Owners of Chris Johnson might be justified in their concerns thus far, but after two weeks, there are plenty of running backs who have yet to have the opportunity to break out for a huge fantasy game.  One such player is Maurice Jones-Drew.  Sure, he scored a TD off of a short pass in week 2, but rushing totals of 77 and 60 yards is not what we’ve come to expect from MJD.  Don’t worry though, he’ll be just fine in week 3 against The Colts.  The entire Jaguars offense revolves around MJD’s playing ability and in week 3, I expect over 100 yards on the ground and at least 1 TD.  A total of 20 fantasy points or more in standard scoring leagues would not surprise me at all.  Less than 12, however, would.

Kevin Smith of The Lions is another player with breakout potential in week 3.  The Lions have a plethora of options at RB, but the starting job appears to be Smith’s for the time being.  Facing a Titans defense with more holes than a donut shop, Smith should have no trouble making week 3 his best week of the year so far.  He might not have enough opportunities to break the century mark, but 80+ yards and a score is likely.

Also, even though it will likely anger a lot of Matt Forte owners, Michael Bush is set for an absolutely huge week against The Rams.  With Forte nursing an ankle injury, Bush should see 20+ carries for over 100 yards and at least 1 TD.  The Rams allowed 176 yards rushing in week 2 and Bush will likely see 90% of the ground work when they visit Chicago.

Need a good sleeper pick?  Keep an eye on Daryl Richardson.  Word on the street is Steven Jackson is battling a groin strain that sidelined him in the second half of the game against The Redskins.  In that game, Richardson carried the ball 15 times for 83 yards.  Should Jackson miss any time at all, Richardson could prove to be a reliable RB2.

There are, however, a few RBs that should also be avoided.  Adrian Peterson will be playing the stingy 49ers defense in week 3 after putting up just 60 yards on The Colts last week.  He may be healed, but he isn’t superhuman and a rushing TD against San Francisco is asking a lot of even the most elite of running backs.

Stevan Ridley may also see his numbers decrease in week 3.  On 25 carries, LeSean McCoy managed just 81 yards against The Ravens last week making Ridley’s average of around 20 carries unworthy of anything more than a flex option.  Ridley will get the ball, but The Patriots are a pass first offense and Tom Brady’s going to want to come out guns blazing after a disappointing loss to The Cardinals.

Finally, Darren McFadden is set for yet another disappointing outing this week against The Steelers.  On 26 carries this season, McFadden has run for a total of 54 yards and 0 TDs.  He’s active in the passing game at times, but Pittsburgh covers the middle better than San Diego can so don’t expect more than 8 fantasy points this week from most owners’ first round pick in standard scoring leagues.  He’s worth a flex in PPR.

  1. Hank says:
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    Will Lashoure take away from Smith when he returns this weekend. i was thinking about putting in a waiver for lashoure since i own smith but i also have hernandez and have waiver claims on pitta and bennett. if i place a waiver on all three which order would you place them in? i have olsen as my backup te and was going to drop him for either bennett or pitta and was gonna drop cobb for lashoure.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Hank, Leshoure is worth a waiver claim if you have Smith already, but I wouldn’t worry about him taking too much from Smith’s value; at least not early on. Leshoure ran for just 44 yards on 20 carries in the preseason and Smith is still a better 3rd down back with his pass catching ability. If I were you, I would definitely concentrate my waiver priorities on a new TE now that Hernandez is clearly out for a while and if you can still get Leshoure after that, great. Personally, I still think Cobb has more value than Leshoure this season, but if you’re stacked at WR, Leshoure is a nice handcuff.

      • Hank says:
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        @Loudon, does bennett outperform pitta or is it just about even?

        my wr’s are brown, torrey smith, Britt, and Cobb
        rb’s are mccoy, martin, k. smith, a. morris and matthews
        qb’s are newton and p. manning
        im in a 2 wr, 2 rb, te, w/r/t league and am now 0-2 so looking for changes.

        thanks again for your help

        • Loudon

          Loudon says:
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          @Hank, I like Pitta over Bennett, but only because I think he’ll be more consistently strong throughout the entire season.

          As far as your team goes, I think you’re in a strong position. Matthews will easily fill out your RB core once he’s back to full strength and your QB duo is phenomenal. If I were you, I’d look to sell Morris while he’s hot for a strong WR that you can start every week with confidence. McCoy and Martin are both gold right now and you’re better off having a WR you can count on all year than another RB you may have to bench half the time who plays for a team that loves to switch things up. Don’t try to over-compensate for starting the season off down. Your team is still strong and you’ll get your wins.

  2. Mike says:
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    One you didn’t mention is JC. Would you be worried about him for the season? Would you prefer him or Mathews?

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Mike, I think at this point I would take Mathews over Charles. With Draughn and Hillis in the backfield, Charles has to battle more than just his knee for carries. Mathews appears ready for action and although his injury history is a concern, he’s the unquestioned #1 back in San Diego and will be the workhorse for that offense. I’m definitely a bit worried about Charles this season. I think he’s still the star, but with a plethora of options, The Chiefs will likely limit his touches to keep him healthy.

  3. visitingfromfantasybaseball says:
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    12-team keeper, got offered Dez Bryant and DeAngelo Williams for Brandon Marshall…

    all other things being equal, i’m right to reject this immediately, yes?

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @visitingfromfantasybaseball, Unless you’re incredibly weak at RB, I’d say you’re right in not taking the deal. Dez Bryant IS 5 years younger, but that’s about the only plus side to the flip side of this deal.

  4. Bonzi says:
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    Just want to be sure I’m making right move.
    I get M. Bush and T Richardson for Harvin and Fjax.
    Seems like good fjax value

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Bonzi, Good Fred Jackson value, yes, but only because CJ Spiller has come on incredibly strong. Percy Harvin has been consistently excellent the first two weeks as I’m sure you know so if losing him makes your WR core weak I’m not so sure it’s all that great a deal. Bush and Richardson will get carries, but they also play for teams that will likely be playing from behind frequently. If you need depth at RB, this deal seems very good for you so yes, good value assuming it helps your overall starting roster.

  5. Elaw77 says:
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    Just got offered Gronk and Reggie Wayne for my McFadden. I have kyle rudolph starting at TE. my other 2 RBs are JC and Dougie Martin. Should I take this deal?

    I hate to lose McFadden esp. with JC’s problems. But getting Gronk is a major upgrade and Wayne would be my flex starter.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @Elaw77, Gronk and Wayne are both quite valuable. If you lose McFadden, who would be your #3 receiver? You want to make sure you still have someone worth while that you can plug in should Charles go south, not to mention bye weeks. Also, you’ll need to drop someone to make this deal work so who would you have to drop? McFadden will improve, but he also has injury concerns so while I think this is ultimately an upgrade if you would start Wayne every week, there are still a few concerns.

      • elaw77 says:
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        @Loudon,

        Thanks Loudon. This is my team:

        QB — Cutler (Yea I lost by 60 last week)
        WR — B. Marshall, A. Brown, T. Smith, T. Young, Ogletree
        RB — DMC, JC, Hillis, Dougie Martin, D. Brown
        TE — Rudolph

        So if I trade DMC, I would start JC and Dougie. If JC goes down I have Hillis or Brown. Not too bad right?

        • Loudon

          Loudon says:
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          @elaw77, Seems like a good deal for you then. DMC is a lot more valuable than his current numbers suggest, but he’s also an injury concern. The fact that you have Hillis if JC goes down is the key. Plus, Brown is still an acceptable plug in most weeks. For the upgrade you receive at TE and WR the deal definitely seems fair.

          That being said, there is solid value in free agency at both WR and TE right now. If you can get someone like Celek, Bennett, or Pitta off the waiver wire to bolster your TEs and play matchups at that position, Torrey Smith is a solid WR3. Danny Amendola and Brandon LaFell would be solid bye week plug ins too, possibly even the occasional #3 WR if you can get them as well. If all of these players are gone, I’d say the deal is worth doing.

          In short, DMC is still the most valuable person in this trade and if you don’t HAVE to get rid of him to improve your team, it might be in your best interest to double check all of your other options.

          • elaw77 says:
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            @Loudon,

            Thanks for the advice!

            I just accepted. Celek and Bennett were scooped up. Amendola and Lafell as well. I think if Rudolph becomes the stud that people were saying he was going to be…I could trade either TE to upgrade my other positions.

  6. TheEvilEmpire says:
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    Having a tough time picking 2 for this week: Reggie Bush, Sproles, Michael Bush, Kevin Smith.

    I’m leaning M.Bush and K.Smith but honestly it seems like all 4 could put up 20+ points.

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @TheEvilEmpire, I think I would rank them as follows:

      M Bush
      K Smith
      R Bush
      D Sproles (move him up two spots in a PPR)

      You’re right, they could all have huge weeks, but I think you have to roll with the players MOST likely to score in this scenario and no matter how good Reggie Bush is, he still plays for Miami.

  7. TheEvilEmpire says:
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    Also, this is for a Dynasty league.

    I currently have Ed Dickson and Fred Davis as my tight ends.

    My WR are Miles Austin, AJ Green, Jon Baldwin, and a breadth of young talent such as Titus Young, TY Hilton, Lestar Jean, Keshawn Martin, AJ Jenkins.

    I’m stacked at RB with Foster, MJD, Kevin Smith, Alfred Morris, Jacquizz Rogers, David Wilson, Isaiah Pead.

    I see a weakness at TE and WR (I really have no WR3). Should I trade K.Smith or A.Morris to someone light in RB for a decent TE and WR? For instance, I was thinking Morris or Smith for Scott Chandler+Demayrius Thomas to a guy who only has Ray Rice and Mark Ingram as his RBs.

    • TheEvilEmpire says:
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      @TheEvilEmpire, Or if he won’t give up Thomas+Chandler, would Chandler + Stephen Hill or Randall Cobb be good?

      I really really need a WR3.

      • Loudon

        Loudon says:
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        @TheEvilEmpire, I agree that TE and WR3 appear to be your only two weaknesses on an otherwise very impressive team. In a dynasty league, Alfred and Jacquizz have more value than Kevin Smith (in my opinion) so I would look to sell Smith for a solid WR. Your Smith for Chandler and Thomas option seems solid if you can actually get that deal.

  8. TheEvilEmpire says:
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    Would a straight up trade Kevin Smith for Julio Jones be good?

    Jones so far: 123yds 2TD for 34.3 total fantasy points

    Smith: 161yds 2TD for 34.1 total fantasy points

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @TheEvilEmpire, If you can get Julio Jones for Kevin Smith, DO IT! Kevin Smith is good, but with Leshoure coming back, who knows what Smith’s value will be in 5 weeks.

  9. HP2 says:
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    I am in a standard 12 team league this is my starting line up
    QB Rodgers, WR1 J. Jones, WR2 Colston, WR3 T. Smith, RB1 R. Bush, RB2 M. Bush, TE Gates, K Zeurlein, DEF 49er’s
    My Bench
    QB Flaco, WR Amendola, WR A. Jeffery, RB T. Richardson, RB j. Rodgers, TE Bennett

    What would be the optimal lineup for this week?

    I am looking to sub Bennett for Gates , Amendola for Colston, and Richardson for R. Bush. Unsure but also thinking about Jeffery for T. Smith

    • Loudon

      Loudon says:
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      @HP2, if this were my team, this is how I’d set up the lineup:

      Rodgers
      J Jones
      Colston
      Amendola
      M Bush
      T Richardson
      Gates

      Gates was a late surprise scratch last week and he’ll play this week. He’ll do just fine against Atlanta. The difference between Reggie Bush and Richardson is minimal, but I think I’d still take Richardson based on the likelihood of a score. If you have a gut feeling about a player though, roll with it. With the players you have at your disposal, there are no wrong answers (except maybe Jacquizz Rodgers)

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