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Weekly Matchups: Strong Plays, Weak Plays Week 3

Kyle Fisher

Kyle Fisher writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.


Matt Cassel vs. NO

While Cassel is not considered an elite fantasy quarterback, he is tied for eighth in fantasy points at the quarterback position in standard scoring leagues, ahead of Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. This is partly because of the Chiefs' need to throw, as they have been way behind in both games, and Cassel has benefitted from garbage time. This could be the scenario once again as Cassel is matched up against a desperate 0-2 Saints team. Cassel also benefits from a Saints pass defense that is giving up the most fantasy points to quarterbacks in standard leagues (24.5) along with the highest yards per attempt (12). Crazy as it might sound, Cassel should be fantasy relevant for the third straight week.

Andy Dalton vs. WAS

Dalton was very good last week, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns in a strong matchup against a depleted Browns pass defense. This week, Dalton once again has a strong matchup against the Redskins, who have surrendered the third most fantasy points to quarterbacks in standard leagues (22) and have allowed the most touchdowns (6). The Redskins also lost two starting defensive players in Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker for the season. Look for Dalton to have another solid fantasy outing and put up top-12 numbers in this favorable matchup.

Andre Brown vs. CAR

Brown posted useful numbers last week, gaining 71 yards and scoring a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Brown is expected to carry the workload this week as Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) did not practice Tuesday. While Brown is not a weekly starter, he has the type of matchup this week that should make him a good flex option against the Panthers. The Panthers have allowed the fourth most fantasy points to running backs in standard scoring leagues (25.5) and are 24th in the league in yards per carry allowed (4.7). Look for Brown to do a lot for you this week.

Dez Bryant vs. TB

Bryant has just seven catches for 102 yards and no touchdowns in his first two games of the season, ranking 57th in PPR leagues. Bryant has immense talent and finally has the matchup that should show off that talent against the Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are last in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers in standard scoring leagues. And even if last week's performance by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks were subtracted from the Bucs, their Week 1 performance ranked them 28th in the league. Furthermore, the Buccaneers have struggled against the pass for awhile, as they ranked 31st last season in yards per attempt allowed (7.9). This should be the week that Bryant owners have a smile on their faces as this is one of the better matchups of the week.

Michael Crabtree vs. MIN

Crabtree finally looks like he is putting it all together. While he hasn't found the endzone yet, he has been targeted 16 times in two games and has caught 13 passes. The Vikings have given up the ninth most fantasy points to wide receivers while facing Blaine Gabbert and Andrew Luck. They also have given up a touchdown pass to wide receivers in 13 straight games and were the third worst defense against wide receivers in 2011. Look for Crabtree to continue his solid play, and the matchup suggests he has an excellent chance of getting in the endzone this week.


Peyton Manning vs. HOU

It's hard to imagine Manning having consecutive poor fantasy performances, but the matchup suggests that's what will happen this week. The Texans have allowed the fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and have allowed just one quarterback in the last 15 weeks to throw for at least 200 yards with multiple touchdowns. Furthermore, the Texans led the NFL in fewest yards per attempt in 2011 and are second after two games in 2012. This might be another week when Manning is best suited for your bench.

Andrew Luck vs. JAX

Luck was solid last week in a favorable matchup against the Vikings, playing as low-end fantasy starter. This week, Luck has a matchup that may require him to start only in 14-16 team leagues. The Jaguars have the worst fantasy run defense by far in the NFL, so the Colts could have more success on the ground than they have in their first two games. Second, the Jaguars are the only team in the NFL to have not allowed a touchdown pass and are ranked as the third-stingiest defense to fantasy quarterbacks. Luck might be in for a week where his real-life numbers are much better than his fantasy ones.

Michael Turner vs. SD

Without three cracks from the one-yard line on Monday night, Turner would have had his second straight fantasy dud, and the matchup suggests he could make it three straight poor rushing performances. Turner is averaging just 2.6 yards per carry and only 14 attempts per game, and this with a Falcons team that has had big leads in both games this year. That coupled with the fact the Chargers have allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL and are sixth in yards per carry allowed (2.8) suggest that Turner's bad week won't get any better on Sunday.

Shonn Greene vs. MIA

Greene looks like he will be fine for his game Sunday against Miami, but he might not perform much better than if he had just sat out the game altogether. Greene has gotten 38 carries in his first two games but has just 117 yards and in two games against Miami last season rushed for just 129 yards on 35 carries. The Dolphins have a strong run defense, allowing the fewest yards per attempt (2.2) in 2012 and finishing third in that category last season (3.7). Look for Greene to struggle this week and at best be only a flex option in deep leagues.

Vincent Jackson vs. DAL

Jackson has been the unquestioned top target in Tampa. He has 20 targets in two games but just nine catches. The Panthers held him in check Week 1, and that is most likely the type of performance he will give you this week against the Cowboys. The Cowboys have allowed the fourth fewest fantasy points to wide receivers and have an excellent tandem of cornerbacks in Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Look for Jackson to struggle this week against a tough Cowboys secondary.

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