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Week 3 Start 'Em and Sit 'Em

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Start 'Em & Sit 'Em is our weekly look at the best and worst matchups from around the NFL and how they impact Fantasy. We are not in the business of stating the obvious, so you won't be reading here why you need to start Drew Brees, Chris Johnson, Andre Johnson or any other top-tier players.

Clinton Portis is having a good week. And it's about to get better in Week 3 at St. Louis.

Last Sunday, Portis showed he can still be a productive Fantasy running back. He only had 13 carries for 33 yards against Houston, but he was able to score two touchdowns. Following that game the Redskins decided to release Larry Johnson. The move says more about Johnson's struggles than Portis' ability, but it's one less running back he has to share carries with. His injured wrist has also improved to where it's no longer a concern.

Now here's his matchup with the Rams, which is a game where Portis should play well. We like Portis as our Start of the Week, and he should be considered a must-start Fantasy running back.

The Rams have once again struggled in run defense. Tim Hightower had 94 total yards and a touchdown at St. Louis in Week 1, and Darren McFadden trounced the Rams for 145 rushing yards in Week 2. This is a good week for Washington to establish its ground game, and Portis should benefit.

He's faced the Rams in each of the past two seasons. In 2008, Portis had a stellar game with 21 carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns, and he followed that up with 19 carries for 79 yards last year. You should count on Portis reaching double digits in Fantasy points this week. There aren't going to be many weeks where Portis should definitely be in your lineup, but this matchup makes Portis a quality start.

Full Disclosure from Week 2
Recommended starts that made us look good
Player Fantasy Points (projected) Fantasy Points (actual) Start percentage
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons* 20 25 53
Malcom Floyd, WR, Chargers 11 15 57
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders 13 14 71
Recommended sits that made us look good
Carson Palmer, QB, Bengals 15 6 56
Ronnie Brown, RB, Dolphins 5 6 62
Michael Crabtree, WR, 49ers 6 3 42
Recommended starts that made us look bad
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs 12 4 76
Joe Flacco, QB, Ravens 20 4 76
Brett Favre, QB, Vikings 20 1 50
Recommended sits that made us look bad
Jahvid Best, RB, Lions 7 40 63
Jay Cutler, QB, Bears 15 29 43
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, Jaguars 6 14 29
Our favorite sleeper in Week 2 was ... Aaron Hernandez, who was started in 13 percent of leagues and projected for seven Fantasy points, finished with 10. He had a better game than Vernon Davis (nine Fantasy points), Kellen Winslow (eight) and Visanthe Shiancoe (eight).
* - Start of the Week

Quarterbacks

Start 'Em

Carson Palmer (at CAR): Palmer isn't the best starting Fantasy option this week with the way he played in Week 2 against the Ravens. But then again, most quarterbacks struggle against Baltimore, and this is a much better matchup. The Panthers have allowed five passing touchdowns -- three to Eli Manning and two to Josh Freeman -- and Palmer has the chance for a solid week. Palmer has already attempted 85 passes, but he's completing just 59 percent with two touchdowns and one interception. Look for him to improve on those stats this week, and he should be considered a No. 1 quarterback.
Joe Flacco (vs. CLE): Flacco has been busto through two games this season with one touchdown and six turnovers, but this is the week he turns things around. He has a great matchup against the Browns, who he has played well against in his career, and the Ravens are going to use this game as a confidence booster for Flacco. In 2008 at Cleveland, Flacco passed for 248 yards and two touchdowns. Last year at home against the Browns, Flacco had 342 passing yards and a touchdown. He hasn't thrown an interception against Cleveland in his past three meetings, and the Browns secondary will struggle with all of the Ravens weapons. Baltimore should be ready for an offensive explosion after tough games against the Jets and Cincinnati, and this is also the home opener. If you don't believe in Flacco this week then you never will, so consider him a starting option.
Michael Vick (at JAC): It's a good thing Andy Reid changed his mind Tuesday instead of Wednesday because Fantasy owners were ready to drop Vick in the majority of leagues with Kevin Kolb's expected return. Now that Vick remains the starter, he should be active this week against the Jaguars, who have struggled in pass defense against Denver and San Diego. In less than two games against Green Bay and Detroit, Vick has 459 passing yards and three touchdowns and 18 carries for 140 yards. He's a candidate for 300 total yards and should be considered a must-start Fantasy option as long as he's playing at this level and when he has this kind of favorable matchup.
Donovan McNabb (at STL): McNabb has to be enjoying the situation in Philadelphia right now, especially since he's playing well. We liked McNabb last week against Houston, but we never expected 426 passing yards and a touchdown. This week, McNabb has another favorable matchup against the Rams, who have played better than expected with their pass defense, but that was against Derek Anderson and the combination of Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski. McNabb has the chance for another 20-point Fantasy week as he seems to have grasped the Mike Shanahan offense. Look for the Redskins to play well on offense this week, so keep Santana Moss and Chris Cooley in your starting lineup as well.
Jay Cutler (vs. GB): You have to trust him now. Even if you don't want to hit "active" in your starting lineup, he deserves the chance to be your No. 1 quarterback. Cutler has shown more in two games than most quarterbacks this year with 649 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception, and he's completing 69 percent of his passes. This isn't a great matchup for Cutler, and he struggled against the Packers last year with four touchdowns and six interceptions. But this game has the potential to be a shootout, and with the way Cutler has grasped Mike Martz's offense so far, he should come out with positive stats.

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Sleeper alert: Brett Favre (vs. DET): I'm as hesitant writing this as you are reading it since Favre is extremely hard to trust right now. He has one touchdown, four interceptions and a fumble through two games, and his receiving corps is a mess. This is also a game where the Vikings should lean on their running game to decimate the Lions. But Favre has a lot of pride, and he's not going to give up without a fight, especially in a favorable matchup that should build his confidence. In two games against Detroit last year, Favre passed for 499 yards and three touchdowns, and the Lions have given up 656 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception against Jay Cutler and Michael Vick. If you're ever going to trust Favre again, this is the week.

Sit 'Em

Vince Young (at NYG): Young, as expected, was horrible in Week 2 against the Steelers, and he was benched in favor of Kerry Collins after he passed for just 66 yards with two interceptions. The Giants secondary struggled last week against the Colts, but you can say that about every team that faces Peyton Manning. Young has upside as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback when he's playing at a high level, but you can't consider him a starting option in any leagues when his confidence is likely shaken following last week's benching. Expect to see a lot of Chris Johnson in this matchup.
Matt Ryan (at NO): The Saints have done a solid job in pass defense thus far this season against Favre and Alex Smith, allowing just two touchdowns and three interceptions. Ryan is coming off a tremendous performance against Arizona last week with 225 passing yards and three touchdowns, but he's due for a letdown. In two games against the Saints last year, Ryan combined for two touchdowns and four interceptions. He did pass for 604 yards in those meetings, but the Falcons will likely rely on their running game to try to keep the Saints offense off the field. Consider Ryan a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback this week.
Josh Freeman (vs. PIT): Freeman is off to an outstanding start this year with 360 passing yards, four touchdowns and one interception and 77 rushing yards, but that was against Cleveland and Carolina. This week he faces the Steelers, who shut down Ryan in Week 1 and forced Young to the bench in Week 2. Pittsburgh has allowed just one touchdown with four interceptions so far, and Freeman is not worth starting this week. Hopefully you were able to add Freeman off the waiver wire since he will have favorable matchups ahead, but don't keep him active in the majority of leagues based on his opponent.
Mark Sanchez (at MIA): Sanchez had a great game in Week 2 against the Patriots with 220 passing yards and three touchdowns. He also played well against the Dolphins last year with 437 passing yards and four total touchdowns in two games. But the Miami defense comes into this game playing at a high level under new coordinator Mike Nolan, especially after shutting down the Vikings in Minnesota last week with three interceptions. Sanchez isn't ready to be considered a No. 1 Fantasy quarterback, so keep him reserved in all formats, especially with Braylon Edwards dealing with his off-field issues.
Chad Henne (vs. NYJ): Henne was extremely efficient in Week 2 at Minnesota, but efficiency doesn't win Fantasy titles. He's not taking many chances down the field or getting the ball enough to Brandon Marshall. In two games, Henne has passed for 296 yards and one touchdown, and he has a tough matchup this week even though the Jets will be without cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring). Last year, Henne passed for 353 passing yards and three touchdowns against the Jets, but this game has the feeling of a 9-6 final score based on each defense. Continue to use Henne as a No. 2 Fantasy quarterback this week.

Bust alert: Eli Manning (vs. TEN): The Titans have yet to face a dominant passing attack, but they come into this matchup No. 1 in pass defense at only 223 passing yards allowed with one touchdown and one interception. Granted, that's following matchups against Oakland and Pittsburgh, but the Titans are healthy in their secondary after falling apart in 2009. Manning has played well for the most part this season with 424 passing yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions with two lost fumbles, but he's going to be a borderline Fantasy starter most weeks. This is one of those weeks where you might consider sitting him based on what Tennessee has shown so far with their secondary through two weeks of the season. As for the Giants receivers, this could be a good week for Steve Smith if Cortland Finnegan matches up against Hakeem Nicks.

Running backs

Start 'Em

Darren McFadden (at ARI): Michael Bush (thumb) is expected to return this week, but that shouldn't hinder McFadden from continuing to play at a high level. Through two games, McFadden has 48 carries for 240 yards (5.0 yards per carry) and eight catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. He's looked every bit like the elite running back many hoped he could become when he was drafted out of Arkansas. The Cardinals were abused last week by Atlanta's running backs for 220 rushing yards and three touchdowns and 66 receiving yards. McFadden will lose some touches to Bush, but he's still a candidate for double digits in Fantasy points based on the way he's played and his matchup.
Tim Hightower (vs. OAK): Beanie Wells (knee) is expected to return for this game against the Raiders, but Hightower will still get his share of carries. And he has done well through two games so far with 24 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns and six catches for 49 yards and two fumbles. The Raiders, who could be without defensive lineman Richard Seymour (hamstring), have struggled in run defense again this season. Oakland allowed 142 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Chris Johnson in Week 1, and last week Steven Jackson had 125 total yards against the Raiders. Hightower is a candidate to reach double digits in Fantasy points again this week.
LaDainian Tomlinson (at MIA): The old man is running well, and it might be time to consider him as a flex option or even a No. 2 Fantasy running back this week. He had over 100 total yards in Week 2 against New England, and he's averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He's still sharing time with Shonn Greene, but Tomlinson is playing at a higher level right now. The Dolphins allowed Adrian Peterson to gain 186 total yards and a touchdown last week, and Tomlinson can make plays out of the backfield as a receiver. Eventually his age (31) and wear-and-tear are going to catch up with him, but you might consider him a starter now since he looks rejuvenated with his new team.
Mike Tolbert (at SEA): All signs point to Ryan Mathews missing this game with a high ankle sprain, which means Tolbert would start in his place. If Mathews is in then don't expect much from Tolbert, but high ankle sprains are tricky (remember Michael Turner last year). Tolbert showed against the Jaguars last week that he can produce at a high level when he had 16 carries for 82 yards and two touchdowns. If Mathews is out then consider Tolbert a No. 2 Fantasy running back since the Seahawks allowed two rushing touchdowns against Denver last week and over 100 total yards to Moreno.

Sleeper alert: Fred Taylor (vs. BUF): We like Taylor and BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week since the Patriots should be able to move the ball at will against the Bills. Taylor will likely get the bulk of carries early in the game, and he has the chance for double digits in Fantasy points with a cheap touchdown. He can be used as a starter in standard formats if you need a No. 2 running back or flex. Green-Ellis could be the closer when the Patriots are trying to kill the clock, and he's a good flex option or starter in deeper formats. The Bills have allowed a rushing touchdown each game against Miami and Green Bay, and last year Taylor scored in his lone matchup with Buffalo.

Sit 'Em

Brandon Jackson (at CHI): Don't give up on Jackson just yet since he's still expected to remain the starter for the Packers with Ryan Grant (ankle) out, but Green Bay would like to share carries between Jackson and John Kuhn. That will limit Jackson's production, and this week he faces a rejuvenated Bears run defense that has done well against Detroit and Dallas to start the season. Jackson might find the end zone like he did against Buffalo last week, but his rushing yards could be minimal. He's more of a No. 3 running back in this matchup.
Cadillac Williams (vs. PIT): When the Steelers shut down Chris Johnson last week (16 carries for 34 yards), it indicated that their run defense is all the way back. They also did well in Week 1 to limit Michael Turner to 19 carries for 42 yards. Williams has 20-plus carries each week to start the season, but he has yet to have a big game. It's a good sign that he's getting such a heavy workload, but he's not worth rolling out this week as even a flex option based on the matchup.
Jerome Harrison (at BAL): Sit Harrison and Peyton Hillis this week since both will struggle against the Ravens. Baltimore again has a dominant run defense and limited the Jets and Bengals in two games this year while not allowing a rushing touchdown. Harrison is dealing with a thigh injury and has looked sluggish in two games against Tampa Bay and Kansas City, which were favorable matchups. This defense will shut down Harrison and the same goes for Hillis, even if his role increases based on Harrison's injury.
Marion Barber (at HOU): At some point Barber is going to have a good game, but let it happen on your bench. You can't run the risk of starting him or Felix Jones based on how Dallas' run game has looked. Barber has been terrible this season, averaging 3.7 yards per carry on 19 attempts with no touchdowns. He also hasn't been a factor in the passing game with two catches for 1 yard, and the Cowboys are giving Jones (15 carries and four catches) his share of touches as well. Houston's run defense looks good statistically because their pass defense has been bad, and that's how Dallas will attack Houston -- through the air.
Thomas Jones (vs. SF): The Kansas City running back situation is going to be a mess for Fantasy owners until Jones eventually wears down or Jamaal Charles proves he needs to get the majority of carries. I'm not ready to buy that Jones is worth starting even after his performance against Cleveland last week with 22 carries for 83 yards. In fact, this is a week for Charles to have a better outing than Jones, and the Chiefs should realize it. San Francisco has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this year, but Reggie Bush scored a touchdown out of the backfield against the 49ers last week. The Saints got 105 receiving yards from their running backs against San Francisco, and Charles can do damage as a receiver. Jones, on the other hand, will struggle with this run defense and should be kept in reserve.

Bust alert: Ronnie Brown (vs. NYJ): This should be a tough week for Brown. The only rushing touchdown the Jets have allowed was in Week 1 to backup Willis McGahee, and they have yet to allow 50 rushing yards in a game. Brown has struggled at times against the Jets with three games in his past five meetings with fewer than 60 rushing yards. Brown is also in a 50-50 timeshare with Ricky Williams for carries (26 for Brown, 28 for Williams), and there's no guarantee who will work near the goal line. Brown will have better matchups as the season goes on, but don't start him against the Jets as anything more than a No. 3 Fantasy running back.

Wide receivers

Start 'Em

Terrell Owens (at CAR): The Panthers have only allowed 15 completions to opposing wide receivers this year, but four of them have gone for touchdowns, including three from Nicks in Week 1. Carolina gives up big plays in the passing game, and Owens is due for a big play and a big day. He leads the Bengals with 24 targets, which is two more than Chad Ochocinco, so it's clear Palmer is looking in his direction, but he only has 10 catches for 110 yards and no touchdowns. He's going to go off one of these weeks, and it could happen in this matchup. Ochocinco is an obvious start, but Owens is also worth putting in your active lineup.
Malcom Floyd (at SEA): Two things happened last week that should make you encouraged for this matchup. First, Floyd played as advertised with three catches for 95 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville and showcased his big-play ability. And two, the Seahawks secondary played as expected at Denver after a surprise performance in Week 1 against San Francisco, allowing Demaryius Thomas and Eddie Royal to each reach double digits in Fantasy points. Philip Rivers is going to continue to look for Floyd down the field, and the more teams double cover Antonio Gates the more targets Floyd will see. He's a solid No. 2 Fantasy wide receiver in all formats.
Mark Clayton (vs. WAS): All Clayton has done in two games with the Rams is reach double digits in Fantasy points in each outing. In Week 1 it was 10 catches for 119 yards against Arizona. In Week 2 he had two catches for 24 yards and two touchdowns at Oakland. Can he make it three weeks in a row? He sure has a favorable matchup. The Redskins are the worst team against opposing wide receivers, allowing 51 receptions for 579 yards and four touchdowns. Through two weeks they have struggled to stop Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter and Jacoby Jones, and Clayton could be the next receiver to join this list. He's worth using as a starter this week.
Santana Moss (at STL): We had Moss in this spot last week, and he delivered with a big performance against the Texans with 10 catches for 89 yards. For the season, Moss has 16 catches for 168 yards on 22 targets, but he's still looking for his first touchdown. That could happen this week since St. Louis has allowed two touchdowns to wide receivers this season and has struggled with Steve Breaston, Larry Fitzgerald, Louis Murphy and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Consider Moss a potential Top 10 Fantasy wide receiver this week and an excellent starting option.
Jeremy Maclin (at JAC): Maclin doesn't have overwhelming stats through the first two weeks of the season, but he has scored in each game against Green Bay and Detroit with both touchdowns coming from Vick. He has 11 targets for the season, but he only has seven catches for 64 yards. Still, the touchdowns are evidence that he can be productive, and he's going to see plenty of single coverage with DeSean Jackson, Brent Celek and LeSean McCoy on the field. All the Eagles are solid Fantasy options this week against the Jaguars with Jackson, Celek and McCoy obvious choices. But look for Maclin to continue to be a solid Fantasy wide receiver, and he's worth using in all formats.

Sit 'Em

Jabar Gaffney (vs. IND): Gaffney is still going to play a prominent role for the Broncos this year, but he's not worth starting this week. Eddie Royal is clearly the best Denver receiver right now, and rookie Demaryius Thomas has the upside to be the No. 1 option in the passing game. Even Brandon Lloyd has been more productive than Gaffney. If you're ranking the Broncos receivers for this matchup against the Colts, go with Thomas, Royal, Gaffney and Lloyd in a standard league and Royal, Thomas, Gaffney and Lloyd in a point per reception format. In all leagues keep Gaffney on your bench.
Dwayne Bowe (vs. SF): Trust is an important factor in any relationship, and right now you can't count on Bowe as a starting Fantasy option. He just continues to let you down, even when he has a good matchup. Take last week at Cleveland: Bowe finished with four catches for 45 yards. For the season, Bowe has just five catches for 58 yards and no touchdowns, and you can't continue to start him with the hope he finally breaks out of his funk. For now, keep Bowe stashed on your bench until this passing game starts to click -- if it ever does.
Mike Williams (vs. PIT): Williams is a big reason why the Bucs are 2-0 and why Freeman is playing at a high level. He has backed up the preseason hype with seven catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns through two games and looks like a star in the making. But this is not the week to consider him a starter. The Steelers should be able to contain Williams even though they struggled with Roddy White in Week 1 and allowed a touchdown to Nate Washington last week. Williams' success so far has come against Cleveland and Carolina, and this is a tougher test for him, which means the safe option is to keep him reserved.
Mike Wallace (at TB): Ben Roethlisberger can't return from his suspension soon enough since now Charlie Batch is starting for the Steelers in place of the injured Dennis Dixon (knee). With Dixon under center, Wallace has struggled with four catches for 87 yards and no touchdowns in two games. Batch doesn't have the arm to get Wallace the ball down the field, which is the strength of his game, and you might consider benching Hines Ward as well since both receivers are risky options at best. Look for the Pittsburgh passing attack to start clicking in Week 6 against Cleveland when Roethlisberger returns and the aerial show can begin.
Robert Meachem (vs. ATL): We had Meachem as a bust coming into the season, but we never expected this. Through two games he has three catches for 33 yards and no touchdowns. Furthermore, he was only targeted once in Week 2 at San Francisco. This week he faces an Atlanta defense that has yet to allow a touchdown to an opposing wide receiver. Meachem also struggled in two games with the Falcons last year with six catches for 104 yards and no touchdowns. Eventually he will break out of this funk and start to have some productive games, but don't consider starting him any time soon.

Bust alert: Steve Smith (vs. CIN): Rookie quarterbacks in their first NFL start always make me nervous, and that's what the Panthers have this week with Jimmy Clausen. He didn't play well in relief of Matt Moore last week against Tampa Bay, and he should struggle again this week. That doesn't bode well for Smith, who did have a good rapport with Moore going back to last year, and the two connected on two touchdowns this season. Smith is a tremendous talent who has done well with mediocre quarterback play throughout his career, but this is a tough matchup against a good Bengals defense. Cincinnati has allowed three passing touchdowns to receivers in two games, but the Bengals have limited Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin to a combined 10 catches for 94 yards and no touchdowns. They will key in on Smith, and Clausen isn't good enough to get him the ball. If you're comfortable benching Smith this week then that's the right move to make. Let Clausen prove himself first before saying Smith is still a guaranteed starting option.

Tight ends

Start 'Em

Jason Witten (at HOU): There's a lot of concern with Witten based on a slow start with only eight catches for 78 yards and no touchdowns through two games, but he should go off in this matchup. The Texans are the worst team against opposing tight ends since Dallas Clark and Chris Cooley have scored against them in the first two weeks of the season. This game has the potential to be high-scoring, and Tony Romo will lean on his top targets in Witten and Miles Austin. Look for Witten to reach double digits in Fantasy points this week.
Dustin Keller (at MIA): The Dolphins tend to struggle with tight ends, and last week at Minnesota, Visanthe Shiancoe had six catches for 86 yards on nine targets. Keller is coming off a great game in Week 2 against the Patriots with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, and he played well against Miami last year with eight catches for 76 yards and a touchdown in one game. Keller could see extra targets in this matchup depending on how much Braylon Edwards plays, and we consider Keller a starting option in Week 3.
Aaron Hernandez (vs. BUF): Hernandez showed last week that he can be a No. 1 Fantasy tight end with six catches for 101 yards at the Jets. He could see more targets for the rest of the year with third-down back Kevin Faulk (knee) lost for the season, and he has another favorable matchup this week. The Bills gave up four catches for 103 yards to Jermichael Finley in Week 2, and Hernandez is capable of another big outing based on how the Patriots will use him on offense.

Sleeper alert: Anthony Fasano (vs. NYJ): Fasano has struggled so far this year with only three catches for 46 yards, and there's a good chance he could see extra time blocking with New York's fierce pass rush. But the Jets also have struggled with tight ends this year after Todd Heap had six catches for 72 yards in Week 1 and Hernandez's big game last week. They have allowed 13 catches to opposing tight ends, which is among the most in the NFL through two weeks. Fasano had six catches for 54 yards and a touchdown in two meetings against the Jets last year, and he can be considered a starting option this week in deeper formats based on the matchup.

Sit 'Em

Jeremy Shockey (vs. ATL): Shockey continues to prove he's no longer an elite Fantasy tight end. He had three catches for 37 yards in Week 2 at San Francisco and was only targeted five times. For the season he has just six catches for 60 yards and no touchdowns with only eight targets, but his backup, David Thomas, has already scored a touchdown. Shockey could see an increase in targets with Reggie Bush (leg) out, but he's not worth starting this week. He hasn't scored a touchdown in his past five meetings with Atlanta, and the Falcons have only allowed five catches for 51 yards to opposing tight ends this year.
Brandon Pettigrew (at MIN): Pettigrew was amazing last week against the Eagles with seven catches for 108 yards on eight targets, and he looks to be fully recovered from last year's knee injury. But this week he faces a tough matchup against the Vikings, who are the No. 2 team at defending tight ends, having only allowed five catches for 26 yards through two games. In two meetings with the Vikings last year, Pettigrew had six catches for 63 yards, and he still has to deal with sharing time with Tony Scheffler. Add Pettigrew off the waiver wire if you're looking for a potential starting tight end down the road, but this is not a good week to keep him active.
Greg Olsen (vs. GB): Olsen had a big play last week at Dallas with one catch for a 39-yard touchdown, but he was wide open on his lone target of the game. The week before against the Lions, he had four catches for 37 yards, but he also lost a fumble. We're not buying that Mike Martz is all of the sudden going to start using the tight end on a consistent basis, especially not this week. The Packers have only allowed four catches for 46 yards to opposing tight ends through two games, and Olsen struggled against Green Bay last year with three catches for 22 yards in two meetings. He should not be started in the majority of leagues.

Bust alert: Kellen Winslow (vs. PIT): The Steelers are familiar with Winslow from his days with the Browns and will make sure he has a quiet game. Pittsburgh has only allowed nine catches for 80 yards to opposing tight ends, and Winslow is still looking for his first touchdown this season. In his past five meetings with the Steelers when he was in Cleveland, Winslow has one touchdown and only one game over 60 receiving yards. He's going to see a lot of Troy Polamalu this week, and we give the edge to the Steelers secondary in this matchup.

Defense/Special teams

Start 'Em

Bengals (at CAR): The Bengals defense stepped up in Week 2 against Baltimore with four interceptions against Joe Flacco, and they should be able to attack Clausen in his first start. This is a matchup where the Bengals defense should be considered a No. 1 option, and they might be available on the waiver wire since they are owned in just 71 percent of leagues on CBSSports.com. Carolina has struggled on offense in two games against the Giants and Tampa Bay, and Clausen likely isn't going to turn things around. Look for the Bengals DST to finish as a Top 10 unit in Week 3.

Other DSTs with good matchups: 49ers (at KC), Chargers (at SEA) and Patriots (vs. BUF)

Sit 'Em

Cowboys (at HOU): The Cowboys DST hasn't performed at a high level so far this year and was abused last week by the Bears. Dallas does have a special teams touchdown from Bryant, but the defense has no interceptions and, more surprisingly, just two sacks against poor offensive lines in Washington and Chicago. This week Dallas should struggle again with the Texans, who have looked great on offense in wins against the Colts and Redskins. Slowing down Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and all the weapons in Houston is never easy, and the Cowboys should not be started in the majority of leagues.

Kicker

Start 'Em

Lawrence Tynes (vs. TEN): Tynes hasn't done much this season with only one field goal on one attempt in two games, but he should be asked to do more in this matchup. The Titans have already allowed seven field goal attempts through two games, which is second behind Baltimore at eight attempts. Tynes made 14 of 15 field goals at home last year, and he should be considered a No. 1 kicker in this matchup. Look for the Giants to rely on Tynes against the Titans.

Other kickers with good matchups: Neil Rackers (vs. DAL), Mike Nugent (at CAR) and Billy Cundiff (vs. CLE)

Sit 'Em

John Kasay (vs. CIN): Kasay had 11 Fantasy points in Week 1 at the Giants with three field goals and one point in Week 2 against Tampa Bay with a lone point after attempt. Don't look for him to do much scoring in this matchup either since Clausen isn't going to turn the Panthers into an offensive juggernaut, and Carolina's running game has struggled thus far as well. The Bengals have only allowed two made field goals this year, and Kasay should not be started in the majority of leagues.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter . You can also follow Jamey at @jameyeisenberg . Do you have a question or a comment for our Fantasy staff? Drop us a line at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com .

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by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:10 am ET) Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is entering a contract year in 2014, but he's not sweating it. Dalton told NFL Network that he's "confident" a new deal will get done

"[B]oth sides are working on it," Dalton said. "We haven't given a deadline, we haven't talked about a deadline. We don't expect it to get to that point, but if it does, it does."

Last week Bengals owner Mike Brown called Dalton the "quarterback here for the immediate future," adding that he'd use the franchise tag if need be to keep Dalton. 


Josh Gordon's appeal delayed
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:05 am ET) Because NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be in Canton, Ohio, on Friday as part of Hall of Fame weekend festivities, the appeal hearing for Browns receiver Josh Gordon will be postponed until next week, ESPN reported Thursday. 

Gordon is reportedly facing a one-year ban for violating the league's substance abuse policy for a third time. He and his representatives claim his test sample was mishandled and he was exposed to second-hand marijuana smoke and didn't ingest the drug itself. 

ProFootballTalk.com believes that if Gordon wins his appeal he'll face no suspension and will be eligible to play the entire season. 


Aldon Smith to meet with the commish
by Dave Richard | Senior Fantasy Writer
(8:01 am ET) 49ers pass rusher Aldon Smith will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his pending suspension on Aug. 8, ESPN reports. Smith faces a "significant" suspension per the report for facing multiple charges including a DUI, a felony firearms issue and making a bomb threat at an airport. 

Jim Leonhard joins Browns
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2014) Former Bills safety Jim Leonhard tweeted that he signed with the Browns. Leonhard played for coach Mike Pettine last year in Buffalo, making 41 tackles and four interceptions.

Packers claim Gerrard Sheppard
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2014) The Packers claimed receiver Gerrard Sheppard off waivers from the Ravens and are now at the 90-man roster limit, reports ESPN.com.

Jace Amaro trying to figure things out
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2014) Jets rookie tight end Jace Amaro had another rough practice Wednesday, reports ESPN.com. He ran some plays wrong, dropped a pass and got razzed by a defensive player. He also "got an earful from offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg," the report said.

Amaro played in a relatively simple offense in college and is struggling to learn the Jets' system.

"We know he's got the physical skills to do it," coach Rex Ryan told the website. "He's got to focus, and sometimes if your head is in other places and you're thinking (too much), it's hard to be at your best."


Chip Kelly says Mark Sanchez 'has been outstanding'
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2014) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez "has been outstanding since he's been here," coach Chip Kelly told reporters. "I think he's starting to feel more comfortable in terms of what we’re trying to do."

Sanchez has played so well that there's no question he's the No. 2 QB, according to The Star-Ledger. "Every day he's here," Kelly said, "there is an energy you can feed off of from him."


Donald Thomas likely reinjured quad
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(7/30/2014) Colts guard Donald Thomas, who missed 14 games last season with a torn quad, is believed to have reinjured it during Wednesday's practice, reports the Indianapolis Star. The latest injury "could be bad," the report added.

 
 
 
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