2014 Fantasy FootballFantasy Football

2014 Fantasy Football: Week 3 Thursday Night Football Preview

Vincent Jackson - photo by: football schedule on flickr
Vincent Jackson – photo by: football schedule on flickr

Thursday September 18, 2014
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons

We have a very interesting game this Thursday night. It would probably be more interesting if it was in Tampa, but strange things happen in Thursday games. The high-octane Falcons passing attack will be facing the underachieving Buccaneers defense. The Bucs will try to turn their season around, however they will have a tough task beating Matt Ryan in Atlanta, where he was been close to unbeatable. With the Falcons great offense and awful defense, there should be plenty of fantasy points to go around.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Key Players

QB Josh McCown

McCown is reportedly frustrated with the Bucs 0-2 start, nevertheless, he hasn’t done a whole lot to help. He currently has the 30th ranked passer rating (75.1) in the NFL. He is beginning to show why he has been a journeyman QB for just about all of his career.

Verdict: Sit McCown. As bad as the Falcons’ pass defense is, it wouldn’t be shocking if he had a good game. Still, it’s just too risky, and you’ll be kicking yourself when your starter blows him out of the water on Sunday.

RB Doug Martin

Martin hasn’t been very good since his rookie season. This includes his nine carries for 9 yards Week 1. That was before he had a bum knee. He may not play, and if he does, he may not be the best RB on the roster.

Verdict: Sit Martin. As tempting as it is to start the Muscle Hamster against the Falcons, he just has too much going against him. There’s nothing worse than starting a RB on Thursday night, his knee gives out and you’re starring at a zero all week.

RB Bobby Rainey

Rainey appears to be much better than the Bucs starting RB. Last week they gave Rainey 22 carries that he took for 144 yards. He also caught three passes for 30 yards. The risk with Rainey is his workload if Martin plays.

Verdict: Start Rainey. This only applies if Martin does not suit up for the game. The Falcons’ defense is bad and Rainey looks good.

WR Vincent Jackson

V-Jax is a mismatch for the Falcons secondary, he hasn’t been great thus far but is due for a big game. Who better to have a big game against than the 31st ranked pass defense? If you’re not going to start him now, you’re probably not going to start him ever.

Verdict: Start Jackson. He’s been a very solid and consistent WR for years. It will all balance out sooner than later.

WR Mike Evans

The talented rookie has been solid but not great. He’s shown flashes and this could be his coming out party. He is a freak athlete and is bound to have an explosion of production at some point.

Verdict: Start Evans. Yea, it’s a little bit risky, we know. We’re willing to take a risk on this kid. We all know what he’s capable of, and we know what the Falcons D isn’t capable of.

Atlanta Falcons: Key Players

QB Matt Ryan

Ryan puts up monster numbers at home. He does at times struggle on the road, but this game isn’t on the road. The Bucs defense was supposed to be much better this year but it’s not. Lovie Smith was supposed to turn his team around but… Well you see where this going. Ryan is a great play.

Verdict: Start Ryan. When the Falcons are home, you should start Ryan no matter who the Falcons are playing.

RB Steven Jackson

The days of Jackson being a must start fantasy option are far behind him. He is well past his prime, however he is still getting the “bulk” of the carries. At least for now. He had a great career, nevertheless, the end is near. It’s only a matter of time before rookie Devonta Freeman is the top back in Atlanta.

Verdict: Sit Jackson. There are too many good backs to be starting Jackson anymore. The Bucs are pretty good against the run. Also, last week Jackson was only on the field for 37.7 percent of the offensive snaps. It’s time to retire Jackson to your fantasy bench.

WR Julio Jones

When Jones is healthy, he’s great. The guy is an elite WR1 and possibly a top five NFL talent. He has the potential to be as good as any WR in the league not named after a massive alien robot.

Verdict: Start Jones. When he’s healthy, you start him.

WR Roddy White

The jury is still out if White’s best days are behind him or if he still has a year or two left. Health is becoming a major issue. It feels like White has been questionable every week for about three years now. If you’ve owned him, you know exactly what we mean. Once again he’s questionable with a hamstring this week. Shocking.

Verdict: Start White. This one can really go either way. It’s hard to sit him at home though, unless you are really deep at WR. Like always, make sure you monitor his status up until game time.

WR Harry Douglas

Douglas is the third wheel that just won’t go away. He’s been frustrating White owners for years now. Still he is the team’s third option.

Verdict: Sit Douglas. He is underrated, however it’s hard to start three WRs from one team. If White can’t go, we would have to reconsider our verdict.


Final Score

Tampa Bay: 27
Atlanta: 41

Best Play

Bucs: Vincent Jackson
Falcons: Matt Ryan


Bobby Rainey

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