Week 2 of NFL action offered a few crazy results, but Week 3 should return to a state of normalcy … maybe!
If you are a daily player, you probably added a players from the New Orleans Saints to your roster. The Saints were favored by 10, so it was easy to expect a lot of targets to receivers early on, and then the rushing attack would run out the clock. Didn’t happen.
The St. Louis Rams should have absolutely dominated the Washington Redskins after a beating the Seahawks in Week 1. That didn’t happen either. You got burned if you started the Rams’ D/ST, expecting a lot of turnovers and Tavon Austin to score on kickoffs.
Then the Jacksonville Jaguars beat the Miami Dolphins. What’s up with that? I was one of the many people expecting to see this offense turn into a juggernaut, buy if you didn’t buy in, you’re happy you avoided most of the Miami roster in your draft.
Again, Week 3 should offer more predictable results when looking at the matchups, but assumptions won’t get you too far on any given Sunday. So let’s get to the Week 3 Game Previews.
Week 3 Game Previews
Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 20, 2015
With Tony Romo sidelined for at least eight weeks with a broken collarbone, things do not look promising for the Cowboys’ receivers. Brandon Weeden will get the start, which could place more emphasis on the Cowboys finding a lead back instead of the committee of Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar.
Rookie Tevin Coleman suffered a broken rib, but there is the possibility he still may play if he can handle the pain. Second-year back Devonta Freeman is looking less and less like a reliable option, as he’s only averaged 2.0 YPC from Weeks 1-2. With Leonard Hankerson having familiarity with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Roddy White may continue to see a significant decline in targets.
Indianapolis Colts vs. Tennessee Titans
I would have been very skeptical at the begging of the season to think the Titans stood a chance in this game, but the Colts have only managed to score 21 points in two games. The Titans do not have an elite defense by any stretch of the imagination, but Andrew Luck and company are simply not clicking.
Marcus Mariota followed an exciting performance in Week 1 with a mediocre outing in Week 2, but he’s impressed with his ability to play in the pocket and not turn the ball over. If CB Vontae Davis is out, that will make this matchup much more friendlier for Mariota. Look for Dorial Green-Beckham to start getting more involved.
Oakland Raiders vs. Cleveland Browns
— OAKLAND RAIDERS (@RAIDERS) September 22, 2015
Latavius Murray has been a pleasant surprise for owners through Weeks 1-2. Even against the Baltimore Ravens, the stingiest defense against running backs last season in terms of Fantasy points, he managed 65 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown off of just 15 carries. Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper also looked very impressive, but I’m still skeptical if Derek Carr can continue his impressive performance in Week 3.
The Cleveland Browns have opted for Josh McCown to start in Week 3. Even though there will be cries for Johnny Manziel to remain the starter, his three turnovers in limited action justify his role as a backup. Not much else to see here folks.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens
Crockett Gilmore was primarily a blocking tight end last season, but Joe Flacco needed to find someone outside of Steve Smith Sr. he could throw the ball to. This is going to be another tough matchup for Baltimore, but the Ravens do have the advantage of playing at home for the first time this season.
With healthy weapons around him, Andy Dalton is on a roll through the first two weeks of the season. Tyler Eifert’s emergence may not be great for A.J. Green owners, but if you took a flier on Dalton, you should be handsomely rewarded throughout the season. I expect Dalton to add at last another two passing touchdowns to his totals in Week 3.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots
Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson woke up in Week 2 and pulled an upset, but it will be much tougher sledding against the New England Patriots. T.J. Weldon saw a major jump in carries in Week 2 with 25, but he will be phased out of the offense whenever Bortles needs to play catchup.
All Tom Brady apparently needs is Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. Edelman has seen an insane 31 targets in the first two weeks of the season, and he should continue to be PPR gold in Week 3.
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers
Drew Brees (shoulder) still limited Thursday http://t.co/TxK6jomQAo
— Rotoworld Football (@Rotoworld_FB) September 24, 2015
Last week Drew Brees, Brandin Cooks and Mark Ingram devastated daily Fantasy Football players. Brees, Cooks were not able to live up to expectations in Week 2, and I don’t see it happening in Week 3 against a tougher defense. The only player with continual upside is C.J. Spiller because of his pass-catching abilities, but he needs to stay healthy and on he field.
Cam Newton recorded three passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown in his last game against the Saints, but he has fewer options in the passing attack than he did last year. If you’re starting Newton, your banking on his legs getting you Fantasy points.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Jets
This could be a trap game where the Eagles perform better than you expect. Chip Kelly has not got this offense rolling yet, and against a defense who has only allowed an average of 8.5 points-per-game, the odds are long that Sam Bradford and company can offer Fantasy relevancy. Still, with DeMarco Murray injured and no one stepping up other than Jordan Matthews, Bradford, Matthews and Darren Sproles could have low ownerships and offer solid stats.
Brandon Marshall was the focal point of the offense, but he should see even more looks with Eric Decker sidelined and Chris Ivory banged up.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Houston Texans
Are you starting anyone from this game other than Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans? Austin Seferian-Jenkins is beat up, and Doug Martin has yet to earn a bounce back title.
DeAndre Hopkins is currently going through a concussion protocol. The running attack is a mess, so if Hopkins can’t go, look at Cecil Shorts or Nate Washington if you really like to roll the dice.
San Diego Chargers vs. Minnesota Vikings
Melvin Gordon had three rushes of 20 or more yards Sunday, first Charger to do so since Tomlinson in 07. Gordon’s 3: pic.twitter.com/NWKogC3ahT
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 24, 2015
Philip Rivers found Stevie Johnson once again for a touchdown in Week 2, and Keenan Allen disappeared after a monster Week 1. Johnson is the most relevant receiver in this offense, but things may change with the return of Antonio Gates right around the corner.
The Vikings found out the key to success is running the football. Kyle Rudolph will normally offer a low amount of receiving totals each week, but Teddy Bridgewater will look for him in the red zone. After Week 3, it may be time to drop Charles Johnson if he doesn’t start to get more involved.
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. St. Louis Rams
It will be interesting to see what happens to this offense with the return of Le’Veon Bell. You should still hold on to DeAngelo Williams as a handcuff because he did an admirable job during Bell’s absence. I predict that Heath Miller and Markus Wheaton will see fewer and fewer targets, and Wheaton will be completely phased out of the offense with the return of Martavis Bryant.
The Rams are still a bit of a mystery as they defeated one of the best teams in football, but then they lost to a team who not many people have respect for. Nick Foles appears to have a man crush on Jared Cook, so he is a tight end to grab now because he won’t be on waivers much longer.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Arizona Cardinals
I have feeling the Cardinals will not let Kaepernick run all over the field like he did with the Steelers. Bruce Arians will force him to make passes and see what he can do.
Michael Floyd is non-existent in this offense. Larry Fitzgerald is receiving most of the love from Carson Palmer, and John Brown looks like he could be a boom-or-bust option throughout the year. He can burn defenders, but he may not see a lot of targets.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins
Per PFF, QB leaders in accuracy percentage: 1) Philip Rivers- 91% 2) Aaron Rodgers- 84.3% 3) Tyrod Taylor- 81.3%
— Adam Pfeifer (@APfeifer24) September 23, 2015
The Bills didn’t quite have enough fire power to get past New England, but Tyrod Taylor is still an intriguing play from week-to-week. It’s still too hard to tell how much involvement Percy Harvin and Sammy Watkins will see on a weekly basis. LeSean McCoy owners also have to hope that Karlos Williams will stop stealing work away from him.
The Dolphins aren’t living up to the hype. Jarvis Landry looks like he will have a great year, but Lamar Miller and Ryan Tannehill have been underwhelming. This game will not be a cake walk.
Chicago Bears vs. Seattle Seahawks
The two interesting plays for the Bears this week will be Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. With Jay Cutler out, Forte and Bennett are likely to see a lot of dump offs. That’s good for PPR owners, but don’t expect Jimmy Clausen to help out their touchdown totals too much.
Jimmy Graham is reportedly furious at his role with the Seahawks. Normally when a player complains, they can see an increase in usage the following week. Look for Graham to have a big game.
Denver Broncos vs. Detroit Lions
This is one of the final tough matchups for C.J. Anderson. After this, it should be smooth sailing if he still has the job as the starter. Demaryius Thomas still doesn’t have a touchdown on the year.
This doesn’t look like the year Matthew Stafford will be a sleeper. He’s earning his price tag as a late-round pick. Ameer Abdullah owners have to be frustrated, but it should only be a matter of time before he claims the starting role. It probably won’t be this week, however.
There are your Week 3 Game Previews. Hopefully, this information helps ease your decision to start a specific player based on their matchup.
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