Week 3 Sleepers: QB Duel in Minnesota
Brett Favre has looked absolutely awful without No. 1 receiver Sidney Rice catching jump balls. The veteran has thrown four picks against just one touchdown, and his performance against Miami could have ended the Vikings season before it ever got started. Minnesota seems desperate to swing a trade for Vincent Jackson, but as of Tuesday night the Chargers had stood pat. Without Rice or Jackson, Favre has been deemed close to worthless in fantasy leagues.
Shaun Hill has come on in relief of the injured Matthew Stafford and looked halfway decent in 1.5 games under center, throwing for 423 yards, two TDs and three INTs. He came very close to bring the Lions back against the Eagles in Week 2, alternating between hitting star receiver Calvin Johnson and young tight end Brandon Pettigrew. To be honest, Hill has looked better than the future Hall of Famer Favre.
This Sunday, it doesn't really matter which one you have, just make sure you have one. Both guys have great matchups against each other's defenses. The Lions have been obliterated by Jay Cutler and Michael Vick. The Vikings have allowed two 100-plus QB ratings from Drew Brees and Chad Henne, and while the latter didn't throw that much in Miami's win over Minnesota, one got the feeling he could have picked apart the secondary if he wanted.
If I'm a former Kevin Kolb, Matt Moore or (heaven forbid) Trent Edwards owner, I'm snatching Hill -- or Favre, if his owner has given up on him -- and playing him in Week 3.
Fred Taylor, RB, NE
The Patriots dealt Laurence Maroney to the Broncos last week, paring their five-headed RB monster down to four. Then Kevin Faulk suffered a season-ending injury, meaning the Patriots are down to three running backs. This is great news for Taylor, who should be counted on to head the committee for the rest of the season. He'll lose some carries to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Sammy Morris, but not enough to keep him on the bench against Buffalo this week. I love him as a flex play and potential RB2 if you're hurting at the position.
Willis McGahee, RB, BAL
He hasn't done much this season, so I can understand hesitance to play him in Week 3. But this wouldn't be a sleeper article if we just picked no-risk, high-reward options, would it? McGahee rushed for 67 yards and two TDs against Cleveland at home in Week 3 of last year, and owners using him as a flex would love to see a repeat in 2010. He's the goal-line back in Baltimore, so if the Ravens get close, he should put it in for the score. I expect at least one TD from McGahee this week.
Keiland Williams, RB, WAS
This is a long-term pickup that must be made by owners in deeper leagues and Clinton Portis owners in any leagues. Larry Johnson proved himself worthless to Mike Shanahan and was released after Week 2. Even if the Redskins sign another RB, trade for a solid back or promote Ryan Torain from the practice squad, Williams is locked in as the No. 2 guy for the near future. Clinton Portis' body hasn't held up recently, so Williams could be seeing a lot of work soon.
James Jones, WR, GB
Jones is a guy that's seemed on the verge of breaking out for quite some time, and with Donald Driver looking mediocre in two starts despite scoring TDs in each, Jones may finally be knocking on the door of fantasy worth. Teams will surely now start to gameplan to stop tight end Jermichael Finley, meaning Jones should find plenty of room to work in three-wide sets. With the Green Bay running game sputtering, Aaron Rodgers should be throwing the ball all over the field. That's great news for Jones this week against Chicago.
Bernard Berrian, WR, MIN
He's looked disinterested on the field, and I wouldn't blame anyone for cutting their losses and permanently dropping him from a fantasy team. However, Favre has looked Berrian's way in the red zone, and with a matchup against the Lions on the horizon, even Berrian may be wide open enough to catch a few of those red-zone passes. I will say this: if you're a Berrian owner and he does have a huge game against Detroit, trade him to the first schmuck you can.
Lance Moore, WR, NO
Reggie Bush is out for a minimum of six weeks, and with Pierre Thomas not one to shoulder 20-plus carries per game, the Saints may pass even more than they already do. This is good news for fantasy owners that can grab pieces of the Saints passing game, and the next man to step up may be Moore. A fantasy beast in 2008, Moore wasn't the same player last year while dealing with injury. Now Robert Meachem is looking like a fantasy bust, which means Moore could quickly be back on the fantasy scene as a No. 2 or No. 3 WR in New Orleans.
Jermaine Gresham, TE, CIN
Gresham will face the Panthers this Sunday, and Carolina is coming off a game where they allowed Kellen Winslow to grab four balls for 83 yards. Carson Palmer is looking like a below-average quarterback, but if the running game can get the ball to the red zone, there's no reason to think he won't hit his tight end for a cheap score while the defense is focusing on T.Ocho. I think Gresham gets his second score of the season on Sunday.
Martellus Bennett, TE, DAL
Jason Witten suffered a concussion in Week 2, and in today's NFL, that means he's out for at least a week. That's a great policy to try and stem the injury problems facing players that risk so much each week, but don't tell that to Witten owners. Fortunately, Bennett could be a great one-week gamble for teams looking for a spark at the TE position. Houston couldn't stop Dallas Clark in Week 1, and they Chris Cooley to gain 64 yards and a TD on three catches. There could be a score on tap for Bennett in a must-win game for the Cowboys.