Week 3 fantasy football matchups: Early games

While Thursday Night Football was far from a fantasy bonanza (sorry, Matt Jones/Alfred Morris owners), Week 3 offers plenty of matchups with loads of fantasy potential. And with so many fantasy studs playing in the later games (Green Bay, Denver and Detroit all don't play until at least Sunday night), it looks as if plenty of fantasy matchups will come down to the wire. So to help you set the optimal lineup and dominate your opponent, we've broken down every matchup below with a player-by-player preview. Take a look, and get ready for some football.

You can view our previews for the late/primetime games HERE or in the tab above.

Atlanta Falcons:

 **Matt Ryan, QB** 

Ryan has gotten off to a decent start this season, and on paper faces a tough matchup this week with the Cowboys who are allowing a only 8.19 fantasy points per game to opposing signal-callers. However, those opposing signal-callers didn't have Julio Jones at their disposal. Ryan is currently 5-for-5 on passes of 20 or more yards downfield, but the Cowboys have yet to allow a pass of 20-plus air yards in this young season. Ryan might not have a scoring bonanza, but he's still a QB1 for Week 3.

 **Devonta Freeman, RB** 

While Tevin Coleman might return sooner than expected from a cracked rib, the backfield workload should largely fall on the shoulders of Devonta Freeman in Week 3 with Coleman out for Sunday. The Cowboys boast a solid run defense, but their FPA average of 13 is a bit misleading, as it'd be higher had Rashad Jennings not been told to "not score" in Week 1. Freeman should see plenty of touches and could do some damage out of the backfield as well. He's a flex option for Week 3.

 **Julio Jones, WR** 

Julio Jones has converted roughly 85 percent of his targets into catches, is tied for the league lead in receptions (22) and has the second most yards (276). He's a must-start each and every week.

 **Roddy White, WR** 

White, while he carries a ton of name value, has been quietly getting out-snapped and out-performed by the next player on this list. It wouldn't surprise us if White dropped a solid stat line in the coming weeks, but we feel less than enthused in banking on him to do so as anything more than a desperation WR3.

We already pegged Hankerson as a sneaky sleeper option this week, and for good reason. Hankerson has been targeted 15 times on 100 snaps through Week 2, while White has been targeted nine times on 122. Hankerson hasn't outright stolen the WR2 gig from White for the Falcons, but he's making a push for more playing time. If there's a secondary pass-catcher to take a chance on this weekend from Atlanta, Hankerson is the one.

Dallas Cowboys:

 **Brandon Weeden, QB** 

While Weeded did go 7-for-7 filling in for Tony Romo last week, he'll have a much tougher task this week opening the game as the starter. In his one spot start last season, Weeden completed 54.5 percent of his passes for a meager 183 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions. He's not a startable fantasy asset this week with Dez Bryant and potentially Jason Witten on the shelf.

 **Joseph Randle, RB** 

With the injury bug hitting the Cowboys hard, Randle is now the most talented and valuable player on the offense. The Falcons currently are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs (25.80), and with the Cowboys likely leaning on the run, Randle is a solid RB2 or flex start this week.

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 **Terrance Williams, WR** 

Williams seems to have acquitted himself well as the defacto WR1 for the Cowboys, but he earned more than 70 percent of his fantasy points last week on his touchdown catch, which didn't come until there were only four minutes left in the game. Williams will likely have big weeks, but don't expect this to be one of them. He'll likely get the Desmond Trufant treatment, who has been a monster at shutting down opposing pass-catchers. Williams is a candidate to ride the pine in Week 3.

 **Lance Dunbar, RB** 

Dunbar has emerged as the Cowboys' passing-down back, but his stat line disappointed a bit in Week 2. That could change in Week 3, as the Falcons have been burned by pass-catching backs through the first two weeks of the season (Darren Sproles, Shane Vereen) to the tune of 24 catches, 199 receiving yards and one touchdown. Dunbar is a great flex play in PPR formats against Atlanta.

 **Jason Witten, TE** 

Witten is dealing with sprains on both ankles and one knee, but practiced Thursday and seems determined to keep his streak of not missing a game since 2006 alive on Sunday. If he starts, he's a low-end TE1.

 **Gavin Escobar, TE** 

Escobar gets on the fantasy radar in case Witten can't go. If Witten sits, Escobar will have fringe TE1 value, and represents a potential punt play at the position in DFS.


Indianapolis Colts:

**Andrew Luck, QB** 

It's been a rough start to the season for Luck (and owners who invested a first or second round pick in him). He has six turnovers to just three touchdowns, and he hasn't finished among the top 10 fantasy quarterbacks in a single week since Week 14 of 2014 -- when he finished 10th. This is a disturbing trend for Luck, but he's still a QB1 against a Titans defense that gave up two big touchdowns to Johnny Manziel last week.

**Frank Gore, RB** 

Were it not for a plethora of offensive line penalties, Gore would have a much more impressive stat line than his current 23 carries for 88 yards. Gore's goal-line fumble last week was also totally uncharacteristic for "The Inconvenient Truth." Look for him to bounce back against a Tennessee defense that just gave up over 100 rushing yards and a touchdown to the combination of Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson.

**T.Y. Hilton, WR** 

Hilton has been limited a bit by a bruised knee, but it was encouraging to see him play on Monday Night Football last week. Hilton has scored zero touchdowns in his six career games against the Titans, but it wouldn't surprise us at all to see that trend end on Sunday. The Titans were beat deep on numerous occasions by the Browns' speedster Travis Benjamin last week, and Hilton could have a similar path to success.

**Donte Moncrief, WR** 

Moncrief has built upon the flashes he showed in 2014 to turn in a solid first two weeks of the 2015 season. He has the highest catch percentage on the team (13 receptions on 19 targets, 68.4 percent), and is the only wide receiver in Indy to find the end zone. He's developed as a route-runner and will be a WR2 this week against the Titans.

**Andre Johnson, WR** 

It might be time to pull the plug on Johnson, even though we're only two weeks into the season. He has turned 17 targets into just seven catches for 51 yards, or a 0.3 fantasy point per touch average. That's abysmal. It's not crazy to consider dropping Johnson with Moncrief emerging, but patience might be the best virtue here.

**Coby Fleener, TE** 

With Dwayne Allen a long-shot to play this weekend, that puts Coby Fleener on the fantasy radar as a fringe TE1. Allen missed three games last season, but if you count the New England game (where he left in the first quarter with an injury), Fleener scored a whopping 47.4 percent of his fantasy points last year when Allen was out of the lineup. That makes Fleener worth a look in standard leagues, and a value play in DFS.

Tennessee Titans:

**Marcus Mariota, QB** 

Mariota is currently the QB6 in fantasy, but he's mostly bouyed by his four-touchdown drubbing of the Buccaneers in Week 1. The Colts will offer a tougher test for the young passer with Vontae Davis clearling his concussion protocol, but the Jets were able to throw all over the place on the Colts last week. If the Titans follow suit and deploy that type of offense (with hopefully more Dorial Green-Beckham), Mariota will be in the middle of the QB2 pack for Week 2.

**Titans RBs** 

This backfield, as we projected, has become the equivalent of a fantasy migraine. Bishop Sankey had a career day in Week 1, which was then followed by Dexter McCluster posting the most yards from scrimmage in a single game in his career (124). Neither is an option to trust this week in fantasy, as the production will be too unpredictable to rely on and the Colts have been solid against the run.

**Titans WRs** 

For some reason, Harry Douglas is the most targeted wide receiver on the Titans with 10 looks, but he's only turned those into three receptions for 33 yards and one touchdown. Wright on the other hand, has turned his eight targets into six catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. If there's a Tennessee wideout to start, it's Wright, especially in PPR. That is until the team finally starts putting DGB on the field (seriously, what gives?).

**Titans TEs** 

With Delanie Walker sidelined with an injury, Fasano hauled in five of his seven targets last week, racking up 84 yards and a touchdown in the process. That being said, Walker appears on track to return to the starting lineup in Week 3, but his workload will be tough to forecast given the fact that he's coming back from a wrist injury. Both TEs are probably best left on the bench this week.

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Oakland Raiders:

 **Derek Carr, QB** 

Carr lit up the Ravens secondary in Week 2, notching 351 passing yards with three touchdowns and one interception. It was one of the best games of his young career, as he posted a 7.6 yards per attempt average and completed over 65 percent of his passes. The Browns defense is great against the pass, though, and with the Raiders having to travel across the coutnry for the early game, they could be due for a letdown. Carr is a QB2 this week.

 **Latavius Murray, RB** 

Murray has a juicy matchup this week against a Browns defense that has allowed 308 rushing yards so far this season -- most in the NFL. Murray's floor is safe too, as the team has been using him in the passing game. He's a low-end RB1 this week in our eyes.

 **Amari Cooper, WR** 

Boy was it nice to see Amari Cooper have a breakout game in Week 2. He was targeted by Carr 11 times last week, and double-digit targets shouldn't be out of the ordinary for Cooper moving forward. He's a WR2 with upside this week, even if he does get stuck with Joe Haden all game.

Crabtree showed the football world that he isn't done just yet (he's only 28!) when he crossed 100 yards and caught a touchdown last week. That was the first time he'd accomplished that feat since Week 17 of 2012. Crabtree's produciton will likely be a little tougher to predict than Cooper's, but he's in the group to consider as a WR3 or flex play when the matchup is right. This week might be one to keep him on the bench, however.

Cleveland Browns:

 **Josh McCown, QB** 

The team is deferring back to McCown, who has cleared the league's concussion protocol. There's no situation in which you should be starting McCown this week, except for perhaps the DEEPEST of two-QB leagues.

 **Isaiah Crowell, RB** 

Crowell finally found some space to run last weekend, and his 72 rushing yards and a touchdown helped him finish as the RB8 in Week 2. Week 3 could bring another solid outing for the Crow, as the Raiders are currently allowing nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing rushers. He's a solid flex option, or fringe RB2 this week.

 **Duke Johnson, RB** 

Johnson saw almost as many carries as Crowell last week, but it's baffling to us that he has yet to receive a target in the passing game. We love Johnson's talent, but right now the opportunities aren't there for him to be started in fantasy leagues.

 **Travis Benjamin, WR** 

Can lightning strike three weeks in a row? Our guess is no, but if you're desperate and need a WR3 with big-play potential, there are worse options out there than Benjamin.

 **Gary Barnidge, TE** 

DEEP SLEEPER ALERT! The Raiders have been absolutely gashed by tight ends so far this year, conceding four touchdowns and 192 yards to the position through two games. Barnidge has twice as many targets and four times as many receptions as the next closest TE on the Browns roster, so he could be worth a flier in standard leagues, and offers tremendous value in DFS this weekend.

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Cincinnati Bengals:

  **Andy Dalton, QB** 

Through two games, Dalton ranks as fantasy's QB7 with 483 yards and five touchdown passes, three of which have been caught by tight end Tyler Eifert. Between Eifert, A.J. Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, Dalton is surrounded by talented pass-catchers that will boost his fantasy value all season ... especially this week against a Ravens defense that just got torched by Derek Carr and the Raiders last Sunday.

  **Jeremy Hill, RB** 

Hill put up quite a stinker in Week 2 thanks in part to being benched after he lost his second fumble of the game in the third quarter. Despite the poor outing, he remains a must-start and a top-10 running back in fantasy. Just be aware that he could cede some touches to Bernard, who through two games has more scrimmage yards than Hill (227 to 104).

  **Giovani Bernard, RB** 

Bernard leads the NFL with 6.6 yards per carry and has taken his 28 attempts for 186 yards. Although he hasn't gotten in the end zone yet, he ranks as fantasy's RB10 through two games and managed double-digit points in standard leagues last week. He's a viable flex play even in standard 10-team leagues this week against the Ravens.

  **A.J. Green, WR** 

Green scored his first touchdown of the season last week against the Chargers and has eight catches for 108 yards through two games. In six career games against the Ravens, Green has 27 receptions for 456 yards and three scores and has posted two 100-yard games. The Ravens allowed two 100-yard receivers last week against Oakland, so we like Green's chances for a big game here.

  **Tyler Eifert, TE** 

Through two games, Eifert has accounted for the most targets, receptions and receiving yards among all Cincinnati receivers. Among all tight ends, he ranks second in receptions (13), touchdowns (three), fantasy scoring (33.3), and is third in yards (153). Make sure he's in your lineup on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens:

  **Joe Flacco, QB** 

Flacco followed up his Week 1 dud with a better game against the Raiders in Week 2. Last Sunday he threw for 384 yards and two touchdowns, but through two games he has more interceptions (three) than touchdown passes (two). With a lack of talent in his receiving corps, Flacco makes for an unattractive start in fantasy leagues.

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  **Justin Forsett, RB** 

Forsett has yet to get into the end zone this season and was vultured by Lorenzo Taliaferro last week against the Raiders, which could be a trend this season. It's an unfortunate start for Forsett's fantasy owners who likely used a third or fourth round pick for the Ravens running back. On the bright side, Forsett has gotten good volume with 18 and 19 touches in Weeks 1 and 2, so he still has low-end RB2 value against the Bengals.

  **Steve Smith Sr., WR** 

Not surprisingly, Smith leads the Ravens this season in receptions (12) and receiving yards (163). He's quite obviously the top option in the passing game while Baltimore searches for a legit No. 2 wideout. His 150-plus yards last week make it difficult to leave him on the bench in Week 3.

Gillmore has scored the only two receiving touchdowns this season for Baltimore, as Flacco leaned heavily on him last week. He's quickly becoming a vital part of the Ravens passing attack as the team lacks talent in its receiving corps. If he's still on your waiver wire, pick him up as he's our consensus ranked No. 12 tight end for Week 3 with his role growing larger by the week.

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Jacksonville Jaguars:

   **Blake Bortles, QB** 

The Jaguars quarterback followed up a disastrous Week 1 with a solid game against the Dolphins that saw him post a 102.2 passer rating. The second-year signal caller looked cool, calm and greatly assisted by a balanced offense (30 handoffs to running backs). There's some talk that Bortles is a sleeper this week, because he'll be playing catch up with the Patriots all day. We recommend pivoting away from this idea, and not trifling with an erratic young quarterback against Bill Belichick. Not to mention, despite common belief, negative game script does not correlate with fantasy production for quarterbacks. There are better sleeper options this week at quarterback.

   **T.J. Yeldon, RB** 

The rookie out of Alabama owned the Jaguars backfield in Week 2. With Denard Robinson exiting the game early with injury, Yeldon toted the ball 25 times. Now, he unfortunately didn't do much with them, scoring only 8.3 standard fantasy points. However, especially with such secure volume, we like Yeldon in this game. New England has been gashed in both games to start the season, giving up the highest yards per run play (5.7) in the NFL. The game script is unlikely to be in his favor but Yeldon should play on all three downs and get enough touches to make him a flex play.

   **Allen Robinson, WR** 

It's all going to be okay. After a Week 1 dud that sent shivers down the spine of his most staunch supporters, Robinson blew up against the Dolphins. He's right back in the every week WR2 discussion. He owned a 36.3 percent share of the team's Week 2 targets. Given the projected game flow, Robinson should see double-digit targets once again. The Patriots have given up almost 200 yards, multiple touchdowns and 46 fantasy points to opposing No. 1 receivers through two weeks. Even if the Patriots send more attention Robinson's way, they don't have the horses to totally blot him out.

   **Allen Hurns, WR** 

In a pass-heavy game, Allen Hurns comes into focus as a sleeper option. The Patriots should get up on the Jaguars in a hurry, and that means they'll need to pass more than usual. Hurns is putting things together as the clear No. 2 receiver for the Jaguars. Rookie slot man Rashad Greene went on IR boomerang this week, and that should mean more targets funnel to the improving Hurns. He's displayed big play ability in the past, enough to at least mortgage his opportunities into being an upside daily fantasy play or deep league flex.

New England Patriots:

   **Tom Brady, QB** 

Currently the QB1 in fantasy, Tom Brady put up more than 27 points in Weeks 1 and 2. He's on an outrageous pace right now, and just torched a sound Bills defense in their house. He should have no trouble taking down the Jaguars. Brady is an every week start until something changes.

   **Dion Lewis, RB** 

Everyone seems to be waiting for that other shoe to drop, and for Bill Belichick to pull the rug out from under Dion Lewis' soaring stock. However, every tangible piece of evidence this season has provided says that moment is not coming. Belichick has gone back to Lewis on multiple occasions now following a fumble. In LeGarrette Blount's first game back from suspension, he played seven snaps. Lewis has played on 81 percent of the Patriots snaps so far, the second highest rate of any back following DeAngelo Williams. Best of all, Lewis is playing like a top-flight NFL running back on one of the league's very best offenses. Sometimes it's okay to bet on talent rendering our preconceived notions useless. This offense is humming with Lewis, and he's producing like an RB1. There's no reason for the Patriots or fantasy owners to turn away.

The school of thought in the other shoe dropping on Dion Lewis is that Belichick will suddenly turn back to Blount. The Patiots running backs over the previous two seasons have been mostly matchup dependent, with Blount being the bell cow against smaller, weak run defense fronts. Many follow that logic to naming Sunday a "Blount game." However, the Jaguars rank fifth in allowing fantasy points to RBs, and have faced two solid backs in Lamar Miller and Jonathan Stewart. They give up 2.9 yards per run play, which is the second lowest in the NFL. This may not be a Blount game either. Also, in years past, the team never had a player like Dion Lewis, who is running with more power than a Shane Vereen-type ever did.

   **Julian Edelman, WR** 

Through two weeks, Julian Edelman leads the NFL in targets, including a 19 look outing in Week 2. Right now, few receivers are more consistent than Edelman. He's an every-week starter in both PPR and standard with the offense functioning as currently constructed.

   **Rob Gronkowski, TE** 

If any craziness dictated you fade him last week, surely 113 yards and a touchdown corrected you. Start Gronk every week. That really should be all you need to see.

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New Orleans Saints:

    **Luke McCown, QB** 

With Drew Brees officially out with a shoulder injury, Luke McCown, the star of Verizon's latest ad campain will get the start (and the chance he pined for in those series of commercials). That does not mean you should start him in fantasy, however, as he faces a staunch Carolina defense.

    **Mark Ingram, RB** 

The big New Orleans back played on 65 percent of the team's Week 2 snaps, and absorbed 20 touches. Contrary to popular belief, the Brees injury does not help Ingram. Rarely, if ever, does removing a starting caliber player from a team's offense improve the outlook of players around them. Ingram is a player the team can lean on in the event the pass attack is declining, which it clearly is. However, his touchdown upside is severely reduced if the overall offensive efficiency is depressed.

    **C.J. Spiller, RB** 

In his Saints debut, the team worked him in slowly, giving him only nine percent of the snaps. Khiry Robinson out-snapped him with a 21 percent snap share. Spiller's playing time is bound to increase, and he looked good on his limited touches. However, until we see him contribute in a secure, consistent role, he's an asset best left on the bench. Robinson, with Spiller in the picture, is relegated to just a bench stash.

    **Brandin Cooks, WR** 

The Brandin Cooks breakout campaign is inching closer and closer to life support. He's not been the No. 1 receiver many envisioned, as he just barely leads the team with 17 percent of the targets. He's not played well enough to justify his inflated redraft price -- Patrick Peterson dominated him in Week 1, and he's only caught 60 percent of his targets. With his quarterback hurt and faltering on the field for it, there's little reason for Cooks to be in your Week 3 fantasy lineup. He also draws a difficult cornerback matchup, as Josh Norman shadowed DeAndre Hopkins last week and limited him to five catches on 10 targets. We'd recommend you take this final chance to sell Cooks for pennies on the dollar for his name value alone.

    **Brandon Coleman, WR** 

After a Week 1 touchdown, there was a thought he could rise to a permenant role in the offense. However, he was out produced by Willie Snead and rotated some snaps with him. With the ceiling of this offense coming down from expected standards, we won't bother with Coleman or Snead in starting lineups. Coleman does continue to out-snap Marques Colston, who is completely droppable.

Carolina Panthers:

    **Cam Newton, QB** 

The Panthers passer is well known for his streaky ways, and that's already playing out here in 2015. He followed up a 12.5 point snoozer in the opener with an explosive 27.4 point Week 2 to level off at a QB8. We're betting on this being one of his bigger weeks. He's at home facing the league's worst secondary -- the Saints surrender a league worst 9.5 yards per pass attempt. The Panthers are letting Cam run with the ball, on pace for 192 rush attempts, in order to manufacture offense. This is setting up for one of Newton's high scoring weeks, with a healthy combination of his air and ground skills.

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    **Jonathan Stewart, RB** 

Despite being healthy and owning the backfield volume, Jonathan Stewart still hasn't been able to get going. The Panthers bell cow is averaging 3.4 yards per carry. Despite the Saints' biggest weakness being through the air, this could be the game Stewart takes off running. New Orleans is still a bottom 10 run defense, and Newton's success on the ground should eventually correlate to positive results for Stewart. Week 3 presents a good opportunity to play for that reality.

    **Panthers WRs** 

The starting members of this group, Ted Ginn and Philly Brown, caught long touchdowns in Week 2. We're not advising you to chase those points, but do recognize that we could see a repeat against the secondary that let up plays to Louis Murphy. If you're stacking with Newton in DFS, these two make for bargains. Only play them in redraft if you are absolutely desperate.

    **Greg Olsen, TE** 

The season has not gotten off to the start many imagined for Greg Olsen. He was viewed as the safest non-Gronk tight end after Kelvin Benjamin's injury due to an uptick in an already healthy target share. However, after two weeks, he sits as the current TE26. That's all while still leading the team in targets. All that being said, this is still most likely the week things regress to expectations for Olsen. The Saints can be had through the air, as we know, and gave up big plays to an unknown Cardinals tight end in Week 1. Early evidence suggests we should factor in more potential volatility into his weekly outlook, but we're starting him every week as a highly targeted player. This contest should feature one of the stout stat lines.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

     **Jameis Winston, QB** 

There was improvement, both in his stats and on film, for Jameis Winston from Weeks 1 and 2. Despite this appearing like a bad matchup on paper, and the fact that J.J. Watt could indeed wreck the Bucs offensive line, the Texans rank 31st in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks. Houston's offense ran more third down plays than anyone in the league through two weeks, but they rank 31st in yards per third down play. Unsurprisingly, the Arian Foster-less, Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett two-headed monster hasn't been able to sustain long drives. With the offense's inability to stay on the field, that leaves more opportunities for opposing quarterbacks to throw on, and score against, the Texans defense. Winston could make for an interesting, and major contrarian play in DFS with most of the field being on the defense.

     **Doug Martin, RB** 

It's a shame the fantasy numbers haven't caught up with how well Doug Martin is playing. The offensive line and overall situation isn't there for him to post strong stat lines. Martin has seen the 16th most running back touches in the NFL, but is only the RB36 in standard fantasy leagues. There's a chance this is the bounce back game. This game should be close throughout, which means Martin will see his usual large volume of touches. We like his chances to end up in the end zone, based on sheer volume and regression to the mean given his strong play on film.

     **Mike Evans, WR** 

Tampa Bay pulled the wool over our eyes last week, declaring Mike Evans active only to see him post a goose egg stat line. Evans only played 61 percent of the snaps, third among receivers, and saw just three targets. In the long run, it's probably better the Bucs didn't attempt to rush Evans back. He's a still a fantasy starter if he plays.

     **Vincent Jackson, WR** 

As more time goes on, Vincent Jackson is becoming one of the more painful fantasy options to consider starting. He's played on 90 percent of the team's snaps, been targeted 16 times but only has 16.5 fantasy points to show for it. And most of that was with Mike Evans hobbled or out of the lineup. Trusting Jackson is not advisable right now.

Houston Texans:

     **Ryan Mallett, QB** 

For some reason, Ryan Mallett threw 58 passes last week. He mortgaged those into 244 yards (4.2 YPA), and a 19th best fantasy finish among quarterbacks in Week 2. The Bucs have a below average pass defense, but there's far too many other quarterback options we'd rather consider.

     **Texans RBs** 

With Arian Foster's status still up in the air, we're not approaching this situation. No Houston running back has played more than 35 percent of the snaps. Chris Polk had the most touches last week, but failed to impress. We're just waiting on Foster.

     **DeAndre Hopkins, WR** 

Hopkins cleared concussion protocol on Friday, which is terrific news for his owners as this is a great matchup for him. He saw double digit targets for the second consecutive week, but only caught 50 percent of them with Josh Norman in his hip pocket most of the day. The Tampa Bay corners can be had, and Hopkins should see favorable situations all day. There's a big week in store now that he should be the field.

     **Nate Washington, WR** 

The Texans current receiving yardage leader is ... Nate Washington. He's also caught less than 50 percent of his targets and dropped several balls. He's not a fantasy option.

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San Diego Chargers:

      **Philip Rivers, QB** 

Rivers has had a pair of uneven starts this season and will now face a defense that was tough on quarterbacks last season and shut down Colin Kaepernick in Week 1. The nearly 20 points that Matthew Stafford posted against the Vikes in Week 2 should offer some hope -- especially if Rivers can get the ball to Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon out of the backfield.

      **Melvin Gordon, RB** 

Last week, the Chargers made a concerted effort to get Gordon heavily involved in the game plan and there could be more of that this week. Minnesota looked vulnerable against the 49ers power running game, but the Chargers don't boast the same type of rushing attack. If the rookie is going to make hay this week, it'll be catching the ball out of the backfield.

      **Danny Woodhead, RB** 

Despite an increased number of carries for Gordon last week, Woodhead was still the back that the Chargers called upon in the red zone. As long as that trend continues, the veteran back will still carry some fantasy value. Plus, as San Diego's third-down and pass-catching back, Woodhead remains a player who should be starting in plenty of PPR lineups.

      **Keenan Allen, WR** 

Allen followed up a huge Week 1 performance by being nearly invisible in Week 2. Hopefully Week 3 brings a move back toward the good for Allen against a secondary that has been fairly middle-of-the-road against opposing wideouts in the first two weeks of the season. Inconsistency still continues to be an issue with the young, talented wideout.

      **Steve Johnson, WR** 

Johnson might not be as flashy as Allen has been at times, but he has certainly been more consistent. The veteran receiver has posted solid totals in each of his first two games with the Chargers and seems to be earning more of Philip Rivers' trust as the season progresses. He needs to be owned in more than 27 percent of NFL.com leagues.

Minnesota Vikings:

Bridgewater hasn't exactly had the start to the season that a lot of people would have envisioned, ranking just 25th in fantasy points among quarterbacks. There is some hope that this could be the week he takes off, since the Chargers have been fairly accommodating to opposing quarterbacks early in the season. With Minnesota giving more work to Adrian Peterson, that will hopefully open some things up in the passing game.

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      **Adrian Peterson, RB** 

We have a feeling that Norv Turner heard a few choice words after not getting the ball to his star running back in Week 1. He rectified that in Week 2. We wouldn't expect it to go any differently going forward.

      **Mike Wallace, WR** 

As Charles Johnson continues to find his way in the offense, Wallace continues to be the only Vikings wide receiver of note. With San Diego allowing slightly more than 15 fantasy points per game to wide receivers, this week's matchup isn't a particularly encouraging one for a player who has been hit-or-miss throughout his career.

      **Kyle Rudolph, TE** 

Rudolph might be the most consistent pass-catcher in the Minnesota offense and he has a nice matchup against the Chargers offense. If Bridgewater can be effective with the play-action, then there could be plenty of room in the middle of the field for the tight end to operate this week. Eric Ebron and Tyler Eifert both found the end zone against San Diego this season, too.

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Pittsburgh Steelers:

The Steelers quarterback leads the league in yards per attempt (11.1), has collected 10 completions of 20-plus air yards and has thrown for over 350 yards in each of his first two games. The fact that Antonio Brown simply cannot be contained helps. Big Ben is a near lock for 300 yards and at least two scores against the Rams on Sunday, hence his QB6 ranking for the week.

       **Le'Veon Bell, RB** 

FINALLY. The day that fantasy owners who drafted Bell have been waiting for is upon us, as the dynamic running back has served his two-game suspension and will start against the Rams. St. Louis just got gashed by a pair of Washington runners for over 200 total yards and two touchdowns, which bodes well for Bell's return to the gridiron this week.

The veteran has shocked us with an awesome two weeks of football, ranking as the best running back in all of fantasy. But with the return of Bell, Williams' role will surely be diminished. How much of a role he will have is a big question mark, so until we know more about how the Steelers will work him in, he should be relegated to your bench ... for now.

       **Antonio Brown, WR** 

Brown simply cannot be stopped. Start him each and every week. Nothing to see here (besides a ton of fantasy points).

       **Heath Miller, TE** 

Miller has been surprisingly consistent for fantasy owners through two weeks. Not spectacular, not horrible, but consistent. Last week a touchdown and a two-point conversion were his only two catches of the game, but he was targeted 11 times in Week 1. He'll be a borderline top 10 tight end in Week 3 against a Rams defense that's allowed 133 yards and a touchdown thus far to the position.

St. Louis Rams:

       **Nick Foles, QB** 

Foles has a favorable matchup against a Steelers defense that has allowed more FPPG to quarterbacks than any other team this season. He's a great value in DFS play, too. Foles is our consensus ranked QB19 for the week though, due mainly to the fact that he's got a misfit group of pass-catchers to deposit his passes to. He has only thrown two touchdowns so far this year and managed just 150 pass yards last week.

       **Tre Mason, RB** 

As the Rams starting running back last week, Mason had just nine touches. If rookie Todd Gurley makes his NFL debut against the Steelers, Mason's opportunities will be diminished but not completely exhausted. Still, fantasy owners should be looking elsewhere as Mason will be nothing more than a very low-end flex play.

       **Todd Gurley, RB** 

Reports point to Gurley making his debut this week against the Steelers but if he does, don't expect him to have a huge workload as St. Louis eases him into the offense. Neither Rams running back is shaping up as a viable option in fantasy for Week 3.

       **Jared Cook, TE** 

Cook has led the Rams in receiving for two straight weeks and makes for a sneaky play against a Steelers defense that has allowed the second-most FPPG to the tight end position. (Note: Rob Gronkowski scored three touchdowns against them in Week 1.) Like Foles, Cook represents a great value move in DFS leagues this week since he has such a good matchup.

       <content:weekly-predictions hometeamabbr="NYJ" hometeamscore="" visitteamabbr="PHI" visitteamscore="at" day="Sunday" time="1:00 PM ET" network="FOX"> 

Philadelphia Eagles:

        **Sam Bradford, QB** 

The Eagles offense as a whole has been a disaster in the first two weeks of the season and Bradford has been no exception. The Oklahoma product doesn't even rank among the top 30 fantasy quarterbacks after the first two weeks of the season. Now he has to face one of the NFL's most ferocious defenses one week after they harassed the Colts into five turnovers.

        **DeMarco Murray, RB** 

It's bad enough that Murray is currently on pace for just 88 rushing yards this season, but now the running back is dealing with a hamstring injury that could potentially keep him off the field, or at least limited, this week. Regardless of whether Murray, Ryan Mathews or Darren Sproles leads the Philly backfield this week, this is a matchup that is probably best avoided by fantasy managers.

        **Jordan Matthews, WR** 

Were it not for some late garbage points, Week 2 would have been a fantasy disaster for Matthews. This week doesn't look too appealing if the young wideout has to match wits with Darrelle Revis. It was a lesson that T.Y. Hilton learned the hard way last week after being stranded on "The Island" during Monday Night Football.

        **Zach Ertz, TE** 

Ertz was one of the young tight ends everyone was so excited about coming into the season, thanks to the requisite excitement surrounding the Eagles offense. How's that working out for you? Ertz is being released in all sorts of fantasy leagues and that won't change as long as Philly's offense continues to sputter.

New York Jets:

Who knows where the Jets offense would be if Geno Smith were under center. But through two weeks, Fitzpatrick has put together a pair of respectable fantasy performances. Of course, starting him in most leagues isn't recommended unless you're in dire straits. For all of the offensive issues the Eagles have had, their defense has been one of the better units against fantasy quarterbacks so far this year.

        **Chris Ivory, RB** 

People are starting to realize that Chris Ivory is a better running back than he's being given credit for. It's a little disconcerting to see the number of carries Bilal Powell has had in the first two weeks, but that's also because Ivory has been dealing with a few injuries. If Ivory's pesky groin ailment sidelines him for Week 3, Powell becomes a legitimate flex/RB2 option in standard leagues.

Plenty of fantasy fans were wary of Marshall before the season began, but he's found some new life with Fitzpatrick under center. The dream matchup for anyone contemplating starting Marshall this week would be to have the veteran receiver line up against Byron Maxwell, who's been awful to start the season.

        **Jets D/ST** 

Todd Bowles has done a fantastic job bringing the nasty back to this unit. The Jets are still waiting for Sheldon Richardson to return from a four-game suspension to add something to the pass rush. But as long as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are making plays in the secondary, this group will continue to be a productive fantasy option.


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