After Week 3, there are two things we know. Quarterbacks that we would never have thought could perform really well are stepping up and putting up some serious fantasy points. As a result, there are numerous wide receivers and tight ends that have become viable options that could help your fantasy team. We also know that with injuries hitting some running backs early, you need to carry as many running backs as possible this season on your fantasy rosters.
As you should know, whether you should play the players on your rosters in any given week should be contingent in part on the match-up. This is not about making the perfect choice because we don’t know how players will really do on a week-to-week basis. Rather, this is about making a sensible and reasonable choice on which player to play. So, to assist in being you’re “Second Opinion for Your Fantasy Football Instinct,” the goal in “Fantasy Football Weekly Choices” is to provide you, the fantasy football owner, with enough information to make sensible and reasonable choices in setting your line-up this week by reviewing the weekly match-ups and identifying which players are “On the Gridiron,” a “Coach’s Decision,” or “On the Pine.” We also provide a down-n-dirty listing of each category within Quick Hits for On the Gridiron, Coach’s Decision, and On the Pine. For many of you, the information provided simply provides affirmation to the decisions you have already made. If you like, skip the fluff, and find your player’s match-up for analysis. If you are looking for a waiver wire pick-up, then look for those players still on your waiver wire, and you can read that analysis too.
Onto the fantasy match-up and your choices!
Sunday, September 25th
1:00 p.m. EST
JAGUARS (1-1) v. PANTHERS (0-2)
It’s no secret the Jaguars are in disarray with their long standing franchise quarterback released reight before their season began, and with their passing game struggling under the helm of two very young quarterbacks, one a rookie. The Panthers, on the other hand, are thus far, this season’s Cinderella story being lead by what looks to be one of the best quarterbacks (at least rookie quarterbacks), we have seen in a long time. The Panthers look like a power offense, the Jaguars not so much. The Panthers should post their first win of the season after this contest in a route.
ON THE GRIDIRON: RB Maurice Jones-Drew is pretty much the only Jaguars player worth a gridiron start here against a Panthers rush defense that has struggled a bit. Well, with the way QB Cam Newton and WR Steve Smith have been playing together, and the monstrous stats they posted, this should be a game where we see more of the same against what appears to be an average pass defense.
COACH’S DECISION: TE Greg Olsen has been a been a bit of a disappointment so far in the regular season since playing so well in the preseason. But if there is a week to get Olsen on the gridiron, this is it as the Jaguars are one of the lesser teams defending tight-ends. RB Jonathan Stewart broke through last week with a 100+ APY performance. If the Panthers continue passing the ball, he is an option but it must be noted the Jaguars have done a good job of shutting down some very good running backs so fare this season. The Jaguars have looked so bad that you can consider the Panthers DST a one week option this week.
ON THE PINE: This is no time for rookie QB Blaine Gabbert to be on fantasy gridirons. Indeed, his presence makes TE Marcedes Lewis, WR Mike Thomas, and WR Cecil Shorts all risky plays. While WR Brandon LaFell has come on as of late, LaFell is still a breakout performance away from fantasy consideration. RB DeAngelo Williams has been awful for owners thus far this season. Until, the Panthers can establish some semblance of a rushing game, he’ll be difficult to start for now. Besides, the Jaguars DST actually does a very good job stopping the rush. This is no time for the Jaguars DST to be considered in fantasy. Will mention that RB Deji Karim could do something this game for the Jaguars because they should be running the ball an awful lot and MJD can’t carry the entire load. Nonetheless, The Fantasy Greek has to think you have better options.
BRONCOS (1-1) v. TITANS (1-1)
The Broncos have seemed a little off so far this season. Whether it was the whole Kyle Orton-Tim Tebow thing, a new head coach, or an array of roster moves, the team seems to be having problems getting a consistent game going. Certainly, while not dead the passing game and running game have struggled. For the Titans, they made a huge statement last week with a big win over the Ravens. Matt Hasselbeck, Kenny Britt, and the Titans DST did too. Now, it’s Chris Johnson’s turn. Titans should would this game.
ON THE GRIDIRON: RB Knowshon Moreno (if he plays; check injury reports) and RB Willis McGahee are the only two Broncos worth a start this week in what is a favorable match-up for running backs. Likewise, for all those owners that drafted RB Chris Johnson, but have been disappointed thus far, this should be the week CJ2K breaks through for you. If you haven’t noticed, QB Matt Hasselbeck and WR Kenny Britt have been on fire. This should continue in Week 3 as the Broncos pass defense has been generally average.
COACH’S DECISION: No one expected the Titans DST to do much this season. However, while having an average rush defense, they have been rock solid defending the pass. If there is a week to get them on the gridiron right now, this is it.
ON THE PINE: The Fantasy Greek cannot stress enough that this is not a good match-up for QB Kyle Orton, WR Brandon Lloyd, and new fantasy darling WR Eric Decker. While anything can happen, they are simply players to avoid if you can. The Titans have been better than average in protecting their quarterback and turning over the ball so the Broncos DST is certainly not an option this week. While the Titans should get the passing game going, TE Jared Cook and WR Nate Washington aren’t options right now as literally, this is the Hasselbeck-Britt passing show.
TEXANS (2-0) v. SAINTS (1-1)
Earlier in the week, every time The Fantasy Greek looked over at the week’s schedule, this game just jumped off the page. The Texans have been better than billed under their new 3-4 defense, so this game will be a challenge. The Saints get an opportunity to show that they are better team in their new styled-offense. The bottom line here is this is a game the Texans can win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: It goes without saying, QB Drew Brees should be your QB1 if you were lucky enough to draft him. Besides last week, the Saints have struggled in pass defense. In a game that the Texans will likely have to air it out, QB Matt Schaub and WR Andre Johnson should be on fantasy gridirons.
COACH’S DECISION: RB Ben Tate is listed here only in case there is some change in Arian Foster’s status. However, even if Foster should play, it looks to be in a limited role. As such, Tate should get the majority of the carries and should be started in fantasy against a Saints rush defense that has struggled. Believe it or not, the Texans have been one of the best teams defending against each and every position in fantasy except thee wide-receiver position. So, this is not a good week to start RB Mark Ingram or RB Pierre Thomas if you own them. As for RB Darren Sproles, he is a bit of an anomaly — Half KR-RB, half something else. If you own him, feel free to play him in your flex position. As alluded to, wide-receivers eem to have decent games against the Texans so you can start WR Robert Meachem or WR Devery Henderson this week as WR 3s. As for TE Jimmy Graham, it must be noted the Texans have virtually shut the position down in two games. While The Fantasy Greek wouldn’t blame you for starting him, this could be an off week. While the Saints DST seems like a viable option, if you have a second option, look it’s way in case the game becomes high-scoring.
ON THE PINE: This is just not a week to play RB Arian Foster in fantasy, even if he should play this week due to what appears to be a limited role. If you own TE Owen Daniels, you are truly disappointed. Worse yet, the Saints are like the Texans, they have done a great job shutting the position down. With all the excitement surrounding the Texans DST, this is simply a week to avoid them in case the game is high-scoring. Also, while WR Lance Moore is back, still feels like a week or so before he should truly be ready to return to consideration for fantasy gridirons.
LIONS (2-0) v. VIKINGS (0-2)
The Lions appear to be the dominant team many expected them to be while the Vikings are hardly hitting one cylinder as opposed to many. The Lions are at the top of defending by position (QB, RB, WR, and TE). In short, it would be difficult to even wildly imagine that the Vikings can win this game. However, one can see a lopsided Lions victory.
ON THE GRIDIRON: With the way QB Mathew Stafford has taken this season by storm, he should be on the gridiron. While the Vikings have done a good job defending opposing wide-receivers, WR Calvin Johnson is just too good to keep off gridirons. The Vikings have one of the worst rush defenses in the league which means RB Jahvid Best should be due for one of his best games of the season. Besides RB Adrian Peterson who should be on gridirons, the Lions DST should be started too.
COACH’S DECISION: It appears that TE Tony Scheffler will get the start in this case for the Lions. With the Vikings being average defending tight-ends, Scheffler could do something this week. Still, The Fantasy Greek has to believe you have better options. As referenced above, the Vikings are tops defending against all positions including wide-receiver. As such, while WR Percy Harvin could do something this week, you may be better off considering your other options.
ON THE PINE: TE Brandon Pettigrew is likely to miss this game due to injury. WR Nate Burleson is on the pine because of the match-up and because you likely have better options. No other player on either team is worth fantasy consideration.
GIANTS (1-1) v. EAGLES (1-1)
The first of the NFC fist fights this season. The Giants have had their flashes were they looked good, but problems too. Notably, so has the “dream team” Eagles. However, there is no denying that without a passing game, the Giants become very one dimensional. While that could do it for them, the Eagles look just too good not to get them win.
ON THE GRIDIRON: As suggested, the Eagles have struggled in rushing defense (one of the worst so far) so RB Ahmad Bradshaw can be started as a solid RB2 and RB Brandon Jacobs as a solid flex-play. The Giants pass defense has struggled, and much like the Eagles rush defense, the Giants pass defense is one of the worst. So, while QB Michael Vick may feel some pressure, he should be on the gridiron, as should WR DeSean Jackson and WR Jeremy Maclin. Notably, the Giants have been tough against the rush. Still, this is no week not to start RB LeSean McCoy who can not only run th ball, but catch it. With the turnover issues the Giants have had, the Eagles DST should be active.
COACH’S DECISION: There is no denying that the Eagles pass defense is tough. While the Giants a very talented set of wide-outs in WR Hakeem Nicks and WR Mario Manningham, this is a week where your expectations fall far short. While the Giants DST can be good, this is likely a week to avoid them.
ON THE PINE: QB Eli Manning should have a tough go of it this week against a tough Eagles defense so he should firmly be planted on fantasy pines. While there was talk of TE Brent Celek being more involved in the offense, this just hasn’t happened. And, while the match-up is a decent one, you should avoid Celek. WR Steve Smith seems closer to playing more downs than he has. But, until he seems a full go, he should be avoided for now.
PATRIOTS (2-0) v. BILLS (2-0)
Whose fans are higher right now, based on a 2-0 start? Certainly, it’s Bills fans who are not used to the high-powered offense we are seeing and who certainly are not used to starting the season 2-0. We, as fantasy footballers, are certainly not used to not only playing Bills players, but affirmatively seeking them out. This whole beginning to the Bills season is just mind-boggling in ways. Still, it is what it is. For the Patriots, this is just one more team that it will have to seriously contend with on a year to year basis. However, on paper, these teams are statistically speaking almost evenly matched. The team with the edge, the Bills. The Fantasy Greek is gonna call it what it looks like — a Bills upset at home! You heard it here first folks.
ON THE GRIDIRON: For fantasy footballers, this game is a cornucopia of fantasy talent for the gridiron. While the Bills have been decent against the pass, QB Tom Brady should still be on the gridiron due to his immense talent as should WR Wes Welker and TE Rob Gronkowski. As the Bills struggle against the rush, look for RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis to possibly have one of his best games this season. Notably, the Patriots struggle in pass defense so have no hesitation starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and WR Steve Johnson (if healthy). Similarly, the Patriots have to pose any great threats to stopping the rush so RB Fred Jackson should have another solid outing for owners.
COACH’S DECISION: With Aaron Hernandez out for at least two weeks, WR Deion Branch can be on gridirons as a WR3 this week. Like Darren Sproles, WR-RB Danny Woodhead is sort of an enigma, so he can be started as a flex-play should you need the help. With this match-up, WR David Nelson can be on the fantasy gridiron as a WR3 with upside. This could be a tough outing for the Patriots DST. So, if you think you have a better option, you may want to consider it.
ON THE PINE: While WR Chad Ochocinco could do something this week, we need to see it to believe it first. TE Scott Chandler has played well these first two weeks. However, the Patriots do a good job defending tight-ends, so this is a good week for keeping him on the pine. The Bills DST could play better than billed, but this is not the week or match-up to find out. No other team on either team is worth fantasy consideration at this time.
DOLPHINS (0-2) v. BROWNS (1-1)
The Dolphins are limping into this game a little bit after last week’s loss. The Browns on the other hand seem invigorated and primed for another victory. Indeed, the could be one of the Browns best games all year. The Browns should win this game for the hometown fans.
ON THE GRIDIRON: This is a game where both RB Daniel Thomas and RB Peyton Hillis should do well for their respective teams as both rush defenses are towards the middle of the league. Besides Thomas, the only other Dolphins player worth a grid-iron start is WR Brandon Marshall, and that’s because of his immense talent. The Browns otherwise look like they do a good job in pass defense.
COACH’S DECISION: After last week, it appeared that RB Reggie Bush may not be the dominant back in the Dolphins back-field. However, this does not mean he is not worth a flex-start, but rather he is worth a flex-start if you need the help. The one thing the Browns have a difficult time doing is covering tight-ends. Yet, The Fantasy Greek thinks you must have better options than TE Anthony Fasano. If not, you could consider him. The Dolphins are one of the top-five teams against opposing quarterbacks, which means QB Colt McCoy could have a great outing. Indeed, given that his favorite receivers seem to be his tight ends, and the Dolphins are one of the worst at defending that too, TE Evan Moore and TE Ben Watson could have nice games here. Moreover, don’t be surprised if WR Greg Little gets into the mix. The Browns DST could be started this week, but the Dolphins are towards the middle of turning the ball over, so you likely have better options.
ON THE PINE: QB Chad Henne struggled last week and he should this week too against Browns defense that has been pretty good. This goes too for WR Davone Bess and WR Brian Hartline. Given the above, the Dolphins DST is not an option this week. With so many receiving options on the Browns, its’ hard to say who between KR-WR Josh Cribbs, WR Brian Robiskie, and WR Mohammed Massaquoi could have a game here, but anyone could. Still, you’d be best to avoid the guessing game.
FORTY-NINERS (1-1) v. BENGALS (1-1)
The Forty-Niners seem like a shell of their former self under the new coaching regime. The Bengals, on the other hand, look like they may be beginning to find their way right now. This game could be all about defense. But, you have to like what the Bengals are doing at the moment, so while this could be a close game, the Bengals should pull out a victory.
ON THE GRIDIRON: There is nothing too scary about this match-up to keep RB Frank Gore on fantasy gridirons this week. Will say, this is a tight end friendly match-up for TE Vernon Davis. If he doesn’t do anything this week, he will likely be seeing fantasy pines next week.
COACH’S DECISION: This is a favorable match-up for QB Andy Dalton in the passing. In no way is The Fantasy Greek suggesting you start the rookie, but pay attention to how he does this week. On the other hand, WR A.J. Green would be a nice start for owners who need a WR3 this week as the Forty-Niners have been awful against the pass. The same can be said about WR Jerome Simpson, but it would be nice to see him post similar stats like he did last week. Notably, this is an awful match-up for RB Cedric Benson. The Forty-Niners have been fantastic defending the rush. Benson should seriously be considered for fantasy pines. That said, the 49ers DST can be an option because of a rookie quarterback under center and because the Bengals could make some mistakes.
ON THE PINE: Regardless of how good the Benagls pass defense is, QB Alex Smith should likely not be on rosters right now. As for Forty-Niners wide receivers, they are banged up right now and not one has distinguished themselves from the other. The Bengals DST should be reserved for now, but could have a good game here.
Good luck this week!