The Pick-Up Joint: Week 3

The Pick-Up Joint: Week 3

Fantasy football roster management tips, strategy and advice

The Pick-Up Joint: Week 3


My debut in this space was a mixed bag for fantasy gamers. I was on point with guys like Tyrell Williams, Mike Wallace and Jalen Richard, but Eli Rogers let me down. I couldn’t have been more wrong on Tyrod Taylor, so hopefully that was one piece of advice you didn’t use!

Week 2 was rather low-scoring from a fantasy perspective, which meant getting seven points or so from recommendations of Virgil Green and Tajae Sharpe count as a wash.

One-Night Stands

RB Kenyan Drake, Miami Dolphins

Arian Foster (groin) is not expected to play in Week 3, thus opening a larger role for the dynamic rookie. He struggled during the summer to pick up the system, likely because they throw so much at rookies to see who can handle how much. Drake can be used in isolated situations to maximize his value to the team and fantasy owners. Cleveland ranks 17th against running backs from the easy end of the spectrum, giving up 16.4 standard fantasy points per game. Drake is an explosive player in the open field, and Cleveland yielding seven receptions for 56 yards on 15 targets to the position. It all comes down to how desperate you are feeling this week.

Miami Dolphins defense

Crazy? Brave? Sage? Maybe a little from each column. Miami has just two sacks and a fumble recovery on the season. The Cleveland Browns come to town and will trot out rookie quarterback Cody Kessler by all indications. Time to continue picking on the Browns. Cleveland — through two weeks and as many quarterbacks — has given up six sacks, a safety and threw three picks. Miami is a flier play for those who love to stream their D’s.

Coyote Ugly

WR Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans

Here’s a flier player if there ever was one. Matthews played 36 snaps, or 54 percent of the offensive plays in Week 2. He is a boom-or-bust player, no doubt. He has been working on his timing with quarterback Marcus Mariota recently and could make for a clever DFS play this week. You’d really need to be hard up for some lovin’ to turn his way in conventional designs, considering we don’t have byes yet. But, in the event you are feeling frisky, Matthews has literally the best statistical matchup of any receiver in Week 3. Oakland has surrendered 35 receptions on 43 targets for 564 yards and five touchdowns in two games. Five of those targets came in the red zone. Plenty of upside, maybe more risk, but Matthews if a flexy play this week.

Mame it a Brief Fling

TE Clive Walford, Oakland Raiders

Enormously talented, Walford just needs the looks to vault from a guy on your roster to someone who must be started each weeks. Sure, such basic argument could be said for so many players in the NFL, but few are this talented. When defenses blanket Amari Cooper and even Michael Crabtree, quarterback Derek Carr is going Walford’s way with regularity. Coming off a seven-target, six-reception effort that resulted in 50 yards and a touchdown, the third-round pick of a year ago faces a Titans team that has given up 15 targets, 10 receptions and 118 yards in two games. Detroit’s Eric Ebron had a phantom call go against him in Week 2, robbing the tight end of a touchdown grab. Kick Walford to the curb if he cannot get something going in the next few weeks (TEN, BAL, SD).

WR Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys

Quarterback Dak Prescott is learning on the fly. From promising young passers, along with that comes the desire to not make mistakes. Prescott is anything but reckless with the ball … in fact, he’s quite the opposite, and that is a boon for Beasley. The slot receiver has sure hands and is a talented route-runner. He is only for PPR leaguers, so take a look to your waiver wire (available in nearly every league polled). Bye weeks begin in Week 4, leaving fantasy owners without receivers from the Packers and Eagles. Get ahead of the curve.

Put a Ring on That Thing

QB Sam Bradford, Minnesota Vikings

This can be one of those lollipop rings from the candy store. Wait, do candy stores still exist?!? Let’s go with a promise ring. That was a thing once. Anyway, Bradford is a must-own after what he did the Packers on Sunday Night Football. Here’s the catch: The next four games will be a tough stretch (CAR, NYG, HOU, BYE, PHI) … a lot can go wrong. Keep in mind, Green Bay was without their top cornerback, and the Vikes had the energy of a home stadium opener. So, with that out of the way, don’t play him but be aware of his value on your bench with all of the bye weeks coming up (Aaron Rodgers, Blake Bortles, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, among others).

PK Nick Novak, Houston Texans

Yes, he’s a kicker. I am bothering to include a kicker. We all have places to be, so I’ll keep it really simple. Houston’s offense is much improved after an eight-starter turnover from 2015 to present day, yey there will continue to be growing pains. That benefits Novak — fantasy’s No. 2 kicker to date. When the offense clicks nicely, it all benefits Novak. Become friends with Novak and enjoy those benefits. He is available in 93% of polled leagues.

The Big Tease

RB Christine Michael, Seattle Seahawks

How many times are we going to believe the lies? Michael breaks your trust and you continue to forgive him … second chance, third chance, fourth … where does it end? It’s time to walk away from this relationship, because you are the doing all of the giving and gaining nothing but grief in return. I’m aware Michael posted 13 touches for 86 yards Sunday — that’s effective — but did you play him? He’s taking up valuable roster space and managed to cough up a fumble for a total of 6.6 standard points. Beast Mode was doing that by his fifth carry most weeks! Even after Thomas Rawls was knocked out with a leg injury, Michael couldn’t distinguish himself. The Seattle line is a mess, and his schedule isn’t favorable. On top of all of this, Rawls is expected to be fine. Save yourself more headache and heartache, because it’s not you … it’s him.

Grounds for Divorce

RB Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams

I wrote earlier in the offseason for USA TODAY Fantasy Sports that Gurley is so individually talented that a brutal schedule, poor weapons in the passing game, and an uphill climb at quarterback may not affect him. I was wrong. He shouldn’t be cut, of course. That’s lunacy. However, if Gurley goes off in Week 3 at the Buccaneers, it might be time to trade him in for a younger (OK, maybe just more productive) model. Matchups beyond this one before his Week 8 bye: at Arizona, vs. Buffalo, at Detroit, vs. the Giants. It’s becomes so much worse after the bye. The first signs of light should be your signal to escape before your trading partner notices you are gone.

WR John Brown, Arizona Cardinals

Unless Larry Fitzgerald is taken out of the equation, and David Johnson forgets he’s arguably the best pass-catching running back in the league, Brown’s role will be limited. Whether it be blamed on the game flow, a matchup, or overvaluing Brown’s breakthrough 2015 season, fantasy owners cannot continue to play him. I’m not ready to serve him divorce papers just yet, but we’re in counseling, and he’s always in the wrong, according to our therapist. Maybe a few weeks of sleeping on the couch will get his attention.


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