Fantasy Football 2014: Week 3 Winners & Losers

Frank Passalacqua, Opinion Editor

Fantasy football has become increasingly popular each and every season.

For those who do not follow sports, or do not know what a “fantasy team” is, it is exactly as it sounds. The owner is in a “fantasy league,” with the league usually containing about ten other friends. Instead of the typical NFL teams and rosters, you, the fantasy owner, get to draft an entire team to yourself and manage that team week to week.

It may sound confusing, but to any experienced fantasy owner, it is addicting and contains all the bragging rights in the world.

Bragging rights.

Want those? Want to know the best players to start and who to bench?

In this article, I will list some of the best starts and sleepers for the rest of the upcoming week 3.

Granted, most of what happens in fantasy games each week is pure luck and really requires zero skill, some tips and hints never hurt anybody.

For week 3, there are some glaring matchups that will earn players serious points. First off, starting with quarterback:

Expect Drew Brees to have a field day against the Minnesota Vikings.

He is projected with throw for 4 touchdowns, earning him over 37 points. This is accurate because by for this matchup, the Saints are home, and Brees is always spot on at his home tuft. Expect Jimmy Graham and rookie Brandin Cooks to have a big game as well.

Next is Matthew Stafford of the Lions. Facing the Green Bay Packers, I think the Stafford-Megatron connection will be extra strong that night.

The Packers have one of the worst defensive units in the league, and if week 1 was any indication of how Calvin Johnson will be playing this season, I think Stafford will light up the Packer’s D and throw 3 touchdowns for 32 points.

What quarterback in week 3 should you sit? Peyton Manning.

After seeing Peyton’s performance against the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, I do not expect this to be any different.

As Manning goes into Seattle for this game, I cannot see that feared Seattle defense not have repeat performance on that side of the ball. Manning is usually a no-brainer on a weekly basis to start, but against the Seahawks, I struggle to believe that we will break 20 points.

Next are the running backs.

Adrian Peterson is usually a monster on the turf, tearing up defenses week to week. Against New Orleans, a team who always has struggled against the running game, I think we will see AP in his true form.

Projections have Peterson going for 20 points, with 122 yards on the ground and a touchdown. Start him up.

To go along with AP, keep an eye on LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCoy, now paired with Darren Sproles, had a slow start to his season, but against a team like Washington, I think it will be Shady’s coming out party. For both running yards and in the screen game, McCoy should break 20 points for his fantasy owners and be back on track to lead the league in rushing as he did last season.

Who should be benched?

Matt Forte for the Chicago Bears. Despite the New York Jets’ questionable offense and secondary, they actually have a scary defensive-line that should be acknowledged. In week 1 when fantasy owners got left down as Maurice Jones-Drew only racked up 11 yards on the ground the entire game…yeah.

Forte wants to be considered an elite running back in this league, and has shown flashes of why he should be in the past, but disregard him in any discussion when he is up against the Jets. If he even gets 10 points, it will be a miracle.

Now are the wide receivers.

It was mentioned earlier, and the answer to everyone’s prayers is Calvin Johnson. Against the Packers, Megatron is projected to earn 21 points for his owners, and I say that is the bare minimum.

In week 1 against the Giants, Johnson scored 29 points, with the majority of that coming in the first half. Again, against the Packers, I would not be shocked if he broke 30 points.

Second up, Brandon Marshall.

Just a few paragraphs ago, I mentioned how Matt Forte will have a tough day on the ground, and that will likely be true. So in order for the Bears have a fighting chance, they must obviously attack through the air. And that they will.

Having receivers like Marshall and Alshon Jeffery is a scary thought for any defensive unit, let alone like the Jets’ secondary where nothing is certain. Expect Marshall to have a huge game, outplaying his projected score of 17 points.

Now for the opposition, sit DeSean Jackson this week.

This matchup of the Redskins against the Eagles brings the first time DeSean returns to his former home, Philadelphia. Usually, I would expect DeSean to have a lights-out game every week, but against his former team, I think he will be a bust.

The pressure, the Philly defense knowing how DeSean works, and the downfall of RGIII are all factors going into the game that I predict will deep DJax under 10 points.

Since we are talking about receivers, I might as well throw in the tight end talks as well.

I will keep it short, but I like Jimmy Graham against the Vikings. Graham is already one of the best receivers in the game, and as I mentioned earlier, Brees will have a field day that week, putting Graham on the top of his target list. Graham is projected to score 22 points.

To the contrary, I do not like the matchup of Jason Witten against the St. Louis Rams. Week 1 was a beautiful nightmare for Tony Romo (Go Eagles), and with a defensive line like the Rams have, I see Tony Romo under a lot of pressure, not giving Witten the time of day in this matchup.

Rounding this out are the defensive teams.

Start the Texans. Eli Manning is a turnover machine who lost his way in the NFL, and the Houston Texans can make him collapse easily. When Eli is rushed, he turns the ball over- hello J.J. Watt. The Texans are projected to score 12 points, but I cannot see the Giants offense scoring too frequently, so I would say around 15-20 points for the Texans D.

Ending this list of fantasy predictions, I am not too big on the Dallas defense this week. Ironically, they are projected to be the highest scoring defensive in week 3 with 17 points, but scratch that.

The Cowboys defense is nothing short of a mess, and I cannot wait to watch Zac Stacy, Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin carve up the field.