Pay attention to the games this week! In the infancy that is the NFL season, this is one of the most important weeks for your fantasy football team. This is the week that you’ll really start to see the trends start forming. Week 1 was just a week where a guy could have one good game. Ahem…Kevin Ogletree…Week 2 was where we got an idea of what teams were doing with their players, but Week 3 is the key week to really see whether guys are going to be valuable for you or if they were just something that defenses weren’t planning for.
This is the week you’ll be able to answer questions like:
Will Chris Johnson be his old self (2,000 yards) or is he going to continue his current numbers (1.1 yard per carry)?
Will Wes Welker become the apple of Tom Brady’s eye or is he falling off a cliff?
Will the Kansas City Chiefs be using Jamaal Charles as a workhorse or is he in a permanent timeshare situation?
Is Martellus Bennett going to be the primary tight end for the New York Giants or were those first two weeks just a couple of good games?
Will Danny Amendola continue as the poor man’s Wes Welker or are defenses going to figure out how the St. Louis Rams are using him and stop him?
These, and many other import fantasy football questions, are ones that you’ll be able to see start materializing for you. If you’ve got the Red Zone channel (best creation ever for fantasy football fans), you’ll be able to watch and see how these questions are answered. If not, take a look at the box scores and see if anyone is really jumping out at you. This is a week that could make or break your fantasy football season if you can pick up on things that other guys in your league are missing. Now this week’s calls …
Joe Flacco has been his typical self so far this season. A couple of games with a touchdown or two and yardage in the upper 200s. About what we expect from him. This week, though, expect more. This week Flacco has the New England Patriots coming to Baltimore. The Patriots were the second-easiest defense for quarterbacks to face last year, and so far this year they haven’t exactly shut down John Skelton and Jake Locker, allowing both to get a touchdown on them. Flacco is the best quarterback the Patriots have seen in this short season, and should have no problem being a ‘good call’ to be in your line up this week at home.
Alex Smith is averaging 218 passing yards and two touchdowns through two games this year. The Minnesota defense is allowing 241 passing yards and two touchdowns in the two games they’ve played this year. I’d say Smith is a lock for upper 200s in passing yards and minimum of two touchdowns this week. The Vikings secondary doesn’t look much improved on their 32nd ranking against fantasy quarterbacks in 2011. I’d say Smith is a ‘good call’ to be in your lineup this week.
I’m going to steer you away from Philip Rivers this week and say he’s a ‘bad call.’ Atlanta looked great shutting down Peyton Manning on Monday Night Football. The Falcons were throwing all kinds of different defensive packages at Manning and having players move all over the place to confuse him. If that is going to be the way the Atlanta defense plays football this week, I’d expect them to shut down Rivers as well. The Oakland and Tennessee defenses that Rivers has seen so far this year are nothing like what he’ll be seeing against Atlanta.
Last week I recommended you start Andrew Luck. This week I’m going to suggest you sit him. The Jacksonville defense hasn’t given up a touchdown all year. Not because they’re really good, but because teams don’t need to throw to beat them. Their run defense looks horrible. Luck might get you one touchdown and some average yards, but don’t expect a big game from him this week. If the Indianapolis Colts gets up, they’ll start running the ball, and it looks like Jacksonville won’t be able to stop even the mediocre Donald Brown. Luck would be a ‘bad call’ for you this week.
If you’ve got Michael Bush, this is the week to start using him. Bush has shown us what he can do when given a full workload. He averaged 20 fantasy points a week from Week 7 to Week 17 last year when he came in for the injured Darren McFadden. I have no reason to think that, being given this shot in Chicago, he won’t succeed just like he did in Oakland. Bush also has a nice matchup this week against St. Louis. The Rams allowed two touchdowns to Detroit running backs in Week 1 and they let Robert Griffin III run two in on them last week. Bush should have no problem getting you some good yardage and at least one touchdown. He’d be a ‘good call’ to be in your lineup this week.
If you’re looking for a decent RB2 this week, give Donald Brown a shot. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst team against running backs so far this season. In two weeks, they’ve given up 321 yards and five touchdowns to running backs. Brown can be productive when given the chance, and this should be one of those weeks. Brown would be a ‘good call’ for you to start this week.
The Chargers were able to hold Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden to just 62 total rush yards. Granted, McFadden was able to get his yardage through the air. Michael Turner won’t be a large part of the receiving game like McFadden this week against San Diego. Turner hasn’t been doing much at all this year. He was able to salvage a bad week with a touchdown last week, but other than that he hasn’t been involved in the offense for Atlanta. The Falcons have turned into much more of a passing team, and with just 18 total receptions all of last year, you know Turner isn’t part of that game plan. Starting Turner on your fantasy roster this week would be a ‘bad call.’
Shonn Greene gets a tough matchup with the Miami Dolphins this week. Miami is allowing just 2.65 yards per carry this season. Even the powerful Houston rush game was able to get just 85 rush yards on 31 carries in Week 1. Greene hasn’t been productive against Miami. He has zero touchdowns against them in the past two years. Greene is at best a flex play most weeks, and this week he’s just a ‘bad call’ to have in your lineup.
Antonio Brown has been getting passing yards at just about the same rate he did last year. His average yards per game in 2011 was 74. In 2012 he’s had games of 74 and 79. This week he should get above that 70-ish yards he’s been averaging when Pittsburgh plays Oakland. Last year, Oakland ranked as the fourth-easiest defense for wide receivers to go against. This year, the Raiders haven’t played a good wide receiver core like Pittsburgh. Brown would be a ‘good call’ for you to start this week.
Someone who has burst onto the fantasy scene this year is Danny Amendola. If he’s still on your waiver wire, go grab him now. He’s been catching Sam Bradford’s dumpoff passes and putting up really good fantasy points with them. This is a guy who catches 80 percent of the balls thrown his way this year, and he’s getting a lot of balls thrown at him. Bradford appears to be past his sophomore slump, and the St. Louis offense is moving again. Reggie Wayne and Jordy Nelson have both had good games against Chicago playing the same role as Amendola will this week, and he’d be a ‘good call’ to get into your lineup.
If you didn’t take Randall Cobb out of your lineup after his one catch for 20 yards last week, do it now. Seattle has allowed just one touchdown a game to wide receivers, and my guess is that Jordy Nelson will be the guy getting it. Cobb had a huge Week 1 and a tiny Week 2. Seattle did a pretty good job of holding the Dallas receivers in check last week. I think that any game against Seattle at home is just a tough game for wide receivers. Cobb is a ‘bad call’ this week.
Dallas gets their first home game of the season, and that doesn’t bode well for Mike Williams this week. Dallas was a middle-of-the-road team for wide receivers to score fantasy points against last year, but they’ve made some good additions to the secondary and haven’t allowed a single touchdown to a wide receiver yet this year. Williams only has five catches on the year, but two of those were for touchdowns. I think he’ll be coming up empty handed, meaning Williams would be a ‘bad call’ for you to start this week.
Baltimore has been using their its end Dennis Pitta more than usual this year. New England has been giving up decent catches and yards to tight ends this year. Things just matchup really well for you to start Pitta this week. He’s a ‘good call’ to slip into your starting roster.
The Denver Broncos have given up at least four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown to both of the tight ends they’ve faced this year. Owen Daniels should be able to put up a similar stat line for you this week. Start him and don’t think twice. ‘good call.’
On the other side of the ball in the Denver-Houston game, Jacob Tamme would be a ‘bad call’ if you were considering starting him. Houston has only given up four catches for 23 yards to tight ends this year. Peyton Manning just hasn’t been relying on Tamme like he was in Indianapolis.
The thinking that ‘rookie quarterbacks tend to favor their tight ends’ doesn’t work when you have a quarterback who would rather run the ball himself than dump it off like Robert Griffen III does. Fred Davis has only four catches this in two games this season. Until Robert Griffin III starts looking for Davis he’s a ‘bad call’ to be in your lineup.
Twitter question of the week: Over or under 1.5 interceptions for Peyton Manning this week? Reply to @curtkestila with your response.
Good luck this week, and I hope you make all the right calls.