Wondering whether or not to start Tom Brady and Julio Jones, or to bench Jimmy Clausen and Justin Hunter? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for help with your real starting lineup conundrums, read on.
Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 3 of the 2015 season.
Watch ‘em roll
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins vs. Bills. He’s no Brady, but Tannehill is talented enough to exploit a Buffalo secondary that has surrendered nearly 700 passing yards and five TDs in its first two contests. Tannehill has an embarrassment of riches at receiver, even if TE Jordan Cameron (groin) is sidelined.
Latavius Murray, RB, Raiders at Browns. Nobody surrenders more rushing yardage than Cleveland, and Murray is the undisputed workhorse in Oakland’s backfield. He has been just so-so so far, but Murray has a great chance to have his best day as a pro since his coming-out party last season against the Chiefs.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers vs. Saints. J-Stew has not yet taken full advantage of his new workhorse role, with only 140 combined yards and zero TDs to his credit after two games. Look for your reward against New Orleans’ moribund defense. Stewart has been slowed by a knee injury, but it doesn’t appear it will keep him off the field on Sunday.
Travis Benjamin, WR, Browns vs. Raiders. I’d feel even better if Johnny Manziel was starting (he isn’t), since Benjamin’s success thus far has come at the other end of his passes. But Josh McCown has surely taken notice of Benjamin’s game-breaking skills, too. And you can’t beat the match-up against the defense that just made Joe Flacco look like a superstar.
James Jones, WR, Packers vs. Chiefs. Davante Adams is in jeopardy of sitting out the Monday nighter with an ankle injury. Even if he suits up, I love Jones’ prospects against the Chiefs’ suspect secondary. Jones is a TD machine, and Aaron Rodgers is making him into a fantasy star again.
More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Ben Roethlisberger, Russell Wilson, Carson Palmer, Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, Tyrod Taylor, Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton; RBs Dion Lewis, Justin Forsett, LeSean McCoy, Isaiah Crowell, T.J. Yeldon, Melvin Gordon; WRs Jarvis Landry, Julian Edelman, Larry Fitzgerald, Jordan Matthews, Rishard Matthews, Terrance Williams, Allen Robinson, Brandon Marshall, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Donte Moncrief, Jeremy Maclin, Keenan Allen, Anquan Boldin.
Roll ‘em back
Matt Stafford, QB, Lions vs. Broncos. Stafford is dealing with a painful rib injury, but he’ll have even bigger problems on Sunday night facing the Broncos’ mighty pass defense. A less-than-100-percent Stafford, without the support of a consistent running game, will likely be forced into several miscues. Anyone not named Megatron should be rested in this matchup.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Eagles at Jets. It’s too early for Philly, and his fantasy owners, to give up on Murray. But with a sore hamstring, and New York’s stingy rush defense on tap, his upside is not high enough to warrant a starting assignment. If Murray sits and Ryan Mathews starts in his place, bench him too.
Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins vs. Bills. He left last week’s loss with an ankle injury, but Miller is on track to play on Sunday. That said, his outlook against Buffalo’s ferocious run defenders is pretty bleak. He might squeak in for a short TD plunge, but his yardage total is sure to disappoint.
Brandon Coleman, WR, Saints at Panthers. The rookie was widely started in Week 2 after he scored in his debut outing. But with Drew Brees either sidelined or playing through a rotator cuff bruise on Sunday, all bets are off for New Orleans’ out-of-sync passing game. Brandin Cooks (ankle) is a risky play, too; but probably offers too much upside to bench.
Roddy White, WR, Falcons at Cowboys. White may finally be showing his age, while Leonard Hankerson is making his case for the No. 2 role in Atlanta’s passing attack. Dallas is playing over their heads defensively, which makes White an even shakier start this weekend.
More thumbs down: QBs Sam Bradford, Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Alex Smith, Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco; RBs Jeremy Hill, Frank Gore, Joique Bell, Alfred Blue, DeAngelo Williams, LeGarrette Blount, C.J. Spiller, Tre Mason, Devonta Freeman; WRs Eric Decker, Kendall Wright, Andre Johnson, Michael Crabtree, Golden Tate, Nelson Agholor, Markus Wheaton.
Lance Dunbar, RB, Cowboys vs. Falcons. Dunbar is essentially a glorified receiver out of the backfield, which should make him an invaluable safety valve for Brandon Weeden. He’s also an elusive and speedy downfield threat. In PPR leagues especially, Dunbar can rack up the points against Atlanta’s soft pass defense, just like Darren Sproles and Shane Vereen before him.
DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHO…keeps Eddie Lacy in your starting lineup without having James Starks as a backup option. Since the Packers play Monday night, and Lacy very easily could be held out with his bum ankle, you’re risking a goose egg otherwise. Better to play a safer option on Sunday if you don’t have Starks in reserve.