Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 3

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Snapdraft is a weekly game in which you select a team that fits under a $27 million salary cap. There’s a wide variety of league sizes, and while each league costs at least $1, there are cash prizes as well. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups and the salaries and put together a winning combination. Since there’s a salary cap, you can’t just stack your team with a bunch of studs, so finding some bargains will be key. Here’s the Week 3 squad.


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Philip Rivers
, Chargers, $5,750,000, vs. Chiefs
Look for Philip Rivers to notch his third consecutive 300+ yard effort against a hapless Chiefs team. Matthew Stafford and the Lions went off for 48 points last week, and the Chargers should be able to at least come close to that effort. Last week the Patriots shut down Antonio Gates, so look for Rivers to get him involved early and often. While some other QBs have put up better numbers early on this season, this matchup is too enticing to pass up.

Other value picks

Kevin Kolb, Cardinals, $3,410,000, at Seahawks – Kolb has an excellent matchup here, and he should be able to hook up with Larry Fitzgerald for at least a couple of huge plays.

Matt Hasselbeck
, Titans, $2,980,000, vs. Broncos – Even against a normally stout Baltimore defense, Hasselbeck went off for 358 yards in a surprise win last week. Look for him to keep things rolling against a much worse Denver D.

Running back

Michael Turner
, Falcons, $4,140,000, at Buccaneers
The Falcons running back is off to a nice start this season with two 100+ yard games while averaging 6.9 yards per carry. While he won’t keep up that YPC pace, Turner should have another nice day against the Bucs. Adrian Peterson just went off for 120 yards and two scores, so Turner should have similar success. The Falcons have a much better passing game than the Vikings, so that will keep Tampa’s defense honest and open up more holes.

Beanie Wells
, Cardinals, $2,980,000, at Seahawks
In his first season without Tim Hightower poaching carries, Beanie Wells is off to a nice start. He’s rushed for more than 90 yards in both games so far and has scored a TD in each as well. While Carolina and Washington didn’t pose major tests, the Seahawks may be even worse. Especially if Kevin Kolb can get the Cardinals out to an early lead, look for Arizona to lean on Beanie to run down some clock and get plenty of carries. Especially at this price, Beanie could be a steal.

Other value picks

Ben Tate, Texans, $3,860,000, at Saints – With Arian Foster still hobbled with a hamstring injury, Ben Tate will be the lead back. Even Derrick Ward is banged up, so Tate will get all the carries he can handle against the Saints.

Willis McGahee, Broncos, $2,000,000, at Titans – This is one where you swing for the fences. Even if Knowshon Moreno returns this week, it looks like McGehee will be the lead back as he’s the hot hand. There’s a lot of risk here, but at this salary, if McGehee produces like last week, the savings could make this a home run pick.

Wide receiver

Kenny Britt
, Titans, $3,380,000, vs. Broncos
You might as well use Kenny Britt now while you can, because his salary is sure to skyrocket very soon. While it’s only been two weeks, it looks like Britt is poised for a breakout season. He has 14 catches, 271 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games. There aren’t many other receiving options for Matt Hasselbeck to go to either, so the targets shouldn’t dissipate. Even if Champ Bailey plays Sunday, he won’t be at full strength, which should be more than enough to allow for another monster game from Britt.

Robert Meachem
, Saints, $2,030,000, vs. Texans
This is the second straight week we’re going with Meachem, as he looks to be a steal yet again. While he only notched 10 yards last week, he was targeted often, and did score a touchdown. Drew Brees will continue to look for him with Marques Colston still out, and the numbers should increase. The Texans have a much-improved defense, but it won’t be enough to contain the Saints. Look for this one to turn into a shoot-out, with Meachem being one of the beneficiaries. It’s hard to pass him up at such a low salary.

Other value picks

Steve Smith, Panthers, $3,570,000, vs. Jaguars – No one saw this coming from Cam Newton. He’s been on fire with 400+ yard efforts in both games, and Steve Smith has been his No. 1 target. There’s no reason to think that will change here.

A.J. Green
, Bengals, $2,870,000, vs. 49ers – Taking any Bengal has some risk involved, but Green is clearly Andy Dalton’s No. 1 target, and even though he’s a rookie, he’s not playing like one. If the Bengals have a shot against the 49ers, Green needs to have a big day.

Tight end

Rob Gronkowski
, Patriots, $2,000,000, at Bills
This one seems like a no-brainer. Gronkowski has been a beast in the early going this season, with 86 yards receiving in both games and three touchdowns. Now, fellow tight end Aaron Hernandez is hurt, so Gronkowski should see even more targets. He’s seemingly Brady’s No. 1 option in the red zone as it is, but with more targets he’s a good bet for 100+ yards as well. Buffalo’s offense has been impressive so far, and the Pats’ defense has been allowing plenty of points to be put up on the board so this could be another shootout.

Other value picks

Tony Gonzalez
, Falcons, $1,960,000, at Buccaneers – Gonzalez erupted against the Eagles last week for seven receptions, 83 yards and two touchdowns. He also tallied 72 yards in the opener. Matt Ryan is clearly still targeting the ageless wonder, so maybe you should be too.

Greg Olsen
, Panthers, $1,320,000, vs. Jaguars – Olsen was held to just one catch last week, but he tallied four catches for 78 yards in the opener. This is one of those high risk/high reward picks.

Team defense/special teams

San Francisco 49ers, $1,100,000, at Bengals
The Bengals offense has shown some signs of competency, but this is still the Bengals offense. Look for San Francisco to do enough on defense to force Alex Smith into a couple of turnovers in what should be a low-scoring affair. On special teams, Ted Ginn Jr. is always a threat to break one for a score. It’s not something you can rely on, but it’s something to take into account at least. When trying to save money for a nice flex option, this is a good place to skimp a little and take a bargain.

Other value picks

Arizona Cardinals, $1,380,000, at Seahawks – You could take the team that played Seattle every week, and it wouldn’t be a bad strategy.

Carolina Panthers, $1,300,000, vs. Jaguars – Rookie QB Blaine Gabbert will be getting his first career start against the Panthers this week. That’s reason alone to think about going with Carolina.


Connor Barth
, Buccaneers, $2,030,000, vs. Falcons
And here’s another spot to save some money. The Bucs should do enough on offense to at least get themselves into scoring range. Barth hasn’t attempted any field goals in the 40+ yard range yet this season, but the hope here is that he can nail a few 30-yarders for a nice day. The kicker position can be such a crap shoot, it makes little sense to go with a high-priced guy here.

Other value picks

Olindo Mare, Panthers, $2,160,000, vs. Jaguars – Cam Newton has the offense clicking, and that likely won’t change this week against the Jags. Look for Mare to put some points on the board.

Neil Rackers
, Texans, $2,460,000, at Saints – Like I said earlier, this one is likely to be a shootout, so Rackers should put plenty of points on the board.

Flex (RB/WR)

Dez Bryant
, Cowboys, $3,470,000, vs. Redskins
This is a pick you have to keep an eye on because of injury concerns. Bryant missed last week’s game due to a thigh bruise and his status for this week is still in question. However, there was a shot he was going to play last week, and now with Miles Austin out as well, there is plenty of incentive for Bryant to get back on the field. Bryant looked like a star early against the Jets in the opener before suffering his injury and racked up three receptions for 71 yards and a TD. If he plays, he will clearly be Tony Romo’s top target and should have a huge day.

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