It’s week three and only Frank Gore and Adrian Peterson have lived up to their stud status at RB. Look for a return to normalcy as the rest of the RB pack catches up with big performances at RB from Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew and DeAngelo Williams. The Cowboys, Redskins, and Chargers won’t need rushing yards as they dominate in the skies in a high-scoring week.
When using this list, try and remember a couple basic rules:
1) Studs – Always play your studs. Each position will include a list of players that are considered studs and should not be benched. If you have the luxury of needing to decide between studs, check out the matchups or feel free to let the shark tank assist you in your decisions.
2) Depth – Every fantasy team is different and some have more depth than others. Only follow the recommended moves if your team depth allows you to make such a move.
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. Denver
Philip Rivers, San Diego vs. Seattle
Matt Schaub, Houston vs. Dallas
Tom Brady, New England vs. Buffalo
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay vs. Chicago
Tony Romo, Dallas vs. Houston
Drew Brees, New Orleans vs. Atlanta
Donovan McNabb, Washington vs. St. Louis: McNabb took part in an old fashioned shoot-out last week throwing for 426 yards and a TD against the Texans. This week, McNabb faces a Rams defense that made Bruce Gradkowski look so good there’s now a QB controversy in Oakland. Look for McNabb to post big numbers again this week as the Redskins running game continues to be non-existent.
Alex Smith, San Francisco vs. Kansas City: Despite the turnovers, Alex Smith looked good on Monday night against the defending super bowl champs. His fourth quarter drive to tie the score definitely turned some heads and gave a glimpse of what the 49ers were hoping for when they drafted Smith #1 back in 2005. With Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, and the developing Michael Crabtree, Smith has the weapons to post big numbers from week to week. Look for another “up” week from Smith against the Chiefs who allowed Seneca Wallace to throw for 299 yards and a score last week.
Eli Manning, N.Y. Giants vs. Tennessee: The battle of the Manning brothers failed to live up to expectations. Eli couldn’t get anything going and the Giants defense didn’t do the younger Manning brother any favors. Manning won’t be forced to throw as often this week against the Titans, but Tennessee will make it difficult as they have allowed only 171 passing yards in two games this season.
Jimmy Clausen, Carolina vs. Cincinnati: Clausen makes his season debut replacing an ineffective Matt Moore in Carolina. He faces a tall task in the Bengals who are tied for the league lead with four defensive interceptions through two games. Expect the Panthers to utilize DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart early and often with success minimizing Clausen’s chances for mistakes but also limiting his stats.
Frank Gore, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota vs. Detroit
Chris Johnson, Tennessee vs. N.Y. Giants
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Washington
Ray Rice, Baltimore vs. Cleveland
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia
DeAngelo Williams, Carolina vs. Cincinnati
Michael Turner, Atlanta vs. New Orleans
Darren McFadden, Oakland vs. Arizona: McFadden had a shocking 30 carries last week, but the 145 yards rushing were very nice to see. Even though Michael Bush may return this week from a thumb injury and the riveting Gradkowsi/Campbell QB story will unfold, McFadden has proven his worthiness and will continue to be the main RB in Oakland. Look for another 100-yard day for McFadden as the Cardinals have given up 306 rushing yards already this season.
LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville: The best news McCoy got this week is Michael Vick was named the starter. Defenses will need to focus on Vick constantly leaving room to run for McCoy as he experienced last week against the Lions when he ran for 120 yards and three TDs on just 16 carries. McCoy will continue to get the carries and he’ll see action in the passing game as he’s got nine passes in the first two games.
Shonn Greene, N.Y. Jets vs. Miami: Those of you who took Shonn Greene high in your draft and have been cursing LaDainian Tomlinson each of the last two weeks, relax. Greene carried the ball 15 times to Tomlinson’s 11 carries last week. With the Jets likely to emphasize the run against a Dolphins team that has defending the pass very well to date, Greene could see in the neighborhood of 20 carries which should translate to solid numbers. The RBBC hasn’t gone away yet for the Jets, but Greene should take a step in the right direction this week in being the top dog for the Jets.
Marion Barber, Dallas vs. Houston: Barber has yet to do anything to warrant a start thanks to a pass-heavy Dallas offense and only 70 yards rushing in the first two games of the season. Combine Barber’s lack of production with the fact that the Texans have allowed only 62 yards rushing this season and you have yourself an easy candidate to ride your fantasy bench this week.
Brandon Jackson, Green Bay vs. Chicago: The hottest player on the waiver wire last week caused the most heartache. Once Ryan Grant went down, every team that had first dibs on their waiver wire went straight to Brandon Jackson. After 11 carries for 29 yards (he did rush for a TD), a collective groan could be heard across the fantasy football-playing world. Things won’t get any easier for Jackson this week as the Packers will experience plenty of success in the passing game against the Bears who couldn’t stop Tony Romo last week but they had no problem shutting down the trio of Marion Barber, Felix Jones, and Rashard Choice.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego vs. Seattle: Mathews suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of last week’s game and did not return. In his absence, Mike Tolbert rushed for 82 yards on 16 carries and two TDs. Even if Mathews is able to play this week, he’ll be splitting time with Tolbert and the Seahawks have only allowed 114 yards rushing in the first two games of the season. Give the rookie a week off to get back to full strength so that you can play him against the Cardinals in week four.
Miles Austin, Dallas vs. Houston
Roddy White, Atlanta vs. New Orleans
Andre Johnson, Houston vs. Dallas
Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis vs. Philadelphia
Wes Welker, New England vs. Buffalo
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia vs. Indianapolis
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Oakland
Calvin Johnson, Detroit vs. Minnesota
Randy Moss, New England vs. Buffalo
Mark Clayton, St. Louis vs. Washington: Both of Clayton’s catches resulted in touchdowns last week against the Raiders which brightened an otherwise dark day for Clayton. Look for Clayton the return closer to the 10 catches for 119 yards he posted in week one against the Redskins who have allowed the second most passing yards this season.
Austin Collie, Indianapolis vs. Philadelphia: The Anthony Gonzalez injury continues to cement Collie’s role in the Colts passing attack. Collie has scored in each of the first two games and he’ll continue to be a dangerous threat to defenses that try and focus on stopping Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark. Look for more success from Collie as the Colts offense continues to rely on the pass and practically abandon the run.
Santana Moss, Washington vs. St. Louis: How happy is Santana Moss this season? Moss has already caught 16 passes for 166 yards and a TD and he won’t slow down this week against the Rams who have already allowed 10 passing plays for 20 or more yards this season. Look for Moss to add to that total this week with another big game.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay vs. Chicago: Jennings has had a quiet start to the season as he caught only three passes for 36 yards last week. With the Packers attempt at establishing the running game failing miserably last week, look for Aaron Rodgers to open it up this week and Jennings will be the main beneficiary. Miles Austin torched the Bears for 10 catches and 142 yards last week. Look for Jennings to match those numbers and throw in a TD for good measure as the Packers air it out in Chicago.
Braylon Edwards, N.Y. Jets vs. Miami: Edwards was arrested for DWI early Tuesday morning. This is bad news for a guy that had his fair share of problems in Cleveland. Don’t plan on including Edwards in your lineup as some time of disciplinary action is coming his way.
Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh vs. Tampa Bay: Wallace was supposed to stretch the field filling the void left by Santonio Holmes‘ departure. To date, Wallace has caught only four passes for 87 yards in two games. With the Steelers still deciding between Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich, don’t look for Wallace to do anything offensively until Ben Roethlisberger returns in week six.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City vs. San Francisco: Bowe has caught just five passes for 58 yards this season. The Chiefs offensive line is in shambles and Matt Cassel can’t get out of his own way. The Niners pass defense looked very tough against the Saints which doesn’t bode well for Bowe. Look elsewhere this week and hope that Jamaal Charles can breathe some life into the worst-looking offense on a 2-0 team in recent memory.
Mike Williams, Tampa Bay vs. Pittsburgh: The Tampa Bay version of Mike Williams has caught a TD pass in each of the first two games which makes up for the lack of yardage (84 yards on seven receptions). Williams will certainly have his hands full this week against the Steelers who should have pro-bowler Casey Hampton back for Sunday’s game. Look for the Bucs to struggle offensively as their undefeated season comes to a close.
Dallas Clark, Indianapolis vs. Denver
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Seattle
Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota vs. Detroit
Vernon Davis, San Francisco vs. Kansas City
Jermichael Finley, Green Bay vs. Chicago
Jason Witten, Dallas vs. Houston
*Questionable for week 3 – Concussion*
Brent Celek, Philadelphia vs. Jacksonville
Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta vs. New Orleans
Chris Cooley, Washington vs. St. Louis: First McNabb, then Moss, and now Cooley. Do you think I like the Redskins passing attack this week? Ride this wave while you can.
Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville vs. Philadelphia: Lewis has posted seven catches for 101 yards and two TDs this season. The Eagles defense has been suspect so far as they have allowed 59 points in the first two games with one of those games against the Lions without Matthew Stafford. Look for the Jaguars to have success both on the ground and in the air against the Eagles this week with Lewis continuing his hot streak to start the season at TE.
Dustin Keller, N.Y. Jets vs. Miami: Keller had a huge game against the Patriots last week catching seven passes for 115 yards and a TD. That doesn’t look like a stat line of a player you would want on your bench the following week, but remember Keller only caught two passes for 13 yards in week one. Keller will get to know Karlos Dansby very well before this game is over and Keller will have more bruises than receptions to prove it.
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. Cleveland: Heap’s big week one performance is now a distant memory. The Ravens will be rotating the TE position often enough to cancel out the fantasy possibilities of all three players. When the Ravens run the ball well, which they will this week against the Browns, the potential for an offensive breakout from a TE is even that much lower. Sorry Todd, it’s not your week.