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Play Em’ or Bench Em’: Week 3

Hello fantasy owners,
Another week in the books and we’re already to week 3! Wow, does time fly fast after football starts. At this point you’re either happy with your team or trying to make a game changing trade to get you back on track. I might not be able to make roster decisions for you, but I can help you decide who to play. Hopefully this column helps you make a tough decision and steals you a win. Last week there were a lot of good match ups last and even better games. Let’s hope this week is even better. You guys were heard. You wanted more players featured in this column, so I brought you more players! Still no kicker love though, but that’s your choice. Let’s get started.
***Obvious players like Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Travis Kelce and other players of that caliber will not be featured in these columns***

Play Em’

Quarterback

-Matthew Stafford v. Atlanta Falcons

  • This game will be played at the fine establishment of Ford Field, where Matthew Stafford never cares about the match up and always plays lights out. This game has the capabilities to be a shootout and both quarterbacks have great value in this game. The Lions running game is still struggling to get anything going, so Stafford is going to be relied on once again to win the game. I forecast multiple touchdowns in this contest. The Falcon’s contest last week against the Packers was on the verge of becoming a high scoring affair before players started going down with injuries. Watch Stafford continue his magical 2017 campaign in week 3.

-Jay Cutler at New York Jets

  • The Miami Dolphins came out a little rusty in their first game last week, but they still managed to make enough big plays to win the game. Jay Cutler plays very well in September and will build upon his stat total from last week. The New York Jets defense is one of the worst in the league and you should start almost everyone who plays them. Cutler will have a monster game this week. He and the offensive unit are going to eat in this match up.

-Cam Newton v. New Orleans Saints

  • Cam Newton is slowly progressing as his shoulder continues to heal. Last week the Panthers offense didn’t score a touchdown and was constantly pressured by the stingy Buffalo Bills front seven. This week doesn’t pose as much of a threat. The New Orleans Saints defense is bad and has allowed 3 passing touchdowns in two consecutive games. I see the trend continuing this week for Cam Newton. Newton has had some of his best career games against the Saints and this week could be another high yardage game for Cam Newton and the Panthers offense. Start them at will.

-Kirk Cousins v. Oakland Raiders

  • Captain Kirk Cousins has been hindered by really tough defenses the past two weeks. This week doesn’t pose much of a threat as the New York Jets were even able to score 20 points on the Raiders defense. Cousins is going to have his best game of the season thus far in what could be a high scoring affair from both parties. Derek Carr and the Raider offense is clicking on all cylinders and will find ways to produce points. This is going to be a sneaky high scoring game and you want to get players from both teams in your line up.

Running Back

-Todd Gurley at San Francisco 49ers

  • The San Francisco 49ers are horrible at defending the run. In week one Jonathan Stewart looked like the younger version of himself slicing through the 49er front also adding a reception for a touchdown. Last week seventh round rookie Chris Carson ran for 93 yards on 20 carries against their front. Todd Gurley is better than both of those runners and is more of a work horse for the Rams. Gurley is going to run wild on Thursday night against this feasible defensive unit.

-Kareem Hunt at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Kareem Hunt is almost to a “Must Start” status on a weekly basis. It took him awhile to truly make a difference last week against a tough Eagles front seven, but when the game was on the line he broke through for some huge plays to put his team ahead late in the game. This week he plays another tough Chargers defense, but needs improvement stuffing the run. Week 1 CJ Anderson had 81 yards on the ground and this past week Jay Ajayi added 122 yards to the total. If Kareem Hunt can continue his spectacular start to his career, he too could add a big rushing total along with what he can do through the air. Telling you guys, Hunt is going to be the offensive rookie of the year hands down.

-Isaiah Crowell at Indianapolis Colts

  • Isaiah Crowell was halted a week ago by a stiff Baltimore Ravens defense. This week he’ll face an improved Colts front, but still needs work. Hue Jackson said that DeShone Kizer’s confidence wasn’t rattled by last week’s game. From that statement I’m thinking that the Browns will want to ease him back into a rhythm with offense and feed their workhorse back and build upon that with a good play action throughout the game. The Crow will soar in this match up.

-Devonta Freeman at Detroit Lions

  • Freeman has had a solid start to the season accumulating 3 touchdowns so far. This game has the potential to be a high scoring game and I think Freeman will be the one to benefit the most from it. He’s heavily involved in both the passing and running game and with a game such as this, the Falcons are going to get one of their best play-makers the ball as often as they can. The Lions can try to eliminate Julio Jones all they want, but if they do that Freeman is going to be open all afternoon. After this game Freeman should be the highest scoring running back thus far that went in the first two rounds of your draft.

Wide Receiver

-Kelvin Benjamin v. New Orleans Saints

  • The Saints secondary is horrible. Sam Bradford and Tom Brady have had their fun with the team so far and now Cam Newton gets his first time at it this season. With Greg Olsen being out for some time, Kelvin Benjamin is going to be a huge beneficiary in this game as the most trusted pass-catcher for Newton. Benjamin has also been close to getting a touchdown, but has yet to come down with one. Considering Benjamin dedicated this season to his late mother, he hasn’t had that break-out game yet. I think that game comes this week against a poor Saints team that’s failed to slow anyone down. I can see Benjamin getting multiple touchdowns and reach over 100 yards.

-DeAndre Hopkins at New England Patriots

  • Who else does Deshaun Watson have to throw to? Hopkins gets a lot of targets and Watson is sure to find him at least a few times during the game. No matter the match up for Hopkins, his volume of targets is plenty to give him good value in every game. Touchdown or no touchdown, he’ll get a healthy amount of yards and receptions to make any owner happy. We all saw Deshaun Watson show flashes of star potential last week on Thursday night football, this week he’ll show what he can do through the air as well.

-Aj Green at Green Bay Packers

  • The Bengals have yet to score a touchdown in the 2017 campaign. I think that all changes this week against the Green Bay Packers. The first two week the Bengals had faced two of the top defenses in the league and they just couldn’t get anything going. The Packers defense is solid, but they struggle to contain some of the more elite pass-catchers in the league. Aj Green showed frustration with the Bengals offense and it resulted in the Bengals firing their offensive coordinator. I think new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor will get his superstar receiver into the end-zone at least once so be happy Green owners.

-DeVante Parker at New York Jets

  • I had Parker as a Start Em’ last week too and he delivered. This week I think he has an even better game. Michael Crabtree had 3 touchdowns alone against the Jets secondary. Who’s to say Parker can’t do something similar to that this week? Cutler has compared Parker to one of his former teammates in Alshon Jeffery, but faster. This game will truly show just how much Cutler likes his new weapon. Jarvis Landry had 13 receptions last week, Parker should get at least half of that in this contest.

Tight End

-Zach Ertz v. New York Giants

  • Zach Ertz continues to show that he’s Carson Wentz’ favorite target. Alshon Jeffery continues to be locked down by the opposing teams’ best corner, while still making contributions, but Ertz is clearly the person benefiting the most from facing tough defenses. Ertz has 90+ yards in both games this year and now he’s facing a New York Giants team that has allowed a touchdown in the first two games to tight ends. I see that streak continuing in week 3 with Zach Ertz getting his first touchdown this week.

-Jack Doyle v. Cleveland Browns

  • What a difference at quarterback makes for certain players. With Scott Tolzien, Doyle wasn’t looked at much, but with Jacoby Brissett starting for the Colts Doyle had 8 receptions for 79 yards. This week the duo faces a Cleveland defense that has had trouble containing the tight end position. In week 1 the Browns let the Outlaw Jesse James score two touchdowns. Last week they allowed Benjamin Watson grab 8 receptions and gain 91 yards. Jack Doyle is going to have a very big game this week and you need to start him.

-Kyle Rudolph v. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Kyle Rudolph has struggled thus far to start the 2017 season. Owners are surely waiting for that breakout performance like he had almost every week a season ago. Whether it’s Case Keenum or Sam Bradford this week, Kyle the Red-Zone Reindeer will find the end-zone once again. Last week he led the team in receiving yards, this week he’ll led the team in receptions while getting back to his good ole’ Saint Nick tricks again. The Buccaneers defense is good, but they faced a Bears team struggling to find an offensive play-maker. The Vikings will be a different beast for the Bucc’s defense to contain.

-Jared Cook at Washington Redskins

  • The Washington Redskins defense has allowed two straight games of 90+ yards to tight ends. With Josh Norman shadowing either Amari Cooper or Michael Crabtree in this game, someone will have to step up and that player will be Jared Cook. Cook has had at least 4 receptions in each contest as a Raider so far. This week he’ll have his best performance as a Raider and even might find the end-zone for his owners. Don’t be afraid to take a chance with this player this week if your starter has a bad match up.

Defense

-Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

  • You remember what the Rams did to the Colts in week one? Yeah, we could see a similar result on Thursday Night Football. Kyle Shanahan hasn’t quite got his offense into form yet. The 49ers have produced just 12 points, all field goals. It could be another week that the 49ers don’t score an offensive touchdown. The Rams are going to terrorize Brian Hoyer all night long and I’m sure they’ll create turnovers as well. The Rams are a must start and could be the highest scoring defense of the week.

-Denver Broncos at Buffalo Bills

  • The Buffalo Bills also didn’t score a touchdown last week in their lost to the Carolina Panthers. This week the Bills face an even tougher opponent in the Denver Broncos. The Bronco’s defense held a more talented Dallas Cowboys offense to just 17 points. I don’t see the Bills doing any better in their game and unless they can magically sprout some offensive momentum, the Bills could be held without a touchdown in two straight games. The #NoFlyZone is going to feed on some Bills this Sunday.

-Miami Dolphins at New York Jets

  • The Jets offense isn’t good. It’s just not. The Dolphins defense showed some promise in their first game against a good Chargers offense. This week they’ll have to game plan for less talent and an aged Josh McCown. Look for the front seven to get after McCown all afternoon and the secondary to clamp down on the receivers. I think the Dolphins have the potential to be a top 10 defensive unit. If they play up to their potential, it’ll be a long day for the Jets and their offense.

-Philadelphia Eagles v. New York Giants

  • The Giants offense has been absolutely horrible. Their offensive line can’t hold a block and Eli Manning simply feels pressure on every throw. This week they’ll face the best defensive line they’ve faced yet in the 2017 campaign. Odell Beckham is still a little wobbly and not quite 100% yet. Add all this together and you get bad results and a poor outing again from the Giants offense. If you think Eli Manning and the Giants offense are going to eventually bounce back, it won’t be this week against their division rival.

-Baltimore Ravens at Jacksonville Jaguars (Played in London Sunday @9:30ET)

  • The Ravens are arguably the best defense in football right now. This week they have a date in London with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars in their first week without star receiver Allen Robinson, struggled to move the ball. Blake Bortles turned the ball over multiple times as well against an average Titan defense. I see another multiple turnover game for the Jaguars offense. The Ravens defense has allowed 10 points in 2 games and also has 10 turnovers. You’re starting the #1 defense in fantasy this week.

Bench Em’

Quarterback

-Blake Bortles vs. Baltimore Ravens (Game played in London at 9:30ET)

  • Speaking of Blake Bortles, here he is again. As I mentioned, Bortles threw a couple of interceptions last week against the Titans and it won’t get any easier this week against a defense just as tough if not tougher. The Ravens have allowed 10 points this year and their turnover count matches that total of 10. Blake Bortles is prone to turnovers and I can see the Ravens creating more turnovers this week and could start their season with more turnovers than points allowed. Maybe Doug Marrone will realize Chad Henne is the best quarterback on his roster this week.

-Dak Prescott at Arizona Cardinals

  • Dak Prescott was fortune to play 3 straight tough defensive units. Last week the Broncos did an excellent job at shutting down the Cowboys offense. The Cardinals have a similar defense and can attack Dak just as well as the Broncos. Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett after the game said he was disappointed with the passing game. I feel like they’re going to try and force the issue in this contest. The Cardinals had the best run defense a season ago and they could limit Zeke Elliott in this game as well. It could be another ugly game from Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense.

-Deshaun Watson at New England Patriots

  • The Patriots are one of the best defensive units at forcing turnovers. Bill Bilichick is going to have a perfect game script against a young quarterback such as Deshaun Watson and force him to do things he’s not comfortable with. Watson struggled last week versus the Bengals and this week he’ll have an even better coach game planning for him. I wouldn’t trust the rookie this week.

-Joe Flacco at Jacksonville Jaguars (Game played in London at 9:30ET)

  • Despite the solid start from Joe Flacco, he’s facing the best defense he’s encounter this season. Just because the offense isn’t doing its’ part for the Jaguars doesn’t mean the defense isn’t holding its end of the deal. Sacksonville could take advantage of a poor offensive line and a non-mobile quarterback like they did against Tom Savage in week one. Flacco can’t hand the ball off to his running backs every play. It’s be best to stay away from most of the offensive players in this game this week. It’ll be a low scoring slug fest with not much excitement; at least on offensive.

Running Back

-LeSean McCoy v. Denver Broncos

  • You see what the Broncos did to last year’s leading rusher Ezekiel Elliott? Yeah 8 rushing yards and 22 yards total. That’s astounding! LeSean McCoy is the Bills offense and the Broncos are going to have a similar game plan for the Bills offense. Stop the run, make Tyrod pass the ball, get turnovers, and win. Easy as that. Let’s not forget that McCoy is dealing with a minor wrist and groin injury too. I know he’s you’re RB1, but find someone else off the waiver wire if you can.

-Adrian Peterson at Carolina Panthers

  • Alright it’s time to forget the name value of this player. I said that this wasn’t a fit from the beginning because you really have to dedicate to the running game and the New Orleans Saints just don’t do that. Alvin Kamara is the running back to own in this committee right now. AP is just simply not getting the touches needed to get his motor going and it’s affecting him greatly. Not only is lack of touches concerning, this week’s match up against a stiff Panthers front is even more worrisome. It’s sad to say, but Peterson should be someone to drop in all leagues or try to trade him to someone that doesn’t watch much football. Might get name value out of him.

-LeGarrette Blount v. New York Giants

  • Blount didn’t have a single carry last week. Not a single one. The only thing he did was catch the ball for zero yards and had a few blocks. From a fantasy standpoint you don’t want to see that. Rumor has been that Blount’s lack of production could result in fewer carries to other runners such as Wendell Smallwood and Corey Clement. Blount is too touchdown reliant to start or even flex right now and should be a player you should try to trade away before he completely loses a role on this pass first offense.

-Leonard Fournette v. Baltimore Ravens (Game played in London at 9:30ET)

  • The Ravens have held the Cincinnati Bengals rushers and Isaiah Crowell in check so far. This week rookie Leonard Fournette will have a shot, but will more than likely find himself with similar results as the ladder. Depending on the game goes, the Jaguars could be down early in this contest and they could abandon the running game. It might be best to avoid the headache and sit the running back for the week. Hopefully you didn’t over draft the rookie as your RB1 and you have another option to start in his place.

-Mike Gillislee v. Houston Texans

  • Mike Gillislee has filled into the LaGarrette Blount role quite nicely, maybe even doing an even better job. However, this week’s match up isn’t so favorable. The Texans defense is no joke and held the Patriots offense in check in last year’s AFC playoffs. We all saw how a good defensive front stalled the Patriots offensive on opening night. Could we see similar showing? Doubtful, but I wouldn’t sleep on the Texans defense though either.

Wide Receiver

-Pierre Garcon v. Los Angeles Rams

  • TY Hilton: 3 receptions for 57 yards.
  • Terrelle Pryor: 2 receptions for 31 yards.
  • Why are these numbers important? Because that’s what the Rams defense has done to the opposing teams #1 receivers. Pierre Garçon isn’t what he used to be as a receiver and isn’t on the same level as Hilton nor Pryor. I wouldn’t count on a productive game from him or any other 49er’s receiver in this game.

-DeSean Jackson at Minnesota Vikings

  • DeSean Jackson wasn’t used much in his first game as a Buccaneer. He had 3 receptions for 39 yards. This match up doesn’t bode well for the speedy pass-catcher either. Owners that drafted Jackson in hopes of production right away might have to wait another week to get a solid game from him. The Minnesota Vikings defense is a top unit and won’t let many deep balls get past them in this contest. If Sam Bradford comes back for this game that means the Bucc’s offense won’t be on the field as much as well. I would suggest benching him in this one.

-Marvin Jones v. Atlanta Falcons

  • Marvin Jones has 3 receptions for 64 yards and 2 touchdowns through two weeks. Those touchdowns have saved his fantasy value so far and should not be trusted to get a 3rd straight touchdown. I like Marvin Jones, but he’ll face another good corner one-on-one in Desmond Trufant. With Golden Tate leading the team in receptions, Eric Ebron slowly getting involved and the emergence of Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones has to fight for his targets. Until Jones doesn’t get shadowed by good corners or sees an uptick in targets by Matthew Stafford, it looks like Jones is a guy you can play versus good match ups.

-Eric Decker v. Seattle Seahawks

  • Eric Decker hasn’t quite lived up to expectation in Tennessee yet. He’s failed to produce a game over 40 yards receiving and now he has a date against the brutal Seattle Seahawks secondary. Not only is Decker in a non-favorable match up, he’s also moving down the pecking order of play-making options for the Titans. With the Titans being a run first team and Marcus Mariota trusting Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews in the passing game, Decker seems to be the odd man out. Decker should be put on the bench until he builds up a rapport with Mariota.

Tight End

-Charles Clay v. Denver Broncos

  • Last week Charles Clay struggled against a good Panthers defense being held to 23 yards and adding a fumble. This week he’ll face a defense even tougher squad versus the Broncos. Charles Clay might be one of the best receiving threats in Buffalo, but I would keep him out of your lineup this week. The Broncos realize that LeSean McCoy and Charles are the best play-making players on the team and they’ll force Tyrod Taylor and the Bills offense to look elsewhere for any offensive progression. Avoid this player.

-Hunter Henry v. Kansas City Chiefs

  • Yeah yeah, Hunter Henry started getting looks after Antonio Gates broke Tony Gonzalez’ record. Fact is, Gates is still around and will get a healthy amount of snaps. The Chargers have said they want to have Henry play in between the 20’s and Gates in the red-zone. The Chiefs defense is a tough and will look to slow him and the Chargers offense down. Until we see how the Chargers use both the tight ends on a regular game basis, I would avoid Henry this week.

-Coby Fleener at Carolina Panthers

  • Coby Fleener has been solid so far for the Saints, but this week will be a tall task. The Panthers defense seems to be back to its’ dominate ways and won’t let much get past them on the defensive side. The Saints are an upgrade offensively over the 49ers and the Bills, but the Panthers haven’t allowed a touchdown and have only given up a single field goal in both games. Fleener is too touchdown reliant in this match up for you to start him confidently.

-Evan Engram at Philadelphia Eagles

  • Evan Engram is slowly finding his way in this Giants offense. The only downside is the offense itself. The offensive line has been disrupted by the likes of the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions. The Philadelphia Eagles front is better than both of those units. Eli Manning is going to be on his back a lot and pressured to make throws sooner than he should. Engram might have to be taken off the field for a more blocking type tight end to help protect Manning this week. Even if Engram is moved around, I don’t see him making much of an impact. The Eagles held Jordan Reed to 36 yards and Engram has been compared to a similar player to Reed. I would stay away from the rookie in the game.

Defense

-Carolina Panthers v. New Orleans Saints

  • This will be the best offense the Panthers have faced so far, so I’m curious to see if they’re truly for real or just took advantage of some stellar match ups. Until I know for sure I suggest benching them for the week and stream a good defense this week. The Saints-Panthers games tend to be a high scoring affair and usually goes down to the wire. Look elsewhere for the week unless you’re feeling ballsy.

-Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

  • The Detroit Lions offense is legit. This game has shootout written all over it. The Falcons might get a turnover or so and some sacks here and there, but the amount of points they’re about to give up isn’t worth taking a gamble on this defense this week. If you’re a streamer, look elsewhere this week if you can.

-Buffalo Bills v. Denver Broncos

  • I believe the Bills defense is good, but the Denver Broncos offense is hot right now and will be put in a lot of good positions to score this week. The Bills offense will be the biggest downfall for this Bills defense as they’ll be on the field majority of the afternoon. Keep them out of your starting lineup and get another defense.

-Cincinnati Bengals at Green Bay Packers

  • Regardless if the Packers could be without Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, Aaron Rodgers always finds a way to distribute the ball around to unknown players. Aaron Rodger is the best at what he does and I wouldn’t start a struggling Cincinnati Bengals defense that is trying to find an identity on both sides of the ball. Hopefully there is still a defense worth streaming at this point.
That’s it for this week’s fantasy football Start Em’ and Bench Em’. Good luck in all of your match ups and I hope you win to get that ‘W’. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn and like us on Facebook! If you have any fantasy questions or football related questions ask us on any of our social media pages and we’ll gladly answer your questions. Until next time, have a great day!
-Austin Thomas

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