Battle of the Brands superstars kick off Week Three action Thursday night. Cam Newton and Steve Smith have a chance to stake an early lead for Team Under Armour, while Victor Cruz gets things started for Team Nike.
Once again, the sports analytics firm numberFire has been charged with choosing the flex starter for each team. Check out their analysis below, along with the rest of the Week Three lineups. Also included for your enjoyment is numberFire's all-new Player Comparison Widget, which you can use to determine the best player to start on your fantasy team.
Game 1: Team adidas (1-1) vs. Team Under Armour (2-0)
C.J. Spiller cracks the starting lineup after scoring 57 points in the first two games of the season. We're not making the mistake of sitting him again in Week Three. Team adidas could use a breakout performance from one of its speedy wide receivers.
- QB: Robert Griffin III (vs. CIN)
- WR: Kendall Wright (vs. DET)
- WR: Titus Young (@ TEN)
- RB: DeMarco Murray (vs. TB)
- RB: C.J. Spiller (@ CLE)
- TE: Jimmy Graham (vs. KC)
- Flex: Frank Gore or Reggie Bush?
numberFire: Want to put Bush's Week One into perspective? His 37 fantasy points in a standard league were more than his first six games combined last season as the Dolphins' starting running back. We don't see him matching that type of production, but the Jets should be a good matchup: their 4.8 yards per carry allowed is the sixth highest in the league. Gore should be fine against the Vikings, but he just doesn't have the explosiveness to keep up.
Team Under Armour
The lineup stays the same after Team Under Armour jumped out to a 2-0 start with a big win over Team Nike. Look for Julio Jones to bounce back after a disappointing performance this past Monday night.
- QB: Cam Newton (vs. NYG)
- WR: Julio Jones (@ SD)
- WR: Steve Smith (vs. NYG)
- RB: Arian Foster (@ DEN)
- RB: Stevan Ridley (vs. @BAL)
- TE: Vernon Davis (@ MIN)
- Flex: Miles Austin or Torrey Smith?
numberFire: The young burner in Smith goes against the established name in Austin. But really, this one's not even close. Only 11 percent of Joe Flacco's balls went Smith's way during the first two weeks. Austin, meanwhile, is seeing 19 percent of Romo's throws, and he leads the Cowboys with three catches of 20 yards or more. Austin has a better matchup in Tampa Bay than Smith with New England, making Under Armour's big-play choice an easy one.
Game 2: Team Nike (1-1) vs. Team Reebok (0-2)
Alex Smith is producing for Team Nike and will continue to start until he proves otherwise. Victor Cruz returns to the No. 2 wideout spot after scoring 35 points while on the bench in Week Two.
- QB: Alex Smith (@ MIN)
- WR: Calvin Johnson (@ TEN)
- WR: Victor Cruz (@ CAR)
- RB: Ray Rice (vs. NE)
- RB: LeSean McCoy (@ ARI)
- TE: Jermichael Finley (@ SEA)
- Flex: Adrian Peterson or Marshawn Lynch?
numberFire: Lynch has been extremely effective, ranking third in rushing (207 yards), even if he doesn't have the points to show for it (he's one of only three rushers in the top nine NFL yardage leaders with only one TD). For Lynch, it's all about quantity over quality; his 47 rushing attempts rank second behind Arian Foster. All Day looked good in Week One, but 60 yards against a weak Colts D will not keep you on top of the rankings.
Eli Manning was slated for his first start, but we pulled the plug after his top receiving target, Hakeem Nicks, was ruled out for Thursday night's action. The injury bug also bit Ahmad Bradshaw, who is inactive this week for Team Reebok.
- QB: Peyton Manning (vs. HOU)
- WR: Roddy White (@ SD)
- WR: Brandon Marshall (vs. STL)
- RB: Maurice Jones-Drew (@ IND)
- RB: Jamaal Charles (@ NO)
- TE: Antonio Gates (vs. ATL)
- Flex: Antonio Brown or Reggie Wayne?
numberFire: Thirty-three percent of Andrew Luck's passes have gone Wayne's way in the first two weeks. Even though Jacksonville's a good matchup, Brown has a better one against the Raiders. Brown was sneaky good in the first two weeks, going for 153 yards against tough Broncos and Jets defenses. He's Big Ben's favorite target, with 25 percent of his passes going Brown's way. Against an Oakland defense that gave up 35 points to a dismal Dolphins offense and 22 points to running back-less San Diego, this should be Brown's chance to shine.
Don't forget to visit the Battle of the Brands league page, powered by Yahoo! Fantasy Sports.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock