- Scott Engel, ESPN Fantasy Games
This is a pivotal early-season week for many fantasy owners. Some are desperate for a win that will prevent them from falling to 0-3, while others must strive to rise above .500 and stay in contention. Deciding on starters won't be easy, so you will have to take some gambles. Players from the Cowboys, 49ers and Cardinals all face tough matchups. It's also become clear certain players are not living up to expectations. Don't hesitate to bench Maurice Jones-Drew, Ronnie Brown, Lee Evans and Reggie Brown if you have better options, In what is often a 13- to 14-week fantasy football season, your patience cannot be tested for too long.
NOTES: Kitna has earned his lofty status for now, and has the weaponry to challenge any defense. Hasselbeck will have one of his best games of the season against the Bengals. Brees can rebound if the Saints get the running game established. Bulger faces an underrated and tough Tampa Bay defense. Roethlisberger has re-emerged as a dependable starter. Young doesn't have the arsenal needed to exploit the Saints, but he should score more than once overall. Romo draws the tough matchup, and Schaub could drop even further by Sunday without Andre Johnson. Cutler will be less effective against Jacksonville, and I am obviously still not sold on Derek Anderson.
Scott Engel provides his player rankings, and the reasoning behind them, for Week 3 of the NFL season.