Sneaky Starts for Thursday Night Football (Week 3)

By John Paulsen (Senior Editor), last update Sep 20, 2012

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, finished as runner-up in 2011 and 4th in both 2012 and 2015 for a total of five Top 5 seasons in the last six years. Cumulatively, John was the most accurate expert from 2010-15 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

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A. BrownThere is some big injury news for Thursday night's game between the Giants and the Panthers. The G-Men have ruled both Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks OUT, which will create opportunities for other players, namely Andre Brown and David Wilson at RB and Ramses Barden and Rueben Randle at WR. (Domenik Hixon is also out.) With Bradshaw knocked out of Week 2, the Giants turned the running game over to Brown, who carried the ball 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also added two catches for 19 yards. Meanwhile, Wilson carried the ball just three times for 6 yards but was targeted twice in the passing game. At this point, Brown certainly seems to be the better start since Wilson has set up camp in Tom Coughlin's doghouse.

At WR, Barden played 47 snaps compared to Randle's three, so Barden looks like he's ahead of the rookie at this point in the season. With both Nicks and Hixon out, Barden becomes a sneaky start. Also look for Martellus Bennett to get a few extra targets at TE. He is probably a top 10 play this week.

For the PanthersSteve Smith is probable and fully expected to play. Jonathan Stewart looks very iffy and if he is out, look for DeAngelo Williams to play a lot better in a featured role than he did against the Buccaneers in Week 1. Consider him a low-end RB2 if Stewart sits. 

WR Brandon LaFell is another sneaky start Thursday Night accross from #89. LaFell is a guy we were high on in the preseason, and he continues to move up the rankings, posting at least 11 standard fantasy points in each of his first two games (a combined 9-155-1 on 13 targets). This week he gets a Giants secondary that was toasted last week by both Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Consider LaFell a solid WR3 with nice upside in this matchup.

TE Greg Olsen is a guy we are cooling on, as LaFell's improvement appears to be coming at his expense. Olsen saw only three targets in a great matchup with the Saints in Week 2.

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