By Sal Leto (@letosal)
We're on to week 3 already? Damn, it always goes too quickly and now we're down a few more players as the injuries have started to mount. We will cut through the choppy waters and once again find smooth sailing to victory.
Jay Cutler @ New York Jets
Come on, Smokin’ Jay? Why not? He's not smoking near as bad as the dumpster fire out in New Jersey. The woeful Jets have given up eight touchdowns and five of those have come through the air. A near 73% completion percentage in his first game and no interceptions? I know, who is the guy? The bottom line is the Jets are awful and even duck tossing Jay can get the ball to Parker and Landry.
Cam Newton vs New Orleans Saints
Through two weeks Cam Newton is QB 18. He's behind Josh McCown. He's behind Sam Bradford and he only played one game. Wait, I'm supposed to be trying to convince you to start him right? Ok, well three words: New Orleans Saints. In two games the Saints have given up 793 yards and six touchdowns (three each week). What else? Nineteen receptions for 185 yards receiving and a receiving TD to running backs. The Saints are a sieve of epic proportions making you long for the days of those Rob Ryan defenses. Need more convincing? In his last four games against New Orleans he has passed for 300+ yards three times has passed for 10 touchdowns and rushed for two more.
Jared Goff @ San Francisco 49ers
Before you go scooping up Goff to stream him this week or get cutesy and put him in over your QB1 because he's facing the Niners, just knock it off. These Niners have actually played well against two “elite” QBs the first two weeks. They've held the aforementioned Cam and Russell Wilson both to under 200 yards passing and three total TDs. Goff looked very ordinary a week ago against a Washington defense that allowed draft mate Carson Wentz 307 and two TDs a week earlier. Prime Time is not the right time for Goff.
Marcus Mariota vs Seattle Seahawks
I don't care who it is. When you hold an NFL team to 99 pass yards in four quarters, you're pretty damn good. Since 2012 when facing QBs in fantasy the Seahawks have ranked first twice, second twice and as low as fourth once. This is not the spot for Mariota to turn an average start around. If the Titans are smart they look no further than last week to a 49ers team that kept the game within reach using steady dose of Carlos Hyde and pound away with both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
Sam Bradford vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This one is pretty simple. While I like the uptick Sam's return gives to the pass catchers in this offense I don't really like starting him coming off a week where his balky knee prevented him from playing. The Bucs did a solid job last week holding Bears QB Mike Glennon to 10 points while intercepting him twice (one pick six) and getting him to fumble the ball. Give him another week to heal before trusting him.
Carlos Hyde vs Los Angeles Rams
After gashing the Seahawks for 8.3 yards per carry on his way to 124 yards rushing last week, Carlos Hyde gets the Rams who lead the league in rushing yards given up with 295 and three touchdowns. In what shapes up as a battle of running backs people were down on coming into the season, I expect Hyde to continue to clear his name this week.
Theo Riddick vs Atlanta Falcons
We've been over these stats before. In 2016 the Falcons were the worst in defending pass catching running backs to the tune of 109 receptions, 870 yards and six touchdowns. Through two weeks, they're on pace to obliterate those numbers. The Falcons showed last week if you want to keep up with them you better be prepared to throw. This is a perfect Riddick situation.
Philadelphia Running Backs vs New York Giants
That was a pretty impressive impersonation of the Jets the Giants performed on Monday night. The fact is the Giants have a good defense and haven't given up a TD yet this year to a running back. They are particularly stingy when facing pass catching RBs (zero allowed in 2016). This backfield is a mess and I don't see how you could be comfortable starting anyone from a group that is averaging 11 points per game combined.
Washington Running Backs vs Oakland Raiders
Here's another messy one. Rob Kelley is banged up and will likely be limited if he plays at all. Hot waiver wire pick up, Samaje Perine, averaged just 3.2 yards per carry on 21 touches against a mediocre Rams run defense last week. Not to mention, the Raiders are actually pretty good so far against the run. They were particularly impressive bottling up a good Titans run game in week one. This backfield is a pass for me in week 3.
DeVante Parker @ New York Jets
This is it! The one you've been waiting for! The Devante Parker arrival game! Blah…blah…Landry targets…blah…blah…Landry receptions…blah…blah…blah. I like Jarvis Landry, I really do, but 78 yards on 13 receptions? Yes, I know he got 15 targets, but Parker got nine and did more on his four receptions (85 yards) then Landry did with his 13. Did you see him reach over Casey Hayward last week and snatch that ball away from him like an older brother dominating his sibling? Landry is nice. Parker is dynamic. Crabtree torched these Jets a week ago. Next up DeVante.
AJ Green @ Green Bay Packers
There's no reason I should have to write his name here but people are overreacting. I've had people ask me should I start AJ and I cut them off before they say Green. Why? Because he's AJ mother f***ing Green. Yes, Dalton has struggled, but you play a guy of this caliber every week. You want to be the genius with him sitting on your bench when he posts 170 yards and two touchdowns? Cause that's what he's capable off. The Packers were worst in the league defending WRs a year ago and gave up big chunks to The Julio last Sunday before they took to the ground.
Jeremy Maclin @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Maclin is WR9 through two weeks behind his two touchdowns. But on closer look I see two catches for 56 yards and another four for 31. Hardly top 10 WR numbers. I've written already about how good this Jags pass D is and they haven't disappointed. Only 176 yards to wide receivers in two games and whether he's kind of a bitch or not Jalen Ramsey is damn good at his job.
Jack Doyle vs. Cleveland Browns
Do I need to keep reminding you just how terrible the Browns are at defending TEs? They are epically bad. Nineteen receptions for 162 yards and two scores through two games. Start whoever plays them every week.
Jason Witten @ Arizona Cardinals
Witten appears to be having a revitalization in his 16th season. Sitting atop the TE ranks through two weeks, I'm sure desperate owners rushed to add him. Bad week ahead. The Cardinals flat out shut down TEs.