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2013 Fantasy Football: Week 3 NFL Matchups & Sit/Start Advice (Part 1)

It's time to analyze our Sunday matchups, but first a quick recap of Thursday night's action between the Chiefs and Eagles. If you listened to our picks, let me apologize in advance.

Matchup We Loved: Dwayne Bowe, WR

It looked like everything was set up lovely for Dwayne Bowe to have his first big game of the year this week, but he did the exact opposite by catching a single pass for four yards. That's it. If you own Bowe, don't panic-- with the exception of last season, he's a notoriously slow starter.

Matchup We Hated: Chiefs DEF

We were totally off the mark with the Chiefs' defense as well, as they not only held the new high-powered Philly offense to just 16 points, but also forced five turnovers (2 INT, 3 FUM REC), recorded five sacks, and scored a touchdown. If you sat them and played it safe like we said, you probably lost out on 20-plus fantasy points. If you do own the Chiefs DEF, take solace in the fact that you have a top-tier defense going forward. For the second week in a row, I slept on the Kansas City defensive unit, but I'm sold now.

Yikes! Looks like we didn't fare too well last night, but you can't win them all. Hopefully we will do better Sunday, as we start with a matchup that is a close to a sure thing as you'll see this week.


Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 9/22 1PM

Matchup We Love: Vikings' DEF

Obviously, many are expecting Adrian Peterson to have a big day against the terrible Browns, but we want to focus on the Minnesota defense against the Browns, and the reasons are obvious. An offense that already had to overcome the hurdle of having Brandon Weeden under center, who is out this week, has now lost their best offensive weapon in the Trent Richardson trade. Cleveland has now wrestled away the title of "worst offense in the NFL" from Jacksonville, and the first beneficiaries of facing the new NFL  doormat will be the Minnesota Vikings' defensive unit.

Analysis: The Browns still have no idea who their starting QB and RB are going to be. You don't need to know the NFL to know that this is really bad. If the Vikings' DEF isn't owned in your league, run to your waiver wire and grab them NOW! If you own them, start them and expect a big day.

Matchup We Hate: The Cleveland receiving corp

To continue on the same note, there is absolutely no reason to start any of the Browns' receivers, and that includes Jordan Cameron. I like Cameron a ton, but he is now the unquestioned focal point of opposing defenses, and he has no QB (even when Brandon Weeden is available to play).  If your league starts only one TE, there's probably a better option on waivers. The rest of the Browns' receiving unit were already bye-week fill-in options or lower-tier flex plays, and now are approasching borderline rosterability. Nothing to see here.

Analysis: Avoid the Browns' receivers, and if possible, TE Jordan Cameron too.

Key Injuries: Brandon Weeden QB, CLE (out), Harrison Smith S, MIN (questionable)

Start 'Em: Adrian Peterson, Kyle Rudolph, Greg Jennings, Vikings DEF


Detroit Lions @ Washington Redskins, Sunday 9/22, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Reggie Bush and/or Joique Bell, RBs

The Washington Redskins are a mess. They have been man-handled and run all over the first two weeks of the season, and after watching them let James Starks, a guy who became an afterthought in Green Bay, run amock to the tune of 132 yards and a score, it's evident that any running back that faces them becomes a fantasy must-start. Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have each gotten off to hot starts in Detroit so far, and there is no reason to believe they won't continue that trend this week against the Skins. Reggie Bush is nursing a knee injury and didn't practice as of Thursday, but he's listed as probable to play. If Bush sits this one out, Bell becomes a must-start, but even if Bush plays, Bell makes for a very solid flex play.

Analysis: Unless Reggie Bush misses the game due to his knee injury, both he and Bell need to be in fantasy lineups Sunday.

Matchup We Hate: Fred Davis, TE

So far this season, tight ends have not fared well against the Detroit defense, as they have allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends here in the early going. This doesn't bode well for Washington's Fred Davis, who is already off to a miserable start to his 2013 season. There are probably plenty of better options on your waiver wire.

Analysis: Sit Fred Davis this week, and if he puts up another poor day,or continues to be outscored by teammate Jordan Reed, it may be time to look elsewhere for a TE.

Key Injuries: Reggie Bush RB, DET (probable), Brandon Meriweather S, WASH (questionable)

Start 'Em: Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush Joique Bell, Matthew Stafford, Nate Burleson, Robert Griffin, III, Alfred Morris, Pierre Garcon


Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New England Patriots, Sunday 9/22, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Patriots DEF

Tampa Bay is off to an 0-2 start thanks to an offense that ranks 29th in the NFL after the first two weeks of the season. Much of the blame can be put on Tampa QB Josh Freeman, who has a 45 percent completion percentage and twice as many turnovers (four) as he has touchdown passes (two). Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne, who have one start each, have scored fewer fantasy points than Freeman so far, and a matchup against the 10th ranked fantasy defense of the Patriots, makes a reverse of fortune in Week Three a long shot.

Analysis: The New England defense has carried the team to a 2-0 start, and it should continue this week against a Tampa offense that is in disarray, and a QB that continues to regress from the promise he showed a few seasons ago. Start the Pats' DEF with confidence.

Matchup We Hate: Tom Brady, QB

Until Randy Moss arrived in New England, Tom Brady was one of those quarterbacks whose real-life value was much greater than his fantasy value. Brady was a solid, yet unspectacular option at the position, and in fact, until his record setting 2007 campaign, had never thrown 30 TD passes in a season. Flash forward six years, and Brady has become one of the top fantasy QBs in football, and was probably drafted in most leagues very early. So why do we hate this matchup? For starters, with a group of young receivers, and no Gronk or Danny Amendola, this year Tom Brady has put up fewer fantasy points than Andy Dalton, Terrelle Pryor, and Ryan Tannehill. Add to that a matchup against a defense that was able to hold Drew Brees to 13 fantasy points in Week Two, and another sub-par Brady stat line is a very real possibility.

Analysis: If you drafted a backup QB like a Carson Palmer or Philip Rivers, you may want to use him this week. Start Brady if you must, but temper expectations.

Key Injuries: Danny Amendola WR, NE (out), Rob Gronkowski TE, NE (doubtful), Mason Foster LB, TB (probable)

Start 'Em: Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Bucs' DEF, Tom Brady, Steven Ridley, Julian Edelman, Patriots DEF


Tony Gonzalez 2013Atlanta Falcons @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 9/22, 1PM

Matchup We Love: Tony Gonzalez, TE

This is the third week in a row we are picking a tight end who matches up against the Dolphins as a matchup we love, and with good reason, as tight ends have been the Miami defense's bugaboo for the past few seasons. So far this year, the trend has continued as Miami has given up the sixth most fantasy points to tight ends through the first two weeks. Miami faced Cleveland's Jordan Cameron and Indy's Coby Fleener, and allowed both to reach the end zone. This week, they get to see Tony Gonzalez, who despite a slow start, looks to see plenty of balls thrown his way with Stephen Jackson out and Roddy White limited with a high ankle sprain.

Analysis: Start the future Hall of Famer with confidence against the Dolphins.

Matchup We Hate: Roddy White, WR

As much as the 'Phins have struggled defending against tight ends, they've been very successful so far this year defending against opposing wideouts. Even against the best defenses, White is usually an automatic start, especially in PPR leagues, but it's been obvious in the first two weeks of the season that his high-ankle sprain may not be enough to keep him off the field, though it's definitely affecting his performance. With WR being one of the deeper positions in fantasy football, starting a banged-up White against Miami this week may be too much of a risk.

Analysis: White has done nothing in the first two weeks of the season, and nothing about the combination of his ankle injury and the Miami defense says he'll return to form this week. Start him if you must, but if you're deep at WR, look elsewhere.

Key Injuries: Julio Jones WR, ATL (questionable), Roddy White WR, ATL (questionable), Ryan Tannehill QB, MIA (questionable)

Start 'Em: Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, Harry Douglas, Lamar Miller, Mike Wallace, Brian Hartline


Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, Sunday 9/22, 4:25PM

Matchup We Love: Jets DEF

There are a lot of similarities between the Jets and Bills this year, as both teams have played much better than many had predicted. Offensively, the Bills have played better than the Jets, leaving many experts to pick the Bills defense as a favorable matchup. I expect this to be a defensive struggle, which is why I also love the Jets' defense this week. Maybe the offensive struggles of the Jets and all of the Mark Sanchez stuff have overshadowed a New York defensive unit that is that is second only to Seattle in total team defense and points allowed and leads the NFL in yards allowed per play. Best of all, you can probably still grab the Jets' D, as they are owned in fewer than 50 percent of Yahoo! and ESPN leagues. The bills have some very good offensive weapons, like CJ Spiller, but it's not like they are the 1998 Vikings on offense. This game is going to be a defensive struggle against two offenses starting rookie QBs.

Analysis: The Jets' defense has been really good this year; they'll be playing at home and facing a rookie QB. If you need a defense this week, grab them; if you own them, feel comfortable starting them.

Matchup We Hate: CJ Spiller, RB

In the first round of the league I was in a spot where I had to choose between drafting CJ Spiller and LeSean McCoy. I was torn, but I went with Spiller, and regretted it immediately. I'm not sure what to make of Spiller this year, but I was worried that he would regress now that he was the unquestioned focal point of opposing defenses. I know it's only two weeks, but so far there is plenty to be concerned about with the Bills' back. On the surface, Spillers numbers aren't terrible, but take away his one 46 yard run from Week Two, and you have a back who has failed to reach the end zone and averaged barely over three yards per carry over 32 carries. He's scored fewer fantasy points than guys like Rashard Mendenhall, Bilal Powell, and his teammate Fred Jackson, which brings me to my second concern. The Bills are using Fred Jackson much more than anyone had expected in what has been almost an even timeshare. Oh yeah, and he plays against the Jets' defense this week in what is sure to be a low-scoring game.

Analysis: You almost have no choice but to start Spiller unless you are extremely deep at RB. It may be time to temper expectations if Spiller continues to struggle or lose touches to Fred Jackson.

Key Injuries: Jairus Byrd S, BUF (questionable), Bilal Powell RB, NYJ (probable), Mark Sanchez QB, NYJ (out), Santonio Holmes WR, NYJ (questionable)

Start 'Em: Cj Spiller, Fred Jackson, Steve Johnson, Ej Manuel, Bills DEF, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Kellen Winslow, Jets DEF


Jacksonville Jaguars @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday 9/22 4:25PM

Matchup We Love: Seattle DEF

An already long season gets even longer when the Jags travel to Seattle this Sunday. There is a simple formula at work here. Worst offense in the NFL on the road + best defense in the NFL at home in one of the toughest places for opponents to play = another Jaguars' loss and a huge day from the Seattle defense.

Analysis: The Seattle DEF is a must start this week.

Matchup We Hate: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB

What do Andre Ellington, Ronnie Brown, and Jackie Battle all have in common? Well for starters, they are all currently owned in fewer than 10 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and they've all scored more fantasy points than Maurice Jones-Drew. Last week, MJD mustered only 27 yards on 10 carries against the Raiders (although he did find the end zone with a one yard reception). Against Seattle, MJD may struggle to even reach those paltry numbers.

Analysis: You should avoid MJD if at all possible this week. Sit him.

Key Injuries: Chris Clemons DE, SEA (probable), Blaine Gabbert QB, JAX (doubtful), Marcedes Lewis TE, JAX (Questionable), Maurice Jones-Drew (questionable)

Start 'Em: Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Golden Tate, Seahawks DEF, Cecil Shorts


New York Giants @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday 9/22, 1P

Matchup We Love: Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, WR's

Through the first two weeks, the Giants have been tough to watch. Their defense has been poor, the running game nonexistent, and they've continually turned the ball over. Lost in all the negatives surrounding the Giants 0-2 start is the fact that even without a reliable rushing attack, the G-Men rank in the top 10 in the NFL in both points and yards per game. The Giants receiving duo of Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz have been amazing, racking up a combined 22 catches for 433 yards and three scores (all to Cruz). As long as the Giants defense continues to struggle, and the team continues to use David Wilson and an over-the-hill Brandon Jacobs at halfback, the Giants will have to continue to throw the ball a ton, meaning Cruz and Nicks should continue to put up monster fantasy numbers.

Analysis: The Giants could be in for a long season, but you wouldn't know it from the numbers of Cruz and Nicks. Start them and expect more solid fantasy numbers.

Matchup We Hate: David Wilson, RB

The woes for the Giants running game continue, as week after week David Wilson looks more and more like a wasted fantasy draft pick. After two weeks, Wilson still has a negative fantasy point total in most leagues, and has already been outscored by Brandon Jacobs. To make matters worse, with the superb play of the Giants' wideouts, Tom Coughlin has shown he has no problem abandoning the run if need be. Wilson's season is quickly approaching disaster status, and while I still feel there is enough upside and lack of competition to warrant stashing him, I have no issue with anyone who wants to to drop him for a more reliable option. In any event, Wilson should not be in any starting lineups until further notice, not even as a flex option.

Analysis: Sit David Wilson until he shows signs of life.

Key Injuries: Corey Webster CB, NYG (doubtful), Hakeem Nicks WR, NYG (probable), Mike Tolbert FB, CAR (probable), Jon Beason LB, CAR (probable)

Start 'Em: Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, Brandon Myers, Eli Manning, Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Greg Olsen, Panther DEF


Make sure to check back here at tomorrow for the reminder of our Sunday matchups, and again on Sunday morning for any last minute updates, as well as the Monday night matchup analysis. For fantasy advice on demand, definitely check out the Fantasy Football chat room.

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