Into the deep for Week 3
If you're in a 14- or 16-team league, you know the options are fairly thin. Our Jamey Eisenberg provides some extra help in the form of Week 3 sleepers for Fantasy owners to consider in deeper leagues.
Every week I'll dive into some sleepers beyond what we write in our Start 'Em and Sit 'Em column to help some of you in deeper leagues. Some weeks will have more guys than others, but this should be helpful for those owners in 14- and 16-team leagues.
Joe Flacco (at STL): Flacco had a difficult day in Week 2
at Tennessee with 197 passing yards, one touchdown and two
interceptions, but he should rebound this week. The Rams don't have a
good secondary, and they have allowed four passing touchdowns in two
games against Michael Vick and Eli Manning. Flacco is capable of 250 passing yards and two
touchdowns this week, and he should be a useful replacement if Michael Vick (concussion) or Tony Romo
(ribs) are out.
Andy Dalton (vs. SF): It's only two weeks, but the 49ers have allowed three quarterbacks to throw five touchdowns against them with Tarvaris Jackson (two), Romo (two) and Jon Kitna (one). Look for Dalton to add to that total, and he's coming off an impressive game at Denver with 332 passing yards and two touchdowns. You're not going to start Dalton over a lot of quarterbacks this week, but this is a good matchup. If Jackson can throw for multiple touchdowns against this defense, Dalton should be able to match him.
Colt McCoy (vs. MIA): The Dolphins are banged up on defense with linebacker Karlos Dansby (groin), cornerback Vontae Davis (hamstring), safety Chris Clemons (hamstring) and defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (hand) all dealing with injuries. That's not good for a defense that has played bad so far this season. The Dolphins have allowed 747 passing yards, six touchdowns and one interception in two games. Granted, 517 yards were against Tom Brady in Week 1, but McCoy could make plays in this matchup. He could have similar production to his Week 1 outing against Cincinnati when he had 213 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception with 11 rushing yards. That's 19 Fantasy points in a standard league, which is realistic given the matchup.
Daniel Thomas (at CLE): You know I was all in on Thomas
prior to the season, and he looked great in Week 2 against Houston with
18 carries for 107 yards and a fumble in his NFL debut. This week, I
expect the Dolphins to rely on Thomas again since Cleveland's run
defense is a weakness. The Browns have allowed Cedric Benson and Joseph Addai to each
gain 100 total yards in their two games this season, and Thomas should
definitely outplay Reggie Bush this
week. He is a great flex option in the majority of leagues.
Isaac Redman (at IND): The Colts run defense is among the worst in the NFL, especially with linebacker Gary Brackett (shoulder) injured. Indianapolis has already allowed four rushing touchdowns on the season against Ben Tate, Derrick Ward and Peyton Hillis (twice). Redman scored last week against Seattle, and he should get some opportunities this week once Rashard Mendenhall shreds this defense. In deeper formats you can consider Redman as a flex option.
Jonathan Stewart (vs. JAC): I have a feeling DeAngelo Williams bounces back this week against the Jaguars, but I could also see Stewart playing well. He was fantastic as a receiver in Week 2 against Green Bay with eight catches for 100 yards, and he appears to be the running back who will work near the goal line. Jacksonville's run defense has done well this year in limiting Chris Johnson (49 total yards) and Shonn Greene (49 rushing yards), but Stewart could find the end zone this week in what should be a Carolina victory.
Danny Woodhead (at BUF): Woodhead has a good history against the Bills with two touchdowns in two meetings last year, and he had 13 carries for 93 yards and three catches for 32 yards at Buffalo in December. With Aaron Hernandez (hip) out, the Patriots might feature Woodhead more in the passing game even though he has just three catches for 21 yards on the season. Keep in mind that game at Buffalo last year came with Hernandez out with a hip injury, and Woodhead was able to step up in his place.
DeMarco Murray (vs. WAS): There are two reasons to like Murray this week. He could see an increase in carries if Felix Jones (shoulder) is limited or out, and the Cowboys could also use him as a receiver with Miles Austin (hamstring) and Dez Bryant (quad) banged up. If Jones doesn't play I would expect the Cowboys to lean on Tashard Choice more than Murray as a rusher, but Dallas could be in need of playmakers this week, which is why Murray makes this list.
Chad Ochocinco (at BUF): Ochocinco has been miserable so
far this year with three catches for 59 yards, but his playing time and
targets should increase with Hernandez out. That's the only reason to
even consider him this week is because he should see more action, and
hopefully that will lead to some quality production. The Bills have done
a good job in coverage so far this season, but they haven't exactly
faced stellar passing attacks in Kansas City and Oakland. That should
change this week against the Patriots.
Mike Sims-Walker (vs. BAL): I like what I saw from Sims-Walker in Week 2 at the Giants with six catches for 92 yards. He stepped up with Danny Amendola (elbow) out, and he should be relied upon again this week against a Ravens secondary that has struggled this year. Baltimore has already allowed two receivers to gain 100 yards with Mike Wallace in Week 1 and Kenny Britt in Week 2, and Nate Washington fell one yard short last week at 99 yards. The Ravens are dealing with injuries to their secondary with Jimmy Smith (ankle), and the Rams might be forced to throw all game. Consider Sims-Walker a solid No. 3 Fantasy option this week.
David Nelson (vs. NE): Nelson was great last week against Oakland with 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, and he has 14 catches for 149 yards on the season. With Roscoe Parrish (ankle) out for the season, Nelson's chances to produce should increase, and the Patriots secondary is a mess right now. New England has allowed 29 catches for 515 yards and three touchdowns to wide receivers, with Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and Vincent Jackson each gaining over 90 yards. Nelson can be considered a No. 2 Fantasy option in point per reception leagues.
Dexter McCluster (at SD): We'll find out this week if McCluster can help Fantasy owners replace the injured Jamaal Charles (knee), and he should get the chance for plenty of playing time with Kansas City likely chasing points. McCluster has done well as a receiver so far with 12 catches for 93 yards in two games, but his carries should increase as well. He has to hold onto the ball with two fumbles, but Fantasy owners who added McCluster can consider him as a flex option in deeper formats. And hopefully he can help replace Charles since Fantasy owners are desperate now that his season is over.
Julio Jones (at TB): At some point this guy is going to find the end zone, and it could happen this week against the Bucs. Jones played well in Week 1 at Chicago with five catches for 71 yards before being stifled last week by Philadelphia's secondary for two catches and 29 yards. The Bucs have allowed three receivers to catch at least five passes in two games with Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson and Percy Harvin, and while Roddy White is clearly the go-to guy, I think this is the week Jones scores his first NFL touchdown. Consider him a No. 3 option in deeper formats.
Jermaine Gresham (vs. SF): With Jordan Shipley (knee) out for the season, Gresham's value
should rise as the main target over the middle for Dalton. Gresham
played well in Week 1 at Cleveland with six catches for 58 yards and a
touchdown before doing nothing last week at Denver with two catches for
8 yards. The 49ers just allowed Jason Witten
to catch seven passes for 102 yards, and their secondary is not very
good. Gresham is worth using as a starter in deeper leagues or even as a
flex option in PPR formats.
Tony Scheffler (at MIN): Scheffler has been the best Fantasy tight end for the Lions so far this season with two catches for 47 yards and two touchdowns, while Brandon Pettigrew has been held to five catches for 64 yards and no scores. Pettigrew is dealing with a shoulder injury, but Scheffler also has a good history against the Vikings. In two meetings last year, Scheffler had 13 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown. And in three career matchups, Scheffler has 20 catches for 162 yards and two scores.
Greg Olsen (vs. JAC): The Jaguars were abused by Dustin Keller last week for six catches, 101 yards and a touchdown, and Olsen is looking for a rebound game after struggling last week against Green Bay. He was held to one catch for 34 yards and four targets, but I expect that to improve dramatically. Look for Olsen to score his first touchdown this season, and this should be the breakout game we've all been waiting for after drafting him as a starter.
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