Fantasy Clicks: Week 3 Revelations
Aaron Rodgers: AP
As for the Rams, Will the last healthy player to leave St. Louis please turn the lights off? Seriously, as if this franchise didn't already have a noticeable dearth in talent, they must now combat the losses of Marc Bulger (23 yards passing before hurting his shoulder), WR Laurent Robinson (2 catches, 26 yards -- before being carted off the field) and WR Donnie Avery (he's not hurt, just Missing In Action in full-view of Rams fans). As usual, Steven Jackson brought his touchdown-less A-game to the party, racking up 163 total yards (117 rushing). But if he continues to have end-zone troubles, his trade marketability will surely suffer ... and his draft value for 2010 may be in the dumps, as well. On the other hand, Kyle Boller's 2009 stock couldn't be any higher after throwing for 134 yards and two touchdowns in relief of the injured Bulger. The one-time Ravens QB, frankly, should never be starting in 10-, 12- or 14-team leagues ... but he does possess some trade value to graduates of the University of Cal-Berkeley (Boller's alma mater) or any direct relative to Rams fullback Daniel Fells (2 TDs vs. Green Bay).
Philadelphia 34, Kansas City 14
Away from the QBs, we all know DeSean Jackson (6 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD) is a must-start regardless of who's throwing him the ball. But what about tight end Brent Celek and his 104 receiving yards and one score? Is he the real deal ... or is his success a byproduct of having a built-in rapport with Kolb? Right now, it can go either way. At the very least, his fantasy owners should explore all trade avenues ASAP -- just to get a sense of the marketplace. As for Kansas City's cavalcade of stars, Larry Johnson (38 rushing yards) has regressed to the point where he's only a solid play in home games ... against medicore competition (just like Julius Jones). If anything, Jamaal Charles (70 total yards) has emerged as the Chiefs' go-to back from a weekly standpoint. Ironically, he can be easily had on the waiver wires.
Denver 23, Oakland 3
Regarding the Broncos, three cheers for Brandon Marshall (5 catches, 67 yards, 1 TD) getting off the proverbial schnide. We also have major props for Correll Buckhalter (108 yards) and Knowshon Moreno (90 yards, 1 TD). But after that, there's just nothing to shout about. But hey, at least Kyle Orton (157 passing yards, 1 TD) still has his job as Denver's starting QB, his pizzas are delivered gravel-free and his girlfriend/wife presumably hasn't left him, thus forcing him into a spur-of-the-moment move to join the United States Army.
Jacksonville 31, Houston 24
Regarding the Jags, is there any way we can fill this paragraph without mentioning Maurice Jones-Drew at every turn? At face value, Jacksonville has no business strutting out of Reliant Stadium with a victory; but it's funny how MJD can be the great equalizer when rolling up 147 total yards and three touchdowns. If you have any respectable bench depth right now ... how about offering Owner B Roddy White, Devin Hester and Felix Jones -- as part of a blockbuster 3-for-1 swap? Trust me, MJD will be worth it in the end. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for WR Torry Holt (3 catches, 57 yards), TE Marcedes Lewis (1 catch, 18 yards) and QB David Garrard (243 total yards, 0 TDs vs. Houston). None are worth owning in 10- or 12-team leagues.
Minnesota 27, San Francisco 24
Speaking of unfettered tight ends, is there ANY explanation for Vernon Davis's 7-catch, 96-yard, 2-TD day -- outside of labeling this a certifiable breakout performance? Uh, I have a theory: The Vikings are notorious for allowing tight ends to run free in recent years. In fact, didn't Minnesota's opponent score a tight-end touchdown in nine straight games back in 2007? For the time being, let's just chalk VD's monster afternoon to the stars ... or that offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye left his WR-specific pages from the playbook at his Minneapolis hotel room before the 1 p.m. kickoff. But just in case ... feel free to grab Davis as your backup tight end (or Shiancoe's immediate replacement).
By the way, we wanted to squeeze Adrian Peterson (99 total yards) and Frank Gore (4 total yards -- left with injury) into this segment ... but we couldn't find room. Guess you'll just have to keep 'em -- and avoid Itchy Trade-Finger Syndrome for another week, eh?)
Reggie Wayne (L), Dallas Clark: Harry How/Getty Images
As for the Cards ... the numbers look somewhat appealing for fantasyland. But the whole experience of not matching Indy's offensive flair and execution certainly leaves a bad taste in one's mouth. For starters, what to do with rookie RB Beanie Wells (-2 yards) or Tim Hightower (61 total yards)? Can they be trusted in non-blowout situations in Arizona's favor (like last week against Jacksonville)? And can we finally remove Steve Breaston (7 catches, 94 yards) from next week's injury list -- at least the "questionable" tag -- now that he's led the club in receiving yards for consecutive weeks? Geesh!
Regarding Anquan Boldin (6 catches, 83 yards, 1 TD) and Larry Fitzgerald (7 catches, 76 yards) ... are they possible buy-low candidates on the open trade market -- especially if Kurt Warner (332 passing yard, 1 TD, 2 INTs) keeps up his erratic pace? Here's one way to find out: Identify an owner who's desperate for running back help ... and see if he/she would surrender Fitzy or Boldin -- straight-up -- for Willis McGahee, Frank Gore or Thomas Jones.
Chicago 25, Seattle 19
Regarding Seattle, Julius Jones' impressive outing (136 total yards, 1 TD) may have brought unexpected joy to fantasy owners ... but let's not forget his Jekyll-and-Hyde reputation for being lights-out at home ... and eminently forgettable on the road. Or do we need to take the Way Back Machine to Week 2 ... when he registered only 9 total yards on double-digit touches? On the positive side of the above condemnation, not everyone is aware of Jones' horrid play on the road ... which gives you six days to conceive a sell-high swap before Seattle leaves Qwest Field for five of its next eight games.
San Diego 23, Miami 13
Regarding the Dolphins, would they have reached a different outcome Sunday if Chad Pennington hadn't fumbled at the San Diego 1 on the opening possession? What if Miami had found paydirt on that 18-play, 94-yard drive that ended with a touchback in the Chargers' end zone? We'll never know, of course, but it is fun to dream about Ronnie Brown capping a 115-yard day with a touchdown. It's fun to imagine how Ricky Williams (84 yards, 1 TD) would be perceived -- from this point forward -- if he had somehow found the end zone twice. In the meantime, we'll just have to gauge the extent of Pennington's injury before making any sustainable judgments on WRs Davone Bess (7 catches, 54 yards) or Ted Ginn, Jr. (zero catches). Right here, right now, they're not worth your time in standard-scoring leagues (although both hold Points Per Reception-league value).
Detroit 19, Washington 14
On the flip side ... there are few revelations to behold with the Redskins. Clinton Portis (48 total yards) requires more than 13 touches to be great, Jason Campbell (361 total yards, 2 TDs) needs 40 or more passes to be a QB1 (good luck guessing when that'll occur) ... and Santana Moss (10 catches, 178 yards, 1 TD) is always good for 3-4 bust-out performances every year. You just need to exercise patience when he's mired in two, three and sometimes four-game slumps.
N.Y. Jets 24, Tennessee 17
Regarding the Titans, there's not much to say about the club's 0-3 start (matching their regular-season-loss total from '08) ... other than Chris Johnson (105 total yards) must become more consistent in the passing game, skinny LenDale White (27 yards, 1 TD) is still wasting space on fantasy benches and Justin Gage, Nate Washington and Kenny Britt (4 catches, 59 yards) are too good to be this mediorce. Seriously, it'd be easier to correctly identify a box of Frosted Flakes in a crowded grocery store -- while blindfolded -- than determining which Titans wideout will yield a big return each week.
Willis McGahee: Jamie Squire/Getty Images
Cincinnati 23, Pittsburgh 20
New England 26, Atlanta 10
New Orleans 27, Buffalo 7
So, what did we learn from Sunday's snoozer? For starters, let's remember that New Orleans still scored 27 points off a painfully mediocre showing and that Brees, Bush, Thomas, Colston and maybe injured Lance Moore are entrenched as week-in, week-out starters. As for the Bills, now that Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson will be splitting carries in the Buffalo backfield, it's the perfect time to either buy low on Lynch ... or sell high on Jackson (97 total yards vs. New Orleans).
N.Y. Giants 24, Tampa Bay 0
As for New York ... Ahmad Bradshaw (104 yards) and Brandon Jacobs (92 yards, 1 TD) were the real Gruesome Twosome -- while subtly reminding fantasygoers that the Giants, at the core, are still a power-running team. In other words, please don't expect 20 combined catches every week from Mario Manningham (4 catches, 55 yards on Sunday) and Steve Smith (7 catches, 63 yards, 1 TD). They're productive flex options, for sure, but they only have the luxury of playing the Cowboys' Charmin-soft secondary twice a year.
Jay Clemons can be found on Twitter, day and night (@SI_JayClemons), accessing your fantasy questions and comments. You can also read his award-winning Revelations every Sunday and Monday during the NFL season.