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Week 3 Fantasy Studs and Duds
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Just five 300-yard passers and six running backs cracked the 100-yard mark in a relatively low-scoring Week 3, at least through the first 14 games. Perhaps the Patriots/Ravens and Packers/Seahawks games can bring a few fantasy teams back from disaster.

Now to our first impressions of Week 3.

St. Louis at Chicago

When are Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall going to get on the same page? Five connections on 11 attempts? I think I speak for all of us when I say that fantasy owners were expecting a lot more out of these two.

Big day for the Bears' defense. Six sacks and a pick six? Fantasy owners will take that any day of the week.

The Steven Jackson saga continues. One week after getting benched in the second half, the nine-year veteran rushed for only 29 yards on 11 carries. His streak of 1,000-yard rushing seasons could be in jeopardy if he doesn't turn things around in a hurry.

The coolest play of the game came in the first quarter when Cortland Finnegan returned an interception 32 yards before fumbling the ball back to Chicago receiver Devin Hester, who ran with it for another 31 yards. Of course, it was too good to be true. The call was overturned on replay after officials noticed Finnegan was already down by contact when he fumbled it.

Buffalo at Cleveland

Eventually the Bills are going to run out of running backs, right? After C.J. Spiller went down with a shoulder injury in the first half, Tashard Choice stepped in and picked up 91 yards on the ground. That's the most rushing yards Choice has had in a game since 2010.

Ryan Fitzpatrick's QB rating after a Week 1 loss to the Jets? 66.5. His QB rating since then? 112.1. Did we mention that he graduated from Harvard?

Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson still have a long way to go. After a pair of excellent performances last week against Cincinnati, both players regressed in Week 3. Weeden was picked off twice Sunday while Richardson managed just 27 yards on 12 carries. Consider them both a work in progress.

Tampa Bay at Dallas

This one was U-G-L-Y ugly. Dallas and Tampa Bay produced a combined 23 penalties for 174 yards. Both squads will have a lot to work on during their byes in Week 5.

Miles Austin has clearly emerged as Tony Romo's favorite target this season. Though he didn't score a touchdown as he did the first two weeks, Austin still led the team in receiving Sunday with 107 yards on five catches. He's been targeted a team-high 22 times this season.

Romo and Jason Witten looked out of sync again this week. They connected on just two catches for eight yards in the win against Tampa Bay. Witten has caught only eight of the 20 passes intended for him so far in 2012.

Kevin Ogletree is slowly coming back to Earth. Since his exceptional 114- yard, two-touchdown game in Week 1, he's reeled in just six catches for 83 yards.

On paper it looks like Josh Freeman is the reason why the Buccaneers are struggling in the passing game, but I think Troy Aikman may have been on to something when he called out Tampa Bay's receivers for not getting open. Either way, Freeman completed only 10 of 28 passes for 110 yards.

Totally non-fantasy related here: what are the Buccaneers doing running the ball down by six with two minutes left? I guess Greg Schiano must not have much faith in his quarterback.

Neither team played well on Sunday but remember, there's always a silver lining: the Buccaneers didn't bumrush Romo when he took a knee to end the game this week. That's called good sportsmanship, folks. Glad to see that it still exists.

Jacksonville at Indianapolis

Maurice Jones-Drew, how do you do what you do when Blaine Gabbert can barely complete a pass?

Indianapolis has no running game whatsoever. The running backs are ordinary and the offensive line gets no push.

Andrew Luck could be a top-10 fantasy QB this year if the line holds up.

T.Y. Hilton was the flavor of the week for Luck in Week 3. Reggie Wayne is the only receiver on this team you can trust every week. Sorry, Donnie Avery.

I guess the Jaguars most effective play outside of a Jones-Drew run up the middle is a miracle pass to Cecil Shorts late in the fourth quarter. Second time in three games Shorts has caught a go-ahead touchdown pass with less than a minute left.

New York Jets at Miami

Reggie Bush owners won't like this. Their guy does all the work and Daniel Thomas poaches the touchdown. Then Bush leaves with a knee injury and someone named Jorvorskie Lane punches it in.

It's a mystery what Buffalo's defense was doing in Week 1 because this Jets offense is just as abysmal as we thought.

Santonio Holmes finally showed up in Week 3. He's been getting a ton of targets but wasn't able to do anything with them in the first two weeks. Trusting him as a week-to-week option is still a maddening proposition, however.

San Francisco at Minnesota

The Vikings have some legitimate fantasy options, and that includes Christian Ponder.

Kyle Rudolph can be counted on as a TE1. If Percy Harvin is the No. 1 target for Ponder Rudolph is No. 1A.

San Francisco couldn't play from behind, and that makes it difficult for me to start 49ers quarterback Alex Smith in the future even against a bad pass defense.

Kansas City at New Orleans

Jamaal Charles looked healthy which is the most important thing we learned from the early going. He added an exclamation point with a 91-yard TD run in the third quarter and finished with 233 yards rushing and 288 total yards from scrimmage. Fantasy gold Jerry, fantasy gold.

Kicker Ryan Succop was 6-for-6 including the game-winner in overtime.

The Saints couldn't stop Charles. Of course, over the first two weeks New Orleans hasn't proven the ability to stop anyone, yielding 372 yards to Carolina and Washington heading into this game. Until they fix their problem all fantasy owners should start running backs against the Saints.

Drew Brees, just 20-of-36, still doesn't look like the high-percentage, 5,000- yard passer we saw last year.

Detroit at Tennessee

Has Matthew Stafford become a dink and dunk quarterback? The longest pass of the day was thrown by Shaun Hill in desperation.

Lions running back Mikel Leshoure is apparently a magician - he made Kevin Smith disappear.

Titans' wideout Nate Washington should start getting some respect from fantasy owners. He caught 74 balls for 1,023 yards amd seven scores last year and could top those numbers this season.

Jake Locker (413 total yards from scrimmage) has the talent and the receiving corps to be a fantasy starter.

Forty-six fourth-quarter points had to please all fantasy owners.

Cincinnati at Washington

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (19-of-27 for 328 yards 3 TDs, 1 INT) is not suffering from a sophomore jinx.

Neither is A.J. Green (9-183-1).

Andrew Hawkins does something exciting every week. He's not an every-week fantasy starter, but with the bye weeks coming soon, you could do a lot worse.

The Redskins secondary is a mess and fantasy owners should choose to start as many of their fantasy options against them as possible. Washington has given up 10 touchdowns passes through three games.

Even on a bad afternoon, RGIII produced 20 fantasy points. The benefits of a running quarterback.

Running back Alfred Morris continues to produce double-digit fantasy points. The only one who can stop him is Mike Shanahan.

Philadelphia at Arizona

No way Michael Vick lasts a full season taking the beatings he has taken over the first three weeks. Fantasy owners should claim rookie backup Nick Foles for later in the season.

Welcome back Larry Fitzgerald!

The Cardinals' defense is a lot better than most people believe.

Ryan Williams rebounded from a bad late-game fumble against New England last Sunday to run for 83 yards on 13 attempts and was the best of the Cardinals running backs. We could see a lot more of him in the future.

Atlanta at San Diego

The Falcons barely gave their running game a look in the first half, and still, despite knowing what they were going to do the Chargers couldn't stop Atlanta's potent passing game.

Quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 208 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers ... in the first half!

With Roddy White and Julio Jones needing extra attention, Tony Gonzalez may have an All-Pro final sesason.

A three-play, 32-yard drive which consisted of three Michael Turner runs made his fantasy owners happy. It was a nice ending to a tough week for Turner.

Not much to be excited about on the San Diego side of the ball. Rivers was horrible and the running game still wasn't there despite the return of Ryan Mathews. The best that can be said is that Mathews didn't re-injury anything.

Houston at Denver

The Texans' offense was much more balanced on Sunday due to two long touchdown passes to wideouts Andre Johnson (60 yards) and Kevin Walter (52 yards). But I still don't trust Matt Schaub as a top fantasy quarterback.

We expected Manning to have a tough time with the Texans defense and he did, but he managed to throw for 325 yards and a couple of touchdowns although it took him 52 attempts.

Pittsburgh at Oakland

The Steelers' running game is as non-existent as a Pirates' winning season. Fortunately for Steelers fans and fantasy owners, Ben Roethlisberger has strong shoulders (36-of-49 for 384 yards and 4 TDs).

Who needs training camp and preseason? Mike Wallace doesn't. He's caught a toughdown pass for the third consecutive game this season and collected the 100-yard bonus this week as well.

The Raiders' first half offense primarily consisted of one play, a 64-yard touchdown run by Darren McFadden. He was most of the offense in the second half too.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.


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