Our Week 3 start’em features regular fantasy starters, as well as lesser-known players, who are likely to exceed expectations based on a favorable matchup. For your final lineup decisions, check out our Week 3 player rankings and if you have any fantasy football questions, feel free to post them in our Fantasy Football Forum.
Remember that one time before the first game of the season, when this guy made a recommendation to sit Aaron Rodgers against the Seahawks? Well, that lunatic was right. However, throw that logic to the wind this week. You’re starting Peyton Manning. Why? Because you don’t sit Peyton Manning when he’s healthy, ever. He’s Peyton Manning, got it? Good, don’t overthink it. While it’ll be difficult to predict a 20 plus point outing for him, he’s still non-sit-able.
Ryan is bounce-back candidate of the week worthy. Tampa Bay is still figuring out its identity under new coach, Lovie Smith. Atlanta is also playing at home on a short-week so Tampa’s defense has less time to prepare. Atlanta is ready to forget their putrid performance from last week against the Bengals. Odds are the friendly confines of the Georgia Dome (not to be confused with the Metrodome that’s being reconstructed) will be kind to the Falcons air attack. Ryan goes for 25+ and the win on Thursday night.
Ball has yet to show fantasy owners that he’s worthy of a top round pick with his average numbers and this week poses a great challenge. Manning is facing an elite defense and a ball-controlled offense that gets the football into Ball’s hands will be a key to the game. Montee knows how to hit the hole and can catch passes too. While he might not eclipse 100 yards, a touchdown and several catches are very much in the cards against a staunch Seahawks defense on the road.
Pierce bounced back from his clunker in the opener with 90 plus yards against division rival Pittsburgh. This week is another division rival in the Browns. While Justin Forsett chews into his carries, Pierce is the expected goal line carrier with his punishing running style. Cleveland is not horrible defensively, but the Saints and Steelers would probably say they’re not that great either. I expect a Mark Ingram type of game from Pierce, just like Ingram had against Cleveland from last week. 17 plus points for Pierce, why not?
There’s no sweeter feeling in sports than exacting revenge on an opponent. DeSean went to our nation’s capital with the excitement that he knew he would be facing his former team twice a year. If DeSean is able to play through the shoulder injury, which is likely, then he’s a MUST start. He has incentive and with Kirk Cousins behind center, dropping dimes and passes vertically down the field, they’ll be some chances for big gains. I like a shoot-out in Philly. Jackson will be a game-changer this week, count on it.
Steve Smith Sr
The old man who was written off in Carolina has found the fountain of youth. Did you see his getty-up on Thursday night against the Steelers secondary? That stiff arm action, is that not nasty? Smith has been toying with his opponents the first couple games. The Browns will have their eyes on him, but he’ll be a big part of the Flacco-led passing attack. Smith Senior can still play like a junior and he’s a perfect fit in the Baltimore Ravens attack.
Jordan Cameron, while he enjoys making cameos on FX’s “The League,” is also a good pass catching tight end. He was out last week, so keep tabs on his questionable status for this week. If he suits up he’ll make his money against Baltimore, where he’s been a pest to the Ravens in years past. If the Browns can find some success in the passing game it’ll likely be with Cameron. They’ll likely be playing from behind and they’ve shown capability to put up some points so far this year. Cameron has big game potential this week, but stay tuned in to his injury status.
One of the lone bright spots against the Pats last week was Rudolph. While the Vikings QB situation is a little less than ideal, it appears Rudolph is a solid play in all formats. The Saints aren’t known particularly for their defense and if Sean Peyton had his way there might not be a defensive coordinator right now, after the chewing he gave Rob Ryan. Vikings need someone to take the heat off Peterson and the running game. It’ll be Rudolph that does the catching while they play away from the friendly confines of TCF Bank Stadium.
The Cardinals own one of the best fantasy defenses after two weeks into the season. Kaepernick was generous with his interceptions against Chicago and something makes me a believer that’ll happen again this weekend. The Cards have play-makers all over the field and these two NFC West division rivals aren’t shy about their disdain for one another. I see a physical game and one that could include a Defensive/Special Teams touchdown for the Cards.