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Week 3 Review: Studs and Duds

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DeMarco Murray ran all over the Rams Sunday on his way to leading all running backs in fantasy scoring for Week 3. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.
DeMarco Murray ran all over the Rams Sunday on his way to leading all running backs in fantasy scoring for Week 3. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images.

With most of Week 3 in the books, it’s tough not to be frustrated. In all likelihood, one of your top few picks has been an absolute nightmare so far. Inevitably this happens every year, but it seems to be rampant this season. So many players who were drafted to be cornerstones of your fantasy lineups have performed well below expectations. It sucks, there’s no other way to put it. But cheer up, at least it’s football season, and crappy fantasy football is better than no fantasy football. It’s a long season and we’ve barely scratched the surface of it.

1. Don’t panic, but look elsewhere.

Panicking is rarely prudent, but at this point it may be time to look elsewhere. When guys like David Wilson, Stevan Ridley, and C.J. Spiller (who you drafted to be every week plug-and-plays) continue to look pretty awful, it gets a little scary. Your best move is to just stay the course. If you have capable bench players to plug in temporarily, consider benching Ridley or Wilson. If Spiller’s knee injury isn’t a long-term issue, you can’t bench him. He’s just too dynamic of a player). Trading these struggling running backs, however, should be pretty much out of the question. If you do decide to ship them off, you’re going to do it at a steep discount without standing to gain much long-term. It’s a tough position to be in, but you don’t have many options but to just wait it out and hope that things turn around.

On the bright side, if you own DeMarco Murray, Jamaal Charles, or LeSean McCoy, you’re happy as can be right now. McCoy, who returned after missing snaps with an ankle injury, has played out of his mind every week and has benefited tremendously in Chip Kelly’s offense.

Other backs that stood out this week include Bilal Powell, who has emerged as the more effective player in the Jets backfield, Giovani Bernard, who is getting more touches every week as was expected, and Joique Bell, who has been solid all year. Bell won’t get as many opportunities as he did this week when Reggie Bush is healthy, but Bush has had  trouble staying on the field in the past, so Bell is a must-own in fantasy leagues. 

Trent Richardson had a slow start to his career in Indianapolis, but he did score from one yard out (with only two practices under his belt, it’s tough to expect too much from the young running back). Expect his role to increase and Ahmad Bradshaw’s to decrease moving forward. The Colts wouldn’t have paid such a hefty price for Richardson if they didn’t expect him to be a bell cow.

2. Aaron Rodgers, Colin Kaepernick, and Tom Brady underwhelm.

This was a weird week for quarterbacks, to say the least. Of the Top Five scorers in standard leagues, two make sense and three are completely out of left field (Jake Locker, Geno Smith, and Christian Ponder all had great fantasy days). And for the most part, it was a waste of points because odds are hardly anyone was starting them. None of the three are worth consideration in most formats, however, and are even weak bye week fill-ins. Consider today’s outcomes nothing more than an apparition.

Elsewhere, we saw more mind-boggling stat lines as several “top” quarterbacks may have sunk your whole week. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers were especially painful to watch as the Colts shut him down all day. Expectations may need to be lowered a bit in the weeks ahead, but there’s no denying that he’s a special talent.

Tom Brady continued to frustrate and desperately needs Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back.

Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions for the first time since the 2010-11 NFC Championship game and managed just one touchdown. Read: It was a fluke. Don’t worry about it. Be happy it happened now and not Week 15 or 16 when your League Championship on the line.

While this week was the story of highs (Locker, Ponder) and lows (Rodgers, Eli Manning, Kaepernick), everything should return to normal next week. For the most part, our quarterbacks are plugged-in every week (with the exception of bye weeks), so there’s not much you can do if one of your players has a rough outing.

3. Jordan Cameron continues to pay dividends, even in a pretty terrible situation.

With the exception of Cameron and Jimmy Graham, there wasn’t much to talk about at the tight end position. Cameron and Graham have emerged as the top tight ends this year and nobody else has even been close. Cameron is now a must-start every week - especially with the return of Josh Gordon.

I wish I more to say about tight ends this week, but there really isn’t anything good to say. Jason Witten didn’t find the end zone and the Cowboys beat up on St. Louis so badly that they didn’t need to throw for much of the second half. Tony Gonzalez continued to show his age and now has just 11 catches for 93 yards through three games. With few other quality options at tight end, however, there isn’t much you can do.

All eyes continue to focus their attention on Rob Gronkowski as the talented tight end will more than likely be ready to go next week. He’ll immediately need to step into a large role with the Patriots offense struggling as much as it is. He’s a must-start as soon as he returns.

4. Josh Gordon returns with a bang.

After missing the first two contests while serving a suspension, the talented second-year wide receiver burst onto the fantasy landscape this week by leading all receivers in scoring for standard formats.

For PPR formats, Jordy Nelson had another solid day as he continues his campaign to be an every week WR1 following an injury plagued 2012 season. Pierre Garcon has also started off hot following his injury shortened season and is a solid WR1/2 every week. If you’re not playing in a PPR league (why?), then they had mediocre days at best.

Roddy White needs to get healthy. If he needs to sit out a week then so be it, but he can’t keep starting when he’s less than 100 percent. It’s helping no one.

Kenbrell Thompkins scored twice (which is nice), but he was still inconsistent while securing only three of his targets. Aaron Dobson, on the other hand, took some major strides while catching seven balls for 52 yards. They’ll both continue to be dicey flex plays moving forward.

All in all, a weird week for quarterbacks meant a weird week for wide receivers. Santonio Holmes and Brandon LaFell were Top Five players this week. We all need to be patient and wait for the league to return to equilibrium, which it surely will.

If you’re frustrated, you’re not alone. Stay on top of your waiver wire and see who you can grab, either players who were already there or those who panicky owners drop too soon. Nate Washington and Nate Burleson are players to look at in deeper leagues as they’ve both drawn heavier workloads to this point. If you need a running back, keep an eye on the Falcons and Browns backfield’s as both are dealing with some uncertainty at the moment. If you need a quarterback or tight end, start negotiating because there isn’t likely anyone of value waiting to be scooped up at this point.

Check out our other content throughout the week for a more in-depth look at moves that you need to make in preparation for next week and as always, make any player decisions with a level head. Sell high. Buy low.