Tacklin' Fantasy: Week 3 outlook

Tacklin' Fantasy: Week 3 outlook
September 18, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Rod Streater leads the Raiders in targets (12), catches (8) and receiving yards (112); Colin Kaepernick has a career TD/INT ratio of 7/0 at Candlestick Park. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

In his eleven year career Mike Vick has played in a full 16 game season once. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

Editor's note: Welcome to the weekly installment of "Tacklin' Fantasy," our recap of the news and trends you need to keep top of mind for fantasy dominance

1. 49er to start: QB Colin Kaepernick
Last week, playing in an away game, Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-28 passing with 127 yards and three interceptions. In his career away from Candlestick, Kaepernick has completed just 56.5 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and six interceptions. The numbers pale in comparison to his body of work at Candlestick Park, where the 49ers will host the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. In his career at home, Kaepernick owns a 67.1 completion percentage with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He averages nine and a half yards per attempt, two and a half more yards than on the road.

In Week 1 against the Colts, Kaepernick's fellow dual-threat Bay Area starting quarterback, Terrelle Pryor, exploited the Colts defense rushing for 112 yards and throwing for 217 yards, with a touchdown and two interceptions.

[REWIND: Pryor: 'I played awful']

2. Raider to start: WR Rod Streater
Former Temple Owl Rod Streater has been Terrelle Pryor's favorite target through the first two games of 2013, leading the team in targets (12), catches (8), and receiving yards (112). Oakland will travel to Denver to face the Broncos on Monday, Sept. 23, where Peyton Mannning's team is averaging a league-high 45 points per game this season. Expect a shootout?

3. 49er to sit: TE Vernon Davis (hamstring)
Vernon Davis sustained a hamstring strain in the fourth quarter of last week's game in Seattle. This week, the 49ers match up against the Colts, who have allowed eight receptions to tight ends through two games this year. In his only career game against Indianapolis, in Week 7 of 2009, Davis hauled in just three receptions for 20 yards.

Davis tweeted Tuesday night at 11:03 p.m. "No need to worry y'all. My leg is feeling great just need a little rest til kickoff according to the docs."  Jim Harbaugh should further address Davis' status in his press conferences prior to the Week 3 matchup.

[NEWS: Davis: Hamstring needs 'a little rest']

4. Raider to sit: Raiders defense
The Oakland Raiders defense has looked good thus far, giving up a mere 30 points in two games, but they'll face the dangerous Broncos offense in Denver on Monday night. The Broncos are third in the NFL in yards per game (463) and fourth in yards per play (6.6). They are also averaging 376 yards per game through the air.

The Raiders will be without starting safety Tyvon Branch as they face the NFL's most potent offense.

[NEWS: Branch suffers 'significant' ankle injury]

5. NFL trend: Replacement running back
Starting running backs dropped like flies in Week 2 of the NFL season, forcing fantasy owners to scramble for the waiver wires. Baltimore's Ray Rice injured his hip, Atlanta's Steven Jackson injured his thigh, and Green Bay's Eddy Lacy sustained a concussion.

Filling in at running back for the Packers this week against the Bengals will be James Starks, which head coach Mike McCarthy confirmed on Tuesday. The Bengals have given up 87 total yards to starting running backs this year (Matt Forte in Week 1, Felix Jones in Week 2). The Packers made it clear last week that Starks will be the main ball carrier, as backup Johnathan Franklin didn't record a single carry. McCarthy furthered the message with his comments Tuesday: "Starks is someone I look at as a starter with an ability to run as many times as needed."

Jackson left the Week 2 game with a thigh injury and has been ruled out for the Falcons' Week 3 game in Miami. A combination of Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers filled in for Jackson in the Falcons' 31-24 win against the St. Louis Rams. Rodgers saw four targets with four receptions for a total of 28 yards, and ran the ball 11 times for 17 yards. In his career, Rodgers averages 3.6 yards per carry, compared to Snelling's 4.0 yards. Snelling filled in as the goal-line running back at 5-foot-11, 234 pounds and registered a touchdown last week. Snelling also saw four targets and capitalized with four receptions for 41 yards.

Rice left the Week 2 game against the Cleveland Browns in the fourth quarter. His fill-in, Bernard Pierce, saw 19 rushes and capitalized with 57 yards and a score. Rice has not been ruled out for Sunday's game against the Texans, but if he can't start, Pierce will. After running the ball only 21 times in the season opener, the Ravens ran the ball 36 times in Week 2.

6. NFL trend: Season debuts
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon regained his starting job, coach Rob Chudzinski announced on Tuesday. Browns quarterback's are averaging 45 attempts per game this year. Last year, Gordon averaged 16.1 yards per reception and led the Browns in targets with 96. The Browns face the Minnesota Vikings this week, who are giving up an average of 319.5 yards per game.

Over the past four years, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller -- who is making his return from ACL surgery nine months ago -- has averaged 60 receptions per season. Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have seemingly abandoned the run this season (70 passes to 31 rushes). Head coach Mike Tomlin said in Tuesday's press conference, "We're not expecting Heath to step out of a phone booth with a cape on." Tomlin said he intends to have Miller practice fully throughout the week.

7. Buy-low candidate: Demarco Murray (RB, Dallas Cowboys)
In nine games that Demarco Murray has carried the ball 20 times or more, he is averaging 115.5 yards on an average of 5.25 yards per carry. In Tuesday's weekly press conference, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was quoted saying, "We simply have to recommit to running the football and make sure we practice it and make sure we take it to the game, and he’s a big part of our running game. ... It's like runners throughout history. They tend to get better when they're feeling the game a little bit. We just have to give him opportunities to do that." Through two games, the former Oklahoma Sooner also has 13 receptions.

8. Sell-high candidate: Michael Vick (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)
Two games, 631 passing yards, four touchdowns, 77 rushing yards, two touchdowns.  The numbers sound great.  The downside? Michael Vick hasn't played a full 16-game season since 2006 (the only time in which he played 16 games in his career). The Eagles play the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 3, who have caused three turnovers from opposing quarterbacks while allowing just a single passing touchdown.

9. Star to bench: Robert Griffin III (QB, Washington Redskins)
The Detroit Lions defense has caused four interceptions and one lost fumble this year to opposing quarterbacks, who have been limited a total of 10 yards on six carries rushing against the Lions. Prior to his ACL injury in January, Griffin averaged eight carries a game; this year it's down to 4.5 carries per game. The Redskins offense was based off explosiveness and the zone-read running game. Through two games, the Redskins have used the read-option just five times.

10. No namer to start: Kendall Wright (WR, Tennessee Titans)
Last week the Titans wide receiver saw a career-high 11 targets, tallying 54 yards and a touchdown. Wright, a former first-round pick, is the team's No. 1 receiver this week against San Diego and the Chargers are giving up an average of 10.5 receptions and 169.5 yards per week to No. 1 receivers.


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