Here is how I feel after week 3:
All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy. All work and no play makes Phil a dull boy.
I am Jack Torrence and I am about to split Dick Hollarann open with an fireman’s axe.
Ok. Now that we have that out of the way, here are some of the most important Week 3 fantasy football storylines.
Thursday night was an embarrassment of riches for fantasy running backs. Jamaal Charles has a field day against the Eagles’ soft defense on his way to 92 yards and a touchdown on the ground and 80 yards through the air. There seemed to be a pressing preseason decision for many fantasy owners about whether to draft CJ Spiller or Jamaal Charles. Through the first three weeks of the NFL season, Charles looks like the more superior option. Kansas City, as a whole, looks like they were severely underrated before the season. They have been efficient and effective on both sides of the ball.
Lesean McCoy also had an incredible game, running for 158 yards and a touchdown. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone. After three weeks, it is easy to see the impact of Chip Kelly’s infamous offense. It has been immensely helpful to all of the Eagles’ skill players. If you have a piece of that, you should consider yourself very fortunate.
After two top-12 finishes in weeks 1 and 2, Matt Schaub surely disappointed his faithful followers. He, along with the Texans as a team, was held out of the endzone on Sunday. There might be some cause for concern with Schaub moving forward, as Andre Johnson suffered an injury to his leg. Early reports are indicate the Johnson will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of his injury. If Johnson were to miss time, it would obviously hurt Schaub’s value, but it would provide DeAndre Hopkins with the chance to show owners what he can do as a team’s number one wideout.
I think it might be time to give up on David Wilson. Maybe that’s a little harsh. Obviously, he still has a ton of potential, but Wilson has yet to give us any indication that he will have any substantial fantasy value. I can’t blame you if you want to hold and/or target him in trades, but do so with the understanding that it may be a few weeks before we see Wilson find some rhythm.
The Cincinnati Bengals are legit. In what should have been a brutal matchup against the potent Green Bay offense, they were able to not only keep pace with Aaron Rodgers, but they were also able to effectively to knock Rodgers down for four sacks. Giovani Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis split the carries out of the Bengals’ backfield, but Bernard was the better of the two backs. He took 10 carries for 50 yards and a touchdown. This shouldn’t surprise many of you, as it was understood that the Bengals wanted to eventually give the backfield to Bernard. He’s more than likely on a roster in your league, but he’s a player I would target in a trade this week. Before too long, he will be incredibly valuable for fantasy owners.
With a lot of fantasy owners patching over their Eddie Lacy wounds with James Strarks bandages, it looks like it will be the Jonathan Franklin show (at least until Lacy returns to action). After Starks suffered a knee injury in the second quarter, Franklin (there has to be a good turtle joke here somewhere) took over the Green Bay backfield. Franklin was able to turn 13 carries into 103 yards and a touchdown. To put it plainly, this running back looked great against a very good Cincinnati defense. It’s possible that Green Bay could turn the backfield into a committee when Lacy returns to the field (as early as next week), which surely limits Franklin’s long-term value. However, as long as Franklin is the feature back, I would play him as a high-end flex.
Demarco Murray ran wild against St. Louis on Sunday. He finished as Week 3’s top scoring fantasy back after taking 26 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown. I have a few Murray shares and I’ve loved his season through the first three weeks. That being said, I’m looking to sell Murray this week. It’s not that I don’t think he will be useful for the remainder of the season, I’m just not sure we will see his value be any higher than it is now. I’m also a little nervous that he could get injured sometime in the near future. The Cowboys have been force-feeding Murray the football (average of 24.67 of touches per game). His 74 touches are good for the 3rd most among running backs (tied with Matt Forte). For someone like Murray, this workload is not sustainable. I would capitalize on his inflated value.
What the hell happened to the Browns? The last time I checked, they lost their starting quarterback and traded away their starting running back. Sunday’s performance was an absolutely shocker. Brian Hoyer looked very good in his 2013 debut. He was surely helped by the Brown’s talented receiving corps, as Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon both topped 20 standard fantasy points on their way to top-2 finishes at their respective positions. I’m incredibly skeptical that this will happen on a regular basis, but there are some important takeaways here. The absence of Trent Richardson caused the Browns to turn into a very pass-heavy offense. Brian Hoyer attempted 54 passes in Week 3 (most among all quarterbacks), while the Browns only ran the ball 17 times. This split could become something we see on a weekly basis, as Cleveland will find itself in close games. It’s possible that we’ll see Willis McGahee take on a more prominent role in future weeks, but I don’t expect him to be as effective as he has been in the past. The Browns will continue to lean on their receivers and that only means good things for Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon.
As most fantasy writers predicted, Joique Bell had a very nice Week 3. With Reggie Bush sidelined, Bell was fed the ball throughout the game and looked good. He ended the day with 20 carries for 63 yards a touchdown on the ground and added 4 catches for 69 yards through the air. It has since come out that Bush felt ready to play in the Lion’s Week 3 matchup, but he was held out for precautionary reasons. All indications tell us that Detroit’s first string running back will return in Week 4 for a tough matchup against Chicago.
Jaquizz Rodgers received the majority of carries for the Falcons in Week 3. So there’s that. Jason Snelling was also involved quite a bit and was able to score the lone touchdown of this pair. In all honesty, I’m not looking for either back to be incredibly relevant for fantasy purposes. While Steven Jackson remains on the sideline, I’m sure one of these backs will be useful each week, but I don’t think we will be able to accurately predict which one it will be.
Trent Richardson looked good in his debut as a Colt. He wasn’t given a huge workload, but he seemed to bring a great deal of energy to the Indianapolis offense. For the time being, we might see a some semblance of a committee between Ahmad Bradshaw and T-Rich. While this might be great for real fantasy purposes, it is quite the headache for fantasy owners. I truly believe that Richardson will eventually take on the lead running back duties, but while he is still learning the playbook, we will continue to see Bradshaw. This could eventually create a nice buy-low situation for the former Brown, but I don’t know when that will be.