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Fantasy Football: Go Beyond the Box Score (Week 3 Start 'Em, Sit 'Em, Pick 'Em Up)

Is it too early to trade in fantasy football? Does the box score tell the whole story?



INDIANAPOLIS --- Is it too early to make a fantasy trade? That all depends on your fantasy record. 2-0? Probably. 0-2? Probably not. But don't just look blindly at statistics to determine if you should trade a player. I'll give you two examples.

See Colts running back Frank Gore. Week 1: 8 carries for 31 yards, but he left a portion of the game due to leg cramps. Week 2: 15 carries for 57 yards and a lost fumble, but if you watched that lost fumble it was so unlike Gore. He probably won't drop the ball like that near the goal line ever again. If he didn't drop it, Gore walks into the endzone, and fantasy owners are feeling pretty good moving forward, coming off at least an 11 point night against a tough Jets defense. The fumble though was an 8 fantasy point swing, and Gore ended with just 3 fantasy points (in standard scoring). I will admit my one concern with his fantasy value is a lack of receptions to this point, but stay patient with Gore. He's on the brink of consistent play. Don't trade him for 40 cents on the dollar.

Another example: Cardinals wide receiver John Brown. Around the NFL Writer Chris Wesseling went in depth on him this week. Brown has failed to crack 50 receiving yards each of the first two weeks. Just looking at the box score might cause concern for fantasy owners. Looking at the game tape though reveals what's really going on with Brown. As Wesseling points out: "Brown has already drawn five penalties, including three red-zone P.I. fouls that have led directly to touchdowns for Andre Ellington, Jaron Brown and Larry Fitzgerald." I've been trying to trade for John Brown all week in my leagues and am playing him over Fitzgerald (who had 3 TDs last week) in FanDuel.

Want to go next level in fantasy football? Look up snap counts to make sure your running backs are actually on the field for 60% or more of their team's snaps and 70% or more for wide receivers.

Some other names that haven't impressed yet, but I'd still be willing to trade for:

QB Andrew Luck

RB C.J. Anderson (if I can get Ronnie Hillman too as handcuff, even better)

RB Jonathan Stewart

RB LeGarrette Blount

RB Tevin Coleman (injured right now, ribs)

RB C.J. Spiller (PPR leagues)

RB Ryan Mathews

WR Mike Evans

WR A.J. Green

WR Jeremy Maclin

WR Martavis Bryant

WR Breshad Perriman

TE Jimmy Graham

Week 3 Start 'Em (16+ points for QBs, 10+ for RB/WR; 9-6 on the season)

Colts QB Andrew Luck (at TEN) - Yeah, yeah. Call me a homer all you want, but I go by facts. Fact: two of Luck's four best passer rating games last year came against the Titans. Fact: Luck had 6 TD and only 1 INT against the Titans last year. Fact: Luck had 6 TD, despite only playing 6 quarters against the Titans last year. Fact: After starting 0-2 last season, Luck had his best game as a pro at Jacksonville, with 370 yards, 4 TD, and no INTs. Start him. Don't get cute. He's Andrew freakin' Luck.

Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (vs. SF) - Third week in a row Palmer makes this list, just to continue emphasizing how good he's been. He's top-10 fantasy QB for me the rest of the season. 25 and 21 fantasy points the first two weeks of the season. Think that's a fluke? He averaged about 20 fantasy points per game last season too when healthy. Carson Palmer is here to stay.

Raiders RB Latavius Murray (@ CLE) - I'm always hesitant to pick west coast teams playing in early games in the Eastern time zone, but Murray's match-up screams start him. He's had 80+ total yards in his first two games and faces a Browns defense now that has allowed opposing backfields to rack up at least 140 yards on the ground in weeks one and two.

Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (@ DAL) - I've been touting Tevin Coleman over Freeman all offseason, but alas, Coleman is hurt with a cracked rib. This is a shear volume pick for me. Freeman isn't going to give you a solid YPC day against a good Dallas defense, but his workload and hopefully a goal line score (which he had last week) should get you to a double-digit fantasy day if you are in need of a RB this week.

Jets WR Brandon Marshall (vs. PHL) - Marshall was very competitive vs. Colts shutdown corner Vontae Davis last week in the first half. Now, Marshall faces a porous Eagles secondary, potentially without teammate Eric Decker (knee) to compete with for targets. I love this match-up.

Cardinals WR John Brown (vs. SF) - For all the reasons I stated above…(and the 49ers secondary couldn't stop the also speedy Antonio Brown last week).

SLEEPER OF THE WEEK - Eagles RB Darren Sproles (@ NYJ): DeMarco Murray tweaked a hamstring in practice, which would lead most to start Ryan Mathews this week if Murray is out. I just don't think the Eagles will be able to run on the Jets front 7. Give me Sproles as the most productive Eagles RB this week.

TIGHT END WEEK 3 SLEEPER - Rams TE Jared Cook: quarterback Nick Foles has targeted Cook 13 times through two weeks. He's caught 10 of those for 132 yards. I like the match-up against Pittsburgh.

Honorable Mention - Patriots RB LeGarrette Blount (vs. JAX)...only 7 snaps last week, but I just have a feeling. Belichick changes his RB based on the gameplan, and Blount didn't fit that plan at all vs. a tough Buffalo front 7 last week. Jacksonville? Different story.


Week 3 Sit 'Em ( < 16 points for QBs, < 10 for RB/WR; 6-6 on the season, 4-2 last week)

Chargers QB Philip Rivers (@ MIN) - West coast team playing a 1PM game? The Vikings trying to play ball control with long drives led by Adrian Peterson, limiting Phillip Rivers possessions? Feels like a...trap (Thanks to NFL Fantasy's Akbar Gbaja-Biamila for letting me borrow his hilarious weekly segment).

Eagles QB Sam Bradford (@ NYJ) - At this point, I have to see it first...

Dolphins RB Lamar Miller (vs. BUF) - He's banged up, so he may not even play. If he does, I'm not a fan of the match-up. Even more so, I'm not a fan of the Dolphins only giving him 14 and 15 touches the first two weeks.

Bengals RB Jeremy Hill (@ BAL) - In two games last season against the Ravens, Hill failed to score a touchdown and failed to even reach 50 rushing yards. Combine that with uncertainty about his workload with Giovani Bernard now, after two fumbles last week? Bad news Bengals here for Hill fantasy owners this week.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen (@ MIN) - Just so inconsistent from week to week, and the very definition of a boom-or-bust fantasy WR. 166 yards week 1 on 17 targets, and just 16 yards week 2 on 4 targets. Will the real Keenan Allen please stand up? Can't decide whether to start him or not? Flip a coin.  

Eagles WR Jordan Matthews (@ NYJ) - Revis Island? Matthews statistically has had a good start to the season, but like we mentioned at the top of the article, box scores don't tell the entire story. Matthews was the ultimate garbage time fantasy star last week. I can't count on that this week.



Week 2 Pick 'Em Up Best Picks - Colts WR Donte Moncrief, Bills QB Tyrod Taylor, Cardinals RB David Johnson, (Must be under 50% owned on to qualify)

Bengals QB Andy Dalton (28.9%)

Bills QB Tyrod Taylor (27.0%, rushing QBs have value people)

Browns RB Duke Johnson (39.9%, hopefully the return of QB Josh McCown means receptions)

Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro (22.3%, goal line back with some upside)

Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman (18.9%)

Packers RB James Starks (15.3%, a must for Lacy owners)

Chargers WR Stevie Johnson (29.0% Really?!)

Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin (12.1%, back-to-back 7 reception games)
Chargers TE Antonio Gates (44.0%, 4-game suspension)

Redskins TE Jordan Reed (18.3%, 63, 82, and 96 yard games)

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