All you Reggie Bush owners already received the bad news that you knew would come sooner or later. In this case, it only took two weeks as rookie running back Daniel Thomas put on a show in his NFL debut. The first-year player out of Kansas State rushed 18 times for 107 yards against a decent Houston Texans’ run defense. Meanwhile, Bush only received six carries and put up just 18 yards. Though it’s still very early in the season, it looks as if Thomas has already cemented himself as the premier back in Miami. He will surely get the bulk of the carries in Week 3 and should be close to 100 yards rushing for the second straight week as he goes up against Cleveland. I understand it’s only been one game, but after last week’s performance Thomas should be starting in most formats. Bush is suffering from a groin issue as well, so this is even better news for Thomas owners. Sit Bush, start the rookie and expect a nice fantasy line from him.
Jamaal Charles is officially done for the season and this leaves Kansas City with an interesting backfield situation. The big question for fantasy owners all week has been who is the better Chiefs’ running back to own? It looks like Thomas Jones is going to get more carries, but Dexter McCluster could get more touches. McCluster has way more upside than the much older Jones, but his durability issues really hurt his chances of becoming the full-time starter. Jones should get at least 15 carries a game the rest of the season, but he doesn’t offer much in the receiving category. This is where McCluster shines. He’s one of the better pass catching backs in the league and the speed and quickness to score every time he touches the ball. Seeing that Kansas City will be playing from behind much of the season and will be forced to air it out a lot more, I like McCluster more than I do Jones. Either way, both have received a fantasy bump with the Charles injury and are both solid flex plays for the time being.
It’s been a nightmare of a start for Arian Foster and his owners. After not playing in Week 1 because of a hamstring injury, he put up just 33 yards on 10 carries last Sunday. What’s worse is that he tweaked his hamstring again and is uncertain for Houston’s Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints. It looks as if Ben Tate will be getting the start this weekend and should get plenty of carries. He should be in your starting lineup in all leagues not only because Foster might not play, but because he is one of the hottest running backs in the league right now. He’s averaging almost 110 rushing yards a game, and since the Texans’ backfield is banged up right now he doesn’t have to share the load too much. New Orleans’ run defense has some holes in it so Tate should be able to make it three straight weeks with more than 100 yards on the ground, assuming that Foster can’t go.
Plaxico Burress, WR, New York Jets
Owners are already getting impatient with Burress after one bad game, but be patient. He’s still getting a feel for the offense and although he put up a goose egg in Week 2, he did get targeted in the end zone twice. Those targets are going to turn to touchdowns very soon, and you know Rex Ryan will get him involved early on in Week 3. Burress has a good matchup against the Nmandi Asomugha-less Raiders secondary that is allowing the seventh-most fantasy points to wide receivers so far in 2011. It’s tough to start Burresss after last week’s performance, but I see him as a WR2 this weekend. At the very least he should be used in the flex spot because there’s a very good chance he finds the end zone in Oakland and sees multiple red zone targets.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas
With Felix Jones battling a separated shoulder, Murray has a chance to put up some decent numbers Monday night against the Washington Redskins. Though Jones didn’t practice on Thursday, he is still expected to start in Week 3, but it doesn’t look like he’ll get too many touches. Dallas is saying that Murray and Tashard Choice will see the ball more than Jones so this puts them both in sleeper status. Murray is the better running back to own at this point even though he’s a rookie, the Cowboys like him a lot and he is capable of going off at any time. He’s only seen eight carries total in two games so that is a little troublesome for owners, but don’t be surprised if he sees 15 touches in Week 3. Murray definitely has much to prove in the fantasy world before becoming a trustworthy commodity, but there are worse moves you could make then taking a chance with him this week.
Austin Collie, WR, Indianapolis
The good news: Collie is fully healthy through two games and has had no ill effects from his concussion issues last season. The bad news: Collie has just three catches for 24 yards through two games. It appears that 2011 is going to be a tough season for the Colts and obviously this means fantasy owners will need to proceed with caution when making decisions about starting players from Indianapolis. But I like Collie Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. I’m sure 95 percent of America wouldn’t suggest starting him, especially since he’s going up against one of the best defenses in the NFL, but the Baltimore Ravens were able to expose them in Week 1, and I think the Colts will have some success through the air in this contest. Collie was targeted 10 times last week and he should see that many balls come his way again in Week 3. Look for the targets to translate over in this game.
Lock of the Week
Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina
Olsen is yet to find the end zone so far this season, but he has been a big part of the offense in Carolina. He’s averaging close to 60 receiving yards a game and has been getting lots of targets from rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Olsen is one of the main options in the red zone and even had a touchdown grab last week, but it was called back due to a penalty. But, look for him to finally find pay dirt in Week 3. He goes up against a Jacksonville defense that is fresh off allowing New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller to have a field day (6 receptions, 101 yards, TD). All this bodes well for Olsen owners hoping to finally get a big day out of their tight end spot – 80 yards and a score are realistic numbers for him in Week 3.