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Week 3: Avoiding an 0-3 Start

Week 2 was not kind to a lot of fantasy teams as we saw quarterbacks Tony Romo, Drew Brees and Jay Cutler get injured as well as Eddie Lacy, Carlos Hyde, Lamar Miller and Tevin Coleman. While Cutler and Coleman were later round draft picks that are not going to hurt your team if you sit them until they return from injury, the other injuries leaves a big hole on your roster.

The waiver scramble has begin. Then you hear during the week that more injuries happened to players like DeMarco Murray and Brandin Cooks. It’s going to be a tough week to find replacements for these players. If you picked up Johnny Manziel but now know that Luke McCown will be starting, you will find the waiver wire is just about bare at the quarterback position as Jimmy Clausen and Brandon Weeden stare you in the face. Not a good feeling to have already in Week 3.

If you started the season 0-2, it may look as if the season is going down the tubes but just like NFL teams, you have to take it one game at a time. In daily fantasy there is a new term being used called recency bias which means we tend to play the guys that did well the game before. We sometimes fail to take into account what happened before that game and expect the success to carry over to the next game. For instance, in Week 1 Bishop Sankey put up 24 fantasy points against the Buccaneers but in Week 2 finished with just 6 fantasy points. Some might have seen what Sankey did in Week 1 and thought it would happen again in Week 2 not taking into account how badly he played last season or the fact that he was facing the Jets defense. The same holds true for a player that played poorly in Week 1 but bounced back in Week 2. If you benched the guy because of one bad game then chances are you left a good amount of points on the bench. This way of managing your team is unproductive and contributes to your 0-2 start.

Week 3 is a new week and you can get back on track by paying attention to the news and checking the matchups. This week we may see Todd Gurley make his NFL debut but I wouldn’t start him because we don’t know how many carries he will get if any at all and the the matchup against the Steelers rushing defense isn’t ideal. There will be owners in Week 3 that will lose their game because they started Todd Gurley or a guy like Travis Benjamin. Benjamin has scored in both games this season but that was when Johnny Manziel was under center. If Josh McCown plays then his chances of scoring go down. Also keep in mind that Benjamin isn’t receiving a ton of targets in these games as he caught 3 of 4 passes.If you can, review your lineups form the first 2 weeks to see where the problems are and try to fix it either though trades or the waiver wire.

The Golden Mug Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who came through for their team.

Larry Fitzgerald– 8 receptions for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns. Fitzgerald picked apart the Bears defense and scored more touchdowns in that game then he had all of last season combined. It was his first 100-yard game since Week 10 of last season. There will be a ton of people that will play him this week but I think his stats go back to average against the 49ers.

Antonio Brown – 9 receptions for 195 yards and 1 touchdown. Brown has started the year off hot and has now caught 7 or more passes in the last 13 games dating back to last season. He is on pace to top 2,600 yards and 140 catches. While that may seem insane, we could see a repeat of last season where he caught 129 balls.

DeAngelo Williams– 20 carries for 77 yards and 3 touchdowns. Williams is the top running back in fantasy. Wait what? Yes, he has more fantasy points than any running back and is 2nd in the league in rushing yards. It will be interesting to see if he will steal some carries early when Le’Veon Bell returns this week.

The Urinal Cake Award
Awarded to the fantasy players who you would like to, well you know.

DeMarco Murray– 13 carries for 2 yards. It is lucky that he caught 5 passes for 53 yards or this would be an even worse start for Murray who has 11 total yards rushing. The 11 rushing yards are surpassed by more than half the quarterbacks in the league (18) with Tony Romo tied for the same amount of yards.

C.J. Anderson– 12 carries for 27 yards. We all expected the Broncos to rely more on the run game and that hasn’t happened yet. Anderson hasn’t received more than 12 carries in both games and has yet to rush for more than 29 yards in a game.

Jimmy Graham– 1 reception for 11 yards. Graham is not part of the team’s game plan just yet and he is frustrated with that role. Expect Graham to be very inconsistent from week to week as he will be touchdown dependent until he is seeing a regular amount of targets.

MATCHUPS

Good quarterback matchups this week:

Nick Foles against the Steelers.

QB_Nick_Foles_STL_2
St. Louis QB Nick Foles.

In Week 1 I told you I expect Foles to have some good matchups coming up and in Week 3 he will face the Steelers who have allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks. The Steelers are allowing 26.5 fantasy points per game and have already given up 6 touchdowns passing. With Le’Veon Bell back for the Steelers this could be a very high scoring game.

Russell Wilson against the Bears. The Bears defense has allowed 7 passing touchdowns this season, the most in the league while giving up 21.5 fantasy points per game to quarterbacks. Add in an offense without Jay Cutler and perhaps Alshon Jeffery and you have the makings of a big blowout. The Seahawks are 0-2 and will be playing at home so I don’t expect them to let up even if they build a big lead early.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Eagles. You want to target fantasy players facing the Eagles especially in the passing game. The fast-paced offense will allow for more plays and the 25th ranked passing defense of the Eagles will allow for the scoring. Expect a big game from Brandon Marshall as the team will look for him to carry the load with Eric Decker banged up.

Good running back matchups this week:

Adrian Peterson against the Chargers. Peterson and the Vikings are playing at home and we have seen through the first two games that they have not turned the offense over to Teddy Bridgewater fully which means they will continue to rely on the running game and should give Peterson as many carries as possible. The Chargers defense has given up 5 rushing touchdowns already this season and is allowing 19.5 fantasy points a game to running backs.

Jonathan Stewart against the Saints. The Panthers can keep pace with the Falcons with a divisional win against the Saints who have not won a game yet. This is a great opportunity for the Panthers to put up points against a Saints team that is banged up on offense and has played bad defenses. The Saints defense is 24th in the league allowing 129.5 rushing yards per game and 17.5 fantasy points.

Sleeper Pick of the Week: T.J. Yeldon against the Patriots. In order for the Jaguars to keep pace in this matchup they have to get Yeldon as many carries as he had last week. The Patriots can be run on as they allow 147 rushing yards per game (28th) with 18.5 fantasy points allowed.

Bad quarterback matchups this week:

Matthew Stafford against the Broncos. Stafford has been average at best this season and now will try to play this week being banged up. He faces a Broncos defense that has yet to allow a passing touchdown and has given up just 133 passing yards per game. Even worse, they have allowed 2 fantasy points per game this season. This is a really bad situation that you should look to avoid.

Joe Flacco against the Bengals. Flacco has been worse that Stafford as he ranks 29th among quarterbacks in fantasy scoring and that is with his 384 yards passing and 2 touchdowns last week. The last time Flacco faced the Benglas he throw for 195 yards with 2 interceptions. The Bengals pass defense ranks 7th in the league allowing 203 passing yards per game with just 12 fantasy points allowed per game.

Drew Brees against the Panthers. The Saints offense hasn’t been as high-scoring as we would have hoped and Brees has thrown just 1 touchdown in each game. Like Stafford, he is dealing with an injury but his is much worse. If somehow he plays, I can’t see him passing much downfield. He faces a Panthers defense ranked 8th in the league with 204 yards per game and only 2 touchdowns passing.

Bad running back matchups this week:

Ryan Mathews against the Jets. With DeMarco Murray dealing with a hamstring issue, we could expect for Mathews to run the ball more while Darren Sproles catches the ball out of the backfield. Mathews hasn’t shown much this season has he’s carried the ball 4 times for 4 yards. He’ll face a Jets defense that hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown this season and has held running backs to just 5.5 fantasy points per game.

Carlos Hyde against the Cardinals. Hyde left last week with a head injury but it is still unknown if he will play. He will face a tough Cardinals defense that has allowed just 81.5 yards per game and only 1 touchdown. If Hyde is out, Mike Davis will get the start but is not recommended.

Lamar Miller against the Bills. Miller was hyped-up again this offseason but after two weeks he has produced just 10 fantasy points per game and has yet to score a touchdown. He left last week’s game with an injury and has been limited. If he is unable to play then Damien Williams will take over but he too hasn’t done much on the ground. He’ll face a Bills defense that is 2nd in the league allowing 60 yards per game with only 1 touchdown. It is a situation to avoid this week.

About Walter Collazo

Writer for Fantasy Sharks since 2006. Member of FSTA. Winner of the 2014 Fantasy Football Article of the Year Online award, awarded by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.