The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 for the first time since 2002. Say that a few times over, and then think about the last time they actually had a coach who understands how to rally players. Now say the Miami Dolphins are 3-0 again, and think about the two teams they have beaten in the last two weeks; Indianapolis and Atlanta. Now think about who their next opponent is on the road; the New Orleans Saints.
The Dolphins are 3-0 with a good head coach. The Saints are 3-0 with a good head coach. They are two vastly different teams. The Dolphins are not flashy on either side of the ball, but are disciplined enough to stay close in ball games. The Saints are driven by offensive and defensive flash with a quarterback who can chuck the ball all over the field, and a defense that is capable of producing enough big plays to keep opposing offenses out of the end zone.
For all those looking for the game to watch this week that will have the biggest effect on the outcome of many fantasy match-ups, look no further than this early season undefeated heavyweight bout on Monday night.
Drew Brees to Jimmy Graham: Graham has been blowing up opposing defenses as he and Brees continue to tease defensive backs with alley-oop rainbows you would likely see in a Miami Heat highlight reel. Unfortunately for the Dolphins, they really don’t have any defensive backs capable of taking down the Graham tower.
is their best chance at getting close, but he certainly isn’t the perfect solution. While with the Falcons last season, Grimes was a part of a secondary that allowed Graham to average 102.5 yards and one touchdown per game, the tight end’s best averages of his 2012 season.
Ryan Tannehill to Mike Wallace: In Week 1,
made fantasy owners cry as if they were watching the movie
The Notebook. In Week 2, Wallace came back strong with a nine catch performance and produced enough Glee to make fantasy owners sing and dance again. Last week it was like watching the Titanic hit the iceberg. Am I missing something here?
This week Wallace will be matched up against an aging and much slower cornerback in
for most of the game. However, the Saints have a strong back end with good depth at the safety position, so the Dolphins will have to get creative in getting Wallace the pigskin. For all those thinking that Wallace’s bi-polar fantasy disease will kick in again, consider the following. In his only game against the Saints in his career Wallace caught three passes for 43 yards. He was targeted just four times.
Strategy: Coach Philbin is one of the best pre-game prep coaches in the NFL. The numbers tell him that a good game plan would be to have Dolphins running back
used early on, especially if Miami starts with the football. The Saints defense ranks 31st in the NFL in yards allowed per rushing attempt (5.3). Furthermore, running the football would definitely keep quarterback
on the field less, regardless of how many times Miami scores points.
Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver
had just two receptions for 35 yards against the Jets (20% catch rate) last week. Since his Week 2 installment in to the starting lineup, though, he has been targeted 16 times. It won’t be long until Woods starts to make enough of an impact to warrant a starting lineup spot as a flex option, especially as bye weeks commence.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver
has made his way back on to fantasy radars. With
struggling to get his motor running the door has been opened for the veteran receiver. The question remains: Is this just a fluke? For what it’s worth, in the previous two seasons Washington has had breakout games for fantasy owners in Week 3 — three receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown in 2012, and eight receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown in 2011. He followed those games up with two and three reception games in Week 4.
WEEK 3 TOP 5
Josh Gordon (19 targets): Gordon’s return was huge for the Browns. With tight end
seeing a lot of double teams between the 20s, Gordon saw plenty of open space in man-to-man coverage. Look for this to continue.
Jimmy Graham (15 targets): For the second consecutive week Graham is second overall in targets. As mentioned earlier, Brees is giving Graham plenty of opportunities to make plays down the field. It doesn’t look like that will change. Graham is such a dangerous mismatch for opposing defenses and head coach Sean Payton knows it.
Cecil Shorts (15 targets): You have two options here. You can unload Shorts now (as mentioned last week) while his value is sky high, and get something in return before
comes back in Week 5. Or, you can stick it out and hope that Shorts won’t come up short as the season progresses.
Pierre Garcon (13 targets): Garcon looks like he’s going to be a permanent lineup fixture for fantasy owners. For the second consecutive week he has been targeted 13 times and for the first time in his career he has 16 receptions over a two week span. If
Robert Griffin III
doesn’t improve his mobility this trend will continue.
Antonio Brown (13 targets): Brown was magnificent for quarterback
on Sunday night. He has found his stride, and the Steelers offense is scoring points. With the Vikings defense in front of him this week don’t be surprised if you see him in the top five once again.
WEEK 3 BOTTOM 5
Dwayne Bowe (3 targets): Believe it or not,
stole the target and reception (7 and 7) show last week for the Chiefs against the Eagles. Now that Kansas City is actually winning, Bowe isn’t the same from a fantasy standpoint. Through three games he has just 17 targets, four of which have come on third down. That’s not a good sign.
Doug Baldwin (2 targets): Baldwin’s lack of targets proves once again that no Seahawks receiver can be trusted to be consistent. My guess is that next week either
will be in this same position.
Coby Fleener (2 targets): The Colts dominated the 49ers, so the fact that Fleener didn’t see many targets isn’t surprising. Don’t be discouraged.
is done for the season, and there will come a time when quarterback
will need a big game or two out of Fleener.
Eddie Royal (2 targets): The Royalty finally came to an end for fantasy owners. This will be a common theme when the Chargers play more physical defenses. Royal has always had problems getting open when cornerbacks jam him at the line of scrimmage.
Hakeem Nicks (1 target): Giants quarterback
can’t count on Nicks to show up on Sunday. Neither can fantasy owners. Rueben Randle’s bid to become a full-time starter permanently may be around the corner.