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What to Watch For: Week 3



Baltimore – 1:00 CBS


Cleveland has fallen to 0-2 already and Brady Quinn has done nothing to warrant being the outright starter in Eric Mangini’s offense. Quinn has a QB rating of just 66.9 through the team’s two losses against

Minnesota and

Denver with only one touchdown. While the Browns aren’t loaded with weapons, they’re minimizing the value of Braylon Edwards with the gameplan that they are trotting onto the field each week.

Baltimore has given up an average of 290 yards per game so far and Quinn had better get his act together if he wants to remain the starter.

Ravens: What has happened to Ray Rice being the next big thing in

Baltimore? Rice was one of the most popular picks in fantasy circles when he won the starting job, and despite averaging over five yards per carry thus far, he only has 27 carries and not a single touchdown. Willis McGahee has two less carries, but three touchdowns, which easily makes him the most valuable player in that backfield.

Cleveland is giving up over 200 yards per game so it will be easy to see who the feature back in

Baltimore really is after this week.



New York Jets – 1:00 CBS

Titans: I don’t think anybody thought that the Titans would start out 0-2. If they didn’t beat

Pittsburgh they would surely beat

Houston right? By no fault of Chris Johnson’s, the team couldn’t finish the deal last week against the Texans. The problem is that the Titans still don’t have a deep threat that scares defenses. Nate Washington scored last week but has been dealing with an injury. If this passing attack doesn’t start going through someone besides Johnson,

Tennessee could have big problems.

Jets: The Mark Sanchez love affair continues in North Jersey, and the team’s win against

New England last week was a real eye opener. I’m not usually one to focus on an IDP, but Darrelle Revis has been absolutely fantastic for the Jets defense. He is a lockdown corner, and with the way he presses receivers, he is sure to get a load of interceptions this year. On top of that, he also had five tackles last week. Keep an eye on him this week because he will be feeding on the Titans receivers.

New York

Giants @


Bay – 1:00 FOX

Giants: The biggest question heading into the season for the G-Men was their receivers. Well the young group showed up last week in a big game at

Dallas and shut up a lot of people who didn’t think they would get it done. Mario Manningham and Steve Smith have emerged as top targets for Eli Manning. Manningham has been limited in practice all week, but seeing as

Tampa has already had a tough time containing Tony Romo and Trent Edwards, I see Manning having an even bigger week especially if Manningham can go.

Buccaneers: Byron Leftwich fell just short of the 300-yard mark again last week and he continues to spread the ball with No. 1 man Antonio Bryant out of the lineup. In Week 1, Michael Clayton led the team in receiving and in Week 2 it was newly acquired TE Kellen Winslow. Unfortunately, Maurice Stovall (who had 80 yards last week) has been limited in practice as well this week along with RB Cadillac Williams. Leftwich’s numbers may be tempting if you’re in need of a backup, but he’s going to have a rough go at it against the Giants this week and the numbers will drop off at some point.

Green Bay @ St. Louis – 1:00 FOX

Packers: The Packers were dreadful against Cincinnati last week and Greg Jennings sent thousands of fantasy owners into a hissy fit when he was targeted five times but didn’t come up with a single catch. Aaron Rodgers may have only had a QB rating of 83.4, but the big problem is Ryan Grant. Despite having two touchdowns (which nearly matches his 2008 total of four) he is averaging a meager 3.6 yards per carry and has just 107 yards through two games. Grant’s lack of a presence so far has minimized the effects of what should be

Green Bay’s dangerous passing attack. The team will have a nice chance to press the restart button this week against the Rams.

Rams: Laurent Robinson continued his surprising season when he grabbed his first touchdown of the year and led the team in receiving. That’s not saying much when your QB only throws for 125 yards, but besides Steven Jackson topping the 100-yard mark against

Washington, Robinson’s performance was the lone bright spot for the

St. Louis offense. This team is going nowhere fast and if you have Bulger on your roster, it’s time to look somewhere else for QB help.

Kansas City


Philadelphia – 1:00 CBS

Chiefs: Matt Cassel didn’t do much to impress me in his first start. He put up just under 250 yards, but threw two interceptions and didn’t put up his one touchdown pass until the fourth quarter. Cassel doesn’t face an easier task by any means this week when he heads to

Philadelphia. The Eagles secondary looked pretty bad against Drew Brees, but who doesn’t? Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown will have no problems shutting down the combination of Dwayne Bowe and Bobby Wade, making things very difficult for

Cassel yet again.

Eagles: Kevin Kolb’s line was very tarnished by those three interceptions at the end of it, but going into halftime last week, his QB rating was over 100 and he was looking pretty darn good. Granted, the Eagles had to throw a lot to catch up at the end and that’s part of the reason why Kolb ended up with 391 yards passing, but he also made 100-yard receivers out of DeSean Jackson and TE Brent Celek. With

Jackson limited in practice this week due to a groin injury, Celek could easily become Kolb’s main target on Sunday which will make him a nice sleeper play for fantasy owners.



New England – 1:00 FOX

Falcons: Does anyone still believe that Matt Ryan is not the real deal? The Falcons are loaded with weapons, and with Michael Turner back into the spring of things,

Atlanta may be even more dangerous than they have already looked. Tony Gonzalez has quickly been welcomed into the offense and Roddy White lining up on the outside makes this offense one of the most fun to watch. If Mark Sanchez could carve up the

New England defense to the tune of a 101 QB rating, there’s no reason why Ryan won’t be able to do it too.

Patriots: Bill Belichick has never been one to use a feature back, but I think it might be about time for him to start pondering the idea of changing his philosophy. The combination of Fred Taylor, Laurence Maroney, Kevin Faulk and Sammy Morris combined for 81 yards on 19 carries and didn’t score a single touchdown. This lack of a running attack allowed the Jets to focus on Tom Brady and they stifled him all day.

Taylor has looked like the best back of the group early in the season, and I think it’s about time that he is given the nod.

San Francisco


Minnesota – 1:00 FOX

49ers: Frank Gore seemed to rebound in a big way in Week 2 as I’m sure you noticed. It was great to see his breakaway abilities when he had those two carries go for a combined 159 yards, but what was lost in all of that was that on his other 14 carries, he was held to under 3.5 yards per carry. Gore is the clear leader in the

San Francisco offense, but had it not been for those two huge gains, we would be talking about another mediocre week from him. While I want to believe that he is poised for big things, I’m going to withhold judgment until I see if he can break apart the

Minnesota run defense like Jamal Lewis and Kevin Smith have been able to do in recent weeks.

Vikings: Adrian Peterson never fails to amaze me. Just when I am about to laugh because a defense is shutting him down, he busts off a touchdown run, increases his yardage totals and sprints his way closer to a 2000-yard season. Through two games, Purple Jesus is on pace to rush for 2,176 yards. While I’m not fully convinced that Peterson will break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 yards, I am growing more and more persuaded as each week goes by. Peterson will face a tough test this week seeing as

San Francisco has held their first two opponents to just 106 yards combined on the ground.

Jacksonville @ Houston – 1:00 CBS

Jaguars: The Jaguars offense looked pretty lackluster coming into Week 2, but David Garrard found a rhythm late in the game and ended up with 282 yards passing. Surprisingly, his leading receiver was a little known guy named Mike Sims-Walker. Then this week, we found out that WR Troy Williamson was placed on IR with a torn labrum. The roster move catapulted Sims-Walker to the second receiver spot on the Jaguars depth chart. Keep your eyes on the new guy this week and be quick to click the “add” button in your league if he goes off again because you don’t want to miss out on this 6-foot-2, 214-pound speedy wideout.

Texans: The Matt Schaub that we saw last Sunday is the Schaub that fantasy owners were hoping for, and when he can stay healthy, he’s s a quarterback that can lead his team to big things. On top of seeing Schaub get it together, it was even better to see Andre Johnson return to top form especially after so many people invested high picks in him in drafts. Now all of the attention turns to Steve Slaton who was supposed to be a top fantasy back, but instead is averaging exactly two yards per carry. He has gone up against elite run defenses in the Jets and Titans, but when you go three weeks without producing, it is enough to send fantasy owners into full out panic. He needs to step it up big time and now.



Detroit – 1:00 FOX


Washington barely escaped with a victory over the lowly Rams last week in what should have been a gimme game for the team. This week they head to

Detroit in what many consider to be another easy game, but I think

Detroit’s winless streak ends on Sunday. Jason Campbell has not looked like a quarterback playing for a new contract and that is going to catch up with the team this week.


Detroit had a nice 10-0 lead last week against

Minnesota until the defense finally couldn’t keep it up and broke down giving up 27 unanswered points. The good thing from last week is that Matthew Stafford got fellow rookie TE Brandon Pettigrew into the game, hitting him for four completions, and Calvin Johnson continues to be an effective target at receiver.

Stafford will hit his stride this week and make the Redskins look silly when they show more of the same from last week.

New Orleans @ Buffalo – 4:05 FOX

Saints: There’s absolutely nothing bad that can be said about Drew Brees and the Saints prolific offense which has put up 93 points through two weeks. However now, just when you thought Mike Bell was a god send for the team, he is down with a sprained knee and the Saints running situation looks cloudy.

Bell might be able to go and Pierre Thomas should play in a limited role as he did last week, but let’s face it, Brees can carry this team on his back. It’s just a matter of asking: how many touchdowns will he put on the board this week?

Bills: This is Marshawn Lynch’s final game during his suspension and it is going to be Fred Jackson’s final audition because to this point, I don’t see why he shouldn’t be getting the bulk of the carries when Lynch returns. While

Jackson has not reached the endzone yet on the ground (he has one receiving score), he is averaging over five yards per carry and that’s while running behind an offensive line that lost two left tackles in the preseason.

Jackson will face his toughest test yet against the Saints who are ranked fourth in the league in rush defense.



Seattle – 4:05 FOX

Bears: Welcome back Jay Cutler. Despite trailing for most of the game, Cutler made the most of his time on the field and led his team downfield to setup a game-winning Robbie Gould field goal with 15 seconds left on the clock. Bears fans finally got a chance to see what they gave up so much for. Matt Forte has left a lot to be desired though. Last year, the Bears offense ran through him, but in

Denver the offense ran through Cutler. Now that Cutler has taken over, it’s quite clearly his team as Forte only had 13 carries last week. The Bears can be a great team, but need to work Forte back into the mix of things.

Seahawks: The team was my preseason pick to win the NFC West and when I saw them blowout the Rams in Week 1, I was convinced that the Seahawks were back in a big way. But Julius Jones came back to Earth last week (eight carries, 11 yards) and then Matt Hasselbeck went down with a rib injury. Hasselbeck hopes to play on Sunday, but nothing is for sure as I write this. His fill-in, Seneca Wallace, was less than stellar, averaging just 5.5 yards per completion.

Seattle looked so promising in Week 1, but if Wallace has to go against

Chicago in Week 3, they will easily fall to 1-2 in the early goings.



Cincinnati – 4:15 CBS

Steelers: I went into last week thoroughly convinced that there was no way the Steelers would lose to

Chicago. That goes to show you what I know sometimes. Ben Roethlisberger returned to fantasy mediocrity, and Willie Parker continued to stink up the place averaging 3.4 yards per carry. Santonio Holmes shined brightly again, but that is where the comparisons to the team’s Week 1 win stopped. The Bengals held the Packers in check, but I have a feeling Big Ben will come up bigger than Aaron Rodgers did last week.


Carson Palmer’s three touchdown passes looked pretty on fantasy scoreboards, but the guy who really caught my eye was Cedric Benson. This is a player who I thought was down and would never find his way back into the league. Lo and behold,

Cincinnati gave him a chance and he has been absolutely stunning. He gained 141 yards last week against

Green Bay’s new and improved 3-4 defense and helped propel Palmer’s numbers more than some are willing to admit.

Pittsburgh shut down Chris Johnson in the season opener so it will be tough for Benson to find daylight on Sunday, but if he does, look out.



Oakland – 4:15 CBS

Broncos: I was happy to see

Denver’s running game return to form this past week. Not only did Correll Buckhalter gain 76 yards on nine carries, but rookie Knowshon Moreno had a pretty decent game himself with 97 total yards (75 on the ground). Kyle Orton has been the subject of my disdain many times over the course of time since he was acquired, and I am still not sold on him. However, if this team can continue to run the ball this effectively, Orton will be made into a better quarterback and

Denver will definitely be able to beat expectations.

Raiders: I am completely sold on the fact that JaMarcus Russell is the worst quarterback in football. I find it laughable that an NFL signal caller can go 7-for-24 and gain less than five yards per completion. The entire team is even worse because of his inabilities at the position, and he drags down talented players like Zach Miller and Darren McFadden. He won’t be going anywhere anytime soon, but McFadden owners had better brace for another rough week with Denver stacking the box because let’s face it, Russell isn’t a worry by any means.

Miami @ San Diego – 4:15 CBS

Dolphins: Amazingly, in what was supposed to be an easy win for Indianapolis on Monday night, the Dolphins held the lead as late as 12 minutes into the fourth quarter. Ronnie Brown absolutely lit up the Colts defense (24 carries, 136 yards, 2 TD) and minus that last second drop, Ted Ginn, Jr., even looked halfway decent for once.

San Diego’s defense took a big hit when nose tackle Jamal Williams was placed on IR earlier in the week which means even bigger potential for Brown this week.

Miami could very easily pick up a surprising first win this week.

Chargers: How long is LaDainian Tomlinson going to hold off Darren Sproles? I’ve been in the camp that refuses to believe that a 5-foot-6 RB can make it in this league, and despite only rushing for 24 yards this week, his skills out of the backfield as a receiver are unmatched. Sproles had seven catches for 124 yards on top of his 128 kick return yards, and easily proved that he is one of the most dangerous players in the league. Tomlinson missed practice again on Thursday which could mean another start for the speedy Sproles who would immediately become a very nice flex play.

Indianapolis @ Arizona – 8:20 NBC

Colts: Peyton Manning proved why he is the best QB in the NFL on Monday night when he picked apart the Dolphins defense like it was nothing. When a team can win a game despite holding the ball for only 15 minutes, you know they are something special. Broken down, Manning averaged over 20 yards for every minute that he was in the game. That’s incredible. Now just imagine how that offense could be even better if he got more than 58 yards on the ground from his running backs (who didn’t really have to do much of anything with Peyton slinging the ball). Nonetheless, it was refreshing to see the Colts offense running on all cylinders despite losing second wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez. Expect Peyton to continue his dominance this week.

Cardinals: Kurt Warner rebounded nicely in week two when he set the all-time NFL completion percentage record when he went 24-for-26 in the Cardinals’ 31-17 blowout of the Jags. Tim Hightower had another solid game and held off Beanie Wells for yet another week. Plenty of fantasy owners bought stock in Wells in the offseason and so far, despite averaging over five yards per carry, he has done nothing to impress. Wells has coughed up the ball twice already (losing the ball once). Hightower came at a much lower cost to owners and is paying high dividends early. The Colts had lots of trouble stopping Ronnie Brown last week and that was with a mediocre Chad Pennington leading the Dolphins offense. Hightower, in combination with Warner and the three big receivers, will provide plenty of fireworks to keep up with Peyton and the Colts throughout Sunday night’s game.

Carolina @ Dallas – Monday, 8:30 ESPN

Panthers: Well at least Jake Delhomme didn’t turn the ball over more than once in Week 2, right? Steve Smith finally got into the action after a lackluster Week 1 and it was nice to see

Carolina show some signs of life, but that will quickly come to an end this week. Delhomme is still looking a little shaky, and despite completing 60 percent of his passes, he averaged only 7.5 yards per completion which means he was relying heavily on high completion passes to his backs and tight ends. The

Dallas front seven will quickly eat up those options and Delhomme will have to take shots downfield, which will lead to nothing but trouble yet again.

Cowboys: I went on and on earlier about how bad JaMarcus Russell was in Week 2. But somehow, Tony Romo’s QB rating against

New York was even lower than Russell’s. Romo has a penchant for failing to show up in big games and last week was no different as

Dallas was shoved into the spotlight with their new stadium taking center stage. Now Monday night, on the national stage yet again, Romo might be without Marion Barber and has a lot to prove after his debacle against the Giants.

Carolina has the third best pass defense in the league coming into Sunday, so it surely won’t be easy for Romo to attempt to get back into the groove that he opened the season with against



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