If one of your normal starters is injured or facing a tough match up, here are some players you might consider starting in their place. While these players may not be every week starters, they are good bets to perform well this week.
Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Buffalo Bills take on the New England Patriots in week three. Fitzpatrick has gotten off to a red hot start to the season, throwing for seven touchdowns and only one interception through the first two games. The Bills have shown confidence in Fitzpatrick, allowing him to use Steve Johnson, David Nelson, and Scott Chandler to get off to a great start to the season. The Bills threw the ball 46 times in week two against the Raiders, and may need to air the ball out again this week to keep up against a seemingly unstoppable New England Patriots offense. As good as the Patriots have looked on offense, their defense (in particular their secondary) has struggled through the first two games of the season. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have to exploit the Patriots secondary if the Bills have any hope of winning a shootout against New England. Fantasy owners should insert Ryan Fitzpatrick into their lineups and can expect 225 passing yards and a couple touchdowns from the Bills starting quarterback.
Kevin Kolb and the Arizona Cardinals travel to Seattle to take on the Seahawks in week three. Kolb has gotten off to an excellent start to the season, throwing for at least 250 yards and two touchdowns in each of the Cardinals' first two games. Kolb should continue his hot start this week against the Seahawks. Another encouraging sign for Kolb and his fantasy owners is that the chemistry between him and Larry Fitzgerald seems to be improving with Fitzgerald catching seven passes for 133 yards and a touchdown in week two. Kolb will continue to put up good fantasy number as long as he relies on Fitzgerald throughout games. Fantasy owners can start Kevin Kolb this week and can expect at least 200 yards and one touchdown from the Cardinals starting quarterback.
Dexter McCluster and the Kansas City Chiefs travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in week three. McCluster was expected to be a niche player for the Chiefs this season, but he will be thrust into an important role in the Chiefs offense following the season ending injury to Jamaal Charles. While McCluster will not be asked to be the only replacement for Charles, he is much more exciting and unpredictable compared to Thomas Jones. Jones will probably handle most of the inside running, while McCluster will run outside and catch the ball out of the backfield. McCluster has a better chance of having a big game this week as the Chiefs will likely be trailing early against the Chargers. The Chiefs will have to pass the ball extensively to keep the game close in San Diego, and since the passing game better suits McCluster, he will probably play a bigger role in the game than Thomas Jones. Fantasy owners can claim McCluster off their waiver wire and can expect 75 total yards and a touchdown from the exciting second year player.
Willis McGahee and the Denver Broncos travel to Tennessee to take on the Titans in week three. McGahee is coming off an impressive game against the Cincinnati Bengals in which he ran for 101 yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. While his yards per carry average was not great, he was able to help the Broncos control the time of possession, and eventually led the Broncos to a victory. McGahee will likely have another opportunity to prove his worth to the Broncos this week, with Knowshon Moreno unlikely to play for the second straight week. Even if Moreno does return, he will likely not be at full strength as he is attempting to return from a hamstring injury. Fantasy owners can start Willis McGahee as a flex play this week and can expect 75 total yards and one touchdown from the Broncos running back.
Daniel Thomas and the Miami Dolphins travel to Cleveland to take on the Browns in week three. Thomas had an impressive NFL debut in week two, rushing for 107 yards on 18 carries, while adding one reception for ten yards after returning from a preseason hamstring injury. Thomas played more snaps, and touched the ball more than Reggie Bush, giving fantasy owners of Thomas hope that he will continue to be the head of the running back committee in Miami. Reggie Bush will still be heavily involved in the Miami offense, but mostly as a receiving option out of the backfield. Thomas should be the Dolphins' early down back, giving him an edge over Bush going forward. Fantasy owners can start Daniel Thomas and can expect 70 yards and a touchdown from the rookie running back in week three.
Robert Meachem and the New Orleans Saints face the Houston Texans at home in week three. Meachem got off to a good start to the season by catching five passes for 70 yards and a touchdown in week one, but followed that up by catching four passes for only ten yards, and one touchdown against the Bears in week two. The good news for Meachem owners is that he is being targeted as much as any other Saints wide receiver, and this will continue as long as Marques Colston and Lance Moore remain out. The Saints and Texans both have high powered offenses and this game should be high scoring, making almost all skill position players in this game good fantasy options. Fantasy owners can expect a game similar to Meachem's week one numbers, with five receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown.
David Nelson and the high flying Buffalo Bills offense will take on the New England Patriots in week three. Nelson is coming off a career best game in which he caught ten passes for 83 yards and one touchdown in a shoot-out win over the Oakland Raiders. The Bills will likely be involved in another high scoring game this week against a Patriots offense that looks unstoppable so far this season. The Bills are going to have to throw the ball to keep up with the Patriots, making Nelson a good candidate for another breakout game. The Patriots have looked shaky in the secondary the first two weeks, allowing big games to both Chad Henne and Phillip Rivers. Fantasy owners who are looking for a good spot start at the wide receiver position this week can pick up David Nelson off their waiver wire and can expect five catches for 70 yards and a touchdown from the Bills slot receiver.