Fantasy Football: The Comfortables, The Cautions & The Casualties: Week 3
The fantasy football gods are angry with me.
Maybe it’s because I snuck into the playoffs as a 6 seed and, like the 2010 Packers and the 2011 Giants before me, ended up winning the whole thing, and this is my penance.
At 4 PM today, I decided to trade Trent Richardson straight up for Stevan Ridley. My logic at the time was sound…as long as Richardson was tied to this anemic Cleveland offense, he wasn’t going to deliver RB1 numbers. Stevan Ridley had a better chance of getting back in Bill Belichick’s good graces, so I took the gamble. Then hours later, the Browns shocked the league by trading their number 3 overall pick from last year to the Colts for a first round pick in next year’s draft. Richardson’s value has just shot up being tied to a more potent offense. Now the chance of Richardson bouncing back is much higher than Ridley getting back in Belichick’s good graces.
Somebody up there does NOT like me.
I’ll try and make heads or tails of this situation, but right now I feel sick.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Comfortables: Michael Vick, Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Dwayne Bowe, DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Defense
Cautions: Alex Smith, Bryce Brown, Riley Cooper, Brent Celek, Kansas City Defense
Casualties: Knile Davis, All Chiefs Pass-Catchers not named Bowe, Zach Ertz
BEWARE THE THURSDAY NIGHT GAME! When teams play football, they basically go out and turn their bodies into cars in a demolition derby. It takes a lot longer than four days to get over that. I don’t expect a lot of offense in this game, unfortunately, so I put the safe names up. You’re obviously starting Shady and J-Mail because they’re your number one picks, and DeSean is on fire. I’m not a big believer in Bowe, but you figure if the Eagles’ offense is even half of what it was against Washington, Kansas City will be throwing often to catch up. Defenses have found that the best way to beat Philly is to keep their offense off the field, so I expect a lot of running with Jamaal Charles.
Prediction: The Eagles spoil Andy Reid’s homecoming and win on Thursday Night.
Green Bay Packers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comfortables: Aaron Rodgers, Andy Dalton, James Starks, Giovani Bernard, BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, AJ Green, Jermichael Finley
Cautions: Jermaine Gresham, Green Bay Defense, Cincinnati Defense
Casualties: Jonathan Franklin, Mohammad Sanu
Sleeper: Tyler Eifert
It took until Week 2, but Gio Bernard delivered on his preseason potential. The only thing that can limit him is if the Bengals are winning, because then they run out the clock with ol’ reliable BenJarvis. Considering they’re playing such a potent offense in the Packers, I don’t think we’ll have to worry, and we’ll see Gio get plenty of looks. He’ll be a PPR monster. I’m loving all of the offense in this game, as I’ve picked up Jermaine Gresham off waivers in case Gronkowski can’t go this week. Cincy’s D might get some points off sacks of A-Rod, but they’ll be giving up some serious points. You have to start all of the pass-catchers in green, and I even like James Starks this week because Cincy’s D will be respecting the pass.
Prediction: Green Bay’s offense is too much for the Bengals to contain. Pack wins.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New England Patriots
Comfortables: Tom Brady, Doug Martin, Stevan Ridley, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski (if active), New England Defense
Cautions: Josh Freeman, Aaron Dobson, Kenbrell Tompkins, Tampa Bay Defense
Casualties: Peyton Hillis, Brandon Bolden, Kevin Ogletree, Zach Sudfeld
Sleeper: LeGarrette Blount
Here’s hoping for Tom Brady’s sake that Gronkowski can make the game on Sunday. His receivers other than Julian Edelman can’t catch a cold. It took Aaron Dobson being completely uncovered to score a touchdown. The amount of drops last week was ridiculous. I’ve listed Blount as a sleeper because we have a guy playing his former team alert. Otherwise, Stevan Ridley is the only choice the Pats have in the backfield so you’re going to have to roll with him. It’s only Week 2 but it seems the Bucs have already given up on Greg Schiano after losing two close games. You can’t trust Josh Freeman, but maybe the talent of his two top wide receivers might be able to help him. Personally, I doubt it.
Prediction: The ship in Tampa continues to sink and the Patriots move to 3-0.
Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens
Comfortables: Arian Foster, Ben Tate, Ray Rice (if active), Andre Johnson, DeAndre Hopkins, Torrey Smith, Owen Daniels, Houston Defense
Cautions: Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Marlon Brown, Baltimore Defense
Casualties: Garrett Graham
Sleeper: Bernard Pierce
Remember when Arian Foster and Ray Rice were the top two choices in fantasy? That was only a year ago, right? What the hell happened? Injuries and understudies have made the running back position in both Houston and Baltimore very cloudy. You still have no choice but to roll with either if they’re starting. I do like Bernard Pierce as a sleeper regardless of whether Rice can go or not. And Tate makes for a great FLEX option. DeAndre Hopkins is gaining Matt Schaub’s trust, so I’m moving him to a comfortable start as a high-end WR3/low-end WR2. Garrett Graham keeps stealing touchdowns but Owen Daniels is still getting his.
Prediction: Baltimore hands Houston its first loss of the year in a very close matchup.
Cleveland Browns vs. Minnesota Vikings
Comfortables: Adrian Peterson, Jordan Cameron, Minnesota Defense
Cautions: Cordarrelle Patterson, Kyle Rudolph, Cleveland Defense
Casualties: Brian Hoyer, All Cleveland Running Backs, Christian Ponder, Greg Little, Greg Jennings
Sleeper: Josh Gordon
So the Browns are trying out Willis McGahee. Awesome. I’m not touching any Cleveland running back nor am I planning on picking one up on the waivers. This is clearly a team that plans to tank for Jaedevon Clowney or Teddy Bridgewater. I’d feel great about Josh Gordon coming back if Brandon Weeden was throwing to him, but alas, he’s not. Also temper your expectations with Jordan Cameron as well, but if you’ve got him, you’re starting him, unless you managed to snag Julius Thomas off the waiver wire (which I did!). Minnesota’s D was already a great sleeper for those who stream defenses, but without T-Rich in the backfield for Cleveland, it’s even better! Frankly, as long as a team that plays the Browns, the Jaguars, the Jets or the Raiders is on the waiver wire, you could stream defenses comfortably until the end of the year.
Prediction: Minnesota feasts on poor Mr. Hoyer and whatever poor running back gets the start for the Vikings win.
St. Louis Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys
Comfortables: Sam Bradford, Tony Romo, DeMarco Murray, Tavon Austin, Chris Givens, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin, Jared Cook, Jason Witten
Cautions: Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Defense, Dallas Defense
Casualties: All Backup Running Backs
Sleeper: Austin Pettis
Romo hasn’t been the same since hurting his ribs against the Giants, but he’s been gutting it out. Sam Bradford has been a revelation at QB these first two weeks, as he’s made the most of his new weapons. I’m looking for a lot of offense in this one, which is why I’ve downgraded the Dallas D to a caution. I’m not sold on Daryl Richardson yet, plus I’m playing against him in two leagues and am trying to jinx him. You can FLEX him, but I wouldn’t feel good about him as an RB2. Tavon Austin looked GOOD last week. Of course I bench him a week after starting him and getting nothing. Now I’ll start him again and….lord, I need a drink.
Prediction: Cowboys win a shootout.
San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans
Comfortables: Philip Rivers, Chris Johnson, Eddie Royal, Antonio Gates, San Diego Defense
Cautions: Ryan Mathews, Vincent Brown, Malcom Floyd, Delaine Walker, Tennessee Defense
Casualties: Jake Locker, Danny Woodhead, Ronnie Brown, Jackie Battle, Kenny Britt
Sleeper: Kendall Wright
Again, it’s so hard to figure out what the Titans are. Are they good enough to beat a bad Pittsburgh team on the road and just barely beat a Houston team that missed a bunch of field goals…or are they bad enough to deserve their 1-1 record? I really don’t know. The Titans are the toughest team to predict out of all the 30 teams so far. I do know what I’m getting from San Diego, and I’m absolutely buying into Philip Rivers and Eddie Royal. Do I think Royal will score multiple TDs every game? No. But I do expect him to be targeted early and often by Rivers for these bubble screens. Royal is a PPR monster in the waiting, and the de-facto number 1 receiver with Danario Alexander out for the year, Malcom Floyd banged up, and Vincent Brown whiffing on the long balls. Believe in the Royal Flush.
Prediction: San Diego piles up the points and wins on the road.
Arizona Cardinals vs. New Orleans Saints
Comfortables: Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Larry Fitzgerald (if active), Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Defense
Cautions: Carson Palmer, Rashard Mendenhall, Michael Floyd, Lance Moore, Arizona Defense
Casualties: Ryan Williams, Stephan Taylor, Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Andre Roberts, Kenny Stills, Robert Meachem, Rob Housler
Sleeper: Andre Ellington
You can’t feel good about Larry Fitzgerald (and I don’t…I have him in two leagues), but if he’s starting, you have to play him. Believe it or not, I like the Saints D in this matchup. They gave Matt Ryan fits in Week 1 and held the Bucs in Week 2. I think Carson Palmer will be throwing tons to try and keep up in the Superdome, and a couple of those balls will be intercepted. I’m a little worried about Marques Colston. He was shut down by Derelle Revis last week, and this week he draws Patrick Peterson. But I think he barely makes the comfortable list, so we’re talking about a knuckle-deep level of discomfort here. Andre Ellington looked great on third down and may supplant Rashard Mendenhall as the lead dog in Arizona. It’s interesting to see how he does this week.
Prediction: New Orleans rolls at home.
Detroit Lions vs. Washington Redskins
Comfortables: Matthew Stafford, Robert Griffin III, Reggie Bush (if active), Joique Bell, Alfred Morris, Calvin Johnson, Pierre Garcon
Cautions: Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Defense, Washington Defense
Casualties: Mikel Leishoure, Roy Helu, Nate Burleson, Patrick Edwards, Washington Pass-Catchers not named Garcon
Sleeper: Jordan Reed
I’m starting Joique Bell regardless of Bush’s status. Even if Reggie plays, he’s going to be bothered by his ailing injuries. Bell is fresh, and will get the goal line carries anyway. I like RG3 to get his act together early, relying on Alfred Morris to push the pace, and getting the little dinks and dunks into the end zone. You have to like Garcon in this matchup against Detroit’s shaky secondary. Megatron’s a beast and nobody will be able to stop him. Stafford looks good to go.
Prediction: Washington rights the ship and takes advantage of some major Detroit penalties to pull it out.
New York Giants vs. Carolina Panthers
Comfortables: Eli Manning, Cam Newton, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Reuben Randle, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, New York Defense
Cautions: DeAngelo Williams, Brandon LaFell, Brandon Myers, Carolina Defense
Casualties: All Giants Running Backs, Mike Tolbert
Sleeper: Domenik Hixon
I’m all in on the Giants this week. There’s no way Coughlin lets them get to 0-3. Carolina is beatable (sometimes they just beat themselves), and the Giants are PISSED OFF. Bet the farm on Eli. I’m benching RG3 for him this week. Unfortunately, I’m playing against Cruz in two leagues, Nicks and Randle, all of whom will go off on the Panthers secondary. Now, the Giants D isn’t much to write home about either, so I like Newton, Smith and Olsen as starting options as well. We’re going to have to wait another week before we start any New York Giants Running Back, because we have to make sure David Wilson is firmly out of Tom Coughlin’s doghouse. That could happen at any time. I threw Hixon in as the sleeper because he’s going against his old team.
Prediction: New York destroys Carolina on the road.
Buffalo Bills vs. New York Jets
Comfortables: CJ Spiller, Buffalo Defense, New York Jets Defense
Cautions: EJ Manuel, Geno Smith, Fred Jackson, Bilal Powell, Stevie Johnson
Casualties: Chris Ivory, Any Pass Catchers Not Named Stevie Johnson
Sleeper: Robert Woods
I wouldn’t expect a lot of offense from this game. Both Buffalo and New York’s Defenses should be on the waiver wire, and are definite pickups for the streamers out there. Spiller will right the ship eventually…it’s just a matter of time. The Jets D shut down Doug Martin and Stevan Ridley respectively in the first two weeks, so expectations may be tempered, but Spiller’s too talented to bench. You shouldn’t start a single receiver or tight end in this game with the possible exception of Stevie Johnson. I doubt he’ll be as wide open to score a touchdown as he was last week. He might get a visit to Cromartie Island, but I’m not too worried about the weather there.
Prediction: Spiller leads Buffalo to victory.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Miami Dolphins
Comfortables: Matt Ryan, Lamar Miller, Julio Jones, Mike Wallace, Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Defense
Cautions: Ryan Tannehill, Jacquizz Rodgers, Daniel Thomas, Roddy White, Brian Hartline, Miami Defense
Casualties: Jason Snelling, Brandon Gibson
Sleeper: Charles Clay
Lamar Miller is ever-so-slightly being given the ball, and he’s doing things with it, so that’s great to see. Daniel Thomas still works, and Charles Clay of all people is vulturing goal-line TDs, but you have to like what Miller’s doing in space. I like Wallace and Julio because neither secondary is anything to sweat over. Miami’s run defense is legit, however, so even though Jacquizz Rodgers may be lurking on the waiver wire, he’s not a plug-in for Steven Jackson owners. Sorry.
Prediction: Ryan and Julio end the Dolphins’ unbeaten streak.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Seattle Seahawks
Comfortables: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Defense
Cautions: Any Starting Seattle Pass-Catcher
Casualties: All Jaguars, including Defense and MJD regardless of activity, Seattle Backup RBs
Sleeper: Jordan Todman (if MJD is inactive)
No Jaguars. None. Not even MJD. Jordan Todman in only the deepest of leagues (16 teamers) once MJD is declared inactive. The line is 20 freaking points. As for Seattle, good luck trying to figure out who’s going to catch the touchdowns. Is it Golden Tate? Sidney Rice? Doug Baldwin? Zach Miller? Take your pick, because I guarantee it’s going to be somebody, but not everybody.
Indianapolis Colts vs. San Francisco 49ers
Comfortables: Andrew Luck, Colin Kaepernick, Trent Richardson (if active), Frank Gore, Reggie Wayne, TY Hilton, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, San Francisco Defense
Cautions: Ahmad Bradshaw (if Richardson is inactive), Any Backup 49er Pass-catcher, Indianapolis Defense
Casualties: All Backup RBs
Sleeper: Coby Fleener
There’s a possibility that Trent Richardson doesn’t play in this game because the trade was so close to the weekend, but if he’s playing, you have to feel a bit cautious against a stout 49er run defense, but you would want to try out your new toy. If Richardson is inactive, I would feel worse about starting Bradshaw. Also in this game, Andrew Luck goes up against his former Stanford coach. This game looks like the marquee of the afternoon games. The Seahawks last week made Colin Kaepernick look human, but they’re in San Francisco, and the Colts D is no Seattle. I like Boldin and Davis for the 9ers, and I like Wayne and Hilton for the Colts. I also think Coby Fleener is a nice sleeper considering Dwayne Allen is out for the year. At least you don’t have to wonder who’s going to get the looks.
Prediction: Kaepernick leads the Niners to a bounce-back win.
Chicago Bears vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Comfortables: Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Chicago Defense
Cautions: Jay Cutler, Michael Bush, Alshon Jeffery, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Martellus Bennett, Pittsburgh Defense
Casualties: Ben Roethlisberger, All Pittsburgh Running Backs and Tight Ends, Kellen Davis
Lucky us…we get to see the miserable Steelers in prime time AGAIN! This is a bad team with a bad offense. Forte, Marshall and Chicago’s D are the only ones you should start in this one. I predict a 17-10 game. When the hell is Le’Veon Bell getting back??? Antonio Brown becomes interesting because he complained that he wasn’t getting the ball enough and the squeaky wheel gets the grease, but it’s going to be tough with an elite Chicago defense breathing down your neck.
Prediction: Chicago wins a defensive battle.
Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
Comfortables: Peyton Manning, Darren McFadden, Knowshown Moreno, Demariyus Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, Denver Defense
Cautions: Terelle Pryor, Denarius Moore
Casualties: Montee Ball, Ronnie Hillman, Any Oakland Pass-Catchers not named Denarius, Oakland Defense
Sleeper: Marcel Reese
The good news? More Peyton in Prime Time! The bad news? It’s against the damn Raiders. Start all your starting Broncos, only start McFadden for the Raiders, set it and forget it.
Prediction: Peyton throws 10 touchdowns.
Good luck this week. I don't even know anymore...