Fantasy Football Stock Report for NFL Week 3
Aside from the obvious elitist in fantasy football, the majority of players aren't a lock to put up sick numbers each week.
Take Peyton Manning, for example.
The football world was uncertain about him before he took down the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1. It was a miraculous performance after having sat out so long, to say the least.
Then Manning had about as rough of a start to any game as a quarterback can have on Monday.
It simply goes to show that there will be players who don't perform up to standards. However, there are also those capable of getting the job done.
So let's get to it and check out some stocks as we head into Week 3.
Alex Smith: QB, San Francisco 49ers (at Minnesota Vikings)
Alex Smith is quietly becoming one reliable quarterback, and he's been at it since the 2011 season.
As for the first two weeks of the 2012 season, Smith has simply continued being consistent.
Four touchdowns to zero picks and 437 yards on 40 completions is impressive. He's currently sitting with a 70.2 completion percentage, and it's no surprise the San Francisco 49ers are 2-0.
This week, Smith and Co. take to the road to face the Minnesota Vikings. Despite their definite improvement as a pass defense, the Vikings are still susceptible downfield, as Andrew Luck displayed on Sunday.
Well, Smith has better targets than Luck, and San Francisco knows how to play well on the road.
Stevan Ridley: RB, New England Patriots (at Baltimore Ravens)
After one excellent performance in Week 1 versus the Tennessee Titans, Stevan Ridley remained solid against the Arizona Cardinals.
However, it was not nearly as strong of an outing, and Ridley went from 152 total yards against the Titans to only 95 against the Cards.
What this showed is how much better Arizona's defense is compared to Tennessee's, and it only gets more difficult for Ridley in Week 3. The New England Patriots go on the road to play the Baltimore Ravens, who limited LeSean McCoy to 3.2 yards per carry and only eight receiving yards last week.
So don't expect Ridley's performance to be anything like the first two weeks. Baltimore's offense will slow the game tempo to restrict New England's opportunities, and the Ravens' defense will attack up front.
Donnie Avery: WR, Indianapolis Colts (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)
We've never seen this type of confidence from Donnie Avery since being drafted by the St. Louis Rams in 2008.
Avery's rookie campaign showed his best production entering the 2012 season, but all that has changed thus far.
Never before has Avery been so consistently dominant this early, as he's accounted for 148 yards on 12 catches from Andrew Luck.
The Indianapolis Colts also have more potential talent on their offense than given credit for, and Avery is just capitalizing on the opportunity. Reggie Wayne, despite his age, still has the ability to draw double coverage, and tight end Coby Fleener possesses the size to beat anyone in single coverage.
In short, this leaves Avery facing man-to-man more often than not, and he's proved to be reliable. Lining up against a tough defense from the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3, Avery will need to make a strong impact for Indy to win.
Therefore, anticipate Luck targeting him quite often throughout.
Peyton Hillis: RB, Kansas City Chiefs (at New Orleans Saints)
Although he fumbled against the Buffalo Bills, Peyton Hillis fared well otherwise, with 91 total yards in Week 2.
Still, we can't expect a whole lot from Hillis when Week 3 kicks off.
Crennel says Charles had sore knee yesterday but would play vs Saints— Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) September 17, 2012
In addition, the Chiefs' other ball-carrier, Shaun Draughn, is a viable option inside the red zone.
Draughn totaled 41 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 versus the Atlanta Falcons and 79 yards on Sunday. So regardless of how much K.C. relies on Jamaal Charles, it would be surprising if Hillis saw more touches than Draughn.
After all, his rushing touchdown is the lone score from the Chiefs' running backs in 2012.
Andre Brown: RB, New York Giants (at Carolina Panthers)
The New York Giants need to run the ball effectively if they want a Week 3 win.
And right now, Andre Brown is Big Blue's best option.
That's a lot of reliable talent not returning to the game, and it leaves more responsibility for Brown this week. Regardless of Bradshaw's status for Week 3, Brown's fantasy stock increases after a solid performance of 90 total yards and one touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With a short week and playing the Carolina Panthers, the Giants must control the clock and keep Cam Newton off the field. The Cats' offense is explosive and compiled 463 total yards on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Considering that New York's defense is still rather vulnerable against the pass, limiting Newton's possessions can only be done with a strong running game to set up Eli Manning.
Peyton Manning: QB, Denver Broncos (vs. Houston Texans)
We saw Peyton Manning's vulnerabilities against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night.
The Dirty Birds were able to disguise coverages and blitz effectively, which disrupted Manning early on.
Ultimately, that was the difference in the Falcons outlasting the Denver Broncos in Week 2. And it doesn't get any easier for Manning and Denver's offense in Week 3.
Coming to the Mile High City are the 2-0 Houston Texans, who field arguably the NFL's best defense. Ranking No. 3 and No. 4 in 2011 against the pass and rush, respectively, the Texans haven't missed a beat in 2012.
Now, yes, the Miami Dolphins and Jacksonville Jaguars aren't as potentially explosive as Denver. Nonetheless, Houston's allowed only 17 points this year, and the Broncos can't afford another sluggish start.
For as much experience as Manning has against the Texans, this particular defense is far better than he has ever seen from Houston.
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