Fantasy Insider: Week 3

James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Jacksonville Jaguars fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer.

Injuries have been a problem early this season, and the latest victim is Jamaal Charles, who tore his ACL and is done for the season. That leaves Thomas Jones and Dexter McCluster to try and fill the void. The Chiefs are going to implement a RBBC and that will basically kill both players' fantasy value. Jones is 33 years old and sporting a 3.07 YPC average through two games; McCluster is a more interesting pick because he qualifies at both RB and WR in most leagues and is more likely to see additional touches since the Chiefs are sure to be playing from behind. I would avoid Jones, but add McCluster if you have an open spot just to see exactly how his role is defined.

**START 'EM**

Matthew Stafford: Stafford has always had the talent to be a top-tier NFL QB, but injuries have derailed him early in his career. This season he is healthy (so far) and I have every confidence in him this weekend as he faces a Vikings defense that has given up 578 passing yards, 11th most in the NFL. You could easily see top 5 QB numbers from Stafford this weekend.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: The Bills are 2-0, but in all fairness, their two wins came against the Chiefs and Raiders. That being said, Fitzpatrick should do well this weekend against a Patriots defense that made Chad Henne look like a Pro Bowl QB. I could see him sneaking into QB1 territory this weekend and would start him over guys like Kevin Kolb and Joe Flacco.  

Ben Tate: Word is that Arian Foster will miss this weekend's game, which means Tater tot will get the call against a Saints team that is more prolific on offense than defense. I'm looking for low-end RB1 numbers from Tate this weekend.

Beanie Wells: I've gotten a lot of emails asking if owners should start Wells this weekend and the answer is yes. The Cardinals need a running game to take pressure of Kevin Kolb and Larry Fitzgerald, and Wells is the man in Arizona. Not to mention that the Seahawks are a really bad team that will probably get behind early, which means the Cardinals will run the ball to run out the clock. Look for high-end RB2 numbers from Wells.

Steve Smith (CAR): I hate to do this, but I am going to jump on the Cam Newton bandwagon. This is more of praise for Newton than it is a knock on the Jaguars defense as the Jags have allowed just 257 yards to receivers in their first two games. However, Newton has given Smith new life and has proven that he will look to Smith on every single play first, and that means big fantasy numbers in standard and PPR leagues.

Deion Branch: Branch has quietly put up solid fantasy numbers so far, accumulating 15 catches for 222 yards. The only real drawback is the no TDs, but that should all change this weekend as the Patriots rout the Bills. Branch is a solid WR3 that could put up WR2 numbers in PPR leagues.

Fred Davis: Why Davis is getting no love is beyond me. I mean he is only the fifth best fantasy TE heading into Week 3, racking up 11 receptions for 191 yards and a TD. This weekend he faces the Cowboys, who have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to TEs this season at 13.5 PPG.

San Francisco 49ers Defense: The 49ers defense isn't one that I normally look at when it comes to picking defenses, but this weekend they get the rebuilding Bengals offense. I wouldn't expect stud-type numbers, but if you are struggling with an underperforming defense, the Niners could sneak into low-end fantasy defense numbers when the dust settles this week.

**SIT 'EM**

Josh Freeman: Despite being owned in 86 percent of Yahoo leagues, Freeman is ranking right around the 22-23 range for QBs. The simple truth about Freeman is that the Bucs don't have the weapons on offense to spread out a defense and open up receivers for Freeman to throw to.

Eli Manning: The other Manning brother is still playing for fantasy owners, but not someone I want to see anywhere near my fantasy team this weekend. The Eagles have one of the most fearful secondaries in the league and Manning is without Dominic Hixon (ACL) and possibly Mario Manningham (concussion).

DeAngelo Williams: Williams has been a major disappointment so far this season as the Panthers have gone to featuring the pass more than the run. Add to that the fact that they are still splitting carries between Williams and Jonathan Stewart and you have problems. The fact that the Jaguars have only allowed 105 rushing yards to RBs this season (4th in the NFL) gives me confidence in sitting Williams this weekend.

Frank Gore: The Bengals have said that their first goal is to stop Gore this weekend, and with little else on the field to worry about, the Niners might just struggle to move the ball. Braylon Edwards is out and Michael Crabtree is rocketing towards an official bust label. If you get RB2 numbers from Gore this weekend you did well.  

Mike Williams (TB): I'm actually cutting Williams in most of my leagues because of the reasons I mentioned above with Freeman. Williams is seeing all the double coverages that defenses can throw at him and he should be benched if you won't cut him.

Reggie Wayne: Wayne is the victim of QB problems, but he still managed to haul in 11 passes for 172 yards and a score. If I owned Wayne I would be trying to trade him strictly on name value as Kerry Collins is not getting better and the Colts have nobody else to turn to at QB. And, it doesn't help that they face the Steelers and their No. 2-ranked defense against WRs (11.2 PPG).

Dallas Clark: Clark is owned in 95 percent of fantasy leagues and started in 69 percent of those leagues, but has yet to reach 5 catches or 40 yards receiving in a game this season. The only value Clark has is in the occasional TD that he might happen to catch, and with Collins at the helm I wouldn't bank on that. Sell anyone in a Colts uniform if you can.

New York Giants Defense: I want to sit the Giants defense simply because they had a few players fake injuries (allegedly) when Sam Bradford was leading the Rams offense down the field in a no-huddle offense this past weekend. However, the defense faces the Eagles offense and I am hearing that Michael Vick will be under center when the game starts. This one is going to get ugly for the G-Men and their fantasy owners.

**QUESTION OF THE WEEK**

Q: Should I pick up Thomas Jones or McCluster? I have a feeling they'll be splitting carries, but I'm actually leaning toward Sproles since it's a PPR league. Also going Arizona defense @ Seattle. Good idea?
--hartkr79

A: I'm actually staying away from the Chiefs backfield because neither McCluster nor Jones can handle a full workload. Sproles is a good add in a PPR league. Anyone playing the Seahawks is a solid play.

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