In our week 3 fantasy football column we'll look into new injury protocols and how a player status will greatly affect how you set your lineup. We'll also explore the most favorable and unfavorable matchups in week 3 and provide our sleepers to give your team the advantage going into the weekend.

12:33pm EST | Sep 19
Injury Considerations

In the 2013-2014 season, the NFL has brought in independent medical teams to perform concussion tests on players. A doctor watches the game from the booth and radios down to a team on the sideline when they believe a player may be concussed. This is all due to the recent lawsuit settlement related to long-term effects of concussions on retired athletes. 

This greatly affects your fantasy teams as the player and the team doctors are not the ones making the decision to return to the game. An independent team that is looking out for both the player’s safety and the NFL from future lawsuits will be much more hesitant to allow a player to return to the game if there is even the slightest hint of a concussion. 

Due to this, expect to see players leave games and not return on a much more frequent basis. We saw Eddie Lacy leave the Green Bay vs. Washington game after only his first carry after a helmet-to-helmet tackle. It was tough for fantasy owners, but a precaution that could keep Lacy in your lineup for many more years. 

This type of thinking is not specific to concussion related injuries either. We see many players return to action with lingering muscle issues like strained hamstrings, quadriceps, biceps and more. Rather than give them the full amount of time to heal, they come back with those pesky red letters ‘P’ and ‘Q’ besides their name, meaning they are a risk to start. 

You start them anyway. The player goes through warm-ups, starts the game and feels a twinge. He’s pulled from the rest of the game, leaving you with a lot fewer points than you were hoping for. Of course, it is in your best interest for your players to be healthy so they can perform at the highest level for as long as possible. Do your research on the type of injury the player is bothered by and how it directly affects the position they play before taking the risk to start them. A quarterback with a bruised non-throwing hand may be easier to start than a running back with a strained hamstring.  

Here are some players with injury concerns for week 3 (names are linked to player pages for latest updates):

12:27pm EST | Sep 19
Favorable Week 3 Matchups

Jamaal Charles & Dwayne Bowe @ Philadelphia Eagles

Charles has put in two straight weeks of 10+ fantasy points and is looking like a new man alongside Alex Smith. In week 2 alone, Smith targeted Charles 10 times making 8 catches with one receiving touchdown. Bowe also found the endzone against Dallas who has a much stronger defense than the Eagles who let Phillip Rivers throw for 419 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. While Chip Kelly has expressed his frustration with the defense, don’t expect him to have fixed it in 5 days. 

Marshawn Lynch VS Jacksonville Jaguars

Favorable might not be the best word to describe this matchup. We saw what Marshawn Lynch did to the 49ers. We know what he will do to the Jags. Expect this game to be a blowout for Seattle and Lynch to set the tone early. It should also be noted the Seattle calls runs plays 67% of the time when they are in the red-zone and they will get to the red-zone a lot in week 3. 

San Francisco 49ers VS Indianapolis Colts

The 49ers got embarrassed in week 2 and they will want to bounce back against the Colts, who currently sit at 1-1 after scraping by a win in week 1 against Oakland and losing a nail-biter against Miami in week 2. The 49ers have plenty of attacking options with Kaepernick’s arm/legs, the ageless Frank Gore and the resurgent Anquan Boldin. Not to mention, Jim Harbaugh knows Andrew Luck well from his Stanford days, so the defense will be better equipped to handle the Colts, even with the recent shock trade bringing Trent Richardson to Indy. 

12:25pm EST | Sep 19
Unfavorable Week 3 Matchups 

Daryl Richardson @ Dallas Cowboys

Alex Smith was the leading rusher in week 2 against the Cowboys for 52 yards. David Wilson was sent packing by the Cowboys D in week 1. Richardson will be in tough against Dallas in week 3 as Monte Kiffin is proving tough to run on. The secondary still has some kinks to work out, but stopping the run of Richardson shouldn’t be a problem in week 3. 

Cleveland Browns @ Minnesota Vikings

Richardson traded, Weeden hurt. Enough said. 

Julian Edelman @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Amendola is still out for a few weeks (surprise, surpise) and Gronk doesn’t look quite ready, leaving Edelman as the only veteran option for Brady. He’s been targeted often by Brady due to Thompkins lack of route running abilities, and getting 3 red-zone targets. The issue this week is that Darelle Revis is getting healthier and will be assigned to cover Edelman all game long. 

12:24pm EST | Sep 19
Week 3 Sleepers

DeAndre Hopkins, WR – Houston Texans

He is the first legitimate aerial threat Matt Schaub has that isn’t named Andre Johnson for a long time. With Johnson’s status in doubt due to a concussion, Hopkins will be targeted more often, especially after his performance in week 2 which led the Texans to an overtime victory. 

Tyler Eifert, TE – Cincinnati Bengals

He only has two games under his belt in his NFL career but has pulled in 8 catches for 113 yards through two weeks. The Bengals have Green Bay at home in Cincinnati this week and we know that the Packer’s secondary is susceptible to the throw. A.J. Green will still get his targets but Eifert has proved he can handle whatever Dalton is willing to throw at him.

Brandon Jacobs, RB – New York Giants

David Wilson is in Coughlin’s doghouse and Da’Rell Scott is relatively unproven. The Carolina Panthers are 0-2 but have been relatively good at stopping the run. Jacobs is the goalline option though, so when Eli brings them into the red-zone, expect Jacobs to get a number of chances to break the plane. He’s not going to put up big yardage, but he could be a sneaky flex play in deeper leagues. 

Robert Turbin, RB – Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is going to have a “fairly” easy matchup at home against the worst team in the NFL. Lynch will get his touches early and then most likely clear the way for Turbin in garbage time. Turbin is another sneaky flex play option, especially if you’re limited with the waiver wire.