NFL Start ‘Em: 10 Fantasy Football Players With Sweetheart Matchups In Week 3
by Pat Mayo | 1:32 pm, September 19th, 2012
Each week, Pat Mayo of
RotoExperts.com will be bringing you fantasy football players with favorable matchups. Whether it’s a wide receiver facing a weak-kneed secondary, a running back taking on a dinged-up front seven, or a team defense preparing to eat a cupcake rookie quarterback, these are the guys who are poised for a big fantasy output this Sunday.
This week, Pat says you should give the Kansas City running backs one more chance, and also keep your eye on a back in Pittsburgh who’s primed to increase his fantasy output. Here are his sweetheart matchups for Week 3.
1.1. Jamaal Charles & 2. Peyton Hillis
Let’s rewind two weeks. Kansas City was building sleeper momentum in the AFC West: The returns of Eric Berry, Matt Cassel and Tony Moeaki were expected to give the team a boost on both sides of the ball. Tyler Palko has been banished to a life of
shilling orthotics, wiping away the terrors that haunted Chiefs fans all offseason. And, most importantly, the health of Jamaal Charles and the addition of Peyton Hillis reestablished Kansas City’s run-first identity, allowing Cassel to shift back into his game manager role. (Like Troy McClure as the Human in Stop the Planet of the Apes: I Want Get Off! – It’s the part he was born to play, baby!) Unfortunately, nothing has gone as planned. Charles’ lingering knee issues have limited his impact, even causing him to sit in the second half of last week in Buffalo. Frustrated Fantasy owners have a seat on their benches warmed up for him too, but give it another week. The Chiefs have a cupcake matchup against the Saints' porous run defense. It’s proving time for Charles and Hillis.
2.3. Andy Dalton
Stuck for a quarterback this week? Then give Andy Dalton some consideration. It’s not because his skills are elite or his options are of the highest caliber – outside of AJ Green that is – but a date with the Redskins is Fantasy gold for any pivot. Through two weeks Washington is allowing 325 yards and three touchdowns per game to opposing QBs. And it wasn’t just Drew Brees in the season opener doing all the damage - Sam Bradford exposed the Skins’ defensive shortcomings last week as well. Now, without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the rest of the year, Washington isn’t going to generate any pressure. With time to operate against Cleveland last week, Dalton was excellent, tossing 318 yards and 3 TDs.
3.4. Jonathan Dwyer
Jonathan Dwyer hasn’t been statistically impressive to date, but to the naked eye he’s looked very good, and most important to this discussion, significantly better than Issac Redman. The two backs have essentially split carries in both games – Redman 23/Dwyer 21 – but Dywer has been more effective – averaging 3.4 yards per carry to Redman’s 2.0. This week, the Steelers get an Oakland squad fresh off getting torched by Reggie Bush and a previously punchless Dolphins offense. Pittsburgh struggled on the ground against a tough Jets defense and will be looking to rectify that outing in this cushy match up, giving Dywer the shot he needs to distance himself from Redman and claim the starting gig.
4.5. Lions Defense & Special Teams
The Titans stink. They can’t run the ball, at all. Someone desperately needs to inform Chris Johnson that he needs to run through the holes, not directly into the rear of his offensive linemen. And the passing game isn’t hectares ahead of the ground unit. All Jake Locker’s goodwill built up from his relief appearances last year has
gone all Keyser Soze in 2012. He’s averaging slightly over 200 passing yards through two games, most of which coming in garbage time. He seems to have an exclusive copyright on terrible passes and has become no stranger to turnovers. The Lions offense should jump out to an early lead, allowing their defensive line to bring the ruckus on Locker. All that pressure is going to result in a series of sacks and poor passes that will, hopefully, lead to a score or two.
5.6. Alex Henery
The Cardinals have been the ultimate ‘bend but don’t break’ defense. They’ve only surrendered 34 points to the Seahawks and Patriots over the first two weeks - an impressive total. Doing it by posting a no trespassing sign on the endzone, ceding just a single touchdown in each game. Fortunately for Fantasy teams, teams have no issues freely moving the ball between the 20s. Despite ranking fifth in points allowed, the Cards are a much more pedestrian 13th in yards against. A perfect situation for kickers: 22 of those 34 points have come from the feet of two Stevie Spellchecks - Gostkowski and Hauschka. Arizona’s nine field goal attempts against are two more than other team, and if Michael Vick can manage to not turn the ball over every time the Eagles cross the 50, Alex Henery will get plenty of opportunities. Plus, he gets the added bonus of kicking under ideal conditions inside University of Phoenix Stadium.
6.7. Andre Brown
Substitute Ahmad Brawshaw for Andre Brown should he be healthy enough to suit up for the Thursday nighter, but that’s looking unlikely. His
"neck" forced him to miss practice Tuesday, and in such a short week, Bradshaw may pull a Greg Jennings and no-show against the Panthers, leaving Brown in a great position to help Fantasy teams. After Sunday’s outstanding effort against the Bucs, Brown has positioned himself to get the majority of the Giants workload over town crier David Wilson. It’s no sure thing, but the match up makes it a calculated roll of the dice.
7.8. Brandon Pettigrew
I’m not comfortable calling the Titans the worst team in football going forward, but they have been for the first two weeks of the season and show no signs of improving quickly. I’ve already talked in detail about the pathetic offense, but I’m an equal opportunity hater, and the defense is just as culpable. They can’t stop anyone with size. Tennessee has allowed tight ends to score five times. Five times. In two games! Of course Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski destroy every team, but Dante Rosario, give me a break. If Brandon Pettigrew manages to actually
catch the passes thrown his direction expect a gigantic day.
8.9. Laurent Robinson
Sure, pinning your hopes on the performance of
Unsightly Sunshine is the focus of my screenplay Blaine Gabbert or: How I Stopped Playing Fantasy Football to Win and Instead Focused on Irony, but, if there was a game where he could ever not damage your team, it's Sunday against the Colts. Coming off a week that saw Gabbert complete just 37-percent of his passes - for a hilarious 53 yards - it’s easy to forget that he looked incredibly serviceable week one against the Vikings. It hasn’t translated into Fantasy performance yet, but Laurent Robinson has led the team in targets in both games, and his 15 are five more than the next closest Jags receiver – Justin Blackmon with 10. Undeniably, Robinson isn’t a safe option, but Indianapolis has been brutal defending the pass and definitely won’t present the challenges Houston did defensively. If you’re stuck, he’s a name to look for. And hey, maybe you’ll luck out and Chad Henne gets the start – Hmmm - that could be the only time that sentence will ever be written. Usually the combination of those words tell an entirely different story.
9.10. Ryan Fitzpatrick
It rarely looks pretty, but Ryan Fitzpatrick does have his moments of Fantasy brilliance. Would you be surprised to learn that the Bills pivot has five touchdown passes? Tied with Matt Ryan for the NFL lead. It’s true, but I was equally aghast finding out his 373 passing yards were 30th in football. It makes sense though. Buffalo has exclusively appeared in blowouts. Fitzpatrick had no reason to air it out in the second half against the Chiefs - that could be the root at the base of his underwhelming yardage – but it’s not, it’s C.J. Spiller – he who cannot be stopped. It becomes difficult to accrue much yardage when Spiller is averaging 10.1 yards per carry. Fortunately, for Fitzpatrick’s cause, when the Bills actually get in close they pass as much as possible. Buffalo has just four trips inside the 10-yard line this season. One ended with a Spiller plunge into the endzone and the other three were short touchdown passes. The Browns will have to throw every resource into containing Spiller, leaving Fitzpatrick free to take chances downfield and time to finish in the redzone, especially with the absence of Joe Haden.
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