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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 3

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Brett Favre vs. DET

Favre has struggled out of the gate, ranking 30th in fantasy points scored after two weeks behind such notable fantasy stalwarts as Josh Freeman, Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. Favre should be able to retrieve some of the fantasy magic he captured in 2009 against a Lions defense that ranks 30th in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback position, giving up 328 yards passing and two touchdown throws per game. Look for Favre to have his best game of the young season and put up fantasy starter numbers this week.

Maurice Jones-Drew vs. PHI

Jones-Drew was drafted no lower than fourth in most leagues this year but has started rather slowly with 161 total yards and no touchdowns in his first two games. Jones-Drew ranks 30th among running backs in standard league scoring. He has been one of the best and most consistent scorers in fantasy the last several years, averaging 15 touchdowns a season the last two years. Look for Jones-Drew to put up fantasy numbers worthy of his lofty draft status this week against an Eagles defense that is 31st in fantasy points allowed to running backs. More specifically, the Eagles surrender 111 yards per game on the ground and 6.5 catches for an additional 89 yards through the air. Jones-Drew may not put up Jahvid Best numbers this week, but he should have his best game to date and restore some faith with his owners.

Darren McFadden vs. ARI

McFadden has finally demonstrated the abilities that made him a first-round pick out of the University of Arkansas. McFadden ranks seventh in running back scoring in standard leagues after rushing for 240 yards in two games. Michael Bush may play this week and take away a few carries, but McFadden still should be able to produce starter quality numbers against a Cardinals defense ranked 28th in fantasy points allowed to the running back position. The Cardinals allow more than 150 yards rushing per game and a rushing touchdown. Look for McFadden to have his third straight impressive fantasy outing.

Santana Moss vs. STL

While Moss has failed to get into the endzone, he has been a monster in PPR leagues, catching 16 passes on 22 targets in two games. Look for Moss to continue to be a valuable second wide receiver or flex option this week against a Rams defense ranked 28th in points allowed to the wide receiver position. The Rams average 13 catches allowed for more than 200 yards per game to wide receivers. Moss is clearly the No. 1 target in Washington, and with the lack of a running game, look for Moss to continue his hot start.

New England Defense vs. BUF

The Patriots did very little defensively in the second half in a disappointing loss to the Jets last week. The Patriots rank 14th in fantasy defensive scoring in standard leagues, but they figure to be a top-10 defense this week against perhaps the worst offense in the league. The Bills rank last in total offense, points scored and are third in sacks allowed. Look for the Patriots to hold the Bills offense in check and not only score you points for posting a shutout (or close to it) but also getting those all important fantasy defensive stats (sacks, turnovers, touchdowns) needed for a big fantasy day.


Eli Manning vs. TEN

Manning salvaged a dreadful performance by the Giants in Indianapolis with two second half touchdowns, but he personally committed three turnovers and was sacked four times. This week Manning faces a Titans defense ranked third in fantasy points allowed to the quarterback. While the Titans have yet to face a quality quarterback, they have dominated their first two quarterback opponents and appear to have a quality pass rush. The Titans have registered eight sacks in two games. With the challenges on the Giants offensive line, look for Manning to get hit early and often and have another below average start this Sunday.

Kyle Orton vs. IND

Orton has been one of the pleasant surprises early in the fantasy season. Orton has more fantasy points than Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. This should change this week against a Colts defense ranked seventh in points allowed to the quarterback. The Colts allow just 134 yards a game through the air and continue to struggle against the run, allowing the third most points to running backs in the league. Orton averages 301 passing yards per game, but donít be surprised if he struggles to get to 200 yards this week.

Ronnie Brown vs. NYJ

Brown has had only 26 carries but has made the most out of his opportunities, averaging more than 5.5 yards per carry in the Dolphinsí two wins. His workload should begin to increase as Ricky Williams averages just 3.3 yards per carry. This week, Brown faces a Jets defense ranked third in the league in fewest points allowed to running backs and second in yards per carry. The Jets held Brown to just 102 yards on 32 carries in two games last season. Look for Brown to have his lowest production of the season in what should be a defensive slugfest in Miami.

Hines Ward vs. TB

Ward was held to just one catch last week as the Steelers lost quarterback Dennis Dixon to a leg injury and are now relying on Charlie Batch until Ben Roethlisberger gets back from suspension. Look for Wardís targets to be limited once again, especially against a Buccaneers defense that surrenders the second lowest quarterback rating in the league and is eighth in fewest fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. Expect the Steelers to once again rely on Rashard Mendenhallís running and the defense to get to 3-0 .

Dallas Defense vs. HOU

The Cowboys numbers on defense are not that bad as they rank 10th in total defense and sixth against the run. But sometimes real defense and fantasy defense arenít one in the same. In the case of the Cowboys, the defensive unit lacks the ability to generate the sacks and turnovers necessary for big fantasy outburst. Last season the Cowboys started slowly as they didnít register a sack or turnover in the first two weeks. The Cowboys again have started slowly with just two sacks and no turnovers in their first two games, thus killing fantasy owners. This week the Cowboys face a high-powered Texans offense that ranks first in total yards, rushing and points and sixth in passing yards. The Texans have also turned the ball over just twice in two games. With the equally poor Texans pass defense, expect a high scoring Texas-style shootout this Sunday with little or no defense.