clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Fantasy Football, Week 3: 5 under-the-radar must starts

New, comments
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

I'll grab the aloe vera, and you go get a Bishop Sankey jersey, a match, and three gallons of gasoline because I have an idea.

This is fantasy football at its finest, and we do our very best to predict production. We spend hours analyzing stats, listening to podcasts, and lamenting over sit/start options -- and then Ken Whisenhunt shows up and c-blocks us all. Ugh, I feel gross... from this point on this article is probably best read while standing in the shower -- crying.

Week 2 In Review

Like I mentioned last week I'll put myself on a "PASS" or "FAIL" scale which is based on flex options scoring above or below double digit fantasy points. Above 10 points would be a PASS, and obviously below 10 would be a FAIL. So here we go once again, let's see how I did for you, folks.

Pierre Garcon, 14.3 Points -- PASS
Vernon Davis, 11.2 Points -- PASS
Darren Sproles, 6.47 Points -- FAIL
Bishop Sankey, 4.2 Points -- FAIL
Cole Beasley, 5.43 Points -- FAIL

Welp, this wasn't my best work, apparently, but I am willing to dump 20% of my error on Ken Whisenhunt too. A 40% PASS rate this week, and an overall 50% for the season (5/10). Now I am about to grovel, hold please.

Field Gulls on Facebook

Pierre Garcon as predicted produced double digit points for us last week, the fashion in which he did it though was a surprise. In a very touchdown dependent performance, which didn't yield the targets expected, Garcon squeaked out a PASS on just 23 total receiving yards. I don't even know how this was humanly possible.

Vernon Davis came through for owners last week after posting just 7.7 points in Week 1. Vernon saw 7 targets on the day which from a week to week standpoint would be a relatively solid amount of usage. Securing 5 catches for 62 by most Vernon owners was a blessing in disguise. This was the most passing attempts in Colin's career (46) and Vernon still saw just 7 targets -- the future doesn't look especially bright.

Darren Sproles is literally being killed by Chip Kelly and this offense. In what was supposed to be the second coming of the 2013 Denver Broncos, the Philadelphia Eagles have just looked pedestrian and highly unpredictable in terms of fantasy production. With the bevy of running backs in the stable, Sproles' role on a weekly basis seems hard to gauge. New rule -- if you own any Eagles player not named Jordan Matthews say a prayer before game time.

Bishop Sankey is a thorn in my side. The metrics say he should be productive, his draft position says he should be productive, but Ken Whisenhunt uses him like a backup running back. Sankey was able to net 42 yards on just 12 carries (3.5 YPC) and saw only 2 targets in the pass game. Dexter McCluster basically lapped Sankey in every facet of the game on Sunday and it will be extremely difficult to predict his usage going forward.

Cole Beasley actually managed to play smaller than his stature. He saw just 5 targets and was able to turn those into 4 catches for 14 yards. Even 2014 Jarvis Landry laughed at Cole's yards per catch (3.5). With Tony Romo out for the next 8-10 weeks, and a pecking order destined to feature before him, Cole will be nothing more than a target dependent WR4/5. I mean say it with me, "Brandon Weeden is the Cowboys starting quarterback".

Week 2: '5 Must-Start Fantasy Sleepers'

5. Matt Jones, WAS RB

This is isn't just because he made Alfred Morris look like the 6th round draft pick he actually is, it's because Matt Jones on film looks, dare I say... better than Alfred Morris? Nevertheless, Week 3 is bringing Matt Jones and the surprisingly effective Washington Redskins offensive line the New York Giants.

Now the New York Giants have been a relatively stout run defense allowing just 68 yards per game on the ground -- 3rd best in the NFL. So if this is the case why would I advocate starting a back-up running back against them? Because A) Morris and Jones are a handful to tussle with and more importantly B) they're being absolutely obliterated through the air. Over the past two weeks the Giants have been demolished by catches out of the backfield -- allowing 18 in just two week. Flash to Matt Jones, in what is appearing more and more as a committee backfield Jones is still the 3rd down option. Against the St Louis Rams in Week 2 Jones caught all 3 of his targets, including one for a long of 18 yards. Look for Washington to expose New York out of the backfield in the same fashion the previous two teams have (Dallas, Atlanta).

Now, Alfred Morris is of course the unquestioned starter in Washington, but that doesn't mean Jones won't have a large role. After Week 2 the snap count split was Morris 34 and Jones 31, a major change from just one week prior when it was Morris 48 and Jones just 10.

Jay Gruden has recently even come out and commented on Jones saying, "Jones has a rare combination of speed and size" -- he isn't wrong. Against the Giants this Thursday night my expectation is 8-12 carries for Jones with the potential for even more passing game work out of the backfield than just the 3 he saw in Week 2. Fire up Marshawn Lynch 2.0 with confidence (please go easy on me for this one).

4. Chris Ivory, NYJ RB

In the past, the thought of starting Chris Ivory would make me cringe, but nowadays the thought of starting Chris Ivory just makes me cringe slightly less. Despite a solid Week 1 performance vs the Cleveland Browns (91 yards, 2 RuTD, 1 Rec, 9 yards), and an average game vs the Indianapolis Colts (57 yards, 2 Catches) things are going to get better. In Week 3 Ivory and the Jets will face the Philadelphia Eagles -- a team that has allowed over 105 rushing yards per game in back to back weeks.

Expect a close game, one in which Chris Ivory should see usage similar to week one (18-22 touches). With Kiko Alonso probably done for the year with a partial ACL tear, Cedric Thornton shelved for multiple weeks, and Mychal Kendricks doubtful to play either, this Philadelphia front 7 may look like a clown car this Sunday. This bodes well for Ivory, a power back who's currently averaging a league-tying 9th in 'yards after contact per attempt' with 2.8. Yet in addition to the poor victims he hits, Ivory is also boasting 7 missed tackles in 2015 -- that has him tied for the 4th most in the NFL.

Look, after we've factored in Ivory's workload, the potential game flow, the defensive personnel missing for the Eagles, and Ivory's running style -- it seems like the week to buy in. His name may not doing anything for you (unless you're a poacher I guess) but the stage is absolutely set for Chris Ivory to have a monster game.

3. John Brown, ARI WR

The term sleeper has pretty much drifted away from John Brown as he has become a household name but his "boom-or-bust" disposition has not. In Week 3 The Arizona Cardinals and John Brown will be facing the beatable secondary of the San Francisco 49ers -- and this is why we are here, friends.

In Weeks 1 and 2 the 49ers gave up a ton of yardage to speedy wide receivers. Now, in their defense, one of these wide receivers was the world beater Antonio Brown, while the other was Mike Wallace. These two combined for 15-258-1, a pretty incredible stat line (although Antonio Brown was about 80% of this).

Big Ben basically carved up this secondary like a thanksgiving turkey as Markus Wheaton, DeAngelo Williams, and Darrius Heyward-Bey even put together a collective stat line of 10-159-1. Carson Palmer is just as lethal, if not at times even more lethal than Big Ben is -- this is where John Brown comes into the scene. Head coach Bruce Arians has made mention plenty of times before that Arizona will take shots down field, and why not? The San Francisco 49ers have been lampooned by them. Through just two weeks of football the 49ers secondary has given up deep passes of: 27, 41, 48, and 59 yards. Surprisingly Browns longest catch of the year is just 14 yards and I think this is the week it changes.

With Fitzgerald playing like a 25 year old and Carson Palmer playing out of his mind -- the 49ers appear doomed to give up extra yardage through the air. Look for John Brown to see his usual 5-7 targets with a definite deep shot or two -- which (marks my words) he will connect on. Go get yourself paid and start JB.

2. Stevie Johnson

Finally he has a legit QB. FINALLY! And this week things are looking extremely favorable for Johnson as the Chargers take to the road to face the Minnesota Vikings.

In back to back weeks "Steve" Johnson has posted touchdowns vs opposing defenses. Averaging 6 targets a game seems sufficient but expect a greater boost this week with Antonio Gates still on suspension and Ladarius Green suffering his 2nd concussion in just 11 days (sounds like my Saturday nights, Amirite?!). Johnson is a notoriously savvy route runner and difficult cover, so expect him to find plenty of ways for Rivers to get him the ball. I'd be surprised if he didn't push for 10 targets in Week 3.

Philip Rivers is often matchup proof and I don't think this Minnesota Vikings defense will cause him to play any differently. With Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead & Keenan Allen around Stevie, it will be hard to keep him from pay dirt. He's a high upside WR3 this week.

1. Dion Lewis, NE RB

Boy, that "Vereen Role" is like fantasy gold. It's like doing 165 MPH in a Ferrari full of babe's while bumping Ma$e Harlem World in your CD player. The hype is real and so is his production, so Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars is like a dream come true.

If you didn't start him before his Week One 16 point performance -- you are forgiven. If you then did not start him before his Week Two 23 point performance -- you are forgiven once again. Now, if you don't start him in Week 3 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, then you sir (or ma'am) are a nerf herder. The Jags have allowed 15 receptions to running backs through the first two weeks of the NFL season. Aside from Lamar Miller (5 catches) none of these backs were cut from a cloth even near that of Dion Lewis. Lewis has already been targeted 13 times in the pass game -- just last week against a tough Buffalo defense Lewis turned 8 passing targets into 6 catches for 98 yards. The guy is dynamite and this Jaguars defense will have an impossible time shutting him down with Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman on the same field.

The Jaguars are a young defense and Tom Brady is the human torch right now. Look for Dion Lewis to be the recipient of a ton of passing down work and the potential to even steal the show as the feature back in New England. Of course... Belichick hates fantasy owners so this one is a gamble on significant upside. Save us Dion.

---------

As always -- I am way more likely to answer any questions you have via Twitter so come find me @AnOutragedJew.

Happy hunting, ya'll.

Editor's Note: FanDuel is running a $1,500,000 fantasy football league in week 3. The top 66,000 teams win cash with $100,000 paid to first place on Sunday. Join now!

Sorry, Washington residents - your state can't play.