NFL Week 3: Pick ‘Em Up, Dump City, and Backfield Battles

Each week in fantasy football, a few players are available in more than a quarter of leagues that need to be picked up, and plenty of other players are owned that need to be let go.  To help you improve your chances of fantasy football dominance, here is a list of the players to pick up and dump this week.

Pick Em Up


1. Sam Bradford – Rams
So far, the 2012 version of Sam Bradford is what a lot of people expected to see last year.  He has been solid over the first two weeks of the season, posting a 4:1 TD/Interception ratio.  In Week 1, Bradford lost a couple starting offensive lineman, but posted even better numbers in the Rams win over the Redskins.  Go ahead and pick him up and play him if the matchup seems favorable.

Luck is moving along just fine in Indianapolis

2. Andrew Luck – Colts
The number 1 overall pick of this year’s draft has not gotten that much love in Fantasy Football, as the number 2 pick, RGIII, has just exploded onto the scene.  Luck got his first career win this past week and showed much improvement from the first week.  He spreads the ball out plenty in Indianapolis, which keeps the defense on its’ toes.  Luck is still a backup, but could end up being a fantasy starter by the end of the season.
3. Carson Palmer – Raiders
Ok, there is a chance that I could tell you to drop Palmer in two weeks.  Palmer is averaging over 350 yards a game and has yet to throw an interception.  The only problem is that he has just one TD pass in those two games.  Expect Palmer to start throwing downfield more, which could be bad as Palmer is known to throw some bad balls every once in a while.  But, as long as Palmer is keeping the mistakes at a minimum, then he is worth owning as a backup in your league.


1. Andre Brown – Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw went down during the Giants comeback win against Tampa Bay, and Andre Brown stepped right in and the Giants didn’t miss a beat.  There is a possibility that Bradshaw could be out a few weeks with a neck injury and it looks as if Tom Coughlin will be giving Brown starter reps instead of rookie David Wilson.
2. Mikel Leshoure – Lions
Many people might have not even heard of Leshoure, as he missed all of last season, which was his rookie season, due to a torn achilles.  He also missed the first two games of this season due to suspension.  Now, why am I saying that one should pick this guy up?  He will be the starter in Detroit sooner rather than later.

McCluster may be catching passes out of the slot, but his RB eligibility boosts his value.

3. Dexter McCluster – Chiefs
Now for a name that everybody around here is familiar with.  McCluster was used very often in the first week and happened to be QB Matt Cassel’s favorite target.  In Week 2, he wasn’t targeted as much because he a slot guy used for slants and short pickups.  He is listed under RB because in most leagues he is one of a few players that can be used as either a RB or a WR and will be relied on in fantasy leagues once bye weeks start.
4. Daryl Richardson – Rams
Keep an eye on this guy, as he entered the Rams past game when starter Steven Jackson had to leave with an injury.  He excelled in replacing Jackson and if this injury lingers for him, then Richardson would turn into the Rams feature back and would be worth owning in all leagues.



1. Danny Amendola – Rams
Twelve catches…. in the first half!!  Yes, he has quickly become Bradford’s favorite target and should be picked up in all leagues.  He will targeted early and often in the Rams offense.  Don’t expect him to get sixteen looks every game like he did in Week 2, but 8-10 a week is not out of the question.
2. Brandon LaFell – Panthers
Somebody has to be the number two WR in Carolina and it looks to be LaFell.  Smith has been a little bit injured and will also see double teams, which should free up LaFell to prosper for the Panthers.
3. Brian Hartline – Dolphins                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Davone Bess did all the talking before the season, but Brian Hartline looks like he might be the guy in Miami to approach a hundred catches instead.  He has led the Dolphins in receptions the past two games.  One drawback is that he lacks the breakaway speed to be a deep threat, but with Tannehill being eased along as a rookie, Hartline will be looked at often.

4. Greg Little – Browns
Good news: He is the number one WR for Cleveland.  Bad news:  He is the number one WR for Cleveland.  Little is one of those type of players that has the talent to be a top 15 receiver, but unfortunately his QB (Brandon Weedon) isn’t really good.  He will frustrate you one week, but put up outstanding numbers the next.  He is worth having if he does break out, as he is most likely guy to do so that is available in majority of leagues.


1. Martellus Bennett – Giants
I really don’t know why Bennett is available in so many league.  If anybody likes their TEs as much as Brady and Peyton like theirs it’s Eli.  Every year the Giants’ TE, whomever it may be, puts up good fantasy points.  Jake Ballard and Kevin Boss were not as athletic as Bennett is and Bennett also has a chip on his shoulder.  All good news for fantasy owners.
2. Brent Celek – Eagles
It looks like the Eagles are going to just let Vick throw the ball this season.  Celek is Vick’s third option behind Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson, which means he should have many passes thrown his way.

Brent Celek has turned into on of Michael Vick’s favorite targets.

3. Kyle Rudolph – Vikings
He has emerged as the Vikings’ second option and will see a lot of passes in the red zone.  That means TDs and fantasy points.


– Bills
Each week I will put in a Defense you should look at if your defense is on a bye week or has an unfavorable matchup.  The Bills play the Browns this week, need I say more?

Dump City

1. Andy Dalton – Bengals
Dalton is a safe guy to have, but will not win you weeks.  He is one of those guys that is a better NFL starter than a fantasy starter.  Decent start this week, but things will get tougher when he plays Baltimore and Pittsburgh twice each.
2. Beanie Wells – Cardinals
I would love to tell you to go and pick up Ryan Williams because he will be taking over as starter for Wells, but just like Cardinals’ QBs, I really wouldn’t want any of the Cardinals’ RBs.  Yes, I know they are 2-0
3. Isaac Redman – Steelers
Redman was expected to be the starter coming in this season with Mendenhall on the shelf, but Dwyer has been getting the majority of the carries and when Mendenhall does return, Redman should slide down to the number three RB in Pittsburgh.
4. David Wilson – Giants
The rookie had a rough start to his NFL career, fumbling in his first game.  Since then, he has been in Coughlin’s doghouse.  Wilson might see an uptick in number of carries if Bradshaw is on the shelf for an extended period of time, but he isn’t worth taking up a roster slot.
5. Mario Manningham – 49ers
He is the fourth option in San Francisco.  He will have a few games in which he might get close to 60 or 70 yards and a TD, but will also go games without getting a catch.

Backfield Battles

1. Washington Redskins
Redskins will be a featured team weekly.  The reason is because Mike Shanahan just goes with what feels right for the week.  Many fantasy owners have been burned by Shanahan’s backs.  Right now, he is going with Alfred Morris who will get the majority of carries, but don’t be surprised if one week Roy Helu or Evan Royster get more than twenty carries.  Good luck and don’t get “Shanahan’d”
2. Detroit Lions
Kevin Smith had a great first week, but a disappointing second week.  The Lions have Mikel Leshoure coming back and he is expected to take over as the starter close to his return.  Also, don’t forget the Lions also have Jahvid Best coming back sometime soon.  Look for Smith to again be the lead back this week, but Leshoure will be starting after the Lions bye week (Week 5).
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
This is another situation in which a player coming back will take away from guys getting the carries now.  Rashard Mendenhall is still a few weeks away, but should take the starting role back upon his return.  Jonathan Dwyer has been serviceable in his duty as the starter, but unless he posts back-to-back impressive performances, he will slide into the backup role.
4. Atlanta Falcons
This team was not in the backfield battle when I first wrote this last night, but the late night DUI arrest of Michael Turner makes this interesting.  Turner has looked slower this year, and the 300 carries a year for three of the past four years has seemed to take a toll on him.  I expected Jacquizz Rodgers to be the Falcons’ starter by the end of the year, but if Turner is suspended soon, Rodgers’ time could be coming up quickly.
5. Arizona Cardinals
I mentioned this situation when I talked about dropping Beanie Wells.  Wells has not been what the Cardinals thought he would when they drafted him out of Ohio State, so they are looking for any reason to replace him.  Arizona drafted Ryan Williams last year, but he went down in the preseason and Wells was given another season to prove himself.  Well, they still aren’t impressed, but Williams fumbled when trying to run out the clock and almost cost them the game.  So, based on all that, Wells is still the guy, but it is a fluid situation in the desert.

Ben Hogan is the producer of MSL and a long-time fantasy sports guru. Follow him @NotTheGolfer for any fantasy or lineup questions throughout the week.


  1. Yeah, use CJ2K as trade bait, some people might think he will return to form and offer up something worth the trade. Honestly I really don’t know if Johnson ever returns to the form of two years ago. But, on the other hand, you probably spent a first or second round pick on him, so don’t settle for something.


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