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10 Stats That Matter - Pre-Season Week 3
David Dorey
September 1, 2009
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Week three is always the most interesting week since we see far more of the first teams playing for every team. Let's take a gander at what meant the most for fantasy football:

Carnell Williams vs Dolphins - 8-54 rushing: It isn't so much that Williams rushed eight times, it was that he had the first eight rushes of the game and looked good when it was first team vs. first team. It only furthers the stated desire of the Buccaneers to have Williams, Derrick Ward and Ernest Graham all involved in every game. That, in case you were unclear, is how you swap one stud running back for three marginally mediocre fantasy options.

Matt Forte at Broncos - 4-11 receiving: Nothing major here but there is a natural interest in how much Jay Cutler will throw to Matt Forte since Cutler ranked 31st in the NFL last year throwing to running backs. Plus Kevin Jones is healthy this year but he had no catches. While it doesn't mean that Cutler will just replicate Kyle Orton's addiction to dumping off to Forte every week, it should make drafters feel better that Forte will remain a part of the passing game.

Greg Olsen at Broncos - 3-47 receiving : Have to love that Olsen enters his third season and gets a Pro Bowl quarterback who likes to throw to tight ends. Cutler and Olsen looked like they had been playing together for years in Denver and this has to be a sign that Olsen will take the next step up to being an elite tight end.

Julius Jones at Chiefs - 15- 57 rushing, 2-14 receiving - Amazingly perhaps, but Jones is the primary back in Seattle and is going to carry a heavy load (health willing). He ran 13 times in the first half with the first team and the only other runner was Justin Forsett who ran only twice. Yeah, Jones is the primary back. Go figure. Edgerrin James did not take a carry.

Glen Coffee at Cowboys - 8-34 rushing, 3-27 receiving : This came in the second quarter while Dallas was still at full strength and he looked just as good as Gore had. Coffee is going to become a bigger part of the offensive for the 49ers than we've seen out of any #2 back since Gore took over.

Ahmad Bradshaw vs Jets - 8-47 rushing, 2-5 receiving : Seven of those carries came in the second quarter and that is significant because last year it was Derrick Ward who had all the action of the second quarter of week three for the 2008 preseason. Danny Ware is the #3 and Bradshaw is the one to expect to see weekly stats from. Of course if Brandon Jacobs is injured again, Ware will suddenly be quite the waiver wire item. But barring that - Bradshaw is going to see much more work this year regardless.

James Davis vs Titans - 5-28 rushing, 4-27 receiving : Once again, Davis is a notable player because he played alongside or even in replacement of Jamal Lewis from the start of the game this week. And he averaged 5.6 YPC while Lewis only had 23 yards on ten carries (2.3 YPC). There is speculation that Lewis may even be considered expendable at the 53 man roster cut down. That may be unlikely of course but Davis has definitely won a role on this offense and replaced Jerome Harrison as the #2. And at least in the view of some, maybe Davis deserves to be #1. Meaningless until the actual coaches think that but regardless - Davis is worth a late round spec pick.

Aaron Rodgers at Cardinals - 258 yards, 3 TDs passing, 2 rushed for 39 yards : Okay, this was all in one half on the road. The Packers looked ridiculously up to speed and Rodgers more than any other player when he hit eight players and scored three times in just two quarters of play. He wasn't cheap in drafts before and now he's even harder to reach.

Calvin Johnson vs Colts, 4-67 receiving : He was already successful last year with Dante Culpepper or Dan Orlovsky at the helm. He was thrown two passes each by Culpepper and Matt Stafford with the best connection for 37 yards coming from the rookie. Megatron will be just fine regardless who starts.

Ray Rice at Panthers, 10-32 rushing, 8-67 receiving : In case there was any doubt that Rice will have fantasy value this year, consider what the Ravens did when the first team was out there and they practiced for the regular season. It was Rice being the primary rusher by a large margin and Rice being the primary receiver as well with eight catches. That's a nice sign for PPR leagues.

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