bay.  Green Bay's defense needs a little work.  First, Seattle went wild on them in the opener.  OK.  But then the Jets and Geno Smith?!  Too much.  Play Bell and feel good about it.  30+ receiving yards, 60+ rushing yards, and 1-2 TD's.

Gio Bernard, CIN (vs Tennessee Titans) - Yep, him again.  Look, it worked last week, why not again?  The Titans defense isn't exactly special.  The Cowboys just did it to 'em and DeMarco Murray was one of the best backs in the fantasy world last week.  I know first-hand.  Also, Bernard had a coming out party himself last week against Atlanta and looks like a huge component of Hue Jackson's offense.  The stars have aligned.  40+ receiving yards, 80+ rushing yards, and 1-2 TD's.

Ahmad Bradshaw, IND (@ Jacksonville Jaguars) - Two things: Trent Richardson isn't a very good RB and the Jaguars are garbage.  Add 'em up and you've got a big day from Bradshaw.  The whole country saw the Colts backfield on display on Monday night and Bradshaw took the cake and almost won the game for Indy.  He makes Richardson look even worse and is still only 28 (doesn't it seem like he's been around forever?).  The Redskins ran all over the Jaguars last week.  Silas Redd ran all over the Jaguars last week!  Bradshaw can run all over the Jaguars too.. and he will.  30+ receiving yards, 60+ rushing yards, 1 TD.

Sit 'Em

Toby Gerhart, JAX (vs Indianapolis Colts) - The Jaguars run game was abysmal against the Redskins last week.  I mean nonexistent.  The team managed a grand total of 25 rushing yards and 17 of those came from QB Chad Henne.  Gerhart got seven carries and managed only eight yards.  I see no reason for them to be much better this week.  It may not be that terrible because I think the Colts run D is not quite as good as the 'Skins', but still, don't bet on Gerhart this week.  70 total yards.

Carolina RB's (vs Pittsburgh Steelers) - Cam Newton poaches TD's, Williams is older and banged up, and Stewart showed last week that he's nothing special even when given the bulk of the carries.  It doesn't help matters that this figures to be a low scoring game.  The team continues to split Williams and Stewart while Tolbert comes in for some TD's and Newton runs more than almost any other QB.  Stay away from this situation.

Montee Ball, DEN (@ Seattle Seahawks) - See the Peyton Manning bit above.  This is almost the exact same.  Ball is a good RB in a great offense.  I'm not saying you have to sit him.  I'm just saying that if you have solid back-ups with favorable match-ups, this may be the week to consider sitting Ball.  It's tough in Seattle and the Broncos recent history against the Hawks isn't exactly inspiring.  60 total yards.

Wide Receivers

Start 'Em

Brian Quick, STL (vs Dallas Cowboys) - Who's that?  Yeah, that's what a lot of people are thinking, but Quick has been flying under the radar these past couple weeks and it's time he gets noticed.  The Rams offense isn't good and they have no QB.  Still, Quick is in that breakout third year for WR's and has been posting solid number through two weeks.  It doesn't hurt that the Rams are without Tavon Austin, either.  Consider the fact that they're going against the worst defense in the NFL (my opinion) and they're at home, I love the matchup.  Totally reasonable to expect 80+ yards and possibly a TD.

Mike Wallace, MIA (vs Kansas City Chiefs) - Much to my surprise, Mike Wallace has been pretty good this year.  He burned me bad last year and it's hard for me to recommend him, but I have to this week.  The guy has caught a TD in both games this season and is receiving plenty of looks, especially deep passes, from Tannehill so far.  The Chiefs pass D is suspect and all it takes is one bomb to make Wallace worth it.  Maybe it just took a year for them to figure out how to use him?  80+ yards and possibly a TD.

Andre Johnson, HOU (@ New York Giants) - The Giants are a mess and the Texans have looked respectable this year, especially last week when they demolished the Raiders.  Johnson is consistent and has been his whole career.  He's getting older, but not too old yet and he still has good size and solid fundamentals plus strong hands.  He's gone for 70+ yards in both games this year and you like that consistency.  Meanwhile, the Giants can't stop anyone.  Roll with Johnson this week.  80+ yards and possibly a TD.

Sit 'Em

Victor Cruz, NYG (vs Houston Texans) - Honestly, Cruz just hasn't done a whole lot lately to inspire confidence.  Neither has the entire Giants offense which has just looked incredibly out of whack this year.  Manning seems to be favoring safety blanket TE Larry Donnell or just throwing it to the other team.  All the while, Cruz has totaled just 84 yards combined in both games and 0 TD's.  Interesting fact, Cruz has just really regressed over the past year.  He only has one 100-yard game in his last 12.  50-60 yards.

Danny Amendola, NE (vs Oakland Raiders) - It must be over for Amendola.  I'm ashamed to admit I drafted him in two leagues.  He's no longer on either team.  Some people are still doing what I was doing and clinging to the ideas that popped into everyone's mind back when New England lost Welker and added Amendola after his great season (especially in PPR formats) with St. Louis.  No.  It's gone.  He had zero catches and only one target last week.  Brady likes throwing to Edelman, Gronk, and Dobson all a lot more than Amendola and I don't see why that's going to change.  10-20 yards.

Dwayne Bowe, KC (@ Miami Dolphins) - Remember what I told you about Bowe last week?  Told you so.  He had a whopping three catches for 40 yards.  I'm calling it again.  Don't start him.  Just trust me.  40-50 yards.

Tight Ends

Start 'Em

Delanie Walker, TEN (@ Cincinnati Bengals) - Walker went crazy last week in a loss to the Cowboys: 10 catches, 142 yards, and 1 TD.  I'm not saying he'll do that again, but he's clearly a favorite of QB Jake Locker.  Don't forget, Walker caught a TD in his first game, too.  The Bengals are only average against TE's and based on what we've seen through two weeks, I expect Locker to keep looking Walker's way.  60+ yards and 1 TD.

Greg Olsen, CAR (vs Pittsburgh Steelers) - The Steelers are very vulnerable to TE's and Olsen is big time in the Panther offense, regardless of QB.  With Anderson throwing: 8 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD.  With Newton: 6 catches and 72 yards.  It would seem that Olsen is going to get his and the Steelers are ripe for the taking.  60+ yards and 1 TD.

Dwayne Allen, IND (@ Jacksonville Jaguars) - He's playing the Jaguars.  Luck is good.  Niles Paul just had the game of his life against them.  Do it.  40+ yards and 1 TD.

Sit 'Em

Jason Witten, DAL (@ St. Louis Rams) - I don't trust Tony Romo, the Cowboys team, or Jerry Jones.  40 yards.

Heath Miller, PIT (@ Carolina Panthers) - The Panthers defense is good, especially their front seven.  This figures to be a low scoring affair and the Steeler offense seems to be heavily centered around Le'Veon Bell right now.  I also think Miller has lost a step at 31 years old and after having some major injuries.  The Panthers don't really give up many TD's and Miller hasn't really inspired against lesser opposition this year.  Stay away.  30 yards.

Please leave any fantasy related questions you might have in the comments section and I'll try to answer as many and as quickly as I can.  It's fun to get everyone's perspectives on this week's matchups floating around down there and I'm always interested to see what kind of decisions different fantasy players have to make.  These are just general ideas for standard leagues, but we can all give and receive advice for unique situations as they come up.  Good luck!