Week 3 Start Them-Sit Them
By Steve Schwarz, Fantasy Sports Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - We have put together our weekly "Start Them-Sit Them" list so you will know what to do with your fantasy lineup. Obviously, if Arian Foster, Roddy White and Drew Brees aren't walking on crutches, or on a bye, you are going to start them.
This list targets the borderline players whom fantasy owners aren't sure whether to play or sit.
St. Louis at Chicago
Start - Sam Bradford, Danny Amendola
Start - Jay Cutler, Michael Bush, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Robbie Gould, Bears defense
Comments - Steven Jackson is dealing with a groin injury and hasn't practiced, but we expect he'll be in uniform on Sunday. We also think the performance of Daryl Richardson last Sunday will take away enough attempts that neither running back will be fantasy worthy in Week 3. Cutler and his offensive line may not be on the same page, but against the Rams' 24th-ranked pass defense, they should be able to get it together and allow the Cutler-to-Marshall combination to have success. Wideout/return man Devin Hester has just seven receptions in his last 11 regular-season games, which is why Jeffery should become a viable receiving threat this weekend and down the road.
Buffalo at Cleveland
Start - C.J. Spiller, Stevie Johnson, Rian Lindell, Bills defense
Start - Trent Richardson
Comments - We don't expect the Browns' run defense to be able to stop Spiller any more than the Chiefs or Jets could. Johnson hasn't put up much in the way of yardage, but he has caught a touchdown in each of the Bills' first two games. Will the real Brandon Weeden please stand up? He posted an ugly 5.1 QB rating in the opener against Philadelphia, then threw for 322 yards and a pair of scores against Cincinnati for a 114.9 rating. The Bills' 23rd-ranked pass defense (269 ypg) is vulnerable, but we don't think Weeden can do it two weeks in a row.
Tampa Bay at Dallas
Start - Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Connor Barth
Start - Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, Dan Bailey
Comments - Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman faces the No. 3 pass defense and could struggle, but rookie running back Doug Martin and prized free agent receiver Vincent Jackson have been as good as advertised. After an emotional season opening win over the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, the Cowboys fell flat on their face in Seattle. They should be able to produce big passing numbers against a Tampa pass defense that has yielded 801 yards in two games. Start all the Cowboys' best pass catchers, but not first-week fluke Kevin Ogletree.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis
Start - Maurice Jones-Drew, Laurent Robinson
Start - Andrew Luck, Reggie Wayne, Adam Vinatieri, Colts defense
Comments - Jaguars quarterback Blain Gabbert was simply ugly against Houston after showing promise in Week 1 against Minnesota. We think it was a matter of Houston's defense being that good. Gabbert should perform well enough against the Colts' 25th-ranked pass defense to make Robinson a fantasy-worthy starter, while Justin Blackmon continues to struggle with the offense and should still be on your bench. It didn't take Luck very long to produce solid fantasy value and doesn't hurt that he and Wayne seem to be working well together. The expected return of Austin Collie (concussion) makes starting Donnie Avery problematical, but if Collie is inactive again this week, then Avery is fantasy-worthy.
New York Jets at Miami
Start - Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Stephen Hill, Nick Folk, Jets defense
Start - Reggie Bush
Comments - The Dolphins' run defense is allowing a league-low 2.2 yards per carry and that's against the likes of Arian Foster and Darren McFadden, which doesn't bode well for Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell. Miami is giving up 313.5 yards per game through the air, and that is where the Jets and fantasy owners have a chance to score points. For wideouts Brian Hartline, Davone Bess and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the bad news is that Darrelle Revis is expected to return.
San Francisco at Minnesota
Start - Alex Smith, Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, David Akers, 49ers defense
Start - Percy Harvin
Comments - This one could get ugly. The 49ers are playing as well as anyone in the league and the Vikings aren't in their class. San Francisco owned the best run defense in the league last year and are yielding just 63.5 ypg this season. Sit Adrian Peterson. Sit Toby Gerhart. Sit Christian Ponder. We'd say sit Harvin, too, but the Vikings have to move the ball somehow and he's their best option.
Kansas City at New Orleans
Start - Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe, Ryan Succop
Start - Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Lance Moore, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Garrett Hartley
Comments - Cassel has thrown the ball 75 times over the first two games, which tends to happen when a team falls far behind as the Chiefs did against Atlanta and Buffalo. Charles came out of Week 2 with a bruised knee, but should be ready to go on Sunday. Since coming to the Saints, Brees is a 67.4 percent passer, but he has completed just 55-of-101 attempts (54.5 percent) this season. We expect that percentage to rise against Kansas City's vulnerable pass defense. Devery Henderson (concussion) should return to the lineup, but he's no better than fifth in the pecking order and shouldn't be started.
Detroit at Tennessee
Start - Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, Brandon Pettigrew, Jason Hanson, Lions defense
Start - Jake Locker, Nate Washington, Rob Bironas
Comments - After struggling last week against the tough 49ers' defense, the Lions should be back to their explosive self in Week 3. The return of talented Mikel Leshoure from suspension and injury makes starting Kevin Smith a question mark. On the other hand, the immaturity of second-year receiver Titus Young and his failure to contribute more than one catch in each of the Lions' first two games means Burleson should be a viable fantasy option. The fierce Detroit pass rush should test Locker's sore left shoulder, but if he can last four quarters, he could have a good game against an injured Lions' secondary. Titans wideout Kenny Britt will play more this week, but is still on a play-count limit and can't be recommended.
Cincinnati at Washington
Start - Andy Dalton, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, A.J. Green, Andrew Hawkins, Mike Nugent
Start - Robert Griffin III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon, Billy Cundiff
Comments - After a tough opener versus Baltimore, Dalton threw for 318 yards against the Browns and now faces the 30th-ranked Redskins' pass defense, which is allowing 313.5 ypg. Hawkins is emerging as a low-end fantasy option with a great ability to run after the catch. Griffin has gotten plenty of press this season, but he's earned it with two highly productive games to start his career. Garcon (foot) is still a question mark, but if he's active on Sunday, he has to be started as he is Griffin's favorite target. For now, Morris has been too good for Shanahan to start playing his game of musical chairs. Continue to start the rookie running back until coach Mike Shanahan begins the "funny stuff."
Philadelphia at Arizona
Start - Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek, Alex Henery, eagles defense
Start - Beanie Wells, Larry Fitzgerald
Comments - Vick is producing lots of yards, touchdowns, wins and turnovers. Three out of four would make fantasy owners, and Eagles fans, much happier. Celek and Jackson lead the Eagles in targets and are must-starts, as is Jeremy Maclin if healthy. The latest news, however, has Maclin missing Friday's practice, so expect him to be inactive come Sunday and plan accordingly. Ryan Williams' bad knee has limited his practice this week and along with a late- game fumble against the Patriots could allow Wells to get the lion's share of rushing attempts. The Cardinals only targeted Fitzgerald five times last week; we believe that number will be doubled in Week 3.
Atlanta at San Diego
Start - Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Matt Bryant
Start - Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates
Comments - Through two games, the Chargers are No. 1 in the league against the run. No problem for the Falcons, who want to pass the ball anyway. Mathews should return to the lineup and fantasy owners better start him before he gets injured again, particularly against an Atlanta run defense that is yielding 135 ypg. Gates (ribs) should return to the lineup as well and he and Floyd will likely produce good numbers as the game figures to be an aerial battle. Fantasy owners are still waiting for free agent Robert Meachem to be a factor. They will probably have to be patient a little longer.
Houston at Denver
Start - Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels, Shayne Graham
Start - Peyton Manning, Willis McGahee, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jacob Tamme, Matt Prater
Comments - Houston is a very good football team that no longer needs quarterback Matt Schaub to throw for 300 yards to win a game. Good for Texans fans, but bad for fantasy owners of Schaub and Andre Johnson. This is Foster's team now. As good as Manning looked in Week 1 against Pittsburgh, that's how bad he looked against the Falcons with fluttering passes that ended up in defenders' hands. Houston is No. 1 against the pass after two weeks which doesn't bode well for Manning and his receivers. Thomas has definitely been Manning's No. 1 option over Decker.
Pittsburgh at Oakland
Start - Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, Shaun Suisham
Start - Carson Palmer, Darren McFadden, Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sebastian Janikowski
Comments - Pittsburgh's running attack will consist of Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, meaning the Steelers will go only as far as their quarterback will take them. Fortunately, Rashard Mendenhall should be back in Week 5. Palmer has thrown 94 balls in two games for 670 yards. If his arm doesn't fall off, he should be a very good fantasy option all season long. McFadden isn't running the ball well, but has 15 receptions for 105 yards to keep his value high in PPR leagues.
New England at Baltimore
Start - Tom Brady, Stevan Ridley, Brandon Lloyd, Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski
Start - Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Dennis Pitta, Justin Tucker
Comments - Brady threw for 316 yards last week against the Cardinals, but his accuracy was off. He'll need to be much better when he faces the Ravens and ball-hawking Ed Reed. Has Patriots management really turned their back on Welker, a receiver with 562 receptions in the last six seasons? Apparently so, as it appears Julian Edelman will share time with Welker this week. Fantasy owners who drafted Welker in the third round (ADP 25) wish they had known this contract feud was going to affect game-planning. The Ravens got away from using Rice in the second half against the Eagles. That likely won't happen this week. Baltimore is using Pitta the way the Pats use Aaron Hernandez, which explains why Pitta leads all tight ends in targets after two weeks (24).
Green Bay at Seattle
Start - Aaron Rodgers, Cedric Benson, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Jermichael Finley
Start - Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Steven Hauschka
Comments - The Seahawks are currently ranked No. 2 against the run, therefore expect a mediocre night from Benson and a busy game for Rodgers and his receivers. The Packers defense is yielding 140 ypg on the ground. The Seahawks figure to give Green Bay a big dose of Lynch. That strategy also protects their rookie quarterback, Russell Wilson, from falling for some of the games Charles Woodson plays against young QBs.
09/21 13:11:29 ET