It looks like San Diego Chargers rookie running back Ryan Mathews will not play on Sunday with a high ankle sprain, so Mike Tolbert is a great play in Week 3. He’s coming off a 16-carry, 82-yard performance where he also scored two touchdowns and is going up against a weak Seattle defense. Darren Sproles should still be in the mix as well, but it’s a safe bet that Tolbert will be the featured back getting the majority of the carries and all of the goal line work. The San Diego offense shouldn’t have much trouble moving the ball on Sunday, and I’d be shocked if Tolbert doesn’t at least duplicate his carries and yardage from last week. Throw in a score and he could be a very nice plug and play option next week that gets you about 12-16 fantasy points.
Though there are three healthy backs in the mix for Buffalo, Marshawn Lynch should see the most action out of the Bills backfield. He received 17 carries last week against Green Bay and gained a respectable 64 yards and owners should expect more of the same reps this week against New England. It’s not known who will be the starter come Sunday, but Buffalo has already said that Lynch will get the same if not more carries then what he got in Week 2. And with the fact that the Bills may be looking to trade him, Lynch has some added incentive the next few weeks as he tries to impress other teams around the league. The Patriots have been pretty solid at stopping the run in 2010 and Buffalo doesn’t exactly have a stellar offense so starting Lynch is a tough call.
Denver’s running back situation just got interesting for Week 3 with the injury to starter Knowshon Moreno. He will not play this Sunday against the Colts due to an undisclosed injury so this makes Correll Buckhalter and Laurence Maroney interesting options. I’m not sure I would start Maroney because you just don’t know how many reps he will get since he just got traded to the Broncos last week, but I wouldn’t hesitate using Buckhalter this weekend. He’s a proven back with solid hands and no one has had a tough time running on Indianapolis yet so it’s a great matchup for him. He should get the majority of the goal line work and I wouldn’t be shocked if he gets close to 20 touches. That’s enough reason to start him against the Colts.
Jason Snelling, RB, Atlanta
It’s been announced that Michael Turner is fully healed from his groin injury and will start Sunday against New Orleans, but I still think Snelling is going to get some reps because of his outburst in Week 2 (186 total yards and three touchdowns). There are a few things to keep in mind here. First of all, Turner is dealing with a groin problem and although he says he’s healed this can be a lingering issue and he could tweak it very easily. Second of all, Atlanta is playing the Saints and Frank Gore absolutely dismantled their defense Monday night so there should be plenty of carries and passes to go around in Week 3. The Falcons coaching staff cannot overlook what Snelling did last week and neither should you. If you’re pressed for a flex option this weekend then give Snelling a shot. He could at the very least get you a cheap goal line score and is always a threat to catch the ball out of the backfield if he gets some reps.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
After two weeks, Green has accumulated just 70 rushing yards and 17 receiving yards with a lost fumble. He is already being labeled as the bust of the 2010 fantasy draft and it’s only been two games. I think owners need to stay with him Sunday night against Miami. Even though LaDainian Tomlinson has definitely outperformed Greene so far this season, Greene is still the starter for now. Though the Dolphins have a solid pass defense, their run defense has been terrible. So far in 2010, Miami has allowed more than 130 yards rushing in each game, including 145 yards by Adrian Peterson last week. Yes, Greene and Tomlinson will be sharing carries, but there should be plenty to go around in Week 3 because the Jets will look to take a back seat to the passing game and give Miami a heavy dose of the run. I think this is the week that Greene establishes himself as the runner the Jets and fantasy owners thought they were going to have this season. Look for 80 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Kevin Walter, WR, Houston
Walter has scored a touchdown in both games so far and is averaging more than 85 receiving yards a game. I don’t understand why he is still not owned in almost 25 percent of fantasy leagues, but if he’s available I would grab him. He’s the clear No. 2 option in Houston behind Andre Johnson, but that’s not a bad thing. Teams have been doubling Johnson, which has opened up the middle of the field for Walter to operate. He was targeted 11 times last week against Washington and managed to catch all 11 balls for 144 yards and a score. I guess Walter is considered a sleeper still, but a few more performances like his first two and he’ll be in everyone’s starting lineup. He’s a solid play in Week 3 against the Cowboys as he looks to make it three games with a touchdown to open the season.
Lock of the Week
Chris Cooley, TE, Washington
Cooley has had a solid opening to the 2010 season and should continue this on Sunday at St. Louis. He’s averaging 72 receiving yards a game thus far and scored a touchdown last week. Donovan McNabb has always loved to get the tight end involved as he is already proving in two games with Washington this year. The Rams’ defense is as bad as they come so Cooley shouldn’t have an issue finding pay dirt again in Week 3. I expect him to get about six grabs for 70-80 yards and a touchdown. Those are numbers that any owner would gladly take out of their tight end spot.