Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners & Losers from NFL Week 3

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystSeptember 23, 2012

Fantasy Football's Biggest Winners & Losers from NFL Week 3

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    We've made it through most of the third week of the 2012 NFL season, and to call it wild would be one lulu of an understatement.

    Running backs posting nearly 300 total yards and overtime thrillers set up by Hail Mary passes.

    OK, so it wasn't that wild.

    The craziness of Week 3 infected the world of fantasy football as well, and here's a look at some of the biggest fantasy winners and losers from Week 3.

Winner: QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the more surprising losers in Week 3, but their loss to the Oakland Raiders certainly can't be laid at the feet of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

    Roethlisberger carved up an injury-depleted Oakland secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey, throwing for more than 380 yards with four touchdown passes without an interception and posting the top fantasy score by a quarterback Sunday.

Loser: QB Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    In the first two weeks of the 2012 season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick has been a rock-solid fantasy producer.  However, the specter of turnovers that has hung over the team's first two victories was a constant threat.

    That threat became a reality Sunday in Philadelphia's blowout loss at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Vick lost a pair of fumbles and threw for 217 yards while taking a pounding on his way to just a handful of fantasy points in many leagues.

Winner: RB Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Meanwhile, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles picked up more than twice as many fantasy points as Michael Vick on one play.

    The fifth-year pro was off to a slow start this year, but in a matchup with the New Orleans Saints and their leaky run defense Charles went thermonuclear.

    He had 33 carries for 233 yards, six receptions for 55 yards and a 91-yard touchdown run.

    That's 40 fantasy points in PPR formats that single-handedly won many fantasy games.

Loser: RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles

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    This may seem a bit like piling on the Eagles, but given how the Arizona Cardinals defense piled on them, it's no surprise that running back LeSean McCoy finds himself a "loser" this week.

    The fourth-year pro, who was a top-three pick in most fantasy drafts this year, did manage to tally 78 total yards on the day, but even the majority of that came in garbage time when the game was well out of reach.

Winner: Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    It's been a very tumultuous year for Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew. If today's tilt with the Indianapolis Colts was any indication, the seventh-year veteran's fantasy owners may finally be in for some smooth sailing.

    Jones-Drew gashed the Indianapolis Colts for 177 yards on 28 carries, powering the Jaguars to their first win of the season and putting his contract holdout over the summer squarely in the rearview mirror.

Loser: Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions

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    While the gravy train for fantasy owners of Maurice Jones-Drew may finally be getting up to speed, the one for Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith just came off the rails.

    With fellow tailback Mikel LeShoure returning from suspension, Smith went from lead back for the Lions to something of a reduced role—Smith didn't touch the football in the loss to the Tennessee Titans, while LeShoure racked up 100 rushing yards on 26 carries.

Winner: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals

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    There were a number of big days turned in by prominent wide receivers in Week 3, whether it was Calvin Johnson against Tennessee or the nine-catch, 183 performance of A.J. Green.

    However, no wideout's fantasy owners more desperately needed a big day than those of Larry Fitzgerald. The ninth-year pro had only five catches for 67 yards over the first two weeks of the season.

    Fitzgerald didn't disappoint, torching the Philadelphia Eagles to the tune on nine catches for 114 yards and a score.

Loser: Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver Broncos

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    Through two weeks of the 2012 season, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had seemingly emerged as Peyton Manning's go-to target in the passing attack, reeling in 13 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

    That emergence was put on hold, at least temporarily, in Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans. Not only did the third-year pro only make three catches for 34 yards, but Thomas had a couple of costly drops that may well cost him targets down the road.

Winner: Andre Brown, New York Giants

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    With starter Ahmad Bradshaw sidelined by a neck injury the New York Giants were forced to hand the reins to their running game to third-year pro Andre Brown, presenting fantasy owners with a potentially interesting spot start given their favorable matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

    Owners who rolled the dice on Brown were handsomely rewarded and then some, as he rumbled for over 100 yards with a pair of touchdowns in Big Blue's blowout win.

Loser: Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

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    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was drafted as a top-five signal-caller in most fantasy football leagues. Through three weeks, teams that drafted him are likely combing their league's rules for the policy on refunds.

    After Thursday night's three-interception clunker against the New York Giants, Newton has now averaged two turnovers a game. It appears that fears of a sophomore slump from Newton were not misplaced.

Winner: Torrey Smith, WR, Baltimore Ravens

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    Heading into Sunday night's big matchup with the New England Patriots, there was considerable doubt as to whether Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith would even play, as early Sunday Smith learned that his younger brother had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

    However, not only did the second-year pro play, he was instrumental in a close win for the Ravens at home, hauling in six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

    Smith's big game pales next to his family's loss of course, and my thoughts and prayers are with them at this terrible time in their lives.

Loser: Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

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    Given how good the Atlanta Falcons defense looked against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos last Monday night it wasn't a stretch to think that Philip Rivers could be in for a rough day when the San Diego Chargers hosted Atlanta in Week 3.

    However, we may have underestimated just how rough, ad Rivers failed to top 200 passing yards or throw a touchdown pass while tossing a pair of interceptions in a lopsided loss.