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Wide Write: Time to Buy Low on Slaton

Welcome back, folks. Last week’s selections were more bad than good, but we’re going to shake it off, like Tony Romo is trying to do this week. On behalf of Giants fans everywhere, I’d like to thank him from the bottom of my heart for serving that game up on a silver platter Sunday night. Tony, you were far too generous.

As always, all my recommendations aren’t included below. There will always be a few more players you need to know about, and to find out who they are, you’ll need to watch the weekly Wide Write video blog. As a reminder, you know you’re not here for me to tell you to start obvious options like Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, right? The start ‘em/sit ‘em selections are guys who tend to be borderline starters, and the pickups are usually available in a majority of leagues on FOXSports.com.

Read on for your Week 3 fantasy football recommendations. If you have any questions, comments or insults, send them to widewrite@foxnews.com.

Quarterbacks

Start him: Trent Edwards, Bills

The Saints travel to Buffalo this week, and while their defense has improved since last season, it’s not like they’re the ’85 Bears just yet. Edwards has been pretty good so far, averaging 221 yards and two touchdowns per game over the first two weeks. He’s a solid play in what could be a bit of a shootout.

By the way, if you’re going to try a no-huddle offense, doesn’t it make sense to put it in the hands of a brainy Stanford grad like Edwards?

Sit him: Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Rodgers has been sacked 10 times in the first two games of the season, and this week he visits the Rams and their blitz-happy, first-year head coach, Steve Spagnuolo. The Rams’ D bent (362 total yards) but didn’t break in a 9-7 loss to the Redskins last week.
Look, I know the Rams aren’t very good, but when I see a game like this, I ask myself the following questions:

1. Do I think the Rams will go 0-16?
2. If not, where are the likely wins?

Outside of divisional home games against the 49ers and Seahawks, this game and the December 20 home contest against the Texans are the most winnable games on the Rams’ schedule. If you’ve been paying attention to the Rams at all so far, they’re not going to win anything with offense. I think they’ll keep Rodgers in check.

Pick him up: Jason Campbell, Redskins

Campbell hasn’t been bad so far, completing 69 percent of his passes for 453 yards and a TD in the first two weeks of the season. The Redskins visit the Lions this week, and while I know we could use the same logic here that I applied to the winless Rams playing well against Rodgers and the Packers, I’m simply suggesting Campbell as a fantasy backup and potential spot starter if your QB1 has a tough matchup. Campbell threw for 3,245 yards last season, which ranked 16th in the NFL. That’s not bad, right? Campbell is available in 84 percent of FOXSports.com leagues.

P.S. Since most fantasy teams already have a pair of QBs, there won’t usually be a lot of great choices here. If you wanted Tom Brady, you should have drafted him.

Running backs

Start him: Steve Slaton, Texans

This might seem like an obvious selection, since Slaton was one of the top dozen backs taken off the board in most drafts. But after gaining just 51 yards on 26 carries and fumbling three times in the first two games, many of Slaton’s fantasy owners are in a state of panic.

Not to worry people. Even though this week’s opponent, the Cardinals, have been stingy against the run so far, Slaton is too good to keep averaging less than two yards per carry. With a home-run hitter like him, all it takes is one play. If someone is willing to trade Slaton when his value is at its lowest, you should make it happen.

Sit him: Willie Parker, Steelers

I’m not panicking about Parker, at least not completely. Yes, I’m worried about the fact that the Steelers have seemed to pick up right where they left off last season with their inability to run the ball. But I’m more worried about this week’s opponent – the suddenly scrappy Bengals, who are 11th in the league against the run. Riverfront/Paul Brown/Skyline Chili Stadium is going to be fired up for this one.

Pick him up: Tashard Choice, Cowboys

With Marion Barber very iffy for this week’s game with a quad injury, Choice becomes a good, um, choice to put up some numbers in his absence. He’s owned in about five percent of FOXSports.com leagues, but he’s going to start getting claimed in a lot of leagues, so don’t waste time if you want him.

Warning: Felix Jones wasn’t around last year when Choice carried the load (488 total yards, two TDs) during the final four games, so the workload is likely to be somewhere in the neighborhood of a 50-50 split. However, Choice can still be a nice RB3 or flex play.

Receivers (WR/TE)

Start him: Jerricho Cotchery, Jets

J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS! Rookie QB Mark Sanchez (“The Sanchise”) gets to pick apart the league-worst Titans’ pass defense this week as he takes another step toward an undefeated season, the league MVP award, and a catfight for his affections between Megan Fox and Scarlett Johansson.
OK, I know. Everyone needs to calm down about the Jets, and about Sanchez, and probably about the Titans’ passing D as well. It’s only been two games, after all. With that said, Cotchery has 10 catches for 177 yards in his first two games, and should see the ball plenty this week. He’s no superstar, but he gets enough receptions to help you, especially in points-per-reception (PPR) leagues.

Sit him: Brandon Marshall, Broncos

Are you still holding out hope for this guy? Move on, at least for now. Marshall has only seven catches for 61 yards so far, and he spent a large portion of last week’s game on the bench. Keep him out of your lineup until the Broncos make it clear they’re interested in his services again.

Pick him up: Brent Celek, Eagles

Did you know that Celek has 14 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown already? Or that he’s been targeted 18 times, which ranks 13th in the NFL, and second among tight ends behind only Kellen Winslow? Or, furthermore, that he’s owned in just 19 percent of FOXSports.com leagues? Pick him up already, will ya?

Also: I’m not seeing a good team defense matchup other than obvious candidates like Philly (vs. KC) and Baltimore (vs. Cleveland). Maybe Denver on the road in Oakland … Players whose injury status you’ll need to watch as the weekend approaches: LaDainian Tomlinson, Brian Westbrook, Antonio Bryant, Mike Bell, DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker … QBs Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck are both expected to miss Week 3 with fractured ribs … You already know you’re supposed to start Bills RB Fred Jackson against the Saints, but you might keep going beyond this week. Even though Marshawn Lynch is scheduled to return from his suspension in Week 4, Bills’ offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said, “No, I don’t think so” when asked if Jackson could still be called a backup.

Thanks for reading, and once again, make sure to watch this week’s edition of the Wide Write video blog by clicking here. Share it with your friends, post it on your Facebook page – really, I’d like to be just about everywhere if it’s OK with you.

John Halpin writes Wide Write and hosts an accompanying video blog every week throughout the NFL season. He also writes fantasy columns and four days a week at FOXSports.com/fantasy.

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