Week 3 Where to Put em

Thursday, Sep 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm ET

fantasy football rankings
Where to Put 'em is the Fantasy Football Nerd's look at the best and worst matchups for the week. Decisions are based upon the FFN rankings and matchup analysis. Given the known conditions, these matchups are the ones to watch and/or avoid for Week 3.

This list does not generally include the elite players that you are going to start regardless of matchup. You don't need us to tell you to start Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson, or Adrian Peterson. Where to Put 'em takes a look at other players on your team that we believe either have great matchups or should be avoided for multiple reasons. Factors like opposing defense, performance trending, and peer comparisons may influence our decisions.

Put 'em In The Game: Cam Newton
For a guy that was often drafted in the late, late rounds this year (or not drafted at all), Cam Newton has earned a starting role on most fantasy teams. Apparently nobody told him that rookie quarterbacks don't throw for over 400 yards in their first two starts. Against Green Bay, Newton proved that Week 1 wasn't a fluke. The Jaguars have a middle-of-the-road pass defense that he should be able to light up like the 4th of July.
Put 'em In The Game: Ryan Fitzpatrick
Ryan Fitzpatrick has been fantastic in the first two weeks of this season throwing for 7 scores. Normally a QB facing the Patriots would warrant a second thought, but the secondary of the Pats isn't what it used to be. Chad Henne and Philip Rivers took advantage of them for big numbers. New England has given up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing QB's and Fitzpatrick has been looking too solid to sit now.
Put 'em In The Game: Rex Grossman
Rex Grossman has been one of the most underrated QB's this season. The defense of the Cowboys is banged up and Grossman took them for 322 yards and 4 touchdowns when he faced them last year. By all accounts, he should have a solid game against them in this anticipated game on Monday night. Unless you already have an elite QB ahead of him on your roster, Grossman deserves a starting spot.
Put 'em In The Game: Ryan Mathews
Week 1 was the Mike Tolbert show, but last week saw Ryan Mathews with a solid outing. Mathews had 64 yards on the ground, 7 catches for 62 yards, and a score against New England. This week he faces a Kansas City Chiefs defense that has given up the 3rd most points to opposing backs in the last two games. Mathews and Tolbert make great plays this week.
Put 'em In The Game: Ben Tate
Hopefully you handcuffed Ben Tate when you drafted Arian Foster who will be limited at best this week with that lingering hamstring injury. That Houston offense is going to cause some headaches for the Saints. They've given up a ton of yards through the air and James Starks and Matt Forte took advantage of them in the running game. We're not ready to call Tate an RB1 like Foster (was and hopefully will be again), but he's a great RB2 option this week.
Put 'em In The Game: Mark Ingram
Across the field from Ben Tate will be rookie RB Mark Ingram who hasn't lived up to expectations with his first two games. We're going out on a limb and saying that this should change this week - FFN expects to see Ingram in the endzone. Another rookie, Daniel Thomas of the Dolphins, hit the century mark in rushing last week against the Saints and looked good doing it. This should be the week where that Ingram sleeper pick from your draft starts to pay off.
Put 'em In The Game: Ahmad Bradshaw
If it weren't for Brandon Jacobs siphoning carries, Ahmad Bradshaw would be a #1 fantasy stud, particularly in PPR formats. He faces the Philadelphia Eagles who have one of the most dominating secondaries with guys like Nnamdi Asomugha floating back there, but one of the least effective defensive lines in the game. Philly gives up the 2nd most fantasy points to opposing RB's and Bradshaw is too fast and strong for them to stop.
Put 'em In The Game: Steve Smith
It felt so good to put Steve Smith back on the FFN Start'em List last week that we're doing it again. After years of seeing him on the bench list, Steve Smith is fantasy-relevant thanks to Cam Newton. The Panthers have said that when passing, Smith is option #1. Looking at the FFN Defensive Dossier, you'll see that Kenny Britt and Santonio Holmes took the Jaguars to town. Smith should do the same.
Put 'em In The Game: Jeremy Maclin
Remember how folks were passing on Jeremy Maclin in your drafts because of his unknown illness? If you were smart and grabbed him late, your value pick is paying off. He gets a solid share of the targets each week and the Falcons had absolutely no answer for him last week. Assuming that Vick is starting, he should do well this week against the Giants secondary which has given up more than their fair share of points to opposing WR's.
Put 'em In The Game: Mike Williams
Mike Williams (the one from Tampa Bay) has been utterly useless for the first two weeks of the season. Freeman has not been in top form and Williams hasn't performed anywhere near the level we expected when we drafted him with our early WR picks. Looking at the last time Williams faced Atlanta, he averaged 5 catches for roughly 80 yards and a score each time. We're anticipating a nice bounce back this week against the Falcons who had their hands full with Philly last week.
Put 'em In The Game: Fred Davis
Chris Cooley who? Fred Davis has quietly emerged as one of the top TE's in the game posting solid stats the first two weeks. Davis should follow the lead of Dustin Keller (week 1) and Delanie Walker (week 2) and find himself in the endzone. He should continue to improve upon his already fantastic start to the season.
Put 'em In The Game: Jimmy Graham
He's big. He's fast. He's got great hands. Jimmy Graham is an ideal TE and a solid target for Drew Brees. Colston will be out and the combination of Henderson and Meachem should continue to spread the field. Graham becomes a great option in that offense. Combine that with what's expected to be a shootout and you've got all the makings of a solid fantasy day.
Put 'em In The Game: Shaun Suisham
If you're like Greg B, a regular FFN user, you probably looked at this week's FFN kicker rankings and said "Hmmm". Shaun Suisham? Really? He only has 7 fantasy points in two games. What gives? The match up. Indy is giving up an average of 9.5 fantasy points per game and Pittsburgh should have their way with a Peyton-less Indy this week.
Put 'em On The Bench: Jay Cutler
Whether you question Jay Cutler's toughness or not, you can't deny that he has had difficulty against the Packers. The fact that Cutler is still vertical with that horrible offensive line is a testament to his durability. He's averaged just over 200 yards passing against the Pack since coming to Chicago and has thrown 4 TD's and 9 picks in that time. Combine the fact that Nick Collins is out for the season with the fact that both Brees and Newton torched Green Bay, and there's a chance that Cutler could defy our expectations and come out of this game positively.
Put 'em On The Bench: Tony Romo
After one of the gutsiest performances we've seen in a long while, Tony Romo is a question mark going into Monday night. His cracked rib and collapsed lung are painful reminders of what can happen at that QB position. He played through it last week to everyone's surprise, but he'll be without star wide receiver Miles Austin and Dez Bryant is banged up. Felix Jones hasn't shown up to keep defenses honest. Romo could very well pull one out of his hat, but there's a lot of risk this week.
Put 'em On The Bench: Felix Jones
All indications are that Felix Jones will play Monday night against Washington. He suffered a separated shoulder last week and his fantasy production should continue its decline. The Cowboys have already indicated that Tashard Choice and Demarco Murray will see an increased workload as they rotate them in more. None of this is good news for Felix Jones-owners out there.
Put 'em On The Bench: DeAngelo Williams
We are ready to formally put DeAngelo Williams in the same class as Ryan Grant of Green Bay - upstaged and outplayed by their official backups. There's little evidence to support putting Williams in our lineups anytime soon.
Put 'em On The Bench: Percy Harvin
This NFC North matchup should be entertaining. Percy Harvin reminds of Steve Smith (CAR) of the past two years. He's blazingly fast and a dynamic playmaker, but if he can't get the ball, he can't produce. Harvin was barely on the field last week and he's become a questionable play. Facing the Detroit Lions, who have turned themselves around over the past few years, is not going to be an easy task. In fact, the Lions are the stingiest defense to opposing WR's.
Put 'em On The Bench: Dwayne Bowe
There's no rainbow for Dwayne Bowe this week. Bowe is the only legitimate threat on that team and the Chargers know that. Against San Diego last season, Bowe was a complete nonfactor. You can bet that the Chargers are going to key in on him all day long. It's hard to get excited about any of the Chiefs right now.
Put 'em On The Bench: Brandon Pettigrew
Brandon Pettigrew was a preseason favorite based upon his skill and the Stafford-powered offense. There's no sign of him coming back into fantasy relevance anytime soon - not with Tony Scheffler the clear #1 in Detroit.
Put 'em On The Bench: Marcedes Lewis
Another preseason favorite, Marcedes Lewis was expected to repeat last season's performance. His chemistry with David Garrard was the envy of many tight ends last year, and the loss of Garrard doesn't bode well for Lewis.
Put 'em On The Bench: Adam Vinatieri
Adam Vinatieri has been a solid kicker for quite some time, but that was with Peyton Manning moving the Colts down the field. The Colts are not the same team anymore and if they can't get down the field, Vinatieri can't get into field goal range or kick the extra points. The Steelers shut down the Seahawks and the Colts could be next.

Join the Discussion

JuJu's Tigers CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

Who should I play? Joseph Addai or Danny Woodhead

JuJu's Tigers CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

Who should I play? Joseph Addai or Danny Woodhead

JuJu's Tigers CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

Also who should I play: Dallas Clark or Fred Davis

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

I'd start Woodhead over Addai this week. Flip a coin between Clark and Davis, however I would probably give the edge to Davis.

IvanB CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

Nerd, do you think it's worth picking up Grossman to take over Eli Manning for the rest of the year? I'm 0-2 and desperate! Also, where do you place the hot waiver wire pickups of the week? Denarious Moore, David Nelson, etc. Thanks.

ivanvrt CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am


ivanvrt CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am


ergot CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

What is the better end of this 2 for 1 trade: Foster for Fitzgerald and Finley? 1 guy needs a RB and the other needs WR & TE. For what it is worth, it is a PPR league.

jcakes CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

I was offered frank gore for Amahd Bradshaw? should i take it? standard league. thx

Nerd CommentedSep 22, 2011 11:00 am

@IvanB - It's hard to abandon Eli, but if you're desperate, go for it. The guys you mention were hot on the waivers this week. I'd also add Eric Decker and Fred Davis to that list.

@ivanvrt - I wouldn't hesitate to start Fitzpatrick against the Patriots. I know FFN says to start Wayne against PIT (even with Collins under center), but I'd personally start either Meachem or Nelson. Really, you can take your pick of the three. Chances are that all three will be involved in shoot-outs.

@ergot - I'd take Fitz and Finley and never look back.

@jcakes - I wouldn't personally do it. Gore hasn't played a full season injury-free since 2006. This is the first year I haven't owned Gore and I don't miss it. Even with Jacobs in that backfield, I'd still keep Bradshaw.

yenis CommentedSep 23, 2011 11:00 am

i have both kellen winslow and tony gonzalez, which one should i start?

Len CommentedSep 23, 2011 11:00 am

Mark Ingram, Reggie Bush or Joseph Addai?

Nerd CommentedSep 23, 2011 11:00 am

@yenis - I'd give the nod to Gonzalez. He's been great so far this year that I'd be willing to keep riding that bandwagon.

@Len - I'm giving Ingram the go this week. I think we'll see him start to emerge. Bush isn't the savior that we were expecting and the Colts offense is clearly not the same.

lakeshow CommentedSep 24, 2011 11:00 am

Who should I start Flex?????

CIN A.J. Green vs SF:

NO WR - Devery Henderson vs HOU

DEN RB - Willis McGahee vs TEN

NO RB - Pierre Thomas vs HOU

Nerd CommentedSep 24, 2011 11:00 am

Torn between Green and Henderson, but I'm inclined to go with Green here. That SF secondary let a banged up Tony Romo and Miles Austin do whatever they wanted.

Lutefisk CommentedSep 24, 2011 11:00 am

Nerd, one of my teams really sucks at WR. About the only good option is Dez Bryant. However, he plays on Monday and was unable to practice Friday. My other options (currently benched) are Nate Washington and Denarius Moore. Do you recommend gambling that Bryant can go and score high or should I opt for Washington and his "sure-though-probably-fewer" points? Thanks!


Lutefisk CommentedSep 24, 2011 11:00 am

PS - Question above is based on non-PPR league, 0-2 record and on paper a very tight match up this week as well.

Corollary question; how serious do you think Hernandez' knee injury is? Do you see this playing out like Marvin Harrison in 2007... week-to-week after game 5, but never played the rest of the year? Time to cut bait and release him before all the usable TEs disappear? Thanks!

Nerd CommentedSep 24, 2011 11:00 am

Lute - I'm going with Dez in my leagues (I have him in 4). He practiced today in pads and looks like he'll be fine for Monday night. Of course, check the reports in the morning, but right now I'm going with Bryant.

I'd stash Hernandez until he's back. Right now there's no reason to think he'll pull a Harrison.

Good luck!

yenis CommentedSep 25, 2011 11:00 am

nerd, would you start denarius moore over julio jones?

Nerd CommentedSep 25, 2011 11:00 am

I'm giving Denarius Moore the edge this week.

IvanB CommentedSep 26, 2011 11:00 am

I picked up Denarious Moore and Daniel Thomas off waivers before Sunday and both of em got me about 30 points combined!

Nerd CommentedSep 26, 2011 11:00 am

@IvanB - as my good friend Jim Carrey would say: B-e-a-uuuuu-tiful.

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