If you made it to Week 3 without losing any players to injury, suspension or criminal proceedings, you’re well ahead of the game.
The rest of us are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to keep up with one of the craziest months in NFL history. The most actionable changes this week are due to running back injuries. Here’s what to expect from three new starters:
Swimming in the Knile
This version of the Andy Reid offense is the most running back dependent scheme in the league – and it’s not going to change now that Jamaal Charles is sidelined by an ankle injury. In the three games Charles has missed time in over the last two seasons, Davis is averaging 27.3 touches per day and has scored six touchdowns. He has to face a very good Dolphins run defense this Sunday, but we know the workload is going to be there.
Chris Ivory 2.0
When watching Khiry Robinson run, you can’t help but think of the violent tackle-breaking style Chris Ivory used to display in New Orleans. The difference between the two is that Robinson is a plus in the pass game. Now that Mark Ingram (hand) is out at least a month, Robinson is going to form a two-headed monster with Pierre Thomas and pick up the goal-line work that led to three Ingram touchdowns this season. With 10-14 touches weekly in this explosive Saints offense, the former UDFA is a top-30 fantasy running back for the next month.
Damn it, Donald
The Chargers gave Donald Brown a $10.5 million contract this offseason with this moment in mind. Ryan Mathews (knee) is out 4-5 weeks and this run-based attack needs a workhorse. Look for Danny Woodhead to mostly stay in his passing back role, leaving Brown to handle the majority of early-down and goal-line work. The guy Peyton Manning made famous with the “Dammit Donald” line will have plenty of flex appeal thanks to a very soft upcoming schedule.
Pickups of the Week
Chargers D/ST – Will face BUF, JAX, NYJ, OAK and KC over the next five weeks. It doesn’t get any softer than that.
Brian Quick, WR, Rams – Obvious No. 1 receiver for the Rams. Has 14 catches on 18 targets through two weeks and gets Dallas at home this week.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Redskins — Uneven 2013 performances were in the Shanny scheme built for RG3. This Gruden scheme is for a pocket passer like Cousins.
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Fire up these borderline players in Week 3
1. Stevan Ridley – A home game against the Triple-A Raiders is an obvious Ridley smash and pound spot. Bad news for Shane Vereen owners.
2. Jared Cook – In Week 1, this Dallas defense got hit for two touchdowns by TE Vernon Davis. In Week 2, TE Delanie Walker gave them 10-142-1.
3. Jeremy Hill – This soft Titans front will leave enough room for both Hill and Gio to eat – especially if A.J. Green (toe) sits.
Adrian Peterson’s ban from the Vikings leaves Matt Asiata as the Vikings starter for the indefinite future. A poor man’s Toby Gerhart, he’ll only be a top-25 option because of volume and touchdown upside. If you missed out on Asiata, stashing freaky rookie Jerick McKinnon is a strong play. Once the Vikings realize they’re not good enough to win with a 3.0 YPC running back, they’ll have to let McKinnon spread his wings.