Ten Things We Learned in Week Three

How We Fared With Our Picks in Week Three



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man with an idea
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.

  1. Mr. Rodgers Is No Longer in the Neighborhood. Rodgers just hasn't looked his self this season, aside from the second half of the Jets game. He's been off-target on his throws and the Packers failure to establish a run game certainly hasn't helped. This past Sunday the Lions were able to get pressure on him while just rushing four down linemen and running a 2-deep zone in the secondary. I'm not sure whether poor blocking's been to blame, a failure to establish the run, or whether a half-season of inactivity has affected his accuracy, but from here on out, he's a QB2 in my book and I'd be adopting a wait-and-see attitude before he gets off my bench. This was the lowest-scoring output by the Packers QB since he took over in 2008 and the second time in three games he scored less than 13 fantasy points.


  2. Start any DST Against the Jaguars and Buccaneers. These two offenses are allowing opponents to score 15.0 and 14.3 fantasy points each, respectively. Had you started a very questionable Falcons DST against the Bucs this past Sunday, you would have scored a whopping 29 points and if you started a mediocre Colts DST for their road game against the hapless Jags, your DST would have rewarded you with 17 points. On the other hand, if you started your stud DSTs regardless of the match-up, you would've scored 6 points starting the Seahawks against the Broncos and actually lost 3 points if you started the Panthers against the Steelers. I see no reason to depart from this strategy going forward with either team. The Jaguars will be starting a rookie QB in Week 4, while the Buccaneers may be replacing a disappointing Josh McCown with an equally ineffective Mike Glennon. The Rams on the other hand, who've yielded the 3rd-most fantasy points to opposing DSTs this season, may be a different story. Austin Davis, who's been improving from week-to-week, seems like a clear upgrade over Shaun Hill and with a more effective passing game to pair with Zac Stacy, their offense may not be such easy prey for opposing DSTs.


  3. The Patriots are Probably Wishing They Could Get a Do-Over on the Logan Mankins Trade. The high-scoring Patriots offensive machine that we've come to know and love has been missing-in-action so far this year and the patchwork offensive line is at least partly to blame. They've allowed an NFL-high 322 penalty yards, 7 sacks, and have paved the way for a running game averaging just 3.5 yards per carry. Meanwhile, Tim Wright's been pretty much non-existant with a grand total of 35 yards so far this season. He was on the field for all of 5 snaps in Sunday's game. If I'm a Tom Brady owner, I'm actively shopping him now for whatever I can get at the QB position.


  4. Knile Knows Football. Davis showed he's the real deal the past two weeks with 132 yards and a TD against a decent Miami run defense, after piling up 105 total yards and 2 TDs against the Broncos. He's good enough to start for the majority of NFL teams. I'm hearing he's being dropped in a lot of fantasy leagues, since the feeling is, Jamaal Charles should return to the field next week. I would hold onto Knile, as I think his performances may encourage Andy Reid to either sit Charles on the bench another week or two until he's 100% healthy, or even go with a committee in Kansas City. Charles hasn't been the most durable back since entering the league and Davis' between-the-tackles running style would be a nice complement to Charles' speed and game-breaking ability.


  5. It's Time to Cut Your Losses with a Couple RBs. If you've patiently been waiting for Toby Gerhart or Trent Richardson to turn things around and justify their draft status, the horses have already left the barn. Gerhart, who plays for a miserable offense that's likely to trail every game this year, had his best output of the season, rushing for 32 whole yards on just 9 carries and adding 31 receiving yards. This is probably as good as it gets for the lumbering former back-up to Adrian Peterson. Trade him for a ham sandwich and a can of beans, if you find any takers. As for Richardson, there were a lot of us who wanted to believe all the reports out of the Colts training camp indicating he had slimmed down and was looking much better this off-season, but he's been outproduced each and every week by Ahmad Bradshaw. Against the Jaguars, Richardson had 17 touches to Bradshaw's 11 and for once, failed to fumble, but you've got to think sooner or later the Colts will look at his 3.8 YPC, compare it to Bradshaw's 6.0 YPC, and realize who the better back is. He's still an adequate flex play when the match-up is favorable but I'd recommend dropping him in favor of a back who'll get more carries.


  6. Not Yet Ready for the Old Folks Home. If I told you before the season began the leading receiver for the Ravens would be named Smith, you probably wouldn't have been surprised. However, very few of us expected a 35-year old Steve Smith Sr. to replace Torrey Smith as Joe Flacco's favorite target but that's exactly what has happened. Through the first three games, the younger Smith has just 85 yards and no scores versus 290 yards and a TD for the Smith Sr. I admit to failing to take the 35-year old receiver seriously but watching his TD reception against the Browns, it's obvious he's still got wheels and can be a #1 guy in this league. If I'm a Torrey Smith owner, I'd be actively shopping him for whatever I could get. As for Smith Sr., he's still available in 26% of NFL.com leagues and, if you're lucky, you may qualify for the AARP discount.


  7. Nick Foles Will Be the Next RGIII. Foles got absolutely rolled last Sunday by a fierce Redskins pass rush. If the Eagles don't make some adjustments p.d.q., he's almost certain to be the next QB to land on the IR list. I give him a lot of credit for standing tall in the pocket and connecting on some throws in key situations, knowing he was going to get pancaked by Ryan Kerrigan or one of the other D-linemen but if he keeps on getting this kind of pass protection, it will be a short season for him. If you're a Foles owner like myself, the moral of the story is you better have a back-up plan on your roster, in case the inevitable happens.


  8. Welcome to the NFL, Lorenzo Taliaferro! If you picked up Justin Forsett Sunday morning after hearing the news Bernard Pierce had been de-activated, you were in for a rude awakening. The Ravens clearly must believe the diminutive Forsett is only suited to be a third-down back and, much to the chagrin of some opportunistic fantasy owners, started the unproven rookie fourth-round pick. He rewarded the lucky 0.1% of fantasy owners who had him on a roster with 91 yards and a TD. Safe to say, if you own one of the other Ravens running backs, you should drop them this week. As for Taliaferro, he'll be a hot item on the waiver wire.


  9. This Ain't Your Grandpa's 49ers! The Niners DST is still owned in 96% of NFL.com leagues, despite the fact they've lost Navorro Bowman for the year and Aldon Smith for 9 games. After turning in an admirable performance in Week 1 against the Cowboys, they've been AWOL in their last two games, scoring 0 points at home against the Bears, 2 points on the road this week against the Cardinals, and giving up 51 points the last two weeks. If you own them, you might consider benching them when they've got unfavorable match-ups, like this week against the Eagles. I wouldn't panic just yet and drop them though, as they've got favorable match-ups at home against the Chiefs and on the road against the Rams on the docket starting Week 6.


  10. Not Amounting to a Hill of Beans. I keep thinking Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is going to finally get it and realize Giovani Bernard isn't a workhorse back, but so far it just hasn't happened. The Titans game would have been the perfect opportunity to give rookie Jeremy Hill most of the early-downs work, as Tennessee's linebackers are a quick but undersized group and the big rookie would have been a more effective option between the tackles. However, he hardly got any opportunities until the fourth quarter when the game was already out-of-hand. He ended up rushing for 39 yards on just 7 carries for a 5.6 yard average. Meanwhile, Bernard kept getting stuffed on runs up the middle and rushed for just 8 yards more than Hill on twice as many carries. Bernard's averaging a paltry 3.4 yards per carry this year, so you would think the light would eventually go on for OC Jackson, but at this point I'm wondering if Jeremy Hill isn't just a waste of space on fantasy rosters. You can't count on many games where the Bengals are able to run the ball 42 times like they did in the blowout against the Falcons, so if Hill doesn't score a touchdown, he's probably not going to produce much for you.

    Speaking of the Titans-Bengals game, my "What Were You Possibly Thinking?" award goes out to Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt. Entering the fourth quarter, the Titans were down 26-0, yet Whisenhunt chose to keep QB Jake Locker in the game. Not only that but it looked like all the Titans offensive starters were still playing with the exception of Shonn Greene, who wasn't running as effectively as rookie Bishop Sankey anyhow. Maybe the coach was praying for another Music City Miracle but when the Bengals added another touchdown with 4:07 remaining, the fat lady was singing, yet Whiz kept Locker in the game until the final whistle blew. Maybe he was wanting to give his young QB a taste of hopeless desperation, but if Locker gets injured in what was at that point a meaningless game, there would be a lot of head-scratching about the decision, especially since next man up is journeyman back-up Charlie Whitehurst.


report card
By Greg Buchphoto of journalist Greg Buch
Greg develops and updates FFSwami's website. He's played in various fantasy football leagues the last 15 years and is a life-long Cincinnati Bengals fan.


Quarterbacks

Where We Got It Right:
Andrew Luck
- We made Luck our top choice at the QB position because we liked how he's been playing and the match-up against an atrocious Jaguars defense was just too good for us to pass up. Not to toot our own horn but we nailed it right on the head. We predicted 374 passing yards with 3 TDs, an INT, and around 20 rushing yards. The final tally: 370 passing yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, and 15 rushing yards. You can't get much closer than that!

Kirk Cousins/ Matt Ryan
- We told you to start Cousins against a porous Eagles pass defense and he rewarded owners with the 2nd-highest fantasy score among QBs in Week 3, throwing for 427 yards with 3 TDs and only 1 INT. Likewise, we advised you to start Matt Ryan and he produced between 24 and 30 fantasy points depending on how your league values passing TDs.

Andy Dalton
- We advised you to sit the red-hot Dalton against a very good Tennessee Titans pass defense and, sure enough, he had a disappointing fantasy performance in spite of a fluke receiving TD that was nearly picked off for a pick-six. Dalton ended up throwing for just 169 yards with no TDs and one INT.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Matt Stafford
- We liked the match-up of Calvin Johnson on Green Bay's smaller corners and ranked Stafford as our #3 QB, thinking he'd bounce back from a rough performance against the Panthers but he had a miserable game, throwing for 246 yards but with no touchdowns and 2 INTs.

Aaron Rodgers
- We expected Rodgers to follow up the success he had in Week 2 against the Jets with another fine performance against the Lions, who ranked near the bottom of the league in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks last year, but it didn't happen and instead he turned in another dud with just 162 yards and a TD. We were looking for a high-scoring game but it ended up being a defensive battle and the Packers' franchise signal-caller was missing open receivers all game long.



Running Backs

Where We Got It Right:
Rashad Jennings
- We told you to start Jennings in a home game against a hobbled Texans defense and if you listened you were rewarded. The Giants RB rushed for an incredible 176 yards and a TD, posting the 2nd-highest point total by a RB in Week 3.

Toby Gerhart/ Shane Vereen/ Shonn Greene
- We advised you to sit all 3 players, as we either didn't have confidence in the player (Gerhart), didn't have confidence he'd be featured in the game plan (Vereen), or didn't like the match-up (Greene). If you took our advice, you avoided a road bump, as none of them produced much in the way of fantasy points. Gerhart ran for his usual sub 4 yards a carry and hardly had any opportunities, since the Jaguars lost so badly, ending up with just 32 rushing yards on the day, while Vereen, who as we predicted, took a backseat to Stevan Ridley, produced just 37 total yards and no TDs. Greene, who was the best of the dismal bunch, ran for just 3.3 yards a carry but sort of salvaged his day with a TD.

Lamar Miller
- We liked Miller's prospects against a banged-up Chiefs defense and crowned him as our top sleeper. If you started him, you were amply rewarded, as he had 132 total yards. We may not have gotten the details right when it came to how many yards and TDs he had but we nailed the fantasy points, predicting 13.5 (he ended up with 13.2).

Where We Got It Wrong:
LeSean McCoy
- We anointed Shady as our top pick, believing he'd wreak havoc on a slow afoot Redskins defense, but he was bottled up all day, gaining just 22 yards on 19 carries.

Arian Foster
- We liked Foster's match-up against a Giants team missing stud MLB Jon Beason but he was a last-minute scratch. Back-up Alfred Blue did have some success in his stead but this didn't help many fantasy owners.



Wide Receivers

Where We Got It Right:
Julio Jones
- We had Jones ranked at #4 and he ended up being the top-producing WR in Week 3 with 161 yards and 2 TDs.

Dez Bryant
- We ranked Dez Bryant #7 and he ended up having a nice game with 89 yards and a TD.

Jeremy Kerley/ Miles Austin
- We made Kerley and Austin two of our sleepers and if you followed our advice, you were rewarded with 14.1 and 11.1 fantasy points in non-PPR leagues.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Keenan Allen/ Demaryius Thomas
- We liked the match-up of Keenan Allen against a Bills defense that allowed TDs to wideouts in back-to-back weeks and figured Thomas would finally get things going with Wes Welker back on the field but neither player delivered for fantasy owners. Thomas was held to just 31 yards and a 2-point conversion and Keenan Allen, who was limited in practice all week, was held to just 17 yards on two catches.

Victor Cruz/ DeSean Jackson/ Emmanuel Sanders
- We told you to sit all 3 of these players and we couldn't have got it more wrong. Cruz had his breakout game with 107 yards and a TD; DeSean Jackson had 117 yards and a TD thanks to a long bomb that allowed him to mock the Eagles fans in the end zone; and Sanders, who we thought would take a backseat to Wes Welker, led all Broncos receivers with 149 yards.



Tight Ends

Where We Got It Right:
Owen Daniels
- We told you to sit Owen Daniels, as we believed Dennis Pitta to be the better option. Neither TE did anything against the Browns and Daniels ended up with just 8 yards and no scores.

Greg Olsen/ Rob Gronkowski
- We told you to start Olsen and Gronkowski due to favorable match-ups and not worry about their disappointing production through the first two weeks of the season. If you took our advice, they rewarded you with 12.9 and 10.4 points, respectably, in non-PPR leagues.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Colts TEs
- We advised you to sit all 3 Colts TEs and we couldn't have been more wrong, as both Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen scored more than 10 fantasy points. Well, at least we nailed it with Jack Doyle, who was held to just 10 yards and no TDs!





Defenses

Where We Got It Right:
Cincinnati Bengals
- We had the Bengals as the third-highest ranked defense and they delivered the goods, scoring 12 fantasy points in a dominant performance where they registered 2 sacks, 2 INTs, a safety, and held the Titans scoreless until the last 3 minutes of the game.

Dallas Cowboys
- We ranked the Cowboys DST fifth and they ended up tied for 6th in Week 3 with 12 fantasy points, despite the Rams getting better QB play from rookie Austin Davis. Things didn't look good in the first half, with the Boys down 21-0, but the defense flexed its muscles in the second half, coming up with a fumble recovery and 2 INTs, one of which was a pick-6 that helped turn the game around.

Where We Got It Wrong:
New England Patriots/ Carolina Panthers
- We liked the match-up of the Patriots DST against a feeble Oakland offense but while the Pats held the Raiders to just 9 points and didn't yield a touchdown, they recorded only a single stat on the day - one INT. We also thought the Panthers' fierce pass rush would be too much for a reeling Steelers team to handle but the Steelers rendered it mute with a strong running game going and Roethlisberger delivered a great game. The Panthers, who allowed 37 points and recorded only a single INT, would have lost you 3 points if you took our admittedly bad advice.

Pittsburgh Steelers
- We advised you to sit the Steelers, as we felt Carolina's conservative style of play would limit the opportunity for turnovers. We couldn't have been more wrong, as Pittsburgh looked like the Steel Curtain of days gone past, scoring 14 fantasy points on 3 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries, and a defensive TD.



Kickers

Where We Got It Right:
Cody Parkey
- We told you to have confidence in Parkey and start him. If you listened, you were rewarded with 15 fantasy points, the highest total by a kicker in Week 3.

Nate Freese
- We advised you to sit Freese due to his accuracy issues and sure enough he missed yet another field goal this past Sunday, scoring just 5 points on the day. We hinted he'd be lucky to have a job and, sure enough, he was released after the game.

Where We Got It Wrong:
Sebastian Janikowski
- We recommended that you sit Janikowski, since we weren't enamored with idea that the Raiders offense would create many scoring opportunities against the Patriots. However, you don't need to play for a high-powered offense if you've got a strong leg and you're team is constantly getting throttled in the red zone. The crusty old Pole was a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals, nailing them from 37, 47, and 49 yards, in a game where you didn't score a point if you're last name didn't end in "owski".