Fantasy Football Fix: Injuries, injuries, injuries

Sep 18, 2014, 3:10 AM | Updated: Sep 24, 2014, 5:38 pm
LISTEN: The Fantasy Football Fix - Week 3

Injuries are an inevitable part of fantasy football. And it reached absurd levels in Week 2. Oh sure, you’re fine if you weren’t depending on Jamaal
Charles, A. J. Green, Ryan Mathews, RG III, Knowshon Moreno, DeSean Jackson, Vernon Davis, Mark Ingram and/or Eric Decker to do anything. But for the rest
of the world, it’s time to hit the waiver wire.

Of course, even if you somehow managed to dodge the injury rampage last weekend, you could always still be the person who steps in and grabs a couple
players that your leaguemates need anyway — you know, just for fun. Imagine the look on the face of the guy who had Charles when you scoop up Knile Davis
before he can. Great way to make friends.

To that end, there are a number of players with decent upside available in a lot of leagues now. Davis is probably the most important guy to add this week,
given the role of the running back in Andy Reid’s offense. But Donald Brown has notable value now, too. The 27-year-old has been productive in the past and
figures to be in line for a lot more work in the San Diego backfield with Mathews missing time. And don’t forget Bobby Rainey, who made a strong case (174
total yards in Week 2) that he deserves more touches in Tampa Bay — whether Doug Martin is able to suit up on Thursday or not.

Beyond pilfering the free agents that are available in your league, the quickest path to fantasy success is to find the strong players that are facing weak
opposition and cash in. With that in mind, here are the Money Matchups for Week 3…

QB: Russell Wilson, SEA (v DEN).
Here’s a fun fact: there are actually two Russell Wilsons quarterbacking the Seahawks. There’s the one that led his team to a Super Bowl, and then there’s
the guy who showed up in San Diego last week. Over his career, Wilson boasts a 16-1 record, 112.7 passer rating, and 33:7 TD:INT ratio at home.

On the
road? A little more pedestrian (9-8, 92.2 rating, 23:12 TD:INT ratio). But he’s home this week, and the Seahawks will be looking for a huge bounceback
effort after getting stunned by the Chargers.

Meanwhile, Denver can’t seem to stop anyone through the air right now (601 passing yards allowed so far —
worst in the AFC). Oh, and Wilson sort of has a history of success against the Broncos.

Honorable Mention: Aaron Rodgers, GB (@ DET).
When all is said and done, Rodgers could very well be the top scorer this week. He looked a little off in that first game against Seattle, but so does
everyone else in the NFL. And then the Packers seemed out of sync again early on against the Jets. They woke up in the second half though, with Rodgers
leading the way. When he’s on, there’s no one better. And now he faces a Detroit defense that — while not awful — hasn’t had much success containing
Rodgers in the past.

Plus the game’s indoors, where he sports a nice 45:7 career TD:INT ratio. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

RB: Giovani Bernard, CIN (v TEN).
Bernard really is moving up the rankings in a hurry. He showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie in 2013, and is making the most of a bigger role this
season. Rookie Jeremy Hill is a nice compliment to Bernard in the Cincinnati backfield, but it’s not as if he’s eating into his carries enough to lower his
value. And if A.J. Green ends up sitting this one out, Bernard figures to see another heavy workload against a Tennessee defense that just helped vault
DeMarco Murray into the NFL rushing lead.

Honorable Mention: Chris Ivory NYJ (v CHI).
The Bears don’t stop the run. They don’t want to, and you can’t make them. They’ve allowed 322 yards on the ground already this season (No. 27 in the NFL),
and they were absolutely last in the entire league against opposing running backs a year ago. Meanwhile Chris Ivory — and even Chris Johnson, to a lesser
extent — have quietly been productive in the Jets’ backfield. Neither one is going to rewrite the record books or anything, but at least Ivory should be a
decent option this week.

Plus, starting him means you have a key weapon picking up points on Monday Night when everyone else is done playing, so you can
hold that over your opponent’s head all weekend.

WR/TE : Cordarrelle Patterson, MIN (@ NO).
The Saints are somehow 0-2, and now they return home where they’ll be especially angry and ready to put up points. On the other side of the field,
Patterson is a gamebreaker and, quite possibly, the Vikings’ only chance of keeping up with them. It would be nice if he was targeted a little more in the
passing game (and if Matt Cassel took some target practice), but he gets the ball so many different ways that he’s always a threat to go off. Still not
sold?

New Orleans has the worst pass D in the league right now and Brian Hoyer just beat them. Yes, that Brian Hoyer.

Honorable Mention: Rob Gronkowski, NE (v OAK).
You play him when he’s healthy and — oddly enough — he’s one of the few NFL players that seems to be healthy right now. Tom Brady hasn’t looked quite like
himself through two games, but a) he can always find Gronk, b) Gronk can always find the end zone and c) the Raiders can always find a reason to give up
points.

D/ST: New England Patriots (v OAK).
Not trying to pile on Oakland here, but just go ahead and start anyone with any ability against the Raiders until they do something to make you think
otherwise. The Pats’ defense is the top scoring unit in most fantasy formats so far, and now they play host to a rookie quarterback.

Honorable Mention: Houston Texans (@ NYG).
J.J. Watt, meet Eli Manning. Eli, meet J.J.

The Fantasy Football Fix podcast will be available on ArizonaSports.com every week during the NFL season, with Luke Lapinski, Jordan Byrd and Paige Dimakos
giving you all the insight you need to rise to the top of your league.

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Fantasy Football Fix: Injuries, injuries, injuries