Fantasy Football: Week 3 Startability Index

One stellar element of fantasy football versus the real thing is that when you start 0-2, you have a greater than 8.8% shot at the postseason. No matter your record, it is interesting to comtemplate the notion of trading your first round running back for an extra first round pick next season. Would you make that deal? I bet just about every Trent Richardson owner would.

Speaking of the newest Indianapolis Colt, Richardson is spotlighted in this week’s Startability Index, along with a multitude of other players either requested by readers or likely on the bubble.  As a reminder, players are given a Startability score between 1-10 with 10 being a must start and 1 meaning that player belongs in a trashcan for fantasy misfits. (Or maybe he’s just injured but fantasy misfit trashcan sounds so much more fun.)  I have added plus and minus signs to further guide you.

In addition, if there is a player not listed below please request him or it (in the case of defenses). Same goes for any lingering lineup decisions.

Best of luck this week!

Running Backs

Joique Bell at Washington (5 if Bush plays; 8+ if Bush sits): Washington’s run defense is terrible – dead last in the league. Even if Bush plays and Bell continues with his average seven carries and five receptions a game, that should yield decent fantasy numbers against an embarrassing opposition. I suspect Bush is held out of this one. The Lions made a big investment there and Bell’s early season success affords them a chance to let Bush’s knee heal. And did I mention that Washington’s defense is atrocious?

Giovani Bernard vs. Green Bay (6-): Bernard’s two touchdowns last week were a gift for owners with lofty expectations. However, the rookie has only 12 carries through two games, which is cause for concern. Last week probably earned Bernard more touches against the Packers, but will it be enough to give him a shot at explosive fantasy numbers?

Ahmad Bradshaw at San Francisco (4-): Bradshaw’s fantasy value sure has plummeted in the last 24 hours, with many owners flat out dropping him. But the breakdown in carries this week between Bradshaw and new acquisition Trent Richardson is still unknown.  Chances are we see more of a split situation, as the Colts ease Richardson into their system. Unfortunately part-time against a run defense that, unless your name is Marshawn Lynch, is terribly smothering likely won’t lead to a big fantasy day.

Reggie Bush at Washington (6): See Bell. Washington is terrible. 201 rushing yards allowed a game. Although if Bush does play with his left knee injury, expect it to be in a more limited role.

Frank Gore vs. Indianapolis (7+): This is the week Gore gets it together. Or at least his best opportunity so far. The Colts are yielding 136 rushing yards/game and have allowed three touchdowns on the ground. After last week’s debacle in Seattle, the 49ers will most likely return to where their bread is buttered – and that’s Gore and the ground game.

Knowshon Moreno vs. Oakland (7): Moreno, with only two more carries than Montee Ball this season, is certainly a week-to-week play.  For this week though, it’s hard not to be thrilled with a player coming off of two touchdowns and 7.2 yards a carry.

Trent Richardson at San Francisco (5) Man, it’s weird to think of Richardson donning a Colts jersey in a matter of days. I’m leery this week because a) he is facing a top run defense and b) because of (a) this may be more of a transitional game for the newest Colt.

Wide Receivers

Eric Decker vs. Oakland (6+): I believe Decker’s performance against the Giants – 9 receptions, 87 yards – is pretty indicative of what we can expect this season.  One knock on Decker’s value is that he doesn’t see enough end zone looks.

A safe bet?

Julian Edelman vs. Tampa Bay (7-) With 20 receptions in two weeks, clearly Edelman provides great value in PPR leagues.  Despite his drops, Edelman will continue to be Tom Brady’s favorite target until Rob Gronkowski returns.

Eddie Royal at Tennessee (7+):  I’m all in on Royal, mostly because of his preexisting relationship with Mike McCoy (his former coordinator in Denver). Royal is only knocked a point for a lowish reception total – 10 on the year.

Golden Tate vs. Jacksonville (5): The Seahawks have the best pass defense in football. Guess who’s number two? That’s right, the Jags. Plus, Tate just isn’t targeted enough at this point to recommend.

Demaryius Thomas vs. Oakland (7): Thomas had five catches in each of the first two games. Yet he is a player who will always have an inconsistent stat-line, as we’ve already seen. Thomas is an exciting playmaker with the weekly potential to make him an attractive start.

Emmanuel Sanders vs. Chicago (5+): Sanders has put up decent numbers for an offense so utterly in the tank. However, facing Chicago doesn’t seem like the week the Steelers see an uptick in that department.

Roddy White at Miami (4): It’s time to bench White until he is both healthy and infiltrated into the Falcons offense. At the moment he is neither.

Mike Williams at New England (4+): The Patriots secondary is much improved this season. With the focus on stopping Vincent Jackson, perhaps Williams sneaks some targets.  I wouldn’t rest my Week 3 hopes on it though.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett at Pittsburgh (7): Not a surprise that Bennett is already a Top 10 tight end. As long as he is playing under Marc Trestman’s system, expect the production to continue. Beware that Bennett hurt his shoulder during Week 2 but remained in the game and should be fine this week.

Jordan Cameron at Minnesota (6+): Cameron is the only viable fantasy start on the Browns, and his matchup is quite attractive. The Vikings have already yielded three touchdowns to opposing tight ends. But the big wildcard (if I’m being generous) is Brian Hoyer who will be starting in place of Brandon Weeden. Could be an upgrade. Could be disaster.

Jermichael Finley at Cincinnati (7+): Finley’s numbers don’t get more consistent than the first two weeks. 5 catches, 56 yards and a score against San Francisco. 6 catches 65 yards and a score against Washington. Could we see 7 catches, 70-somehting yards and a score in Week 3?


Jay Cutler at Pittsburgh (6+): For an 0-2 team, the Steelers have surprising surrendered just one passing touchdown. They have also not allowed more than 20 points. Expect that to change this week.

Andy Dalton vs. Green Bay (6): Dalton has yet to have a monster day. But he’s also has faced two defenses superior to Green Bay’s. The emergence of the two tight ends – Tyler Eifert and Jermiane Gresham – should start enhancing Dalton’s numbers this week.

Robert Griffin III vs. Detroit (6+): For someone who “came back prematurely,” Griffin has turned out some decent fantasy numbers. Some owners have asked about Griffin vs. Cutler or even Griffin vs. Palmer.  This is sort of a do-or-die week for RGIII. Just take the ride.

Philip Rivers at Tennessee (8): Rivers is back!  7 touchdowns. 614 yards. Only one interception.  Nice matchup this week. In other words, I think I’m in love.