I had a good set of matchups last week and won all of my games. I also beat my archrival from my hometown league quite handedly. My startup auction draft league has me pitted against the only other guy in the league sitting at 3-0, so it’s a big weekend for me in that league this coming Sunday.
We’re now three weeks in, and if you’re 0-3 you might be looking to shuffle up your team, or calling it quits already. Don’t. Pretty soon a stud running back is going to go down, and hopefully his handcuff is sitting on your bench or on the waiver wire waiting for you to use your No. 1 waiver priority to grab him. If you’re looking to shuffle up your roster, scour the waiver wire looking for running backs that play behind guys that have an injury history. Players like Frank Gore, Jahvid Best, Felix Jones, Chris ‘Beanie’ Wells and Darren McFadden all have a history of missing a couple of games during the season. Go get Kendall Hunter, Keiland Williams, DeMarco Murray, Alfonso Smith, or Michael Bush if they’re on your waiver wire. One of the starters is going to miss a game soon.
You should also take a look at your team and find out where your strong areas are. If you’re strong on wide receivers, you don’t really need more than one or two on your bench. Dump those extra receivers and stock up on running backs, or the other way around if you’re solid at running back. Carrying players that you would never start does you no good. If they’re good players, trade them away for someone with potential; just remember that you probably value them more than the guy you’re trading them to. It’s still too early to give up.
Now on to the calls for this week:
Kevin Kolb has quietly been putting up 250-plus yards and a touchdown every week. He could be this year’s Josh Freeman. Never puts up a huge game, but never puts up a dud. He flies under the radar to get you a low-end No. 1 quarterback. This week, he plays the New York Giants in Arizona. The Giants have given up 300-plus yards to Rex Grossman and Sam Bradford, and those two don’t have anywhere near the talent at wide receiver that Kolb does with Larry Fitzgerald. Starting Kolb this week would be a good call on your part. I expect just shy of 300 yards and two touchdowns for Kolb this week.
Last week I said Eli Manning would be a bad play, and all he does with a depleted wide receiver core is throw for four touchdowns. I guess it doesn’t really matter who Manning has at receiver, he’ll make sure they get the ball. This week Manning gets Mario Manningham back from his concussion, and there will be a lot of three wide receiver sets, with Manningham, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks creating a difficult set of guys for the Arizona defense to cover.
Expect the game in Arizona to be close and hard-fought. Arizona has given up two touchdowns to both Cam Newton and Rex Grossman, and Manning should have no problem getting two touchdowns out of this defense. He’s still averaging right around 250 yards a game, so don’t expect him to have a huge game yardage-wise, even if he does throw for four touchdowns again.
The Pittsburgh offense has been nothing what they have been in the past and because of that Rashard Mendenhall and Ben Roethlisberger have been hurting. The only thing keeping Roethlisberger’s fantasy value from falling down toward that of Tarvaris Jackson is that he has Mike Wallace to pull in a deep ball once in a while. It also helps in Sharks’ leagues that fumbles don’t count as negative points, because Roethlisberger’s five fumbles on the season would really bring down his value.
The Steelers’ offense line has really been shuffled around this year. Releasing Flozell Adams and then loosing Willie Colon for the season makes this offensive line just not the powerhouse it was last year. Despite all that mess upfront, Roethlisbeger is still averaging 314 yards a game. This week’s matchup in Houston is not a good week for Roethlisbeger to get back on track. Drew Brees lit up Houston’s defense for 370 yards last week, but in their first two games they held the opposing quarterbacks to less than 200 yards. Roethlisberger is a bad call this week.
In Weeks 1 and 3, Sam Bradford had attempted 30 and 32 passes respectively. In Week 2, he attempted 46 passes. In Weeks 1 and 3 he had 188 and 166 yards. In Week 2 he had 331 yards. Hopefully Josh McDaniels realizes that having Bradford throw more helps him get into a good rhythm and he plays better. This week against Washington that’s not going to happen. Surprisingly, Washington’s pass defense has been decent this year, holding opposing quarterbacks at right around 250 passing yards and less than one touchdown a week. I think Bradford is still getting to know McDaniels’ playbook and it will take him a little while longer before he puts up another 300-yard week or multiple touchdowns. Sit Bradford this week.
Any game against San Diego is going to be a tough one, but the Chargers aren’t so good that any running back that plays them should automatically be sat. The Chargers are giving up 4.74 yards per carry to opposing running backs. Daniel Thomas comes in after his first two games as a pro with games of 117 and 122 total yards. He has the making of a solid running back and should do well in San Diego if Miami sticks to their tried and true game plan of running the ball. If you’ve been waiting to start Thomas and aren’t sure about this game, start him knowing he should get around 100 yards and maybe a touchdown.
Darren Sproles doesn’t get to touch the ball that much, but when he does he’s explosive. He’s doing a better job at the Reggie Bush role in the New Orleans offense than Bush did. Currently he’s averaging 7.38 yards per rush, 8.0 yards per catch, and has a rushing, receiving and return touchdown. I’d say he’s hot, and when a running back is hot you keep starting him until he breaks his fever.
This week Sproles gets to do what he does in Jacksonville. The Jaguars might look good if you only look at their defensive ranking, but the running backs they’ve faced have been Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene and DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart in the monsoon last week. None of those guys have played up to their offseason hype, but Sproles is way out playing his. Start Sproles knowing he’ll at least get you 6-8 catches. After all, he is the most targeted player on the Saints.
Felix Jones had a good game on Monday night. He had to. He was the only healthy star on the Dallas team. This week Dallas gets Detroit on their schedule, and Detroit has looked strong, healthy and determined this year. Dallas has just looked determined…to get on the field. Detroit’s defense has held LeGarrette Blount, the tandem in Kansas City and Adrian Peterson to all under 100 yards, and the rumor is that this will be the week we get our first look at first-round pick Nick Fairley. This is not the week to start Jones. It will definitely be a bad call if you do.
Brandon Jacobs is a guy that needs 15-plus touches a game to get things going. So far this year he has one game with more than 10. Ahmad Bradshaw has been looking really strong and the New York Giants look like they want to really give him a chance to produce. The Arizona defensive front hasn’t been giving up much to the running backs they’ve faced, and with Jacobs having to split what little production they do doesn’t bode well for his fantasy value this week. Sit him and don’t worry about if he’s going to get goal line carries or not.
I was thinking Jordy Nelson might catch a touchdown pass every week, but alas that didn’t happen last week. Nelson had a rather dismal three catches for 40 yards, but this week things get better. Green Bay gets to play Denver in Lambeau Field. Denver has been giving up tons of yards to opposing wide receivers this year. A.J. Green, Jerome Simpson and Nate Washington all broke 100 yards or caught a touchdown, and that was in Denver. Nelson will defiantly be productive this week and it would be a good call for you to start him.
The Oakland Raiders’ No. 1 wide receiver is a rookie? Well it’s the Raiders so nothing should really surprise you. Denarius Moore now has a touchdown in two straight games. I always like it when a receiver starts getting hot, and plays a team like New England. Oakland will be playing catch-up all day with the Patriots, and that should mean a good day for Moore. So far, New England has given up a 100-yard receiver in all three of their games. Moore should be the fourth. Start him this week and just wait for all those passes to start being tossed around.
While it may look like Brandon Gibson is heating up after going from three catches to four catches to five catches and a touchdown. Danny Amendola returns this week, and that will cut into whatever small amount of targets Gibson was getting. If Bradford throws 40-plus times then Gibson might be right on track for that WR3 spot on your roster, but as I said before that’s probably not going to happen. Starting Gibson this week would be a bad call.
Julio Jones has his first big game, catching six passes for 115 yards. He definitely looks like the real deal, and should have lots more big days in his pro career, just not this week. Going into Seattle is tough and with Roddy White getting at least 11 targets a game, Jones will be playing a back seat role in this game. Secondary receivers haven’t had more than 40 yards against Seattle this year, and I don’t think Jones will fare much better. Sit Jones, and hope he gets some better matchups soon.
The lowest stat line Chicago has given up to a tight end this year has been five catches for 72 yards to Tony Gonzalez in Week 1. Since then, the Bears have only been giving up more. Greg Olsen is no slouch when it comes to a tight end, and he should easily hit those numbers this week. Starting Olsen would be a good call on your part this week.
Jermaine Gresham didn’t do much for you last week, but this week should be different. Buffalo allowed Rob Gronkowski to get 109 yards and two touchdowns last week. If Gresham can get half of that you’d be making the right call. Buffalo should get out to a good lead, and make the Bengals pass more than they want, which means Gresham should get his catches and probably a touchdown.
Dustin Keller has been on a role to open the season, but that role should stop this week. Baltimore has been strong against tight ends, and Keller will face a defense that hasn’t produced a startable tight end yet this year. Sit Keller this week and wait until next week’s matchup with New England for those points to come rolling in.
Brent Celek hasn’t done much this year, and he’s not going to do much this week. I don’t know why the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t using him more. Maybe it’s because LeSean McCoy is getting all the short yardage passes, but until Celek catches a touchdown, he’s going to be sitting on many a fantasy bench. Trying to get points out of Celek this week would be a bad call.
The calls I got right last week were: Ryan Fitzpatrick (good call), Plaxico Burress (good call), David Nelson (good call), Devery Henderson (bad call), Scott Chandler (good call), Rob Gronkowski (good call) and Jermaine Gresham (bad call).
The calls I got wrong were: Eli Manning (bad call), Kevin Kolb (bad call), James Starks (good call), Darren McFadden (bad call), Willis McGahee (bad call), Larry Fitzgerald (bad call), and Owen Daniels (bad call).
I gave myself a push, where I got the call neither right or wrong, on Peyton Hillis because even though he didn’t play, that news came out early enough on Sunday that you had time to change your lineup. I also gave myself a push on Cam Newton, since his 13 points didn’t hurt you, but probably didn’t help much either.
Good luck this week, and I hope you make all the right calls.