Jake Hower spacer
Buy, Sell, Hold - Week 3

| More
More articles from Jake Hower

Unless you’re lactose intolerant and just downed a gallon of milk, No. 2 can be pretty tough to predict. Week 2 in the NFL can be just as tough to predict. Julio Jones shredded the Kansas City Chiefs for 108 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. Double-digit points in Week 2 should be a walk in the park, right? Which park? Because 14 yards receiving doesn’t sound very wholesome or family friendly. 

At least quarterbacks are more consistent. Wait, what?! The Top 10 quarterbacks from Week 1 all scored at least 20 points in standard scoring formats. Seven out of those 10 scored fewer than 15 points in Week 2, including guys like Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Peyton Manning. The worst offender was easily Jay Cutler; a Hannibal Lecter in a room full of lambs. Cutler dropped from a solid 23 points in Week 1 to a solid turd of four points in Week 2.

Oh, and how do you determine what’s an easy matchup versus what’s a difficult one? Should we go off of last year’s statistics or defer to the much smaller sample size of Week 1? Cleveland was the No. 2 defense against the pass last season. This year, they’re the fifth-worst in the same category. So what does that tell you about the matchup with Buffalo this coming week? Well, with cornerback Joe Haden missing the next four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances, it makes starting Stevie Johnson an easier call.

Heading into Week 3, trends are starting to emerge. Four full weeks of play is usually a pretty good barometer, the first real checkpoint. But until then, make sure to keep yourself up-to-date, well informed, and loaded with proper dietary fiber.

Week 3 BUYS:

On average, Aaron Rodgers was selected as the No. 1 quarterback this year, typically in the first round. Robert Griffin III was taken about 80 spots later as the No. 12 quarterback (according to their average draft positions). Rodgers is currently 14th in scoring at the quarterback position; Griffin is No. 1. If I were drafting tonight for the rest of the year, I’d still take Rodgers. If I were drafting for Week 3 only, I’d take Griffin. Cincinnati’s defense is a lot more generous than Seattle’s.

C.J. Spiller deserves to remain the starter even when Fred Jackson comes back from injury. The dude is averaging a ridiculous 10 yards per carry. That’s Tecmo Bowl type numbers. Simply put, he’s a dynamic talent that brings an explosive element to the Buffalo offense. Jackson is by no means a mediocre talent, but Buffalo drafted Spiller to be their running back of the future and it looks like Spiller took them there on a ride in his Delorean.

I’m buying into the Danny Amendola hype. As your No. 1 receiver? Ummm … no. As a No. 3 wide receiver that can give you consistent production and the occasional big game like he did in Week 2 against Washington? Yes, sir. The dude was targeted 16 times last week, and caught all but one of them. The week before that? Still targeted nine times. He was on everybody’s radar last year, especially in points per reception leagues. Why? Sam Bradford loves him some Amendola. Since the two started wearing matching jerseys, no other Rams player has received as many targets per game. Amendola caught 85 passes the last time these two played a full season together (full being a relative term). Right now he’s on pace for 180 catches. I’m guessing he finishes somewhere in between, but that’s still plenty of chances to rack up some yards and maybe slip a tackle.

Matchups I like this week:

  • QB: Tony Romo vs. Tampa Bay. Romo experienced a bit of lag last week during his trip to the Pacific Northwest. He might as well have stayed in bed. His 250 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception made his owners feel ill as well. This week he gets the cure for what ails him, the league’s worst passing defense that just allowed Eli Manning to put up more than 500 yards through the air.
  • RB: Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis vs. New Orleans. Through two weeks of action, Charles has totaled only 109 yards from scrimmage. Hillis barely edges him out with 115 total yards. Did I mention that neither has reached the end zone? Guess I just did. This week they’re up against New Orleans. No team has given up more yards or touchdowns to their opponent’s backfield than the Saints. I’m thinking there will be enough points to go around for both backs.
  • WR: A.J. Green vs. Washington. Green was drafted as a Top 10 wideout this year, yet he’s only produced like a Top 30 receiver. He clearly has the ability. This week he gets the matchup to showcase his talent. Unless Washington uses its entire secondary to cover Green, he should finally start rewarding owners that spent an early pick on the Green in orange.

Week 3 HOLDS:

Sam Bradford looked good in Week 2. The only quarterbacks that put up more points last week were Eli Manning and Robert Griffin III. But with only one starter remaining along the St. Louis offensive line, the team’s signal caller should be wrapped up in Kevlar and bubble wrap before being allowed to walk out of the tunnel on game day. Vaya con Dios.

The other CJ, as in Chris Johnson, was the consensus No. 4 running back heading into the season. While 2,000 yards rushing is an admiral goal, Johnson is currently 1,979 short of achieving that feat this year. He might have to pick up the pace. But what are your choices? Cut your losses and waive bye to your likely first-round pick, or ride it out? For now, hold. Unless there’s an Al Davis in your league that craves speed, you’re most likely not going to get value … yet. Is he going to do better in the next few weeks? Not sure if he can do worse. Just hope that in the not too distant future he’s able to display some of that game breaking speed, so then you can move him. He has put up at least 1,000 yards rushing every year, but if he finds paydirt only four times this year (like last year) you’ll only join the chorus of owners screaming “never again” on draft day.

Still holding on Marques Colston. There’s not a lot of to celebrate right now in New Orleans. A whole list of offseason distractions, compounded by the Saints starting off 0-2 (the only team in the NFC right now without a win), well, that won’t get you many beads. But I highly doubt Drew Brees goes from breaking Dan Marino’s record for passing yards last year to anything less than 4,000 yards this year (something he’s managed to eclipse every year in New Orleans). What does that mean? Those yards have to go somewhere.

Tough Matchups for studs this week:

  • QB: Peyton Manning vs. Houston. Manning wasn’t bothered by a tough matchup in Week 1. Week 2 was a different story. Like Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham vs. Stephen King’s The Shining type different. This week against Houston resembles another King novel more so than another Seuss tale.
  • RB: Adrian Peterson vs. San Francisco. It’s bleeping San Francisco. Rule 1 of … well, we don’t talk about Rule 1. Rule 2: don’t start running backs against the 49ers defense. Got it?
  • WR: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Philadelphia. Regardless of which Arizona quarterback is throwing the ball at Fitzgerald this week, this is a tough matchup.

Week 3 SELLS:

Alex Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick are both Top 12 quarterbacks heading into Week 3. “Six bucks and my left n…” well, you can watch Plains, Trains and Automobiles to see how the rest of that line goes. But I’d be willing to bet quite a bit against them finishing in the Top 12.

Kevin Smith is the workhorse back in an explosive offense. Tennessee gives up plenty of yards on the ground, but I’m guessing he shares the load from here on out. It was great to see Smith make his way back into the NFL last season, but Mikel Leshoure comes off suspension this week and it’s been some time since Detroit has had a back that’s been able to carry the load on his own for a full season.

I’m not buying on Wes Welker being replaced in New England. Total Sell. Snap counts, targets, all that good stuff. OK, still not buying it. Tom Brady is not going to abandon his No. 1 target for the past five years. With Aaron Hernandez missing in action for the next several weeks, New England will use more three receiver sets. Kellen Winslow Jr. isn’t the same animal as Hernandez, so I don’t see coach Bill Belichick and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels using him as a “plug-n-play” replacement. Expect Welker’s numbers to increase moving forward.

Matchups to Avoid this week:

  • QB: Josh Freeman vs. Dallas. Last year quarterbacks feasted on the Dallas secondary. Dallas worked hard to address the problem over the offseason in free agency and the draft. So far it’s looking like it’s worked. They’ve created problems for both the New York Giants and the Seattle Seahawks, and currently boast the NFL’s No. 3 defense against the pass. Dallas should lock up Freeman.
  • RB: Michael Turner vs. San Diego. Apparently Turner not only has problems running laterally but also driving straight. Weird. Not sure what he runs a 40-yard dash in, but his 3-yard carries look about as slow as humanly possible. I’ve seen Hoverounds with better acceleration. Mix in the San Diego top-ranked rushing defense, no thank you.
  • WR: Any Seattle wide receiver vs. Green Bay. Seattle will try and establish the run, and so far Green Bay has proven more generous with yards on the ground versus yards through the air. If the Packers start airing it out like they did last year, Seattle will have to try and match, but I don’t think they can.

Until the next go-round.