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Fantasy: Matchups to avoid or exploit in Week 3

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Justin Boone, TSN.ca
9/19/2012 1:33:07 AM
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As you prepare to set your lineup each week, TSN.ca's NFL Editor Justin Boone breaks down some of the less obvious matchups you should capitalize on and those you should steer clear of for the weekend games.

For specific lineup decisions, consult the Weekly Fantasy Player Rankings.

QUARTERBACKS

Exploit

Tony Romo (vs. Buccaneers) - Romo started the season strong by taking advantage of a depleted Giants' secondary, before being contained by a very underrated Seahawks' defence last week. Now Romo goes up against a Buccaneers squad that allowed Eli Manning to throw for over 500 yards in Week 2.

Andrew Luck (vs. Jaguars) - Luck was in this space last week and delivered a solid outing throwing for 224 yards and two touchdowns with no picks and even added 21 rushing yards. Luck will go up against the Jaguars who have yet to allow a passing touchdown, but that speaks more to their porous run defence than their ability to defend through the air.    

Avoid

Peyton Manning (vs. Texans) - Anyone who watched the first quarter of last week's Monday-nighter saw plenty of reasons to question Manning. While Peyton did lead the Broncos back into the game, his three first-quarter interceptions were too much to overcome. Wade Phillips' defence is one of the best units in the league and they will create havoc for Manning and the Broncos' offence. 

Tom Brady (at Ravens) - In last year's AFC Championship Game, the Ravens tormented Brady holding him to 239 yards and no touchdowns, with two interceptions. After Aaron Hernandez went down to injury last week, the Patriots lost their swagger on offence and Brady struggled. The Ravens, who always seem to have Brady's number, will continue that trend. If you drafted Brady, you likely have no choice but to start him, but if you have a Robert Griffin III or Andrew Luck consider benching Brady.

RUNNING BACKS

Exploit

Trent Richardson (vs. Bills) - Richardson's talents were on full display against the Bengals in Week 2, racking up 145 yards on 23 touches and adding two scores. The Browns may have lost the game, but fans finally got see the elite running back they hoped they were drafting in April. Richardson will be the focal point of Cleveland's offence when they welcome the Bills to town this weekend.

Michael Bush (vs. Rams) - Filling in for an injured starter is nothing new for Bush, who formerly backed up Darren McFadden in Oakland. With Matt Forte out of the lineup, Bush assumes the starting role and his first opponent will be a Rams rush defence that has been victimized in the first two weeks of the season.

Avoid

Adrian Peterson (vs. 49ers) - Peterson was held in check in Week 2 by the Colts. That's not a good sign for a running back who now has to face the league's most dominating run defence. The 49ers have limited their opponents to 63.5 rushing yards per game and haven't allowed a run over 11 yards. Peterson's recovery has been impressive, but even he can't beat this Niners front seven.

Michael Turner (at Chargers) - Regardless of what trouble he has gotten himself into off the field, Turner is slowing down dramatically on it. Turner is averaging 2.6 yards per carry and looks completely out of place in the Falcons' up-tempo passing attack. While the 49ers may be the most physically imposing defence, the Chargers are statistically the best, with only 83 total rushing yards allowed through two games.

WIDE RECEIVERS

Exploit

Malcom Floyd (vs. Falcons) - Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal were brought in to help fill the void in the receiving corps left by Vincent Jackson. However, it's been Floyd who has stepped up and become the team's number one pass catcher so far this season. The 6'5, 225-pound wideout has the size to give the Falcons' secondary problems, much like Demaryius Thomas did this past week. 

Kenny Britt (vs. Lions) - Britt had a quiet 2012 debut in Week 2, after coming back from suspension and knee injuries. In Britt's defence, the team kept him on a limited snap count, which resulted in his one catch for five yards. The Titans' offence has looked out of sync in their two contests, but the Lions' secondary can cure those woes. Expect Britt to bust out in a big way on Sunday.

Avoid

Jeremy Maclin (at Cardinals) - Maclin is dealing with a hip injury and there is a chance that he may not be able to suit up this week. If he is in the lineup, his production could drop way down against a Cardinals defence that kept the Patriots' passing game under control a week ago. The West is no longer the punch line of the NFC.

Vincent Jackson (at Cowboys) - The Buccaneers found themselves in a shootout with the Giants and Jackson answered the call, despite coming up short in the end. Jackson had room to work against the Giants' secondary, but that won't be the case in Dallas. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have been significant upgrades to the Cowboys' coverage and they will slow down the Buccaneers' passing attack this week.

TIGHT ENDS

Exploit

Dennis Pitta (vs. Patriots) - Pitta is fifth in the NFL in targets through two weeks. With the Ravens focused on letting Joe Flacco air it out more, Pitta should continue to be a weapon downfield and could carve up the Patriots this week. Pitta is moving into full-time TE1 status and should be the first option for owners who lost Hernandez to injury.

Brandon Pettigrew (at Titans) - Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman made life difficult for Pettigrew in the middle of the field last week. Pettigrew salvaged his fantasy week with a touchdown, but managed only three catches for 18 yards. The good news for Pettigrew is that his Week 3 opponent has been horrific at stopping the tight end, which will lead to a bounce-back game for him.

Avoid

Kyle Rudolph (vs. 49ers) - Rudolph is in the mix with Pitta and Martellus Bennett as players flirting with becoming TE1 this season. Anyone who drafted Rudolph on his potential has been rewarded with back to back games with a touchdown. The 49ers will not make it easy on him as he tries to extend that streak to three games. 

Jacob Tamme (vs. Texans) - Tamme was only on the field for 35 per cent of the Broncos snaps in Week 2, as the team turned to Joel Dreessen who is a better blocker. Tamme now gets put up against the Texans menacing defenders and will likely lose snaps again.

Trent Richardson (Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
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