FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Fantasy Impact: Week 3
Ken Pomponio
September 23, 2013
 

Ravens 30, Texans 9
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

It was only fitting that on the day Ray Lewis joined the Ravens' Ring of Honor, the Baltimore defense/special teams was the fantasy headliner in this one. And it basically happened in the final 3 minutes of the first half as the LB Daryl Smith returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown, followed soon after by Tandon Doss' 82-yard punt-return score. The Ravens also added a trio of sacks, while limiting the previously unbeaten Texans to three field goals.

Extra points: Ray Rice replacement Bernard Pierce didn't do much yardage wise (65 on 24 rushes, 7 on 2 receptions) but did salvage his day with a short TD run. ... Baltimore PK Justin Tucker (3 field goals, 3 extra points) outscored both QBs (Joe Flacco 171 passing yards, 0 TDs; Matt Schaub 194, 0 TDs). ... For the record, Arian Foster (13 for 52 yards) had one more touch than Ben Tate (12 for 43). ... Rookie Andre Hopkins was the Texans' leading receiver with 6 catches for 60 yards, while Andre Johnson caught five passes for 36 yards before leaving with a third-quarter leg injury.

Panthers 38, Giants 0
Bank of America Stadium; Charlotte, N.C.

Now this is the Cam Newton his fantasy owners have been waiting for: 223 passing yards and three TDs and 45 rushing yards and another score. He had three total TDs in the first two games.

Extra points: The Panthers' D simply smothered the Giants, with seven sacks, three forced turnovers and only 150 total yards allowed. ... RB Mike Tolbert (9-18) and WRs Brandon LaFell (3-53, 2 scores) and Ted Ginn Jr. (3-71) had the other Carolina TDs, while RB DeAngelo Williams rushed for 123 yards on 20 totes. ... The Giants? The final stat lines for Eli Manning (119, interception) and WR Victor Cruz (3-25) tell the story of the worst loss of the Tom Coughlin era.

Lions 27, Redskins 20
FedEx Field; Landover, Md.

The Lions had suffered 21 straight losses in D.C. prior to Sunday, but the team's well-balanced offensive production played a huge role in the breakthrough win as QB Matthew Stafford (385 yards, 2 TDs), RB Joique Bell (132 total yards, TD stepping in for the inactive Reggie Bush) and WRs Calvin Johnson (7-115, TD) and Nate Burleson (6-116) took advantage of the sieve-like Skins' defense.

Extra points: Robert Griffin III topped 320 passing yards for the third time in three games this season and rushed for a season-high 37 yards, but failed to produce a TD for the only the third game in his career. ... RB Alfred Morris (15-73, TD) looked good running the ball for the Skins, but Washington ran the ball only 22 times out of 74 plays despite being right in the game for virtually the whole contest.

Titans 20, Chargers 17
LP Field; Nashville, Tenn.

It's not an error: That's actually Tennessee QB Jake Locker way up there on the Week 3 fantasy quarterback leaderboard after throwing for 299 yards and the game-winning score and rushing for a career-high 68 yards and another TD Sunday. 

Extra points: Rookie wideout Justin Hunter will get the headlines for his leaping 34-yard TD reception with 15 seconds to play -- which stands as his only catch of the year so far -- but fellow WRs Nate Washington (8-131) and Kendall Wright (6-71) were Locker's top targets. ... WR Kenny Britt, meanwhile, continues to disappoint with zeroes on five targets Sunday. ... The Tennessee D cooled off Chargers' QB Philip Rivers (184 yards, TD) and WR Eddie Royal (2-34) who had combined for a league-leading five TDs entering the week. ... The Bolts' RB situation continues to be a fantasy mess with Ryan Mathews (16 touches-58 yards), Danny Woodhead (12-86) and Ronnie Brown (5-6, TD) all sharing in the workload. 

Saints 31, Cardinals 7
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans

If you have Saints TE Jimmy Graham, you have an advantage -- and likely a sizable one -- over every other team in your league as he leads all NFL TEs in receptions (23), yards (358) and TDs (4) through three weeks after a 9-134-2-TD showing Sunday.

Extra points: Drew Brees threw for 342 yards and three TDs and added a rare rushing score. ... With Mark Ingram sidelined, Kirby Robinson, a rookie from Division II West Texas A&M, led the Saints in rushing with 38 yards and 4 carries, while Pierre Thomas gained only 28 yards on 11 attempts. ... The Saints' D, meanwhile, is no longer a fantasy pushover as the final stat lines of the Cards' Carson Palmer (187 yards 2 picks), Rashard Mendenhall (9-27) and Larry Fitzgerald (5-64) attest.

Patriots 23, Bucs 3
Gillette Stadium; Foxborough, Mass.

For weeks, the question has been which New England skill-position players will emerge? Sunday, the darts landed on RB Brandon Bolden, who had 100 total yards on eight touches in his season debut, and rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins (3-41, TDs). Give it a week, though, and it's sure to change.

Extra points: Pats' RB Stevan Ridley didn't fumble for the second straight game but scuffled along with only 35 yards on 11 carries and one catch for 8 yards. ... The Bucs? It's still RB Doug Martin (108 yards on 22 touches) and little else as QB Josh Freeman (19-of-41, 236 yards, interception) continues to hold back the passing game.

Bengals 34, Packers 30
Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati

Packers' rookie RB Jonathan Franklin produced some impressive numbers coming in for the injured James Starks, rushing for 103 yards and a TD and adding 23 more yards on three receptions, but that's little consolation up in Cheese Country as his fourth-quarter fumble was returned by Cincy for the game-winning TD.

Extra points: In a game that featured eight turnovers and eight sacks, Bengals QB Andy Dalton (235 yards, 2 TDs, interception) outduelled counterpart Aaron Rodgers (244, TD, 2 picks) and had plenty of help from rookie back Giovanni Bernard, who had 99 total yards and a rushing TD. ... Starks, who left late in the second quarter with a knee issue, was one several banged-up Packers as TE Jermichael Finley (0-0) and LB Clay Matthews (2 tackles, sack) were forced out of action with a concussion and hamstring injury, respectively.

Cowboys 31, Rams 7
AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas

The Cowboys don't play the Rams more than once a season, and that's a shame for DeMarco Murray and his fantasy owners as the Cowboys' RB has had the two biggest rushing days of his career against St. Louis. In 2011, Murray set a Dallas single-game record with 253 rushing yards against the Rams, and on Sunday, he had 175 yards, a TD and three grabs for 28 yards in the rout.

Extra points: Tony Romo threw for 210 yards and 3 TDs, but his top 3 targets -- WRs Dez Bryant (4-38, TD) and Miles Austin (2-22) and TE Jason Witten (5-67) -- were all fairly quiet. Austin, in fact, left the game with a hamstring issue in the third quarter. ... Meanwhile, the Rams' Sam Bradford was 29-of-48 passing but threw for only 240 yards and a single TD. He's now thrown 103 passes in the past 2 games -- rare territory for a Jeff Fisher-coached squad. ... Even more puzzling was the no-show by starting RB Daryl Richardson, who was active despite dealing with a foot issue all week but didn't log a rushing attempt for pass reception. Isaiah Pead rushed for only 20 yards on six carries in his stead but led the team with seven receptions for 43 yards.

Browns 31, Vikings 27
Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn.

Hey, we thought the Browns were supposed to be tanking here? Instead, it was quite a day of debuts for a Cleveland pitch-and-catch duo as QB Brian Hoyer, in for the injured Brandon Weeden -- and making a case to hold on to the starting job going forward -- was 30-of-54 for 321 yards, three TDs and three interceptions, while WR Josh Gordon hauled in 10 passes for 146 yards and a TD in his first action coming off a two-game suspension. It was eye-opening for a team which had scored one TD and 16 total points in its first two games.

Extra points: This side of the Saints' Graham, Cleveland's Jordan Cameron has been the best fantasy TE, catching six passes for 66 yards and three TDs Sunday to give him four scores this season. ... In Game 1 post-Trent Richardson, Chris Ogbonnaya was the Browns' most productive back with 23 rushing yards and 30 more receiving, while Bobby Rainey (24 total yards) and Willis McGahee (9) were fantasy non-factors. ... Vikings QB Christian Ponder threw for 288 yards and didn't toss a TD pass, but he rankled Adrian Peterson's fantasy owners by rushing for 46 yards and a pair of scores. Peterson did get one TD, though, rushed for 88 yards on 25 carries and led the Purple with six catches for 27 yards.

Dolphins 27, Falcons 23
Sun Life Stadium; Miami Gardens, Fla.

The Fish are 3-0, but that really hasn't translated into the fantasy realm as consistent performers are hard to pinpoint in South Beach. WR Brian Hartline (4-56, TD) has been the most dependable as he already has twice as many TD catches (2) as he did all of last season.

Extra points: Lamar Miller (8-62) led the Fins in rushing, but it was Daniel Thomas (5-21) who got into the end zone for the second time in three weeks. ... For WR Mike Wallace (2-22), it was shades of Week 1 following his 9-115-TD outburst last week. ... After opening with a pair of 300-yard games, the Falcons' Matt Ryan was merely mortal with 231 yards and two scores. ... Atlanta, by the way, got by just fine without injured RB Steven Jackson (thigh) with Jason Snelling (15 touches-111 total yards, TD) and Jacquizz Rodgers (20-93, including a team-high 86 rushing) both producing.

Jets 27, Bills 20
MetLife Stadium; East Rutherford, N.J.

In a matchup of rookie QBs, the Jets' Geno Smith prevailed on the scoreboard and stat sheet, overcoming two interceptions by throwing for 331 yards and 2 TDs and adding 14 yards and a TD on the ground. The Bills' EJ Manuel, meanwhile, passed for 243 yards and a TD and ran for 40 yards.

Extra points: This should end the dispute as to who N.Y.'s No. 1 RB is after Bilal Powell notched his first career 100-yard game with 149 yards on 27 carries, while Alex Green (5-14) and Chris Ivory (4-5) did nothing. ... The Jets -- yes, this is the Jets -- also two 100-yard receivers with Santonio Holmes (5-154) and Stephen Hill (3-108) also scoring TDs as well. ... It's now two bad games out of three for Buffalo RB C.J. Spiller, who rushed for 9 yards on 10 carries and had one catch for one yard before limping off with a fourth-quarter knee issue. He has yet to score this season. ... Fred Jackson, meanwhile, had seven rushes for 72 yards and four catches for 37 more. ... TE Scott Chandler (5-79, TD) was Manuel's most productive target.

Colts 27, 49ers 7
Candlestick Park, San Francisco

Having a bad day at the office on the road against the Seahawks' defense is one thing. Following that up with another stink bomb at home against the Colts is quite another. Still, that's the fantasy reality for Niners QB Colin Kaepernick who was 13-of-27 for 150 yards, no TDs and interception Sunday while rushing for only 20 yards and fumbling on seven carries. Ouch.

Extra points: Indy's Andrew Luck threw for only 164 yards and didn't have a TD toss for the first time in 10 regular-season games, but he did pick up 24 rushing yards and a TD on the ground. ... Richardson got 13 rushes in his Colts' debut and banged out 35 yards  and a TD. He was upstaged, though, by Ahmad Bradshaw who carried 19 times for 95 yards and a a score and caught three passes for 16 yards. ... The Niners were without TE Vernon Davis (hamstring), and subs Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek combined for only two catches for 36 yards.

Seahawks 45, Jaguars 17
Century Link Field, Seattle

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson finally got going, and it only took him a little more than a half to do so Sunday. Wilson threw for 203 yards and four TDs -- doubling his season output to date -- before giving way in the third quarter to Tarvaris Jackson (129 passing yards, TD, rushing TD) for some garbage-time mop-up.

Extra points: RB Marshawn Lynch (17-69), who had three TDs a week ago, failed to find the end zone, instead leaving the short scores to TE Zach Miller, who had the fantasy stat line of the day with two catches, 5 yards and a pair of TDs. ... Seattle WR Sidney Rice entered the game with three receptions for 48 yards but had five for 79 and two scores Sunday. ... For the 0-3 Jags, Maurice-Jones-Drew played and found the end zone for the first time since Week 3 of last season, finishing with 62 total yards on 21 touches. ... QB Chad Henne was picked off twice and threw for only 235 yards, but 143 of them went to under-appreciated WR Cecil Shorts on eight completions.

Bears 40, Steelers 23
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

The Bears' best offense continues to be their defense. After taking a Ben Roethlisberger interception and fumble to the house Sunday night, Chicago now has an amazing 22 return scores since the start of 2011 season -- easily the most in the league. The Bears' D also gathered in four other turnovers (3 fumbles and an interception) and recorded three sacks.

Extra points: Bears' RB Matt Forte continues to produce, rushing for 87 yards and a TD on 16 carries, and chipping in four catches for 24 yards, while WR Brandon Marshall (5-52) had an off-night by his high standards. ... When he wasn't scrambling for his life or turning the ball over three times, Roethlisberger threw for 406 yards and two scores -- both to wideout Antonio Brown, who had a career night with nine receptions for 196 yards. ... The Pittsburgh ground game remains missing in action with Jonathan Dwyer leading the way with 39 yards on 12 carries.


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