By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Sometimes I think I do really well at writing this column. Then I look at it the week after and see how much I loved Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. versus the Saints defense. It serves as a great reminder that we aren’t all perfect. And that football is quite the crapshoot.
Going into week 3, the injuries keep on mounting. Adrian Peterson tore his meniscus and LCL; Danny Woodhead tore his ACL; Jonathan Stewart is missing time with a bad hamstring; and Doug Martin will miss close to three weeks with a bad hammy. The list goes on. Notice how every single one of those players are running backs. If you listened to The Commish and I throughout the summer, you’d know we repeatedly said to invest in wide receivers as their risk for injury is far lower. Aside from Keenan Allen, there haven’t been nearly as many WR injuries as RB injuries.
So how will this column look this week? Probably a lot of quarterbacks and wide receivers. There are a lot of tough match-ups amongst RBs this week, but there are a few that I like.
To refresh what this column is, these are my confidence plays in a Start/Play/Bench format. “Start” represents your studs and numbers twos that will overachieve. Get them in your lineup, stat! “Play” represents some bench or FLEX plays that should outperform their draft position based on matchup. “Bench” presents your studs that you should temper expectations for or FLEX plays you should swap out with a bench player. And really, it’s based off my rankings. Check them out and use them as a guide!
QB Drew Brees and WRs Brandin Cooks & Willie Snead (NO) – Drew Brees is at home, so he’s a must-start. So much so he’s my number 1 QB this week. In 2015 at home, Brees averaged over 356 yards passing and threw 23 TDs to only 5 INTs. His one home game this year? 423 yards and 4 TDs. I’ll ride the Brees train and give me his top two targets to boot.
QB Matt Ryan and WR Julio Jones (ATL) – Yes, I like this game a lot from an offensive perspective. Two dome teams playing in a dome. If it’s still Septemb
er, give me some Matt Ryan. He threw for over 600 yards against the Saints defense last year and I see no reason he won’t continue his torrid pace to start the season.
WR Antonio Brown and RB DeAngelo Williams (PIT) – Sure, the Eagles have played really great defense in the first two games of the season. But you saw Alshon Jeffrey get behind the Eagles secondary last week, right? Brown will do that often and a lot more. He doesn’t stink up the joint twice. And Williams has one last game to start. He’ll make it a memorable one.
QB Phillip Rivers and WR Travis Benjamin (SD) – I have Rivers as my #2 QB this week. You know why? The Colts corners were at your local grocery store last week. True story. And Benjamin was signed to be a respectable #2 WR in this offense, but then Allen goes down and poof! You have a new #1. I have him at 5 this week amongst WRs so yeah, I’m high on him.
RB David Johnson (ARI) – He has been solid to start the year, but even he knows he can do better. You know the best medicine for getting your mojo back? Facing a Rob Ryan coached defense. The Bills gave up 100 yards and 3 TDs to Matt Forte last week. I’m thinking DJ can do better. He’s my #1 RB this week.
RB Melvin Gordon (SD) – I’m high on the Chargers offense in general this week. Gordon is the unquestioned leader in this backfield now that Woodhead is out. And he showed off some pass catching skills this week! He’s my #5 RB and he likely makes the permanent jump to top 12 status in the coming weeks.
WR Marvin Jones (DET) – He’s surpassed Golden Tate as the guy in Detroit. Stafford does okay in Green Bay, and he’s going to have to throw to someone. Jones will be that someone, especially with Packers’ corner Sam Shields banged up.
RB Charles Sims (TB) – The Rams defense has been okay. The offense can’t score any points though, and this just feels like a bounce back game for Winston. Sims will get a lot of work with Martin on the shelf.
WR Will Fuller (HOU) – Okay, I’m officially on the hype train. He plays against New England, not exactly ideal, but it’s a Thursday game and they’re notorious for offense. Plus, Osweiler is willing to sling it. I’ll take the bait this week.
TE Jason Witten (DAL) – They let the Eagles #3 tight end Trey Burton go for 49 yards and touchdown. He too had a rookie QB throwing to him. Just feels like a Witten kind of day.
Bucs D/ST – Best streaming option of the week. Rams cross-country with an inept offense. Obvious much?
QB Matthew Stafford (DET) – Since 2012, he hasn’t thrown for more than 264 yards in Green Bay. And that was in 2012. I think the Packers will be a little pissed off after Monday night. A gut call more than anything.
QB Russell Wilson (SEA) – I have him at 11, so you’re starting him in a 12 team league, but until I see him right on that bum ankle, he’s riding pine. Or steel. Whatever the benches are made out of.
RB Devonta Freeman (ATL) – I have Tevin Coleman ranked higher this week. Freeman had zero catches last week. ZERO! That was his bread and butter a season ago. Coleman is getting the work so I say ride him until he falls off. Hopefully you have a better option than Freeman, even in a game where he could legitimately go off.
WR Julian Edelman (NE) – A rookie QB against the Texans defense? No thank you. Take solace in that if anyone does well for the Patriots in this game, it’s likely him. Expect the usual 5-50 stat line, but don’t get excited about anything more.
TEs Coby Fleener (NO) & Gary Barnidge (CLE) – Prove it to me, and I’ll play you. Simple enough.