Each week of the NFL season I try to provide some clarity on the week's most crucial fantasy matchups and player fantasy stock. Through analysis, I try to help you make sound decisions on who you can expect to produce so you can make adjustments to your fantasy lineup. Here are my NFL Week 3 'Bulls':
Robert Griffin III (Was-QB)
Griffin has already shown us that he can be a fantasy impact player in just two weeks as a starting QB in the NFL. He scored the second most fantasy points in the NFL last week(behind only Reggie Bush) so a spot for him in the Bulls section is obvious. I include RGIII in this Bulls and Bears article because as good as he has been in the first two weeks, I am doubling down on his performance this week against the Bengals. Cincy has already given up 308.5 passing yards per game to opponents and that includes getting shredded by rookie QB Brandon Weeden and the Cleveland Browns. This is a very tasty matchup for RGIII owners. The only way I'm not starting this guy if he's on my bench is if I have one of the few elite QB's already starting, but this guy is a fantasy must start for fantasy owners that have anyone but Brees, Rodgers or Brady. This could very well be the game that catapults him from rock solid fantasy starter to top fantasy asset in 2012.
Savant Prediction: 318 Passing Yards, 44 Rushing Yards, 2 TDs-Passing , 1 TD-Rushing , 1 INT
Michael Bush (Chi-RB)
It was announced on Friday that Matt Forte will be unavailable for Week 3's game due to an ankle injury. This means Bush goes from just a goal line running back to a full-time workhouse for Lovie Smith and the Bears offense. Bush has proven that he is more than capable of being an every down back by filling in magnificently for Darren McFadden and the Oakland Raiders over the second half of last season. Once he secured that role with Oaklnd, he averaged over 100 yards rushing per game and added about a TD per game as well. He will be a monster against a very weak Rams rush defense that was the league's worst in 2011. I expect top 5 fantasy numbers for Bush this week and is a must start in any format.
Savant Prediction: 119 Rushing Yards, 2 Receptions, 17 Receiving Yards, 2 TDs-Rushing
Michael Crabtree (SF-WR)
In the last couple of games, 49ers TE Vernon Davis has been geting much of the fantasy attention in that passing game because he has connected on three touchdowns with Alex Smith already. What's gone largely unnoticed in the fantasy community is that Crabtree, not Davis, has been Smith's favorite target. Smith has been finding Crabtree on almost every third and passing situation and they have connected on a crisp, 81.3% completion rate, tops in the NFL for players with more than 15 targets. The Vikings secondary was torched all last year and they have shown no signs of improving that pass defense anytime soon in 2012. The Vikings have made both Blaine Gabbert and rookie Andrew Luck look like Dan Marino in 1983. Smith is far superior to those two QB's right now and Crabtree should be the biggest beneficiary of this monster matchup. He'll be especially pertinent in PPR leagues.
Savant Prediction: 8 Receptions, 94 Receiving Yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Dwayne Bowe (KC-WR)
After being mostly forgotten in Week 1 behind RB Dexter McCluster's receiving display for KC, Week 2 was a very different story for Bowe who took advantage of his opportunities and scored a couple of late TDs in a blowout loss to Buffalo. We know Bowe is supremely talented and has a history of being a big playmaker and TD machine when he caught 15 TDs and went for over 1,000 in 2010. His fantasy value was heavily diminished last year due to a number of Chiefs injuries, most botably to Qb Matt Cassel that had Bowe catching passes from inexperienced QB Tyler Palko. Bowe's matchup couldn't be any meatier against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL in the New Orlean Saints. The other fantasy factor to consider that gives Bowe an advantage is that the Saints very well could get up big early in the game causing the Chiefs to put the ball in the air 40 or 50 times to try and keep up. On sheer volume, matchup and fantasy points ceiling, I am starting Bowe over many top tier WRs this week.
Savant Prediction: 7 Receptions, 107 Receiving Yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Jamaal Charles (KC-RB)
Charles has been mostly quiet through the first couple of fantasy football weeks, largely due to leaving halfway through the second game with what has been called a "knee bruise". The Chiefs are adamant that Charles could have returned to the game if they were in contention and that he was held out of the second half as a "precaution". All signs indicate that Charles is healthy and ready to roll. The Saints have given up five rushing TDs already this season and are looking very soft against the run. Add in the fact that the Saints have a hard time covering RBs as well and you have yourself not only a nice fantasy RB play, but a guy who can get you points in the passing game as well. I like Jamaal Charles to come out in this game and show everyone that he is not to be forgotten as a fantasy impact player.
Savant Prediction: 74 Rushing Yards, 4 Receptions, 44 Receiving Yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Dennis Pitta (Bal- TE)
Coming out of nowhere, Pitta is fast turning into the most added TE on the wire. He has gained so much fantasy buzz over the last two weeks because he has emerged as a primary target in the Ravens' new no-huddle offense they have been running in 2012. Pitta leads all TE's in the NFL in targets with one more than Jimmy Graham. He also has shown that he has the reliable hands and disciplined route running to get himself free for Flacco to find over the middle. It doesn't hurt that he and Flacco are also best of friends of the field, strengthening that chemistry they have as the season goes on. He has the potential to score just as many points as the league's elite TEs on any given week. if you are a Frd Davis, Scott Chandler, Jacob Tamme or Kyle Rudolph owner you are definitely adding this guy. You may even find yourself dropping the likes of Tony Gonzalez or Jermichael Finley for Pitta by season's end.
Savant Prediction: 6 catches, 84 yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Other 'BULLS' Notables:
Kenny Britt (Ten-WR) - 5 Receptions, 91 Receiving Yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Ben Roethlisberger - 284 Passing Yards, 21 Rushing Yards, 2 TDs-Passing, 1 INT
Andrew Hawkins (Cin-WR) - 6 Receptions, 92 Receiving Yards, 1 TD-Receiving
Bills D/ST - 17 Points Allowed, 2 Sacks, 2 INTs, 1 Fumble Recovery