Eli Manning ended up tied for 24th in QB fantasy points for Week 2, a far cry from the tons of points he should have put up against that porous Saints defense. This marks the big divide between fantasy and reality as the Giants took care of business in the game while Eli had marginal fantasy points. For perspective, Derek Carr and Tyrod were lights out in fantasy even though their teams lost. So it’s not always about which team is better. It’s about what ways players can get involved in their team’s offense.
That’s why Theo Riddick is an excellent play, even though I don’t see the Lions taking out the Packers at Lambeau, because he’s going to get volume in both the running and passing games. It’s why Blake Bortles continues to post strong fantasy efforts in comeback attempts even though the Jaguars are 0-2. That’s why we play fantasy, for the individual efforts. The trick is just figuring out which player is ready to go off and when. Where opportunity meets production, therein lies fantasy gold.
But that was last week, and we are on the cusp of Week 3, where every 0-2 team is desperate and where fantasy darlings can become fantasy garbage (Devonta Freeman anyone?). Will the real Eddie Lacy stand up? And it’s time to set our fantasy lineups once again. The key is not to overthink things, and to take your chances sparingly. Don’t go crazy, because you might hit on one player, but the percentage of highly drafted players going off on your bench increases exponentially.
On to Lineup Moves for Week 3…
1. Ryan Tannehill (MIA) – [Insert QB playing against the Browns here.] Seriously, though, Tannehill ended up with a good final line against New England last week in that frantic comeback effort, but he probably won’t have to have a comeback effort here. Uh, but even if he does, look at what Joe Flacco did last week after getting down 20. He’s definitely a top 10 QB this week.
2. Eli Manning (NYG) – I know. I know. I told you to start him last week, and he didn’t do so well in what was an excellent matchup. But he traditionally plays well against the Redskins, he’s got his full arsenal of receivers, and I see this one as a high scoring affair. Keep him active, even though he burned us last week.
3. Marcus Mariota (TEN) – I don’t know what’s wrong with that Oakland defense, but I highly doubt they’ve fixed their problems over the course of the last week. Besides, Mariota is a dual threat, and he had a solid game against the Lions last week. It will be even better in this one, even if Derek Carr leads the Raiders to an Oakland win.
4. Alex Smith (KC) – Yes, Smith disappointed his fantasy owners (what few there were) with the dud he posted last week, but this is a whole different kind of defense this week against the Jets. Revis has been exposed, and Tyrod Taylor shredded them for a couple of big plays last week. Smith will get his number one receiver Jeremy Maclin out in space and pick up big yardage in this one.
AVOID: Carson Wentz (PHI) – Behind the quality numbers over two starts, the rookie has still only thrown three touchdowns, and his fantasy numbers did decrease from week 1 to week 2. Against a slightly (eh hem) more difficult defense in the Steelers, those numbers should go down even more. He’s a risk/reward QB this week, and I’m staying away.
1. Mark Ingram (NO) – Yes, I know you can throw it on Atlanta, but to open up those throwing lanes you need a strong ground game. Ingram has underwhelmed over the first two games, but he comes into this one fresh and ready to grind. I like him to have a breakout game on Monday night.
2. Tevin Coleman (ATL) – The other team on Monday night is going to get theirs too. Matt Ryan has been looking to Coleman a lot in the passing game, and that will continue here. Coleman is a great PPR play, but he has been getting the ball often in the run game too. He is this year’s Devonta Freeman… at least for Atlanta. Freeman, by the way, might also break out in this one, but it’s Coleman I’m leaning on.
3. LeSean McCoy (BUF) – It wasn’t so long ago that McCoy won a rushing title with Philadelphia, but things haven’t been as beautiful since the move to Buffalo. The offensive line isn’t giving him the holes he’s used to, and he hasn’t been great so far this season. But he broke a couple of good ones last week against the Jets, and Arizona can be beaten on the ground. We all knows having a mobile QB who has his mojo back also helps McCoy.
4. Theo Riddick (DET) – Remember what I said about Riddick earlier? I wasn’t kidding. With Abdullah out for the foreseeable future, and with Riddick being more involved in the running game anyway, he’s a top 10 play for me this week. He will get more carries, and he will surprise a lot of people. Of course this Green Bay defense isn’t as stout as it normally might be with several players out. Time to re-write the Chronicles of Riddick.
AVOID: Jerick McKinnon (MIN) – Yes, you were one of the ones who went and grabbed McKinnon off the waiver wire when AP went down, but this is not the week to get him active. There are two things going against him here. The Vikings are playing a tough run defense in Carolina, and you CAN throw on the Panthers. Sam Bradford has his groove back (hello Stella) and Stefon Diggs will get his. But the second thing against McKinnon is his own backfield teammate, Matt Asiata. He’s a TD vulture, and those might be hard to come by in this game.
1. Allen Robinson (JAC) – It’s time for a “get right” game for Robinson, and this matchup against a Baltimore secondary that was exposed last week by *gasp* Cleveland is just what the doctor ordered. This is your last chance to buy low on Robinson too, because after this game his owners will want to hang tight.
2. Eric Decker (NYJ) – Decker smells the goal line every single game, it seems, and with a gimpy Brandon Marshall possibly being a decoy for this one (banged up Calvin Johnson style), it sets up well for a big game from Decker. He will be fed the ball, and you can count on him for 100 yards and a TD.
3. Jeremy Maclin (KC) – Recall what I said about Alex Smith? This is not time to get down on Maclin because of what happened (or what didn’t happen) last game. He’s healthy now, and Smith will get him the ball. Revis Island will be closed for good after this one.
4. Travis Benjamin (SD) – I liked Benjamin even before Keenan Allen went out, but I LOVE him now that he’s the top option in the passing game for a red hot Philip Rivers. He was available on the waiver wire in one of my leagues after week 1 and I scooped him up. He’s going to be the best investment I ever made. Keep him active.
AVOID: Randall Cobb (GB) – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. This Green Bay offense is in shambles right now, and contrary to popular opinion, I don’t think the fix lies in playing Detroit. The Lions have played their division rivals tough lately, and I think it continues here. They will get up for this game, and no receivers are a sure bet, least of all Cobb, who has been held in check so far this season.
1. Dennis Pitta (BAL) – He’s baaaaaack! Dennis Pitta was a fantasy force a couple of seasons ago, and Joe Flacco has rediscovered him after injury sidelined him for a while. If he’s still available on your waiver wire, remember that Jacksonville doesn’t defend the tight end position that well, and Flacco will be looking to his best buddy in crunch time.
2. Clive Walford (OAK) – Derek Carr is onto something. Walford has sure hands and is a monster in the middle of the field. Defenses can only cover so many people, and with their hands full with Crabtree and Cooper it opens the door for Walford to have a huge season. He’s already started.
3. Trey Burton (PHI) – Last week I saw something from Burton that was reminiscent of Zach Ertz. Looks like the Eagles have a good backup in the receiving game, and he’ll be starting again this week. Against Pittsburgh they will need all the firepower at their disposal. I say Burton scores again, which makes him a top 10 tight end.
4. Jordan Cameron (MIA) – It’s Cleveland. Do I really need to say more? I will anyway. Ryan Tannehill is just getting warmed up, and I think he keeps it moving after some good fantasy points in a comeback effort last week in New England. He will find Cameron early and often. Breakout game.
AVOID: Gary Barnidge (CLE) – I don’t know what was in the water last year, but it’s just plain water this year for Barnidge. It was definitely too good to sustain, and with another QB tossing the ball for the Browns this seems like a running bonanza. That spells disaster for Barnidge owners who should go elsewhere this week.
1. Charles Sims (TB)
2. Latavius Murray (OAK)
3. C.J. Anderson (DEN)
4. Matt Asiata (MIN)
AVOID: Cameron Artis-Payne (CAR) – Yes, he’s getting the “start” for Carolina, but remember that he was inactive the first two games. Fozzy Whitaker had a couple of good games behind Jonathan Stewart, and if there’s one Panther to own in that backfield for the duration of Stewart’s absence, I would make it Whitaker.