Don’t look now, but here come the injuries. Shaun Alexander and Vernon Davis lead the way with several other big names dinged up or on a bye week. Team depth is essential in getting over the rough patches of the season so use your waiver wire wisely.
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. This list will change from week to week. The first week, the studs will consist of the preseason top “tier” at each position.
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.
Enough of the chit-chat, onto the list!!
Bye Weeks: Jake Plummer, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Simms
Peyton Manning, Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Jets
Carson Palmer, Cincinnati vs. New England
Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle vs. Chicago
Tom Brady, New England vs. Seattle
Marc Bulger, St. Louis vs. Detroit
Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia vs. Green Bay
Rex Grossman, Chicago (vs. Seattle): I guess recommending Grossman to start in week two wasn’t so silly after all. Grossman has thrown for over 260 yards in each of the first three games this season with six TDs. While a repeat of his four-TD performance in week two against the Lions is unlikely this week against the Seahawks, Grossman will get the chance to air it out as Seattle will shut down the rushing attack of the undefeated Bears. Look for solid numbers once again from Grossman this week.
Brett Favre, Green Bay (vs. Philadelphia): After a lousy week one, Favre has thrown for 340 yards and three TDs in each of the past two games. Granted, those stats were accumulated versus the Saints and the Lions, but the Eagles will have difficulty in slowing down the Packers passing attack. With Favre likely playing from behind for most of the game, look for close to 300 yards once again with at least one TD as well.
Steve McNair, Baltimore (vs. San Diego): Surprise, surprise. McNair injured his ribs last week and is questionable for this week’s game against the Chargers. Welcome to the tortured world that owners of McNair have suffered in for years. Even a healthy McNair would struggle this week against a well-rested Chargers defense that has only allowed one TD this season.
Brad Johnson, Minnesota (vs. Buffalo): Johnson has faced back-to-back tough defenses (Carolina & Chicago) and it doesn’t get much easier heading to Buffalo in week four. The Vikes will lean on Chester Taylor and when Johnson does pass, he’ll find pressure from the Bills pass defense all day long. Look elsewhere for your starter this week.
Bye Weeks: Tatum Bell, Mike Bell, Tiki Barber, Brandon Jacobs, Willie Parker, Verron Haynes, Cadillac Williams, Mike Alstott, Michael Pittman
Studs (* = new addition to the list)
Larry Johnson, Kansas City vs. San Francisco
LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego vs. Baltimore
Edgerrin James, Arizona vs. Atlanta
Ronnie Brown, Miami vs. Houston
Steven Jackson, St. Louis vs. Detroit
Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia* vs. Green Bay
Frank Gore, San Francisco* vs. Kansas City
Removed from Studs list:
-Shaun Alexander, Seattle: broken foot
Warrick Dunn, Atlanta (vs. Arizona): Dunn had a very quiet night on Monday in his hometown rushing for only 44 yards on 13 carries. Expect those numbers to increase dramatically at Dunn and the Falcons head home and take on the Cardinals in week four. Look for a return to the 100-yard mark and a score.
Julius Jones, Dallas (vs. Tennessee): Don’t sweat Marion Barber getting his share of the carries. Jones will find plenty of room to run behind their offensive line that will supply him with the spacing he needs to bust off a long run or two. The short yardage scores might not be there, but 100+ yards rushing on the day is definitely in Jones’ sights.
Reggie Bush, New Orleans (vs. Carolina): Bush is that rare player that makes you think every time he touches the ball, he could take it all the way. This week, he’ll find his first taste of the end zone along with some solid yardage on the ground as the Panthers have allowed a RB to rush for 100+ yards against them in two of their first three games.
Thomas Jones, Chicago (vs. Seattle): So much for taking advantage of being handed the starting RB job over Cedric Benson. All Jones has been able to muster is an average of 3 yards per carry and has yet to find the end zone. Jones will struggle again this week against the Seahawks who have held their last two opponents to under 75 yards rushing.
Travis Henry, Tennessee (vs. Dallas): Henry ran very well against the Dolphins last week and still only posted 60 yards on 21 carries. Henry won’t even match those numbers this week against the Cowboys who have not allowed more than 100 yards rushing yet this season.
Ahman Green, Green Bay (vs. Philadelphia): Don’t worry, you didn’t fall into a time machine and get transported back to 2003 when Ahman Green was an elite RB. Yes, Green looked solid against the Lions last week, but the Eagles are a different defense than the Lions. Expect Green to return back to his expected 2006 form: 50 yards rushing on 25 carries, no scores.
Bye Weeks: Javon Walker, Rod Smith, Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, David Tyree, Tim Carter, Hines Ward, Nate Washington, Cedrick Wilson, Santonio Holmes, Joey Galloway, Michael Clayton, Ike Hilliard
Torry Holt, St. Louis vs. Detroit
Chad Johnson, Cincinnati vs. New England
Terrell Owens, Dallas vs. Tennessee
Anquan Boldin, Arizona vs. Atlanta
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona vs. Atlanta
Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis vs. N.Y. Jets
Chris Chambers, Miami vs. Houston
Laveranues Coles, N.Y. Jets vs. Indianapolis
Removed from Studs list:
-Randy Moss, Oakland: It’s ugly in Oakland
-Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis: death in family
–Donte’ Stallworth, Philadelphia: Hamstring
Reggie Brown, Philadelphia (vs. Green Bay): Brown took full advantage of Stallworth’s hamstring injury in week three catching five passes for 106 yards. The Packers have allowed 300+ yards passing in each of the past two games so even if Stallworth plays this week, look for Brown to post solid numbers once again.
Donald Driver, Green Bay (vs. Philadelphia): Someone needs to be on the receiving end of Favre’s passes and Driver will fill that role this week against the Eagles. Don’t worry about his three catches last week. That will return to the 7-9 range along with a score and enough yards to make him a worthy starter.
T.J.Houshmandzadeh, Cincinnati (vs. New England): A lot of owners were burned last week with Housh on their bench. The heel injury didn’t seem to both T.J. as his nine catches for 94 yards and two TDs can attest to. The Pats secondary will have a tough time stopping all the WRs for Cincy. Expect T.J. to post another big game as the focus on shutting down Chad Johnson continues again this week.
Muhsin Muhammad, Chicago (vs. Seattle): Muhammad has yet to catch a TD pass, but he has surpassed 100 yards receiving in two of the first three games. He’s established himself as the go-to guy for Grossman who will look Muhammad’s way early and often against the Seahawks this week.
Derrick Mason, Baltimore (vs. San Diego): Mason had his first decent game receiving last week catching seven passes for 132 yards. But, that production will be a thing of the past when the Ravens host the Chargers this week. McNair will struggle to find time which will translate into shorter passes heading Todd Heap’s direction and less action for Mason.
Keenan McCardell, San Diego (vs. Baltimore): McCardell suffered a hamstring injury in week two, but had last week off to rest. Fully healthy, McCardell does not come recommended against the reborn Ravens defense. Do you think McCardell misses Drew Brees?
Andre Johnson, Houston (vs. Miami): Where does this guy get off catching 11 passes for 152 yards? Two 100-yard receiving games in three weeks? This is not the same guy that I drafted in two different leagues last year in the third round and watched him completely destroy my teams. Will the real Andre Johnson please stand up? If he produces this week in Miami, I’ll be reserved to the fact that he just doesn’t like playing for my teams. We don’t want that, now do we AJ?
Joe Horn, New Orleans (vs. Carolina): The always reliable Horn has taken a back seat to rookie Marques Colston so far this season. Against the Panthers this week, neither WR comes recommended as the passing game for the Saints will struggle, but they’ll find space on the ground to run the ball.
Bye Weeks: Stephen Alexander, Jeremy Shockey, Heath Miller, Alex Smith, Anthony Becht
Todd Heap, Baltimore vs. San Diego
Antonio Gates, San Diego vs. Baltimore
Tony Gonzalez, Kansas City vs. San Francisco
Kellen Winslow, Cleveland (vs. Oakland): Winslow is one more solid start from the Studs list. Winslow posted very solid numbers against a tough Ravens defense last week. He’ll find things much easier in Oakland despite the fact that the Raiders are coming off a bye week. Look for Winslow to prove his “stud-ness” this week.
Jason Witten, Dallas (vs. Tennessee): Witten has had a slow start to the season, but look for that to change this week in Tennessee as Bledsoe will look his way early and often to counteract the T.O factor.
Bo Scaife, Tennessee (vs. Dallas): Who? Exactly. The backup TE in Tennessee found more holes in the Miami defense last week than a groundhog on a golf course. Don’t expect a repeat performance. Maybe his cousin Luke can put in a good word with Daisy for me.
Owen Daniels, Houston (vs. Miami): This rookie TE is making his mark having caught a TD in each of the past two games. If Nick Saban learned anything about his defense last week, it’s that they need to do a better job stopping the TE. Look for Zach Thomas and company to step it up on the road as the rookie won’t make it three weeks in a row with a score.