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NFL Week 3 guide to fantasy football

My job is to help fantasy football owners set their rosters on players who I believe are worth using or avoiding for that particular week. It will be based on matchups, a player’s upside and past performances. I will make a case for each player, but ultimately it’s the owner’s decision.


Play ‘Em

Donovan McNabb: McNabb looked crisp against Houston on Sunday, completing 28 of 38 passes for 426 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Look for more success from the Redskins’ quarterback this week against the Rams, who rank 28th in total yards allowed. The last time McNabb played St. Louis, he completed 21 of 33 passes for 361 yards with three touchdowns.

Brett Favre: In the first two weeks, Favre has put up a total of 12 points in standard scoring leagues. Those numbers could have been caused by his ankle or his receiving corps. Whatever the case, look for Favre to bounce back this week against the Lions. In 30 games against Detroit, he’s averaged 263 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and receiver Percy Harvin, if healthy, are quality options as well in this favorable matchup.

Michael Vick: Last week, Vick took full advantage of the starting job by throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns against the Lions. Vick looks poised for another big outing against a Jacksonville defense that is 29th in total yards allowed.

Bench ‘Em

Jay Cutler: Cutler has thrived in Mike Martz’s offense, throwing five touchdowns and one interception, but against a Packers’ unit that ranks second in fantasy team defense, I would advise sitting the Chicago quarterback. Buffalo’s Trent Edwards felt the wrath of Green Bay last week, throwing for 102 yards and two interceptions.

Kyle Orton: Orton is in the same boat as McNabb, being a matchup quarterback. However, this week’s game against the Colts is not in his favor. The Colts have been dominant against the pass, allowing Matt Schaub and Eli Manning to get eight and 13 points, respectively. Look for the Broncos, led by Knowshon Moreno, to establish the run like the Texans and Giants did.

Running Backs


Play ‘Em

Darren McFadden: DMC is quieting his critics after producing two terrific performances. Last week against the Rams, McFadden had a career-high 30 carries for 145 yards. The Raiders’ offense will continue to be on his shoulders until Michael Bush returns from a thumb injury. Look for the former Razorback to run hog wild against an Arizona Cardinals’ defense, which allowed 186 total yards and three touchdowns to Atlanta backup Jason Snelling last week.

LeSean McCoy: Philadelphia coach Andy Reid announced Tuesday that Michael Vick will start this Sunday. That’s good news for McCoy owners because with Vick starting, McCoy rushed for 132 yards and scored three touchdowns last week against Detroit. Expect McCoy to respond well against a Jacksonville defense that has surrendered at least one rushing touchdown to an opposing running back in each game.

Pierre Thomas: Thomas’ stock rose when Reggie Bush broke his right fibula. That means Thomas will have a bigger role in the Saints’ offense and should see the majority of the goal-line touches. Look for Thomas to build on the 18 carries for 46 yards and eight catches for 57 yards he amassed last week, especially against a Falcons’ group that is ranked 26th in rushing defense.

Bench ‘Em

Felix Jones and Marion Barber: Let’s face it, the Cowboys’ running game is non-existent. Last week, Jones and Barber combined for a total of 38 yards.

Shonn Greene: LaDainian Tomlinson appears to be the better back in New York, outgaining Greene 102 to 60 in total offense against New England. The timeshare will continue, so keep Greene on the bench.

Ronnie Brown: Brown is suffering because of the Dolphins’ poor passing game and it will show against the Jets. In Brown’s last game against New York, he totaled 11 carries for 27 yards.

DeAngelo Williams: It’s crazy to consider benching your top-tier running back, but it’s hard to trust Williams, who managed just 54 yards against a weak Tampa Bay defense. Add rookie quarterback Jimmy Clausen starting could make things get ugly.

Wide Receivers


Play ‘Em

Austin Collie: You could make a case that Collie is now the third option in the Colts’ passing game, surpassing Pierre Garcon. Collie has scored a touchdown in each of his first two games, including 25 yards and a touchdown Sunday night against the Giants. Collie is a good flex play this week against a Denver defense that he recorded three receptions for 39 yards and a score against last year.

Santana Moss: Moss gets a favorable matchup this week against the Rams, who routinely give up big plays. Moss should be able to build on his 10 catches for 89 yards against the Texans last week.

Bench ‘Em

Mike Wallace: Many believed Wallace could have a breakout season, but he might have to wait until Ben Roethlisberger returns from his suspension. Both Dennis Dixon and Byron Leftwich are banged up, so Charlie Batch will start. Wallace had two receptions for 25 yards against the Titans. Don’t expect more than 50 yards from him this week.

Dwayne Bowe: The Chiefs are 2-0, but their offense, led by quarterback Matt Cassel, is struggling. As a result, Bowe’s numbers are suffering, as he has totaled just five catches for 58 yards. The 49ers’ pass defense kept the Saints in check, so look for the Chiefs to use Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster to ignite the offense.

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