James Morris hails from Rio Rancho, NM and has been playing fantasy sports for just over 15 years. Not only does he write the Bengals fantasy section, but he also does the Miami Dolphins fantasy section. Crossing over, Morris writes the fantasy sections for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA. Just send him an email and he will reply back the same day with your answer. Or, find him on Twitter (Fantasyguy23) and get all your NFL news before it hits the national media.
The main thing we learned this week is that we have to face the fact that running backs are down this year (in fantasy terms), and wide receivers are carrying teams on their backs. Of the top 25 WRs and RBs in fantasy football through the first three weeks of the season, 15 are WRs and 10 RBs. Normally those numbers would be more tilted toward the RBs, especially in standard scoring leagues where receptions aren’t factored into the point structure. Adapt and overcome people; consider starting a WR in the flex instead of the traditional RB from here on out.
I had a fan reach out to me on Twitter to say I was wrong about saying you should sit Tom Brady this week since he did throw for 225 yards, 2 TDs and an INT on Sunday. While those numbers look good on the surface, you have to understand that when you consider the league as a whole, Brady finished 14th among QBs in NFL.com standard scoring. So, to that fan, I was NOT wrong and Brady was someone you should have sat in the place of say E.J. Manuel, Christian Ponder, Jake Locker, Geno Smith, or even Brian Hoyer because they all did better than him.
Then we have the Bengals, who came up huge on Sunday by upsetting the Packers 34-30. The Bengals jumped out to an early 14-0 lead by scoring two times in 12 seconds, then found themselves trailing in the fourth quarter. But through sheer grit and determination,
Jake Locker – QB, Titans: Locker is only owned in 0.8 percent of NFL.com leagues because he doesn’t have many weapons to throw to, and isn’t consistent enough to consider even in the deeper 2QB leagues. On Sunday, Locker managed to throw for 299 yards, run for 68 yards, and score 2 TDs. Those numbers were good enough to land Locker in the No. 4 spot for QBs. Locker isn’t worth a pickup because he won’t scramble for 68 yards and a TD again this season because this is the only time he plays the Chargers.
Brian Hoyer – QB, Browns: Hoyer just may have grabbed the starting quarterback job with his performance on Sunday as he threw for 321 yards, 3 TDs and 3 INTs. Yes, the three interceptions were hard to look over, but the yards and touchdowns were more than anyone expected, and it was enough to land him in the No. 10 fantasy QB spot at the end of the day. Keep an eye on him, but don’t grab him yet unless you are in a 2QB league.
Joique Bell – RB, Lions: With Reggie Bush out with a swollen knee (precautionary), Bell drew the start and did fantasy owners proud as he ended the day ranked No. 4 for fantasy RBs in standard scoring formats. Bell isn’t going to wow you with numbers, but his 132 yards of total offense and a touchdown were good enough to put him high in the RB1 rankings for Week 3. It is pretty sad when 132 yards of total offense and a TD rank you in the top 5 for RBs, but 2013 has been one of the most disappointing years for fantasy RBs that I can remember so far. Bell’s value takes a hit back into the flex range once Bush is back in the lineup.
Jonathan Franklin – RB, Packers: I had a feeling that James Starks was going to go off on the Bengals defense this week, but he went down with a knee injury just before halftime and never returned. In comes Franklin and the rookie rumbles his way to 103 rushing yards, 23 receiving yards and a touchdown. Even with a lost fumble, the kid still finished with 16.60 fantasy points (FP) in NFL.com standard scoring leagues, and a No. 7 ranking for Week 3. Eddie Lacy is expected back after the team’s Week 4 bye, so don’t run to the waiver wire and add Franklin as anything more than a roster stash.
Ahmad Bradshaw – RB, Colts: Bradshaw finished Week 3 with 95 yards rushing, 16 yards receiving, and a touchdown. One has to wonder why we couldn’t get this kind of production out of him BEFORE the Colts traded for Trent Richardson. This game is sure to go down as his last hurrah for fantasy owners, and he will be nothing more than a handcuff in case of an injury moving forward.
Josh Gordon – WR, Browns: I actually own Gordon in several leagues, but didn’t play him in any as I didn’t expect Hoyer to go out there and look like a legitimate QB this week. Gordon not only reeled in 10 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown in his first action of the season, but he added 22 yards on the ground via a carry in the game. Gordon is going to be heavily involved in the Browns offense this season no matter who the QB is, and that is good news because the Browns are playing like they don’t have a care in the world. Fake punts, fake kicks, going for it on fourth down, they are pulling out every play that every coach ever sketched out on a pizza napkin and throwing it into the playbook! Gordon was the No. 2 WR in NFL.com standard scoring leagues this week with 22.80 FP. Antonio Brown was No. 1 with his 196 yards receiving and 2 TDs for 31.60 FP.
Sidney Rice – WR, Seahawks: Rice is owned in 82.2 percent of NFL.com leagues, down 9.4 percent this week. The drop in ownership was due to his 48 yards receiving throughout the first two weeks of the season. Those 9.4 percent of owners are sure to be kicking themselves after Rice hauled in 5 passes for 79 yards and 2 TDs against the obviously overmatched Jaguars. While the numbers were good enough to rank him No. 3 for fantasy WRs through Sunday, the yardage total leaves a lot to be desired. This was probably Rice’s best chance for fantasy glory all season long, and he failed to break 80 yards.
Santonio Holmes – WR, Jets: Holmes had what will be his best game of the season in Week 3 as he hauled in 5 passes from Geno Smith for 154 yards and a touchdown. The reason for the strong showing was largely due to him facing a backup CB from the Bills (Justin Rogers), so don’t go chasing points with Holmes when your waiver wire opens up on Tuesday. Holmes is a bye week fill-in WR, nothing more.
Jordan Cameron – TE, Browns: I called Cameron out as my sleeper pick in my preseason rankings, so it is no surprise to me that he is making the winners list more than the losers list this season. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t expect him to be 3 TD good, but he was this week! He finished with 6 catches for 66 yards and 3 TDs, good enough to finish No. 2 behind the best TE in fantasy football, Jimmy Graham (134 yards and 2 TDs).
Carolina Panthers Defense: As you will see below in the QB section, the Panthers defense didn’t allow a single point against the Giants. Moreover, the Panthers racked up 7 sacks, 2 INTs and a fumble recovery, numbers good enough for a No. 2 ranking in NFL.com leagues this week. This was more of a fluke than a sign of things to come, so don’t run to your waiver wire and pick them up.
Colin Kaepernick – QB, 49ers: And the worst starting QB in fantasy football for Week 3 is, Colin Kaepernick! After an embarrassing loss in Week 2 to the Seahawks in which Kaep finished with 127 yards passing, 87 yards rushing, no TDs and 3 INTs, I think most people were sure he would bounce back in Week 3 against a forgiving Colts defense. However, that didn’t happen and he finished with just 150 yards in the air, 20 yards on the ground, no TDs again, and an INT. The reality of the situation is that he has no weapons to throw to right now with Vernon Davis sidelined with a bad hamstring, and a WR corps headlined by Anquan Boldin and Kyle Williams. He has another tough matchup against the Rams next week, so bench him and find other options if you can.
Eli Manning – QB, Giants: Talk about your belly flops! The Giants rolled out the old doughnut and hung it up on the scoreboard in Week 3 and made the Panthers defense look better than they actually are. Manning was able to put up RB-esque numbers as he finished with 119 yards passing, no TDs and an INT. When all was said and done, he finished the day as the No. 25-ranked QB in NFL.com standard scoring leagues.
Matt Schaub – QB, Texans: When you’re wrong, you’re wrong! Schaub apparently didn’t get the tweet that I had him on my Start ‘em list because he sure didn’t perform well against the Ravens. In his defense, he did lose Andre Johnson to a bad shin bruise in the third quarter. Either way, Schaub finished with 194 yards passing, no TDs and an INT on Sunday, numbers that put him in the No. 26 slot for fantasy QBs. This is why Schaub is not a QB1 and further proof why I should have known better than to go out on a limb with him.
C.J. Spiller – RB, Bills: And this is the danger in owning anyone on the Bills roster, Spiller was a complete bust in Week 3. It’s not like the Jets defense is that good, but Spiller managed just 9 yards on the ground and a single yard in the air, gaining just enough yardage to score a single point in standard scoring formats. It’s almost a lock you lost this week if Spiller was your RB since he was taken in the first round in the vast majority of drafts. Yes, he left the game with an injury in the third quarter, but he did nothing before leaving to help fantasy owners.
Rashard Mendenhall – RB, Cardinals: Mendenhall is proof that far too many owners draft on name recognition more than on current information. Mendy is owned in 96.0 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet finished as the second-worst starting RB (in fantasy terms, No. 1 was Spiller) this week as he racked up 41 total yards of empty offense against the Saints. Mendenhall is more of a flex play than anything, and his stats will be up and down all season long with Carson Palmer throwing the ball.
Kenny Britt – WR, Titans: Britt is owned in 76.0 percent of NFL.com leagues, yet he was held without a catch despite his 5 targets in Week 3. The reality is that Britt has a real problem at QB, and he is letting his frustrations affect his play on the field with needless penalties and failing to get the better of defenders on contested balls thrown his way. I’d bench Britt until further notice.
Dwayne Bowe – WR, Chiefs: The Chiefs came away with a 10-point victory against the Eagles on Thursday Night Football, but none of it was due to Bowe. He drew just four targets, hauling in one of them for a measly 4 yards receiving. The 4-yard catch wasn’t even on a touchdown, so all he managed to score for his owners was 0.40 points if your league uses fractional scoring, and 0 points if not. At best Bowe is a risky WR2 play with
Colby Fleener – TE, Colts: Just a week after racking up 69 yards and a TD against the Dolphins, and taking over the starting TE spot thanks to a season-ending injury to Dwayne Allen, Fleener managed just 2 receptions for 13 yards (on 2 targets) against the 49ers. With Fleener not being able to run-block effectively yet, he is going to struggle to have fantasy value now that the Colts have traded for Richardson and made it clear they want to establish the run in order to set up the pass. I would leave Fleener on the waiver wire for the time being or let someone else deal with the headache.
San Francisco 49ers Defense: The 49ers defense was normally the second defense taken in fantasy drafts, right behind the Seahawks. So, it hurts when they allow 27 points to the Colts and only tally a single sack for fantasy stats. The lack of production on their part netted fantasy owners just 1.00 points this week, tied for worst in Week 3 with the Giants defense. There will be better days ahead for the defense, but this just goes to show why I am moving more toward playing defenses week-to-week rather than spending a mid-round pick to get a “top-tier” defense.
Don’t forget that I am giving away copies of Madden 25 on Xbox 360 and PS3. All you have to do is like the article on the Facebook link at the top, and then get your friends to click on the link via your Facebook page and like the article on the Bengals webpage. It is important that they click Like INSIDE the article, and not like the link on your page.