Hits & Misses – Week 3: Bring out your Steve Smiths!

Here are our “Hits” and “Misses” for week three, listing players who you want to make sure are in your lineup, as well as those who you might consider shelving for the week (or at least lowering your expectations!) As usual, I tried to keep the most obvious players off the list, such as Drew Brees against a Bills defense that is allowing over 330 yards per game through the air (make sure to have him in your lineup this week though.) Anyways, let’s get to the good stuff, starting with a pair of receivers who share a name…

Wide Receiver
Hits
Misses
Steve Smith, Panthers @ DAL – The real Steve Smith reappeared last week after taking the first game of the season off and you got to see what the Delhomme-Smith love affair is capable of as he went for 131 yards on eight receptions. Expect more of the same this week against a suspect Cowboys defense, but I’m guessing he’ll find the endzone in this one. Roddy White, Falcons @ NE – The Patriots have been great against the wide receiver position this season and I’m sure they’ve worked all week on a game plan for White. In case you were curious how “great” they’ve been, they’ve allowed under 200 yards TOTAL to the WR position through the first two games.
Steve Smith, Giants @ TB – He’s giving the real Steve Smith a run for his money this year in terms of being one of the most productive wide receivers and this week the trend should continue. The Bucs have given up almost 400 yards to receivers and have allowed five touchdowns to the position. Expect a big day from Eli’s new best friend. Vincent Jackson, Chargers vs MIA – The Dolphins have been great against wide receivers this year, as displayed by their shutdown of Reggie Wayne (37 yards) in last week’s contest. This week they’ll focus on shutting down Jackson (although Antonio Gates could have a big game…just look what Dallas Clark did last week!)
Jericho Cotchery, Jets vs TEN – If Sanchez is to have a big game, it’s going to benefit Cotchery the most, who should rack up some solid yards against a bad Titans pass defense and should find the endzone. Devin Hester, Bears @ SEA – I already mentioned his quarterback as a “miss” this week and I don’t like Hester’s chances against a tough Seahawks defense IN Seattle. He’ll have to break a long one if he is to put up serviceable stats this week.
Quarterback
Hits
Misses
Eli Manning, Giants @ TB – With his two new best friends (Steve Smith and Mario Manningham), Eli may finally put up the numbers you would expect from someone in the Manning family. The Buccaneers have been pretty bad against the pass this year and this is a great play for Eli Manning owners. Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs IND – The Colts haven’t given up a touchdown to a quarterback yet this season and are only allowing around 150 yards per game through the air. If you have another option this week, you might consider it.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers @ STL – Rodgers hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that were put on him coming into this season, but this week could be where he gets it turned around. The Rams have allowed an average of over 260 yards per game through the air and one of those games was against the Redskins (so the numbers might be a bit lower than expected.) Rodgers should have a big day and should get Greg Jennings involved early and often. Jay Cutler, Bears @ SEA – While Cutler is still getting acquainted with his receivers, he might suffer a slight setback this week against the Seahawks. Seattle is one of the loudest stadiums out there and they haven’t allowed a quarterback to find the endzone yet.
Mark Sanchez, Jets vs TEN – While the Titans were expected to be one of the top defenses in the league this year, they’ve given up the most passing yards in the NFL (720) through the first two games! Sanchez hasn’t done a whole lot in terms of stats so far this year, but this could be his coming out party. Shaun Hill, 49ers @ MIN – While it’s usually the Vikings run defense that is talked about, their pass defense has been pretty solid this year as well. Hill hasn’t done anything yet this season to make you feel confident putting him in your lineup and this week’s opponent should be even less encouraging.
Running Back
Hits
Misses
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars @ HOU – While MJD may not be quite as fast as Chris Johnson (who absolutely torched the Texans last week!), they do have similar skill sets in that they can both run AND catch the ball effectively. Expect Jones-Drew to have a solid game this week. Thomas Jones, Jets vs TEN – The Titans can’t stop the pass, but they’ve been great against the run. The Jets seem to be leaning more on Leon Washington each week, which doesn’t help Jones’ cause either. You might look for an alternative this week at the RB position if possible.
Willis McGahee, Ravens vs CLE – I also like Ray Rice against the Browns this week, but McGahee has been getting the goal-line carries this year, making him a slightly more attractive option. Either way, the Browns run defense has been bad, giving up a huge game to Adrian Peterson in week one, then letting the Broncos committee run for 186 yards last week. The Ravens are one of the best running teams in the league and should put up big numbers on Sunday. LenDale White, Titans @ NYJ – White hasn’t done much of anything so far and now plays one of the best run defenses in the league. Keep him on your bench if possible.
Matt Forte, Bears @ SEA – Forte has averaged a paltry 2.2 yards per carry in both of his first two games, but this week things could change. With Cutler getting more comfortable with his receivers, defenses will need to focus more on the Bears passing game, which should open up some holes for their running back. The Seahawks are giving up over 150 yards per game to opposing tailbacks, so this could be the breakout game those of you who drafted Matt Forte early were looking for. Joseph Addai, Colts @ ARI – I know it sounds strange, but the Cardinals run defense is actually one of the best in the NFL at this point, only allowing 94 rushing yards through the first two games. Addai seems to be losing favor in Indy and doesn’t make a strong play as this game will primarily be played through the air.
Tight End
Hits
Misses
Jeremy Shockey, Saints @ BUF – The Bills have given up about 100 yards and two touchdowns per game to tight ends so far this season and now it’s the resurgent Shockey’s turn. Zach Miller, Raiders vs DEN – Who are those players out there in Broncos uniforms playing defense and what have they done with last year’s Swiss cheese? Denver has been the toughest team against the tight end position this season so far, giving up just 8 yards to opposing TE’s! Keep Miller on your bench this week and look for another option.