As week three of the NFL season is upon us everyone is scrambling to the waiver wire to find the next Alfred Morris and Andre Brown. The injury bug is rendering some of our draft plans for victory useless, while others are just fighting for fantasy relevance at this point. Don't give up yet Mr. Last place manager; we're only two games in. As any veteran manager will tell you wins usually come in bundles.
Every week join myself your Big Cat country Fantasy Football Expert to sit down and discuss your options in Fantasy Football Start Em'/Sit Em' for the week. This isn't "Fantasy Football for Dummies" though. If you have a top 8-10 player at a position you should probably play them every week, unless they're injured. After the jump dig into the facts and analyze my opinions on who to start or sit this week three in NFL Fantasy Football.
Tony Romo QB (vs. TB): After the rough game against the underrated Seattle defense you're probably feeling a little wary of starting Romo. Don't. Watching the Bucs/Giants fourth quarter should have eased any concerns that the Tampa secondary is nothing near Seattle's. TB is the worst defense in fantasy football verses receivers currently. They are also the 6th worst defense in points to opposing QBs giving up over 400 yards a game in the air. That means a big day for Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, possibly even Ogletree, and of course Mr. Romo. He may not put up 500+ yards, but I'd expect 300+ with multiple TDs.
Darren Sproles RB (vs. KC) - After ending week two with 13 catches and 14 targets I'm not even sure how you think about NOT starting Sproles this week! The Chiefs are currently 11th in points allowed to opposing RBs, but even better they're also 12th in points allowed in the passing game. Being that they're consistently average and the Saints will get the ball to Sproles in the open field you can bet he'll get the ball in the open field on multiple occasions. I can see multiple TDs or over 100 total yards this game for Sproles, if not both.
Torrey Smith WR (vs. NE): It seems that many managers are starting to worry about Smith after coming into this game with only four catches in the first two games, but we must remember he has always been a deep threat ala Juilo Jones 2.0. The Ravens haven't taken enough shots downfield but that may change against the Patriots. Needing to keep up with a team whose offense generally gives them fits should force Flacco and Co to open up the playbook. Although the Patriots have currently done an average job defensively, the Ravens' offense will be by far their toughest challenge yet. The Pats D has only seen Kevin Kolb and Jake Locker on defense as of yet. If you remember last season Smith caught 3 passes for 82 yards & a touchdown in last season's AFC Championship game against the Pats. I still expect him to give their secondary fits.
Dexter McCluster WR/RB (vs. NO): McCluster has been one of my favorite late round picks/waiver pickups of the season so far. Because of his role in the KC offense he's labeled as a WR and RB, so he can be played in the flex spot or any of the other two. Dwayne Bowe is still the main target getter but Dexter has been averaging about ten targets from the slot per game. The Saints are giving up the 7th most points to opposing WRs which is where his damage will be done. If you're in a PPR league and weighing tier two WRs/RBs play the man. Be aware that he's questionable for the game with a rib bruise but is expected to play. NOTE: Make sure to verify that he is indeed playing.
Brandon Pettigrew TE (vs. TENN): Pettigrew is currently the #2 target getter in this offense but has dropped a TD in each of the past two games. While he's sure to get that back on track, the fact remains that the guy is getting open and he's playing against a team that loves to allow TEs to get open. The Titans defense has been destroyed by tight ends this season, allowing five touchdowns and 26.60 fantasy points per game average to the TE position in just two games. Start him ASAP!
Detroit Lions D (vs. TENN): The Lions haven't posted huge fantasy numbers yet in the first two weeks, but now they get to tackle an offense that's having trouble moving the ball when they face the Titans. If the offensive line is truly the biggest problem in Tennessee, the talented front four of the Lions should tear them apart. The Titans are dead last with 11.5 points per game. Detroit has seven sacks already.
Michael Vick QB (vs. ARZ): Avoiding the fact that Vick just loves to get injured and throw picks at the most inopportune times for our fantasy teams we still have to talk about the injuries of his WR group currently. Maclin looks like he will have to sit this week out. DeSean Jackson will likely be man to man all game with the Cardinals Patrick Peterson in a great matchup. The Cardinals defense is playing pretty well thus far after shutting down the Patriots offense last week. Despite throwing six interceptions in two games, Vick still has posted top-five fantasy numbers in most formats but if you saw the Cleveland game you'll also realize that the Browns dropped THREE ints combined on the two drives that Vick scored TDs. I don't expect Arizona to be that giving. Vick is on the road against a Cardinal defense that has put together back-to-back outstanding performances. If Philadelphia wins this game, it'll be on the legs of LeSean McCoy.
Jamaal Charles RB (vs. NO): He banged up his surgically repaired knee last week, and Kansas City subsequently benched him. They're likely to take it easy with him since they still have Peyton Hillis. I'd give Charles another week before I inserted him back in my lineup, though I know many of you will likely chance it simply due to the fact that the Saints' defense that is allowing an ungodly 186 rushing yards per game. Just know there's major risk involved and in the one game that Charles did put up solid numbers against Atlanta 90% of those yards came on two runs (a 46 yarder and 22 yarder). 68 of his 87 yards came on two of his 16 carries. Just giving you the facts. He may or may not be given the touches you want of him.
Michael Turner RB (vs. SD): Turner has looked horrendously slow/old recently. Yes, he scored a one yard TD last week (right before getting pulled over for a DUI). Turner has only rushed for 74 yards this season total while averaging 2.7 yards per carry. The Chargers D has been fortunate to play Chris Johnson and a zone running Oakland Raiders this season, so they have only given up 62 yards per game on the ground also. The only thing that can save Turner's game is a short TD, but I wouldn't bet on it. This isn't a good mix: Good run stopping D against slower diminishing RB. Look elsewhere.
Vincent Jackson WR (vs. DAL): Two words. Brandon Carr. Two more. Morris Claiborne. Yes I stated to start Jackson last week and he definitely came through but that was against a poor Giants secondary. The Cowboys play mainly man to man D and that doesn't bode well for Mr. Freeman or Jackson. Now due to the amount of targets he may get from Freeman there is a chance they could help him be relevant in this game but I'd rather risk it against the team that limited the Giants' tandem of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz to 10 catches and 96 yards combined, compared to the 21 receptions, 378 yards and two touchdowns the two had last week against Tampa Bay. When Jackson played a tough passing D in Week 1, he was limited to four receptions for 47 yards which is what I would expect against the 4th best D for fantasy receiver points. No bueno.
Brian Hartline WR (vs. NYJ): Maybe he's worth using in PPR leagues, but I couldn't see starting him in standard leagues against the Jets now that Revis has been cleared to play...and you know who he'll be guarding right? Please don't follow the hype from last week. Revis = the Eraser.
Brent Celek TE (vs. ARZ): Yep. He caught eight passes for 157 yards last week against Baltimore. But let's not forget just how many ppl were contemplating if he should even be on their roster just last week. He's even leading the team in targets but don't think the Cardinals aren't ecstatic about Jeremy Maclin being ruled out and DeSean Jackson dealing with a hamstring injury. With WR Jeremy Maclin out, Celek will have much more attention on him and that spells back to fantasy irrelevance. If your QB is on the list to be sat, generally a WR and/or TE will also follow. (see Michael Vick explanation)
Seahawks D(vs. DAL): The Seahawks defense is definitely one of the best and they showed it last week by crushing a Cowboys team that looked extremely solid in Week 1. But there is no way you expect anything near that level when you're facing the Packers, an offense that simply put doesn't have two bad games in a row. Green Bay's Offense has given up the 19th most fantasy points to team defenses, sorta middle of the pack. But they've also played Chicago and San Fran, who's level the Seahawks are definitely not on. Try and find a one-week replacement for the Seahawks.
Saints D (vs. KC): Kansas City is the 3rd ranked offense in turnovers and sacks allowed. The Saints can't stop the run, the main feature of the Chief's offense. Also, their defense has zero ints, 1 fumble recovery, and 2 sacks the two games combined against Washington and Carolina while averaging giving up 37.5 points per game. If you're starting them it's simply on name only or the hope that Matt Cassel is REALLY in a giving mood throwing picks right at defenders...speaking of Cassel...
Matt Cassel QB (vs. NO): Mainly due to his clutchness in garbage time Cassel is actually the No. 12 fatasy QB currently. He's averaging about 280 yards passing per game and has scored three passing and one rushing TD through the first two games (again, in garbage time). He's also thrown 3 INTs and fumbled twice in that span. The only reason he's even mentioned is because fantasy doesn't care about any of that. He's a better than middle of the pack QB playing against a terrible passing defense with a terrible rush. The Saints aren't just the worst defense in the NFL right now in both yards and points allowed; they also are giving up the second-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. With Dwayne Bowe, McCluster (assuming he plays), and Baldwin in the mix I'm sure two of those three will have big days against this D.
Who's in your lineup this week Big Cat Country?