Fantasy Football Week 3: Fact or Fiction on Week 2's Top Performers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2013

Fantasy Football Week 3: Fact or Fiction on Week 2's Top Performers

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    A big game in fantasy football does not always lead to another one. It is important to separate the one-week wonders from the potential studs.

    You certainly do not want to waste a waiver priority on a fluky player who provides nothing for the rest of the season. Then again, you do not want to miss out on a gem that will help you win all year.

    This slideshow will help you differentiate the fact and fiction from each of Week 2's top performers. 

    Here is a look at the most surprising fantasy players from Week 2, including whether their performances were a sneak preview of a big season ahead or just a random good showing in what will ultimately be an otherwise mediocre year. 

    Note: All statistics and league information courtesy of ESPN.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers

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    Week 2 Stats

    36-of-47, 419 passing yards, three touchdowns; three carries, 11 yards 

    Analysis 

    Once considered one of the top passers in the NFL, Philip Rivers has been forgotten in San Diego after two poor seasons.

    However, the Chargers are clearly going to be throwing the ball a lot this year, and the quarterback seems up to the task. In two games, he has seven touchdowns and only one interception. 

    The problem is that he benefited greatly from his Week 2 matchup, as the Eagles will struggle to defend the pass all year. 

    More times than not, you will see the mistake-prone Rivers that was on display at the end of his first game against the Houston Texans. He completed only one of his seven passes in the fourth quarter, including an interception returned for a touchdown.

    His experience and opportunity will make him a quality backup if you need one, but he is not consistent enough to become your regular starter.

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: Yes (Owned in 34 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Tennessee Titans): No

Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans

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    Week 2 Stats

    26-of-48, 298 passing yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions

    Analysis 

    For the second week in a row, Matt Schaub posted huge numbers thanks to over 40 passing attempts. Of course, this was also the second week in a row that the Texans were forced to come from behind late in the game.

    In most contests, you can expect Houston to run the ball much more often and limit opportunities for the quarterback in the passing game.

    Things also get tougher defensively for Schaub in the next few weeks. He has a decent matchup in Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens, but the Texans then face the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers in back-to-back weeks. 

    Unless you are desperate for a spot-start this week, he would be a waste of a roster spot against these tough matchups.

    In reality, there are plenty of better options at the position on a weekly basis.

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: No (Owned in 57.4 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Baltimore Ravens): No

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver Broncos

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    Week 2 Stats

    13 carries, 93 rushing yards, two touchdowns; three catches, 14 receiving yards 

    Analysis 

    Knowshon Moreno made the most of his opportunity against the New York Giants. He was clearly the most efficient Broncos running back, averaging 7.2 yards per carry compared to Montee Ball's 1.3.

    Unfortunately, this opportunity is not a great one. He only had 13 carries in the win, and it is tough to imagine him getting many more touches on a weekly basis.

    Denver is a pass-first team with numerous weapons for Peyton Manning to find through the air. When the squad does try to run, Ball will continue to vulture some carries despite a lack of success to start the year, due mostly to the fact that he cost a second-round pick this year.

    For the time being, Moreno is the player you want and he should be kept in your lineup for favorable matchups (like this upcoming week). However, it will be a struggle to post big numbers consistently, so his strong Week 2 production won't be the norm. He should not remain a must-start in the lineup.

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: Yes (Owned in 98.5 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Oakland Raiders): Yes

James Starks, RB, Green Bay Packers

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    Week 2 Stats

    20 carries, 132 rushing yards, two touchdowns; three catches, 14 receiving yards

    Analysis 

    James Starks was truly one of the bigger surprises of the week, coming in after Eddie Lacy was forced out of the game with a concussion on his first rushing attempt.

    Of course, Lacy remains the go-to running back in Green Bay when he returns. Mike Vandermause of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reports that might not be until Week 5, but that also includes a bye in Week 4.

    This leaves Starks with only one more game alone in the backfield. Unfortunately for him, it will be much tougher to pile up yards against the Cincinnati Bengals' talented front line than it was against the Washington Redskins.

    Additionally, he received the majority of carries last game after halftime when the score was already 24-0. Green Bay will remain a pass-first offense, giving Starks a low chance of being productive.

    While this performance might have given the veteran a bigger role for the remainder of the season, he will never truly be worth a start in fantasy leagues.

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: No (Owned in 6.2 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Cincinnati Bengals): No

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets

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    Week 2 Stats

    13 carries, 48 rushing yards, one touchdown; two catches, 22 receiving yards 

    Analysis 

    Although Bilal Powell did not have an outstanding fantasy day against the Patriots, he still showed that he is worth a look in most leagues.

    Despite splitting carries with Chris Ivory, Powell had an effective day with 48 rushing yards. That he saw five targets in the passing game to Ivory's zero also gives him the advantage over his teammate in that regard.

    Additionally, Powell was given the only goal-line carry and came through with a three-yard touchdown run. These extra ways to earn points makes him the superior fantasy player in the Jets backfield.

    With a rookie quarterback, look for New York to continue running the ball as much as possible. This makes Powell a quality fantasy starter against good matchups, like this week.

    Verdict: Fact

    Add: Yes (Owned in 38 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Buffalo Bills): Yes

Eddie Royal, WR, San Diego Chargers

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    Week 2 Stats

    Seven catches, 90 receiving yards, three touchdowns 

    Analysis 

    After two games, Eddie Royal is on pace for 40 touchdowns this season. This is not going to happen, obviously, but he is still in line for a big year.

    The most important thing to come out of this game was not necessarily Royal's three scores, but the fact that Malcom Floyd was taken to the hospital after injuring his neck during the game. It was a scary moment, and Josh Katzowitz of NFL.com reports that he is out indefinitely.

    This leaves Royal as one of the top options on the roster, and he is clearly developing a rapport with Philip Rivers. He is now being targeted everywhere on the field, which will only continue as Floyd remains out.

    After two incredible games, the receiver has become a legitimate fantasy option that should be added in all leagues and started against most teams.  

    Verdict: Fact

    Add: Yes (Owned in 18.4 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Tennessee Titans): Yes

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans

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    Week 2 Stats

    Seven catches, 117 receiving yards, one touchdown 

    Analysis 

    There is no reason DeAndre Hopkins should be available, but he is in almost one-third of fantasy leagues.

    The rookie receiver has loads of talent and is clearly becoming a significant part of the Texans offense with 13 targets last week. As the season continues, he will only garner more and more looks as Matt Schaub gains more trust in him.

    Since a lot of his Week 2 production came after Andre Johnson left the game, many will question how Hopkins will fare when the Pro Bowler returns to the lineup. However, he could end up being even better as he faces opponents' No. 2 cornerbacks and less attention.

    In the coming weeks, Houston will face top cornerbacks like Richard Sherman and Carlos Rogers. These men will try to take out Johnson, leaving Hopkins for more big weeks. Feel free to start the rookie as much as possible.

    Verdict: Fact

    Add: Yes (Owned in 67 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Baltimore Ravens): Yes

Austin Pettis, WR, St. Louis Rams

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    Week 2 Stats

    Eight catches, 78 receiving yards, one touchdown

    Analysis 

    It's easy to discount a player's big fantasy day when it results from a long touchdown, like Ted Ginn did for the Carolina Panthers. However, Austin Pettis finished Week 2 with eight catches on 11 targets, which makes him worth a second look.

    On a team without too many experienced receiving targets, there is certainly a chance he could take over a role in this offense.

    However, Chris Givens remains the No. 1 receiver for the Rams, and Sam Bradford is clearly going to target rookie Tavon Austin as the season progresses. Additionally, Jared Cook is one of the top tight ends in the league despite a poor showing in Week 2.

    This makes Pettis the No. 4 option, which is unsustainable in fantasy football unless Peyton Manning or Aaron Rodgers is throwing the ball. Bradford is not one of these quarterbacks, which leaves Pettis on the waiver wire. 

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: No (Owned in 0.1 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Dallas Cowboys): No

Aaron Dobson, WR, New England Patriots

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    Week 2 Stats

    Three catches, 56 receiving yards, one touchdown 

    Analysis 

    Anyone who watched the Patriots' win over the New York Jets saw that Aaron Dobson has a long way to go before he can be a consistent fantasy threat. Despite his touchdown, he dropped a number of passes and often looked lost on the field.

    However, Dobson's upside is undeniable. He has great speed to challenge defenders. This will provide plenty of chances for big touchdowns throughout the year.

    Additionally, there are not too many other people taking away opportunities from him as he goes through growing pains. Dobson finished the game with 10 targets and will remain a major option for Tom Brady going forward.

    Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe reports that Danny Amendola might need surgery. This leaves only Julian Edelman ahead of Dobson, and he did not have a single play of more than 10 yards all game despite 13 receptions.

    Dobson should remain out of lineups, but the potential for high rewards makes him worthy of a roster spot.

    Verdict: Fact

    Add: Yes (Owned in 6.7 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Tampa Bay Buccanneers): No

Charles Clay, TE, Miami Dolphins

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    Week 2 Stats

    Five catches, 109 receiving yards; one carry, one rushing yard, one touchdown

    Analysis 

    The versatile Charles Clay is getting a chance to show what he can do this year, and to this point he has been impressive.

    He made a few big catches against the Indianapolis Colts and was even used as a fullback in a touchdown run late in the game. Combining this with the fact that he has 13 targets in two games, it is obvious that the Dolphins are willing to use him often this year.

    After Anthony Fasano caught five touchdown passes last season, one can assume that there is a decent opportunity for Clay to consistently produce in fantasy.

    Still, receivers Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline remain the go-to options for Ryan Tannehill. This makes Clay a decent pickup in deeper leagues, but he should stay on your bench until he comes through with another big performance. 

    Verdict: Fiction

    Add: Yes (Owned in 0.8 percent of leagues)

    Start Week 3 (vs. Atlanta Falcons): No

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