We have come to a critical week in fantasy football.
If you are 2-0, you don’t want to get carried away with yourself and get too cocky. You may have a great squad, or you may have gotten lucky. Regardless, you still have to do your best to improve your squad.
If you’re 0-2, you are in full-on panic mode and losing any more ground could be devastating. So, you’re lineup decisions could be critical this week.
And if you’re 1-1, you’re right in the middle. You definitely have room for improvement and another loss could put you behind the eight ball.
With all that said, here are some important start/sits for Week 3.
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Russell Wilson: Seattle Seahawks
While the Seahawks walloped the 49ers last week with Wilson only throwing for 142 yards and one touchdown, expect Pete Carroll to run Wilson loose this week with the Jags coming to town. While the game plan for the Seahawks will revolve around a lot of handoffs to Marshawn Lynch, expect Wilson to get into the action, too, as Jacksonville has a putrid defense and Wilson will exploit it.
Bilal Powell: New York Jets
With Geno Smith (who was picked off three times in last Thursday night’s game at New England) manning the ship for the Jets, expect the Jets to try to establish their running game early and often against the Bills this Sunday. With the Bills allowing 141.5 rushing yards a game (30th in the NFL), Powell and Chris Ivory should get plenty of run in this affair. The slight edge goes to Powell since he is the preferred goal-line back and he did score against the Patriots last week.
Rashard Mendenhall: Arizona Cardinals
While Mendenhall isn’t the sexiest name out there, he does have a great matchup this week in New Orleans. The Saints have allowed 248 yards rushing thus far on the season and Arizona will like to set up their passing game with a heavy dose of carries for Mendenhall first. Also, don’t be surprised if backup Andre Ellington gets some carries in this game. He can be a sneaky deep-league pick this week as well.
Eric Decker: Denver Broncos
Although he didn’t get off to a great start in the opener vs. Baltimore, Decker reaffirmed his value last week when he caught nine passes for 87 yards against the Giants. This week against a suspect Raiders defense, Peyton Manning should have another field day, and he’ll be sure to connect with Decker more times than not.
DeAndre Hopkins: Houston Texans
Even if Andre Johnson (who is overcoming the effects of a concussion) suits up this week, Hopkins still makes for an excellent start. This week the Texans will be going up a fragile Ravens’ secondary. You know, the same secondary that gave up 472 passing yards and seven touchdowns to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. While Matt Schaub will not likely go off like Manning did, the Ravens can be exposed through the air though, and Schaub should get the ball more to Hopkins. After all, Hopkins is coming off a game in which he racked up 117 yards and a touchdown against the Titans last week.
Coby Fleener: Indianapolis Colts
With Dwayne Allen going down, Fleener will now be his old college QB’s (Andrew Luck) main tight end, and with the Colts also adding a new dimension in Trent Richardson this week, expect Fleener to open up the offense a little more in their game against San Francisco on Sunday. The 49ers have allowed a tight end to score on them in six of their last 10 games. Luck would love nothing more than to show up his old college coach (Jim Harbaugh) by making this a very successful Stanford reunion at Candlestick Park.
Ben Roethlisberger: Pittsburgh Steelers
While Roethlisberger is off to a so-so start (passing for 442 yards and two touchdowns), the lack of playmakers around him will continue to limit is value this year. The running game is an absolute mess, as Pittsburgh ranks second to last in the NFL in rushing (37.5 rushing yards per game) and that puts more pressure on Roethlisberger to carry the offense. Now Roethlisberger and the Steelers will have to face off against a physical and aggressive Bears defense. It all adds to being Roethlisberger being a very risky start.
Trent Richardson: Indianapolis Colts
You may not have a choice here, since you drafted Richardson with a No. 1 pick, and the common mantra among fantasy circles is to always start your studs no matter what. However, the newly acquired Colt, is A) just getting acquainted to his new team, so there should be a brief feeling-out period. And B) Richardson will have to go up against the vaunted 49ers’ defense. While Marshawn Lynch ran amok on the 49ers, don’t expect a similar performance for Richardson at Candlestick Park.
Daryl Richardson: St. Louis Rams
If the Cowboys do one thing well on defense, it is defending the run. The Cowboys rank 10th against the run (allowing 82 rushing yards per game) and are allowing just 3.5 yards per carry to running backs. Richardson has not exactly lit it up either. In his first two games against the Cardinals and Falcons, Richardson has only rushed for 98 yards with no touchdowns. With Steven Jackson gone, and the training wheels off for Sam Bradford, the Rams have morphed into a passing team and that won’t change this week against Dallas.
Josh Gordon: Cleveland Browns
With Gordon just coming back and playing with a new quarterback (Brian Hoyer) and playing on a team that just traded away its best offensive weapon (Trent Richardson), Gordon may be keyed in on defensively as one of the only playmakers the Browns can rely on. Besides, Gordon has some rust to shake off.
Antonio Brown: Pittsburgh Steelers
Brown desperately wants more targets and touches. Brown has recently expressed his disappointment regarding his role in Pittsburgh. However, like I explained with Roethlisberger, this offense is just not there yet, so he’ll likely continue to be upset. Facing the Bears is not the antidote for Brown to get going.
Kyle Rudolph: Minnesota Vikings
If Rudolph is not scoring, he is basically of no convenience to you. With Christian Ponder a work in progress, Rudolph will have trouble playing with any consistency. Also, the Browns do have an underrated defense to work with.