By Stephen Dolan
There were upsets galore last week and this week we see a few injuries take out some top fantasy performers. Eagles running back DeMarco Murray was sidelined with a hamstring injury. Jets wide receiver Eric Decker also missed Week 3. The Steelers got Le’Veon Bell back from suspension, but lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a reported four-to-six weeks with a leg injury.READ MORE: Spurs Defeat Wizards, 116-99, For Season's First Win Streak
Play: Matt Ryan (vs. HOU)
Ryan has been phenomenal for the Falcons in the early going and is a big reason why Atlanta has raced out to a 3-0 start under first-year head coach Dan Quinn. Ryan threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday en route to a 39-28 victory over the previously unbeaten Dallas Cowboys. He has not thrown an interception since Week 1 against the Eagles, and has yet to complete less than 65% of his passes in a game this season. He faces a Houston Texans defense, featuring reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, which has allowed an average of 224 passing yards per game this season. Play Ryan.
Play: Aaron Rodgers (vs. SF)
Rodgers is one of the best players in the NFL—at any position—right now. He was stellar on Monday night, throwing for 333 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions against the Chiefs. The reigning NFL MVP has 10 touchdowns with no interceptions on the season and has yet to post a game with a quarterback rating below 116.9. He is facing a San Francisco defense that has been torched through the air, allowing 853 passing yards and an opposing quarterback rating of 111.6 through three games.
Other Good Plays: Cam Newton (vs. TB) for $8,300, Tyrod Taylor (vs. NYG) for $7,600
Pass: Josh McCown (vs. SD)
McCown had a mediocre game on Sunday against the Raiders completing just 57.1% of his passes and getting picked off once but managed to throw for 341 yards and two touchdowns in the process. His hand was stepped on in the third quarter but X-rays came back negative and he is expected to start on Sunday. He faces a San Diego defense that has stymied opposing quarterbacks allowing just 189 passing yards a game and a quarterback rating of 87.6. Pass on McCown and the Browns.
Other Passes: Teddy Bridgewater (vs. DEN) for $6,500, Michael Vick (vs. BAL) for $6,700
Play: Latavius Murray (vs. CHI)
Murray exploded on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns shoulder the bulk of the Raiders’ rushing attack. He carried the ball 26 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. On the season, Murray has averaged 4.8 yards per carry with two touchdowns and no fumbles as Oakland has jumped out to a surprisingly 2-1 start. The Raiders are taking on a Chicago Bears team that is tied for 28th in the NFL in rushing defense allowing an average of 4.7 yards per carry and 135.7 yards per game. Play Murray.
Play: Melvin Gordon (vs. CLE)
Gordon has been steady in his first three NFL games rushing for 51, 88 and 51 yards on 14, 16 and 14 carries respectively. Gordon has also added four catches for 26 yards in the passing game to add to his fantasy value. The first-round pick is still searching for his first NFL touchdown as his rush in Week 1 was called back. Gordon gets a great match-up on Sunday as he faces the Cleveland Browns who rank dead last in the NFL against the rush allowing 158.3 rushing yards per game over the first three weeks of the season.
Other Good Plays: Jonathan Stewart (vs. TB) for $6,300, Joseph Randle (vs. NO) for $7,400, Darren Sproles (vs. WAS) for $6,000
Pass: Rashad Jennings (vs. BUF)
Jennings is still splitting carries in the New York backfield and has yet to stand out as a solid fantasy runner or a receiver, leaving the Giants top back in limbo. He has just 96 yards on 33 carries through three games, but had his best receiving game of the season on Sunday with three catches for 25 yards aided by an 18-yard reception. He faces a Buffalo defense that has allowed just 222 total rushing yards on the season, an average of 74.0 yards per game. Pass on Jennings.
Other Passes: DeMarco Murray (vs. WAS) for $7,600, Frank Gore (vs. JAC) for $7,300, Andre Ellington (vs. STL) for $7,000
Play: Julio Jones (vs. HOU)
Jones has been virtually unstoppable through the first three weeks of the season. He has caught 34 passes for 440 yards and four touchdowns after pulling in 12 receptions for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon. Jones’ 34 receptions are an NFL record through three games and his 440 yards easily lead the league. He takes on a Texans secondary that ranks 13th in the league against the pass, allowing 12.3 yards per reception. Get Jones into your lineup.
Play: Odell Beckham Jr. (vs. BUF)
Beckham Jr. continues to be a fantasy football mainstay at the wide receiver position as Eli Manning’s favorite target in the Giants’ passing offense. He put up another strong performance last Thursday against the Washington Redskins, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a touchdown. Beckham Jr. has 269 receiving yards on the season. Play him.
Play: T.Y. Hilton (vs. JAX)
Hilton returned to form on Sunday against the Titans, pulling in seven balls for 94 yards, including a beautiful 48-yard reception going up over the defensive back. Hilton leads the Colts in targets (28) and receiving yards (227), but Andrew Luck’s top target is still looking for his first touchdown of the season. He will get his shot on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars and their 27-ranked pass defense that has allowed 892 receiving yards through the first three weeks.
Other Good Plays: Golden Tate (vs. SEA) for $6,600, Jarvis Landry (vs. NYJ) for $7,200, Jordan Matthews (vs. WAS) for $7,000READ MORE: Hogan: Concern But No Need For Lockdowns In Maryland Over Dangerous Omicron Covid Variant
Pass: Michael Crabtree (vs. CHI)
Crabtree has 184 receiving yards and one touchdown on the season, but 111 of those yards came two weeks ago in a shootout win over the Baltimore Ravens. In his other two games this season, he has 37 and 36 yards receiving and no touchdowns. Crabtree is facing a Chicago Bears defense that ranks sixth in the league against the pass tied with the Seattle Seahawks with 609 receiving yards allowed. Pass on Crabtree.
Other Passes: Mike Evans (vs. CAR) for $7,500, Vincent Jackson (vs. CAR) for $6,800, Jeremy Maclin (vs. CIN) for $6,500
Play: Charles Clay (vs. NYG)
The Buffalo Bills upstart offense has gotten a lift from the new tight end, Charles Clay. Clay, who spent the last four years with the Dolphins, is third on the Bills in receptions (12) and receiving yards (144) while leading the team in receiving touchdowns with two. He has a favorable match-up, facing a Giants team that ranks dead last in the NFL against the pass, allowing 1,035 yards per game. Play Clay.
Other Good Plays: Jordan Reed (vs. PHI) for $5,600, Martellus Bennett (vs. OAK) for $5,500
Pass: Kyle Rudolph (vs. DEN)
Rudolph is tied for the Vikings team lead in receptions with 12, but has amassed just 97 with one touchdown on the season. The Vikings’ tight end has watched his receiving yardage drop week-by-week thanks to the emergence of Minnesota’s strong ground game on the shoulders of Adrian Peterson. Rudolph faces off against the staunch Denver defense that is allowing an average of 196.7 receiving yards per game through the first three weeks. Rudolph? No thanks.
Other Passes: Heath Miller (vs. BAL) for $5,500, Jared Cook (vs. ARI) for $5,400
- Play: Matt Bryant (vs. HOU) for $4,800
- Play: Mason Crosby (vs. SF) for $5,000
- Play: Brandon McManus (vs. MIN) for $4,900
- Pass: Mike Nugent (vs. KC) for $4,700
- Pass: Chandler Catanzaro (vs. STL) for $4,800
- Pass: Adam Vinatieri (vs. JAC) for $4,900
- Play: Cardinals (vs. STL) for $5,000
- Play: Panthers (vs. TB) for $4,800
- Play: Bills (vs. MIA) for $4,800
- Pass: Texans (vs. ATL) for $4,900
- Pass: Bengals (vs. KC) for $4,700
- Pass: Vikings (vs. DEN) for $4,400
QB: Aaron Rodgers (vs. SF)
RB: Melvin Gordon (vs. CLE)
RB: Darren Sproles (vs. WAS)
WR: Odell Beckahm Jr. (vs. BUF)
WR: Golden Tate (vs. SEA
WR: Jordan Matthews (vs. WAS)
TE: Charles Clay (vs. NYG)
K: Mason Crosby (vs. SF)
D/ST: Cardinals (vs. STL)MORE NEWS: Maryland Weather: Winds Contribute To Chilly Weather, Plus A Chance For Flurries
Steve Dolan is an MBA student at Villanova University and a graduate of the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University. Steve co-founded Whiz Wit Sports, a Philadelphia-centric sports blog, in March 2011 growing the site to win PHL 17’s Best Local Blogger on the Philly Hot List in 2013.