Time to Shine or Ride the Pine: Week 3 Start or Sit

OJ Howard is ready to produce some juice!

Week 2 was a complete disaster and maybe you should do the complete opposite of what I suggest haha. Three guys who were supposed to see more field time either dealt with injury or just couldn’t get into the end zone and that darn John Ross caught yet another long touchdown. Forgetting about last week, here are the week 3 start or sit players who might surprise and who might lead you to your demise.

Players who will shine

Tony Pollard (Mia@Dal 1pm est)

He expectantly took a backseat to workhorse Ezekiel Elliott in week 2 only carrying the ball 4 times. Washington kept the game close until late in the 4th which forced Dallas to utilize its newly paid superstar Elliott to seal the win.

This week delivers a much softer opponent, as the Dolphins who have already surrendered 391 rushing yards and 4 touchdowns swim to Dallas as 21-point underdogs.

No offense to Miami’s previous two opponents but the Cowboys are the best pure rushing attack Miami has seen, and it will be on full display this Sunday. Down an outside threat, Dallas will lean even heavier on its ground game with Pollard, who the Boys have loved since rookie camp to finish off the Dolphins.

Prediction: 11 car 56 yards 1 td, 2 rec 20 yards: 14.6 pts

Miles Sanders (Det@Phi 1pm est)

The rookie took lead in the Eagles backfield in week 2 playing on 43% of the offensive snaps. He has separated himself by Miles from free-agent acquisition Jordan Howard while also seeing an increase of passing down work.

Week 3 brings the Detroit Lions who have been gashed repeatedly via the ground game which is where the Eagles will be minus their top 2 wide outs. Sanders has flashed the athleticism and pass blocking ability which made Philadelphia draft him 53rd overall even after signing Howard. He is clearly the best running back for the Eagles and will see an even more expanded role this week.

Prediction 16 car 86 yards 1 td, 3 rec 19 yards: 18 pts

Devonta Freeman (Atl@Ind 1pm est)

He entered the season as one of my favorite “zero rb” targets with the departure of Tevin Coleman but definitely hasn’t lived up to my or anyone else’s expectations. He’s barely averaging 2 yards/carry while his understudy Ito Smith is slashing at 6.3. The numbers and performances have been pedestrian, but the opponents were anything but.

Minnesota and Philadelphia are 2 of the top rushing D’s, Dirk Koetter hates running the ball and will abandon the run as early as the first quarter. On the road this week against Indianapolis, the Falcons will need to establish the run as the Colts are a much better pass defense. Atlanta will have to avoid fast drives as the Colts love to chew clock and tire out their opposing defense. This is a do or die week and if he doesn’t perform it may be time to make Devonta a free man.

Prediction: 14 car 68 yards 1 td, 4 rec 26 yards: 17.4 pts

OJ Howard (NYG@TB 4:05pm est)

Its been more bitter pulp than sweet juice from OJ in 2019. Multiple dropped passes leading to interceptions, lost fumbles and last week’s game where he wasn’t targeted at all. He entered the season as one of the top breakout candidates in Bruce Arians downfield passing attack but has been nothing more than an afterthought so far.

Sunnier days are ahead for the uber talented tight end with the Giants coming to town. New York has officially turned the page on Eli, and they have zero threats outside of Saquon Barkley, and Oh yeah! they are historically terrible at defending the tight end position as Jason Witten, and Blake Jarwin proved week 1.

Having already been scorched through the air by the Cowboys and Bills, look for the Buccaneers to bring fire in the sky during week 3 with Howard abducting our attention once again.

Prediction: 5 rec 64 yards 1 td: 14.9 pts

Christian Kirk (Car@Ari 4:05pm est)

Sound the alarm, the Cardinals Air Raid is here and already taking the league by storm. Kyler Murray leads the NFL in pass attempts with both Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk seeing 20+ targets. Fitz leads the team in yards, but Kirk is the man who has the biggest potential. He leads the team in air yards and this week Kirk and Cardinals are ready to light up the score board against the Panthers.

Carolina has defended the pass well this season limiting the Rams and Buccaneers to less than 200 yards. Neither of those teams spread the field like Arizona and both LA and Tampa Bay were using the ground game to chew clock while in the lead.

Kirk offers the best run after catch ability for the Cards which Murray will need against an aggressive Panthers front seven. Expect fireworks and multiple passing tds for Kyler Murray with Christian Kirk catching his first touchdown of 2019.

Prediction: 8 rec 103 yards 1 td: 20.3 pts

Carson's recent fumble issues are cause for concern
Getty Images

Splinter Time

Corey Davis/A.J. Brown (Ten@Jax TNF 8:20pm est)

Davis and Brown are both very talented receivers, but they are stuck in a run first offense with Marcus Mariota at the helm.

They go to Jacksonville this week where Jalen Ramsey and company await another victim to their smothering pass defense. Tennessee will look to avoid the Jags defensive backs and attack them via the ground game. In what Vegas has pegged as the lowest scoring game of week 3, stay away from the uber athletic pass catchers of the Titans.

Prediction: combined 10 rec 74 yards: 12.4 pts

New York Jets WR (NYJ@NE 1pm est)

The Jets have begun the 2019 season 0-2, they have yet to reach 170 passing yards, and are now down to their 3rd quarterback. And now they go to New England where the Patriots and their number 1 ranked defense await.

Now that Luke Falk is under center for New York, anyone not named Le’Veon Bell shouldn’t come close to your lineups. Bill Belichick still holds a deep-rooted vendetta against the Jets and will keep his boot on their throats no matter the score. There is no “garbage time” when the Patriots play the Jets!

Prediction: 13 rec 80 yards: 14.5 pts

Josh Jacobs (Oak@Min 1pm est)

Josh Jacobs Jingleheimer Schmidt burst onto the scene in week 1 gaining 85 yards and scoring 2 touchdowns on the ground while adding 1 reception for 28 yards.

In week 2, he upped his rushing total to just below 100 but wasn’t targeted and left the game with what is now being called a groin injury. We knew he was going to be the workhorse for Jon Gruden but his lack of passing game involvement is reason for concern.

His snap % dropped to below 50% during the loss to Kansas City where he and the Raiders trailed most of the day. Knowing he isn’t the preferred passing down back and the distinct possibility of facing a similar game flow make Jacobs a better bench warmer than starter this week.

Prediction: 14 car 59 yards, 1 rec 7 yards: 7.1 pts

Chris Carson (NO@Sea 4:25pm est)

Fumbleitus is a disease no coach wants to deal with, and Carson may have caught a strain of it. He has now lost a fumble in consecutive weeks with his latest allowing the Steelers to get within striking distance late in the 3rd quarter.

After the fumble Rashaad Penny was the preferred runner for Seattle and showed his explosiveness on a 37-yard burst for a touchdown. This game could be run heavy for Seattle while facing a Saints team minus Drew Brees but an even split or even 60/40 workload in favor of Penny is on tap after Carson’s fumble woes. Temper expectations and tune out of the Chris Carson show this week.

Prediction: 12 car 43 yards, 2 rec 12: 6.5 pts

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