NFL Fantasy Matchups - Week 3

We give fantasy owners an edge with game by game analysis heading into week three of the NFL fantasy season.



Atlanta Falcons (1-1) @ Buffalo Bills (1-1) 1:00
Michael Vick may not practice all week, but says he can go on Sunday against Buffalo. Even if Vick plays, he's a questionable start against a solid Buffalo defense at home. The only Falcons worth playing are versatile running back Warrick Dunn, tight end Alge Crumpler, and the Atlanta defense/special teams. The Bills may have trouble against a decent Atlanta defense, but we like Willis McGahee to have a solid showing. J.P. Losman is still too unproven for us to recommend the Buffalo passing game. Buffalo's defense is a solid start against a banged up Michael Vick.

Carolina Panthers (1-1) @ Miami Dolphins (1-1) 1:00
Carolina lived up to the preseason hype against the defending two-time Superbowl champions and finally beat the Patriots. Miami won't be quite the test that Carolina faced from New England, but this game is in Miami. The Fins haven't looked bad to date, but we like Panthers' RB Stephen Davis (if healthy), WR Steve Smith, and QB Jake Delhomme to all have a decent game. QB Gus Frerotte has progressed the Miami passing game and may do better than expected on Sunday. WRs Chris Chambers / Marty Booker and TE Randy McMichael will benefit against a Carolina team on the road in a potential let-down game for the Panthers.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) @ Chicago Bears (1-1) 1:00
The Bengals offense is on track and QB Carson Palmer is locked to playmaker wide receiver Chad Johnson. Rudi Johnson has also been solid through the first two weeks and is headed for a huge year with the charging Bengals. However, the Chicago defense will create problems for the Cincy. Although we believe in playing your studs, the Bengals' trio will be stifled just a bit as the Bears rise up at home. Bears' running back Thomas Jones is the real deal behind a solid offensive line. He will again put up over 100 total yards and a score against an improved Cincinnati defense(we can't figure why Chicago used their pick on Cedric Benson with Jones in the line-up). Kyle Orton is an upgrade from Rex Grossman and is the future of the Bears, but he is still unproven at the pro level and should be avoided until he gains more experience and match-ups are favorable.

The Colts will go off in this game. Play every offensive Colt on your team. Not that Cleveland is that bad, but the Colts are that good and are looking forward to unloading on the Browns in Indianapolis. Indianapolis' defense has held opponents Baltimore and Jacksonville to a total of ten points through the first two weeks, but the Browns may put up some late points in a one-sided game. RB Reuben Droughns and QB Trent Dilfer may be shut down early, but expect Droughns and Dilfer to put up a few points as the Colts give them many opportunities with multiple kick-offs in the Browns' direction.

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) @ N. Y. Jets (1-1) 1:00
Neither team has looked stellar on offense and both have decent defenses. Although Fred Taylor hasn't scored in his first two games, he has looked solid on the field and should be able to find the endzone in week 3. Jacksonville may score again through the air, but it's a crapshoot whether it's Jimmy Smith, Matt Jones, or Reggie Williams. Leftwich took a tumble late against the Colts last week, but somehow came back in for the last drive reminding us of his Marshall days when his linemen carried him and his busted leg down the field for the next play...he's tough and will play this weekend. The Jags stopped the Colts' passing game last weekend. Chad Pennington is no Peyton Manning, although he may squeak one touchdown to Laveranues Coles. Jets' RB Curtis Martin is questionable. It may be a good idea to stay away from this potentially low scoring game if you have other options.

We like Saint RB Deuce McAllister to rush for 100 and at least one score. Aaron Brooks should also be able to connect with WRs Joe Horn and Dante Stallworth. We also like Duante Culpepper in this game. Even though Burleson may be out, C-pepp will finally step up and find some passing lanes to Travis Taylor and newly acquired Koren Robinson. Michael Bennett has looked horrible through two games, but we believe that he may find his form against the Saints with a short prep week.

McNabb's performance against the Niners in the first half was just silly. Oakland may not be as bad as their record indicates, but fantasy owners should play every Eagle until further notice. No, we don't expect another five TD performance by McNabb, but we do expect him to throw for over 300 yards and find Terrell Owens and Michael Westbrook for three scores. The schedule makers have not been kind to the Raiders. Oakland is a much improved team from last year, but having to travel to Superbowl contestants New England and Philly plus play Kansas City on SNF in the first three weeks is a death sentence. However, QB Kerry Collins and WR Randy Moss are still decent plays this week in a game that may give up several touchdowns in the second half..

The Green Bay Packers and their fans are wonderful, but it's hard to get behind this team. If you look only at Brett Favre's numbers against Cleveland, he was a fanstasy stud...but only because he was playing Cleveland from behind with soft coverages. If you have Ahman Green in your line-up, you have to play him. But like the rest of the Packers, Green appears to have lost a step. Favre may get the same opportunities late in the game that he had against Cleveland, but we wouldn't count on it against a tougher Tampa Bay defense. On the other side of the ball, the Bucs found a real gem in Carnell Williams. Cadillac is a solid play this week with Tampa's ball control approach.

Tennessee Titans (1-1) @ St. Louis Rams (1-1) 1:00
The "Greatest Show on Turf" will get it together at home against the Titans. Rams' RB Steven Jackson is lock in this game. QB Mark Bulger will have no problem finding stud WRs Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce, but expect to see the Rams pound the ball with Jackson. Tennessee QB Steve McNair will look for WR Drew Bennett and should put up decent yardage totals with a touchdown or two as the Rams stretch their lead in the second half.

The Cardinals are better than their record indicates. Former Superbowl MVP quarterback Kurt Warner looked decent in his first two games and has perhaps the finest wide receiving duo in the league. Larry Fitzgerald is on a pace to catch over 100 throws and Anquan Boldin is right behind him in an offense that may often be playing from behind. Play both Boldin and Fitz this week, as Seattle will do little to stop Arizona's passing game. Seattle stud RB Shaun Alexander should never be benched and will again come up huge against Arizona. QB Matt Hasselbeck and WR Darrell Jackson are both consistent top fantasy players and have a nice match-up against Arizona in a game that will be relatively high scoring.

Dallas lost a last minute heart-breaker to Joe Gibbs and the Redskins on Monday Night Football. Look for Dallas coach Bill Parcells to right the ship against the Niners. San Fran played well in week one, but they're not that good...yet. Dallas RB Julius Jones is a lock for a big game and should be started in all formats. If in a pinch, this may be the week to start QB Drew Bledsoe and WR Keyshawn Johnson as both will have success against the 49ers defense. San Francisco has improved their offensive line, but are still trying to find themselves. RB Kevan Barlow may have limited success against the 'Boys, but only start him if you have no other options.

Both teams would like this game to be a preview of the AFC championship game, but the Indianapolis Colts may have something to say about that. It's too early to be thinking 'must wins', but New England doesn't care to leave Pittsburgh with a 1-2 record. Regardless, this match-up is the game of the month. As for fantasy, we again like Pittsburgh running back Willie Parker to be the bulk of the offense for the run-based Steelers. QB Ben Roethlisberger will put up aveage numbers and should find WR Hines Ward for a touchdown. Although the Steelers' defense is solid, Pats' QB Tom Brady plays to his opponents and will be ready on Sunday. New England is a favorite to win a third Superbowl, so don't hesitate to play Brady and RB Corey Dillon even though the match-up is tough.

Giants' QB Eli Manning's off-season prep with WR Plaxico Burress and TE Jeremy Shockey is paying off. After a typical rookie NFL quarterback season, Manning is showing some signs of brilliance. We are not saying that he needs to start in your line-up against the Chargers, but we are saying that he has looked good two games into the season. RB Tiki Barber is extremely versatile as a runner and a receiver and should be started in any match-up. San Diego has had a couple of tough weeks, but will bounce back against the Giants on Sunday. LaDainian Tomlinson will have a huge week on the ground and from the air. TE Antonio Gates returned from his one-game and will continue to be QB Drew Brees' favorite target in the red zone. Gates puts up fantasy stats like a top ten wide receiver and should not be undervalued.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) @ Denver Broncos (1-1) 9:00 MNF
These teams always battle until the end. Kansas City, however, is 2-0 and looks much better adjusted than this year's Denver team. The Broncos aren't sure who to start at running back with Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell (and recently resigned Quentin Griffin). Stay away from all of them until a clear cut starter emerges. Denver's passing offense may be just as confusing. QB Jake Plummer is inconsistent with wide receivers Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. Kansas City can be thrown upon, but Denver's inconsistent passing game makes anything a risk. KC has the best offensive line in football...period. Rarely does one team generate enough fantasy rushing stats for more than one player. But, the Chiefs' rushing game is so good that both RBs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson are recommended starters...and have both been putting up excellent numbers. QB Trent Green is off to a bit of a slow start compared to last year, but only because Holmes was injured the final eight weeks of the season and KC went to the air. The Chiefs will pound the ball on the ground on Monday night, but Green will still produce enough through the air for a recommended start against the Broncos.

BYE WEEKS - Lions, Texans, Ravens, Redskins

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