Fantasy Football Advice for Week 3
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Every Tuesday during the NFL season, WhatIfSports.com will release its fantasy projections for the upcoming week. The statistical inputs to the thousands of NFL games simulated are based on rigorous analysis of each team's roster, depth chart and statistically-based player rankings. In addition to our computer forecasts, WhatIfSports.com will also offer a "creative" perspective at its fantasy football coverage in a weekly feature called "Fantasy Fever." Enjoy.
QB: Tony Romo, Cowboys. The Texan defense has been torched in 2010, surrendering 426 yards to Donovan McNabb and 433 yards to Peyton Manning. Romo has been no slouch himself, amassing 656 yards through the first two contests. With the Dallas running game currently stuck in stall, expect offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to plan an aerial assault on Houston.
RB: Pierre Thomas, Saints. With Reggie Bush sidelined for six weeks, Thomas will carry the bulk of the carries for New Orleans, and should see some action in the pass game. Additionally, Atlanta has yielded 261 yards on a league-worst 5.9 yards per attempt on the ground in 2010.
WR: Austin Collie, Colts. Collie has grabbed 15 balls for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2010, and looks to have supplanted Pierre Garcon for the #2 spot on the depth chart. Look for Collie to wreak havoc against a depleted Bronco secondary this week. (In a related note, doesn't "Austin Collie" sound like a wide receiver's name in a Disney movie? Other film appropriate names, by position: QB - Carson Palmer; RB - Marion Barber; WR -Collie; TE -Dallas Clark/ Marcedes Lewis. Last on the list: Jake Delhomme)
TE: Zach Miller, Raiders. With Bruce Gradkowski behind center this week, look for Miller to be targeted early and often. In Gradkowski's three games as starter in 2009, Miller brought in 14 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown. Arizona's LB corps is so-so, further helping Miller's fantasy status for Week 3. Granted, starting a Raider is normally an inconvenient proposition, but in Miller's case, rest assured.
DEF: Cincinnati Bengals. After a humiliating and humbling experience in New England, Mike Zimmer's D bounced back in Week 2, containing Ray Rice and forcing Joe Flacco into four interceptions in a 15-10 win over AFC North foe Baltimore. If the Cincinnati unit can limit the duo of DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart, the secondary should feast on rookie Jimmy Clausen.
QB: Mark Sanchez, Jets. Following the Baltimore game, New York fans were wondering if Sanchez was a 1st-round bust. Yet a week later, after commanding a come-from-behind victory over rival New England, you'd think Sanchez was the second coming of Broadway Joe. Sanchez may someday be a top-tier quarterback. Unfortunately for Gang Green, that won't be this week, as the Miami defense is holding opposing signal callers to a QB rating of 58.3.
RB: Matt Forte, Bears. Forte has somewhat redeemed himself for the dump he took on fantasy owners last season, racking up 188 yards and three touchdowns on 12 catches in the passing game. However, his running output has been pedestrian at best, managing just 79 yards on 27 carries. A stout Green Bay defensive translates to little fantasy promise for Forte in Week 3.
WR: Calvin Johnson, Lions. Johnson's off to a slow start in 2010, totaling just 95 yards through the first two weeks. A meeting in Minnesota won't help alleviate any apprehension for Johnson owners. Throw in another Shaun Hill start, as well as projected targets to breakout performers Jahvid Best and Brandon Pettigrew, and Johnson's fantasy forecast for this week is cloudy at "best" -pun intended.
TE: Tony Gonzalez, Falcons. Poor Gonzo is running on fumes. The Falcon TE has just 4 receptions heading into Atlanta's Week 3 matchup against the Saints. If Gonzalez has another lackluster performance, it might be time to cut ties with the former Chief.
DEF: Philadelphia Eagles. Anytime the Detroit freakin' Lions throw up 32 on ya, it's time to re-evaluate some things. Philly heads to Jacksonville this week, and one has to imagine MJD will eventually break out of his semi-slump. Add in the hoopla surrounding the "Vick over Kolb" nonsense, and it equates to bad news for the City of Brotherly Love.
The Kneel"Yes! Yes! (Pause) NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"
Fantasy Flashback Performance: Almost every significant sporting moment in our culture can be summoned to mind with a one or two word classification. The Shot. The Flip. The Helmet Catch. Yet only one pantheon performance is infamous for its fantasy football implications, rather than the game's actual outcome. This act would be known by fantasy owners around the country as, "The Kneel."
Week 15 is normally when fantasy leagues conduct the semi-finals or finals stage of the season. The remaining competitors analyze their matchups like Eisenhower preparing for Normandy, knowing a simple roster decision can correlate to fantasy exultation or an offseason of embarrassment. Keeping this ambiance in mind, you can imagine the ramifications of a fantasy player CHOOSING to evade the end zone. For that's exactly what manifested in a matchup between Philadelphia and Dallas in mid-December of 2007. With the Eagles clinging to a 10-6 lead with just over 2 minutes remaining, Brian Westbrook took a handoff at the Cowboy's own 25 and blasted through the Dallas D. Yet while a date with the end zone seemed imminent, Westbrook suddenly kneeled at the 1, allowing Philadelphia to run out the clock rather than give Dallas the ball. Westbrook was praised by teammates, coaches, and analysts for his selflessness and awareness. However, the name of Westbrook soon became synonymous with a four-letter word to owners who employed the Eagle running back that day, as the running back's should-have-been touchdown cost some their chance at glory.
Waiver Wire Watch: Demaryius Thomas had a phenomenal debut for the Broncos on Sunday. After missing the preseason and Week 1 with a foot injury, the former Yellow Jacket snagged 8 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown in a victory over Seattle. Thomas is currently owned is less than 15% of leagues. Without a proven #1 receiver in Denver, Thomas projects to receive plenty of targets and will prove to be a valuable pickup.
Houston HerculesMore than a man, less than a god.
This Week in Kevin Walter: For the haters who have questioned if the Houston wideout commands a fantasy spotlight, K-Walt has retorted with a Texas-sized highway salute. In a 30-27 comeback win over Washington, Walter hauled in 11 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown. Walter's not just the top receiver in the game; even the title of "Best Player in the NFL" seems beneath his eminence. Quite simply, #83 might be the greatest athlete that's ever walked the Earth. That's right, you heard me Owens, Thorpe, Jordan. You guys suck dong.
Walter's 2010 stats: 13 receptions, 173 yards, 2 touchdowns
Walter's 2010 CBC (Cornerback Body Count): 3.
Rookie Review: Former golden boy Jimmy Clausen will have the opportunity to make his first NFL start this week for the Carolina Panthers. Unfortunately for Clausen, he will be battling a Bengals defensive unit that accumulated four interceptions against Ravens QB Joe Flacco in Week 2. Clausen possesses all the physical tools to excel in the pros, and benefited from flourishing in an NFL-style offense at Notre Dame. The jury's still out if Clausen owns the intangible qualities to command an offense, yet this week's baptism by fire should provide us an ample examination.
Gatorade Shower Goes To: Jason Snelling, Falcons. After losing Jerious Norwood and Michael Turner to injuries, Atlanta turned to Snelling to pick up the slack. And did he ever: Snelling finished with 129 yards and 2 touchdowns on the ground, while adding another 57 yards and a score through the air during the Falcons 41-7 beatdown of Arizona.
Personal Foul On: Favre turned the ball over four times in Minnesota's 14-10 loss to Miami on Sunday, proving that karma can be a real b*$#%. More importantly, how bad must Tarvaris Jackson feel, knowing that the Viking brass has more confidence in a rusty, bruised, 40-year-old-grandpa than him?
Varsity Blues Quote of the Week:
Mox: Playing football for West Canaan may have been the life you wanted, but I (pause) don't want (pause) your life!
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