What’s Your Fantasy – Week 3, 2011

We have too many great guests on the podcast this week – make sure to check back here and to subscribe on  iTunes – to record “What’s Your Fantasy,” so here are the players I recommend starting, benching and thinking about for Week 3.

You probably wish you'd started me in your fantasy league.

I’m Sorry… I’ll admit that I was completely wrong about Cam Newton, and in effect, Steve Smith.  I still have no idea how a quarterback who completed 42% of his passes against second-tier defenses in the preseason can up his completion percentage to 63% and throw for over 400 yards in two straight games, but consider Newton as a top-10 QB option for the rest of the year and obviously continue to ride Smith’s hot streak.

Players to Start:

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a borderline must-start against the New England Patriots, who’ve allowed opposing QBs to throw for nearly 400 yards and two TDs per game.  The Bills will almost surely be playing catch-up all game, which should allow Fitzy to continue posting great fantasy numbers.

Ben Tate has now put together back-to-back 100-yard rushing games, and faces New Orleans in what projects to be a shootout.  Arian Foster, who missed practice today, may still get some carries, but Tate is a rock-solid number two RB against a Saints defense that has given up 18 fantasy points per game to opposing RBs.

Mike Williams (Bucs) had just one catch for -4 yards last week.  It might be hard to trust him every week, but he’ll go up against a Falcons defense that was just shredded by Jeremy Maclin for 13 catches and 171 yards.  Start Williams as a number two WR and expect a nice bounce-back performance.

Players to Bench:

Joe Flacco struggled mightily against the Tennessee Titans, completing just 15-of-32 passes for 197 yards, one TD and two INTs.  While he has Ray Rice on potentially long screen plays, Flacco shouldn’t be in starting lineups against a Rams defense that has allowed less than 200 passing yards per game.

Felix Jones dislocated his shoulder last week, and even though he finished the game in a harness, there’s a good chance he won’t carry a full load against the Redskins.  He’s a poor flex option even if he ends up starting this week.

Reggie Wayne has retained much of his value despite Peyton Manning’s absence, but it’s very hard to trust him – or rather, Kerry Collins – against the Steelers.  Pittsburgh has allowed just 84 yards per game to opposing WRs, reducing Wayne to more of a flex option or third WR this week.

Players to Think About:

Rookie Blaine Gabbert, who completed 5-of-6 passes for 52 yards against the Jets last week in relief of Luke McCown, will make his first start against a mediocre Carolina Panthers defense.  Gabbert wasn’t sharp in the preseason (50% completion), but as we’ve seen before, rookie QBs are worth stashing on your roster.

All signs are pointing to Mike Vick (concussion) playing this week, but if he has a setback, second-year QB Mike Kafka would likely get the start over Vince Young.  Kafka completed an impressive 7-of-9 passes for 72 yards in relief of Vick against the Falcons, and with DeSean Jackson and Maclin to throw to, he could make for a sneaky spot-starter.  At the very least, Kafka is worth a speculative roster add considering Vick’s notorious injury history.

Dexter McCluster will see an increased role in the Chiefs’ offense with Jamaal Charles’ season-ending knee injury.  He has both RB and WR eligibility in most leagues, and has averaged 47 rushing yards and nearly five catches per game this year.  Pick him up as a bye-week fill-in and possible future starter over the 54-year-old Thomas Jones.

With Miles Austin out with a hamstring injury, Kevin Ogletree is expected to draw the start against the Redskins.  Ogletree caught two passes for 50 yards last week, and could be in line for more targets if Dez Bryant also sits out with a bruised quad.  Keep an eye on WR Jesse Holley, as well, who caught three passes for 96 yards last week and may end up drawing the start opposite Ogletree.

That it’s for this week.  Remember to check DolfansNYC.com – the official home of Miami Dolphins fans in New York – for all of the latest team news, and send us an email if you’ve got any questions or comments.  And of course, stop by Third and Long on 35th Street and 3rd Avenue to watch the games with the rowdiest fans around.  Go Dolphins!


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