Fantasy Football Week 3: Start ‘em / Sit ‘em

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Last week’s results: 7-4-2, Season: 11-11-5

That’s more like it. I was a little worried after my brutal performance in week 1, but pretty sure it was just a case of the yips. Week 2 wasn’t perfect, but after going 7-4 I hope I rebuilt some credibility after my sub-.500 start. My bust picks couldn’t have been worse so far, but in my defense it’s tough to predict superstars having an off week. I might just start picking one of my fantasy players or a Bear as my bust to hedge my bets.

This week’s edition is going to be running back heavy. With quite a few workhorse backs going down, fantasy squads have some tough decisions to make on starting banged up #1s (Bush, Rice), mediocre handcuffs (Starks, Snelling), or a player from your bench.  I’ll cover a few of the more difficult choices below in this week’s Start’em / Sit’em.

Note: Only players started in less than 75% of yahoo leagues will be listed in Start’em section. These recommendations are for players you may be on the fence about that I think will over (Start) or under (Sit) perform their Yahoo projections.

Start ‘ Em

QB:

RG3 DET (Started in 62% of Yahoo leagues, 20 projected points): Despite the ridiculous rumors about benching RG3, he’s been just fine in fantasy averaging roughly 23 PPG. The Redskins have been down big at half in both of their games so far, but in their defense the Packers (1) and Eagles (2) are two of the best offenses in football. Some of their lofty rankings may be due to playing the Redskins, but I digress.  The Lions defense is in the middle of the pack so far, but they have played Christian Ponder & Carson Palmer, so don’t be fooled by their decent ranking. This should be a high scoring game and I expect 300+ passing yards from RG3 with a couple scores. Coach Shannahan has also mentioned bringing back the read option if the Skins can avoid falling behind by halftime. Rushing yards Sunday would just be gravy. I would start RG3 over Romo, Luck, Ryan, or Wilson.

Cam Newton NYG (73% , 19): It’s been somewhat of a rough 2013 season for Cam so far at least by the lofty standards his fantasy owners are used to. Just a hunch, but I think this is the weekend Cam breaks his slump. The Giants pass defense in nothing special, it’s a home game, and frankly he’s just too talented to be averaging only 15-16 fantasy PPG. That’s all I got. No statistical trends or advanced stats, just a hunch passed on the fact that Cam is better than he’s played so far and the Giants at home is a favorable matchup.

RB:

Bernard Pierce HOU (10%, 8): Ray Rice is questionable for Sunday. Whether he plays or not, get Pierce in your lineup. Even in week 1 with a presumably healthy Rice the carries were pretty close to split (12 to 9). With Rice nursing a hip injury I can’t see the Ravens giving him much work even if he ends up starting. Worst case you’re looking at split carries, best case Pierce is the Ravens’ primary ball carrier and a lock for double digit fantasy points.

Joique Bell WAS (32%, 10): I recommended Bell last week in my wavier article and suggested he was a borderline flex start even with a healthy Bush based on his goal-line carries and elite receiving skills out of the backfield. According to Lions coaches, Bush is 50/50 to play on Sunday. Similar to Rice’s situation, they aren’t going to push Bush even if he plays. It’s only week 3, teams aren’t going to risk their bell-cow RBs if they have even the slightest of injury. If you are still on the fence, consider that Washington has the worst defense in football right now. The matchups have been tough but they have given up over 500 yards of total offense in both weeks. There will be multiple double-digit fantasy scorers on the Lions and Bell will be one of them.

Lamar Miller ATL (44%, 10): Week 1 was a scare, but Cleveland shut down Ray Rice (2.7 YPC) and Bernard Pierce (3 YPC) in week 2. They are tough against the run. Miller bounced back in week 2 against the Colts with 69 yards and a TD (4.9 YPC). Daniel Thomas is still in the mix, but he only got 8 carries to Miller’s 14 and I think he will be gradually phased out (because he sucks). The Falcons run defense is nothing special and I predict Miller breaks the 100 yard mark this week.

David Wilson @CAR (43%, 8): Third week in a row I’m pimping Wilson as a starter. My emotional half just doesn’t want to miss his breakout game that I fully believe is coming and my analytical half realizes that the Giants just don’t have any other decent options. Miller ran scared last week, he was holding the ball as if it was a hand grenade with the pin pulled, but the Giants are going to have to turn him loose eventually. They are 0-2 and can’t risk losing this week, I think they take the shackles off Wilson and live or die with the results.

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