It would seem to the naked eye that prognosticating football statistics is a truly difficult task. Take for instance my recommendation of Terrelle Pryor last week. It seemed like a no brainer. I mean Jacksonville looked terrible in the first week. They were so bad that even the lowly Raiders could drop 30 points on them right? Instead Pryor threw for only 126 yards with no touchdowns and was also sacked 3 times. To quote Stewie from Family Guy “What the hell man!” How could you do that poorly against what seemed like the worst team in football? It would be nearly impossible to get every recommendation right, but that one just makes me feel like an idiot! In week 2 I swore I would not be recommending anyone from Pittsburgh for the rest of the season. Other than Darren McFadden we can add the Raiders to that list as well. Let’s take a look at some week 3 appealing matchups.
• (STL) QB Sam Bradford vs. Dallas Cowboys – Bradford has been more than effective through the first two weeks of the 2013 NFL season. He ranks as the 6th best QB according to NFL.com with 651 yards, 5 TDs and 2 picks. Bradford was considered a phenom when he was chosen by St. Louis and has since been ineffective, but not this year! Instead, he has been with the same coaching staff and offensive coordinator for more than 1 season and the results are showing on the field. While the St. Louis roster may not jump off the page, especially from a fantasy standpoint, Bradford had begun his ascension as a top tier QB. Look for him to continue his new trend against the Dallas Cowboys defense that is average at best.
• (BAL) RB Bernard Pierce vs. Houston Texans – This will be his coming out party. Ray Rice suffered a mild hip injury last week. Rice and Flacco are the franchise in Baltimore offensively which means at times like this the team won’t take chances. Especially with such a talented back up like Pierce. He totaled 57 yards and a TD on 19 carries against the Browns last week, and I would expect the same type of numbers against an imposing Texans defense. If Rice does need another week off, Pierce would be playing against the Buffalo Bills who as of now are ranked 18th in the league according to NFL.com
• (DET) RB Joique Bell vs. Washington Redskins – Has anybody noticed what this guy has been doing in Detroit? Even while sharing the backfield with Reggie Bush, Bell has been a pleasant surprise in fantasy circles. Bush is expected to play in week 3 but after suffering a nagging knee injury the prediction is his time on the field will be limited. While Bell should see an increase in carries and definitely in the goal line situations. Consider Bell a solid flex play/borderine RB2.
• (NE) WR Julian Edelman vs. Tamp Bay Buccaneers – Edelman in the new Welker, not Danny Amendola. Tampa is ranked 13th in defense but they are 31st offensively. This will turn into more offensive plays for the Patriots and that means more catches for the speedy slot receiver. He has 20 receptions for 157 yards, 2 TDs AND he returns punts, which is an added bonus for those leagues that allow return points. By this time he should be owned in every league and if for some reason he isn’t… Stop reading this article, GO PICK HIM UP, and then come back to finish the article.
• Minnesota Vikings vs. Cleveland Browns – So who saw the Trent Richardson trade coming?? I sure as heck didn’t. I have to agree with most Cleveland fans that it seems the new ownership has thrown in the towel on the 2013 season. Brandon Weeden can’t run, has little at receiver, and I now expect TE Jordan Cameron’s’ numbers to take a hit. Now that the defense only has the play the pass the Browns will be blitzed often. Cleveland has a good offensive line, but linemen don’t get TDs. Minnesota should have a field day attacking with blitzes and disguising coverage’s to confuse the offensively bad Cleveland offense.
Less Appealing Options
• (NYG) QB Eli Manning vs. Carolina Panthers – Let’s be honest, the Giants look bad. It’s crazy when you look at the numbers because they are ranked 1st in passing but 32nd in rushing. How can you do that?? So how could I recommend sitting him? Well, The Panthers have a strong front 7 that will be paying little attention to the run as they target Eli for most of the game. He will be rushed out of the pocket more often than he’s used to and I unfortunately don’t see him being effective. I can only hope he proves me wrong. Let’s hope I blow this one right??
• (DAL) QB Josh Freeman vs. New England Patriots – Freeman should probably be dropped if he can’t get it right after this week. Considering the Patriots have been a top 10 defense through the first two weeks I wouldn’t anticipate Tampa finally figuring it out. Freeman has been awful. If it wasn’t for Vincent Jackson he would have no passing attack at all. This will be his last call on most fantasy teams and I don’t see him being anything more than a matchup QB for the remainder of the season.
• (DAL) RB DeMarco Murray vs. St. Louis Rams – Murray performed well in the first week against the Giants. Then he put up an average performance in week 2 vs. the Chiefs. I would have to think the Rams will be ready for him. The Rams have a solid defense with a talented front 4. It will be more difficult for the average offensive line of the Cowboys to clear space for Murray to run through. Murray has only rushed for 111 yards with 86 of them coming against the Giants. If he wasn’t catching passes he would be just a flex play. Look for the Rams to contain him much like the Chiefs did in week 2. Expect flex like numbers from Murray and that trend may continue when he plays defenses with a tough defensive line.
• (IND) WR Reggie Wayne vs. San Francisco 49ers – I love Wayne. I had him last year and looked like a fantasy genius. He has been effective through the first two weeks but I think that trend ends in week 3 against San Francisco. The 49’ers are going to be pissed after last weeks beat down by their arch rivals and even though the Colts just made the trade of the year in acquiring Trent Richardson, Wayne will have a difficult time catching passes over the middle. There is also the emergence of T.Y. Hilton. Hilton has 9 receptions for 144 yards through 2 games as compared to Wayne’s’ 13 receptions for 142 yards. Wayne has never had an equal in the passing game since he was Marvin Harrisons equal himself! Look for Wayne to put up WR3 numbers this week.
• Cincinnati Bengals vs. Green Bay Packers – The Bengals are ranked the 6th best defense, but the Packers re the #1 ranked offense. With Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, and company coming to Paul Brown Stadium I would expect the Bengals to have their hands full. Geno Atkins and his teammates will be put to the test as they try to stop such an explosive offense of which hasn’t been stopped by the stud 49’ers D, or the lowly Washington Redskins who Rodgers rewrote the record books on, putting up 480 yards and 4 TDs. If you own the Bengals, it might be worth taking a flier on the Vikings D of which I recommended starting earlier.
Good luck this week to you all and GO NY! Let’s get a W for crying out loud!