Five fantasy matchups to watch (Week 3)
By Mike Beacom
Fantasy owners hot to pick Michael Crabtree in summer drafts are already hating on the 49ers’ second-year receiver. Crabtree was a virtual no-show in Week 1 (two catches for 12 yards) and caught just one pass (32 yards) in Week 2.
There really is no reason for Crabtree’s funk, so there is no reason to think the talented playmaker won’t bounce back quickly. Perhaps this week’s opponent will help push him on his way.
The Chiefs’ pass defense has allowed 253 yards per game, and permitted San Diego’s Legedu Naanee to post career numbers in Week 1 (110 yards, one touchdown). Already forced to deal with Frank Gore and tight end Vernon Davis, Kansas City does not have enough firepower on defense to contend with Crabtree, too.
Here are a few other fantasy players facing favorable matchups in Week 3 (all of the players listed are considered backups or ‘fringe’ starters in most fantasy league formats):
>> Sam Bradford vs. Washington’s pass defense
Too early to start the rookie quarterback? Perhaps so. But if ever there were a week to give it consideration, this would be it. Bradford is at home against a Redskins defense that has allowed 275 passing yards in each of its first two games (468 last week). As can be expected, Bradford has thrown too many interceptions so far … he has also thrown three touchdowns and averaged 210 yards in his two starts. Not too shabby.
>> Greg Jennings vs. Chicago’s pass defense
A couple of weeks ago Jennings wouldn’t have fit on this list; he was still in the ‘must-play’ category. But after a shaky start, fantasy owners are beginning to panic. No need to do that this week. Jennings has scored a touchdown in three of his last four meetings against the Bears, and Chicago presently ranks 27th in the league in passing yards allowed. Playing in front of a primetime audience, quarterback Aaron Rodgers can be expected to throw deep downfield to his best weapon at least once.
>> Darren McFadden vs. Arizona’s run defense
Few players have exploded out of the gate like McFadden, who has taken full advantage of Michael Bush’s absence in the Raiders first two games. But even with his 151.5 yards of total offense, fantasy owners still are not fully convinced. Maybe they will be after McFadden torches an Arizona defense that has allowed 153.0 yards per game on the ground (31st in the NFL) and was made to look foolish last week by Atlanta backup Jason Snelling.
>>Percy Harvin vs. Detroit’s defense
Migraines have little to do with Harvin’s poor production so far. The Vikings have failed to get him involved, and Harvin has done little with the ball when he has had it in his hands (46 yards on seven touches). His matchup this week should give him an opportunity to get a fresh start. The Lions have been dominated by utility backs in the first two weeks of the season: Chicago’s Matt Forte had 151 yards receiving and two scores in Week 1, while Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy had 120 yards rushing, four catches and three scores in Week 2.