Week 3 NFL fantasy breakdown

DAN BILICKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:00 PM ET

TORONTO - The Cowboys are going into battle with the Redskins in some pretty rough shape. In fact, four of Dallas’ biggest contributors on offence are either going to miss the game or are banged up.

Austin Miles is out this week and maybe next with a hamstring injury.

Dez Bryant hasn’t had any setbacks in his bid to return from a bruised thigh, but is still questionable for Monday night.

At running back, Felix Jones played through a shoulder separation on Sunday thanks to a harness, but time will tell how much he can contribute.

Finally, CT scans on Tony Romo’s punctured lung have shown that it’s healed, but the probability of him playing is dependent on his pain threshold. He would be wearing a flak jacket if he does play to protect his cracked rib.

That leaves Jason Witten as the only bonafide fantasy starter for Dallas on Monday. Look for him to get a lot of looks and a lot of attention from Washington.

-With one in every 10 or 12 fantasy owners now mourning the loss of Jamaal Charles thanks to a torn ACL, it’s very likely that if Thomas Jones was available on the waiver wire this week, he’s on somebody’s roster now.

But, there’s a nice sleeper sitting out there too: Dexter McCluster. The second-year man out of Mississippi may have had less carries than Jones after Charles went down, but McCluster was more effective with the ball.

Jones should get the majority of the carries, but that doesn’t mean that McCluster won’t have his chance to shine. After all, Jones did have more carries than Charles last year, but was far less effective down the stretch.

-Bonus McCluster note: Because he was on the Chiefs depth chart as a WR and was used all over the field on offence last year, he has dual-eligibility as running back and wide receiver in most games. It’s not quite as handy as Joe Webb being a QB/WR combo last year, but still fun to play with.

-Speaking of dual-eligibility players, while Denver coach John Fox has shot down the idea of Tim Tebow getting an extended look at wide receiver, isn’t it fun to speculate? Depending on your league’s position eligibility settings, there’s a slim chance that he could get dual-eligibility. That would come in handy should he ever get the call over Kyle Orton to start at QB.

-Just when he reached must-start status at the TE position, Aaron Hernandez went down with a sprained MCL and will be out 1-2 weeks. This of course means that Rob Gronkowski is going to be an even bigger weapon for Tom Brady, but it always gives a few Patriots receivers a chance to shine. Since Hernandez was really used as a deep threat, that could mean we’ll be seeing Deion Branch or Chad Ochocinco running more deep routes for the next little while.

-In general, Cam Newton has been a fantasy monster so far this season - but at what cost? Newton actually leads the Panthers in every rushing category: Carries, yards, YPC and TDs. If you’re a DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart owner you’re probably very disappointed right now. Both those backs are averaging around 2.5 YPC, so it’s not like they’re making a case for getting some more attention from the play callers. You should consider dropping Williams if a better back is available and Stewart if anyone else is on the waiver wire.

-Two wide outs that probably weren’t your first choice guys tore their ACLs this week: Cincinnati’s Jordan Shipley and the Giants’ Dominick Hixon. Needless to say both should be jettisoned and there are a ton of upstart receivers likely waiting for you to grab. Denarius Moore and Donald Nelson anyone?

SIT/START

Start Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, BUF vs. NE – The Patriots pass defence have looked porous to say the least so far.

Start Josh Freeman, QB, TB vs. ATL – The Falcons are giving up 9.1 yards per pass attempt, third most in the league.

Sit Donovan McNabb, QB, MIN vs. DET – Chances are you wouldn’t be starting him anyway, but this week he’s an especially bad option.

Start Ben Tate, RB, HOU at NO – Not really a knock against him, but it turns out anyone can run behind the Texans line and Tate’s the man this Sunday.

Sit Cedric Benson, RB, CIN vs. SF – The Niners are leading the league in rush defence having given up only 2.5 yards per carry.

Start Kenny Britt, WR, TEN vs. DEN – He has started off this season on fire and there’s no way he should be on your bench facing an average defence like the Broncos’.

Sit Mike Thomas, WR, JAC at CAR – Of all the receivers who have 20+ targets, Thomas has the least receptions with 11.

Sit Denarius Moore, WR, OAK vs. NYJ – A nice sleeper and waiver wire pickup should sit against the Jets vaunted pass defence.

Sit Fred Davis, TE, WAS at DAL – He’s second in receiving yards for TEs, but will probably be kept in to block Dallas’ fierce pass rush.

STAT CORNER

Through the first two games of the season, Tom Brady is on pace to throw for 7,520 yards and 56 TD passes this season. That would total 524 fantasy points.

PLAXICO A ONE-SHOT WONDER?

During the fourth quarter of Week 1, Plaxico Burress had four receptions for 72 yards and a TD. In the other seven quarters the Jets have played this season, he has no receptions.

ONE ON ONE

Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA

Burst onto the scene with 107 yards in his debut after missing Week 1.

In one game, he racked up more carries than Reggie Bush has all season.

Despite rushing the ball 18 times, he has only picked up 4 first downs.

Always a concern that his team could go down early, forcing the Dolphins to pass more.

Mark Ingram, RB, NO

He’s getting the bulk of the carries out of the Saints’ backfield, but only producing 3.4 YPC.

The Texans defence has been better under Wade Phillips, but still ranks 17th against the run.

He is getting some goalline touches, but has yet to punch one in.

Not a threat out of the backfield. In fact, he hasn’t even got a target yet.

Verdict: Go with Thomas. Through two weeks, he’s winning the battle between the rookie backs.


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