Predicting studs and duds for NFL Week 3

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr

As NFL Week 3 approaches, there are seven undefeated franchises and seven winless teams heading into their game day matchups.

The Arizona Cardinals are struggling mightily, with six total points scored on the season. Will they figure out what to do to find the end zone this week?

How about those Jacksonville Jaguars sitting atop of the AFC South? Do we dare predict any Tennessee Titans playing against them will deliver a rock star performance come Sunday?

Every week in the NFL delivers some surprising and head-scratching performances, always keeping fans on their toes. Here are some stud and dud predictions for NFL Week 3.

Stud: Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions

The Lions are likely going to have to pass a lot to attempt to keep up with an angry New England Patriots squad that got beat up badly last game in Jacksonville. Fortunately for Stafford, the Patriots defense looked pathetic letting quarterback Blake Bortles pass for 377 yards and four touchdowns in that aforementioned beat down. Stafford, with one of the best arms in the league, is primed to eat in this prime time Sunday Night Football tilt.

Dud: David Johnson, running back, Arizona Cardinals

With quarterback Sam Bradford under center, Johnson’s productivity figures to remain limited. Johnson is an excellent pass-catcher, yet Bradford targeted him only twice in Week 2. If this pattern continues, Johnson’s numbers will keep tanking. This coming week presents a clash with the Chicago Bears, whose run defense has given up the least fantasy points to opposing running backs. Sadly, we can probably expect another abysmal performance by the entire Cardinals offense.

Stud: DeSean Jackson, wide receiver, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Until further notice, Jackson and quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick are the hottest new duo since peanut butter and jelly became famous together. We don’t know exactly what is in the Tampa Bay water, but Jackson is staged to pull off another monster performance in Week 3. The Bucs host a Steelers defense that just gave up six passing touchdowns to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Given that, Jackson stands a huge chance of adding to the three touchdowns and 275 yards he has racked up in just two games.

Dud: Phillip Lindsay, running back, Denver Broncos

The Broncos seem to prefer rookie Lindsay over third-round pick Royce Freeman as displayed by the lopsided timeshare this past Sunday. But, Lindsay could sputter when the Broncos head to play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have one of the most stingy run defenses in the league, giving up only 3.8 yards on average per carry and zero rushing touchdowns on the season. Plus, Freeman is still in the picture and trying to establish a more prominent role.

Stud: Denzel Ward, cornerback, Cleveland Browns

What will happen when rookie cornerback Ward squares off against New York Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold? It should make for an interesting show. Ward has been excellent in coverage thus far, already snagging two interceptions in two games. He also has defended three passes and combined for 12 tackles. The young corner certainly stands to become a thorn in Darnold’s side. After all, Ward has already shined playing against Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees. He should antagonize the Jets in royal form.

Dud: Keenan Allen, wide receiver, Los Angeles Chargers

Allen easily commands No. 1 receiver consideration most weeks. But in Week 3, Allen has a brutal road matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. This defense features cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, who have given up only 37 combined yards through their first two games. This is a stat that should have quarterback Philip Rivers avoiding Allen all game long, not risking turning the ball over in enemy territory.

Stud: Jimmy Garoppolo, quarterback, San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo stunk things up in Week 1, only to turn himself around nicely in his last game. Now, Jimmy G. should be a complete stud when the 49ers head out to play the Chiefs. While the Chiefs are 2-0 and their offense is playing lights out, their defense has given up a ghastly 860 passing yards and six passing touchdowns in two weeks. Garoppolo should feast in what we will call an all-you-can-eat buffet in Week 3. If he does not take advantage, something will have gone sorely wrong.

Dud: A.J. Green, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals 

Green was smoking hot when it came to him finding the end zone, scoring three times in his last game. But the Carolina Panthers stand to slow things down for Green in Week 3. The Panthers have been formidable against opposing receivers and have yielded only one touchdown to the position thus far. Green will get some catches and yards, however expecting multiple scores is a stretch. For what it is worth, the Panthers just held Julio Jones to 64 yards and no touchdowns.

Stud: Danny Trevathan, linebacker, Chicago Bears

Trevathan should be salivating at his upcoming tilt against the pathetic Cardinals offense in Week 3. He will be facing Sam Bradford, who is the only starting quarterback not to have thrown for a touchdown yet. This mind wind up remaining the case again if Trevathan strikes like he did in his last game against the Seattle Seahawks. The 28-year-old linebacker posted two sacks, a forced fumble, and eight combined tackles. He will likely be the guy having the last laugh as the Cards attempt to earn Win No. 1.

Dud: Derek Carr, quarterback, Oakland Raiders

While the Raiders look for their first win of the season, it might not come easily three time zones away against the Miami Dolphins. That defense has looked pretty sharp and has allowed only a 57 percent completion rate. This comes along with Miami giving up only one passing touchdown compared to gathering five picks in two games. Carr and the offense are still working through some issues and the Dolphins stand to make things very challenging in Week 3.

Stud: Jesse James, tight end, Pittsburgh Steelers 

James came to life last week emerging as the top leader in receiving yards (138) on Pittsburgh’s offense. Go figure. In Week 3, James has the chance to pile up the yards once again. He will face a Bucs defense that has given up an average of 105 tight end yards per game. And overall, the Buccaneers defense has surrendered second-most passing yards, priming quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and James for a grand performance.

Dud: Marlon Mack, running back, Indianapolis Colts

We could pencil in all Colts running backs here and point out what a terrible matchup this is facing the Eagles in Week 3. Whether it is Mack, rookie Jordan Wilkins, or Nyheim Hines, we do not like any of these backs against Philly on the road. The Eagles are reeling from a loss and their defense is surely going to try to force quarterback Andrew Luck to take his game through the air. Also keep in mind, the Eagles have allowed opposing running backs only 58.5 rushing yards on average per game at a pace of a mere 2.9 yards per attempt.

Stud: Julio Jones, wide receiver, Atlanta Falcons

Jones has averaged nine targets and 89.2 yards in his 13 games playing against the New Orleans Saints. This is the team Jones’ Falcons host in Week 3. It is also a defense Jones could literally torch as it has already given up 325.5 passing yards on average per game this year. That accompanies five passing touchdowns. We can only hope that quarterback Matt Ryan can fully exploit this matchup and help make Jones look like the rock star he is in this NFC South showdown.

Dud: Odell Beckham Jr., wide receiver, New York Giants

Beckham is coming off of a dud performance, and this might remain the case in Week 3. The Giants have another road game and this time they’ll face the Houston Texans. The Texans are not doing opposing wideouts any favors and have surrendered the fifth-fewest fantasy points, for starters. Plus, quarterback Eli Manning looked horrific against Dallas and he could definitely struggle again facing J.J. Watt and Co. The trickle-down effect might easily impact OBJ as he tries to rebound.

Stud: Taco Charlton, defensive end, Dallas Cowboys

Charlton is coming off an excellent performance when he gathered one sack, two quarterback hits, three tackles and a fumble recovery against that sad, aforementioned Giants offense. In Week 3, Charlton gets to focus his efforts on harassing the heck out of the Seattle Seahawks offense and the very sackable quarterback Russell Wilson. Look for a dominant Dallas pass rush to hose down any fire the Seahawks may even attempt to create.

Dud: Derrick Henry, running back, Tennessee Titans

The Titans backfield is a confusing one. But it did allow Henry to carry the ball 18 times in the last game when he out-touched fellow back, Dion Lewis. With this said, Henry might struggle against a dynamic Jaguars defense that kept the New England running backs well in check in their last game. New England’s three running backs combined for 20 carries, resulting in just 67 rushing yards. This defense is bound to force the Titans to air it out, leaving Henry out in the cold in Week 3.

Stud: Dalvin Cook, running back, Minnesota Vikings

Provided Cook is good to go this Sunday (hamstring), he is on course to put up some major numbers against the Buffalo Bills in Week 3. The Bills are horrendous at defending the run and just let Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon score three times in last Sunday’s game. This tilt heavily favors the Vikings to gain a big lead early on. That means there will be tons of opportunity to earn garbage-time yards and points.

Dud: Davante Adams, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers

When the Packers come to town in D.C., we can expect the Redskins secondary to be all over Adams in Week 3. While questionable on offense, Washington’s defense has been extremely keen in defending the pass. This defense has given up only one wide receiving score and it ranks No. 1 with the least passing yards allowed to date. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers should have his work cut out while Adams attempts to evade double coverage.

Stud: Sony Michel, running back, New England Patriots

Michel made his underwhelming debut in Week 3 when he averaged 3.4 yards per carry on 10 rushes. But, that was against a Jags defense that forced the Patriots to play from behind all game. In Week 3, the Patriots will face the Detroit Lions, when the game plan should go completely differently. The Lions cannot seem to stop a snail in its tracks, let alone a running back. This team has allowed the most rushing yards on average per game (179.5) to date. Michel should light up Ford Field this week.

Dud: Josh Allen, quarterback, Buffalo Bills

We hate to rain on Allen’s parade just as he officially earned the team’s starting role. But a road matchup against the Vikings just spells gloom and doom. Allen will have a tough game ahead playing a Vikings defense ceding just a 74.4 quarterback rating thus far. The Vikings have only let two passing touchdowns through, while racking up three interceptions. Even quarterback Aaron Rodgers showed some vulnerability against the Vikings in his past game. The Vikings defense is going to eat this rookie alive.

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