Coming into Week 3, I am going to be looking more into match-ups this week, because this will be the week that we can then get some decent averages to see who is real and who is fake. The difference from Week 1 to Week 2 showed some outlier stat-getters, and Week 3 may be able to balance those out a bit to give us a good idea on whom we may be able to depend. As for this week though, I am going more match-up oriented than the old formula of past stats, combined with new roles and new places. So here we go!
Randy Starks, DL, MIA
Owned by 9% of Yahoo Leagues
A big inter-conference game is scheduled for Sunday Night against the Jets. After starting off the season with two straight road games, Miami finally goes home, and after seeing the New England D-Line pretty much own the Jet offensive line in the first half I have confidence there will be more of the same this week. The Jets have allowed five sacks thus far, and unless Mark Sanchez finds a rhythm it will be a long day.
Week 3 Projections: 3 Solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 sack
Calais Campbell, DL, ARI
Owned by 8% of Yahoo Leagues
This is a bit of a shot in the dark pick. This is a pick that I went with for two simple reasons: one, Campbell is a great talent on a defense that will be defending a lot of passes, and two, the Cards are going up against Oakland, who has some obvious issues at QB going into Week 3. Whoever starts, Jason Campbell or Bruce Gradkowski, is going to be on pins and needles trying to show they should start. Advantage: defense.
Week 3 Projections: 5 Solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, .5 sack
Jason Babin, DL, TEN
Owned by 1% of Yahoo Leagues
Babin has back-to-back weeks with at least 2 tackles and a sack, and is going up against the Giants, whom the Colts D-Line absolutely ripped to shreds in Week 2. He has the skill set to get it done; he just needed the opportunity, and with Vanden Bosch out of town he is finally getting full-time PT and showcasing his talent.
Week 3 Projections: 3 Solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, .5 sack, 1 pass deflection
Takeo Spikes, LB, SF
Owned by 1% of Yahoo Leagues
Remember this guy? No I’m not thinking a throwback year from the early 2000’s, but he is still getting it done in his 13th season as a pro. Patrick Willis does suck a lot of fantasy value out of Spikes, but Spikes still gets his own. They have a nice match-up for an IDP start in Week 3 going into KC to take on a team that ranks #4 in the NFL in rushing attempts through two weeks. It seems like whether up or down, the Chiefs are going to try to pound the ball, which is good for solo tackles out of LBs.
Week 3 Projections: 9 Solo tackles, 3 assisted tackles, 1 forced fumble
Lawrence Timmons, LB, PIT
Owned by 16% of Yahoo Leagues
To date (SF/NO is at the half as I write this), Timmons is leading the league after two weeks in solo tackles. I wanted to see at least three weeks out of Timmons before putting him on the list, but I don’t think you can wait that long. After a stout showing Week 2 against Chris Johnson and the Titans, I really see another big week out of him Week 3 against the Buccaneers. Surprisingly, to me, Tampa ranks top seven in the NFL in rush attempts, and I see them sticking to the trend. Even if Tampa doesn’t stick with the run, Timmons is a very sound pass-defending LB. Looking for a nice week, and year, out of Timmons.
Week 3 Projections: 10 Solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles
Michael Boley, LB, NYG
Owned by 3% of Yahoo Leagues
Boley had a surprisingly big week in Week 2 against the pass-loving Colts, who pounded the ball down the Giants’ throats. Remember, this is a guy who just a couple years ago totaled well over 100 total tackles, so he knows how to get it done. Boley has a juicy match-up for IDP linebackers going up against the Titans, who will be looking to run, run, run for two reasons: one, they were pretty much ‘shut down’ against the Steelers, and two, it doesn’t really look like they can depend on Kerry Collins again this year if Vince Young gets yanked again.
Week 3 Projections: 7 Solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 fumble recovery
Nick Collins, DB, GB
Owned by 6% of Yahoo Leagues
Collins aggravated a hip flexor in Week 2, but all reports are saying he will just receive some time off from practice this week and will be out there Week 3 against the Bears. A switch to Mike Martz’s pass happy offense by the Bears makes Collins a nice sleeper pick this week, and I see this being a big time shootout, unlike many Packer/Bear games in the past. Collins should be very active in the pass game, but like his counterpart Charles Woodson, he likes to stick his nose in the running game also.
Week 3 Projections: 7 Solo tackles, 1 assisted tackle, 1 INT
Jason Allen, DB, MIA
Owned by 1% of Yahoo Leagues
Yes, the other Miami defensive back not named Bell. Allen has quietly put together two very nice weeks, and I don’t see that changing in Week 3. Allen is a bigger DB, so I see him matching up with many of the Jets’ receiving options, making him a valuable pick. He has been very active in the passing game this year, recording an INT in both games and defending four passes already. But Allen isn’t just in pass categories, he has also recorded 19 total tackles those two games.
Week 3 Projections: 5 Solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 pass defended
Kareem Jackson, DB, HOU
Owned by 0% of Yahoo Leagues
I’m going with the 20th overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Alabama here. Jackson has had a rough first couple of weeks, but who wouldn’t going up against Peyton Manning in Week 1? This Houston D has seen a ton of passing in the first two weeks, and I don’t see that changing in Week 2, as it will be an aerial show in Houston as the Big D comes to town. Just browsing some stats, I found out Dallas has thrown the ball more then any other team so far this year. Yes, even more then the Saints, Colts and Texans. I think the big change this week though, for the whole Houston secondary, is that I don’t see Tony Romo having near the completion percentage as that of Manning or Donovan McNabb. Watch out for Jackson — his first round draft status is no fluke.
Week 3 Projections: 3 Solo tackles, 2 assisted tackles, 1 INT
Team Defense/Special Teams
Tampa Bay D/ST
Owned by 7% of Yahoo Leagues
Tampa’s D has some old guys but is still a very respectable defense, unlike the offense. Any other week (with Big Ben at QB) I would say it’s a death sentence to start them against Pittsburgh, but not this week. Not only is Ben Roethlisberger not starting, but neither is the injured Dennis Dixon, meaning old man Charlie Batch is starting. The game is in Tampa, and this is a great time to start a D against the Steelers, who are on the bottom half of the league in scoring.
Owned by 40% of Yahoo Leagues
If this D/ST is available, grab them quick and reap the rewards this week! Carolina, outside of DeAngelo Williams, is looking less fantasy appealing by the week. Now in steps rookie Jimmy Clausen, who I don’t believe is ready to be the full-time starter this week. Cincy should be able to jump out to a nice lead early, which will see Clausen having to throw quite a bit. If the O-line couldn’t keep Moore upright, then I don’t see them keeping the rookie upright.
Owned by 2% of Yahoo Leagues
No I haven’t fallen off my rocker here! This is a super-sleeper D pickup for this week even if they are going to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. Look at what Miami did last week in Minny, even if Miami’s D, in my opinion, is better off then that of the Lions. Also, if you haven’t checked the stats lately, Detroit is actually tied for the league lead in team sacks. With Brett Favre and that Vikings offense looking like they are in total shambles, and with Detroit actually looking like they may be able to score some, Favre may have to force the ball like in the first two weeks.
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