Buccaneers-Falcons kick off Week 3 matchups

The Bucs head to Atlanta to kick off Week 3 on Thursday Night Football, live on NFL Network. The big storyline that fantasy enthusiasts need to be following is the fact that Doug Martin is out and Bobby Rainey will get the start. Rainey really has a shot to prove that he can be a full-time starting running back in the NFL and he definitely made his case last week against the Rams. After a disappointing outing in Week 2, the Falcons will look to bounce back against a Tampa Bay team that is off to an 0-2 start. We take a look at the fantasy implications for Thursday night's game below.

Buccaneers

**[Doug Martin](/player/dougmartin/2532899/profile), RB** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 0 (did not play, knee injury)* 

Martin is inactive for Thursday night's matchup against the Falcons. He suffered a knee injury in Week 1 and didn't suit up for Week 2. He's been a limited participant in practice this week. Even before Martin's status was in doubt, it was reported that the Bucs were thinking about starting Bobby Rainey over him regardless which puts Martin's value going forward into question.

**[Bobby Rainey](/player/bobbyrainey/2534571/profile), RB** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 17.40* 

Starting in place of Martin in Week 2, Rainey posted 174 total yards on 25 touches, squirting through holes and pin-balling off defenders the entire game. He fell about an inch shy of the end zone in the third quarter. No wonder the coaches like him. He was a hot waiver-wire pickup this week, and owners who were able to roster him are smiling at the news that Martin is out again. The Falcons have given up five rushing touchdowns already this season and have been gouged for 283 rushing yards in their first two games, so this matchup is oozing with fantasy potential. Rainey should play a major role out of the Bucs backfield and has RB2 value.

**[Vincent Jackson](/player/vincentjackson/2506400/profile), WR** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 5.10* 

You probably drafted V-Jax too highly to consider benching him at this point, even though you're considering the move. He's too good to bench just yet. His lack of production can be attributed to the Bucs' underwhelming performance in the passing game so far (See McCown, Josh), and Week 1 was a tough matchup against the Panthers, so throw that one away. Still, eight catches for 87 yards through two games is cause for concern, even if he was targeted a team-high seven times in Week 2. If he doesn't produce on Thursday night in Atlanta, then you're allowed to hit the panic button. Also keep in mind that he has zero touchdowns in 10 of his last 11 road games.

**[Mike Evans](/player/mikeevans/2543468/profile), WR** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 4.90* 

I bet you're wondering what happened to all the preseason talk about the "Tampa Towers" and their ridiculously tall receiving corps dominating matchups this season. It really hasn't panned out just yet for any wideout on the Bucs. Running back Bobby Rainey is one of two players on the team with a receiving touchdown so far (the other is receiver Chris Owusu). Don't forget that rookie wideouts rarely put up big fantasy numbers and Evans, like Jackson, will need McCown to step it up in order to be started on fantasy squads.

**[Josh McCown](/player/joshmccown/2505076/profile), QB** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 17.76* 

McCown hasn't thrown for 200 yards in a game yet this season. He was able to save some face in Week 2 with two rushing touchdowns against the Rams, which quite possibly is the high point of his season as far as rushing scores go. McCown has also thrown three interceptions in two games and if we're going with the old eye test here, he just doesn't look good throwing the ball. Expect a heavy dose of the Tampa running backs Thursday night against the Falcons, meaning McCown should remain on the waiver-wire or your bench.

Falcons

**[Matt Ryan](/player/mattryan/310/profile), QB** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 10.40* 

Ryan was on fire in Week 1 when he lit up the Saints for 448 passing yards and three touchdowns. But he was on ice (bad pun intended) against the Bengals in Week 2 as he threw three picks and only one touchdown. A quick glance at how quarterbacks have matched up against the Bucs defense so far this season does not bode well for Ryan. But consider the fact that Tampa Bay didn't have to deal with Cam Newton in Week 1 (backup Derek Anderson started), and Week 2 they limited third-stringer Austin Davis of the Rams to 235 yards and zero scores. Ryan will be the first legit QB1 the Bucs have faced this season, and he'll be looking to make up for last week's blunders. Start him if you've got him.

**[Julio Jones](/player/juliojones/2495454/profile), WR** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 14.80* 

Jones is active Thursday night, so make sure he's in your starting lineup. Even in a game where the Falcons offense struggled, he managed to produce for fantasy owners with 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. The Bucs have only given up one touchdown to a wide receiver so far this season (Kelvin Benjamin, Week 1) but as mentioned, they haven't faced a true starting quarterback yet. Expect Jones and company to test Tampa Bay's secondary tonight. Jones is locked in as a WR1, so start him with confidence.

**[Roddy White](/player/roddywhite/2506366/profile), WR** 
*Week 2 fantasy points: 4.20* 

White is inactive on Thursday night against the Bucs so owners will need to scramble for a replacement. Harry Douglas might be in for some more targets. White's already been dealing with a couple of injuries this season. Last week it was his knee, and this week it's a hamstring -- something that can be nagging, especially for a wide receiver. Hopefully resting Week 3 will payoff for him in the long term.

**[Steven Jackson](/player/stevenjackson/2505936/profile), RB** 
* Week 2 fantasy points: 5.30* 

The veteran only has a total of 10.5 fantasy points through two games this season. The Falcons simply don't run the ball enough -- they've rushed the ball on 32.8 percent of offensive plays this season, fourth fewest in NFL -- to warrant starting Jackson on Thursday night. Until Atlanta commits more to the run, which could be never, he should be stashed away for a possible bye week fill-in. It's not likely you're considering starting any running back on the Falcons in Week 3 or beyond for that matter.


Matt Franciscovich is an associate fantasy editor at NFL.com. Follow him on Twitter @m_franciscovich.

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