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Posted at 03:13 PM ET, 09/21/2012

Fantasy Football Week 3: Reggie Bush, Donnie Avery, Pierre Thomas primed for big days


Reggie Bush could be primed for another big day against a mediocre Jets run defense. (Mike Ehrmann - Getty Images)
Fantasy owners with the foresight to pick up New York Giants running back Andre Brown and start him last night at Carolina were rewarded with a subtantial head start in your Week 3 match up.

Those unfortunate enough to be playing against Brown have some catching up to do — and we’re here to help.

Here’s the run down of the weekend schedule with one must-start player and one deeper league play from all 15 games.

The 1 p.m. (EDT) games

Bucs at Cowboys: Cowboys WR Dez Bryant

A slow start has some Bryant owners concerned, but look for QB Tony Romo to get the Cowboys’ most dynamic playmaker heavily involved following a blowout loss in Seattle last Sunday.

• Deep threat: Bucs WR Mike Williams — Bumped from the No. 1 receiver spot with the offseason acquisition of Vincent Jackson, Williams is no longer facing constant double teams. After two games, he is just one touchdown shy of his 2011 season total of three.

Jaguars at Colts: Colts WR Donnie Avery

Avery started in place of injured WR Austin Collie, whose concussion may be a lingering concern the rest of the season, and looked every bit the No. 1 WR with nine catches for 119 yards on 10 targets.

• Deep threat: Jaguars TE Marcedes Lewis — The Colts gave up eight touchdown passes to tight ends last season, and the 6-6, 272-pound Lewis is a reliable check-down target for erratic second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.


Scott Chandler is becoming a touchdown machine. (Gary Wiepert - AP)
Bills at Browns: Browns RB Trent Richardson

The No. 3 overall pick had an unspectacular debut in Week 1, but he followed that with 109 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries and added a receiving touchdown to cement his positions as the offensive centerpiece.

• Deep threat: Bills TE Scott Chandler — With six touchdowns last season, the 6-7 tight end was Ryan Fitzpatrick’s top red zone target, and he already has two scores in 2012.

Jets at Dolphins: Dolphins RB Reggie Bush

Bush is emerging as an every-down back who can handle a heavy workload after 26 carries for 172 yards and two touchdowns and three receptions for 25 yards in a 35-13 victory over the Oakland Raiders.

• Deep threat: Jets QB Mark Sanchez — Eva Longoria’s latest boy toy is not nearly as good as he looked in Week 1 — or as bad as he looked in Week 2. Miami ranks 30th in the league in passing defense, so Sanchez could have a nice bounce-back game here.

Chiefs at Saints: Chiefs RB Peyton Hillis

This was supposed to be the comeback season for Jamaal Charles, but Hillis got most of the work last Sunday and continues to be a viable RB2 or flex play until Charles gets on track.

• Deep threat: Saints RB Pierre Thomas — While many still consider Mark Ingram to be the top-dog in New Orleans, the “PT Cruiser” has out-rushed him 127-68 despite nine fewer carries. And unlike Ingram, the Saints also use Thomas in the passing game.

Bengals at Redskins: Bengals WR A.J. Green

Not that owners would bench Green anyway, but expect big numbers this week considering QB Andy Dalton should have ample time to throw with the Redskins’ defense down two more starters.

• Deep threat: Redskins WR Aldrick Robinson — Pierre Garcon is highly questionable with a foot injury, and Robinson is tied for the team lead with six catches this season.


Brandon Marshall and the Bears layed an egg last Thursday against the Packers. Expect a bounce-back performance against St. Louis. (Jonathan Daniel - Getty Images)
Rams at Bears: Bears WR Brandon Marshall

The Bears were embarrassed on national television last week, so they’ll be especially motivated at home, meaning a lot of Marshall in the passing game that fell flat in a humbling loss to the Green Bay Packers.

• Deep threat: Rams RB Daryl Richardson — Rookie Isaiah Pead was a draft day darling, but Richardson is Steven Jackson’s primary backup. Jackson (groin) has a knack for playing through injury, but if he sits, Richardson could have a nice day.

49ers at Vikings: 49ers WR Michael Crabtree

The 49ers’ defense gets all the attention, and rightly so, but the offense quietly is emerging as among the league’s most balanced, and Crabtree has a lot to do with it. Last week he had as many targets as elite TE Vernon Davis.

• Deep threat: Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph — The 49ers will load the box to stop Adrian Peterson which should free up the second-year pass catcher for plenty of looks from Christian Ponder.

Lions at Titans: Lions defense

If the first two weeks are an indication, any defense that starts against Tennessee is a good play. The Titans have been a disaster every which way offensively, but most puzzling is the lack of work for RB Chris Johnson.

• Deep threat: Titans WR Kendall Wright — Jake Locker has targeted his rookie receiver and popular fantasy sleeper pick 14 times — the most among all Titans receivers.

The 4:05/4:25 p.m. games

Falcons at Chargers: Chargers QB Philip Rivers

Give Chargers Coach Norv Turner credit. He’s got his team off to a 2-0 start thanks in large part to a resurgent Rivers, who’s been able to thrive with virtually no threat of a running game and with TE Antonio Gates ailing.

• Deep threat: Falcons RB Jacquizz Rodgers — As long as Michael Turner continues to average 2.6 yards per carry, Atlanta will look for more ways to get its small but shifty second-year back on the field.

Eagles at Cardinals: Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald

Fantasy owners were in a tizzy last week when Fitzgerald had one reception for four yards, but they shouldn’t read too much into that one clunker. Fitzgerald has averaged 114 yards, 2 TDs in four games vs. Eagles.

• Deep threat: Eagles K Alex Henery — Henery has attempted only three field goals (and missed one of them), but with Arizona’s improved defense could force Philadelphia’s offense to stall in the red zone.

Steelers at Raiders: Steelers TE Heath Miller

Miller is tied for the team lead in touchdown catches and is third in receptions, underscoring QB Ben Roethlisberger’s confidence in the sure-handed veteran who’s especially valuable in the red zone.

• Deep threat: Raiders TE Brandon Myers — With Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford out, Carson Palmer is throwing everything to his running backs and tight ends — and Myers is literally catching everything. He has 11 catches for a team-leading 151 yards on 11 targets.

Texans at Broncos: Broncos RB Willis McGahee

The Texans are certain to be focused on limiting Peyton Manning and taking away WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker, so without safety help at the line of scrimmage, McGahee should have room to run.

• Deep threat: Texans RB Ben Tate — Good luck predicting Tate’s total touches — he had 5 in Week 1 and 12 in Week 2 — but when he does get the ball, he’s always a threat to score.

The Sunday night game


Tight end is deep this year, but Dennis Pitta could soon be an every-week play. (Gail Burton - AP)
Patriots at Ravens: Patriots WR Wes Welker

With Aaron Hernandez out indefinitely, Welker’s role in the passing game expands considerably, as evidenced by his five receptions for 95 yards in Week 2 after being a non-factor in the season opener.

• Deep threat: Ravens TE Dennis Pitta — Undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues, Pitta is tied with Jimmy Graham for the league lead in receptions by a tight end (13).

The Monday night game

Packers at Seahawks: Packers TE Jermichael Finley

The Seahawks are a goliath at home, so the Packers may prefer not to take as many chances deep and instead lean on Finley in the short passing game. Finley ranks sixth this season in TE targets with 16.

• Deep threat: Seahawks WR Doug Baldwin — Baldwin led the team in catches and receiving yards last season but has been leap-frogged by a healthy Sidney Rice. It’s a long shot, but this could be the week Baldwin bounces back.

May the force be with you this week.

Follow us: @gene_wang | @MattBrooksWP

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