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One man’s injury is another man’s opportunity.
Kevin Kolb, now the leader of the aforementioned Cardinals, knows all about that.
A hotly contested preseason QB battle ended with John Skelton winning the job and Kolb being relegated to the bench. But when Skelton went down in Week 1 against the Seahawks, Kolb demonstrated the Cards are hardly short-handed at QB.
His stats are solid, but not overwhelming (428 yards, four TDs in about nine quarters of action). But his near-flawless execution of the no-huddle on the game-winning drive versus the Seahawks and his ability to protect the football (zero picks to date) make him perhaps just what the Cardinals need to contend with the 49ers in the NFL West.
Elsewhere, guys like the New York Giants’ Andre Brown and the Buffalo Bills’ C.J. Spiller also surprised not only as solid contributors, but as fantasy stars in relief of their injured teammates.
Brown is fresh off his 113-yard, two-TD breakout on Thursday Night Football in relief of Ahmad Bradshaw, while all Spiller did was lead the NFL in rushing through two weeks with 292 yards and three TD before leaving in Week 3 with a shoulder injury.
While the injury isn’t as serious as originally thought, he’s likely to miss some time. Even though the Bills could get Fred Jackson—whom Spiller filled in for—back in Week 4, they’ll be itching to get Spiller’s ridiculous 9.3 yards per carry back in the rotation.
Brown’s story makes him a nice surprise for the Giants. He was cut seven times by five different teams in three years and barely recorded an NFL statistic before taking the reins from Bradshaw after he left the Giants’ Week 2 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Now, it appears he’s finally found a home in New York—he and his 5.6 yards per carry.
And it’s not Spiller’s success that’s surprising. After all, he rushed for 561 yards and 5.2 yards per carry in 2011 and demonstrated himself to be a dynamic returner, so we knew he had NFL talent. But what's new is his sudden propensity for the big play both on the ground and in the receiving game, as he’s accounted for 422 yards of offense and four TD on the young season.
Kolb, Brown and Spiller are not only making it hard for people to ignore them. They’re going to make it tough for their incumbents to get their jobs back.