Once again, taking on the task of identifying those over-performers and under-performers from the previous week of fantasy football is Ryan Hallam, creator of Fighting Chance Fantasy. So, join Ryan as he takes us through the Week 3 Studs and check back tomorrow as he take a look at the Week 3 Duds. And if you have any questions for him, email firstname.lastname@example.org for Week 4 fantasy football advice.
Note: All point projections read in this recap are from standard scoring leagues (non-PPR) and are projections made by the Bruno Boys staff
Mark Sanchez (New York Jets)—In his third win in as many games for the Jets, Sanchez finally had a game for fantasy owners to get excited about. Against the suddenly vulnerable Tennessee Titans defense, Sanchez was 17/30 for 171 yards with two passing touchdowns and an interception. Sanchez also ran four times for ten yards and another score. He was projected for another ho-hum ten-point fantasy football day, but came up with a big 17 points.
Hallam’s Take: This is a good game for Sanchez but I still don’t consider him a strong fantasy football quarterback. He isn’t asked to do a lot in the Jets offense and that just doesn’t translate to a lot of fantasy points. He is still a good option as a bye week replacement, but I absolutely wouldn’t use him as a starter if you are considering trading away your number one guy figuring you can lean on Sanchez. He is doing a great job for the Jets, but trust me there are bumpier days ahead for the young man.
Jason Campbell (Washington Redskins)—While he is off to a bad start, and you can’t say the offense was great today, somehow Campbell put up good numbers. Against the Detroit Lions, he was 27/41 for 340 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran one time for 21 yards, but lost points with one interception. Campbell was only looked on for 12 points, but came up with a good game with 21 points.
Hallam’s Take: These numbers were just the result of the fact that the Redskins threw the ball so many times on Sunday. Please don’t be fooled and give any credence to the fact that he had a 300 yard game. Even the Redskins were exploring every avenue to try to replace him in the offseason. I wouldn’t even want him as my bye week replacement as the ‘Skins offense has basically been at a stand still the entire season. They have very few playmakers on the team, and the couple that they have with some potential are buried on the depth chart. Leave Campbell in free agency where he belongs.
Kevin Kolb (Philadelphia Eagles)—For the second straight start, Kolb looked good from a fantasy football perspective, as he was 24/37 for 327 yards and two touchdowns. Kolb also ran for a touchdown from one yard out. With the lack of experience, he was reasonably figured for 10 points, but put up a great game with 27 fantasy points.
Hallam’s Take: This nice run might not last much longer depending on how Donovan McNabb’s rib heals, but Kolb is making a good case for himself to be a starter in this league somewhere next year. Unless you are in a two-quarterback league, I don’t see him carrying much value, unless perhaps your starter has a bye next week. He will hold the starting job as long as McNabb is out, but when that ends he is destined to go back to holding the clipboard.
Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars)—Jones-Drew finally had the game that the people who drafted him as high as the number one overall pick were waiting for. MJD carried the ball 23 times for 117 yards and three touchdowns. He also tacked on some more points with his four catches for 26 yards. He was the high fantasy scorer of the day with 31 points, far exceeding his reasonable 18 point projection.
Hallam’s Take: He had a couple of okay games, but those of you who picked MJD with your first pick, you can finally exhale. Jones-Drew did it all on Sunday, and while you shouldn’t expect three touchdowns every week, you should now feel comfortable with the fact that you took him as high as you did. Jones-Drew will live up to that top billing and was an excellent pick...as long as you didn’t pick him before Adrian Peterson.
Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints)—In his first game back from injury, Thomas picked up right where he left off last season. Thomas carried the ball just 14 times, but made the most of it as he shredded the Buffalo Bills defense for 126 yards and two touchdowns. His five-point projection was due to the uncertainty if he would play, but regardless of that, he put up an impressive 24-point performance.
Hallam’s Take: There were plenty of question marks surrounding how much Thomas would play this week with his knee injury, and he really didn’t show himself in the first half. However, I think the questions surrounding him have all been answered as he tortured the Buffalo defense in the second half. I was a little skeptical about Thomas coming into the season and if he would be able to repeat his 2008 numbers. Well, I am now on board with him again, and feel that you should be starting him again in Week 4.
LeSean McCoy (Philadelphia Eagles)—McCoy owners were waiting for the day that he would fill in for Brian Westbrook and their wishes were fulfilled sooner than expected. McCoy made the most of his first chance to carry the load as he rushed 20 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. His projection was conservative with the uncertainty of his role at just six points, but he more than doubled it with a 14-point outburst.
Hallam’s Take: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to mourn the loss of fantasy value of Westbrook. He has had a great career, but the guy you knew and loved likely will never come back. Meet what will be the NEW man in Philadelphia as McCoy looked like Westbrook from five or six years ago. He can run, cut, make guys miss, catch passes out of the backfield, and he will score. You might want to try to trade for him before it is too late and his owner falls in love.
Santana Moss (Washington Redskins)—It’s about time Moss decided to show up, and it took the Detroit Lions to bring out the good game in him. Moss brought in a season high 10 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown. His weak start to the year was the reason for his very low five-point projection, and he absolutely annihilated that with his 23-point outburst.
Hallam’s Take: Excuse me if I don’t get crazy excited about one good game against perhaps the worst team in football. Moss finally broke out and was successful, but I am just so skeptical of the Washington offense that I can’t get all giddy about this. Sure, it is nice to see him score big points, but between Jason Campbell’s struggles, and the fact that Clinton Portis appears to be on the decline, where are the big plays supposed to come from in Washington? This seems like more of the exception than the norm for Santana, but it isn’t all his fault. I hope I’m wrong, but do you disagree?
Pierre Garcon (Indianapolis Colts)—He filled in admirably for the injured Anthony Gonzalez yet again, as Garcon was a part of the Colts plan of attack again. The speedy Garcon had three catches for 64 yards and a touchdown. He also carried the ball one time for another 17 yards. This cumulative effort gave him 13 fantasy points on the day, more than tripling his four point projection.
Hallam’s Take: Talk about taking advantage of an opportunity! Garcon is making his presence felt while he is in the starting lineup and you have to like the apparent chemistry that he is forming with Peyton Manning. You might not think about picking him up because of the fact that Gonzalez will be back, but I think that there are enough passes to go around in Indy that Garcon will be a fantasy factor, even when they are back at full strength. It might not be quite to the level of what he is doing now, but he will certainly be worthy of a roster spot throughout the season.
DeSean Jackson (Philadelphia Eagles)—Jackson is looking like he is even better than last year, even with the backup quarterback in there. The incredibly fast Jackson had one of the best games of his young career as he had six receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown. Even with the big game last week he was projected for 14 points, but he shows up on the stud list for the second consecutive week with a 20 point game.
Hallam’s Take: After an impressive rookie season, Jackson is certainly taking his game to the next level in 2009. His speed is tough to cover and now he appears to have improved as a wide receiver too. He is clearly the No. 1 guy in Philadelphia, and the way Kevin Kolb is chucking the ball around it is obvious that you don’t have to worry about the fact that Donovan McNabb is hurt. Jackson has turned himself into one of those guys that you start every week, regardless of the matchup.
Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers)—Davis has shown flashes of the talent that the 49ers saw when they drafted him sixth overall a few years ago. Sunday might have been the first step in his ascension into consistent fantasy football relevance. Davis had seven catches for 96 yards and two touchdown receptions. Understandably, he was expected to score just four points, but he was the biggest surprise of the week as he put up 21.
Hallam’s Take: Is this what you can expect from Vernon Davis going forward? Has he finally figured it out? I can’t say for sure, but I am finding spots for him on rosters all over the place. Perhaps the swift kick in the butt from Mike Singletary was just what this kid needed all along. Davis has been doing everything the Niners have been asking from him (including blocking) and the results have been astounding. If he has finally gotten on board with the team concept, he could fly up the fantasy charts. I’m not quite ready to say he will, but I’m taking the chance on more than one of my teams.
Olindo Mare (Seattle Seahawks)—The Seahawks didn’t win and it was largely due to the fact that they couldn’t finish drives off with touchdowns. Nevertheless, that is good news for Mare owners as he connected on four of his six field goal attempts and his lone PAT attempt. Mare’s field goals from 46, 46, 39, and 37 yards gave him 13 fantasy football points for the week, and he was projected for just five.
Hallam’s Take: As they showed last year, the Seahawks struggle to finish drives and put up points with Matt Hasselbeck on the sidelines. Seneca Wallace fared much better this week, but I wouldn’t expect him to be a solid contributor most weeks. I think that this was more of a fluky thing for Mare, and I wouldn’t go running to pick him up after this performance.
Indianapolis Colts D/ST (Two Stars)—Indy faced a high powered Arizona Cardinals offense on Sunday night, but was a much better fantasy football play than expected. They allowed just 10 points, sacked Kurt Warner four times, picked him off twice, and forced a fumble. This is a four-to-five-star performance, far exceeding the projection of just two stars.
Hallam’s Take: The loss of Bob Sanders and a few other key components have taken the Colts a few notches down the fantasy ladder, but, when they are fully healthy, they are among the top 10 or so in the league. As long as they have (a rejuvenated) Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis putting pressure on the quarterback, that takes a lot of the pressure off of the rest of the defense. The Colts are a little underrated as a fantasy football defense in my opinion.
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