Week 3 Start – Bench: Standard & PPR Leagues
After two weeks of the NFL season it is becoming clearer which teams and fantasy players are starting slow and have cause for concern. Unless your Ryan Grant or maybe Matthew Stafford the first two weeks of the season doesn’t necessarily mean your year is in the gutter.
Many fantasy players and NFL teams can come out of the gates slow and then start turning it on at any moment. Teams like the Vikings and Cowboys need to get it going this week and some players on those teams should be solid fantasy starts.
Others like Marion Barber or even Percy Harvin (questionable with a hip) may be better left on the bench as they will have problems producing.
Donovan McNabb @ Rams: McNabb fell out of favor at late drafts this summer as his ankle was a concern, and his passing game left much to be desired. I think the main reason he fell was because third year receivers Malcolm Kelly and especially Devin Thomas weren’t going to have the breakout seasons many fantasy owners hoped would come with McNabb on the team.
Still, McNabb has produced in the past without big time receivers in his passing game and Santana Moss, and his tight ends have played well. Those are his best targets to throw the football with, and he will find good production once again playing the Rams.
Every Week Starters: Romo, Schaub, Peyton Manning, Brady, Rivers, Rodgers, Brees
Others With Starting: Jay Cutler vs Packers, Michael Vick at Jaguars (if he starts), Brett Favre vs Lions, Matt Ryan at Saints
Kyle Orton vs Colts: Let me say first that if your starting Kyle Orton to begin with your team is desperate for production in this area. Assuming this is true, if you don’t have an option that is close to producing well at quarterback your better off starting Orton this week.
Just know that Orton will be playing the Colts, and they have been dominant against the pass. The Broncos will try to attack the Colts on the ground just like the Texans and Giants did. This is where the Colts are vulnerable and that means Orton will see less success in the air.
If the Broncos get behind early than numbers like Eli’s last week could be the same for Orton.
Other Bench Options: Carson Palmer at Panthers, Joe Flacco vs Browns, David Garrard vs Eagles, Kevin Kolb @ Jaguars (if he starts), Vince Young at Giants, Chad Henne vs Jets, Eli Manning vs Titans
Darren McFadden @ Cardinals: It’s time to believe in Darren McFadden as he’s put two solid fantasy games together this season. Michael Bush has failed to play in both games, and it will take him until October to get that thumb healthy enough to see significant touches.
For Bush, it may already be too late for him to have a chance to win the feature role as McFadden is breaking the bust label off his name. Look for McFadden to take advantage of a Cardinals’ defense that was shredded against the Falcons last week.
Steven Jackson didn’t have a big game against them week one but that was more because the Rams let Sam Bradford throw over 50 times. Maybe they should have just stuck to what works best that week and ran with Jackson.
Every Week Starters: Chris Johnson, MJD, Peterson, Rice, Turner (check health), Gore, Mendenhall, Best, Foster, Steven Jackson
Other Start Worthy Players: Cedric Benson at Panthers, Knowshon Moreno vs Colts, Tim Hightower vs Raiders (if Wells is out), Matt Forte vs Packers, Pierre Thomas vs Falcons, Mike Tolbert at Seahawks (if Mathews is out), Joseph Addai at Broncos, LeSean McCoy at Jaguars, Clinton Portis at Rams
Jamaal Charles vs 49ers: This one might start an up roar, and before I begin, let me say you should look at your depth before you’re ready to consider Charles as a bench. The 49ers had one of the better rush defenses in football last year and will have a good on again this year.
Charles came out and admitted that he is the backup to Thomas Jones after the team beat the Browns. While Charles has great ability he needs more than eleven carries a game to be a consistent fantasy option. Until Charles starts getting more touches, he will be a hit and miss player all year.
The bottom line is that if he couldn’t produce a respectable day against the Browns I’m not going to give him a vote of confidence against a better defense.
Others to consider benching: DeAngelo Williams vs Bengals (offense struggling), Ahmad Bradshaw vs Titans, Justin Forsett vs Chargers, Felix Jones at Texans, Marion Barber at Texans, Shonn Greene at Dolphins (need to see more, still decent roll of the dice), Brandon Jackson at Bears, Ronnie Brown vs Jets
Mike Sims-Walker vs Eagles: I could get burned for this one as Mike Sims-Walker failed to show up week one, and the Eagles did a good job on Calvin Johnson last week. Still, Walker was impressive with ten catches for over 100 yards and a late score against the Chargers. A decent amount of his production came when the Chargers had a big lead but Walker has proven himself in the past to be a good fantasy option.
I say fantasy owners stick with Walker this week, unless you have a deep productive receiving core.
Every Week Starters: Randy Moss, Andre Johnson (check health), DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Reggie Wayne, Miles Austin, Brandon Marshall, Wes Welker
Others to consider starting: Marques Colston vs Falcons, Greg Jennings at Bears, Calvin Johnson at Vikings, Anquan Boldin vs Browns, Hakeem Nicks vs Titans (check health), Chad Ochocinco at Panthers, Santana Moss at Rams, Malcom Floyd at Seahawks, Kevin Walter at Redskins, Dez Bryant at Texans
Percy Harvin vs Lions: This one is a killer to recommend because Percy Harvin has a great matchup against the Lions. Still, it looks likely that he will miss this game with a hip injury.
Harvin has great talent but his health problems are going to hold him down for probably his entire career. From concussions to the occasional injury, this receiver just has a hard time staying in games and on the practice field.
If Harvin can partake in a full practice by Friday than I would recommend you move him up as a starter.
Others to consider benching: Dwayne Bowe vs 49ers (great talent horrible quarterback), Hines Ward at Buccaneers, Mike Wallace at Buccaneers, Steve Breaston vs Raiders, Mike Williams (Seahawks) vs Chargers, Mike Williams (Buccaneers) vs Steelers
Tight Ends & Kickers
Start as you normally would
Redskins Defense: I talked about picking up the Redskins defense as a good waiver wire option. If your regular defense has a bad matchup like Cowboys playing the Texans than you might want to give the Redskins a roll this week.
Just remember that many of the top defenses have good matchups this week, and they are listed below. I recommend that if you have any of the defenses below you should start them over the Redskins.
Other defenses worth starting: Vikings vs Lions, Ravens vs Browns, Steelers at Buccaneers, Packers at Bears, Patriots vs Bills, Chargers at Seahawks, Jets at Dolphins, Bengals at Panthers
Cowboys at Texans: There are few good defenses that have bad matchups this week but the Cowboys are one of them. The Texans’ offense will put points on the board against Dallas, and it will be a struggle to win this game.
Others to consider benching: Saints vs Falcons, Falcons at Saints, 49ers at Chiefs (prove to me you can play well in a hostel environment)
NFL fantasy football player rankings writer Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com
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