After numerous requests, I have decided to put together a fantasy recap/report for the weeks that were and will be in the realm of fantasy football. I am by no means a fantasy expert, all you need to do is look at my profiles on ESPN and Yahoo! to gather that. I feel though I have a halfway decent grasp on the scene to be able to help you in your quest for a title. Or to at least beat that shithead in your league that talks smack on the message board every 12 minutes.
It was quite the week in the fantasy football world. The Falcons put a great number of owners at a deficit after their decimation of Tampa Bay on Thursday night. If you were lucky enough to own the combo of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, you should be burned at the stake for sorcery. For the rest of us, we had to navigate a growing laundry list of injuries as well as matchup nightmares. I'll go over my three most disappointing (frights) and encouraging (delights) performances of week 3 as well as a couple of players to watch going forward (insights).
ALL POINTS ARE BASED ON STANDARD ESPN SCORING WITH NO FRACTIONAL POINTS OR PPR.
Week 3 Results: 11 rushes, 36 yards, 1 fumble lost [1 pt.] v. DET
If you are like me you probably spent a first round pick on Eddie Lacy, a pretty high one at that. Through three weeks you are commiserating with me over the fact that Lacy has put a total of 10 points on the board for his owners. Other than Jamaal Charles, who is injured, there has been no bigger first round disappoint through the first quarter of the fantasy season than Eddie Lacy. Granted, Lacy is still probably feeling the after effects of his concussion from opening night against the Seahawks, but he has been woeful regardless. He has yet to break 50 yards rushing in any game so far. His supporters will say that he has faced three really good run defenses but I feel that is a cop out. A top five pick should give you production against ANYBODY. Lacy has a more favorable schedule for the start of bye weeks (@Chicago, Minnesota, @Miami) but until he has at least one big, no scratch that, halfway decent game, he is going to be no more than a RB2 for my team. For those who don't own Lacy, he could be a potentially sneaky buy low trade target. Just make your move sooner rather than later because if and when he turns it around, you have no chance of procuring his services.
Week 3 Results: 4 receptions, 49 yards [4 pts.] v. STL
Witten is proof positive that you should have waited if you didn't get Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski early on in your drafts. Witten, a fifth to sixth round pick in the majority of drafts I participated in, has just eight total points to his name through three weeks. Like Lacy, he's faced defenses that are good at limiting the productiveness of his position. Unlike the Green Bay back, Witten is entirely dependent on the play of his quarterback to stay relevant. Tony Romo has not been in the two games since Week 1's forgettable showing against San Francisco, but he has definitely forgotten about Witten. The Cowboys came back from 21 points down to beat St. Louis in Week 3 but Witten was a non-factor in the comeback. He may have value going forward but he is not proving worthy of his draft status and is no longer a must start for your team unless you are in a 14 team league or start two tight ends.
Week 3 Results: 3 receptions, 34 yards, 1 fumble [1 pt.] v. SF
Larry Fitzgerald has been one of the top receivers in the game since he entered the NFL as the third overall selection in 2004. One can make the argument that having Drew Stanton at QB isn't helping his stock but he has been lackluster with Carson Palmer taking snaps too. Fitzy was taken high by a lot of teams, including my own, and has flashed this smile seen to the left in your face as he leaves a nice pile on your fantasy roster. His schedule lightens up considerably after his Week 4 bye but in my humble opinion he can't be trusted as a WR1 anymore unless you are decimated by injuries or thin at wideout. If you own Fitzgerald, hedge your bets with John Brown and/or Michael Floyd because Arizona WILL throw the ball. I just don't think the majority of that throwing will be to the guy wearing #11 much longer.
Week 3 Results: 5 receptions, 54 yards, 2 TD [17 pts.] v. NYJ
The Bears offense has looked really good through three weeks and Bennett has been one of the big reasons why. Cast as more of a supporting tight end than a main attraction in both Dallas and New York, Bennett has thrived in the showcase role in the Windy City. That being said, Bennett has already begun to exceed expectations through three games. He has 4 touchdowns through those three contests, one short of the career high 5 he's had the past two years. Jay Cutler is getting more pass calls in Marc Trestman's system and Bennett, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery are all reaping the rewards. Barring an injury, which is unlikely as Bennett has missed just four games in 6+ years, Chicago's schedule bodes very well for a top 5 tight end performance from Bennett going forward. If he is still somehow on your waiver wire, (he is 92% owned on both Yahoo! and ESPN) make your opponents pay just like Bennett has been making his opponents pay thus far in 2014.
Week 3 Results: 9 rushes, 65 yards; 2 receptions, 18 yards, 1 TD [13 pts.] v. JAX
Ahmad Bradshaw's season was cut short after just three games last year. His loss paved the way for the trade for Cleveland's Trent Richardson. While the former Brown flopped in his first season in blue and white, as well as so far in 2014, Bradshaw has worked his way back to being a vital cog in the Colts' offense. Richardson still gets the lion's share of the carries in Indianapolis but the former Giant Bradshaw has carved out quite the niche as a receiver from the backfield. He has three receiving touchdowns in the past two games, albeit against Philadelphia and Jacksonville. He isn't just all hands though. Bradshaw is averaging 6 yards a carry when he is asked to tote the rock, a statistic that may mean more work going forward. Bradshaw is owned universally less than Richardson so get on it before owners of the current Colts starter get wise to it.
Week 3 Results: 30-for-48 passing, 427 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT [27 pts.] v. PHI
Washington fans were greeted with a scene they were all too familiar with in Week 2 against lowly Jacksonville. Robert Griffin III was carted off, his season over for the most part, and Kirk Cousins taking the reigns. Cousins finished off the rout of the Jags but was even better this week against Philadelphia. The Eagles' defensive shortcomings are well-known but that should not take away from Cousins' day against a division rival. Kirk himself probably would have traded his 427 yards and 3 touchdowns for a win, but owners of the former Michigan State Spartan are plenty pleased with the fifth best fantasy output of week 3. Playing in the NFC East gives Cousins plenty of chances at similar outputs as he will get the Eagles one more time as well as Dallas and New York twice apiece. His one rough stretch may occur in weeks 5 and 6 against Seattle and Arizona but other than it looks smooth sailing. He is owned in just 49% of Yahoo! leagues and a criminally low 29% of ESPN leagues so if you are currently trotting out the likes of Tony Romo or Ben Roethlisberger, put a claim in for Cousins as soon as you possibly can.
- There are many big injuries around the league, most notably the one to Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles. Knile Davis has been a more than capable replacement in his absence but he was not the highest scoring back for the Chiefs against Miami. That would be Joe McKnight. I'm not saying that you should rush out and get McKnight but take heed that when Charles does return, which could be as early as Monday vs. the Pats, Davis may not be as big a part of the passing game as you'd like.
- Don't take the Atlanta/Tampa Bay game as a change in the norm but rather as an anomaly. On paper, the Redskins/Giants game this Thursday has all the making of a shootout. That just isn't how the Thursday night games work. With all the Thursday games being division matchups in 2014, you probably won't see a roll over job like the one the Bucs pulled again. Start your studs from both teams but don't be too shocked if Rashad Jennings comes back to Earth after his Herculean performance against Houston.
- Be wary of third string running backs. Situations like Minnesota and San Diego are primed for a shakeup at a moment's notice. Matt Asiata and Donald Brown currently hold the Vikings' and Chargers' starting gigs respectively as of now but it may not last. Asiata is more of a goal line guy than an every down player and Minnesota's third round pick, Jerick McKinnon, could get more and more carries in the middle of the field than he has until now. Donald Brown is no slouch and with Ryan Mathews still shelved (what a shock!) and Danny Woodhead out for the year with a broken leg, he is THE man in San Diego. Being a Colts fan though, I know Brown can't carry the ball thirty times a game and survive a full season. San Diego needs to distribute the wealth in carries and Branden Oliver may get some residual work. It'll be interesting to see what San Diego does if they get up big on Jacksonville this weekend. We saw Washington use a cornucopia of backs against the Jags with even Silas Redd Jr. getting eight carries and a touchdown. This game may lead to a bigger role for the rookie from Buffalo.
For those who play both the Eliminator Challenge and Gridiron Challenge Eliminator on ESPN, here are my picks for Week 4:
Best of luck to you in Week 4 of the fantasy season, unless you are facing me than I hope every single person on your team gets Ebola. Stay tuned for more fantasy football coverage next week from Bleeding Your Colors and as always check out the rest of our content at bleedingyourcolors.weebly.com, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @B3WHYC3, and the Tumblr Oven From The Netherlands.
Image Credits: Fantasy Football (thecollaborative.org); Bryant mugshot (blogs.houstonpress.com); Lacy, Fitzgerald, Bennett, Bradshaw, Cousins, Gridiron lineup, Eliminator pick (espn.com); Witten (washingtonpost.com); FSU Cowgirls (lostlettermen.com); Thinking Man (christianrlong.com)