Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 3 of the 2012 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals at Redskins. Washington’s pass rush took a major hit last week with the loss of Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker. That should leave Dalton plenty of time to pick apart the same secondary that Sam Bradford torched in Week 2. Dalton is also blessed with better receivers than his Rams counterpart.
Michael Bush, RB, Bears vs. Rams. Assuming Matt Forte takes another week off, Bush is a triple play against a struggling Rams run defense that has surrendered four rushing scores already. Always a goal-line hawk, Bush should add some nice yardage to his totals this week as well.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers at Falcons. Sometimes it pays to bench a player in his first game back from injury; but this is not one of those times. For starters, Mathews owners need to get the injury-prone tailback in their lineup whenever they can. On top of that, Mathews is a reliable red-zone threat, and Atlanta is doing a terrible job of keeping opposing backs out of their end zone.
Stevie Johnson, WR, Bills at Browns. Despite scoring in each of the first two games, Johnson is flying a bit under the fantasy radar so far. That won’t be the case after he torches the Cleveland secondary, which will go into battle for the second consecutive week without Joe Haden, their best cover corner. It would be no surprise to see Johnson doing multiple (albeit ridiculous) end-zone celebrations in this matchup.
Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys vs. Buccaneers. He’s been a big disappointment thus far, but Bryant and the Dallas aerial attack should rediscover their mojo against a Tampa Bay secondary that just coughed up 510 net passing yards to the Giants. Bryant should be a very busy, and productive, man in the Cowboys’ home opener.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Matt Schaub; RBs Reggie Bush, Alfred Morris, Trent Richardson, Willis McGahee; WRs DeSean Jackson, Antonio Brown, Marques Colston, Reggie Wayne, Dwayne Bowe, Danny Amendola.
Roll ‘em back
Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers vs. Falcons. I’m nervous about Rivers this week, with the expected return of Mathews and with the ball-hawking Atlanta secondary coming to town. Though Antonio Gates is expected to suit up, the Chargers will be better-served slowing down the tempo and feeding the ball to Mathews.
Michael Turner, RB, Falcons at Chargers. Aside from a 1-yard scoring plunge in Week 2, Turner has been horrible. Mix in his early morning DUI arrest after the Monday nighter, the creeping emergence of Jacquizz Rogers and the Chargers’ league-best run defense, and Turner should be sentenced to your bench.
Shonn Greene, RB, Jets at Dolphins. Miami clamped down hard on Darren McFadden last week, and Greene is no Run-DMC. He essentially split carries with Bilal Powell in Week 2 after missing some time with a head injury, and his career-best performance in six games against the Dolphins is 74 rushing yards. Greene has also never found the end zone against his division rivals.
Brandon Lloyd, WR, Patriots at Ravens. Tom Brady has been struggling behind his porous offensive line, and he hasn’t yet developed a strong rapport with his new wideout. Even with Aaron Hernandez sidelined, Lloyd is unlikely to find much success this week against the relentless Ravens defense.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals vs. Eagles. Like what he did last week? Get ready for another disappointing day, thanks both to the Kevin Kolb effect and Philly’s stout secondary. I’m sure Fitz will manage more than four yards this Sunday, and I realize he’s extremely difficult to bench; but he can’t throw the ball to himself. Until John Skelton gets back under center, Fitzgerald is a potential liability.
More thumbs down: QBs Michael Vick, Sam Bradford, Carson Palmer; RBs Jonathan Dwyer, Cedric Benson, Donald Brown; WRs Jeremy Maclin, Justin Blackmon, Brian Hartline, Eric Decker, Kenny Britt, Sidney Rice, Randy Moss.
TAKING A FLIER
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions at Titans. Having completed his two-game suspension, Leshoure heads into a tasty matchup in Tennessee with high expectations. He is clearly the most talented member of the Detroit backfield, when healthy, and the coaches have already said he will be involved heavily in Sunday’s game plan. If you’re hurting at RB or the flex position, give Leshoure a shot.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…trades Chris Johnson now. That doesn’t mean you should start him, either (you shouldn’t). But you’ll be much better served waiting for him to post a solid outing, rather than selling at rock bottom. CJ1K’s trade value can’t go much lower, so hold on a bit longer until you can sell a little (false) hope along with your first-round bust.