NFL Breakdown – Week 3
Two weeks of the NFL season are in the bag, and that brings us to what should be an interesting week 3. Congratulations if you’ve made it this far without getting bitten by the injury bug. I’ve been killed the first two weeks as a result. Because of injuries, we could certainly end up in a position where we have some value in our lineups this week. I will be releasing a position by position breakdown later this week, but for now, let’s look at each game situation.
Houston at New England
This should be an interesting game to be sure. New England must be happy that they are at least getting the home field advantage here, as they are really waiting for Tom Brady to get back. Houston has shown fairly decent two weeks in a row, and we should be able to find some plays here.
The line here calls for a low scoring game, as well as Houston being the road favorite. I would tend to agree, all things considered. I think the Patriots are overrated on defense, which means there are some pieces that could be used here. There are really only three options I would consider here, and they are, in order: Will Fuller, DeAndre Hopkins and Lamar Miller. I don’t like Brock Osweiler enough to consider him.
The Patriots are in a pretty difficult situation here, as not only are they without Tom Brady, but they are without Jimmy Garopollo. Jacoby Brissett isn’t ready for the NFL, let alone a defense like the Texans. It is still looking like Rob Gronkowski is still a question mark, but if he plays, he should be worth a shot, as a young QB is likely to rely on his tight end. The only other player I would consider here is Julian Edelman. I know we saw Brissett look at Martellus Bennett a lot, but if Gronk is playing, there will be no Bennett involved, or at least not much.
Arizona at Buffalo
This should be a reasonably high scoring game, but it could just as easily be one sided. We saw Arizona absolutely run through Tampa Bay, and we saw Buffalo get handled by the Jets. I would largely expect to see the same thing this week.
Arizona really does have a ton of fantasy options each week, but the one constant is David Johnson. He is a cut above the rest, and he should be in line for another big game, especially after what we saw Matt Forte destroy Buffalo on Thursday night. Larry Firzgerald has been on fire to start the year, and he is where I would look for cash games, with John Brown and Michael Floyd being tournament options.
After a disaster of a game against New York last week, Buffalo fired their OC Greg Roman. The new OC looks to have Tyrod Taylor pass the ball more. I would say that the options he has are no where near the quality of the Buccaneers options, save Sammy Watkins, so I am going to stay away, except maybe with Watkins in tournaments. I think the Cardinals defense is firmly in play here as well.
Oakland at Tennessee
This game should definitely be a high scoring affair as we are dealing with what I would consider the two worst defenses in the NFL. Vegas agrees, and they think it should be very close as well. I will have a pretty good amount of exposure to this game.
Oakland has several options that we can consider here. Derek Carr is in a pretty good spot, and he has put up some nice games already. We haven’t seen him have to air it out a ton, but this could be the situation. I don’t mind him in cash games. I think Latavius Murray is an option as well. He is basically in a time share for carries it seems, but they like using him in the passing game. I think there is tournament upside there. Finally, Amari Cooper and Clive Walford are both firmly on my cash game radar, and Michael Crabtree could make a nice tournament option.
So, Tennessee is definitely a difficult situation to break down. They are not scoring very much, which definitely makes their options a bit more difficult to assess. Overall, I think this could be a good week to roll Marcus Mariota out in tournaments. DeMarco Murray, Tajae Sharpe and Delanie Walker all have cash game appeal, as they should be the primary focus of the offense in this game.
Cleveland at Miami
This season is already turning into a typical Cleveland Browns season. Miami has lost two tough games in a row, and seem to be in a good position here as they get the Browns. This may be the game that requires the least breakdown.
It looks as if the Browns are highly likely to be without Josh McCown, who predictably got hurt in Sundays game. That thrusts Cody Kessler into the spotlight to start, and I just don’t think he is ready. The offensive line could be without Cameron Erving, so all things considered, this looks bad. I think Corey Coleman is a tournament option at best, but I’m leaving the rest alone.
Miami has been in the thick of both of their games this year, but they do have some question marks themselves. Arian Foster could miss this game after aggravating a hamstring injury, leaving Jay Ajayi as a possible option here. I really like Kenny Stills as a tournament option, as I see him in the same vein as Mike Wallace. Jarvis Landry should also be able to have his usual numbers. Also, and obviously, it is probably a reasonable bet to start the Dolphins defense.
Baltimore at Jacksonville
This is actually a pretty interesting situation, as Vegas sees this as both higher scoring and a pick ’em. Neither defense has looked great, and to some extent, I don’t think we’ve seen a ton out of the offenses. I still think we can pull a few picks out of this game.
I never like playing Joe Flacco, but I could see him being somewhat of a tournament option this week. He’s not my favorite, but it could happen. I would say the same thing about Mike Wallace. He’s a true boom or bust option, but he’s boomed in the first two weeks. I don’t hate the idea. Overall, Dennis Pitta is one of my favorite plays on the week at any position, as he should continue to see high targets as Flacco’s preferred target.
Jacksonville looked absolutely awful this past week, and I don’t know what it is going to take to turn the ship around. I pegged Blake Bortles as a bust this year, and so far, he looks like it. The upside here is that he should be throwing the ball a lot with no running back to trust. I think Julius Thomas is in play in cash games, and I would consider Allen Hurns, Allen Robinson and maybe even Marqise Lee in tournaments this week.
Detroit at Green Bay
This should be another fun game full of options to use. This should be a higher scoring game, but Green Bay is very highly favored.
Week 2 was not as favorable to Matthew Stafford as week 1 was. I do like him quite a bit here in week 3, though, as we saw Sam Bradford slice and dice through the Packers defense on Sunday night, and Blake Bortles didn’t look awful in week 1. Marvin Jones is a viable cash game option, as he is the clear top option on this offense. I do think Golden Tate and Eric Ebron, as well as Theo Riddick, make decent tournament plays.
Mike Zimmer is Aaron Rodgers kryptonite. Things will likely be different for Rodgers against the Lions at home this week. I am firing him up, and I think you should too. Jordy Nelson is a top cash game play this week as well, and I don’t blame you if you wanted to roster Randall Cobb either. I think Davante Adams is a long shot tournament option, but I do think there are better options out there.
Denver at Cincinnati
Thus far, we don’t have a total on this game, but I think it will be close. On paper, this Denver defense is very good, as we saw Sunday, but the offense isn’t exactly scoring like we would like it to. Still, this is a good situation for them.
C.J. Anderson was a top cash game play last week, but I’m actually going to ease up on him a bit this week and move him into the tournament column. I think that Cincinnati will be able to hang in, and there will be more of a focus on the pass. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders should get some pretty good work this week, and I think that is the route I would rather go if going with Denver options.
A.J. Green was our top projected receiver this past week, and boy did he disappoint. I will gladly go back, as I do think the weather conditions did play into the game. I also like Giovani Bernard, as I think Cincinnati will be passing the ball more and more this week. I know Dalton did just have 54 passes, and while I don’t see it being that high, I think it will be more efficient. He does like to use his tight ends, so I think Tyler Kroft makes a decent tournament option.
Minnesota at Carolina
I am curious to see how this game will pan out, as I think both teams have solid defenses, and I think they both have good offenses. I know that Carolina does, but I think Minnesota may be a bit underrated.
We just saw Blaine Gabbert have a nice fantasy game against Carolina, and I’m going back to the well and saying I think Bradford could as well. He should have to throw more, especially with Peterson hurt. Jerick McKinnon or Matt Asiata aren’t really the routes I want to go. I am looking at two players here: Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph. They will end the year as the highest targeted players on the offense, and I think they are definitely in play.
I wish I could say I love the idea of playing Cam Newton here, but I’m not. I guess there is some upside to tournament usage of him, as he is high priced and could see lower ownership, but I’d rather look elsewhere. With that said, I do think that Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen could be used here, but I would probably look elsewhere, as I’m seeing this game being a little lower scoring than even Vegas predicts.
Washington at New York
This should certainly be a fun situation here. These games are always a good time, and this year it gets a little more meaningful, as it will be the first meeting between Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman in Washington. Vegas sees a tight game, and I’d agree.
Washington’s offense has sputtered somewhat through the first few weeks of the season, and I think this could be a bit of a trap game here. We’ve seen what I think is enough of an improved Giants defense that they’ve held both Dallas and New Orleans in check to start the year. If I was going to look for anyone here, it would be Jordan Reed, who is clearly the top overall option in Washington. Matt Jones and DeSean Jackson are both high upside tournament plays.
Based off how things have gone in the first two weeks of the season, Odell Beckham should see very little of Josh Norman and a lot of Bashaud Breeland, who turned in back to back 100+ yard games to Antonio Brown and Dez Bryant. I could see this being the case again, especially with the team having both Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard now. I like Odell in cash games, and the other two, as well as Eli Manning, in tournaments.
Los Angeles at Tampa Bay
This is expected to be one of the lower scoring games of the week, and even though Vegas has it tight, I could certainly see it ending up more favorably in Tampa Bay’s direction.
Los Angeles has been a very, very bad offense through two weeks. I think the Tampa Bay defense could give Todd Gurley enough opportunity to have success, and we could be getting him at a lower ownership than we have been used to after two tough weeks. Tavon Austin is always a tournament option due to his explosive nature, and I think there is some appeal to Kenny Britt, as I think Case Keenum seems to like him.
Tampa Bay itself looked really bad last week, and I think the team could stumble again. I am not sure what to make of the Rams defense, as I think they are at least decent. I’m not saying to avoid Tampa Bay; I’m just feeling cautious. Jameis Winston makes a good tournament option, and it is pretty clear he’s going to do what he can to get the ball into Mike Evans’ hands. If Doug Martin is out, I think there is slight appeal to Charles Sims.
San Francisco at Seattle
This game is setting up to be one of the most interesting of the slate. Frankly, it is pretty nuts that we are talking about San Francisco being the more exciting team here. I don’t like what I’ve seen from Seattle yet, and they definitely miss Marshawn Lynch.
San Francisco is running a higher tempo offense, and that makes for higher scoring games typically, but that could be cause for concern here, and I think Seattle is still a good defense. I talked up Gabbert last week, and he didn’t disappoint, but I don’t feel the same way this week. I think Torrey Smith, Jeremy Kerley and Vance McDonald are low end tournament options at best.
What can we say about Seattle? The offense has been sputtering through the first two weeks, and they got banged up yesterday. I think you’ll have to wait for the injury report through the week to determine who, if anyone, is a good play for Seattle. I love the idea of Doug Baldwin, but he is amongst the injured.
New York at Kansas City
This should certainly end up being a pretty interesting game, as New York has looked tough and Kansas City is coming off a week where it really struggled. I think this is going to be close, but it should be full of potential fantasy goodness.
The Jets have four players that I think you can focus on: Matt Forte, Eric Decker, Brandon Marshall and Quincy Enunwa in that order. If Marshall somehow doesn’t play, all of those options get bumped up. Ryan Fitzpatrick could be in the conversation as well, but I think I would prefer to drop him into tournaments with some more obvious cash game options this week.
Kansas City could end up getting a bit more confusing this week, as Jamaal Charles could end up coming back. We will then likely see no usable running backs for the Chiefs. The New York Jets defense is pretty good, but something tells me that this could be one of those Alex Smith weeks. He only has one or two a year, and they tend to come at the most inopportune time. I also like Jeremy Maclin quite a bit here, as he should be the next contestant on “Who will burn Darrelle Revis?” Travis Kelce makes a decent tournament play too.
San Diego at Indianapolis
On the main slate of games, this is probably going to end up as a game I have most ownership in, on both sides of the ball. Both defenses can be beat, and both offenses have a few main targets, so we know exactly what direction to go in our play.
San Diego lost it’s two most important weapons when Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead went down for the year. Melvin Gordon is going to be a monster this year, and he should be considered for your lineups this week against a bad Indy defense. Philip Rivers is also in play, as this team will likely be passing the ball in a close game. I think I like Travis Benjamin, Tyrell Williams and Antonio Gates in that order.
I have not rostered Andrew Luck yet this year, but I like his upside this week. He should be forced, yet again, to throw the ball a lot, except this time, he won’t have the stout Broncos defense to contend with. T.Y. Hilton is his favorite target, and I can definitely see him getting away with one this week and getting into the end zone. Dwayne Allen and Jack Doyle are both components to this offense, and should also be considered in tournaments.
Pittsburgh at Philadelphia
The afternoon slate looks to be where I am going to grab some of my plays from. Pittsburgh is a rather large road favorite, but I’m not so sure here.
Pittsburgh has some of the best offensive players in the game. Antonio Brown and DeAngelo Williams are on my radar for cash games, because I’m not fully crazy, but I think this Eagles defense is legit. While they could have good games, I just don’t see them having HUGE games. Ben Roethlisberger is also on my radar, especially in tournaments, as are Jesse James and Sammie Coates.
Carson Wentz has looked good through two weeks again two defenses that aren’t exactly great, but there is a lot to hope for. Jordan Matthews is the one I want to continue to target here, as he an Wentz have a good connection. He dropped a touchdown pass on Monday, which is something he’s had problems with through his career. I don’t mind Nelson Agholor in tournaments, as he is another of the favored targets. The rest is going to come down to Zach Ertz. If he plays, he’s on the radar. If he doesn’t, I think Brent Celek and Trey Burton could be worth a look.
Chicago at Dallas
Chicago transitions from Monday Night Football to Sunday Night Football, as they take the road to face off against the Cowboys. There is some concern here, as Jay Cutler was pulled on Monday due to a hand injury, and his status is somewhat up in the air.
Chicago has basically been pretty bad, but there is definitely fantasy upside here. Jeremy Langford is still struggling, and Jordan Howard looked pretty good after KaDeem Carey left this game due to injury. I’d watch for any indication to see if Howard cuts further into Langford’s playing time. I do like Langford here if we feel confident that he can see most of the touches. Alshon Jeffery is a lock as a cash game play due to his skill set, and Eddie Royal and Kevin White make nice tournament options.
Through two games, Dak Prescott has been unable to connect with a receiver for a touchdown, but it could happen here. I don’t mind Dak as a tournament option. Likewise, I don’t hate Ezekiel Elliot in that format either. Dez Bryant should be able to have a good game, especially if he is able to get into the end zone. Both Cole Beasley and Jason Witten seem to get attention from Dak, so you have to toss them onto the tournament pile as well.
Atlanta at New Orleans
Week three will end with what could and should very well be the highest scoring game of the week. New Orleans is a much different team in it’s home town, so I think we will see some fireworks here.
Matt Ryan should be the first guy on your radar. I think there is a good chance he’ll have one of his biggest games all year here. Julio Jones is the number two option on this team here, though he is banged up at the moment. Mohamed Sanu makes an interesting tournament play. Jacob Tamme is leading the team in targets through two weeks and should be considered here. Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman are nothing more than tournament options here due to the time share that exists.
Drew Brees is awesome at home, so you’ll want at least some exposure to him. Brandin Cooks and Willie Snead should also be in line for big games this week, so you’ll want to have some shares of them too. Michael Thomas is eventually going to have a good game, so throwing him in tournaments wouldn’t be the worst idea. Coby Fleener is not good, but does see a ton of targets, so there is a chance he could end up pulling one in for a score. I am staying away from the Saints’ running game.
Thanks for reading! We’ll be back later this week with our picks!