Week 3 Studs/Duds
The Thursday night game was again brutal on the eyes. I know the NFL schedules one Thursday night game per week these days and that’s not likely to change, but the football is just awful. Teams are on short weeks and still beat up, they don’t have as much time to prepare, and this just leads to very sloppy football. The Eagles basically beat themselves with turnovers. The Chiefs offense was efficient, but hardly explosive. Dwayne Bowe owners should be very frustrated after he was invisible last night. Alex Smith basically refuses to throw the ball downfield unless someone is wide open, and that hurts Bowe a ton. At this point, he’s no better than a WR3. I expected the Eagles offense to not be as explosive as the first two games, and that proved true. Michael Vick, aside from a few long runs, looked bad. And like always, he took a few big hits and had to slowly scrape himself up off the turf. He simply cannot last playing this style. LeSean McCoy had everyone holding their breath when he went down with a leg injury late in the first half, but came back in the second half no worse for the wear and had a long TD run. He is playing better than Adrian Peterson right now. DeSean Jackson was fairly quiet, and consistency has never been his strong point. I would expect his value to decrease when Vick inevitably misses games, so it might be time to try and sell high on him if you can.
Last week, my list of studs and duds fell flat. I missed badly on a few, so hopefully I can do better this week.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit QB-So let’s see, one of the most prolific passing attacks in the NFL, along with the best receiver in the game, facing the worst defense in the league by far? I smell easy pickings and Stafford should absolutely torch the awful Redskins defense. Calvin Johnson usually eats up DeAngelo Hall, and promising rookie David Amerson has little to no help in the secondary, so it’s too much to expect him to shut down other Lions passing options by himself. Stafford should be able to throw at will, and may do so even more if Reggie Bush doesn’t play or has a snap count. Stafford owners should be drooling at this matchup. Prediction: 410 yards passing, 3 TDs.
Victor Cruz, New York Giants WR-The Giants try to get back on track this week against a Carolina defense that has basically lost its entire starting secondary. Cruz has been a target magnet through two games and it should only continue this week, especially if the running game falters against a good Panthers front seven. If Carolina can put some points on the board, it may force Eli to throw consistently, which is always good for fantasy numbers. Cruz is a must start each week. Prediction: 9 receptions, 95 yards, 1 TD.
Frank Gore, San Francisco RB-Gore has been very quiet so far this year, leading to some whispers that he has nothing left in the tank. I don’t think that’s the case-he played a Packers defense that sold out to stop the run and read option, so they were gashed through the air. He then played the toughest defense in the league in Seattle, so a bad game was basically expected. He gets back on track this week against an average Colts defense. Even if he has lost a step, he still runs behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL, so expect him to have a breakout game. The time to buy low on him won’t last much longer. Prediction: 95 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, 2 TDs.
Jason Witten, Dallas TE-Witten had a bad game last week, with only 3 catches for 12 yards. Expect him to rebound in a big way against the Rams. The Rams defense has been weaker than expected, so Tony Romo should go right back to using his safety valve, especially if the run game once again proves to be ineffective. I think it’s safe to pencil in Witten for a top 5 TE day on Sunday. Prediction: 8 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD.
Minnesota Vikings D/ST-This is not something I usually do, but it’s so obvious this week that I had to include a defense in my list of studs. The Vikings defense has been above average this year and has been able to cause turnovers. Expect that to continue in a big way this week against what may be the worst offensive performance of the week. The Browns are comically outmanned on offense, so Jared Allen and company should be able to have their way with new starter Brian Hoyer. If you can pick up the Vikings defense, please do so. Prediction: 3 points allowed, 2 INTs, 1 fumble recovery, 5 sacks.
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville RB-This is a no-brainer. He’s no lock to play after an ankle injury last week, but even if he does, it’s going to be a disaster. The Jaguars are the worst team in the league, and they are playing the NFL’s best defense with the biggest home-field advantage. Can you say annihilation? I would steer clear of any Jacksonville players this week, as they may not even get in field goal range. Prediction (if he plays)-40 yards rushing, 10 yards receiving, 0 TDs.
CJ Spiller, Buffalo RB-For some reason, the Bills are employing a time-share again, even though Spiller is clearly one of the most talented backs in the league. Combine that with a very stout Jets run defense and you have the makings for another poor game. Jackson is past his prime and usually deals with nagging injuries, so I think it’s only a matter of time before he gets hurt and Spiller takes over most of the work. If you can find a way to buy low on Spiller, I would do so immediately. Prediction: 70 yards rushing, 25 yards receiving, 0 TDs.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland TE-The poor Browns are going to get mauled by the Vikings defense. After the shocking trade of Trent Richardson and the injury to starter Brandon Weeden, they are left with third stringer Brian Hoyer and street pickup Willis McGahee this week. This has caused owners everywhere to grab the Minnesota D because they should be able to feast on this poor excuse for an offense. Cameron has been the go-to guy so far this year, but Josh Gordon returns from suspension and may take away targets. However, Hoyer has not shown he can be a starting caliber QB in the NFL, so don’t expect anyone in the passing game to post big numbers. Bench Cameron if you have better options. Prediction-4 receptions, 55 yards, 0 TDs.
Russell Wilson, Seattle QB-Wilson has underwhelmed so far this year, but his team is 2-0, so he certainly won’t complain. I don’t think he will have a bad game here; it’s more of the circumstances and the opponent. The Seahawks are unbeatable at home, so bringing the worst team in the league to their field has the makings of a drubbing. I figure the Seahawks will absolutely dominate this game and therefore not have to throw as much. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see Wilson taken out in the second half along with other starters once the game gets really out of hand. He will probably throw for a score, but he won’t be slinging the ball around like Matthew Stafford in this one. Prediction: 225 yards passing, 20 yards rushing, 1 passing TD.
Julian Edelman, New England WR-The Patriots passing attack has looked pretty bad this season. They now face a Tampa Bay defense that is one of the best units in the league, and Edelman may be shadowed by Darrelle Revis for most of the game. Gronkowski looks like a 50/50 shot to play, and if he doesn’t, that means more focus will go on Edelman. He may rack up catches, but they won’t go for any significant yardage. He is still a good WR2/3 option in PPR, but nothing more than a flex option in standard leagues this week. Prediction: 7 receptions, 45 yards, 0 TDs.