NFL Week Three Games (Part One)
The bye weeks are now upon us with Kansas City, San Diego, Oakland and Dallas taking the week off, sipping cocktails, and probably licking some wounds. Let’s take pollution down to zero!
Carolina at Tampa Bay – As of this writing, Steve Smith has practiced and might actually suit up for this one. Keep your eye out on the injury report. Especially because of the byes, you may not have a better option. Avoid Jake Delhomme, but consider DeAngelo Williams if you need a bye-week fill in at a flex spot. DeShaun Foster is still the starter, but Williams has quickly pulled up even with him.
The Bucs had some very peculiar stats in the wide out position. In Week One, Michael Clayton had seven looks (passes thrown to him) and Joey Galloway had three. Galloway must have said something to Chris Simms, because in Week Two, Galloway got 18 looks while Clayton got nine. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, you’re not alone. Anyway, if he’s going to get that many looks, Galloway is the start. Carnell Williams, meanwhile, has struggled but is a decent second running back this weekend.
Chicago at Minnesota – So apparently the Bears have an offense. Who would have thunk it? Rex Grossman has looked like the real deal. Unfortunately, he’s never played in more than three regular season games in one year. But this being Week Three, he’s still got at least a game left and you can actually start him here if your normal starter is on a bye. Thomas Jones has been a bust, and that doesn’t appear to be a short-term situation. Leave him on the pine. The wide out situation is interesting. Bernard Berrian has gotten two long touchdowns, but I don’t anticipate his ability to beat teams deep will continue against the Vikings. Muhsin Muhammad is a start.
Troy Williamson is questionable at the moment, so he may not be a great option. Once again, Chester Taylor is the offensive player the Vikings will feature as much as possible. The Packers ran on the Bears, and I fully expect Minnesota to stay with it. Taylor is a sneaky threat for 100 yards.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh – This playoff rematch features a load of fantasy relevant players. In the first game between the two teams last year, the Bengals looked lost. Carson Palmer had three interceptions and Rudi Johnson had only 12 carries. In the second meeting, the Bengals figured it out. Palmer tossed two touchdowns and Rudi got two scores. They are both starts, as is Chad Johnson, despite how this hit left him in this state.
One just has to hope the Steelers do somewhat better than last week. Ben Roethlisberger should remain on your bench until he puts up a good stat line. The Jaguars stop everyone on the ground, so Willie Parker should be used as he was before last weekend. Hines Ward is someone you have to start. He is a touchdown threat every week, although his yardage numbers continue to be disappointing.
Green Bay at Detroit – The Packers also got right on offense Sunday. This week they face a Detroit team that just allowed Rex Grossman to toss four touchdown passes. Brett Favre is a sneaky start. Ahman Green disappointed last week and since the Lions have yet to give up a rushing touchdown, you’d probably be better off looking elsewhere. Donald Driver, meanwhile, is second in the league in receiving yardage. He’s capable of putting up plenty of stats against Detroit. Greg Jennings is a sneaky start, as he got 12 looks last week. It seems that the rookie wide receiver has become a favorite target of Favre’s.
Jacksonville at Indianapolis – This has historically been an interesting matchup for both sides. Byron Leftwich has evolved into a legitimate fantasy starter, and is another sneaky start this weekend. He’s passed for 300 yards or more twice against the Colts. Don’t look now, but Fred Taylor has played two games without being seriously injured. Congrats to him. As long as he’s suiting up, you can start him. As for the wide outs, Matt Jones, Reggie Williams and Ernest Wilford are all sort of the same guy. They are all tall, talented guys. Williams is in his third year, and has become a favorite target of Leftwich’s. He’s a sneaky start while Jones is an every week guy.
I can’t logically tell you to bench Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison, or Reggie Wayne, but they often have trouble against the Jaguars early in the season. Go at your own risk. Still avoid the running game, although Joseph Addai is quickly gaining favor over Dominic Rhodes.
N.Y. Jets at Buffalo – Statistically, the Jets have the third-best quarterback and top wide out through the first two weeks. Chad Pennington and Laveranues Coles seem to have a rapport going. Unfortunately, Coles is currently questionable and may not play against the Bills. If he doesn’t go, Jerricho Cotchery becomes an even better play. The third-year player has shown an amazing ability to stay on his feet and make big plays.
J.P. Losman clearly has some learning to do. His 247 yards through two weeks is less than respectable. It’s hurt the whole offense as Willis McGahee has gotten zero scores. McGahee is still a start thanks to his penchant for good yardage totals, but avoid the passing game as a whole. Lee Evans can’t beat a double team, which is bad if you are a, you know, first wide out.
Tennessee at Miami – Drew Bennett. And that’s not a lie, Mr. Fisher. On the other side of the ball, Daunt’ Culpepper is actually top 10 in terms of passing yards. His one score and three interceptions are still troublesome. The Titans can’t tackle, so the Dolphins’ signal caller is a sneaky start. If he can’t succeed this week, he may never regain form. Ronnie Brown is an every week guy and Chris Chambers should have a big game.
– Andy Goldstein