Week 3: Sit 'Em
The dynamic quarterback has not been himself so far this season, coming off knee surgery. While the numbers for Griffin look good -- 649 passing yards, five touchdowns, three interceptions --, most of these fantasy points have been accumulated in garbage time. Another alarming statistic for Griffin: only 25 rushing yards. RG3 is clearly not himself, not able to run the football like he did as a rookie. With Griffin being confined to just being a pocket passer right now, he is a risky bet for fantasy owners on a weekly basis. The Redskins have been in catch-up mode early in both games this season, but they are likely to be involved in a closer game this week at home against the Lions. Washington should take the opportunity to establish their run game this week, thus keeping the responsibility of making a comeback off of Griffin's shoulders. FFToolbox currently ranks RG3 as QB11 for Week 3. As a fantasy owner, I would keep Griffin on my bench until he has proven that his legs are back.
Good, bad, and downright ugly sum up the first two weeks of the 2013 season for Eli Manning - at least from an NFL perspective. Manning has thrown for an astonishing 812 yards and five touchdowns over the first two weeks, but has seven interceptions in New York's two losses. He has been forced to throw the ball much more than the Giants would prefer due to the ineffective running game, and circumstances where the Giants were in catch-up mode. If the G-Men do not find a way to improve their rushing attack, Peyton's little brother could be looking at a long season filled with even more turnovers. This week's opponent, the Carolina Panthers, have also gotten off to a disappointing 0-2 start, with both losses coming after having been ahead in the fourth quarter. The Panthers held the Seahawks to 12 points at home in Week 1. Though not expecting the Giants to score just 12, I do not expect either team to score into the high 20s either. FFToolbox currently ranks Manning QB15 this week. Fantasy owners with another decent quarterback option this week should consider keeping Eli Manning on their benches.
(Editor - We posted this before the blockbuster trade for Trent Richardson. More on those ramifications below...) The Colts'off-season acquisition got his first start of the season in Week 2, turning in a mediocre performance against the Dolphins. Bradshaw rushed 16 times in the game for 65 yards and a touchdown, while also adding 19 yards through the air on three receptions. Donald Brown saw seven touches to Bradshaw's 19, a nearly 3:1 ratio that should stay pretty consistent as the season progresses. Bradshaw and the Colts go on the road this week to take on the 49ers. San Francisco's defense allowed 135 total yards to Marshawn Lynch in Week 2, but he did touch the ball 31 times. FFToolbox currently ranks Bradhsaw RB23. In speaking with our team, that RB2 status speaks more to the overall limited fantasy options this week than an endorsement of Bradshaw. I forsee the 49ers defense coming back stronger and more angry in Week 3, making Bradshaw a shaky Flex play. Fantasy owners should not hesitate to look to their benches to replace Ahmad Bradshaw this week if they have comparable options.
(If T-Rich doesn't play this week, then everything above remains the same. If he does suit up for the Browns, it likely creates a split backfield situation for a week or two, dropping Bradshaw into a pure Flex option and a middling one at that.)
It has been a rough start to the season for Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars. It goes from bad to worse this week as Jacksonville travels to Seattle. MJD has totaled just 73 total yards in two games, and to make matters worse, suffered a tendon sprain in his ankle last week. The veteran running back should be able to play this week, but faces a defense that held Frank Gore to just 16 rushing yards. I would recommend giving Jones-Drew the week off in fantasy leagues. The Jaguars are likely to be down by multiple scores early in the game, and once it gets out of hand, Jacksonville could opt to keep its starter out of the lineup. Fantasy owners should definitely look for a replacement this week, even if MJD is able to start.
The Vikings' big off-season acquisition has averaged only four receptions for 58.5 yards and zero touchdowns over the first two games of the season. Much of the Vikings' offensive struggles can be attributed to shoddy quarterback play from Christian Ponder, something that will hold Jennings and the rest of the Vikings skill position players back from reaching their full fantasy potential this season. Jennings caught five balls for 84 yards in week two, but will have a tougher match-up against Joe Haden and the Browns this week. If the Browns use Haden to shadow Jennings, it will be a long day for the veteran wide receiver and his fantasy owners. Jennings should be on fantasy benches this week if you have any other decent WR3 or Flex options.