Week 3 Start'em/Sit'em Decisions

Quarterbacks

Must Plays: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan

Start'em 

Philip Rivers (SD) @ TEN--Rivers is ranked fourth among fantasy quarterbacks through the first two weeks of the season trailing only Peyton Manning, Arron Rodgers and Michael Vick. The new offense implemented by Ken Whisenhunt focuses on short and intermediate passes that has Rivers completing a high percentage of his passes. The Titans allowed three touchdowns to Matt Schaub a week ago and I think Rivers will be able to match that total in a likely win for the Chargers.

Sam Bradford (STL) @ DAL--The Rams coaching staff claimed to be dedicated to the passing game this offseason, and haven't gone back on their word thus far. Through the first two weeks of the season, Bradford as attempted the second-most passes while completing the second most passes  behind only Tony Romo and Matt Schaub. This week Bradford faces off against the Cowboys, who have allowed the fifth most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks, averaging jsut over 24 fantasy points-per-game to that group. If this trend continues, Bradford cold be a top 5 quarterback at the end of Week 3.

Sit'em 

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs. CHI--A sub-par rushing game and injuries to the offensive line have the Steelers looking horrible heading into Week 3, and that how Roethlisberger's owners should feel as well. The Bears bring one fo the best defensive groups to the Steel City this week, and will likely have their way with, limiting the Steelers passing game at every angle. Until the Steelers offense becomes more balanced, their passing game is going to struggle, as will Roethlisbeger once again this week.

Jay Cutler (CHI) @ PIT--As you can see I am not a big fan of the quarterbacks in this matchup for Week 3, with both Cutler and Ben Roethlisberger on the sit'em list. The Steelers may be weak on the offensive side of the ball, but their defense is as strong as ever, including their secondary. Cutler may be able to get a few passes into the hands of Brandon Marshall, but as we saw on Monday night in defending A.J. Green, they can really shut down opposing team's No. 1 option in the passing game. Expect a mediocre performance from Cutler and expect the Steelers defense to force some bad decision making along the way.

 

Running Backs

Must Plays: Adrian Peterson,  Jamaal Charles, Ray Rice (If Active), C.J. Spiller, Alfred Morris, Marshawn Lynch, Matt Forte, Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, Arian Foster, Doug Martin

Start'em

Frank Gore (SF) vs. IND--Coming off of a game in which he rushed for only 16 yards on nine carries, the Niners leading rusher will be poised to have a bounce back game against the Colts on Sunday. Through two weeks, the Cols have allowed one rushing touchdown in each contest without allowing a 100-yard rusher. However, that will likely change this week considering they faced off against the Raiders and Dolphins, both of which don't attack opposing defenses on the ground like the Niners have thus far. The Niners will look to establish the run game earl in this contest, with Gore being the main beneficiary.

Joique Bell (DET) @ WAS--As the week goes on, it is more and more likely that Reggie Bush will not suit up against the Redskins on Sunday. If that is the case, Bell will get the start and will go up against a Redskins defense that has alllowed the third-most fantasy production to opposing running backs. His value lies more in PPR leagues, but if given an adequate number of touches, he could put up low-end RB1 production.

 Knowshon Moreno (DEN) vs. OAK--The Broncos appear to have finally found their starting running back, and no his name is not Montee or Ronnie, instead Knowshon. In the Broncos Week 2 blowout of the Giants, Moreno went off for 93 yards on 13 carries, finding the end zone twice on his way to over 20 fantasy points in standard scoring formats. The Raiders have been playing better football that anticipated early on this season, allowing the least fantays production to oppsoing running backs, but that is off of games against the Colts (Ahmad Bradshaw was limited) and the Jagaurs (no comment needed). As long as the Broncos continue to favor Moreno in the run game, he is going to be a good start week in and week out.

Sit'em

Stevan Ridley (NE) vs. TB--There are a few things that concern me about Ridley, with his ball control being the biggest of his issues. The Patriots are deep as running back, and Ridley is only one fumble away from being benched, considering past trends from his head coach. Not to mention the Buccaneers defense has allowed the eighth-least fantasy points to opposing running backs. There are many other favorable matchups to exploit this week, so it would be wise to go with a different option here if you team can afford to do so.

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC) @ SEA--Not only is Jones-Drew banged up, but will face off against a Seahawks defense in Week 3 that is ranked among the leagues leaders in run defense. This couldn't be a worse time to face the Seahawks, especially playing them in Seattle, where they rarely fail to show up hungry for a game. The best bet for Jones-Drew is that the team rests him this week, basically throwing up the white flag before kickoff.

James Starks (GB) @ CIN--Starks may have been the top waiver wire add following a great performance in Week 2, but has a very unfavorable matchup on Sunday. The Bengals have allowed only 108 yards on the ground through the first two weeks of the season, and have yet to allow 20 points total to opposing running backs. Unfortunately for Starks owners, it looks like Eddie Lacey will be back following their bye week, so this may have been the only time to get him into starting lineups. If for some reason you want to be cute and start him, trust me, you will regret it.

Continue to Page 2 for the rest of this week's start'em/sit'em decisions...

Wide Receivers

Must Plays: Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Demaryius Thomas, Julio Jones, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Andre Johnson (If Active), Larry Fitzgerald (If Active), Randall Cobb, Victor Cruz, Reggie Wayne, Vincent Jackson

Start'em

Dwayne Bowe (KC) @ PHI--Unless you were living under a rock the first two weeks of the season, then you already know the Eagles defense is horrendous, especially their pass defense. The Eagles have allowed back-to-back 300-yaard performances to opposing quarterbacks, in which they have thrown five touchdowns. So far, Alex Smith has been a solid quarterback in Andy Reid's offense, but has gotten the ball into Bowe's hands only eight times. I expect that to change this week as the Eagles fail to get a good pass rush on Smith, giving him time to get the ball down field to the Chiefs big play maker.

Nate Burleson (DET) @ WAS--This name may come as a bit of a surprise this week, but there is good reason for Burleson to be started this week. If Reggie Bush is out, more short yardage pass plays will open up for Burleson, not to mention the Redskins have given up the third-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers through two weeks of play. Also, Burleson has been targeted 14 times through Week 2, so there is much promise here if you are looking for a FLEX play considering the matchup.

DeAndre Hopkins (TEX) @ BAL--With Andre Johnson in question for Week 3, Hopkins makes for a solid start going up against a Ravens defense that has had trouble defending the pass. When Johnson went down a week ago, Hopkins stepped up his game, proving why he was so highly touted coming out of college. He may be a rookie, but he sure isn't playing like one right now, and will only continue to grow as the week;s progress.

Sit'em

Antonio Brown (PIT) vs. CHI--After two sub-par performances to start the season, it is now time to consider benching BRown until we see something from the Steelers offense. Brown has yet to make a big play down field for the Steelers, recording only 11 catches for 128 yards on 16 targets. This week he will be matched up against Chris Tillman and the rest of the Bears tough secondary, which is never a walk in the park. I think he will bounce back eventually and start playing at the level we know he can, but not this week.

Cecil Shorts (JAC) @ SEA--When facing off against the Seahawks in Seattle, there is never really anything good to look forward too. If Maurice Jones-Drew is inactive, the Jaguars will not have a running game to attempt to balance out their passing game, which has looked terrible through the first two weeks. Shorts will be fantasy relevant at some point this season, but this is just not going to be that week.

Roddy White (ATL) @ MIA--The Falcons passing game has clearly gone through Julio Jones through the first two weeks of the season, which White hauling in a dismal five catches for 40 yards. Not to mention he is not 100 percent, so he is used more as a decoy rather than a threat down field. At this point the matchup really doesn't matter. He should stay benched until further notice.

 

Tight Ends

Must Plays: Jason Witten, Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski (If Active), Vernon Davis, Greg Olsen, Tony Gonzalez

Start'em

Martellus Bennett (CHI) @ PIT--This may finally be the year that Bennett lives up to his lofty expectations after two straight solid performances to open the season. Quarterback Jay Cutler has come to rely on Bennett near the red zone, targeting him four times, converting three of those targets for touchdowns. The Steelers allowed nine receptions to the Bengals tight ends a week ago, so there is a good chance Bennett and Cutler hook up often in Week 3, making him a good start.

Owen Daniels (HOU) @ BAL--The Texans offense has focused heavily on the tight ends early on this season, with the majority of Matt Schaub's red zone targets heading towards both Daniels and Garrett Graham. The Ravens were torched by Broncos tight end Julius Thomas in Week 1, and they may have deja vu in Week 3 with Daniels. He is currently ranked fourth among tight ends in fantasy points thus far, and there is good chance he stays in the top five after this contest.

Sit'em

Brent Celek (PHI) vs. KC--I was high on Celek entering the season, but he has failed to live up to my expectations thus far in 2013. The Chiefs have allowed single-digit fantasy points to opposing tight ends each of the last two weeks, and that will likely be the case in this contest, considering the lack of targets thrown his way on a weekly basis.

Jordan Reed (WAS) vs. DET--Reed was a solid deep league pickup heading into Week 3, but this is not the time to get him into your starting lineups. The Lions have defended opposing tight ends very well thus far in 2013, allowing only seven repections for 58 yards, which totals five fantasy points combined in two weeks. Plus, Fred Davis is going to get invovled more eventually, so Redd should stay benched until further notice.

Defense/Special Teams

Must Plays: Houston Texans, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals

Start'em

Minnesota Vikings Defense/Special Teams vs. CLE--I was all over the Vikings defense before the trade of Trent Richardson, but now this matchup has gotten even better. Now with a backup quarterback under center and an unknown running back taking handoffs, this looks like a lock for a very low scoring affair. I have made these types of predictions in the past and failed miserably, but this won't be one of those times.

Sit'em 

St. Louis Rams Defense/Special Teams @ DAL--For the second week in a row, the Rams defensive group finds itself on my sit'em list. The Cowboys have been passing the ball really well this season, and the Rams defense has allowed the eight-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. That sounds like a recipe for disaster and once again a reason to avoid the Rams defense in Week 3.

Be sure to join me live in Rotoinfo.com's new chat room before setting your lineup every Sunday as I answer all your last minute start/sit decisions. Live From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m Sunday morning.

Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him at matthewbeck@rotoinfo.com.  Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.  And, to make setting your Fantasy Football lineup easy, be sure to utilize RotoInfo.com’s new NFL Lineup Grids.




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About Matthew Beck

Accomplished chef, journalist and dedicated fantasy sports player. When Matt's not in the kitchen, he's preparing the recipe for fantasy sports success. He is...The Fantasy Chef. 

Matthew Beck on Twitter

@waldemarjr15 thanks a lot man! Now off to Hawaii!

@Bighomie586 i would go with wayne now that it looks like aj green is going to play

@Sky_Razzball yea its goong to go right down to the end...best of luck the rest of the way

@FantasyAlarm #NFL Waiver Flavor column is now up...thoughts on Cousins, Davis, Sanu and much more http://t.co/AICmibgPbb

The first @FantasyAlarm #NFL Waiver Flavor column is up...thoughts on Gordon, Locker, Forsett and much more http://t.co/m5sMNKjsYW