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Fantasy football Week 3: Start ‘em or sit ‘Em

September 19, 2013

Six key roster suggestions for Week 3 of the fantasy football season.

Start: Greg Olsen Tight End, Carolina Panthers

Olsen rewarded fantasy owners with a solid week against the Buffalo Bills, posting a stat line of seven catches on seven targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. Olsen fared much better against the Bills defense than he did in Week 1 against the Seattle Seahawks, despite getting nine targets in that game.

One of Cam Newton’s favorite weapons, look for Olsen to repeat his big Week 2 performance this Sunday as he faces a Giants defense that hasn’t defended well against opposing tight ends. In Week 1, Jason Witten had eight grabs for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while in Week 2 Julius Thomas posted six catches for 47 yards and a touchdown against New York.

Sit: Any New York Giants Running Back

The Giants have three options right now at running back, two of which are widely available in most leagues. (In NFL fantasy football leagues, 1.2 percent of owners have Da’Rel Scott, and 5.5 percent own Brandon Jacobs.) None of the three look to be promising in Week 3, especially against a Carolina defense that only gave up 43 yards on 17 carries to first-round fantasy pick Marshawn Lynch in Week 1.

Jacobs is not a bad pickup to stash on your bench in deeper leagues, but his upside is only as a touchdown vulture at the goal line. Week 2 was a perfect example of how the Giants use Jacobs: He rushed for four yards on seven carries, and scored one touchdown.

Starting running back David Wilson continues to struggle this season, averaging 2.6 yards per carry. And Scott does not look much better in the run game, averaging 2.5 yards on the season. (He does show some promise as a receiving back, though not enough to even warrant a spot start in most leagues.)

Start: Stevie Johnson, Buffalo Bills

After Johnson’s Week 2 heroics with EJ Manuel, owners should have him slotted into their starting lineups for Week 3. Johnson has found the end zone two weeks in a row now, and has seen his targets increase each week. After seeing six balls thrown his way in Week 1, Johnson emerged as Manuel’s go-to receiver in Week 2, finishing with eight catches on 10 targets for 111 yards.

Look for Johnson and Manuel to be successful again Week 3 against a porous Jets secondary. Rookie Dee Milliner has struggled, and Antonio Cromartie isn’t on the same level as Darrelle Revis.

Listen to Johnson talk with Steve Torre and Bill Lekas on The Sunday Drive after the Bills’ win over the Carolina Panthers Sunday.

Sit: Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings

While owners may see his 84-yard, five-reception game as a step in the right direction for his rapport with quarterback Christian Ponder, Jennings has still yet to find the end zone with his new team. And in Week 2, owners should expect Ponder to favor Minnesota Vikings receivers with easier matchups than Jennings’, who will line up opposite stud Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden.

Haden has fared very well against opposing receivers, keeping both Torrey Smith and Mike Wallace out of the endzone in prior matchups. Wallace is a perfect case study for Haden’s strong start, too, erupting for a huge Week 2 after looking like a shell of himself against Haden in Week 1.

Start: Buffalo Bills defense against the New York Jets

The Bills have looked solid on defense with respectable performances over two very offensive-minded teams in the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers. This weekend, they ought to be a great spot start against the Jets. New York has a rookie quarterback, a struggling offensive line and a struggling group of wide receivers, so Bills defensive end Mario Williams (4.5 sacks in Week 2) should have the opportunity to get to Geno Smith often.

Buffalo may be worth holding onto through Weeks 4 and 5, too, as they face a Ravens team that may be without Ray Rice, and another struggling offense in the Cleveland Browns.

Sit: Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts

Following last week’s news that Vick Ballard was lost for the season, Bradshaw received the majority of the Colts’ carries in Week 2 against the Dolphins, finishing with 65 yards rushing and one touchdown on 15 attempts. Bradshaw looked to be set to lose just a few carries each week to Donald Brown, and could have been a viable RB2/flex for most of the season.

Then, of course, the Colts went and traded for Trent Richardson. Dagger.

Listen to The Miz and Nathan Zegura react to the Trent Richardson trade on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio.

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