Week 3 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em
The Bills have been surprisingly useful for Fantasy owners, and it has nothing to do with Terrell Owens. Our Jamey Eisenberg loves Trent Edwards in Week 3 and advises you to at least consider benching a guy who racked up 44 Fantasy points last week in Start 'Em and Sit 'Em.
Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they might affect lineup decisions for your Fantasy team. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson or any other top-tier players.
The Bills have certainly found an interesting formula for offensive success. Bring in a malcontent at wide receiver, revamp your offensive line with unproven players, fire your offensive coordinator just before the season and enter the year with your starting running back suspended for the first three games.
Hey, whatever works.
The Bills have gotten off to a great start in two weeks against New England and Tampa Bay with Trent Edwards leading the way. He nearly outplayed Tom Brady in Week 1 and looked like a future star in Week 2 against the Bucs.
We expect him to stay hot, and he's the Start of the Week against New Orleans. This game has the potential to be high scoring, especially if Buffalo is playing from behind, so Edwards could post outstanding stats.
He passed for 212 yards and two touchdowns against New England and followed that up with 230 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against Tampa Bay. He has great weapons in Terrell Owens and Lee Evans , and Fred Jackson has been a star out of the backfield in place of Marshawn Lynch .
Edwards has dealt well with his new offensive line, which just lost starting right tackle Brad Butler (knee) for the season, and he got over Turk Schonert being replaced by former quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt as offensive coordinator. He's even got Owens sounding like he's happy -- for now.
"With this offense, we just have to try to take advantage of the opportunities we have," Owens said in a conference call with the New Orleans media Wednesday. "If we have shots, we take them. We have a great guy in Fred Jackson , who's running the ball and making it tough on defenses. I'm just having fun."
The Saints pass defense is giving up 288 yards per game and is ranked No. 28, but they've only allowed two touchdowns with six interceptions. Still, they allowed Kevin Kolb to pass for 391 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions as the Eagles tried to rally from a big deficit last week.
Edwards could be facing a similar scenario, and if the Bills go ahead in this game, it could be because Edwards got off to a strong start. Either way, consider Edwards a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback this week. He's playing well, and this is a matchup where he should continue to thrive.
Sit of the Week
The last time Chris Johnson faced the Jets (Week 12 last season), we had him listed as the Sit of the Week, and we're going to the well again. That's right, you should keep Johnson reserved this week in standard formats.
Johnson was amazing last week against the Texans. He had 16 carries for 197 yards and two touchdowns and nine catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. Houston had no answer for him, but that will change against the Jets.
Rex Ryan has turned a good defense into a dominant unit, and they are looking more and more like the Ravens each week. Remember, Ryan was the former defensive coordinator in Baltimore. The Jets are No. 6 in run defense at 61 yards per game allowed with no rushing touchdowns in two games against Houston and New England.
It helps that Ryan has plenty of talent on defense led by an outstanding defensive tackle in Kris Jenkins . The Jets held Johnson to 10 carries for 46 yards and three catches for 15 yards and a fumble in their meeting last year.
This season, Johnson had the great game against Houston, but he struggled against Pittsburgh with 15 carries for 57 yards and one catch for 11 yards in Week 1. He could face a similar outcome in this matchup.
Now, Johnson always has the ability to break a long run. He's a dynamic talent capable of a big game, and LenDale White doesn't seem to be a factor so far.
But the Jets know this also, and their first priority will be to shut down the Titans running game. If you can afford to sit Johnson this week, that's the way to go. If you have to start him in deeper formats, just lower your expectations.
We don't expect Johnson to play well in this matchup. He will repeat his performance as the Sit of the Week.
|Starts that made us look good|
|Player||Stats||Fantasy Points||Week 2 Start %|
|Ronnie Brown , RB, Miami||136 rushing yards, two TDs||25||84%|
|Fred Jackson *, RB, Buffalo||163 rushing yards, 25 rec. yards, one fumble||17||62%|
|Kellen Winslow , TE, Tampa Bay||90 receiving yards, TD||15||56%|
|Sits that made us look good|
|Julius Jones , RB, Seattle||11 rushing yards, minus-2 rec. yards, TD||7||40%|
|Matt Forte , RB, Chicago||29 rushing yards, 33 rec. yards||5||86%|
|Greg Olsen , TE, Chicago||41 receiving yards||4||72%|
|Starts that made us look bad|
|LenDale White , RB, Tennessee||25 rushing yards||2||36%|
|Roy Williams , WR, Dallas||18 receiving yards||1||90%|
|Santana Moss , WR, Washington||35 receiving yards, one fumble||1||56%|
|Sits that made us look bad|
|Matt Schaub , QB, Houston||357 passing yards, four TDs||39||42%|
|Cedric Benson **, RB, Cincinnati||141 rushing yards||14||45%|
|Steve Smith , WR, Carolina||131 receiving yards||13||98%|
|Our favorite Week 2 sleeper pick was ... Eli Manning , who had 330 passing yards and two touchdowns for 25 Fantasy points.|
* -- Week 1 Start of the Week
** -- Week 1 Sit of the Week
(at NE): Ryan is off to a great start this season
with 449 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception. He's
completing 68 percent of his passes and has developed an instant rapport
with new tight end
Patriots defense looks like a shell of its former self through two games
even though they come into this matchup at No. 6 in pass defense. That's
misleading to a degree because the Patriots have no interceptions
through two games and haven't faced a quarterback of this caliber. Ryan
should continue his hot start with another solid outing and should be
active in all leagues.
Matt Schaub (vs. JAC): We said to start Schaub in Week 1, and he played poorly against the Jets. We said to sit him in Week 2, and he was the best quarterback in the NFL at Tennessee. Let's hope we can get on the same page with Schaub this week in what should be a favorable matchup. The Jaguars have struggled in pass defense the past two weeks against Indianapolis and Arizona and have allowed three passing touchdowns. In one meeting with Jacksonville last year, Schaub passed for 307 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 24 yards, so another big week should be on his horizon.
Eli Manning (at TB): There's a good chance Manning could be handing off plenty this week with the Bucs run defense almost as bad as their secondary. Tampa Bay, which is No. 28 in run defense, has been abused through the air by Dallas and Buffalo to start the season and ranks No. 27 with five touchdowns allowed and only one interception. Manning has found receivers he can trust in Steve Smith and Mario Manningham , and they should stay hot against the Bucs if Manning has enough attempts. He's averaged more than 30 passes in his first two games, and if he gets those chances again he should be productive. He's worth starting this week.
Ben Roethlisberger (at CIN): Big Ben has been consistent against the Bengals in his career, and he should remain productive this week. He's off to a good start passing the ball with 584 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, and he also added a rushing touchdown. He is sixth in the NFL in passing yards behind Philip Rivers , Drew Brees , Peyton Manning , Tom Brady and Eli Manning . Last year, Big Ben passed for 459 yards and four touchdowns against the Bengals with a rushing score. The Bengals defense has improved this year, but with the way the Steelers are playing now, Roethlisberger should stay in your starting lineup.
David Garrard (at HOU): The Jaguars are going to establish the run against the Texans like the Titans did last week, but Garrard will still have to make plays with his arm. He's done well against Houston in his career, averaging 250 passing yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions, and now he has a new target in Mike Sims-Walker , who is an upgrade over the injured Troy Williamson (shoulder). Look for Garrard to post similar stats to what he's done in his previous matchups against the Texans, who are No. 22 in pass defense with three touchdowns allowed, and Garrard is a good replacement if you don't have Donovan McNabb (ribs) or Matt Hasselbeck (ribs) this week.
Sleeper alert: Mark Sanchez (vs. TEN): The Titans pass defense hasn't been able to stop the Steelers or Texans in two weeks and come into Week 3 ranked last in the NFL. While the Jets don't have the same weapons as those teams -- and Sanchez is far from the level of quarterback as Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Schaub -- he should play well in this matchup. The Titans still have to account for Thomas Jones and the running game, but Leon Washington , Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery have the chance to help Sanchez post solid stats. He's a good replacement for McNabb or Hasselbeck if you need someone off the waiver wire. Some other sleepers to consider this week are Joe Flacco (vs. CLE) and Jason Campbell (at DET). Even Jake Delhomme (at DAL) has a decent matchup if you need someone in a deep format.
(at PHI): When the coach starts talking about
benching his starter, you know it's not a good sign, and that's what
Todd Haley has said about Cassel. It might be time to release Cassel in
the majority of leagues if he doesn't play well here, and he faces a
tough matchup even though the Eagles couldn't stop
last week. But as we know, Cassel is nowhere near Brees'
at least played
well in Week 1 at Baltimore when Cassel was out with a knee injury. The
Eagles are going to attack Cassel, and he should remain on your bench
for Week 3.
Kerry Collins (at NYJ): Collins has actually been serviceable the first two weeks with 360 yards passing, three touchdowns, two interceptions and a fumble. And he played well against the Jets last year with 243 passing yards and a touchdown in Nashville. But this Jets defense has looked nasty the first two weeks and shut down Matt Schaub and Tom Brady in consecutive games. They should be able to contain Collins as well. If the Jets have their way with Chris Johnson and LenDale White as expected, Collins could be throwing quite a bit, and you could see a couple of interceptions.
Brett Favre (vs. SF): It's not that Favre will struggle, especially in his first home game with the Vikings. And it's not even that San Francisco's pass defense is that good, although they have improved this year under new coach Mike Singletary. Favre just isn't doing much to be considered a great Fantasy option. He's not a terrible option this week, but he's only passed for 265 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Last week, in what turned out to be a good game, he was 23 of 27 for 155 yards and two touchdowns at Detroit. And now Favre has this finger injury, which could affect his performance. If you have another option, sit Favre this week. The gunslinger has gone conservative.
Byron Leftwich (vs. NYG): Leftwich has been outstanding the first two weeks, passing for 572 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions against Dallas and Buffalo. He's got it done mostly without Antonio Bryant (knee), but he's been able to produce with the Bucs playing from behind. But this is not a good matchup for Leftwich even though Tampa Bay will likely be trailing again. The Giants pass defense should be able to pressure Leftwich and force him into some mistakes. They contained Jason Campbell and Tony Romo this season with two touchdowns, four interceptions and three sacks, and they should slow down Leftwich this week.
Carson Palmer (vs. PIT): Palmer didn't play against the Steelers last year, but he struggled against Pittsburgh in 2007 when he combined for 388 yards and one touchdown in two games. In his past five meetings with the Steelers in the regular season, Palmer has passed for more than 250 yards just once. The Steelers pass defense hasn't been as stout as previous years and struggled at times with Tennessee and Chicago the first two weeks, especially with Troy Polamalu (knee) out. But Palmer will face plenty of pressure and could be prone to mistakes, adding to his four interceptions on the season. If you need to start Palmer in deeper formats, the good thing is he could be throwing a lot, but he could struggle to be a quality Fantasy option in this matchup.
Bust alert: Jay Cutler (at SEA): It's hard to sit Cutler this week after the way he played at home in Week 2 against Pittsburgh with 236 passing yards and two touchdowns. He looked like a franchise quarterback and a No. 1 Fantasy option. But the Bears should be able to establish the run with Matt Forte this week and finally get him going. The Seahawks defense was abused by Frank Gore last week, and Forte could have a big day. Because of that, Cutler might not have to do much. And keep in mind, even though they played St. Louis and San Francisco the first two weeks, the Seahawks defense is No. 2 in pass defense with no touchdowns allowed and seven sacks. Cutler is worth starting if you don't have a better quarterback this week, but I don't know if he'll finish as a No. 1 Fantasy option in this matchup.
(vs. CLE): This is the type of matchup you
dream of. The Browns lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns allowed with
five and are giving up 206 yards per game on the ground. All McGahee has
done is score three rushing touchdowns and four touchdowns overall, and
last week at San Diego he was the leading rusher with 15 carries for 79
yards. He also has a good history against Cleveland with 50 carries for
270 yards and two touchdowns in his past three meetings with the Browns.
McGahee is definitely worth starting ahead of
, and you should plan on starting
as well. In deeper leagues,
could pay dividends as well.
Tim Hightower (vs. IND): I got to see the Colts run defense (or lack thereof) up close and personal Monday night in Miami. Indianapolis continued to put eight men at the line of scrimmage only to see Ronnie Brown run for 136 yards and two touchdowns. The Colts can't stack the box against the Cardinals because of their passing game, so Hightower should have some running room. And if this game turns into a shootout as expected, Hightower will be on the field catching plenty of passes. You should consider Beanie Wells a sleeper this week also as he should get a chance to build off last week's performance at Jacksonville when he had seven carries for 44 yards but lost a fumble.
Darren Sproles (vs. MIA): LaDainian Tomlinson (ankle) isn't expected to play against the Dolphins, which gives Sproles yet another chance to start, and he's worth using as a No. 2 Fantasy running back. The Dolphins run defense has been great so far this year, but Sproles can do so much that he will still be productive. He had 66 total yards and a touchdown in Week 1 at Oakland and 150 total yards and a touchdown in Week 2 against Baltimore when Tomlinson missed the game. This week, the Dolphins are flying across the country on a short week after playing on Monday night. They gave up a rushing touchdown against Indianapolis rookie Donald Brown , and Sproles will get at least 15 touches, which is more than enough for him to be successful.
Fred Jackson (vs. NO): You can't bench Jackson at this point based on the way he played the first two weeks. In Week 1, Jackson had 57 rushing yards and five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown at New England. In Week 2, as the Start of the Week, he had 163 rushing yards and six catches for 25 yards and a fumble. He gets at least one more start with Marshawn Lynch suspension ending this week, and the Bills will continue to get him the ball on the ground and through the air. The Saints have done well on defense and rank No. 5 against the run at 59 yards per game with two touchdowns allowed. But Jackson should remain a quality Fantasy option and is another running back worth starting ahead of Chris Johnson this week.
Reggie Bush (at BUF): Bush should get the majority of touches with Mike Bell (knee) not expected to play and Pierre Thomas still not 100 percent from his knee problem. Lynell Hamilton could get some touches with Bush and Thomas, but this is the type of game where Bush should show his potential. The Bills have done well in run defense this year, but they've allowed a rushing touchdown to Fred Taylor in Week 1 and a receiving touchdown to Cadillac Williams in Week 2. Bush is capable of doing it all for the Saints, and this game should be high scoring.
Sleeper alert: Felix Jones (vs. CAR): Even if Marion Barber (quad) is able to play, he won't be 100 percent, which could mean more touches for Jones. The Panthers run defense is among the worst in the NFL at 168 yards per game with two touchdowns allowed. Jones showed what he's capable of in Week 2 against the Giants with seven carries for 96 yards and a touchdown with a lost fumble. With more touches this week, he should reach 100 total yards with the chance to score. He would share carries with Tashard Choice if Barber is out, but Jones could be the featured running back this week. Some other sleepers to consider this week are LeSean McCoy (vs. KC), especially if Brian Westbrook (ankle) is out, Ahmad Bradshaw (at TB), Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno (at OAK) and Leon Washington (vs. TEN).
(vs. PIT): Benson, who was the Sit of the
Week in Week 2, was much better than expected at Green Bay with 29
carries for 141 yards. He has played well in two games against the
Packers and Broncos with 50 carries for 217 yards and a touchdown and
four catches for 32 yards. But now he faces his toughest matchup to date
with the Steelers, who have shut down the Titans run game and
to open the season. Benson struggled against the Steelers
last year with 30 carries for 87 yards and two catches for 14 yards in
two games. He has an ankle injury coming into this game and although
he's expected to play, he's not expected to play well.
Larry Johnson (at PHI): Johnson is going to be a matchup running back, which means you play him when he has a favorable matchup. In Week 1 at Baltimore, you kept him reserved, and he had 11 carries for 20 yards. In Week 2 against Oakland, you started him, and he had 24 carries for 74 yards and three catches for 41 yards. This week against the Eagles, you should sit him again. Philadelphia has struggled against the run this year, allowing 110 yards per game and three touchdowns against Carolina and New Orleans, but the Eagles should clamp down on Johnson this week. Consider him a No. 3 Fantasy option at best.
Joseph Addai (at ARI): It was troubling to see Addai on the sideline during the fourth quarter of Monday night's game at Miami while rookie Donald Brown was on the field during crunch time. Brown scored a touchdown with Addai watching, and that could be a sign of things to come. This is also a tough matchup for Addai since the Cardinals have done well in defending the run. They are No. 4 in run defense with 57 yards per game allowed and one rushing touchdown, and this is after facing Frank Gore and Maurice Jones-Drew to open the season. Addai should play better as the season goes on, but it appears like Brown has earned a permanent spot in the running back rotation as expected.
Julius Jones (vs. CHI): The Bears did a good job last week against the Steelers even without linebackers Brian Urlacher (wrist) and Pisa Tinoisamoa (knee), and the Steelers are a better running team than the Seahawks. Jones, as expected, struggled in Week 2 at San Francisco with 11 rushing yards. He scored on a receiving touchdown, which saved his day, but he should struggle again this week. With Seneca Wallace expected at quarterback for the injured Matt Hasselbeck (ribs), the Bears can load up to stop Jones and force Wallace to throw. The Seahawks also might give Justin Forsett some extra looks this week, which will cut into Jones' playing time, and keep in mind Seattle is still dealing with injuries on the offensive line.
Willie Parker (at CIN): The Steelers have become a passing team now, which doesn't suit Parker's game. He has 27 carries for 66 yards and only two catches for 8 yards on the season, and the Steelers have shown a lack of trust in keeping him on the field. Parker might play well in this game, but there's no evidence to suggest you should trust him as anything more than a No. 3 Fantasy running back. Rashard Mendenhall and Mewelde Moore might be better Fantasy options going forward, and Parker hasn't played well against the Bengals in almost two years. If Parker can turn things around, then I'll start to believe in him again. But the Steelers are airing it out now, and that means less time for Parker on the field.
Bust alert: Frank Gore (at MIN): Keep Gore active this week, but consider him a No. 2 Fantasy running back at best with the chance to struggle. He was awesome in Week 2 against Seattle with 16 carries for 207 yards and two touchdowns and five catches for 39 yards, but he scored on a 79-yard run and an 80-yard run. Take away those carries, and he had 14 carries for 48 yards. Remember, he struggled in Week 1 at Arizona with 22 carries for 30 yards and a touchdown and three catches for 18 yards and a score, but there were questions about the 49ers offensive line. It's easy to look good against the Seahawks, but the Vikings will expose any problems if they persist. Now, the Vikings vaunted run defense has shown a few cracks this season and ranks only No. 15 with 109 yards per game allowed. But they have yet to allow a rushing touchdown, and you know they will gear up for Gore. The Vikings did not allow a 100-yard rusher at home last season, so we just want you to be prepared if you think you have better options for Week 3.
(vs. TEN): To say the Titans have been
bad in pass defense would be a compliment. They have been horrible in
the first two weeks against the Steelers and Texans and rank last in the
NFL at 339 yards per game with five touchdowns allowed. While the Jets
don't have near the same passing attack as those two teams, Cotchery has
the chance to make some plays this week.
over 100 yards against Tennessee in Week 1 and
all went over 70 yards in Week 2 against the Titans.
Everyone except Ward scored a touchdown, and he fumbled attempting to
score. Cotchery is capable of those stats, and he's definitely worth
consideration as a No. 2 option. In deeper leagues, consider
as a sleeper.
Steve Smith (at TB): It's hard to expect Smith to keep up this pace, but he's tied with Randy Moss for the NFL lead in receptions with 16. He's already matched his career totals in touchdowns (one), and it's clear he's Eli Manning new favorite target with 21 passes thrown in his direction. The Bucs are among the worst pass defenses in the league through two games, so consider starting Mario Manningham in deeper formats as well if you were able to add him off the waiver wire.
Santonio Holmes (at CIN): Holmes is second among receivers in targets with 25, and he has 14 catches for 214 yards and a touchdown for the season. This week, he goes back to a place where he thrives. The former Ohio State standout loves going back to the Buckeye state, and he has 15 catches for 300 yards and a touchdown in three career games in Cincinnati. It's the same thing when Holmes goes to Cleveland, where he has 12 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown in three games. The Bengals secondary has improved this year, but Holmes and Hines Ward will continue to make things difficult for the Cincinnati secondary.
Lee Evans (vs. NO): Wide receivers have done well against the Saints this season. New Orleans has allowed 24 catches for 378 yards and two touchdowns to opposing wide receivers, and Evans will have the chance to make some plays in what should be a high-scoring game. He only has four catches for 57 yards and one touchdown for the season, but the matchup is in his favor. Last week the Eagles had three receivers (Brent Celek, DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant) all go over 75 receiving yards with two touchdowns. And with Trent Edwards expected to play well, that should mean good things for Evans and Terrell Owens this week.
Santana Moss (at DET): We're sticking with Moss even after he let us down last week against St. Louis. He only caught three passes for 35 yards with a fumble against the Rams and has five catches for 41 yards on the season, but he played well against the Lions last year with nine catches for 140 yards and a touchdown at Detroit. In six games in 2008 on artificial surfaces, Moss had 37 catches for 514 yards and three touchdowns. The Lions have a terrible pass defense, and this should be the game where Moss gets going based on the matchup. Consider him a good risk as a No. 3 option.
Sleeper alert: Donald Driver (at STL): We keep wanting to write off Driver because of his age (34) and the development of Greg Jennings , but Driver continues to produce. And he's off to a hot start this year with 10 catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. He benefits from single coverage thanks to Jennings, and Driver has been targeted 16 times compared to Jennings' 13. He's also been more productive than Jennings (six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown). Now, Jennings is still the better Fantasy option because of his big-play ability, but Driver should be considered in all leagues with the matchup at St. Louis. Some other sleepers to consider this week are Devery Henderson (at BUF), Torry Holt (vs. HOU), Laurent Robinson (vs. GB), Percy Harvin (vs. SF) and Braylon Edwards (at BAL).
(vs. CHI): With
expected to start for the injured
(ribs), you can't count on Burleson this week
against the Bears. Even
should be considered a risky play. Burleson has been a surprise in that
he was targeted 21 times in two games and has 11 catches for 120 yards
and a touchdown. My colleague Dave Richard thinks Wallace can get
Burleson involved, and Wallace targeted Burleson six times in one half
last week at San Francisco when he came on for Hasselbeck. But the two
couldn't connect, and Burleson finished the game with four catches for
46 yards. Those are the stats you can expect for him against the Bears.
Instead, wait for Hasselbeck to be healthy before considering Burleson
as a starter for your Fantasy team.
Brandon Marshall (at OAK): Marshall said he's getting more comfortable with the playbook and new quarterback Kyle Orton after reports surfaced in Denver the two aren't on the same page. It's obvious the coaches don't trust Marshall at this point since he was out for most of the second quarter last week against Cleveland and finished with three catches for 34 yards while Brandon Stokley and Jabar Gaffney played more prominent roles. Marshall has just seven catches for 61 yards on the season, and now he faces an opponent he has struggled with in his career. Marshall has no touchdowns and no 100-yard games in three meetings with the Raiders. You also have to worry about Eddie Royal (five catches for 38 yards this season), and the safe option is to keep both reserved until they can break out of this early season funk.
Justin Gage (vs. NYJ): You have to worry about Gage and Nate Washington this week because whoever gets Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis is likely in trouble. Revis did a good job in holding Randy Moss to four catches for 24 yards last week. Last year, Gage had one catch for 37 yards against the Jets, and he has only four catches for 85 yards in two meetings against New York in the past two years. The Jets have only surrendered 238 passing yards to opposing wide receivers and no touchdowns this year, so Gage and Washington could be in for a long day.
Patrick Crayton (vs. CAR): Crayton could always surprise you with a big game, but those usually don't happen often. He had four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 and then finished with one catch for 4 yards last week against the Giants, which included hurting his head. Crayton has struggled playing in Dallas with 20 catches for 274 yards and three touchdowns last year, and the Panthers have done well against opposing receivers this season. They are No. 3 in pass defense at 67.9 yards per game and five touchdowns allowed, but receivers have only accounted for 193 yards and one touchdown in two games. If Crayton has a good game, let it happen on your bench since he's too unreliable most weeks.
Laveranues Coles (vs. PIT): So far signing Coles hasn't worked out well for the Bengals. He was outplayed by Andre Caldwell in Week 1 against Denver, and last week he scored a touchdown but finished with just two catches for 9 yards at Green Bay. He only has three catches for 20 yards on the season, and the Steelers have a good secondary, which has only given up two touchdowns to opposing receivers. If anyone has a big game through the air for the Bengals you have to figure it will come from Chad Johnson . Keep Coles reserved in all standard leagues until he starts to find his role with Cincinnati.
Bust alert: Vincent Jackson (vs. MIA): Call me crazy with this selection, but the Dolphins have actually done well with the No. 1 receiver on the opposing team. In Week 1, the Dolphins held Roddy White to five catches for 42 yards, and last week Reggie Wayne had only three catches for 37 yards. It's opposing tight ends ( Tony Gonzalez , Dallas Clark and now Antonio Gates ) who have killed the Dolphins, but the combination of cornerbacks Will Allen and rookie Sean Smith have played well on the outside. Last year in Miami, Jackson was held to two catches for 56 yards, and the Dolphins are among the league leaders against opposing receivers with only 14 catches for 172 yards and one touchdown allowed in two games. That touchdown came on a wide receiver screen to Pierre Garcon in Week 2. With that in mind, the Chargers lead the NFL with only 12 catches allowed to opposing wide receivers, so Ted Ginn could have a letdown following his 11 catch, 108-yard performance against Indianapolis last week.
(vs. NYG): The Giants have allowed a
touchdown to a tight end each of the past two weeks with
in Week 1 and
in Week 2. Cooley had seven catches for 68 yards against the Giants, and
Witten had five catches for 33 yards. Winslow is the only trusted weapon
in the passing game for the Bucs, and the Giants are without safety
(knee). He has 12 catches for 120 yards and two
touchdowns in his first two games for Tampa Bay, and if the Bucs are
playing from behind, Winslow will see his share of targets. Consider him
a safe start despite the tough matchup for
Dustin Keller (vs. TEN): The Titans are also one of those teams struggling to stop tight ends. In Week 1, Heath Miller had eight catches for 64 yards, and Owen Daniels had six catches for 72 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Look for Keller, who has seven catches for 116 yards and a touchdown in two games, to make plays for Mark Sanchez in the middle of the field. It's doubtful the Titans will be able to contain Keller based on their first two games.
Jeremy Shockey (at BUF): The Bills are another team that struggles with defending tight ends. Benjamin Watson had six catches for 77 yards and two touchdowns against the Bills in Week 1 and Kellen Winslow had seven catches for 90 yards and a touchdown at Buffalo last week. Shockey was quiet last week with four catches for 49 yards at Philadelphia, but he had four catches for 31 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1. If the trend continues, the Bills won't be able to stop Shockey.
Sleeper alert: Jermichael Finley (at STL): Finley showed signs of life with four catches for 56 yards last week against Cincinnati, and the Rams have been prone to big games from opposing tight ends. In Week 1, John Carlson had six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns, and Finley could end up as one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets this week. Some other sleepers to consider this week are Brent Celek (vs. KC), Todd Heap (vs. CLE) and Anthony Fasano (at SD).
(at SEA): At some point Olsen is going to break
out of his early season funk, but right now he's being outplayed by
third-string tight end
Last week against Pittsburgh, Davis had five catches for 38 yards and a
touchdown while Olsen had three catches for 41 yards. Both were targeted
six times, so Olsen is starting to look like a bust if he doesn't have a
big game soon. Until that happens, keep him reserved and hope
starts throwing in his direction.
Zach Miller (vs. DEN): The Broncos have done well in pass defense to start the season and are one of four teams (Indianapolis, Seattle and the Jets) that have yet to allow a passing touchdown this year. While they haven't faced any elite tight ends yet with Cincinnati and Cleveland as their first two opponents, the Broncos did a good job on Miller last season, holding him to seven catches for 75 yards in two games. You have to be worried about starting Miller after he went without a catch in Week 2 at Kansas City. With the way JaMarcus Russell is playing right now, you can't rely on any of his targets.
Tony Scheffler (at OAK): You had to think Kyle Orton history of throwing to the tight end would help Scheffler this year even if Josh McDaniels' offense doesn't feature the tight end very often. The latter has been the case this year, and don't expect Scheffler to take off now that he scored a touchdown in Week 2 against Cleveland. That was his only catch in that game, and he has just two catches on the season. He might develop into a red-zone threat, but that doesn't make him a viable Fantasy option. He only has four targets for the season.
Bust alert: Marcedes Lewis (at HOU): Every year Lewis shows flashes of his potential, and every year he continues to let us down. Last week against Arizona, Lewis had three catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. He won't follow that up with another big game, so keep him reserved this week. In five meetings with the Texans, Lewis has five catches for 73 yards. He's gone two games without catching a pass, and he has yet to score against Houston. Every now and then David Garrard will look at Lewis, but he's only worth using if your starter has an injury or during the bye weeks. With everyone healthy and active, keep Lewis on the bench.
Green Bay (at STL): The Rams are dealing with some injuries on
the offensive line, and the Packers should benefit with added pressure
after their defense had a
disappointing Week 2 against the Bengals. This is the Rams first home
game, but the Packers are already among the league leaders in takeaways
with six interceptions. Bulger hasn't thrown an interception yet, but
remains a must
start, but the Packers seem to find a way to create turnovers and make
things happen as your starting DST.
Other DSTs with good matchups: Denver (at OAK), Chicago (at SEA) and Washington (at DET)
New England (vs. ATL): The Patriots will get things figured out defensively, but it's not easy losing players like Richard Seymour , Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel and Rodney Harrison in one season and having a seamless transition. There are going to be growing pains, and losing linebacker Jerod Mayo to a knee injury in Week 1 didn't help. Matt Ryan and the Falcons have done well in limiting turnovers to start the season (two), and he does a good job avoiding the blitz and taking sacks. The Falcons should be able to move the ball, and this game has the makings of a shootout.
(at TB):Tynes picked up this season where
left off last year when he replaced an injured Tynes as
the starting Giants kicker. This year, with the job his again, Tynes has
made 7 of 8 field goals, and he leads the NFL in attempts. The Giants
offense is also playing at a high level and should do well in Week 3 at
Tampa Bay, which leads the NFL in most field goals allowed at six. Tynes
made 4 of 5 field goals at Dallas in Week 2 and should remain hot with
the way the offense is moving the ball for the Giants.
Other kickers with good matchups: Steven Hauschka (vs. CLE), Nate Kaeding (vs. MIA) and Neil Rackers (vs. IND)
Jason Elam (at NE): Elam could be in trouble this week. Not only is he dealing with a hamstring injury, he's been a little off his game this year. Elam missed two field goals in Week 1 against Miami and didn't attempt a field goal last week against Carolina. This is his first game kicking outdoors, and hopefully the hamstring won't be a problem. New England has allowed four field goals this year in two games, so Elam should have his chances, but be careful of his injury and the kicking surface this week. There could be better options on the waiver wire.
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