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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 3

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Ryan Fitzpatrick vs. NE

Fitzpatrick has been one of the pleasant surprises at quarterback the first two weeks of the season. He is tied for the NFL lead with seven touchdown passes and is second in the AFC in quarterback rating behind Tom Brady. Fitzpatrick should be solid again against a Patriots pass defense that has given up the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2011 after allowing the 12th most in 2010. The Patriots offense has been so effective that teams have thrown 89 times against New England in the first two games. Look for Fitzpatrick to throw early and often as the Bills try to keep up with the Patriots.

Ahmad Bradshaw vs. PHI

Bradshaw, much like the Giants offense, has been a slow out of the box. However, Bradshaw is in line for his best week of the season in this NFC East clash with the Eagles. The Giants are banged up at wide receiver and face an Eagles defense surrendering the second most fantasy points to running backs and allowing six yards a carry. Look for the Giants to keep the ball on the ground and for Bradshaw to have his best outing of the young season.

Matt Schaub vs. NO

Schaub has disappointed fantasy owners the first two weeks of the season, but this has been more a product of game situations than Schaub's poor play. The Texans have only thrown 53 times in two games as they have had early leads and successfully run the ball. Schaub has encouraging numbers as he is completing almost 72 percent of his passes in the first two weeks, but more important for fantasy owners, Schaub is sixth in yards per attempt at 8.5. Schaub should get plenty of chances to throw against the Saints, whose defense has allowed the eighth most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2011 and whose offense can keep pace not allow the Texans to get a big lead and turn the game over to Arian Foster and Ben Tate.

A.J. Green vs. SF

Green is two games into his NFL career and has already shown signs that he will be a fantasy starter for years to come. Green has caught touchdown passes in each of his first two games and is coming off a 10-catch performance in a loss to Denver. Look for Green to again put up starter-worthy numbers against a 49ers defense that has struggled mightily against the pass. The 49ers have given up the most fantasy points to wide receivers the first two weeks of the season and were 28th in the league in 2010. Look for another big week from Green in what should be a competitive game.

Arizona DEF vs. SEA

The Seahawks offense has been the antithesis of the aforementioned Patriots thus far. The Seahawks have scored just 17 points in two games while allowing 10 sacks. The Cardinals defense has brought quarterback pressure, getting five sacks while intercepting three passes. While the Cardinals are far from a great fantasy defense, they should get some sacks and turnovers and keep the total points scored fairly low. Arizona could be a nice one-week pickup if your regular defense has a tough matchup.


Ben Roethlisberger vs. IND

While it is unlikely Roethlisberger will have a bad game, the matchup suggests Roethlisberger could have pedestrian numbers much like Matt Schaub and Colt McCoy in the first two weeks. The Colts have allowed the sixth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the third fewest passing yards. The Steelers could easily get an early lead and protect Big Ben, especially after he had an injury scare last week, by running the ball with Rashard Mendenhall. The Colts have surrendered the most rushing touchdowns in the NFL, so all signs point to more of Mendenhall than Big Ben.

Kevin Kolb vs. SEA

Much like the situation with Roethlisberger, Kolb is in a matchup this week that suggests a greater number of running plays and fewer chances for Kolb to put up big numbers. The Seahawks offense has been dreadful the first two weeks, which means opponents can stick to the ground game in the second half. As a result, Seattle has allowed the ninth fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks and the fewest passing attempts (50) in the NFL. Kolb is likely to be very efficient but not put up the big numbers fantasy owners need in this pass-happy league.

Cedric Benson vs. SF

As poor as the 49ers secondary has been in the early part of the season, the run defense has been that good. The 49ers have allowed the fewest yards rushing in the NFL and, more important, have only given up 2.5 yards a carry. While the Bengals do not have established aerial attack, rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has completed more than 66 percent of his passes and not thrown an interception in 56 attempts. Benson struggled a bit against the Broncos, and we expect similar struggles this week.

Tim Hightower vs. DAL

On a good note, Hightower has had 45 rushing attempts in the first two weeks. On a bad note, he has averaged just 3.7 yards a carry and was on the bench for much of the second half last week as rookie Roy Helu rushed for 74 yards on just 10 carries. While Hightower may still get a high number of carries in Week 3, he certainly has competition in the backfield and faces a Cowboys run defense that has allowed just 47.5 yards rushing to running backs in the first two games of the season. Don't be surprised if this is Hightower's worst fantasy game to date on Monday night.

Chicago DEF vs. GB

In most weeks, the Bears are one of the safer defensive plays. Last week, however, the Bears struggled mightily against the Saints, getting only one sack while allowing 30 points in a blowout loss. This week, the Bears face division foe Green Bay, with an offense that might be one of the few that has more firepower than the Saints. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been on a roll, averaging 310 yards passing, and has yet to be intercepted in 65 pass attempts, while leading an offense averaging 36 points a game. The Packers might not get to their average this week, but there are probably better selections on the waiver wire this week than risking the Bears.