Fantasy players with a true allegiance to an NFL team know the feeling. Even when you destroy opponents in the fantasy arena, your Sunday is anything but fulfilled when your favorite NFL team loses. Especially when that loss comes to the Oakland Raiders.

I’m still in denial. How does Ben Roethlisberger throw for 384 yards and four touchdowns and the Steelers lose? To the Raiders? Where did the Steel Curtain go?

The one thing that made me push aside the loss was that the NFL flipped entirely upside-down yesterday. The Chiefs beat the Saints in the Superdome, the Titans offense blew up against the Lions, and the Cardinals are 3-0 after a win against Philadelphia.

And while many want to say the same is true in the fantasy world, I think they need to look at the numbers a little more closely. Because realistically, the only position that’s been producing “strange” numbers is the quarterback one. In standard leagues, the top-5 running backs this week included 4 running backs who were drafted in the first and second rounds of redraft leagues. At wide receiver, we had AJ Green beasting it up, and players like Larry Fitzgerald, Mike Wallace and Calvin Johnson having monster games as well.

Are you buying in to the strategy yet?

Jay Cutler needs a good matchup.

It’s clear that Jay Cutler, a late-round quarterback I once supported, is only startable when he’s got a good matchup. The Rams’ secondary is much improved over last year, but I still don’t believe Jay Cutler should be your every week starter. This is the beauty of the late-round quarterback thinking. You can play the wire, trade your depth or simply drop your starter if he’s not performing well. Keep Cutler on your roster, but as a backup only.

We saw why you took a shot with Maurice Jones-Drew.

I wish I would’ve taken a chance with MJD, but I understand the logic as to why I didn’t during my August drafts. If you did take him, however, you got what you expected. Jones-Drew is steadily getting more points each week, and has a nice matchup against Cincinnati next week. He’s back to being a top-5 guy.

Don’t expect those numbers from Santonio every week.

It’s no secret that I’m not a Santonio Holmes fan. Heck, I’m just not a fan of the Jets’ offense. Holmes blew up this week with nine receptions, while every other receiver on the Jets had just two. Should you make Holmes an every week starter now? Probably not. Since he’s joined the Jets, Holmes has averaged 53 yards per game. He’s not that impressive.

I’d say Jamaal Charles’ knee is just fine.

I thought I was a genius when I benched Jamaal Charles in a league for Giants’ running back Andre Brown. I did it mostly because Charles was questionable at that point in the week, but man, after Brown’s performance, I thought I had it made. And then Jamaal Charles happened. He now leads the league in rushing, and looks to be in pre-ACL tear form. While it was against the Saints’ defense, you should still feel confident with him in your lineup each week.

Rookie receivers still aren’t worth it.

I mentioned this in my book, but for those who haven’t read it, I’ll let you know again. Since 2006, there have been just three rookie receivers who finished in the top-15 at the position with standard scoring: Marques Colston, Mike Williams and AJ Green. You just shouldn’t take a chance on them. It takes a year or two for receivers to catch up with the speed and physicality of the NFL. It’s no different this year.

These replacement refs annoy me.

If you watched the Ravens and Patriots game, you know exactly what I’m talking about. I do feel they’re getting harsh treatment, but that’s kind of what’s expected when a situation like this occurs. The sad part is that the NFL doesn’t need the real referees to come back because the demand for NFL games isn’t going to change. I just hope it doesn’t end up completely altering the outcome of games.

And can they please take some public speaking courses before next week?

Matt Ryan looks like he’ll be the top fantasy quarterback this year.

He was the sexy pick when late August rolled around, and for those who drafted him a round or two early are now reaping the benefits. Matt Ryan is for real this year, folks. He’s got a more sustainable offense than someone like RGIII, and more weapons than anyone in the entire league. And he’s done it against better defenses than other top quarterbacks have faced. Good on ya, Matt Ryan owners. You’re in good shape.

Ben Roethlisberger is slowly becoming a must start.

As I mentioned in my intro, Ben Roethlisberger threw for nearly 400 yards and 4 touchdowns this week. And to be honest, Todd Haley hasn’t even let him loose yet. The Steelers have their bye this upcoming weekend, but then they get Philadelphia, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Washington and the New York Giants. Roethlisberger could easily keep this up.

Christian Ponder is good at completing passes.

Ponder still leads the NFL in completion percentage, and there’s no reason to think this is a fluke. With Jerome Simpson coming back from his suspension, the Vikings offense could legitimately be a threat in the NFC. Especially if they play the way they did against San Francisco this week. Ponder is a good free agent find this week for teams needing a good backup quarterback. I wouldn’t trade for him just yet.

Ken Whisenhunt brought the Steel Curtain to Arizona.

The Arizona Cardinals’ defense should be picked up in all fantasy leagues. They’ve now successfully stopped the Patriots and Eagles, and have the Dolphins, Rams and Bills coming up over the next three weeks. Get em’ while they’re hot.

Chris Johnson should be benched.

From a strategy standpoint, my philosophy couldn’t be going better. But from choosing personnel, I missed on Chris Johnson completely. I think you should always admit when you’re wrong, and in this case, I was more wrong about Chris Johnson than the replacement refs were during the 4th quarter of the Pats/Ravens game. While I don’t personally own him in any leagues, I told others to get him. And for that, I’m sorry. Chris Johnson is not a viable fantasy starter, and if you can get him for a low-end RB2, do it. It’s time to give up, CJ?K owners.

Michael Vick is exactly who I thought he was.

There’s little reason to believe that Michael Vick will get even close to where he was in 2010. I talked about it in July, too. He’s got three fumbles and six interceptions through the first three games. With the position being so deep, you may want to consider trading him, or at least having someone else on your team to play each week by best quarterback matchup.

Hey there, Mr. Fitzgerald.

I missed big time with Fitz this week, and I should’ve listened to other experts who pointed out that he’s always played well against Philadelphia. I think this is what we’ll see from Larry this season, though. He’ll have his weeks where he gets just a few receptions, and then every so often he’ll have a monster game like yesterday. A lot of that has to do with the quarterback play, and a lot of it also has to do with the fact that the Cardinals defense is better, keeping the garbage points to a minimum in Arizona. If I’m a Fitz owner, I’m looking to sell him high this week.

Darren McFadden owners rejoice.

I own McFadden in plenty of leagues, and his 64-yard touchdown run against Pittsburgh yesterday was bittersweet. At the time, I thought to myself “Well, the Steelers will end up winning and DMC will get his fantasy points for me. Brilliant!” At the end of the game I thought, “I hate you, Darren McFadden.” His game yesterday was exactly why you should have bought him low.

Mikel Leshoure makes a statement.

I had Leshoure as a “really neat” play this week, and it turned into a good call. While I think we must realize he played against a suspect Titans’ rush defense, we should also notice Kevin Smith’s lack of rushing attempts in yesterday’s game. Leshoure is the Lions’ every down back, and should be a low-end RB2 in 10-team leagues from here on out.

Torrey Smith is a brave, brave man.

I can’t stand the Ravens (don’t you love how I have no problem showing my Black and Gold pride in these posts?), but Torrey Smith is unbelievable. After his brother died in a motorcycle accident at two in the morning on Sunday, Torrey Smith posted a two-touchdown game in a crucial Sunday Night matchup. Brett Favre-esque? I’d say, given the tragedy and circumstance, Torrey took it to a whole new level. Good for him – it’s good to see an athlete be a true inspiration to NFL fans.

“Sell High” on late-round quarterbacks.

Now, given the fact that late-round quarterbacks are performing so well, it’s time to level out your expectations. As I said earlier, we should still remember that the elite quarterbacks will more than likely produce more consistent numbers here on out. If you can trade some of your depth for an Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady or Cam Newton – do it. Teams that drafted these players lost their chance for elite running back talent, and are probably hurting for running back depth. With bye weeks coming up, this could be the perfect time to “buy low”.

How are those early-round quarterbacks doing for you?

Opportunity cost and value. Those are the two words that I threw around constantly in my book, The Late Round Quarterback. We’re not seeing something insanely crazy through these first three weeks. We’re just seeing something that is different than 2011. And people hate that. They hate it when anomalies occur.

If you still think elite quarterbacks will end the season with just as much value as the elite running backs or receivers, you may want to take a look at the data below.

In order for Aaron Rodgers to keep up his pace from last season, he’ll need to put up 36 standard scoring fantasy points tonight against Seattle. And if these quarterbacks get even close to where they were last season, they not only have to play better, but other quarterbacks need to start playing worse.

These numbers should be alarming if you own one of these quarterbacks. It’s been 3 weeks, and each quarterback is underperforming compared to their 2011 pace. If you lucked out with some later-round running backs and receivers, then great. But the majority of these owners lack the stud running back you need to win a fantasy football championship.

I warned you.