Well, it took until week 3, but itâ€™s finally started.Â Some of the most important players in the league are getting hit with the injury bug.Â Both Stephen Jackson and Ray Rice went down with injury on Sunday.Â It doesnâ€™t look particularly good for Rice, but Jackson is insisting the injury isnâ€™t too bad.Â Thereâ€™s a possibility that both could play next week, but make sure you have a solid plan B, just in case.Â On the topic of plan Bs, make sure to remember that in week 4 bye weeks are starting.Â Check your teams and make sure you arenâ€™t playing an empty slot!Â Now, for the tips:
BEST:Â Â Â Peyton Manning, IND
This one is a no-brainer.Â The Jaguars have looked horrendous defensively this year, and Manning is on a blistering pace.Â If you have any chance to trade for the 4 time (and if he keeps this up soon to be 5 time) MVP take the deal.Â Peyton is lights out this year, and is going to absolutely thrash the Jaguars in week 4.Â I would honestly be shocked if he throws for any fewer than 3 scores and 300 yards.
WORST:Â Eli Manning, NYG
The Manning brothers both find themselves on my fantasy article, but Eliâ€™s isnâ€™t for anything good.Â While Eli has the talent around him to make something positive out of his matchup with Chicago, I just donâ€™t see it happening.Â The younger Manning has been atrocious at taking care of the ball this season, as we all saw with his insanely ill advised left handed throw in the red zone.Â Chicago doesnâ€™t have the best secondary, but I think Julius Peppers will get enough pressure to force Eli into some bad throws and potentially multiple interceptions.
BEST:Â Â Â Pierre Thomas, NO
With Reggie Bush out Thomas has become a true work horse back.Â And with the Saints inexplicably struggling in the passing game he has become a vital part of their offense.Â This week he gets the Carolina Panthers who have been fairly porous defensively, giving up around 111 yards per game.Â I think Thomas goes for over 100 yards this week and gets into the end zone at least once.Â He also may make a dent in the receiving game as well, as the Saints have started to show some fondness for the screen early this year.Â Consider any catches and receiving yards he gets a nice bonus this week.
WORST:Â DeAngelo Williams, CAR
This doesnâ€™t have much to do with who heâ€™s playing, or his talent.Â It has everything to do with circumstances out of Williamsâ€™ control.Â First, the Panthers have been playing from behind a lot this season which has cut the number of carries Williams has seen drastically.Â Second, John Fox insists on giving the ball to Johnathan Stewart this season, despite the fact that Williams has looked much better with the ball this year.Â If you have another good option Iâ€™d recommend sitting Williams until either the Panthers improve defense or John Fox figures out that Williams should be the featured back.Â You may also want to try and trade DeAngelo while his name still carries some value.
BEST:Â Â Â Greg Jennings, GB
The Packers will be taking on the Lions this Sunday after a painfully sloppy loss to the Chicago Bears on Monday night.Â I have a feeling that the Packers will come out swinging against the Lions to prove to the rest of the league that they are indeed a Super Bowl contender.Â That means the Lionsâ€™ sub-par secondary is going to be seeing a lot of passes thrown their way.Â I think the Packers will look deep often, with Jennings hauling in a few long pass plays, and at least one touchdown.Â If you have Jennings, start him with confidence.
WORST:Â Steve Smith, CAR
I canâ€™t recommend Smith until I see more of what Jimmy Clausen can do.Â I wasnâ€™t impressed with him at Notre Dame (of course that may just be my Spartan bias talking), and he looked pretty bad in his first NFL game.Â Until we see that Clausen can get the ball to his best playmaker then I would recommend sitting Smith if you have a better option.Â If you donâ€™t have a better option youâ€™ll just have to hope that Smith can turn a short pass into a long TD like he did so many times early in his career.
BEST:Â Â Â Tony Gonzalez, ATL
Gonzalez had a nice week last week, and I think heâ€™ll continue that trend against the 49ers this week.Â The Niners havenâ€™t been as good as advertised on defense this season, and the ageless Gonzalez should find a way to exploit their linebackers and secondary.Â San Francisco is giving up about 217 yards per game through the air, and I have to believe that Gonzalez will account for a good number of those yards this week.Â Itâ€™s also a better than average shot that heâ€™ll find the end zone against the 49ers as well.
WORST:Â Brent Celek, PHI
When Mike Vick became the starter in Philly many people expected Celekâ€™s numbers to spike.Â After all, Mike Vick did lean on Algae Crumpler during his entire tenure in Atlanta.Â However, it looks like Vick is more comfortable throwing to his receivers in Philly, especially in the red zone.Â While Celek did see 6 targets against the Jags last week, Iâ€™m not sold on his value going forward.Â Heâ€™s a risky play this week, so if you have a solid backup with a nice match-up, benching Celek may not be a bad idea.
BEST:Â Chicago Bears
As I mentioned above, Eli Manning has been handing out turnovers like candy early this season.Â I think the Bears will put some good pressure on Eli this week and force him into at least one turnover, and will probably sack him multiple times.Â There are still some leagues out there that havenâ€™t embraced this Bearâ€™s defense yet, and if they are still on your leagueâ€™s waiver wire pick them up now!
WORST:Â Oakland Raiders
They were my sleeper last week, but I think theyâ€™re in trouble this week.Â The Texans are coming off of a sloppy performance in Dallas, and I think theyâ€™ll be hungry to rectify that.Â I think Matt Schaub and Arian Foster both go off on the Raiders and put a ton of points on the board.Â If you have a better option I would strongly recommend it.Â However, the Raiders may be able to create a turnover or two, making them at least playable if you donâ€™t have any other options.
SLEEPER OF THE WEEK
-Austin Collie, WR, IND
Itâ€™s maybe a stretch to call Collie a sleeper this week, but heâ€™s still flying under many fantasy GMâ€™s radars, so I figured Iâ€™ll count it.Â Collie has been one of Peyton Manningâ€™s favorite targets this season, and set a career high in both receptions and yardage last week against Denver.Â With Pierre Garcon out last week, Collie has stepped up big time, and is making a push to be the number 2 WR in Indianapolis.Â Heâ€™s more sure handed than Garcon, and Iâ€™m betting on him becoming Peytonâ€™s second favorite WR behind Reggie Wayne.Â He probably wonâ€™t be available in any of your leagues, but if you can get him for cheap in a trade Iâ€™d suggest going for it.