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Week 3 Game Caps: Cutler is lighting it up in Mike Martz' offense

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

San Francisco (-2) at Kansas City, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: It's a little surprising which team is 0-2 and which one is 2-0 entering this Week 3 matchup, but their true talent levels definitely lie somewhere in between. The Chiefs are an improving football team, there's no doubt about it, but Matt Cassel currently has a 4.9 YPA with a 1:2 TD:INT ratio - not a recipe for long-term success. Dwayne Bowe looks like he's going to be a fantasy bust for the second straight season if things don't start changing in a hurry. Kansas City is going to need to rely on homefield and maybe even a big special teams play, because the offense should struggle to move the ball against a strong San Francisco defense, especially if Todd Haley insists on keeping his best player on the bench (Jamaal Charles)... The 49ers lost last week, but they outgained the defending Super Bowl champs by 130 yards and were tied until the last play of the game despite a minus-four turnover ratio - it was definitely as encouraging as a loss can be. Alex Smith impressed, and only health can prevent Frank Gore from finishing as a top-three fantasy player. The 49ers are travelling to a tough environment during a short week, but this is something of a must-win, so expect a focused effort Sunday.

Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 160 yards but finally finds Dwayne Bowe in the end zone, while Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles combine for 100 yards but fail to score on the ground. Frank Gore answers with 120 total yards and hits paydirt, while Alex Smith adds 230 passing yards with a scoring strike to Vernon Davis, as San Francisco gets into the win column. 49ers 20-16.

Cincinnati (-3) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Carolina was embarrassed at home against Tampa Bay last week, and the team is already turning to rookie Jimmy Clausen at QB. As a result, expect a scaled-back playbook, with the offense going even more ground-heavy, although the run blocking has been a big disappointment so far in 2010 (Jeff Otah's absence hasn't helped, but the team was just fine in this area when he was out of the lineup last year). With a trip to New Orleans in Week 4, the Panthers' season could quickly be over if they don't show up Sunday... The Bengals rebounded from a poor Week 1 by beating the Ravens last week, albeit in ugly fashion. Cincy's defense should pose a problem against a team with a quarterback making his NFL debut just three weeks into his rookie season, but Carson Palmer (6.0 YPA) could sure improve himself. Carolina's secondary hasn't played nearly as well as last season over the first two games, so he might do so Sunday.

Predictions: Jimmy Clausen predictably struggles, committing a turnover and failing to throw a touchdown. DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart combine for 125 yards with a rushing score, while Cedric Benson runs for 80 yards and a TD. Carson Palmer adds 225 passing yards with a touchdown to Terrell Owens, as the road team prevails. Bengals 17-16.

Cleveland (+11) at Baltimore, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Browns enter 0-2, but they've lost both games by a combined five points against two currently undefeated teams. Of course, Tampa Bay and Kansas City aren't exactly powerhouses, and Cleveland gets a motivated Baltimore team coming off a loss Sunday. The backfield situation is somewhat of a mess to begin with, and against the Ravens, it should be avoided altogether in fantasy leagues. Seneca Wallace will be running for his life against a defense that has allowed just 4.3 YPA and zero touchdowns over two games... Joe Flacco has a 1:5 TD:INT ratio so far, and while that's no doubt discouraging, his schedule has been pretty difficult (and he also plays in Pittsburgh in Week 4), so don't go writing him off. He could make for an excellent buy-low target entering Week 5 (during the fantasy playoffs, he gets @Hou, N.O., @Cle). Expect Ray Rice to go nuts as the Ravens concentrate on getting him the ball while playing mostly with the lead Sunday.

Predictions: Seneca Wallace and the rest of the Browns' offense struggle mightily, producing just two field goals on the day. Ray Rice, on the other hand, totals 170 yards and scores. Joe Flacco adds 250 passing yards with TD strikes to Anquan Boldin and Todd Heap, as Baltimore wins handily. Ravens 27-6.

Detroit (+11.5) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Lions enter 0-2, but they have shown real signs of improvement, losing both games by a total of just eight points. Ndamukong Suh has been an absolute beast and looks like a perennial Pro Bowler already, while Jahvid Best also looks like a home run draft pick. He's already a top-10 fantasy back (although questions obviously remain whether he can stay healthy over 16 games in the NFL). The secondary, unfortunately, remains a huge problem, yielding a whopping 9.5 YPA so far... The Vikings look like a completely different team compared to last season, although it wouldn't surprise if they took out their early season frustrations on Detroit this week in a blowout. At the same time, both these teams are moving in different directions, so an upset wouldn't exactly shock either. The offensive line is struggling, and the loss of Sidney Rice (hip) has been even bigger than expected. Coaching also remains a huge weakness, but expect Adrian Peterson to have a big game Sunday.

Predictions: Shaun Hill throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Calvin Johnson, while Jahvid Best totals 80 yards and scores for the sixth time this season. Adrian Peterson responds with 140 total yards and two touchdowns, while Brett Favre adds 260 passing yards with scoring strikes to Percy Harvin and Visanthe Shiancoe, as Minny wins it. Vikings 28-17.

Tennessee (+3) at New York Giants, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: After an impressive Week 1 win against the Raiders, the Titans committed seven turnovers in a home loss to the Steelers in Week 2, resulting in Vince Young getting benched. He'll be back in the starting lineup Sunday, and there shouldn't be much of a quarterback controversy moving forward. Most QBs will struggle against that Pittsburgh secondary this season. As usual, expect Chris Johnson to be the focal point of Tennessee's offense Sunday... The Giants were pathetic in front of a national audience last Sunday night, so expect a motivated performance this week back at home. Ahmad Bradshaw is clearly the team's featured back, and while Eli Manning has already been picked off four times this season, he's gotten 7.9 YPA. A healthier Hakeem Nicks should help this week as well.

Predictions: Vince Young totals 230 yards with a touchdown toss to Kenny Britt, as Chris Johnson adds 120 yards from scrimmage and a TD run. Ahmad Bradshaw counters with 80 total yards and reaches the end zone, while Eli Manning adds 250 passing yards with scoring strikes to Steve Smith and Mario Manningham, as New York comes out on top. Giants 21-17.

Pittsburgh (-2.5) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: An unlikely battle of two undefeated teams thanks to defenses that have allowed just 10.25 points per game. Tampa Bay is clearly improving, with an underrated defense and a QB who could very well prove fantasy relevant this season. The Bucs' rushing attack is a weakness, but Mike Williams continues to impress. Still, they have a tough matchup Sunday against what appears to be the NFL's most dominant defense... The Steelers are 2-0 without Ben Roethlisberger, and while the QB crisis will be over soon enough, they are down to their third or fourth option Sunday. Charlie Batch is the likely starter, and while a week of practice with increased reps should help, it's hard to ignore just how bad he was last week while replacing the injured Dennis Dixon (knee), as he got just 2.3 YPA - that's 25 yards on 11 passing attempts. Tampa Bay has allowed only 6.3 YPA with a 2:4 TD:INT so far in 2010, so expect a whole lot of Rashard Mendenhall in a defensive battle Sunday.

Predictions: Josh Freeman throws for 160 yards with a score to Kellen Winslow, while the Buccaneers' ground game is stymied. Rashard Mendenhall answers with 100 total yards and a touchdown run, while Charlie Batch and the Steelers' passing attack is held in check, as Pittsburgh wins because of yet another dominant defensive performance. Steelers 16-10.

Atlanta (+3.5) at New Orleans, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Falcons were highly impressive in Week 2, demolishing the Cardinals 41-7. This is what elite teams do - destroy inferior opponents, and they did so last week despite losing Michael Turner to a groin injury. He looks ready to go Week 3, but Jason Snelling looks like a reasonable facsimile running the ball and a much bigger threat as a receiver anyway. Roddy White is in store for a monster year, but Matt Ryan's status as a good or elite QB remains to be seen. This team has a big test this week in New Orleans... The Saints are coming off a short week after being outplayed against the 49ers on Monday night, but they are at home and get a Falcons front seven that has allowed an NFL-high 5.9 YPC. However, Atlanta's secondary has yielded a 0:4 TD:INT ratio, so this should be a closely contested division battle. The loss of Reggie Bush has been hugely overblown. Pierre Thomas looks like a fantasy steal, while Robert Meachem looks like a fantasy bust. How long can this New Orleans team rely on turnovers?

Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 250 yards with a touchdown to Tony Gonzalez, while Michael Turner returns with 90 rushing yards and a goal-line touchdown. Pierre Thomas posts a similar line, while Drew Brees throws for 260 yards with TD strikes to Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey, as New Orleans wins it. Saints 24-23.

Buffalo (+14.5) at New England, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Bills haven't won yet and have been outscored by 32 points over the first two weeks of t he season. They've scored just 17 points on the year - the least in the NFL. As a result, the team is switching to Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, but that's really just a lateral move, so don't expect much improvement. C.J. Spiller simply can't be used in fantasy leagues with the way Buffalo is utilizing him... New England followed up an impressive Week 1 victory with a poor performance against the Jets last week, but they are always a good bet to bounce back in a big way after a loss. The Bills have a solid secondary, and Tom Brady struggled some against them last season. Still, this is a huge mismatch on paper, and a blowout seems likely.

Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 160 yards and no touchdowns, while Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson combine for 90 yards and a TD run. New England's backfield by committee produces similar results, while Tom Brady adds 260 passing yards and two touchdown tosses, with Randy Moss and Aaron Hernandez the recipients, as New England wins easily. Patriots 27-13.

Dallas (+3) at Houston, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Houston enters 2-0 and with the most impressive offense of 2010-to-date. Matt Schaub threw for a whopping 497 yards last week, and Andre Johnson (ankle) looks good to go Sunday. The Texans' run defense continues to play well also. However, the team's secondary has allowed back-to-back 400-yard games by opposing quarterbacks without recording a single interception, which is a major issue. Moreover, Houston will be playing without left tackle Duane Brown (suspension), which could be troublesome facing DeMarcus Ware... The Cowboys come in winless and desperate, staring an 0-3 start in the face as the team enters its bye in Week 4. They have suffered some bad luck, but Dallas is poorly coached, and the schedule only gets harder down the stretch. Still, Tony Romo should pick apart a secondary that has allowed 9.0 YPA this season. Dez Bryant (ribs) is banged up, but he's expected to play Sunday.

Predictions: Matt Schaub throws for 250 yards with touchdown tosses to Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter, while Arian Foster totals 80 yards and a score. Dallas' backfield committee produces a similar line, with Marion Barber the one scoring from in close. Tony Romo adds 280 passing yards with TD strikes to Jason Witten and Roy Williams, as Dallas pulls off the mild upset. Cowboys 24-21.

Washington (-3.5) at St. Louis, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: St. Louis is 0-2, but they easily could have won both games. Mark Clayton is emerging as the team's top wideout, while Sam Bradford has immediately upgraded the quarterback position. Steven Jackson is dealing with a knee injury, but he's expected to be OK this week. Still, he's a candidate to break down later on. The Rams face a tough challenge against an underrated Washington defense Sunday... As lucky as the team's Week 1 win was, Washington's loss last week was pretty unlucky, but the Redskins' offense is clearly improved in 2010. The rushing attack is stagnant thanks to a sluggish Clinton Portis, so fantasy owners would be wise to stash Keiland Williams on their bench. The passing attack, however, has really impressed, with coach Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb proving to be a strong combination. They should have no trouble moving the ball in St. Louis on Sunday.

Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 175 yards with a touchdown to Mark Clayton, while Steven Jackson adds 90 yards from scrimmage and a TD run. Clinton Portis doesn't rack up the yards, but he gets yet another goal-line score. Donovan McNabb adds 280 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Chris Cooley and Santana Moss the recipients. Redskins 24-17.

Philadelphia (-3) at Jacksonville, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: Jacksonville was blown out in San Diego last week, committing six turnovers in the process. Four of those were interceptions by David Garrard, who was later pulled from the game in favor of Luke McCown. Garrard is still the team's starter, but over his last 10 road games, he's posted a 5:11 TD:INT ratio - it's a good thing they play at home Sunday. Maurice Jones-Drew has missed some practice time this week with an ankle issue, and he's been one of the bigger fantasy busts so far... It was a favorable matchup and the turf helped his speed, but hard to deny just how impressive Michael Vick was last week in Detroit, showing improved accuracy, especially on his deep ball. And the wheels are officially back. Should be fun to see what he can do in that system and with such dangerous weapons at his disposal. He's again a QB1 start in Jacksonville in Week 3.

Predictions: David Garrard throws for 230 yards with a touchdown to Marcedes Lewis, while Maurice Jones-Drew totals 80 yards and finally hits paydirt. LeSean McCoy produces a similar stat line, while Michael Vick throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Brent Celek. He also adds 40 rushing yards and scores on the ground, as Philly wins on a late field. Eagles 24-23.

San Diego (-5.5) at Seattle, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Seattle followed up a 25-point win in Week 1 with a 17-point loss last week, and while they are rightfully underdogs Sunday against the Chargers, their home field continues to be a major advantage. Matt Hasselbeck already has two rushing scores this season. He entered the year without a TD run since 2005. He also has thrown a whopping 13 interceptions over his past five game, so ball security will be huge Sunday against a San Diego secondary that has yielded a 2:4 TD:INT ratio this season... Philip Rivers has gotten 9.3 YPA and has already thrown five touchdowns this year - look for him to continue to roll against a mediocre Seahawks defense this week. With Ryan Mathews dealing with a high-ankle sprain, expect Mike Tolbert to get around 15 carries, and he's become the team's goal-line back. He's a viable RB2 option in fantasy leagues.

Predictions: Matt Hasselbeck throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Deon Butler, while Justin Forsett totals 60 yards and scores a touchdown. Mike Tolbert counters with 80 yards and a TD run, while Philip Rivers adds 300 passing yards with scoring strikes to Antonio Gates and Legedu Naanee, as San Diego comes out on top. Chargers 24-20.

Indianapolis (-6) at Denver, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Denver may not make the playoffs this year, but they aren't doormats either, and they should be tough to beat at home all season long. Kyle Orton has quietly become a more-than-competent NFL quarterback, completing 67.6% of his passes while getting 8.9 YPA this season. Last year he approached 4,000 passing yards with 21 passing TDs while learning a new system and dealing with an ankle injury, and the loss of Brandon Marshall could be offset by utilizing Eddie Royal correctly and the emergence of exciting rookie Demaryius Thomas. Orton is a top-15 fantasy QB right now. The Broncos have a banged-up secondary, and the status of Champ Bailey (heel) will be paramount Sunday against the Colts. Knowshon Moreno has shockingly already been ruled out of this game... Indy could not have played better last Sunday night, annihilating the Giants 38-14 in front of a national audience. Peyton Manning already has six touchdown passes with zero interceptions on the year, but fantasy owners sure would like to see Pierre Garcon show a pulse soon. Joseph Addai has been limited in practice this week with a knee injury, but he's expected to play Sunday. If he were to go down with a serious injury, Donald Brown would immediately have top-10 upside.

Predictions: Kyle Orton throws for 240 yards and a touchdown to Jabar Gaffney, while Laurence Maroney and Correll Buckhalter total 110 yards with a score. Joseph Addai and Donald Brown combine for 100 yards, with Addai punching one in from the goal line. Peyton Manning adds 275 passing yards with TD strikes to Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon, as Indy prevails. Colts 27-23.

Oakland (+4) at Arizona, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: Oakland got a win last week, and the team has decided to bench Jason Campbell moving forward. Bruce Gradkowski takes over the quarterback job, and while not flashy, he's played solidly enough when given the chance. Louis Murphy seems to be the biggest beneficiary by the switch. The Raiders are likely to get back Michael Bush (thumb) this week, but as long as he stays healthy, Darren McFadden should continue to be the team's workhorse... Derek Anderson has completed just 54.2 percent of his passes over the first two games of the season, but he gets a favorable matchup this week against an Oakland secondary that has allowed opposing passers to post a 109.3 QB rating. Chris Wells (knee) should make his season debut, but expect him to be eased back into action. Tim Hightower is a viable RB2 for at least one more week.

Predictions: Bruce Gradkowski throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Zach Miller, while Darren McFadden adds 75 yards with a TD run. Tim Hightower counters with 80 yards and two touchdowns, while Derek Anderson adds 170 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Larry Fitzgerald, as Arizona wins a closely contested battle. Cardinals 21-20.

New York Jets (+1.5) at Miami, Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: The Jets bounced back in a big way last week, but they'll play their first road game Sunday without Darrelle Revis (hamstring). Braylon Edwards' status is also up in the air. Miami has allowed just 5.2 YPA so far, so expect the Jets to focus heavily on the ground. With Edwards possibly seeing few snaps, Jerricho Cotchery is a sneaky PPR play. The last time these two teams met, the Dolphins gained 104 net yards on 51 offensive plays... Miami has allowed just 20 points so far this year - tied for the fewest in the NFL. Brandon Marshall gets a break not having to go against Revis, but Chad Henne could still struggle against a deep secondary. Henne has gotten just 6.0 YPA, focusing almost solely on underneath routes. Expect a low scoring, defensive game Sunday night.

Predictions: Mark Sanchez throws for 150 yards with no scores, while LaDainian Tomlinson adds 65 total yards and a touchdown. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown counter with 80 total yards and a TD run, while Chad Henne is relatively shut down. Still, the Dolphins win thanks to home field and special teams. Dolphins 16-13.

Green Bay (-3) at Chicago, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments: In a division matchup featuring two undefeated teams, Monday night's game should be a good one. The Packers have struggled against the run (5.3 YPC) but have been strong against the pass (5.8 YPA, 1:2 TD:INT ratio), which is a good matchup facing a Bears team that relies heavily on their passing attack. However, the same could be said for Chicago, whose secondary has also played extremely well this season, yielding just 6.4 YPA and a 1:3 TD:INT ratio. Aaron Rodgers is facing a challenge... While the Bears were lucky to win at home against the Lions in Week 1, they were highly impressive during the team's victory in Dallas in Week 2. The offensive line remains shaky, but the defense has been much improved, and Jay Cutler is playing extremely well. Cutler has gotten an amazing 10.1 YPA with five touchdown passes this season, as he's really enjoyed playing in Mike Martz's system. This should be a fun matchup Monday night.

Predictions: Aaron Rodgers throws for 275 yards and two touchdowns, with Greg Jennings and Jermichael Finley the recipients. Brandon Jackson adds 60 total yards but doesn't score, while Matt Forte totals 80 yards sans a TD. Jay Cutler throws for 250 yards with scoring strikes to Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett, as Chicago wins on a late field goal. Bears 23-20.