Green Light: Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NE; Christian Ponder @ DET; Matt Schaub vs. TEN;
Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NE: The Patriots secondary hasn’t performed as badly in the first three games of 2012 as it did over the entire season a year ago, but that is partly due to the competition they faced in week one (Tennessee) and two (Arizona).
Facing their first true test against a talented offense last Sunday night the Pats yielded 382 passing yards and 3 touchdowns to Joe Flacco.
Its unlikely Fitzpatrick will match that output, but he should finish with no less than 260 yards passing and two scores of his own despite having yet to finish with more than 208 passing yards in a game this season.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that despite the low yardage totals Fitzpatrick has thrown for multiple touchdowns in all three contests.
Christian Ponder @ DET:Minnesota’s second-year signal caller is off to a pretty solid start. He’s completed 70.1% of his passes with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions. He’s thrown for multiple touchdowns in each of his last two games. And last week he led the Vikings to an upset victory against the vaunted San Francisco 49ers.
This Sunday he’ll face a Detroit Lions squad that hasn’t played quite played up to par of the defensive side of the ball.
Sam Bradford had a moderate level of success against them in the opener (17/25 for 198/1/0). Alex Smith then had a productive outing against them in Week 2 (20/31 for 226/2/0). And Jake Locker then had a monster outing against this past week as he threw for 378 yards and 2 touchdowns with zero interceptions.
If you’re keeping track at home that’s five touchdown passes allowed through three games without a single interception for the Detroit secondary. And did we mention Ponder has yet to throw an interception?
All in all these numbers translate into what should be a productive day for Ponder. Look for him to throw for at least 240 yards with 2 touchdowns.
Red Light: Andy Dalton @ JAC; Jake Locker @ HOU
Andy Dalton @ JAC: Dalton may be coming off two straight weeks of 300-plus yard, 3 touchdown outings, but don’t expect him to have that type of success this week against the Jaguars.
Jacksonville’s defensive unit was a pretty solid group last year, and while they haven’t looked as strong in the early goings of 2012, they’ve still limited the amount of fantasy success opposing quarterbacks have had against them.
I know number one overall pick Andre Luck just had a 300-plus yard, 2 touchdown performance against them, but prior to that Christian Ponder and Matt Schaub combined for just 465-yards passing and zero touchdowns. It’s also worth noting that while Luck’s totals looked impressive from a fantasy standpoint he completed less than 50% of his passes (22/46) against the Jaguars and needed 46 attempts to get over the 300-yard mark.
The Colts are also a pass first offense with little threat of a rushing attack. The same can’t be said for the Vikings and Texans, however, both of whom had much success with their ground game against Jacksonville.
With BenJarvus Green-Ellis in their backfield chances are the Bengals will look to pound the rock against the Jaguars and have a fair share success doing so. This will likely keep Dalton’s totals on the downside.
He should have a good game from an NFL perspective, but fantasy football is about putting up big numbers and Dalton’s maybe be lacking in that department this week.
Green Light: Michael Turner vs. CAR; BenJarvus Green-Ellis @ JAC; Stevan Ridley @ BUF
Michael Turner vs. CAR: At this stage of his career it’s hard to recommend Turner as a “must start” against much of anybody, but if there was ever a time to use him this week’s contest against the Panthers is it.
Carolina allowed Doug Martin to rack up 95 yards against them in the opener. Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram combined for 163 rushing yards and a touchdown versus the Panthers against them in Week 2. And then Andre Brown bullied his way for 113 yards and 2 scores of his own against them last Thursday.
It’s also nice to know Turner had his best game this past Sunday with 80 yards rushing and a touchdown on just 14 carries. Jacquizz Rodgers finally got more involved in the Falcons offensive attack though as well (15 touches for 67 yards and a TD) and as such may be a worthwhile start himself in PPR leagues.
Red Light: Alfred Morris @ TB; Trent Richardson @ BAL; Shonn Greene vs. SF
Alfred Morris @ TB: So far, so good for Alfred Morris inWashington, but that may be about to change as he faces a TampaBay defensive unit this week that has played the run very well.
In Week 1 the Buccaneers held the Panthers to a total of 10-yards rushing. This past Sunday they held DeMarco Murray in check as he carried 18 times for just 38 yards. In Week 2 Andre Brown burst on the scene with a strong showing against the Bucs (71 yards, 1 TD), but the Giants still finished the game with less than 100-yards on the ground.
Morris has been handling enough carries that he might put up 60-80 yards on the ground, but chances are he won’t be going beyond that figure. Those who place him in their starting line-up will likely need him to score a touchdown or two in order for him to reach double-digit points this week.
Green Light: Malcolm Floyd @ KC; Michael Crabtree @ NYJ; Vincent Jackson vs. WAS
Malcolm Floyd @ KC: Malcolm Floyd may be coming off his poorest outing of the season, but he was still targeted 9 times and remains Rivers’ preferred target amongst his wide receivers.
The Chiefs meanwhile have surrendered 22 receptions, 374 yards, and 4 touchdowns combined to Julio Jones, Roddy White, Stevie Johnson, Lance Moore, and Devery Henderson.
In other words, wide receivers have been having notable production against Kansas City’s defense.
Malcolm Floyd should bounce back with his third strong of the season against the Chiefs. Its possible Robert Meachem may have his first big day as a Charger as well.
Michael Crabtree @ NYJ: The most important thing to know about this match-up is that cornerback, Darrelle Revis, won’t be a part of it (he’s out for the season with a torn ACL suffered this past Sunday against Miami). And in case you didn’t know, there may not be another single defensive player in the league that means more to his team on that side of the ball then the perennial All-Pro means to the Jets.
With Revis on the field New York can place him on the opponent’s top receiving threat and virtually take him out of the game. This allows the Jets to use their 10 other defenders to focus on everything else. Without Revis, all 11 defenders will now have to work together just to compensate for his absence.
So what does this mean for Crabtree this Sunday? Well, basically he will have a far easier time being utilized within the 49ers game plan than he otherwise would have.
In the lone game New York has played without Revis this season Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace combined for 12 receptions, 153 yards and a touchdown. And the Jets Week 1 victory against the Bills, two of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s three touchdown passes came after Revis was knocked out of the game with a concussion.
San Francisco will surely use their ground game against the Jets, but Crabtree could very well come away with a touchdown reception and 75-100 yards receiving this week.
Red Light: Danny Amendola vs. SEA; Brandon Marshall @ DAL (in non-PPR leagues)
Danny Amendola vs. SEA: If you play in a PPR league than Danny Amendola will always be a worthwhile start, more or less, as no worse than a no. 3 fantasy receiver. For those of us in leagues that don’t reward points for receptions, however, Amendola doesn’t look like a worthwhile option this week.
The Seattle defense has played exceptionally well to start the season with the most recent example being showcased on Monday Night Football. While Seattle may have come away with a “fortunate” victory, there is no denying they played the Packers tough.
Aaron Rodgers, leader of Green Bay’s aerial assault, was limited to just 223 yards passing with no touchdowns. His receivers didn’t fair much better, as James Jones led the way with 5 receptions for 55 yards. Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and Randall Cobb meanwhile combined for 9 receptions and just 53 yards receiving.
Seattle has also held the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Dez Bryant, and Miles Austin (although he did score a TD) to fairly mundane outings. My advice – keep Amendola on your bench this Sunday.
Green Light: Scott Chandler vs. NE
Scott Chandler vs. NE: Scott Chandler’s two-game streak of finding the end zone came to a halt on Sunday against the Browns, but he stands a fair chance of doing so again in his Week 4 contest against the New England Patriots. Even without a touchdown Chandler is a worthwhile gamble for owners in a jam at the tight end position.
In Week 1 New England surrendered 64 yards on 4 receptions to Jared Cook. They then allowed the Cardinals Todd Heap to record 62 yards on 5 receptions the following week. This past Sunday it was Dennis Pitta who found success the defensive unit of the Patriots as he hauled in 5 passes for 50 yards and a touchdown.
Those totals may not be superb, but they are all double-digit outings for the tight ends in PPR leagues. And as mentioned earlier, in a game that is expected to be amongst the highest scoring of the week Chandler could very well come away with a touchdown.
Red Light: Greg Olsen @ ATL
Greg Olsen @ ATL: Greg Olsen is coming off his best game of the season (7 receptions for 98 yards against the Giants on Thursday night) and had a fair outing in the opener (6 receptions for 56 yards), but this Sunday’s match-up against the Falcons isn’t a promising one for the former first round pick.
In their past two games the Falcons have limited the likes of Antonio Gates, Jacob Tamme, and Joel Dreessen to just 7 receptions for 51 yards and zero touchdowns amongst them.
If Antonio Gates, along with the tight ends at Peyton Manning’s disposal can’t prove effective against the Falcons, chances are Olsen will struggle against them as well