Well, despite it only being a measly three weeks into the season, it feels like every owner is dealing with a handful of questionables in their line-ups this morning – much to the chagrin to those of us wanting to pregame like we’re in college for our noon football game. And to those of us with guys in late games. I mean, c’mon I don’t want to have to watch Chris Berman for three straight hours to get reports on who’s playing! Although, I wouldn’t mind listening to him on commercial breaks…
It’s already gotten into that time of year when you have to make last second decisions based on news reports coming out mere hours before kickoff. Right now, I’m torn on Larry Fitzgerald. Sure everything points to him playing, but is this another Roddy White limited game? I’m moving Fitz down a few pegs. And past Fitz there’s a whole Seattle slew of other guys with question marks we will know more about (but still not enough) as we approach kick-off. That’s why we have the comments section! I’ll be here all morning with my thoughts on your line-up decisions, along with some picks below.
Last week was a nice return to form with Philip Rivers going nuts like it’s 2006, Ben Tate racking up over 100 total yards, and Ahmad Bradshaw having his biggest fantasy game on the season with Trent Richardson coming into town. Brian Hartline‘s 5 for 68 was pretty decent so a push, but Rueben Randle really disappointed. I’ll take a 3-1-1 any day. For my benchers, David Wilson… oh it just feels so good. Feels so, so good to be so right on David Wilson. It even made Nick close down his David Wilson hot tub. I feel like I could retire after last week’s LSD (haha never realized the abbreviation for Last Second Decisions was that great). Enough gloating - Ryan Mathews was as Dennis Green would say “what we thought he was!” so a nice win there, but Torrey Smith and Daryl Richardson both narrowly put up double-digit PPR games, then I was way wrong on Mike Wallace. Overall though, a pretty strong week. Here’s who I like in week 3 (NOTE – these are not always recommendations for 1-for-1 swaps, just guys I like who are understarted and guys I hate overstarted):
Philip Rivers (14.9%, 14%) I’m going double or nothing! After hitting it big with my Rivers call last week, I’m actually playing Rivers over Russell Wilson this week in a 6-pt pass TD league. He tore apart the Titans last year for 284 yards and three touches, and I think he can do something akin to that this week. Eddie Royal is really emerging (even though I’m not sold he needs to be starting this week) and Antonio Gates is playing like it’s the mid-2000s and he’s gonna drop a 40-burger. I’m rolling the dice on him keeping up his hot start.
Bernard Pierce (20.8%, 30%) Ray Rice is officially doubtful, and starting Pierce should be definite. He’s one of the best RBs in the league without a starting job, and since he’s getting the nod this week, I don’t see any way a fantasy owner with Pierce wouldn’t be starting him. The Texans D isn’t quite as formidable as it once was.
Tyler Eifert (6.3%, 8%) As I mentioned in my DraftKings picks this week (and if you’re looking for a little weekly cash game, play for as little as $1! I’m in a $2 contest where you win a grand if you beat everyone! That’s what I’m doing since I’m broke…) I think Eifert has a huge game this week. He looked friggin’ fantastic on Monday Night last week and the Packers have always had their struggles covering TEs. In a game where you’d assume the Bengals would need to go pass heavy, I think he’s the most dynamic receiver besides the obviously elite A.J. Green. Eifert is a bit of a gamble, but I think could be a big home run sleeper.
DeAndre Hopkins (15.4%, 34%) Yahoo is going nuts for him – and I tend to agree. Love what we saw in clutch situations from the rookie last week, and I think this game against the Ravens is going to feature more scoring than you would tend to expect. Andre Johnson is going to draw his normal share of heavy coverage, but Hopkins getting a whopping 13 targets last week has me seeing another big outing ahead.
Miles Austin (16.7%, 36%) I loved him in week 1, didn’t like him in week 2 against a formerly underrated Chiefs D, and like him again in week 3 where I think he’s extremely understarted, especially in PPR leagues. St. Louis has done a great job at limiting opposing backs on the ground (26 RB carries from the Cardinals for 86 yards in week 1 and 16 for 36 yards against the Falcons in week 2 – given Stephen Jackson got hurt) and I think Murray will have trouble getting the ‘Boys moving in the run game. Austin has shown he can be a move-the-chains type receiver while Dez Bryant gets the ball downfield, and I see that dynamic again this week.
SON OF A BENCH
Roddy White (72.0%, 30%) We’re done, Roddy! We’re done until you show me something! I seem to remember saying something along those lines to my Christian girlfriend in high school… Anywho, I’m adopting the fairly common analysis these days of benching Roddy until we see him have a big game/get the majority of passing play snaps, and when he breaks out of it on my bench, I’ll be happy to set it and forget it ROS.
Trent Richardson (97.9%, 79%) Listen, I know a lot of teams are going to struggle to find better replacements for their late first-round pick with the investment in him and the injuries racking up, but I think you really have to big deep and try to sit T-Rich in his Colts debut. Everything thrown into the pot is just too much – new team, going on the road, he’ll have a limited number of plays learned from the playbook, it’s against a tough 49ers run-D, and the Niners will come out hungry after getting embarrassed on National TV last week. One of those on it’s own is one thing, but that’s too many factors for me wanting to trust him.
Russell Wilson (49.6%, 61%) While I think Wilson will be fine once we wrap up the season, the matchup this week against the NFL’s worst Jaguars will have Wilson throwing less than Matt Harvey. Looking back to last year’s Seahawks games and seeing what we he did against the 49ers last week, Wilson either does nothing stat-wise in blowouts (see blowing out Arizona 58-0) or goes off (the following week blowing out the Bills) and so far this year it’s been the former against the 49ers. I’m leaning towards things getting conservative with a nice lead early, and we actually see some Christine Michael in the 2nd half, making him a super super deep play.
Maurice Jones-Drew (64.5%, 40%) Sticking with the same game, I feel a little dirty picking a bencher that seems fairly obvious, but his %-started is still so high that I’m throwing him on the board this week. He’s questionable, it’s a late game, and it’s the Seahawks. Oh, and MJD is on the terrible Jags. Easy peezy.
Kyle Rudolph (83.8%, 42%) I was shocked to see Rudolph started as frequently as he is with all the emerging TEs popping up across the NFL. I know he got a TD last week – which is what you have to bank on – but against the Browns who practice against Jordan Cameron every week, I think he will be shut down. I’d much rather go with some of the trendy guys out of your typical top-10 plays like Eifert (see above) or Coby Fleener.
If you have any last second decisions, shoot some comments below or tweet me @jbgilpin. Good luck in week 3!