The NFC East has been a roller coaster on the field through three weeks of the season. The ride has been just as bumpy from a fantasy perspective as well.
However, if you own NFC East players, let this guide serve as your cheat sheet for the upcoming week!
Giants at Bills
Eli Manning Sit
The Giants’ offensive line has continued to struggle, and I expect a rough day from Manning against the Bills – playing without Victor Cruz.
Odell Beckham Jr. Start
Truth is, if you own OBJ he is cracking your starting lineup nearly every week. He also has a favorable matchup against the Bills, who are allowing the third-most fantasy points to wide receivers.
Rueben Randle Sit
Despite a 17 point performance (via NFL.com scoring) against the Redskins, I do not expect Rueben Randle to be a big factor in this game. Victor Cruz will not play, meaning that Randle will see plenty of snaps.
However, the Bills defense is coming off a lights-out performance in Miami and are now returning home. I expect a slow day from the Giants’ offense as a whole, putting Randle on most fantasy benches.
Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams Sit
The Bills have the best rush defense in the NFL, and the Giants’ running back situation between Jennings and Williams is very unclear. Both have been equally ineffective with a similar amount of touches.
Neither should come close to starting on your team this week.
Shane Vereen Start
Call me crazy, but I think this is finally the game where Vereen owners (like myself) will get something out of the former Patriots star. The Giants have not really utilized his skill set effectively, running Vereen up the middle on numerous occasions.
If they want to keep Eli Manning upright against Rex Ryan, they will get the ball out of his hands quickly. This is where Vereen can serve nicely as a check down option.
Hopefully this leads to his first touchdown of the 2015 season. If not, I would strongly consider moving on from Vereen and exploring other options.
The Giants defense has scored just 23 total points this season. They will likely be on the field a lot against Buffalo if the offense, without Cruz, struggles. Do not start the New York defense this week.
Cowboys at Saints
Running Backs – Start Joseph Randle, Sit The Rest
Grouping the Dallas backs together amidst the uncertainty of who may take a “lead role” this week. The team has given every back a chance to run with the first team this week in practice.
The emphasis will clearly be on finding a sustained running game for four quarters after the team abandoned the run in the loss to Atlanta.
I believe Joseph Randle gives the Cowboys the best shot at this, after going off for three first-half touchdowns last week.
Darren McFadden, Lance Dunbar and possibly even Christine Michael will see the field, but their status is much too uncertain to justify a starting spot.
Terrance Williams Start
William’s inconsistency is a concern for the Cowboys and fantasy owners alike, and he is coming off a game where he failed to record a reception.
Brandon Weeden will need Williams to step up and be a playmaker for this offense to succeed. He may get his chance against the Saints, who lead the league in big plays allowed.
Cole Beasley Sit
Beasley has yet to find the end zone this season, which is a concern for fantasy owners. Unless you play in a high PPR league, his value is greatly diminished.
New Orleans does not present a strong secondary, so it is doubtful Beasley will become a go-to guy with a favorable matchup.
Jason Witten Start
The Saints allowed two touchdowns to Greg Olsen last week, and I have a feeling that Witten is due for a break-out game. It may be because of the last time he played on Sunday Night Football, catching the game-winning touchdown from Tony Romo against the Giants.
It also may be because he can serve as a reliable target for Brandon Weeden, as he continues to gain confidence. He will need this reliability playing on the road in the noisy Superdome.
While I expect a bounce back performance from the defense, it is never safe to trust a team going up against the Saints in primetime. If they are your only option, roll with them, but definitely look elsewhere for your week 4 defensive team.
Eagles at Redskins
Sam Bradford Sit
Bradford has been a fantasy dud this season, and I expect this trend to continue against a Washington defense with the third-worst rushing defense in the league. This means we will see a lot more of Ryan Matthews, Darren Sproles and possibly DeMarco Murray.
Ryan Mathews Start
Speaking of Mathews, he is coming off of a 16.80 point performance against the Jets. With Chip Kelly getting a win under his belt, expect him to stick with what has now proven to work against a depleted Washington defense.
This means a heavy dose of Mathews, who should be in your starting lineup.
DeMarco Murray Sit
It is looking like Murray will be a game-time decision for Sunday. Even if he plays, his workload will be limited and the Eagles have plenty of depth at the position (see above).
A banged up DeMarco is not worthy of a starting spot this week.
Jordan Matthews Start
DeAngelo Hall will not play for the already shaky Redskins secondary, which is good news for the Eagles top target. The passing game has not been as spread out as we expected, with Matthews clearly leading the way in receptions.
Nelson Agholor Start
If there is a game to pick another Eagles’ receiver to break out, it would be this one for the rookie Agholor. Agholor has been a disappointment so far, but I expect a coming out party of sorts from him on the road in Washington.
This move is more based on what I predicted previously for the Philly offense, and not the actual defensive performance the Eagles may have on Sunday. While I expect the defense to play pretty well, I expect the offense to play even better – firing on all cylinders and scoring very quickly.
This means the defense will be on the field a lot regardless of the situation, which is never good from a fantasy perspective.
Pierre Garcon Start
Garcon is coming off of a solid fantasy output against the Giants, and will be Kirk Cousins’ top target in the absence of DeSean Jackson. The Redskins will likely be trailing and forced to throw the ball a lot in the game, which is great news for Garcon owners.
Alfred Morris Sit
Conversely, the Redskins will likely have to abandon the running game on Sunday. This does not bode well for Morris, who has already lost a lot of carries – and fantasy value – to Matt Jones.
Don’t do it. Just don’t.
Need more lineup tips? Ask away with a comment below, or tweet me @ShoreSportsNJ!