Best/worst Week 3 matchups

Why Matthew Stafford, Marques Colston and others are strong starts

Updated: September 18, 2013, 2:25 PM ET
By Scott Kacsmar | Football Outsiders

Matthew Stafford Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesLions quarterback Matthew Stafford should start in all leagues against a weak Redskins secondary.

In a perfect fantasy world, players would never get injured -- but that is the unfortunate reality of the game. Last week I recommended Eddie Lacy as a good start against Washington's porous defense. He ran for 10 yards on his first carry, but a big hit to the head by safety Brandon Meriweather knocked him out of the game with a concussion. Lacy's day was done after one touch.

Backup James Starks stepped in with 20 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown. That broke a streak of 44 regular-season games without a 100-yard rusher in Green Bay, which says a lot about how bad Washington's defense is playing. Given what Starks did, it's likely Lacy would have had a big day,  too.

That's just the type of tough break (or bad luck) that comes with football, real or fantasy. No matter how much logic we use to set our lineups, there are elements out of our control.

One strategy that worked well this week was to trust good players on good teams following bad weeks. While some overreact to a bad game or two, you should trust players in these situations to get back on track (regress to the mean).

Denver wide receiver Eric Decker had an ugly opener against Baltimore with multiple drops and just two catches for 32 yards. In Week 2, Peyton Manning got him involved early and often as Decker finished with nine catches for 87 yards on 13 targets.

Mike Wallace complained about a lack of production (15 yards) in Week 1 in his Miami debut. He had nine catches for 115 yards and a touchdown in Indianapolis.

Even better, Green Bay's James Jones had no catches in San Francisco and only two targets. He exploded against Washington with 11 catches for 178 yards.

Some players are studs you just trust on a weekly basis to put up the numbers, but elite talents such as Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson are rare. For some of these lower-tier players who run hot and cold, you have to try to catch them (or flex them in most cases) after a cold game, but do not trust them every week. As good as Decker and Jones played in Week 2, that may just be a sign that Demaryius Thomas and Jordy Nelson will be the players to go off in Week 3.

Here are the best and worst fantasy matchups for Week 3.


Quarterbacks

Matthew Stafford (plus-4 points)

Stafford is usually a good fantasy start anyway because of his high volume of passes, and of course the benefit of having Johnson, who had two touchdowns last week. In Week 3, he may have one of his best matchups ever.


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Scott Kacsmar

Football Outsiders
Scott Kacsmar is an Assistant Editor at Football Outsiders.