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Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts, sits

09.20.13 at 10:48 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. I have added a few extra running backs with all of the injuries at the position. If you require further assistance, check out my complete lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com, which are posted on Thursdays and updated on Saturdays. As always, I’ll be back at WEEI on Sunday morning for a chat to answer all of your lineup questions. Check back later Friday for the WEEI Fantasy Football Podcast sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun.

QUARTERBACKS

STARTS

Sam Bradford, Rams at Cowboys

Ride him while he’s rolling. As I have said many times, the weaponry in St. Louis is outstanding, and Bradford is playing well enough to exploit his matchup advantages. He makes a solid start in any format this week.

Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Packers

This is the best matchup he’s had so far this year, and he hasn’t really posted a stinker yet by fantasy standards. Dalton, like Bradford, has matchup advantages all over the field. He may not be pretty, but the numbers should be there at the end of the day. He can play for you in any format this week.

Eli Manning, Giants at Panthers

There’s some risk here, but Manning is going to throw the ball a lot. You can bank on that being the case when you look at the state of the New York backfield. Fringe QB1 numbers are expected for those in 12-team leagues.

Philip Rivers, Chargers at Titans

Rivers is rolling right now, and his offensive line has played far better than we projected it to. Though the Chargers have lost some significant weapons, Rivers still has a healthy Antonio Gates and a smoldering Eddie Royal. I also expect more production from Vincent Brown, who is playing better than his statistics show. Rivers is a viable play this week in larger formats.

SITS

Terrelle Pryor, Raiders at Broncos

We like his fantasy potential, but this is a brutal road matchup. You should have a better option available to you. If not, you can roll with Pryor, but temper expectations this week.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Bears

Big Ben is just fine. It’s what surrounds him that is giving me pause and giving Steelers fans indigestion. His offensive line is falling apart at the seams and his receivers are not winning enough battles outside, but most of all, there is no ground game until Pittsburgh gets Le’Veon Bell up to speed. He’s close, having practiced in full Thursday, but his return is unlikely to be this week. Oh, and the Bears are a nasty matchup.

RUNNING BACKS

STARTS

Chris Johnson, Titans vs. Chargers

I’m sure Johnson owners are a bit miffed at his lack of production, but it was fairly predictable when you looked at the schedule. For what it’s worth, we think C.J. is running the ball pretty well. Better days are coming, and this should be one of them. Keep him active.

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos vs. Raiders

He is the best back in Denver right now and it’s not close. Play him with confidence. The only risk I see this week, other than injury, is that Denver could end this game quickly. That might open the door for the younger backs to get some reps. Still, Moreno should be the guy to build the lead. He’s a solid play in any league.

Giovani Bernard, Bengals vs. Packers

They might need more of the rookie this week, and it’s the best matchup they’ve had so far this year after scrums with the Bears and Steelers. Bernard makes for a fine flex in 12-team leagues and you can use him as an RB2 in any league if you need him.

Bernard Pierce, Ravens vs. Texans

The key here is Ray Rice and his hip. If Rice starts, which I tend to doubt, he’ll obviously take the top off of Pierce’s value — making him a solid flex option. If Rice sits, then Bernard is a very solid RB2 in any format.

 James Starks, Packers vs. Bengals

Starks looked great last week, and it was great to see as the former University of Buffalo star is one of our favorite players. The key to his Week 3 value is Eddie Lacy, who is likely to sit out with concussion symptoms. If Lacy is out, Starks is an RB2 in a medium matchup and a good play in any league size. If Lacy gets back by Sunday, Starks is still viable but would be more of a flex option.

Joique Bell, Lions at Redskins

Yet another player whose value is somewhat dependent on the status of the starter. Reggie Bush is banged up, which surprises nobody with the possible exception of coach Jim Schwartz, who seems to think that Bush is as durable as Jim Brown. He’s not, and he’s banged up pretty good right now. My gut says that, even if Bush starts, Bell will be the more valuable back for fantasy purposes. Hopefully, my gut won’t be the deciding factor and they opt to give Bush a week off. In that scenario, Bell is an RB2 in most leagues. If Bush plays, Bell is closer to a flex.

Chris Ivory, Jets vs. Bills

He’s been brought along slowly. The upside of this is that he’s still healthy. Based on what I have seen, Ivory should be unleashed this week as the Jets try to get to 2-1 and stay in the hunt in the suddenly competitive AFC East. Ivory should make a strong flex option in 12-team formats.

SITS

Trent Richardson, Colts at 49ers 

You may have no choice but to play him. I’m probably in that situation myself in at least one league. As much as I want say that Richardson will have a great debut, he has had almost zero time with his new team, and the 49ers are a brutal matchup and are coming off of a loss to Seattle. This reeks of a disappointing situation for Week 3. If you have Richardson, you should consider other options if you have any. He’s an RB3.

Reggie Bush, Lions at Redskins

As I already mentioned, he is banged up. Unless he practices Friday, I would be very leery about starting him this week. There’s some upside if he plays, but if there is a week to sit him, this is it.

WIDE RECEIVERS

STARTS

Tavon Austin, Rams at Cowboys 

He is gaining steam, finding the end zone twice in his second game. He should make more plays this week against Dallas. Austin is a viable WR3 right now in most any league.

Stevie Johnson, Bills at Jets 

I tend to underestimate this guy, but I like him against the Jets this week. He tends to produce in divisional games, and this is a big one. Johnson can be used as a WR3 in 12-team leagues.

Chris Givens, Rams at Cowboys

It’s a little risky to put Rams receivers here, but I like what I am seeing from Givens. He’s going to keep playing plenty of snaps because he opens up the whole field for the Rams. He seems to make a big play in almost every game. He should finally find the end zone this week.

Josh Gordon, Browns at Vikings

I’m not as high on him as I was before Cleveland shipped Richardson to Indianapolis, but he is the unquestioned lead weapon in this offense and the Browns will go to him early and often this week against the Vikings corners, who scare nobody. He’s a solid WR3 in 12-team leagues.

 Golden Tate, Seahawks vs. Jaguars

He’s been very quiet so far, but a lot of it has been bad matchups and game situations. Tate should post WR3 numbers this week. He makes a very nice flex option, too.

Vincent Brown, Chargers at Titans

With all the Eddie Royal hoopla, I think people may be forgetting about Brown, who actually is looking very good on film. He just needs to get the ball a little more, and I think he will starting this week. He’s a strong flex option in 12-team leagues.

SITS

Greg Jennings, Vikings vs. Browns

He’s been mediocre so far and he may get shut down by CB Joe Haden this week. If you have other decent options on your bench, Jennings is a player to avoid this week. Do I even have to mention Christian Ponder?

Cecil Shorts, Jaguars at Seahawks

This is a tough one, because Shorts is one of our favorites at Rotobahn, but Seattle is a brutal matchup under normal circumstances and the Jags are actually much worse than normal right now with injuries at quarterback and with Justin Blackmon still on suspension. This is a week to consider other options.

TIGHT ENDS

STARTS

Jared Cook, Rams at Cowboys

Don’t get scared off by his poor Week 3 outing. That’s part of the deal with Cook, who plays on a very deep offensive team. He should get plenty of looks this week as the Cowboys contemplate how to slow down Tavon Austin from the slot. I’d start Cook in any league size.

Jordan Cameron, Browns at Vikings

It’s fair to worry a little bit about Cameron now that Richardson is in Indy, but he’s played well enough that I am not all that worried. He’s also taking to Norv Turner’s offense rather well. He’s still a TE1 this week, even in 10-team leagues.

Tyler Eifert, Bengals vs. Packers

I really liked what I saw last week, and I expect his involvement to grow as we move through the season. This is Eifert’s best matchup so far, and he is worth a look in deeper leagues.

Jordan Reed, Redskins vs. Lions

Reed is taking over the tight end gig in Washington and is a player to consider in very deep leagues. He scored last week and led the tight ends in snaps after leading them in receptions Week 1. He can be your starter in 12-team leagues if you are in need.

SITS

Coby Fleener, Colts at 49ers

He has legit value now that Dwayne Allen is gone for the year, but this is a horrible matchup for a tight end. I’d sit Fleener if you have another solid Week 3 option. Things get better moving forward.

Fred Davis, Redskins vs. Lions

He has the talent and he certainly could make a comeback, but first he needs to earn the trust of his coaching staff after last week’s benching. Complicating things further is the positive play of rookie Jordan Reed. It’s very hard to trust Davis right now. Putting him in your lineup is a substantive risk.

Read More: Andy Dalton, Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers
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