Week 3 is finally in the books following the Packers/Chiefs game and one of the big story lines continues to be the year of the injured quarterback. The latest casualty is the Steeler’s Ben Roethlisberger, who went down after awkwardly getting hit on the knee. Ben hadn’t missed a game in over two years but will now be sidelined for the next 4-6 weeks, depending on how quickly he heals. In his place comes an interesting fantasy option, as Michael Vick will now lineup under center. Vick didn’t look very effective in relief of Roethlisberger and to make matters worse only gets a few days of preparation with the first team starters as the Steelers host the Ravens in the Thursday night game. Remember that Vick scores a lot of fantasy points with his legs and could be a sneaky play this week given that the Ravens have been torched by the Bengals and Raiders over the last two weeks. Baltimore looks to avoid going starting off 0-4 in the unfriendly environment known as Heinz Field.
Pick: Michael Vick has at least 2 passing TDs
Switching from Thursday to Sunday night is the game most thought would be Tony Romo vs. Drew Brees, but it could be Brandon Weeden against Luke McCown instead. Both backups lost their first start of the season, and while Tony Romo will be out for this game, Drew Brees may suit up. Also, watch to see if Matt Cassel gets familiar enough with the playbook to suit up and supplant Weeden as the starter. If Weeden goes again look for Terrance Williams to have minimal fantasy value, while Lance Dunbar (10 targets, 10 catches) would see an uptick in value.
Pick: Lance Dunbar at least one total TD
In a division littered with 1-2 teams, the Arizona Cardinals hold a perfect record as they welcome the Rams to town. The Cardinals have played outstanding on both sides of the ball and hold the best point differential (+77) in all of football. One player to keep an eye on is Michael Floyd. Larry Fitzgerald looks as good as ever and opposing defenses will attempt take him out of the equation. That means Floyd will face softer coverage, and has seen his snaps increase every week since missing part of the preseason due to dislocated fingers. On the Rams’ side of the ball, keep an eye on Todd Gurley. The first running back taken in the draft made his season-debut Sunday, but was limited to just seven touches. That number will increase as the weeks go on, so he should be poised to make a significant fantasy impact over the season half of the season.
Pick: Todd Gurley at least one rushing TD
Pick: Michael Floyd at least one total TD
Another division full of 1-2 teams is the AFC South, providing a must-win matchup as the Colts host the Jaguars. The Jags are coming of a 51-7 drubbing in New England and will have to lean on second year man Allen Robinson to get the offense going. Robinson had a monster Week 2 game with 155 receiving yards and 2 TDs and will look to keep things going this week. The Colts’ defense was just lit up for 367 yards by Marcus Mariota, so Robinson could be in for a big game.
Pick: Allen Robinson at least 100 receiving yards
Another important early season showdown will take place in the nation’s capital, as the Redskins host the Philadelphia Eagles. While Dallas sits in first place in the division, the loss of Romo for multiple weeks leaves the door wide open for one of the other three teams to overtake them. Coming off the Thursday night game, the Redskins will have some extra time to prepare. Chip Kelly and the Eagles offense may have turned the corner Sunday after putting up 24 points on what appears to be a good New York defense. Look for rookie Matt Jones to bounce back from a poor Week 3 performance, after breaking out for 146 yards from scrimmage and two scores Week 2.
Pick: Matt Jones at least 80 rushing yards
Finally, the week wraps up Monday night in Seattle with the ‘Hawks hosting the 0-3 Detroit Lions. The offensive line for the Lions has been a mess this season, and Calvin Johnson doesn’t seem to be in the elite wide receiver talk much these days. A Richard Sherman/Megatron matchup should be interesting, as Seattle was able to shutout the Bears with Kam Chancellor back on defense. At 0-3, the Lions desperately need a win, so getting Golden Tate more involved may be the answer. Coming off a season with 1,331 receiving yards, the wide receiver only has 165 through three games. Look for him to get a bigger workload this week if Sherman in fact matches up with Calvin.
Pick: Calvin Johnson at most 45 receiving yards