Holy injuries Batman! The number of concussions, questionable statuses, and long-term injuries has been staggering this year. Thought you could count on Roddy White, Eddie Lacy, Larry Fitzgerald, Malcom Floyd, Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush, Ray Rice, or any number of fantasy-relevant stars without worrying about their health? Think again. It looks like most of those guys will still play next week, but you better keep an eye on their status as the week goes on. For some, the matchup may be a good one, but concerns about targets/carries may not merit the start. Fantasy Football is all about weighing your options and there has already a lot more of that necessary than there has been in past seasons.
Week three starts off with Andy Reid’s return to Philadelphia and you can almost guarantee there will be surprises aplenty in that game. This past weekend, The Eagles defense looked absolutely dreadful in a loss to The Chargers while The Chiefs squeaked out a close win over The Cowboys. The Chiefs’ defense is one of the best in the league right now, but they’ll be put to the test against The Eagles. If you have LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles or DeSean Jackson, I don’t have to tell you to start them this week, but you might be a little more concerned about Dwayne Bowe and I’m here to tell you to start him with confidence. The Eagles are going to give up points and Bowe is bound to catch somewhere between 5 and 8 passes this week. If you’re in a jam, Alex Smith could even turn out to be a pretty solid start. Philip Rivers has been a pretty popular waiver wire pickup this week, but I’d take Smith in week 3 over Rivers.
Speaking of quarterbacks with some buzz around them, EJ Manuel had an alright game against the Panthers, but he’ll definitely struggle against the Jets this weekend which could be bad news for Stevie Johnson as well. Johnson is substantially more talented than Aaron Dobson or Kenbrell Thompkins, but the Jets are also a lot more likely to double cover Johnson than either of those guys. Even Julian Edelman, who caught 13 passes against the Jets last week, only managed a longest reception of 10 yards. On the ground, CJ Spiller may also continue to struggle. You probably drafted him in the first round so you can’t sit him, and you shouldn’t, but if you can only start 1-2 RBs and your other options are McCoy and Richardson (nice team), you might want to think twice about Spiller this week.
You thought Spiller was disappointing? Imagine how Stevan Ridley owners feel. First Shane Vereen comes in and lights things up. Then Vereen gets injured and suddenly everyone thinks it’s Ridley’s show again, but on 16 carries last week, he managed 40 yards without a touchdown. It’s not like the Patriots were behind and needed to throw the ball either. Well guess what Ridley owners, you aren’t gonna like this week. The Buccaneers have a stellar run defense that held the 1 2 3 punch of Thomas, Sproles and Ingram to a combined 75 yards. Brady may hate any receiver that isn’t named Julian right now, but don’t think for a second that he’s suddenly going to hand the ball off more because of it.
There is a silver lining for some, however. Although the Vikings’ Defense is one of the waiver wire darlings this week because they’re playing the Browns, they still have a tough time covering the run and that’s great news for Trent Richardson owners. Brandon Weeden may be terrible, but having Josh Gordon back will keep defenses a little more preoccupied with the pass than they were facing the Browns the first two weeks of the season as well.
On the receiving side, playing the Ravens has its advantages currently and that’s excellent news for DeAndre Hopkins who would see even more looks his way if Andre Johnson is unable to suit up this week. Owen Daniels should see a bump in targets as well so if you have any Houston players, this is a good week to use them. Even Ben Tate, who has been a solid fill in even as a backup, could see some extra production.
Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, and Reggie Bush, assuming everything is fine with his knee, should also have great weeks against the Redskins. Look for Matthew Stafford to bounce back after a somewhat disappointing week 2 fantasy performance and throw at least 3 TDs this week. Vick and Rodgers have combined for 7 TDs against the Redskins so far this season so the Lions have plenty to look forward to.
Well there you have it, I know you have plenty of questions specific to your own teams so let’s get this comment party started. Don’t forget to follow @JRLoudon for some additional thoughts and last minute advice.