What a crazy week it was in fantasy football! Devonta Freeman went all rouge on us and created a RB controversy in Atlanta; Andy Dalton and A.J. Green went all Andy Dalton and A.J. Green and showed why the Bengals are for real; Chris Johnson stole Doc Brown's time machine and relived his glory days in Tennessee; and Alfred Blue forgot he was Alfred Blue and probably made the Texans think they could hold off Arian Foster for one more week.
What more can I say about the Bengals other than WHODEY! The Bengals are 3-0, and now head back home to take on the Chiefs and Seahawks. The Chiefs are a run-heavy team that uses the passing game in strict management mode, while leaning heavily on their strong defensive pass-rush to keep teams from getting into a rhythm. If the Bengals can protect Dalton and he has time to go through his progressions, and Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard have chances to make plays, next week's game is very winnable!
And the question of the week for me has been "what is up with Hill and Bernard? Which one is worth owning, and how do you know when to play either?" The short answer to this question is this: when the Bengals are up or tied, Hill is the bell-cow; when they are trailing, Bernard is the man. This makes sense when you think about it because Hill is more of a ground-and-pound RB, and Bernard is more of an edge rusher who catches passes out of the backfield. They are both worth owning, and this week is the PERFECT time to shoot Hill's owner a trade offer and see if you can get him for cheap.
Andy Dalton– Bengals: Dalton silenced his critics this week in a big divisional game as he threw for 383 yards, 3 touchdowns, 1 interception, while adding another 10 yards and a TD on the ground. Dalton puts up QB1 stats throughout the season, yet he gets no love from the national media or the big-box fantasy websites. I told you to start him, and hopefully you listened!
Tyrod Taylor – Bills: Taylor keeps proving why he should be owned in most fantasy formats with his weekly output. This time he was able to put up 277 passing yards, 3 TDs, and no INTs against a Dolphins defense that has been underwhelming this season. Did you know that Taylor is owned in under 40 percent of fantasy leagues, but ranks out in the top 5-7 QBs so far? Yes, it's 3 games into the season. But, why are you rolling out Sam Bradford and saying how you hate fantasy football when there are better options on the waiver wire?
Devonta Freeman – Falcons: Freeman got the start with Tevin Coleman out, and he made the most of his opportunity by rushing 30 times for 141 yards and 3 TDs. As if that wasn't enough, Freeman hauled in 5 passes for another 52 yards to finish this week as the #1 ranked fantasy player. Not the best RB mind you, the best player overall! The Cowboys defense ranked #1 against the run heading into Week 3, so Freeman proved he is more than capable of handling 3-down duties. The question now becomes can he perform at the same level (3 TDs is unrealistic) against the Texans in Week 4?
Alfred Blue – Texans: I had Blue in a few leagues to start the season, but I cut him after Week 2 when he finished with 6 yards on 5 carries. As it turned out, it was a week too early! Blue got 31 carries against the Bucs on Sunday and turned that into 139 yards and a touchdown. Is Blue THIS good? No. Will this create a controversy in Houston with Blue and Foster? No. Chalk this up as the Bucs defense letting him get away and consider him a low-end RB2 play in Week 4 if Foster is out.
Keenan Allen – Chargers: The rollercoaster that is Keenan Allen went up once again on Sunday as the Chargers No. 1 WR rattled off 12 receptions for 133 yards and 2 TDs in a loss to the Vikings. Just last week Allen disappointed fantasy owners with 2 catches for 16 yards. Next week he gets Joe Haden and the Browns defense, which means he will be on my bench. He is well worth owning, but his owners have to pick and choose the right match-ups to count on him.
Rueben Randle – Giants: Just when fantasy owners gave up hope on [Rueben] Randle being a sleeper WR this season, the Giants No. 2 WR busted the Redskins secondary up for 7 catches, 116 yards, and 1 TD on Thursday night. My opinion of Randle hasn't changed though as 41 of those 116 yards came on a fluke play. My bet is he will remain inconsistent, and thus impossible to predict with any accuracy on a week-to-week basis. He is a boom-or-bust play in fantasy football.
Jimmy Graham – Seahawks: Graham did exactly what I knew Graham would do this week as he reeled in 7-of-8 targets, gaining 83 yards and scoring a touchdown. The Seahawks going to get Graham more involved, so fantasy owners shouldn't be worried about his production. But, I will also say that the Bears defense is one of the worst in the NFL these days. Graham is still a top-end fantasy TE, no matter what defense he is going up against.
Minnesota Vikings defense: The Vikings not only held the Chargers to 14 points, but they were also able to total 4 sacks, 1 INT, 1 recovered fumble, and 1 defensive touchdown. With the Vikings being owned in just a small percentage of fantasy leagues, not many people got to enjoy the spoils of this week's victory. Next week the Vikings take on the Broncos, putting them as far down the fantasy defensive list as you can get right about now for Week 4.
Ben Roethlisberger – Steelers: Big Ben was able to complete 20-of-24 passes on Sunday against the Rams, but was only able to manufacture 192 yards, 0 TDs, and 1 INT out of the effort. To add insult to injury, Roethlisberger suffered a sprained bone bruise and a sprained MCL, which is likely to keep him out 4-6 weeks (with 6 weeks being more realistic). Michael Vick steps into a starting role and clearly showed on Sunday he is a shell of his former self.
Colin Kaepernick – 49ers: The 49ers are looking as bad on offense as they are on defense, and Kaepernick hit a new low in Week 3 as he totaled 113 yards of offense (67 passing and 46 running), ran for a TD, and threw 4 INTs. Kaepernick is owned in 70 percent of leagues out there, but currently ranks out in the 20-23 range for fantasy QBs this season. It's time to cut bait and pick up Taylor if you own Kaepernick.
Marshawn Lynch – Seahawks: Lynch exited the game early with hamstring troubles, but that isn't where the disappointment ended. Fantasy owners watched as their first round draft pick run the ball 5 times for 14 yards against the Bears leaky defense. Coach Pete Carroll said Lynch's injury is "nothing to be alarmed about", but hamstrings have a way of lingering. Fans and owners have to hope the Seahawks were just being cautious in a game they couldn't have lost if they spotted the Bears 21 points.
Alfred Morris – Redskins: The dynamics of fantasy football is changing as the NFL goes towards more of a running back by committee approach rather than pick one guy and let him be their bell-cow. Morris is owned in a vast majority of fantasy leagues out there, and started in a good majority of those leagues, but was only able to provide his owners with 19 empty yards on Thursday night. Matt Jones is looking better than Morris through 3 games, but may have cost himself the starting job with his fumbling problems. This is a situation that is going to be frustrating until one person is named "the" RB in Washington, D.C.
Mike Wallace – Vikings: Wallace is one of those fantasy players that is owned more for name recognition than on-field production. Wallace has put up three unimpressive games to start the season, finishing with lines of 6/63/0 (Rec/Yds/TD) in Week 1, 3/38/0 in Week 2, and 3/49/0 in Week 3. Adrian Peterson is running the show in Minnesota once again, so the passing game is little more than a set-up for the run. I wouldn't count on Wallace being much more than WR depth or a low-end bye week play for fantasy owners.
John Brown – Cardinals: Brown's fantasy season usefulness may have already come to an end with the resurrection of Larry Fitzgerald, and the reemergence of Michael Floyd into the offense. Brown finished Week 3 with 3 catches (on 5 targets) for 62 yards and no TDs. Brown could have had a TD, twice, had he not dropped the first one and gotten tackled on the 2-yard line a play later. If you want to keep Brown as a handcuff to Fitzgerald or Floyd, then you must understand he is 3rd on the WR depth chart and thus a risky fantasy play.
Jordan Cameron – Dolphins: Cameron has long been one of those fantasy TEs that does very well, until he suffers a concussion or injury. This season he moved to Miami and I had high hopes now that he has Ryan Tannehill throwing the ball to him, but that hasn't been the case. This week he saw 8 targets, but only managed to catch 3 of them for 16 empty yards. Next week the Dolphins take on the Jets, who have allowed just 3.2 PPG to fantasy TEs (4th best in the NFL).
New England Patriots defense: Many fantasy sites around the world were touting the Patriots as a strong fantasy play this week because they faced the Jaguars. And while the Patriots did hold the Jaguars to 17 points, they also managed to sack Blake Bortles just twice and intercept him once. The lack of defensive stats put the Patriots fantasy defense in the low-end Def2 rankings for the week.