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Week 3 Game Capsules: Dalton Del Don Breaks Down the Entire Schedule

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don

Dalton Del Don writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Jacksonville (+3.5) at Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: After Luke McCown completed just 31.6 percent of his passes with 3.1 YPA and a 1.8 QB rating last week, the move to release David Garrard looks even more perplexing. Financial reasons aside, the bigger issue here is if the team wants to tank to move to L.A. Blaine Gabbert gets the start Sunday as a result, and while he looked competent in relief last week, he looked anything but during the preseason, and he'll be throwing to possibly the worst WR corps in football, so this is an ugly offense, which makes it all the more impressive Maurice Jones-Drew has somehow remained productive. In fact, he has more rushing yards over the first two games of a season than at any point of his career... Cam Newton has thrown for a ridiculous 854 yards with a 10.3 YPA mark over the first two games of his career, and while last week's three interceptions reveal he's far from a finished product, his rushing ability suddenly makes him a top-10 fantasy QB right now, and that's conservative since he's dominated attempts inside the 10-yard line. He's made Steve Smith relevant again, although DeAngelo Williams owners can't be happy. It's weird that a team who's 2-16 over its past 18 games is 3.5-point favorites, but Carolina is no longer a doormat, and with Gabbert at the helm, it's entirely possible the Jaguars are.

Predictions: Blaine Gabbert struggles, committing multiple turnovers, although he does manage a TD pass to Marcedes Lewis. Maurice Jones-Drew fights for 90 total yards with a TD run, while Carolina's RBBC produces 150 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown by DeAngelo Williams. Cam Newton adds 270 passing yards with a TD pass to Steve Smith along with 50 rushing yards and a score on the ground, as Carolina gets into the win column. Panthers 24-17.

Denver (+7) at Tennessee, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: Denver won last week despite dealing with a ton of injuries, and they look likely to get back Brandon Lloyd (groin) Sunday. Eric Decker was impressive in his stead, and with no Eddie Royal (groin) for the next couple of weeks, he's suddenly firmly on the fantasy radar, even if the Broncos lean toward the run. Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) is questionable to return in Week 3, but Willis McGahee looks like the preferable play regardless, as he's healthier and the favorite for carries at the goal line... Tennessee won 26-13 as five-point underdogs last week against a Baltimore team that had just dominated the AFC champion Steelers, and while the Texans look impressive, with the Colts no longer a threat (and Jacksonville a mess), they may very well be contenders in the AFC South. Matt Hasselbeck has somehow been a fantasy asset so far, thanks largely to Kenny Britt, who looks like a top-10 wide receiver in the NFL. Britt continues to deal with a hamstring injury, but he's expected to play Sunday. Chris Johnson has averaged just 2.3 YPC early on, but he was coming off a holdout, has played a couple of strong defensive teams and has a favorable upcoming schedule, so he's an ideal buy-low candidate in fantasy leagues.

Predictions: Kyle Orton throws for 220 yards with a touchdown to Eric Decker, while Willis McGahee punches in a goal-line score. Chris Johnson breaks out, totaling 110 yards with two TD runs. Matt Hasselbeck adds 240 passing yards with a touchdown toss to Kenny Britt, as the home team prevails. Titans 24-20.

Houston (+4) at New Orleans, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Texans are 2-0, outscoring their opponents by an impressive 37 points in the process. However, their opponents have been pretty weak (the Colts are a joke, and the Dolphins are 1-10 over their past 11 home games). Houston shouldn't be punished for that, of course, and the defense looks to be much improved. No one should be selling Matt Schaub or Andre Johnson, but the Texans have been one of the more run heavy teams in the NFL so far, making Ben Tate a top-five fantasy start Sunday... New Orleans played Green Bay tough in Week 1 and dominated the Bears last Sunday, and they should benefit playing at home in a dome versus a grass team. In fantasy terms, Darren Sproles looks like a hold, Devery Henderson looks like a sell-high and Mark Ingram looks like a buy-low. The Saints get DE Will Smith back from suspension this week, and their defense appears legit. Drew Brees has gotten 8.0 YPA with a 6:0 TD:INT ratio so far and should once again have a big game Sunday.

Predictions: Matt Schaub throws for 240 yards with touchdowns to Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels. Ben Tate adds 110 yards and a touchdown run, while the Saints' backfield committee produces 100 total yards, with a TD run by Mark Ingram. Drew Brees adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Jimmy Graham and Robert Meachem, as New Orleans wins it. Saints 27-21.

Detroit (-3.5) at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Vikings have entered halftime up a combined 34-7 this season yet somehow find themselves 0-2. Despite a lackluster offense, Adrian Peterson has remained plenty productive, as he's currently on pace to finish with the most yards from scrimmage and touchdowns throughout his career. It's odd Percy Harvin was used on just 30-of-68 offensive snaps last week, considering he's easily the team's best receiver... The Lions won 48-3 last week, and even if it came against a depleted Chiefs team that lost its best offensive player (Jamaal Charles) early on, typically only dominant teams win by such a score. Matthew Stafford has 599 passing yards and seven touchdown passes (with no sacks) over essentially just six quarters this season, and only health can prevent him from finishing as a top-five fantasy QB. The same (health) could be said about Jahvid Best as a top-10 fantasy RB in PPR leagues, and Calvin Johnson is a threat to score 20 touchdowns.

Predictions: Donovan McNabb throws for 200 yards with a touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe, while Adrian Peterson adds 90 yards and a TD run. Jahvid Best counters with 75 yards from scrimmage, while Matthew Stafford throws for 260 yards with TD strikes to Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson, as Detroit improves to 3-0. Lions 23-20.

New York Giants (+5) at Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Giants won last week, but they did so at home against a dome team in unimpressive fashion, even if it was a 12-point victory. The Rams picked apart a shaky New York secondary, and it's clear the Giants' lack of depth due to injuries is a major problem. The Giants' defensive line remains a strength, but they are dealing with a weak back seven. Ahmad Bradshaw could end up a fantasy disappointment with fewer touches this season, and while Hakeem Nicks looks back to health, Mario Manningham (doubtful) is a big question mark Sunday coming off a concussion. Eli Manning has been criticized heavily, but he's gotten 7.9 YPA with two touchdown passes and another rushing score, so it's mostly been unfair, especially considering the team's offensive line problems and WR/TE losses... The Eagles blew a lead after Michael Vick left with a concussion last week in Atlanta, but it had little to do with the QB situation, as backup Mike Kafka was more than competent (77.8%, 8.0 YPA). It's not a sure thing, but Vick is expected to return Sunday, and while many people want to root against this "dream team," it's important to note just how dominant Philly was before its fourth quarter collapse last week. They should be able to exploit the Giants' vulnerable secondary at will Sunday.

Predictions: Eli Manning throws for 240 yards with a touchdown to Hakeem Nicks, while Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs combine for 90 rushing yards and a TD run. LeSean McCoy answers with a similar line all by himself, while Michael Vick returns and throws for 250 yards with scoring strikes to Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, as Philadelphia comes out on top. Eagles 27-20.

New England (-9) at Buffalo, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The Bills are one of the most surprising 2-0 teams in football, thanks partially to overcoming a 21-3 halftime deficit last week that included a late TD pass on fourth down. Ryan Fitzpatrick already has seven touchdowns while compiling a 109.6 QB rating, and he should have another big game Sunday against a New England secondary that has been shredded this season. Fred Jackson leads the NFL in rushing yards, as he continues to hold off C.J. Spiller to act as Buffalo's lead back... The Pats enter 2-0, but the defense is vulnerable and might be missing safety Pat Chung (thumb) in Week 3. The offense certainly hasn't been a problem, as Tom Brady currently sports a 71.6 completion percentage with a 10.7 YPA mark. He'll be missing Aaron Hernandez (knee), so expect Chad Ochocinco and Rob Gronkowski to be more involved. As a result, Gronkowski might be fantasy football's No. 1 tight end right now.

Predictions: Ryan Fitzpatrick throws for 260 yards and two touchdowns, with Stevie Johnson (groin) and David Nelson the recipients. Fred Jackson adds 90 yards from scrimmage and scores, while BenJarvus Green-Ellis counters with 70 rushing yards and a TD run of his own. Tom Brady adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker, as New England remains undefeated, although in a much closer battle than anticipated. Patriots 27-24.

Miami (+2) at Cleveland, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: After a disappointing loss at home in the season opener, the Browns bounced back with a 27-19 victory in Indianapolis last week and get an 0-2 Dolphins team coming to town Sunday. Colt McCoy has been more of a game manager over the beginning of the season, but he gets a Miami secondary that has allowed 9.7 YPA and a 6:1 TD:INT ratio over the first two weeks of the year. Still, no Cleveland wide receivers are worth using in fantasy leagues, although Peyton Hillis, who leads the NFL in touches, remains a must-start... After an impressive Week 1, Chad Henne regressed badly last Sunday, and he gets a Browns' secondary in Week 3 that has actually allowed a league-low 5.6 YPA. Brandon Marshall has been a strong PPR asset, and it looks like Daniel Thomas is going to really hurt Reggie Bush's fantasy value. The Dolphins are better than their 0-2 record would suggest, and home field matters little to them as well, as they tend to play better on the road.

Predictions: Colt McCoy throws for 220 yards with a TD to Mohamed Massaquoi, while Peyton Hillis totals 100 yards from scrimmage and scores. Reggie Bush and Daniel Thomas combine for 120 yards, with the latter getting a goal-line touchdown. Chad Henne adds 230 passing yards with a TD toss to Brandon Marshall, as Miami wins on a late field goal. Dolphins 23-20.

San Francisco (+2.5) at Cincinnati, Sunday 1 p.m.

Comments: The 49ers enter 1-1 and will play their first road game of the season Sunday. Alex Smith has completed 70.5 percent of his passes so far, but that's a product of being a caretaker who rarely throws downfield. Don't expect that to change in Week 3, as the team will be without Braylon Edwards (knee). Vernon Davis has been asked to block more than usual, but after he complained about his role in the offense this week, don't be surprised if he's force-fed looks Sunday. Frank Gore has averaged a measly 2.5 YPC but continues to be a workhorse... Rookie Andy Dalton has been surprisingly competent this year, and the 49ers' weakness on defense is their secondary. A.J. Greene is going to be targeted heavily this season and looks like a weekly fantasy starter even as a rookie WR. Cedric Benson appealed his three-game suspension, so he'll play Sunday, but he gets a San Francisco defense that has given up an NFL-low 2.5 YPC this season. Jerome Simpson (drug bust) is highly unlikely to play.

Predictions: Alex Smith throws for 200 yards with a TD to Vernon Davis, while Frank Gore fights for 75 yards from scrimmage and scores. Cedric Benson is held in check, while Andy Dalton throws for 225 yards with scoring strikes to A.J. Greene and Jermaine Gresham, as the home team prevails. Bengals 23-17.

New York Jets (-3.5) at Oakland, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: The Jets enter undefeated and coming off a 32-3 blowout win over the Jaguars, although they do have to travel across the country to play in Oakland on Sunday. New York scored a touchdown in the first quarter for the first time in 17 games last week, so the team has typically been slow out of the gate recently. Mark Sanchez continues to improve, and the hope is Santonio Holmes (quad) can get closer to 100 percent. Plaxico Burress disappeared last week, and his role in the offense is in question right now. Shonn Greene continues to disappoint... The Raiders blew a 21-3 halftime lead last week in Buffalo, but they were awfully close to beginning the year 2-0. Jason Campbell has gotten 7.8 YPA while taking just one sack this season, but he gets a tough test Sunday against a strong New York secondary that has forced a 2:5 TD:INT ratio this year. Denarius Moore appears to be the real deal as a legit deep threat, and he should remain heavily involved in Oakland's offense with a depleted WR corps. Darren McFadden has been a beast, and only health can prevent him from finishing as a top-five fantasy player. Even in a tough matchup, he can't be benched Sunday.

Predictions: Mark Sanchez throws for 225 yards with a touchdown to Dustin Keller, while Shonn Greene adds 60 rushing yards. LaDainian Tomlinson adds a TD run, while Darren McFadden totals 80 yards and watches Michael Bush steal a touchdown at the goal line. Jason Campbell adds 220 passing yards with a TD toss to Denarius Moore, as Oakland pulls off the upset. Raiders 20-17.

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

Comments: The Rams come in 0-2, having been outscored 59-29 in the process. They've had a difficult schedule so far that doesn't get any easier Sunday, as they are four-point underdogs at home against the Ravens, who should enter focused coming off an upset loss to the Titans. Still, even if St. Louis falls to 0-3, they are hardly out of the playoff race in the NFC West. Steven Jackson (quad) is highly questionable to play, so it's going to take a good game from Sam Bradford for the Rams to have a chance Sunday... After a big game against Pittsburgh, Joe Flacco struggled last week in Tennessee, as inconsistency continues to plague him. He gets an underrated Rams defense in what should be a loud environment in a dome Sunday, so it won't be easy to rebound. Ray Rice has 245 yards from scrimmage with three touchdowns over two games, and the Rams have ceded 5.1 YPC so far this season, so expect another big effort from the back.

Predictions: Sam Bradford throws for 210 yards with a touchdown to Mike Sims-Walker, and while Carnell Williams doesn't gain many yards, he does score from the goal line. Ray Rice counters with 125 total yards and hits pay dirt, while Joe Flacco adds 240 passing yards with a TD toss to Anquan Boldin, as the Rams fall to 0-3. Ravens 20-17.


Kansas City (+15) at San Diego, Sunday 4:05 p.m.

Comments: Not only are the Chiefs 0-2, but they've been outscored 89-10 in the process, looking absolutely nothing like the team that won the AFC West last season. Even worse, the team lost Jamaal Charles for the year with a torn ACL. It's a brutal blow to fantasy owners, especially since neither Thomas Jones nor Dexter McCluster are capable replacements. Still, even in matchups that look uneven on paper, divisional games often remain closer than expected since the teams are so familiar with each other, and the Chiefs are a wounded animal that should give everything they've got Sunday... The Chargers lost 35-21 in New England last week, but the game was closer than the score appeared, as execution remained a problem with the maddening San Diego franchise. Philip Rivers has an uncharacteristic 4:4 TD:INT ratio, but he also sports a 70.5 completion percentage and 8.1 YPA mark, so he'll be fine. He should have a big game Sunday against a KC defense that has yielded a 114.3 QB rating to opposing passers while recording just one sack this season. Antonio Gates (foot) is questionable to play.

Predictions: Matt Cassel throws for 180 yards with a TD toss to Dwayne Bowe, while the Chiefs' rushing attack is stymied. Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert combine for 150 yards and a touchdown run by the latter, while Philip Rivers adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Vincent Jackson and Mathews, as SD wins handily. Chargers 27-13.

Atlanta (+1) at Tampa Bay, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Falcons had a nice comeback victory over the Eagles last week, which was important with two upcoming road games followed by a matchup with the Packers. An 0-5 start wasn't completely out of the question. Matt Ryan typically plays worse outdoors, although Tampa Bay's secondary has played poorly (8.5 YPA) so far. Michael Turner has gotten 6.9 YPC and surprisingly already has 72 receiving yards on the year - his career-high for a season is 85... Down 17-0 at halftime, the Bucs came back to win in Minnesota last week, staving off a possible 0-2 start to the year. LeGarrette Blount got more involved, but it's still perplexing as to why he's been given only 18 carries on the season. Mike Williams is coming off a disastrous fantasy performance, but don't give up on the talented sophomore. Josh Freeman has a plus matchup against an Atlanta secondary that has been burned for 9.1 YPA this year.

Predictions: Matt Ryan throws for 230 yards with scoring strikes to Roddy White and Julio Jones, while Michael Turner runs for 80 yards and a score. LeGarrette Blount responds with a similar line, while Josh Freeman throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow the recipients, as Tampa Bay pulls off the victory. Buccaneers 24-21.

Green Bay (-3.5) at Chicago, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: After an impressive Week 1 30-12 win over the Falcons, the Bears were equally unimpressive last Sunday, losing 30-13 in New Orleans. Jay Cutler has already been sacked 11 times and likely won't last the season if he continues to take so many hits. Expect Chicago's game plan to focus on the run, and it's not a stretch to call Matt Forte the team's No. 1 option in the passing attack as well. The Packers have allowed a surprising 9.0 YPA this year, so their defense has struggled... The defending champs enter 2-0, but they've allowed 57 points over two games, so they are vulnerable. Aaron Rodgers, however, has been fantastic, throwing for five touchdowns while not committing a single turnover and getting 9.5 YPA. He spreads it around, so no receiver is a true fantasy star, and while James Starks looks far better than Ryan Grant, John Kuhn's presence at the goal line really hampers his upside. It should be a hard-fought, physical battle in Chicago on Sunday.

Predictions: Jay Cutler throws for 250 yards and two touchdowns, with Matt Forte and Johnny Knox the recipients. Forte adds 100 yards from scrimmage and another TD run, while Green Bay's RBBC combines for 90 yards and a TD by Kuhn. Aaron Rodgers throws for 260 yards with scoring strikes to Jermichael Finley and Jordy Nelson, as Green Bay wins the divisional matchup. Packers 24-21.

Arizona (-3.5) at Seattle, Sunday 4:15 p.m.

Comments: The Cardinals are nearly 2-0, losing last week in Washington by just a point. Beanie Wells has been impressive this season, but he's questionable with a hamstring injury and faces one of the better run defenses in football Sunday. Kevin Kolb has got a whopping 9.8 YPA this year, as he's been a massive upgrade at the quarterback position. Still, it's never easy playing in Seattle, and the Seahawks are desperate for a win, so they should bring their "A" game (it's unclear if that's enough, however)... The Seahawks were shut out in Pittsburgh last week and were never a real threat to score. Marshawn Lynch and the ground game look miserable, and the same could be said about Tarvaris Jackson and the passing attack. At least it appears Sidney Rice should return Sunday from his shoulder injury, although he's dealing with a painful torn labrum, so how it limits his effectiveness remains to be seen.

Predictions: Kevin Kolb throws for 260 yards with touchdowns to Larry Fitzgerald and Jeff King, while Beanie Wells suits up and gains 75 yards from scrimmage. The Seahawks' running game remains stagnant, although Marshawn Lynch does score from the goal line. Tarvaris Jackson adds 175 passing yards with a TD strike to Sidney Rice, as Seattle pulls off the upset. Seahawks 20-17.

Pittsburgh (-11) at Indianapolis, Sunday 8:20 p.m.

Comments: The Colts lost at home to the Browns 27-19 last week and look like a true doormat without Peyton Manning. Kerry Collins has barely completed 50.0 percent of his passes while getting 5.6 YPA and faces a tough test against the Steelers this week. Reggie Wayne appears to be the only Indy receiver who can be used in fantasy leagues, and the backfield has turned into a committee on a bad offense, rendering it useless as well... Pittsburgh righted the ship with a 24-0 victory last week and enter as 11-point favorites in Indianapolis, which would have seemed unfathomable in years past. Ben Roethlisberger continues to take vicious hits thanks to a shaky offensive line (and his willingness to hold onto the ball as long as possible), so he's a health risk moving forward. It's a good thing for the Steelers that Indy has managed just two sacks on the season. The Colts have already allowed an NFL-high four rushing scores, so Rashard Mendenhall should be in store for a nice game Sunday night.

Predictions: Kerry Collins throws for 170 yards with a touchdown to Reggie Wayne, while the Colts' running game is shut down, resulting in red-zone failure. Rashard Mendenhall responds with 110 total yards and a TD run, while Ben Roethlisberger adds 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, with Mike Wallace and Hines Ward the recipients, as Pittsburgh prevails. Steelers 24-16.

Washington (+4.5) at Dallas, Monday 8:30 p.m.

Comments: The Redskins enter 2-0, although they will be playing their first road game of the season come Monday night. Rex Grossman remains mistake-prone, but he's already thrown for 596 yards and four touchdowns over two games, so he's on the fantasy radar. Tim Hightower remains the feature back, but Roy Helu is quickly closing the gap. Fred Davis looks like a borderline top-five fantasy tight end... Dallas made an impressive come from behind victory in San Francisco last week, as Tony Romo miraculously returned to play through a broken rib and punctured lung. The team can't afford a slip up playing in a tough NFC East, especially against a division rival at home, but they enter beat up physically. Romo is expected to play, but he'll be wearing a vest in order to protect his injuries. Dez Bryant (thigh) and Felix Jones (shoulder) are both hopeful they can play as well, but it remains to be seen how hampered they'll be even if they are able to suit up. Moreover, Miles Austin is out with a hamstring injury. Of all the injuries, Romo's status is without question the most important.

Predictions: Rex Grossman throws for 260 yards with touchdown tosses to Santana Moss and Fred Davis, while Tim Hightower adds 70 yards from scrimmage sans a score. Felix Jones produces a similar line, with rookie DeMarco Murray punching in a goal-line score. Tony Romo adds 275 passing yards with scoring strikes to Jason Witten and Dez Bryant, as Dallas wins it. Cowboys 27-20.