In the fantasy football universe, week three is do or die.
That stud you drafted with your first pick has turned into a dud while some guy you never heard of has been putting up huge numbers. If you don't make adjustments now, your season could be over before it starts. Lil Wayne knows this. So do Uncle Luke and MTV's Liz Hernandez. They've been busy all week tweaking their rosters, shedding players who look like dead weight and picking up ones they hope will be free-agent steals.
But for others, it's way too early to hit the panic button. They know that the season is a marathon, not a sprint, and that one or two hot weeks does not a fantasy stud make. That's why Yung Joc and Tyrese — the only two undefeated owners in the league — are sitting tight. Method Man, Paul Wall and Cool & Dre are laying low as well, knowing that sometimes patience pays in the fantasy race (see "Kickoff Time! Check Out Our Fantasy Football League, With Lil Wayne, Paul Wall, Method Man").
So whose gamble will pay off? Who's a real contender, and who might as well pack it in now? Here's how this week's matchups break down (and don't forget to check back on Tuesday, after the dust has settled from all of this weekend's games, to check out the winners, losers and latest standings):
|Liz Hernandez (1-1) vs. Yung Joc (2-0)|
|Michael Vick, Atlanta||QB||Eli Manning, New York|
|Steven Jackson, St. Louis||RB||Brian Westbrook, Philadelphia|
|Rudi Johnson, Cincinnati||RB||Willis McGahee, Buffalo|
|Javon Walker, Denver||WR||Anquan Boldin, Arizona|
|Donte Stallworth, Philadelphia||WR||Plaxico Burress, New York|
|Chris Cooley, Washington||TE||Alge Crumpler, Atlanta|
|Buffalo Bills||D/ST||Seattle Seahawks|
|John Kasay, Carolina||K||Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis|
Yung Joc's been a monster through the first two weeks of the season, racking up two straight triple-digit performances. Liz has battled tough to a 1-1 record so far, but with her acquisition this week of Michael Vick, the ESPN fantasy gurus are giving her the edge. Yung Joc counters with guys named Anquan, Plaxico and Alge — laugh if you want, but they've made Joc the MTV News Fantasy Football League top dog so far.
|Lil Wayne (1-1) vs. Method Man (0-2)|
|Daunte Culpepper, Miami||QB||Carson Palmer, Cincinnati|
|Reggie Bush, New Orleans||RB||Shaun Alexander, Seattle|
|Laurence Maroney, New England||RB||Willie Parker, Pittsburgh|
|Marvin Harrison, Indianapolis||WR||Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis|
|Marques Colston, New Orleans||WR||Chris Chambers, Miami|
|Vernon Davis, San Francisco||TE||Todd Heap, Baltimore|
|Baltimore Ravens||D/ST||New York Giants|
|John Carney, New Orleans||K||Jay Feely, New York|
With Bengals QB Carson Palmer, Super Bowl-winning RB Willie Parker and 2005 NFL MVP Shaun Alexander on his roster, it's hard to believe that Meth hasn't notched a win yet. His studs have underperformed so far, but the drought has to end soon. He'll need it this week if he hopes to topple Lil Wayne, who's put up big numbers the past two weeks, chiefly on the strength of the Baltimore defense (and high-scoring fantasy defenses are mighty hard to come by). Wayne also went shopping this week, picking up free agents Rex Grossman, Laurence Maroney, John Carney and the Falcons defense. Will it make him even stronger?
|Paul Wall (0-2) vs. Tyrese "Black Ty" Gibson (2-0)|
|Tom Brady, New England||QB||Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia|
|Corey Dillon, New England||RB||Tiki Barber, New York|
|Fred Taylor, Jacksonville||RB||Carnell Williams, Tampa Bay|
|Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona||WR||Torry Holt, St. Louis|
|Roy Williams, Detroit||WR||Hines Ward, Pittsburgh|
|Ben Troupe, Tennessee||TE||L.J. Smith, Philadelphia|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||D/ST||New England Patriots|
|Shayne Graham, Cincinnati||K||Jason Elam, Denver|
Sure, 2-0 going up against 0-2 looks like an ass-whupping in the making, but these teams are surprisingly well-matched. Paul's hoping for big things as Patriots Tom Brady and Corey Dillon head to Denver, while Ty's banking on Donovan McNabb to light up the 49ers. The ESPN gurus give a slight edge to Tyrese, but Paul's matchups this week (he's got players facing the suspect Denver, Green Bay and Miami defenses) might be the key.
|Cool & Dre (1-1) vs. Uncle Luke (1-1)|
|Peyton Manning, Indianapolis||QB||Byron Leftwich, Jacksonville|
|Ronnie Brown, Miami||RB||Edgerrin James, Arizona|
|Ahman Green, Green Bay||RB||Warrick Dunn, Atlanta|
|Steve Smith, Carolina||WR||Chad Johnson, Cincinnati|
|Donald Driver, Green Bay||WR||Antonio Bryant, San Francisco|
|Jeremy Shockey, New York||TE||Desmond Clark, Chicago|
|Carolina Panthers||D/ST||Chicago Bears|
|David Akers, Philadelphia||K||Ryan Longwell, Minnesota|
This could be the most intriguing matchup of the week, as both teams are within reach of the top of the division. Cool & Dre are led by Peyton Manning, while Luke's biggest scoring threat so far has been the Bears defense (wait, what did we just say about defenses not putting up points?). Luke was busy in the front office this week, beefing up his receiving corps with Laveranues Coles, Antonio Bryant, Desmond Clark and Owen Daniels. Most of them are on the bench this week, but it looks like Luke is in it for the long haul.
|Standings: Gridiron Gangstas|
|Team||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
|Standings: Crunchtime Zone Firing Squad|
|Team||Wins||Losses||Points For||Points Against|
|Tyrese "Black Ty" Gibson||2||0||153||146|
|Cool & Dre||1||1||158||138|