Friday, September 24, 2010

Put it in Print: Week 3 Predictions

If you're going to say it, why not put it in print. Here is a snapshot of what's going on in my head heading into week 3.

Joe Flacco – QB Baltimore
Flacco has been a fantasy football disappointment in the first two games of the year. Expect a strong performance this week as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns. Flacco has faced the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals to open the season, which is no easy task. The Browns will offer much less resistance in week three. Don’t dump Flacco on your bench quite yet.

Cincinnati Bengals defense
After getting destroyed by the New England Patriots in week one, the Bengals bounced back with a nice win against Baltimore in week two (4 interceptions by the defense). This week, Cincy faces a Carolina team that is looking to find its offense. The Panthers made a switch at QB and will start rookie Jimmy Clausen against the Bengals. I expect Clausen will look good at times, and awful more of the time. If you own the Bengals defense, get ready for a good afternoon in Carolina.

Kyle Orton – QB Denver
If the weather is nice in Denver, look for Orton to have a good performance in week 3. He faces an Indianapolis defense that has struggled to stop the run and could be susceptible to Denver’s play action. Orton has great command of Denver’s offense right now and with the addition of WR Demaryius Thomas to the line-up, the Broncos have a loaded fantasy football roster. Think about it, in most leagues you will find Thomas, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd on a roster. Add Knowshon Moreno, Laurence Maroney, Correll Buckhalter and Orton to that list and there are eight relevant fantasy football players.

Beanie Wells – RB Arizona
There was some surprising news regarding Wells this week. Wells revealed that he had surgery on his knee to fix a torn meniscus. Wells appears ready to return to the Cardinals line-up soon, but don’t expect him to be a good option for at least a couple of weeks. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t yet ruled Wells fit to play and expect the Cards to take it slow in bringing him back. Another factor in keeping Wells out longer is Tim Hightower is running okay right now. Wells will get his chance to reclaim that number one RB role, just not this week. Stay tuned.

Justin Forsett – RB Seattle
I’m probably the only fantasy football prognosticator (Note: I’m not an expert, fantasy football experts don’t exist) picking Forsett to have a good week this week. The Seattle RB faces a stout San Diego defense that ranks 10th against the run (206 yds. allowed in two games/56 yards of that total came on one run from Jamaal Charles). The reason I like Forsett is because of his ability to break long runs, similar to way Charles did in the first game against the Chargers. In Pete Carroll’s new offense, Forsett hasn’t had many opportunities put together a complete game. However, in limited action, Forsett has made the most of his carries. He’s averaging nearly six yards per carry and is the best RB option in Seattle. Carroll will eventually commit to Forsett carrying the load. To Carroll I say, why not start this week at home in front of the 12th man.

James Davis/Ryan Torain
I wanted to get on the record with both of these players now. I’ll start with Davis because he’s in the better situation of the two right now. The second year back finds himself one step closer to the field now that Jerome Harrison is likely out for week 3. Davis was a preseason star who has been buried on the Browns depth chart. Look for him to get some carries this week as a compliment to Peyton Hillis. The problem for Davis this week is he’s facing Baltimore’s defense. However, if Davis finds success against the Raven he may be on the field more this year. As for Torain, I’m taking more of a wait and see approach. Just activated from Washington’s practice squad, Torain brings a spark to the Redskins that Clinton Portis and Keiland Williams can’t provide. I’m not saying Torain is ready to supplant Portis, who’s questionable with a wrist injury in week 3, as the starter. Keep an eye on Torain’s workload as the weeks go on. He may be worth a roster spot, especially if you have Portis.

Brett Favre – QB Minnesota
Two straight losses will make you do crazy things in the NFL. Case in point, Favre lined up as a DB at practice this week. It turns out he did it to learn more about how his WRs run routes. As weird as it sounds, this drill — where Favre didn’t even throw a pass — might be the one that helps Favre connect with his WRs. Favre should be better this week and I expect him to get TD pass #500 this Sunday against the Lions (he has 498 TD passes currently).

Cedric Benson – RB Cincinnati
Like most RBs in the league, Benson wants more carries. The Bengals should be able to feed him the ball often on Sunday against the Panthers. Benson got 23 carries last week against Baltimore’s defense and he gained 76 yards. That’s not a terrible outing against a very good Ravens defense. If Benson gets 23 carries this week, expect 100+ yards and at least a TD. With Jimmy Clausen taking over at QB for the Panthers, look for the Bengals to control this game. That will be good news for fantasy football owners who have Benson.

Brandon Jackson – RB Green Bay
Last week he was the hot pick-up of the week, now Jackson’s role in Green Bay’s offense is a mystery. The Packers came out this week and said Jackson is not a “carry the load” type of back. That tells me the team isn’t satisfied with him as a runner. Jackson will remain the Packers third down RB, but expect his role to diminish and he will lose carries to John Kuhn and Dimitri Nance. It’s bad news for all those fantasy football owners who spent a lot of their free agent budget to nab Jackson off the waiver wire.

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