Around the League
It’s only been two weeks and running backs are starting to go down like flies. Maurice Jones-Drew is dealing with another foot issue while Reggie Bush has a bruised knee. Both might miss Week 3, so look for alternatives there. While these are two big names, they aren’t the most intriguing backfield situations because no one is worth owning in Jacksonville right now and Joique Bell, Bush’s backup, is already owned in most leagues.
The two places owners should be looking at are in Atlanta and Green Bay. Both Steven Jackson and Eddie Lacy look like they are going to miss multiple weeks. Enter James Starks and Jacquizz Rodgers. Both players have been in this position before so getting extra reps is nothing new and I think both warrant pickups this week because of the great offenses each plays in. Starks flourished in his lead role last week after Lacy went out early with a concussion, rushing for over 100 yards and a touchdown. He will start Week 3, but has a tough matchup against Cincinnati. Rodgers will give up some reps to Jason Snelling, but will still see the majority of the work in Atlanta.
After two weeks, lack of production has been a problem for owners’ of first round running backs. The two that come to mind here are C.J. Spiller and Stevan Ridley. Spiller did rush for over 100 yards last week, but still hasn’t found the end zone and has seen backup Fred Jackson take more reps than people expected. Look for Spiller to have a big game against division rival New York this week and finally score. Ridley also has a great chance to bounce back in Week 3 playing a Tampa Bay team with many issues. He did have some fumbling issues a few weeks ago and didn’t get a huge workload last week, but the Patriots will be ready to go on Sunday after 10 days off, so look for Ridley to see 20 carries and have his first 100-yard game of the young season.
Chris Givens, WR St. Louis Rams
After a poor showing in Week 1, Givens put up a strong effort last week, catching five balls for 105 yards. He gets a nice opponent this week versus a Dallas defense that has already allowed six passing touchdowns in two weeks. It’s likely that the Rams will be playing from behind in this contest so there should be plenty of targets going to Givens. If he can get one of his patented 50-yard plays then it could be a huge week for a player seen only as a flex option in most formats for the upcoming week.
Brian Hartline, WR Miami Dolphins
Many people list Hartline as a bench player right now in fantasy, but I don’t see that. He’s averaged over 90 receiving yards in his first two weeks and has one touchdown. Yes he is the clear number two wideout for the Dolphins behind Mike Wallace, but he has some fantasy value because he is trusted by quarterback Ryan Tannehill and sees a lot of targets. I love Hartline this week against Atlanta. The Falcons will surely score some points as their offense always does, so Miami will have to air it out more than they want to if they want to stay in the game. Wallace can only get so many passes thrown his way so Hartline should see a fair amount. He is a nice flex option for Week 3.
Lock of the Week
Chris Ivory, RB New York Jets
Week 3 is going to be Ivory’s coming out party for the Jets. After two weeks he has been in a timeshare with Bilal Powell, but has been the better runner thus far. Powell is more of a speed back, but doesn’t do well after contact while Ivory is a bruiser. He’s deceivingly quick and very strong. If he can just get more than 10 or 12 carries Ivory will put up very nice numbers for fantasy owners. I think he gets more work on Sunday against the Bills. Both teams will look to run a lot against each other since each has a rookie quarterback, so brace yourselves for a boring ball-control matchup. Ivory did gain 52 yards on just 12 carries last week so the talent and production is there, he just needs more reps. He will get those against Buffalo and score his first touchdown of 2013 in the process. Start him.