Fantasy
Things we learned on Sunday of Week 3
Compiled by Dave Holcomb, Steve Schwarz and Max Zelenko

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - With all the help the rules committee has been giving receivers these days, its no surprise that wideouts are putting together big numbers this season.

Sunday afternoon we saw 10 receivers top the 100-yard mark led by Jeremy Maclin's 154 yards and a touchdown and Pierre Garcon's 138 yards and a score.

In contrast, just four running backs earned the 100-yard bonus.

It's a passing league and the sooner fantasy owners catch on, the better they will be.

Below are a few more things we observed.

Dallas at St. Louis

Tony Romo was staring at a fantasy benching, or in smaller leagues, possibly dropping, for Week 4 after throwing an interception returned for a touchdown halfway through the second quarter. But he responded well, bringing the Cowboys back from 21-0, and finished 18-for-23 for 217 yards, and two touchdowns along with the interception. Romo likely saved his fantasy job with the hot second half.

The Cowboy quarterback hit each of his top-two receivers for touchdowns, finding Dez Bryant for a 68-yard strike and Terrance Williams for a 12-yard score.

DeMarco Murray joined Romo in the first-half doghouse with a fumble, but the Cowboys continued to feed him the ball. He finished with 24 carries for 100 yards and a score. Murray has 75 carries, three 100-yard days and three touchdowns through three games. Fantasy gold!

Jason Witten slightly emerged from his slumber, catching four of five passes for 49 yards. Still, Witten owners need more.

Rookie Austin Davis threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns for the first time in his career, but had two costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.

His favorite target was Jared Cook, who we thought could have a big game due to Dallas struggling to cover tight ends. Cook caught seven passes for 75 yards, but dropped a touchdown, not once, not twice, but three times. Ok, that's a little misleading. He had an opportunity to catch the same touchdown pass on three different occasions, but he tipped the ball into his face mask and then hands again and failed to secure the ball.

Davis spread his touchdowns around, throwing one each to Brian Quick, Lance Kendricks and Austin Pettis. Kenny Britt and Kendricks led receivers with seven targets each. Kendricks led wideouts with six catches, but Britt led them with 69 yards.

Zac Stacy had his most efficient day on the ground averaging 5.6 yards per rush, but only carried the ball 12 times and did not score. Benny Cunningham had 29 yards on nine carries. Very disappointing considering the Rams led at one point by 21-0.

Washington at Philadelphia

Talk about fantasy football galore with the two teams combining for 71 points.

Well, not if you owned a running back in this game. The Eagles and Redskins combined for just 138 rushing yards.

LeSean McCoy rushed for an astonishing 22 yards on 20 carries, arguably the worst game of his career. Perhaps he was effected by the helmet-to-helmet shot he took in the first quarter. Darren Sproles faired no better, gaining 50 yards on five touches but also fumbling. Alfred Morris was a little better with 77 yards on 23 carries but fumbled as well.

Nick Foles carried the Eagles to its 3-0 start, throwing for 325 yards on 28- of-42 passing and three touchdowns. Foles heavily favored Jeremy Maclin (eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown) and Jordan Matthews (eight receptions, 59 yards and two scores).

Riley Cooper was still pretty quiet though with four catches for 34 yards. Tight end Zach Ertz was also a dud with two receptions for 14 yards. Chip Kelly tried to utilize Ertz, which yielded a couple of pass interference calls, but that doesn't help fantasy owners.

DeSean Jackson had a big day in his return to Lincoln Financial Field with five catches, 117 yards and a touchdown, but Pierre Garcon stole the show. Garcon had 16 targets. caught 11 of them for 138 yards and a touchdown. A majority of Jackson's production came on his 81-yard touchdown strike in the third quarter.

Kirk Cousins was just as good as Foles, completing 30-of-48 passes for 427 yards and three touchdowns.

Houston at New York Giants

The best way to jump start a stagnant west coast offense, or any offense really, is to get the running game going.

That's exactly what the Giants did, running the ball 42 times for 193 yards as a team. Rashad Jennings rushed 34 times, the same number of carries in his first two games combined, and gained 176 yards. He also scored to cap off a big rushing day.

New York also needed to get their salsa dancer involved: Victor Cruz. He caught five of six targets for 107 yards and a touchdown. Cruz looked like his old self.

In order for Jennings and Cruz to continue this production level, Eli Manning will have to develop in Ben McAdoo's west coast offense. Manning looked great in Week 3, completing 21-of-28 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns.

It was the second straight week tight end Daniel Fells caught a touchdown. It is clear that fellow tight end Larry Donnell is Manning's favorite target among the tight ends, but Donnell fumbled in the first half at the Texans' 5- yard line.

Despite Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing three interceptions on the day, youngsters DeAndre Hopkins and Alfred Blue were able to put up respectable fantasy numbers.

Hopkins caught a touchdown pass for the second straight week and is emerging as the top target for Fitzpatrick. Hopkins posted six receptions for 116 yards. Fellow receiver Andre Johnson still led the team in targets with 11, but only caught four balls for 24 yards.

Blue started in place of injured Arian Foster and gained 78 yards on 13 carries, including a 46-yard scamper. If owners were smart, especially Foster owners, they would have picked Blue up Sunday morning, but if he is still available this week, he will be a top waiver wire pickup.

Minnesota at New Orleans

Matt Cassel's tenure as the Vikings starting quarterback may be through, as he was forced to leave Sunday's game with a fractured bone in his left foot. Rookie Teddy Bridgewater took over. Cassel struggled in limited action, going 5-of-10 for 53 yards.

Speaking of Bridgewater, the Minnesota coaching staff kept him in check, allowing him to make nice, easy throws. He completed 12-of-20 passes for 150 yards, and rushed the ball six times for 27 yards. It will be interesting to see if Minnesota takes the training wheels off in the coming weeks. Until then, Bridgewater will not be fantasy-relevant.

It is becoming evident that Khiry Robinson will get the majority of carries during the absence of Mark Ingram. While Pierre Thomas rushed eight times, and scored on a one-yard run, Robinson finished the game with 18 carries for 69 yards. Moving forward, it looks like Robinson is the Saints back to own.

It looks like Minnesota's running game is going to struggle mightily without Adrian Peterson. Matt Asiata had only 35 yards on 12 carries, and rookie Jerick McKinnon did little to impress. He finished with eight total yards.

Cordarrelle Patterson continues to be a human highlight reel, but simply needs to touch the ball more. He had four catches on five targets for 61 yards. That is a 15.3 per catch average.

Drew Brees knows how to play in the Superdome. Yes, he was 27-of-35 for 293 yards and two touchdowns, but he also had an impressive 120.3 passer rating. Now if Brees played in New Orleans for all 16 games, that would make for something special to watch.

Tennessee at Cincinnati

In a play that should have been an interception returned for a touchdown, Cincinnati pulled out some trickery. Andy Dalton got the ball to Mohamed Sanu, and after Dalton leaked out of the backfield, Sanu found him for a 18-yard catch and run, for a touchdown. It goes without saying it was Dalton's first career TD grab.

With the Bengals proving to be a top-tier NFL team, we have learned that teams must convert on every possible opportunity against them. Tennessee place- kicker Ryan Succop missed two relatively easy field goals (40 yards and 44 yards) in the first half, allowing the Bengals to run away and hide.

While Giovani Bernard did not have a big yardage total, he is proving to be an extremely valuable fantasy commodity. His two touchdowns are one thing, but the way he makes defenders miss is very reminiscent of LeSean McCoy.

You heard it here first, the Bishop Sankey show could be coming to you sooner rather than later. Both Shonn Greene and Sankey carried the ball 10 times, and although Greene scored a one-yard TD in garbage time, Sankey rushed for almost twice as many yards (Sankey had 61 yards and Greene had 33 yards).

Even with the strong play of Bernard, the Bengals are keen on having a "thunder and lightning" attack. Jeremy Hill made the most of his seven carries, totaling 39 yards and a touchdown.

After a Week 1 performance that many thought would be Jake Locker's coming out party, he has completely regressed over the past two weeks. Not only did he only complete 17-of-34 passes for 185 yards, his average yards per pass attempt was poor (5.4).

Baltimore at Cleveland

Joe Flacco looks like he will be playing the role of "game manager," which is not what fantasy owners want to hear. He completed 19-of-31 passes for 217 yards, including one touchdown and one interception.

One thing fantasy owners will like from Mr. Flacco, is his connection to Steve Smith Sr. Smith had seven more targets today, and now has 18 catches and 290 yards on the season. Anybody that said he was over the hill, was sorely mistaken.

Not only does Andrew Hawkins continue to rack up some nice stats, it is clear that he is Brian Hoyer's favorite target. After receiving 10 targets on Sunday, Hawkins turned that into seven catches for 87 yards. Unfortunately for owners, he has failed to find the end zone thus far, through three weeks.

A guy who is having a resurgence is Browns receiver Miles Austin. After a number of injury-plagued seasons, not much was expected of Austin heading into 2014. However, he has now caught a touchdown in two consecutive weeks, and is now clearly on the fantasy radar.

While Justin Forsett started the game for Baltimore, it was tailback Lorenzo Taliaferro who stole the show. Taliaferro had 18 carries for 91 yards and a score. Forsett played well too, rushing 11 times for 63 yards, but he will continue to be a change of pace/third-down back.The biggest thing to take out of this, is that Bernard Pierce will not be the workhorse back, once he returns. Both Taliaferro and Forsett have earned their snaps.

With Steve Smith Sr. becoming a reliable target for Flacco, Torrey Smith continues to take a massive hit to his fantasy value. Through three weeks, Smith has only six catches for 85 yards and no touchdowns. It is way too early to give up on him, but it would be nice for fantasy owners to start seeing the production, Torrey Smith is capable of.

It will be extremely interesting to see how Cleveland handles their running back situation, once Ben Tate returns. Terrance West had 12 carries and Isaiah Crowell had 11 rushing attempts. Both players scored a touchdown on Sunday, but at least one of them will take a back seat to Tate, upon his return.

San Diego at Buffalo

Is it time to recognize the Chargers as a force in the AFC West? beat Seattle then fly east to face an unbeaten Buffalo team without it's top two running backs and won again. The reason is Philip Rivers.

Rivers has continued the renaissance of last season. Today he went 18-of-25 for 256 yards and two touchdowns. he has six touchdowns passes on the season against just one interception. That's a better pace than last season when he tossed 32 touchdown passes and was intercepted 11 times.

A first-quarter ankle injury to all-purpose back Danny Woodhead, probably forced changes in the game plan, but Philip Rivers took it in stride and put up solid first-half numbers (12-of-15 for 183 yards and a score).

Was the Bills offense on the field in the first half? Just 113 totals yards and five first downs.

Green Bay at Detroit

Did Eddie Lacy forget he's supposed to be a fantasy stud? A first-round selection on draft day? After a fumble on the second play from scrimmage (which was returned for a touchdown by the Lions' Don Carey) and being tackled for a safety in the second quarter we saw too much of James Starks.

Aaron Rodgers was completely off his game, even missing a wide open Jordy Nelson on a sure touchdown. He finished just 16-of-27 for 162 yards and one touchdown.

Wonder of wonders, the Lions ran the ball more than they passed it. Joique Bell received more carries, but Reggie Bush put together the better game with 99 combined yards and a touchdown.

Calvin Johnson was quiet, hauling in just six balls for 82 yards. That's probably because Matthew Stafford two interceptions and a lost fumble forced the Lions to be a bit more conservative than usual.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville

Is Trent Richardson actually becoming a viable fantasy option. I'm seeing a lot better running than anything since his rookie season. He still doesn't have the numbers, but I think he could be a "buy-low" candidate.

Even with improved running from Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw has become a valuable fantasy asset because Andrew Luck seeks him out near the goal line. He's caught three touchdown passes this season, all from inside the 10-yard line.

Luck took his Monday night frustrations out on an inept Jaguars team, throwing for three first-half touchdowns and 244 yards en route to a 30-0 lead at the break. He finished with 370 yards and four scores before the Colts called off the dogs.

After a completely forgettable first half, Jaguars starter Chad Henne was replaced by rookie first-round draft choice Blake Bortles.

We saw the good and the bad that rookies represent. Bortles threw his first career interception, but came back later to hook up with Allen Hurns for a 63- yard touchdown strike.

Oakland at New England

Typical of Raiders' football these days. Darren McFadden scored a game-tying touchdown in the final two minutes only to be called back for a holding penalty. On the next play rookie QB Derek Carr threw an interception.

As I said last weekend, quarterback Tom Brady has become a game manager and no longer a viable fantasy starter. Today he went 24-of-37 for 234 yards and one touchdown. It's been five regular season games since Brady passed for more than 250 yards.

Stevan Ridley got the bulk of the ground work for the second consecutive week, though he didn't do much with it (19 for 54 yards). As a fantasy owner, I'm not worried about Sunday's mediocre output, I'm encouraged by the workload.

San Francisco at Arizona

Kaepernick did what he could, but didn't get much help from his team's running game. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde managed just 23 combined yards on the ground.

Stevie Johnson was Kaepernick's wide receiver du jour, catching nine balls for 103 yards. It's probably a one-time thing as the team played a lot of three receiver offense with their top two tight ends, Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald sidelined.

Heading into today's game, the 49ers had not scored in the fourth quarter. That didn't change.

It's not often that Larry Fitzgerald gets shut out in the first half. It's now happened twice in the first three games. He finally caught a ball midway through the fourth quarter to extend his streak to 152 games.

Michael Floyd picked up the slack left by the "absent" Fitzgerald, catching five of nine targets for 114 yards.

John Brown caught two touchdowns, that's not likely to happen again, so don't go overboard on the waiver wire.

Denver at Seattle

Manning threw for just 87 yards in the first half. Normally that's one drive or at the most one quarter. Somehow he figured out the Seahawks defense and scored twice in the fourth quarter to tie the game and reach the 300-yard mark.

Was Demaryius Thomas at the game today? OK, he did make a very nice catch on the game-tying two-point conversion, but for the other 59 minutes he was AWOL.

Emmanuel Sanders was a busy guy, with 11 receptions for 149 yards, but it didn't amount to many Broncos points.

The Seahawks remembered their stud running back Sunday after ignoring him in a loss to San Diego. Lynch received 29 touched, totaled 128 yards and two touchdowns and the Seahawks got back into the win column. Coincidence ... I think not.

Russell Wilson put together an excellent first half going 11-for-13 for 145 yards and a pair of scores. A vintage Manning-type performance in the first half, but he did little in the second half and finished with 223 yards, two TDs and 1 INT.

Kansas City at Miami

With Jamaal Charles inactive, the Chiefs gave the ball to Knile Davis and the youngster didn't disappoint. He continues to produce when given a chance. David helped the Chiefs build a 14-3 halftime lead with 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown and finished the day with 32 rushes for a career-high 132 yards. Jamaal who?

The Chiefs defense has gone three games without a turnover. They had 45 takeaways last season to help them into the playoffs. It's time to stay away from the D/ST.

Lamar Miller ran well in a substitute role for Knowshon Moreno, but the Dolphins simply couldn't put anything together. Miller was 7-for-50 in the first half, but the team scored just three points. He did help his fantasy owners with 108 yards on just 15 carries.




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