Fantasy football Risers, Sliders: Richardson's success will come
The biggest shakeup in the last week of fantasy football was not on the field; instead, it was the trade that sent Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts for a first-round pick. However, in the wake of seemingly-nonstop discussion about how Richardson's move would change his fantasy numbers (and the numbers of other players affected), plenty of players dropped or improved their stock in Sunday's games. Here's a look at some of the movers and shakers after the big trade and Week 3 games.
• Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans -- The third-year quarterback more than doubled his total 2013 yardage on Sunday against the Chargers, throwing for 299 yards and a touchdown in the last-second win. He also rushed five times for 68 yards and a score.
• Eli Manning, New York Giants -- Things managed to get worse for the G-Men as they lost to Carolina 38-0. Manning went just 12-for-23 for 119 yards and an interception with no touchdowns, and was sacked seven times. The younger Manning has seven picks this season.
• Trent Richardson, Indianapolis Colts -- His 13 carries for 35 yards and a touchdown weren't anything special in his first game with the Colts. But once he practices with Indianapolis and learns more about the playbook, he'll likely have more success. Sure, Ahmad Bradshaw rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown, but Richardson will work his way up. The main statistical hit Richardson will take in Indianapolis will be to his targets; Luck doesn't check down to his running backs as much as Brandon Weeden did in Cleveland. There's a chance Richardson will continue to have small yards-per-carry numbers in Indy, but he'll get more touchdown chances with his new team.
• Bilal Powell, New York Jets -- Powell carried the ball 27 times for 149 yards, which at least shows the Jets aren't afraid to ride him against suspect run defenses like the Bills. Through three weeks, Powell has 52 carries to Chris Ivory's 26. Powell has one more chance to impress, as Mike Goodson isn't back from his PED suspension for another week
• Joique Bell, Detroit Lions -- With Reggie Bush out with a knee injury, Bell racked up 132 yards from scrimmage (69 rushing and 63 receiving) and a rushing touchdown in Detroit's 27-20 win over Washington. The big game probably hurts Bush more than helps Bell, but it will be interesting to see how Bell is worked into the offense if Bush returns as expected next week.
• Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis had the same number of carries as Bernard (10), and each running back had a first-quarter score in the Benglas win, but the rookie outrushed the Law Firm. Bernard looks to be the more promising option in Cincinnati for the rest of the season.
• C.J. Spiller, Buffalo Bills -- Spiller rushed 10 times for just nine yards and two fumbles (neither lost) before exiting with a knee injury. In relief, Fred Jackson ran seven times for 72 yards -- though he racked up most of it was on a 59-yard run. Spiller's knee injury will be something to keep an eye on in the coming week.
• Bernard Pierce, Baltimore Ravens -- Fantasy players who started Pierce were likely hoping for a breakout day that would lead to more carries for Pierce even when Ray Rice returns from his injured hip. He rushed 24 times for 65 yards, but bailed out fantasy owners with a late touchdown.
• Eddie Lacy and James Starks, Green Bay Packers -- Last week, Lacy went down with a concussion. This week, Starks -- who rushed for 132 yards in relief against the Redskins -- went down with a knee injury after 14 carries for 55 yards. His backup, rookie Johnathan Franklin, rushed 13 times for 103 yards and a touchdown on Sunday. But Franklin fumbled on a 4th and 1 that Cincy returned for the game-winning touchdown. The Green Bay backfield is only more muddled after this week.
• Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns -- Returning from a two-game drug suspension, Gordon caught 10 passes for 146 yards on 19 targets in the Browns' 31-27 win over the Vikings. Trade rumors swirled around Gordon earlier on Sunday, and after Trent Richardson was shipped out of town, it's clear that anything is possible in Cleveland. But if he can put up those kinds of numbers with third-stringer Brian Hoyer, he looks like he'll be a starting fantasy wide receiver almost anywhere.
• Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers -- With Emmanuel Sanders' stock rising, Brown staked his claim to the No. 1 receiver spot in Pittsburgh. He was targeted 13 times, catching nine passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears. Chicago's pass defense isn't great, but Brown now has just one fewer target than Sanders this year. He also has four more receptions and 150 more yards.
• Santonio Holmes, New York Jets -- Holmes finally got some targets this week, with Geno Smith looking his way 10 times. He caught five passes for 154 yards and a 69-yard touchdown. The veteran could be working his way back into the offense; he was lost for the season in Week 4 of 2012.
• Mike Wallace, Miami Dolphins -- Miami's 3-0 but Wallace has been invisible in two of the wins. He had just one catch in Week 1, but followed that up with a nine-catch, 115-yard performance in Week 2. Then yesterday he was targeted only five times, catching two passes for 22 yards.
• Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns -- The early-season fantasy stud's stock keeps rising now that the Browns traded away their starting running back. He was targeted 11 times in Week 3, catching six passes for 66 yards and three touchdowns -- including a touchdown on a fake field goal. Cameron has 31 targets on the year and is going to keep getting looks as the season goes on.
• Martellus Bennett, Chicago Bears -- Bennett got five targets on Sunday, but caught just two passes for 10 yards. Despite their 40-23 win, the Bears' offense didn't really move the ball all that much -- Jay Cutler threw for just 159 yards -- so this could be merely a one-week blip.
• Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers -- Finley was concussed on a hit by George Iloka in the Packers' loss. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on his status this week and look for possible replacements.
• Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots -- Yeah, he's already a top fantasy kicker. But he's gone up in value even more, as New England's struggles to get it into the end zone are leading to more FG attempts.
• Greg Zuerlein, St. Louis Rams -- The second-year kicker has a big leg, but didn't even get a chance to attempt a field goal on Sunday against the Cowboys. He's hit just one field goal after connecting for four against Arizona in Week 1.
• New England Patriots -- New England is 3-0 without a lot of fanfare, but the defense came up big against Tampa Bay Sunday. It held the Buccaneers to three points, picked off Josh Freeman once and sacked him three times. It will be interesting to see what it can do against struggling Atlanta on Sunday night.
• Minnesota Vikings -- Minnesota's defense was a hot pickup this week with the Browns expected to struggle all day. While the Vikings forced four turnovers and had three sacks, they also gave up 31 points -- hardly the great start they were expected to be.
• San Francisco 49ers -- Aldon Smith is taking an indefinite leave of absence after a DUI arrest over the weekend. San Francisco's offense has scored 10 points in the last two games, putting the Niners defense on the field a lot more. The 49ers are 1-2 and their defense has given up 84 points so far this season.
MORE WEEK 4 FANTASY FOOTBALL CONTENT:
GONOS: Start 'em, sit 'em -- Who should start in place of Rodgers or Newton?
BELLER: Week 4 player stat projections -- Expect big things from the Colts this week
SI STAFF: Week 4 composite player rankings -- Manning tops QB rankings for second week
FLOOD: Waiver wire -- Uncovering the best replacements for players with Week 4 byes
BELLER, FLOOD: Weekly Roundtable -- Will Spiller start performing like a first-rounder?
McQUADE: Risers, Sliders -- Richardson will continue to rise with new team
BELLER: Fast Forward -- Browns aren't crazy; Giants' offense a disaster