Thursday Night Football is set to kick off the third week of NFL and fantasy football action. Some fantasy football leagues lock up tonight, but even the ones that don’t still beg for you to pay attention so your roster doesn’t have an injured or ineffective player stuck in, or that you don’t miss out on a potential stud.
Those are two key situations you don’t want to be jammed up into, but you also could simply be debating over two or three different options. Injuries have struck us pretty hard after just two weeks, so it’s entirely possible you could need to decide between using someone like Josh McCown tonight or waiting to use a guy like Geno Smith later in the week. For the most part we’ll break down which guys you’ll want to use in tonight’s game specifically, but hopefully the logic spun on all these players should help you decide whether to use them over your other guys on your roster.
For all other week three fantasy football questions, hit me up on Twitter @BreakingKevin. Be sure to get your weekly gaming on this week at Skyllzone and DraftKings.com if you want to turn your fantasy genius into some sweet cash. With that, it’s on to the week three TNF fantasy versus:
Josh McCown (Buccaneers) vs. Matt Ryan (Falcons)
Ryan is clearly the pick between these two, and it’s not close. That doesn’t mean you can’t use McCown if you don’t also own Ryan, though. McCown falls in at #20 in my week three player rankings, so he could be serviceable against a weak Atlanta defense. He hasn’t been amazing this year, but he does have four touchdowns (two rushing) and he has weapons around him.
Doug Martin (Buccaneers) vs. Steven Jackson (Falcons)
Martin (knee) sat out last week and reportedly probably could have played, so he’s got to be really close to getting back this week. This would be a fantastic week to get him back in the starting lineup, too, since Atlanta has been absolutely destroyed on the ground the past two weeks. If Martin starts, I love him in this matchup and absolutely would take him over the plodding Steven Jackson. If Martin is out, the guy in second place is Bobby Rainey and then comes S-Jax, who inspires absolutely nothing out of me.
Bobby Rainey (Buccaneers) vs. Jacquizz Rodgers (Falcons)
Rainey takes the cake if Dougie is out, but if The Muscle Hamster plays, he’ll have a much smaller role than we saw last week. The same obviously goes for Mike James, who was terrible last week, anyways. Rodgers is fairly spare for the most part, but if Doug is in, I still like Rainey here, too, since he just mashed up the Rams so well last week and there’s no way the Bucs can keep him off the field all night. Rodgers doesn’t have an amazing role, anyways, and is extremely hit or miss. Obviously if Rainey starts, he’s the top pick out of all these backs.
Julio Jones (Falcons) vs. Vincent Jackson (Buccaneers) vs. Roddy White (Falcons)
Julio stands above the rest, without question. V-Jax comes in second, as he is still highly targeted and is inching toward that huge breakout game. I think it could come tonight. Atlanta’s defense is spare and I’m sure the Bucs end up having to take it to the air at some point in what could be a bit of a shootout. White is a very solid WR2 if he’s a full go, and he should be ready to play. At his worst he’s still a solid WR3 usually, so I wouldn’t be too worried about him this week.
Harry Douglas (Falcons) vs. Mike Evans (Buccaneers)
Douglas stays fairly involved in Atlanta’s offense, so he’s worth a flier if you’re desperate, but Evans has way more upside and a more concrete role. Tampa Bay will probably end up having to throw in this one, plus the solid matchup bodes well. Evans did get the wind knocked out of him at the end of last week, but if he’s good to go he should make for a solid WR3 this week.
Brandon Myers (Buccaneers) vs. Levine Toilolo (Falcons)
Austin Seferian-Jenkins is hurt and out this week, so that gives Myers the tight end spot all to himself. So, there’s that. But he’s a plodding mass who doesn’t block all that well and doesn’t make explosive plays. He has eight catches through two weeks, which is more than Toilolo’s five catches, but at least Toilolo has that off chance of snagging a touchdown thanks to his massive size. You really don’t want to be trusting in either of these guys, but I’d go with Toilolo thanks to slightly more upside.
Patrick Murray (Buccaners) vs. Matt Bryant (Falcons)
Murray has only kicked two field goals on the year, is on the road and Tampa’s offense simply isn’t giving him many chances for success. He seems to be good enough, but his surroundings don’t bode well for him in general right now. Bryant is one of the best kickers in the league and he’s at home, so I like him to get back closer to his strong week one. He’s easily the pick here and he’s a strong option this week, in general.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons
I think the better defense is clearly Tampa Bay, but do I at all expect them to come in and dominate a talented Falcons team in the Georgia Dome? No, I don’t. ATL gets rookie left tackle Jake Matthews back this week, which should give Matt Ryan more time to throw. TB is a bit banged up on D, too, so I don’t think they’ll have much success shutting down the Falcons’ passing attack. I don’t think the Bucs are the worst play out there, but they’re not the smart play. Atlanta’s defense isn’t great, either, but they’re at home and Tampa Bay has struggled a bit offensively. This isn’t a bad week to use them as a streaming option. They’re the pick of the two, but if you can avoid either of these units, try to do so.