If you’re anything like me, by the end of week two you have flat-out given up on one of your teams, are pessimistic about two, and hold on to hope for the last one.
And that last team is 1-1.
Sitting with a combined record of 2-6 after two weeks, I’m hardly the guy who should be writing this column.
In my defense, if Fred Jackson didn’t go down with an injury, Michael Turner wasn’t a fat drunk, and Sean Payton was still coaching, I’d be fine.
But, my first rule of Fantasy football is no excuses. Injuries, alcoholism, and bounties included.
Fantasy football has a no-take-backs policy, so as much as we want to draft C.J. Spiller in the fourth round instead of Jackson, it’s just not going to happen. It would be nice if we could rewind several weeks and take Eli Manning instead of Matthew Stafford or snag Danny Amendola in the fifteenth round instead of wife-beating Chad Johnson.
From here, we can only go forward, and we still have time to win it all. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and it all starts right here in week three.
First thing’s first. The best way to improve your team is to dump your trash and take a shot on somebody new. There’s no sense holding onto Brandon Jacobs folks, dump him. For anyone, and I mean anyone else.
Here’s a list of guys who may still be available that you should take a chance on.
Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets (owned in 39.0% of ESPN leagues)
I was one of few people who actually drafted the freakishly athletic rookie from Georgia Tech, and he remains one of my favorite sleepers in 2012. Hill ran a 4.3 40-yard-dash at the combine this year, and at 6-foot-4, 215-pounds, he reminds me of another former Yellow Jacket. Hill is far from Calvin Johnson’s level right now, but the kid is an absolute freak, and if Mark Sanchez ever grows a brain, he’ll realize Hill’s ability and utilize it. Hill’s line went from 5/89/2 in week one to 0/0/0 in week two, so the downfall here is that he may be a boom-or-bust player. I like his upside more than I fear his downside.
Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams (owned in 74.1% of ESPN leagues)
Amendola is the number one WR in half-point PPR leagues. Pick him up already.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions (owned in 30.6% of ESPN leagues)
Leshoure has served his two-game suspension and now aims to make an immediate impact in the Lions’ backfield. I believe Leshoure will overtake Kevin Smith as Detroit’s starting running back within the next week or two. While Smith will still be involved, Leshoure merits a roster spot if your team could use an RB.
Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants (owned in 64.9% of ESPN leagues)
Bennett has clearly become one of Eli Manning’s favorite targets, and has caught a touchdown in all three games. Bennett is a big guy with a good set of hands who seems to have found a home in New York. If Bennett is gone, I also like Heath Miller (26.1% owned), and Dennis Pitta (36.2%).
Once your roster is set, the debate becomes who to start and who to sit. The next portion of this column is all about who’s hot, who’s not, and who has a great matchup. Keep in mind, I’ll never tell you to bench Arian Foster. If I recommend starting Mark Ingram, don’t bench Ray Rice to do so. But if you have to pick between Santonio Holmes and Ingram, I’ll take Ingram this week. I’m going to use this section to pick RBs and WRs I like outside the top 20, and I guys I don’t who are inside the top 20. For TEs and QBs I’ll use top 10.
Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets
It’s hard for me to endorse two Jets in the same column, but I like Greene to perform well against a Miami team that has ranked 25th in terms of fantasy points allowed to opposing RBs. Greene hasn’t been outstanding, but he should find the end zone if the Jets ever get close enough.
Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions
Already talked about Leshoure above, and while starting him is risky in his first NFL action, I wouldn’t hesitate to throw him in if you really need someone to start at RB.
Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints
The Saints should finally win a game here against a dismal Kansas City team, and by the end of this one, should be running the football. The Saints have several backs, but I like Ingram the best as a pure runner.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
The matchup doesn’t look all that good on paper, but the Raiders will be focused more on stopping Mike Wallace than they will on stopping Brown. He’ll get his catches over the middle, and will fare well, especially in PPR formats.
A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati
Hard to believe that in 1/2PPR formats, Green finds himself 30th in WR points. Dalton keeps throwing his way, so you should keep starting him.
Michael Crabtree, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Crabtree is Alex Smith’s go-to-guy on third down, especially late in games. While this game against Minnesota won’t come down to the wire, I still like Crabtree to rack up some points.
Jon Baldwin, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
I’m giving Baldwin one more week until I stop endorsing him, but against New Orleans, the Chiefs will be throwing the football all day in an effort to come back. This is a flyer though, a last option or WR3 in deeper leagues.
Alex Smith, QB, San Francisco 49ers
Maybe I’m picking on Minnesota a bit, but I like all 49ers to have good games this week. Smith has defined efficiency thus far in 2012, so it would be surprising to see him falter here.
Brandon Pettigrew, TE, Detroit Lions
Tennessee has given up more fantasy points to opposing tight ends than any other team, and with Calvin Johnson drawing a lot of safety help, Pettigrew should find open space in the middle.
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings
If, and only if, you have another option. I don’t tell you to bench your studs, but this 49ers defense is the real deal. The saving grace for AP is that this game will be played in the Metrodome.
Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions
See Leshoure, Mikel.
Ben Tate, RB, Houston Texans
Tate is a very talented runner, but on the road against a stout Denver rush defense, I don’t see enough running room for both Tate and Foster.
Demayrius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos
If it makes you feel better, I don’t like any Broncos this week against Houston.
Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
I’m going on a gut here, but I have a feeling that the Chargers will try to take Jones away just like Denver did a week ago. I can see a heavy dose of double-teams in Jones’ future.
Jeremy Kerley, WR, New York Jets
Finally, a Jet who I don’t like. Kerley followed his stellar week one with an average-at-best week two, making me think it was week one that was an anomaly
Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Vick continues to be the most inconsistent fantasy player of all time, and I really like this Arizona defense. The Cardinals rank 7th against opposing QBs.
Dennis Pitta, TE, Baltimore Ravens
I know I said I liked Pitta earlier, and I do. The problem is that New England defends TEs fairly well (10th) and the Ravens will want to feature a heavy dose of Ray Rice in this game.
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