Each week our gaggle of Yahoo fanalysts show their hands and reveal their top booms, busts and breakouts. Gaze into the crystal ball and list your picks, using the strict rules set, in the comment section below.
Among players under 50 percent started in Yahoo leagues, the loudest BOOM from Week 3 comes from ________.
Liz – JONATHAN STEWART. Buried beneath CMC’s buzzy preseason, Stewart has quietly out touched the rookie in back-to-back weeks. After producing RB1 numbers in Week 1, Stewart’s stats stalled in last Sunday’s defensive slugfest vs. Buffalo. Still, JStew was the team’s only RB to carry the rock inside the five-yard line, logging two goal line attempts. Given Cam Newton’s tweaked ankle, Stewart figures to see an increase in scoring opportunities. He a solid RB2 in Week 3, as he’ll face a dejected Saints defense that’s given up the fourth most fantasy points to opposing RBs.
[Watch on Yahoo: Ravens vs. Jaguars live from London Sept. 24]
Brad – DERRICK HENRY. At first blush many will scoff at a RB matchup against Seattle. However, the ‘Hawks haven’t been the impenetrable fortress of years past. Through two games, they allowed 5.55 yards per carry to RBs. Henry, who set the pace in YAC per attempt last week among all RBs (4.37), should own the upper hand with DeMarco Murray ailing (hammy). On approximately 14-16 touches, the new Football Frankenstein charges his way to at least 70 yards and another score. If achieved, a full-blown 50-50 or 60-40 timeshare favoring Henry may be in the works.
Dalton — MATTHEW STAFFORD. He sports a 6:1 TD:INT ratio this season with a career-high 114.6 Passer Rating. The yardage has been modest, as his usual high volume hasn’t been needed with Detroit’s defense dominating its opponents so far, but Stafford is going to have to throw a ton Sunday to keep up with Atlanta’s terrific offense (the game’s over/under is 50 points). The Falcons allowed the most fantasy points to quarterbacks last year, so treat Stafford as a top-five QB in Week 3 in what should be a shootout.
Conversely, among players started in over 50 percent of Yahoo leagues, the biggest Week 3 BUST will be ______.
Brad – ROB GRONKOWSKI. Though Gronk exited last week’s tilt against New Orleans with a strained groin, it appears the injury imp’s bite was merely a flesh wound. Expected to suit up against the Texans, everyone’s favorite party animal, according to most, is ready to tap the keg. However, for a guy who lumbers even when 100 percent, one has to wonder if his tender love muscle will limit his ability to gain separation and move downfield. The Texans defense, down Kevin Johnson, Brian Cushing and Jonathan Joseph, are no doubt hurting, but a one-week downturn for Gronk should come as no surprise.
Dalton — MARCUS MARIOTA. A popular breakout candidate entering the year, Mariota’s season is off to a slow start, as he’s thrown just one touchdown with a pedestrian 6.9 YPA. He faces a tough Seattle defense this week that’s ceded the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks (5.9 YPA, 1:2 TD:INT ratio) through the first two games of the season. Mariota will soon become a nice buy-low candidate, but he belongs firmly on fantasy benches in Week 3.
Liz – JORDAN HOWARD. The last thing I want is a running back with a bum shoulder, especially when said RB refuses to shy away from contact and is known for his bruising rushing style. It doesn’t help matters that Tarik Cohen is available to steal touches, or that the Bears passing game is an all-JV squad. Facing a capable Steelers run defense, Howard is barely in the RB3 conversation.
Chuck a Hail Mary, the one deep player (under 15% started) you believe BREAKS OUT in Week 3 is ______.
Dalton – RASHARD HIGGINS. Seemingly out of nowhere, he secured 7-of-11 targets for 95 yards last week against a Baltimore secondary that’s yielded an NFL-low 35.0 Passer Rating early on this season. With Corey Coleman breaking his hand, and Kenny Britt ostensibly not too interested in playing football right now, it sure looks like plenty of volume will continue to come Higgins’ way. He gets a Colts defense in Week 3 that’s allowed 9.8 YPA (second most in the NFL), so fire up Higgins (who’s being started in just 1% of Yahoo leagues right now) as a WR3.
Liz – AUSTIN SEFARIAN-JENKINS. Returning from a two-game suspension, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins will join a Jets receiving corps desperate for a capable body, let alone a potential red zone threat. A metrics darling, ASJ’s issues have never had to do with his athleticism. After impressing for much of the summer, he’ll have a chance to redeem himself against a Dolphins secondary that not only gave up a record-breaking touchdown to Antonio Gates, but also allowed Hunter Henry to reel in all 7 of his looks for 80 yards. With so many elite tight ends dinged up, and at only $11 in Yahoo DFS, Sefarian-Jenkins deserves strong streamer consideration.
Brad — BEN WATSON. The Baltimore tight end, whose age needs to be determined via carbon dating, is an unearthed relic equipped with special fantasy powers. His 8-91-0 output in Week 2 was no fluke. Joe Flacco adores his tight ends (see Pitta, Dennis in ’16) and needs a consistent over-the-middle option with Danny Woodhead shelved. Working away from Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, opponents have found success against Jacksonville. So far plus-sized targets have amassed 12 catches for 151 yards and a pair of scores versus the Jags. Watson is a bargain basement buy at $11 in Yahoo DFS. Realistically another 5-8 receptions with 70-plus yards is in the cards.