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NFL Fantasy Football, Week 3 Preview: What to watch for this weekend

Rundown of what to watch for this weekend including the return of Le'Veon Bell and the professional debut of Todd Gurley. Plus, long shot picks if you're desperate for help this weekend.

Bell is back to help your struggling team
Bell is back to help your struggling team
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Week 3 delivers to our door some early divisional games like Bills / Dolphins that could be fun to watch. You could watch the Raiders play the Browns and shake your head as you realize that one of those teams will have two wins at the end of the day. Below are some of the fantasy storylines I'm keeping an eye on.

Game of the week: Pittsburgh vs. St. Louis - This marks the return of Le'Veon Bell. I hope you all enjoyed the Deangelo Williams rental, but now it's time to get back to watching arguably the best back in the league. It will be interesting to see how quickly Bell integrates back into this offense against the occasionally salty Rams defense. Will Big Ben continue to put up numbers or will the offense shift a bit back toward the running game? If you drafted him, you're no doubt excited to get him back. Did anyone survive the first 2 weeks without Bell? On the other side of the ball, the story might be the first game action for Todd Gurley. Both Tre Mason and Benny Cunningham will likely handle carries but this is clearly Gurley's job to win. I managed to get one share of Gurley this year and I'm personally hoping for an early ascension as I could definitely use him.


Jordan Matthews on Revis Island - The Jets corners are fantastic and it's always interesting to see how a new #1 WR handles great cornerback play. Even great receivers like AJ Green have issues with certain corners, so we'll see what Matthews can do against Revis and company and what looks like a scary Jets defense.  Matthews has been targeted 22 times in two games but will the conservative Bradford be able to push anything downfield?

Dion Lewis vs. Jacksonville - Let's shine a spotlight on one of my early season favorites. Lewis leads all running back in targets with 14 and has been quite effective with those chances. He looked great in last week's game and will continue to produce if he can eliminate those fumbles that keep creeping up.

Tyrod Taylor vs. Miami - Fantasy football is about numbers, not how pretty they are when they're produced. Taylor was all over the place last week against the Patriots, but he managed to put up a respectable line. Miami's defense is pretty solid and the Bills likely won't be blown out like last week so let's see what he can do in what should be a competitive game.

4 Defenses to Use - Most of the obvious plays on defense are playing bad offenses, but if you're in a pinch, feel comfortable rolling out either side of that Buffalo Bills / Miami Dolphins game. If the Jets defense is still available in your league, I'd consider grabbing them and this week's game against Philadelphia should be a good one. If you needed to gamble this week on someone, go with the Vikings - they're off to a slow start as a fantasy defense but the Chargers offense has not clicked with Gates out of the lineup.

4 Defenses to Abuse - Start all of your Browns (home against Oakland), Seahawks (home against Bears), Panthers (home against New Orleans), and Texans (home against Bucs).

Shotgun Longshot - Blake Bortles - If you're looking to stream QB options while Romo heals on the IR, you'll be trying to play matchups at the bottom of the barrel. Bortles put up decent numbers last week and he'll be playing against the Patriots. Game flow could force the Jaguars into a shootout so volume will likely be there.

Toss Sweep Sleeper - Duke Johnson Jr. - The Cleveland Browns running back is currently in a timeshare with Isaiah Crowell, but the rookie did get 12 carries last week and the Browns are going against the lowly Raiders this week. Similar volume against this defense could yield a worthy day if you're in a pinch.

Fly Route Flier - Doug Baldwin - Playing Chicago at home, Baldwin is still under 50% ownership and is still the #1 receiver on this team. The volume isn't as bad as you might think and he's a great option if you're still recovering from the Dez Bryant injury.

What are you looking forward to the most this weekend? Anyone counting on Gurley to make an impact sooner rather than later?