AFC East Week 3 Preview

 

New England Patriots vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Brady- I never thought I’d say this but Brady almost didn’t make the relevant player list this week. He’s been average at best so far but in his defense he’s been without his starting all world tight end Rob Gronkowski and his number one receiver Danny Amendola. Last week Brady passed for only 186 yards and one touchdown and is only averaging 230 passing yards on the season. Most likely you drafted Brady as your starter and will use him here, but keep in mind the Buc defense kept Saints quarterback Drew Brees in check last week so don’t expect him to post great numbers having to rely on two young wide receivers and Edelman alone.

Julian Edelman- Unfortunately for us and for the Patriots there are only two fantasy relevant players on this roster right now. Without Gronkowski and Amendola to support the passing game and running back Steven Ridley either in or out of head coach Bill Belichicks doghouse and not supporting a productive running game, Edelman has become the only viable offensive weapon available. He had 18 targets last week and finished with 13 receptions for almost eighty yards, but after scoring two touchdowns in week one, failed to reach the end zone in week two. The Bucs have a stout run defense so the Patriots will have to move the chains with short quick passes to Edelman. Look for about nine or ten receptions for 80 yards and a short touchdown reception.

Kenbrell Thompkins/Aaron Dobson- I know you want to start these two guys and good luck trying to figure which one gets the targets if you do, but until they can transform their immense talent into productive numbers on the football field I wouldn’t.

Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets

E.J. Manuel- As talented as Manuel is and even with the nice 80 yard drive with the last second touchdown pass, Manuel right now just doesn’t offer enough to be fantasy relevant. Stay tuned.

Fred Jackson/C.J. Spiller- Spiller did distance himself from Jackson by a small margin last week rushing for 103 yards on 16 carries and also chipped in four receptions for 26 yards, but it’s hard to get too excited about him, or Jackson for that matter at this point. Jackson is basically splitting carries with Spiller and it was Jackson not Spiller on the field when the Bills needed to punch in a short touchdown. The Jets held Doug Martin to a measly 65 yards week one so Spiller and Jackson will have their work cut out for them. Spiller is worth a start as RB2 with upside and Jackson as a flex, but until Spiller separates himself more this looks to be the dreaded running back by committee.

Steve Johnson- After the first two weeks it appears Johnson and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel are developing good chemistry together. Not only did Johnson score a touchdown week one, but had eight receptions for 111 yards on ten targets week two. Johnson will face a New York Jets defense who on the whole have played fairly well and held the Patriot receivers in check week two. I definitely wouldn’t count on a big game from Johnson but he does merit consideration this week based his past two weeks.

Robert Woods- Woods has been somewhat involved but he only has eight targets in two games and unless our banking on a touchdown, remember his week one touchdown came on only two targets with one reception. Let’s be patient with Woods and let him work his way into our lineups.

New York Jets
Bilal Powell- I don’t have a lot of energy including anyone from Jets offense in this article, but if anyone can contribute fantasy points this week it will be Powell. The good news is the Bills defense has given up an average of 136 yards per game to running backs, the bad news is they haven’t given up a rushing touchdown this season. If quarterback Geno Smith continues to throw interceptions they will have to rely more heavily on their running game which includes Powell and Chris Ivory. If I had to play one it would be Powell who managed to score a touchdown last week, but his yardage was minimal (48 yards). Either of them are no more than mediocre flex play.

Stephen Hill- Week two Hill had eight targets four receptions for 86 yards and one touchdown and was the most targeted receiver for the Jets. There are limitations with Hill coming in the form of rookie quarterback Geno Smith and the return of receiver Jeremy Kerley from a concussion. Someone has to catch passes for the Jet offense and my money (very little of it) is on Hill to do the most damage this week. Again, if you have better options use them, but if you don’t, hope for around four or five receptions for 50 yards and a possible touchdown.

Miami Dolphins vs Atlanta Falcons

Ryan Tannehill- He’s improving I agree, but let’s see how it goes before we consider him relevant.

Lamar Miller- The two pronged running back attack, if we can call it that, is still raging in Miami. Miller was able to do the most with his touches last week against the Colts rushing 14 times for 69 yards and touchdown and looked much better doing it than he did in week one. It is apparent who has more to offer between Miller and Daniel Thomas but Thomas did get eight carries in weeks one and two and scored a touchdown week one, so it looks like Miller will need a big game to take control of this situation. The Falcons have been solid in rush defense and Miller will find it tough all day, but it is the Dolphins home opener and he’s gaining confidence. Look for around 60 to 70 yards with a touchdown.

Mike Wallace- I guess the squeaky wheel gets the oil. After a dismal one reception for five yard week one Wallace was able to convince the Colts to increase his workload and that’s exactly what they did. Week two saw a different player emerge and Wallace finished with nine receptions on 11 targets for 115 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons surrendered three passing touchdowns to St. Louis last week and it is the Dolphins home opener, so if Tannehill can continue his improved play Wallace will make a solid start this week.

Brian Hartline- Hartline finished week two with five receptions for 68 yards on eight targets which was half the targets he got week one. With the more concerted effort to get Mike Wallace involved Hartline’s numbers may suffer a bit. Tannehill still looks for him under duress and even with Wallace emerging Hartline will have a relevant role in the offense. Just temper your expectations a bit from his nine reception 114 yard and one touchdown week one performance that was most likely his ceiling. Think more flex related stats like 5 or six receptions for 60 to 70 yards.

Charles Clay- Dustin who? The play of tight end/fullback Clay the first two weeks makes losing Dustin Keller to injury more palatable for the Dolphins and after a five reception 109 yard effort last week which included a one yard touchdown run, he’s making it hard to ignore him. His effort pushed him into the top ten waiver wire additions this week and if you were able to acquire him I’m sure you’re dying to try out your new toy, but unless you don’t have better options available to you and I would wait to see if he is the real deal or an aberration. Let’s see how it goes this week shall we.

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