Football

Ladd Biro | Expect big game from Falcons' Ryan

Starters and benchwarmers

Wondering whether to start Matt Schaub and Chris Johnson, or bench Ryan Fitzpatrick and Dwayne Jarrett? The network bozos specialize in that kind of advice. If you’re looking for real help with your starting lineup conundrums, read on.

Here are my picks to roll, and get rolled, in Week 3 of the 2010 season.

Watch ‘em roll
Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons at Saints.

After a rough opener, Ryan got back on track with an outstanding effort against the Cardinals last Sunday. He’ll need to stay sharp to keep pace with the Saints, especially if Michael Turner isn’t back to full strength.

Clinton Portis, RB, Redskins at Rams.

By releasing Larry Johnson, Washington has confirmed that Portis will remain the unchallenged workhorse in their offense. Though he’s been lacking in the yardage department, the veteran managed to find the end zone twice last week. Look for even smoother sailing against a Rams defense that is surrendering 4.7 yards-per-carry to date.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets at Dolphins.

LaDainian Tomlinson averaged seven yards per rush in Week 2, but Greene was given more carries. More importantly, the youngster held onto the ball. The two backs will continue to share touches, but the Jets will keep increasing Greene’s workload to keep LT fresh for the whole season. Greene is a good start against the Dolphins, who were torched by Adrian Peterson last week.

Dez Bryant, WR, Cowboys at Texans.

The rookie was targeted a dozen times in the opener, but only twice last week, though he still managed 52 yards, plus the punt-return TD. Now, Tony Romo Co. face a Houston secondary that’s given up huge passing yards to the Colts and Redskins. We know Dallas can’t run, and Jason Witten may not be 100 percent after returning from a “minor” concussion. Despite his sore ribs, Bryant should be very busy in this Texas shootout.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles at Jaguars.

Suddenly, Michael Vick is all the rage, and for good reason. Going up against a Jacksonville defense that is bombarded regularly, Maclin is a good bet to notch his third TD in as many weeks.

More thumbs up (excluding the no-brainers): QBs Vick, Donovan McNabb, Alex Smith; RBs Jahvid Best, Pierre Thomas, Darren McFadden, Mike Tolbert, Matt Forte, Correll Buckhalter, Joseph Addai, Ahmad Bradshaw; WRs Kevin Walter, Donald Driver, Michael Crabtree, Santana Moss, Mike Sims-Walker, Malcom Floyd, Mark Clayton, Jerricho Cotchery.

Roll ‘em back Brett Favre, QB, Vikings vs. Lions.

How can you sit Favre against Detroit, of all teams? Start with his current 1:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Then add in the deficiencies in his receiving corps, and the fact that Minnesota can win on the strength of Adrian Peterson’s running alone. Favre shouldn’t be trusted right now.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Chiefs vs. 49ers.

Thomas Jones has turned out to be a bigger threat to Charles’ production than expected, and he remains the starter. Charles will get his carries, but the Niners are playing solid run defense. He’ll have to produce more as a receiver in order to deliver decent fantasy returns this week.

Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers at Bears.

He didn’t do enough in his starting debut to convince anyone that he can fill Ryan Grant’s cleats. Even John Kuhn out-rushed him, though Jackson notched the short TD plunge. Look for more sharing, and fewer opportunities, against a solid Chicago run defense.

Steve Smith, WR, Giants vs. Titans.

One of last season’s shooting stars has gotten off to a rough start in 2010, with just nine catches for 78 yards and no TDs to date. Tennessee’s secondary has played well thus far, so look for more lackluster production from the forgotten man in the Giants’ receiving corps.

Hines Ward, WR, Steelers at Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay’s secondary has been solid against mediocre passing attacks thus far this season. With Charlie Batch at the controls, Pittsburgh presents yet another mediocre challenge. Ward was held to a single 9-yard reception last week. It may not get much better until Big Ben returns.

More thumbs down: QBs Carson Palmer, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning, Kyle Orton; RBs Brandon Jacobs, Ryan Mathews, Cadillac Williams, CJ Spiller, Jonathan Stewart, Cowboys RBs, Browns RBs; WRs Steve Smith (CAR), Dwayne Bowe, Percy Harvin, Lee Evans, Terrell Owens, Jabar Gaffney, Braylon Edwards, Steve Breaston, Mike Wallace.

Taking a flier BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots vs. Bills.

I wouldn’t rush out to grab him, but don’t be surprised if Green-Ellis emerges as the lead back in New England’s no-longer-crowded RB stable this week. Now that Laurence Maroney has been shipped to Denver, and Kevin Faulk (knee) is on injured reserve, only the ancient Fred Taylor and Sammy Morris (one carry in 2010) remain. I’m just saying

DON’T BE THE BONEHEAD WHOsits Tony Romo against the Texans. While he’s piled up the yards, Romo has posted only two TDs against three INTs in his first two outings of 2010; and we can’t even blame Jessica Simpson. Meanwhile, Dallas can’t run to save their lives. Romo will be forced to air it out to keep pace with Houston’s offensive firepower, and the Texans’ secondary won’t offer much resistance. Though the Cowboys could easily head into their bye winless, Romo will take good care of his fantasy owners.

Ladd Biro is a syndicated fantasy football columnist and host of Sporting News Radio’s weekly Fantasy Files show (Saturdays, 9-10 am ET). Follow his daily fantasy advice at the Fantasy Fools blog (fantasy-fools.blogspot.com) and via Twitter (@ladd_biro).

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