Fantasy Football: Larry Fitzgerald Headlines NFC 'Random Thoughts' for Week 3

Jay Clemons@ATL_JayClemonsFantasy Sports Lead WriterSeptember 24, 2012

Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald rolled over the Eagles for nine catches, 114 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals' blowout home victory on Sunday.
Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald rolled over the Eagles for nine catches, 114 yards and one touchdown in the Cardinals' blowout home victory on Sunday.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Here are 15 random and NFC-based deep thoughts about the action from Week 3.

To view the AFC fantasy revelations from Sunday, click here.

1. There are three certainties in life: Death, taxes and Larry Fitzgerald (nine catches, 114 yards, one TD vs. Philly) bouncing back from a bad game. Simply put, you had a better chance of being struck by a bear riding a unicycle on the freeway Sunday than Fitz had of replicating last week's one-catch, four-yard outing against the Patriots. The lesson here: NEVER bench Larry Fitzgerald!

2. I was surprised to see the Vikings earmark 27 touches to Adrian Peterson (107 total yards) against the 49ers, and that statement has little to do with Toby Gerhart's sudden bout of fumbleitis. Just nine months removed from a gruesome knee injury (and subsequent major surgery), I didn't think Peterson had the capacity for 20-plus touches. In September, and against the NFL's best defense.

3. Kudos to Robert Griffin III (221 yards passing) for bringing fantasy joy to a blah passing day. Most quarterbacks would kill for a sluggish effort of 306 total yards and two touchdowns.

4. Frank Gore's so-so outing (72 total yards) was more of a scoreboard-driven consequence than a sign of his fantasy mortality. With the 49ers trailing 17-3 at halftime, the coaches must have felt obligated to open up the passing game and take more chances downfield. As a result, Gore only touched the ball on 13 of San Francisco's 58 plays.

Sunday struggles aside, Gore is a redoubtable starter in 12-team leagues (RB2/flex). Please don't spend any time debating that notion when crafting Week 4 lineups.

5. So much for the idea that Tony Gonzalez would coast in (likely) his final NFL season. On Sunday, he crushed the Chargers for nine catches, 91 yards, one touchdown and 12 targets. It was Gonzo's third straight game with a touchdown for the high-powered and undefeated Falcons. It was also the umpteenth time in his career that he had terrorized an AFC West opponent.

6. Mikel Leshoure (134 total yards, one TD vs. Tennessee) will be the very definition of 'late-round fantasy gold' by season's end, if not sooner. How else to characterize the Lions' best power/speed rusher since the days of Billy Sims? For the first time in the Matthew Stafford/Calvin Johnson era, Detroit has a running back who's capable of spearheading five- or six-minute drives during crunch time.

7. Speaking of Stafford, I'm not too worried about the leg injury that precluded him from finishing the Lions' zany overtime loss to the Titans. Assuming it's just a mild strain, Stafford (290 total yards, one TD) should be good to go after Detroit's Week 5 bye. (How's that for fortuitous scheduling?)

8. Let's not freak out about Josh Freeman's pedestrian numbers against Dallas (10 completions, 111 total yards, one TD). For starters, the Cowboys have a top-flight cornerback duo (Brandon Carr/Mo Claiborne) and one of the league's best pass defenses. 

Plus, there's this: It'll require three games of 10 completions or less to warrant unwanted comparisons to the quarterback whose name shall not be uttered in fantasy circles (rhymes with HE- BOW).

9. There are no more excuses for Christian Ponder (231 total yards, three TD vs. San Francisco) being a waiver-wire afterthought in 12-team leagues. I seldom take victory laps for nailing bold predictions on The Fantasy Blog, but if Ponder fulfills my August prophecy of 250 total yards and/or two touchdowns for Weeks 1-5, that might be cause for celebration. (So far, he's 3-for-3.)

Through three games, the kid boasts a 70 percent completion rate—a measure of supreme accuracy that can be best explained in this backpedal-infused touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph.

10. It's difficult being a Darren Sproles owner these days. In his first two games, Sproles collected 163 total yards and one touchdown without the benefit of one rush. Against the Chiefs on Sunday, that trend was upended by the curious sight of Sproles logging seven carries for 62 yards but catching zero balls (from only three targets).

I realize that Marques Colston's foot injury (playing through pain) and Sean Payton's absence (league suspension) may be affecting the Saints' offensive rhythm, but what's the deal with only seven touches in a game that almost went five quarters?

11. Thank goodness Danny Amendola (five catches, 66 yards vs. Chicago) only has three more outdoors games on grass. Leading up to Week 3, I made a conscious effort to praise for Amendola for his amazing numbers against the Redskins (15 catches, 160 yards, one TD) while also reminding fantasy GMs of the 4.5-catch/40-yard averages in his previous four games on grass.

Bottom line: Until further notice, Amendola will be classified as a "schizophrenic start," meaning he's a healthy lock for PPR goodness at home—but a flex-only asset in most road games.

12. Kevin Kolb (238 total yards, two TD) and running back Ryan Williams (95 total yards on 14 touches) looked great against the Eagles, but it's still not enough to endorse either one as a starter in 12-team leagues. The same holds true for any Arizona player not named Fitzgerald.

13. There's no shame in asking Who the frick is Damaris Johnson? today. For those don't follow Tulsa football, Damaris Johnson is the rookie receiver who collected five catches, 84 yards and 11 targets—all team highs—in the Eagles' blowout loss to the Cardinals.

To be fair, Johnson's out-of-nowhere output coincided with Jeremy Maclin's Week 3 absence (hip pointer). But it's also fair to wonder if the Philly coaches have found another high-upside toy for Michael Vick? Or is Johnson just another Jason Avant—a productive asset in emergency situations only?

14. This week may be the perfect time to pursue Brandon Marshall (five catches, 71 yards vs. St. Louis) in a buy-low trade. He's coming off two mediocre performances (featuring a handful of dropped passes) and has a tough Week 4 matchup with the Cowboys (on the road). Landing Marshall should be a top priority in PPR leagues.

15. Speaking of buy-low opportunities, sign me up for any potential blockbuster involving LeSean McCoy (78 total yards vs. Arizona). With per-outing averages of only 101 total yards and 0.33 touchdowns in 2012, I can already hear the unwashed fantasy masses bemoaning McCoy's production compared to last year's 1,600-yard, 20-TD campaign.

Jay Clemons
can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.