I’ve learned two important lessons in the two plus years I’ve been doing this article. The first is that unless you like to play Captain Obvious with your recommendations you’re occasionally going to take one on the chin, and I’ve never been a fan of taking the easy way out. The second is that when you do get punched in the mouth there’s not much to do other than get up and keep going, so after a less than stellar Week 3 that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
With that in mind, here’s a look at some players you should give serious consideration to getting into your lineups or who could outperform expectations (Studs) and some that, for whatever reason, you may want to consider leaving alone, or at least take into account that they may be a relative disappointment this week. (Duds)
Calais Campbell – DE, Arizona Cardinals (vs. NYG): Campbell may be hard pressed to back up last week’s 10 tackle, 2.5 sack explosion, but the Giants have allowed the seventh most sacks in the league to this point, so the matchup is favorable.
Greg Hardy – DE, Carolina Panthers (at CHI): The Bears offensive line is still employing the matador technique while pass blocking (OLE!), and Hardy and Charles Johnson have been effective despite facing the fewest pass attempts in the NFL through three weeks.
Will Smith – DE, New Orleans Saints (at JAC): Smith looked good in racking up six stops in his first game of the season last week and gets to get jiggy with rookie signal caller Blaine Gabbert this Sunday.
Lance Briggs – WLB, Chicago Bears (vs. CAR): After posting double digit tackles the past two games Briggs and the Bears square off against a Carolina Panthers team that ranks among the league leaders in tackle opportunities allowed.
Kavell Conner – WLB, Indianapolis Colts (at TB): Lost in all the Pat Angerer hooplah is the fact that Conner has 20 total tackles over the past two games playing on a Colts defense that leads the NFL in tackle opportunities, making him a nice spot-start this week.
Rolando McClain – MLB, Oakland Raiders (vs. NE): McClain has posted two straight solid games after laying an egg in Week 1 and faces a New England team this Sunday that has a tendency to keep opposing defenses busy.
Yeremiah Bell – SS, Miami Dolphins (at SD): The San Diego Chargers are second in the National Football league in tackle opportunities allowed through three games this year, so Bell should have ample chances to produce for his IDP owners.
Rashean Mathis – CB, Jacksonville Jaguars (vs. NO): Mathis has quietly put together two straight decent outings and should improve on those numbers in Week 4 against the potent New Orleans aerial attack.
Kerry Rhodes – FS, Arizona Cardinals (vs. NYG): This one is admittedly as much hunch as anything, but I expect Rhodes to put up solid stats against a team from his old stomping grounds in an effort to prove he’s as much about football as celebrity.