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Fantasy Game Recaps: Week 3
The Week Of Sitting Dangerously*

This week saw too many fantasy micro-management nightmares. I saw the likes of Joseph Addai, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Larry Johnson get benched, while players like Sammy Morris, Chester Taylor and Michael Bush got their first fantasy starts of the year. The worst of which was highlighted in this weeks recap game of the week:

Dolphins 38 - Patriots 13

Fantasy Superman: Ronnie Brown, Ronnie Brown, Ronnie Brown
Fantasy Performers: Ricky Williams, Anthony Fasano, Wes Welker, Jabar Gaffney
Hens: Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Randy Moss, Matt Cassel

I am a fan of neither team, yet somehow, these two keep finding their way into the headline game of the week. Fantasy managers with Patriots on their squad were hoping that this week would be a great week to get healthy with the Dolphins as their doormat. But now, the weakness that may be the Patriots appears imminent and they just may be the worst 2-1 team in the NFL.

While there will no doubt be some people pounding their chests after starting Ronnie Brown after two 25 yard performances, those managers are few and far between and probably did so because their running back crews are decimated. Ronnie Brown had the fantasy performance of the year so far, running for 113 yards and 4 TDs, while passing for a 5th TD. Ricky Williams, who also had two straight 25-yard performances ran for 96 yards and was benched in most formats. Even the Dolphin receivers got more action then usual with Anthony Fasano bouncing back with 3 for 66 and 1 TD, Greg Camarillo catching 4 for 60 yards and even Ted Ginn, Jr. nabbing 5 for 49 yards.

And while fantasy managers were sitting Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, they were sweeping up and playing Sammy Morris and Lamont Jordan in the wake of Laurence Maroney being kept out of the game. Sammy Morris’s 27 yards led the Patriots other runners (Jordan with 22 and Welker with 19). Randy Moss had his second consecutive 20 plus yard performance without a score and the OMG era is officially on for team managers who selected Brady and Moss owners in the first round. Wes Welker is the sole model of consistency (at least in a ppr league) with 6 catches for 55 yards, while Jabar Gaffney was the only Patriot with respectable numbers of 6 catches for 51 yards and 1 TD.

Redskins 24 - Cardinals 17

Fantasy Superman: Larry Fitzgerald
Fantasy Performers: Kurt Warner, Jason Campbell, Clinton Portis, Santana Moss, Chris Cooley
Hens: Edgerrin James

Over three weeks, Clinton Portis and Edgerrin James each have 248 yards. However, Portis has punched it in the end zone three times while Edge has yet to do so (and with Tim Hightower, Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald is unlikely to do so).

The top performance in this game goes to Larry Fitzgerald who grabbed 7 catches for 109 yards and 1 TD. Anquan Boldin also caught 1 TD, but only reeled in 3 catches for 25 yards. Kurt Warner had decent numbers, throwing for 192 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. Edgerrin James ran for 98 yards and had 15 yards in the air, but as noted, could not cross the goal line and did fumbled away the ball once.

Jason Campbell had identical numbers of 193 yards and 2 TDs but did not throw an interception. Portis ran for 68 yards, 19 receiving yards and 1 TD. Santana Moss had his third straight week with a TD and second straight week with 7 catches (this one for 75 yards). Chris Cooley also had second straight decent performance with 7 catches for 72 yards.

Falcons 38 - Chiefs 14

Fantasy Superman: Michael Turner, Roddy White, Larry Johnson
Fantasy Performers: Dwayne Bowe, Jerious Norwood, Matt Ryan
Hens: Tony Gonzalez, Tyler Thigpen

Michael Turner rebounded nicely from his 40-yard performance and his sore ankle this week with 104 yards and 3 TDs. Once again, Jerious Norwood reaped the rewards of a bad defense also with 75 yards rushing and 30 receiving yards. Roddy White torched the Chief secondary gaining 5 yards of separation and rookie Matt Ryan made a nice throw hooking up for a yard TD. White ended the day with 5 catches for 119 yards and Ryan 192 yards.

Larry Johnson surprised managers this week with 121 yards and 1 TD. In fact I heard a number of team managers sit LJ this week to their dismay. If you are starting Dwayne Bowe or Tony Gonzalez you either have courage or are thin at these positions. Dwayne Bowe finds a way every week to average 10 fantasy points and did it again this week with 43 yards and 1 TD. But Tony Gonzalez could only muster up 4 short catches for 35 yards. While it is highly doubtful that a fantasy team was forced to run out Tyler Thigpen, his favorite receivers seemed to have black birds on their helmet, throwing 3 interceptions.

Bills 24 - Raiders 23

Fantasy Superman: Marshawn Lynch
Fantasy Performers: Trent Edwards, Roscoe Parrish, Josh Reed
Hens: Darren McFadden, Michael Bush

Although they had the lead most of the game, the Raider offense pretty much sputtered on all but one big 84 yard play by Johnnie Lee Higgins. Other than that, JaMarcus Russell only threw for an additional 72 yards. Darren McFadden and Michael Bush each carried the ball 14 times and together failed to break 100 yards on the ground, McFadden with 55 yards and Bush with 42 yards. McFadden also had 3 catches but failed to break even 10 yards in total receptions.

Marshawn Lynch only averaged 3.5 yards per carry for 83 yards, but crossed the plane twice and caught 4 throws for 31 yards. Trent Edwards spread the ball around for 279 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception. His favorite receiver appeared to be Josh Reed with 6 catches for 72 yards, while Lee Evans only had 4 catches for 65 yards and Roscoe Parrish 3 catches for 42 yards and 1 TD.

Buccaneers 27 - Bears 24

Fantasy Superman: Matt Forte, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Bryant, Brian Griese
Fantasy Performers: Kyle Orton, Ike Hilliard
Hens: Earnest Graham

This game was filled with some very good fantasy performances, mostly from players that are still on league waiver wires. With the exception of Matt Forte, who did it rushing for 89 yards and caught 7 balls for 66 yards for a total of 155 yards and 1 TD, all the fantasy points came from Brandon Lloyd with his 6 catches for 124 yards and 1 TD and Kyle Orton’s 268 yards, 2 TDs and 2 interceptions.

The one player expected to put up numbers for the Buccaneers had a horrible day with only 16 yards on 12 carries and no receptions. Air Griese threw the ball 67 times for just over 400 yards, 2 TDs and 3 picks. The beneficiaries of this aerial assault were Antonio Bryant with 10 catches for 138 yards, Ike Hilliard with 6 catches for 57 yards and 1 TD and Michael Clayton in a ppr league with 5 catches for 54 yards.

Vikings 20 - Panthers 10

Fantasy Superman: None
Fantasy Performers: Jonathan Stewart, Steve Smith, Bernard Berrian, Visanthe Shiancoe, Gus Frerotte
Hens: The running backs (except Jonathan Stewart)

With all of the fantasy stars in this game, it turned out to be a game where managers playing against All Day Adrian Peterson and Steve Smith were happier than those who had them on their squads. Adrian Peterson’s 77 yards and Chester Taylor’s 66 rushing and receiving yards, neither of whom carried the ball across the goal line was disappointing for the Peterson managers and those who played Taylor in hopes that Peterson’s hammy would act up. Bernard Berrian and Visanthe Shiancoe appeared to benefit by the benching of Tarvaris Jackson, Berrian catching 3 for 79 yards and Shiancoe grabbing 2 for 38 yards and a score. Gus Frerottw threw for just over 200 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.

The only Panther running back who averaged 3 yards per carry was Brad Hoover who ran once for 3 yards. Otherwise, DeAngelo Williams ran 10 times for 27 yards and Jonathan Stewart ran 7 times for 15 yards, but improved his stat line with 1 TD. Jake Delhomme threw for 191 yards and no scores. Steve Smith coming off suspension hauled in 4 catches for 70 yards.

Titans 31 - Texans 12

Fantasy Superman: Steve Slaton, LenDale White, Titans-D
Fantasy Performers: Owen Daniels, Bo Scaife, Justin McCareins
Hens: Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson

Steve Slaton is a stud and Andre Johnson is a dog? Today the answer has to be yes. The Titan defense was all over matt Schaub today and when he did get a pass off, he generally missed the receiver, hooking up on 17 of 37 passes for 188 yards and 3 interceptions. Andre Johnson only caught 3 of those for 29 yards as the Titan defenders were draping him all day. Steve Slayton, who probably started on only a handful of rosters, ran for 116 yards and 1 TD. Owen Daniels was the sol bright spot of the Texan passing game with 4 catches for 71 yards.

The score would suggest that Tennessee should have had some solid fantasy performances. But the Titans only threw for 189 yards and 1 TD and ran for 123 yards with their two running backs. Chris Johnson ran for over 70 yards, but did not break any long ones for a TD, while LenDale White got the tough yards, running 16 times for 49 yards and 2 TDs. Justin McCareins might be a decent waiver wire pick-up with 90 yards on 4 catches. Bo Scaife may not of caught many, but he had an all important TD for fantasy TE free agent pick-ups. The Titan Defense, scored a TD, had 3 sacks and 3 picks.

Giants 26 - Bengals 23

Fantasy Superman: T.J. Houshmandzadeh
Fantasy Performers: Carson Palmer, Chris Perry, Eli Manning, Steve Smith
Hens: Plaxico Burress, Chad Johnson (sorry, but I didn’t buy when Prince changed his name and I’m not buying “Ocho Cinco”).

The Giant passing game looked good but spread out. Eli Manning made no mistakes again and threw for 289 yards and 1 TD. Six players had at least 3 receptions, the highest being Steve Smith with 7 catches for 60 yards, followed by Amani Toomer with 5 catchers for 64 yards. Kevin Boss grabbed the only TD reception, while most teams who have Plaxico Burress as the WR1 or WR2, fell short with his 3 catches for only 45 yards. Derrick Ward outperformed Brandon Jacobs, gaining 80 yards on the ground and 26 in the air. But Brandon Jacobs, who only ran for 35 yards, scored 1 TD.

Over three games, Ocho Cinco has only caught a total of Ocho Seis, as he had his third straight week for 30 something or less, with 3 catches for 29 yards. However, T.J. Houshmandzadeh reclaimed his position as a fantasy star with 12 catches for 146 yards and 1 TD. T.J.’s performance gave Carson Palmer fans a glimmer of hope with 286 yard, 1 TD performance. Antonio Chatman may be worth keeping an eye on, grabbing 6 catches for 70 yards. Chris Perry has his second solid week running 20 times for 74 yards and a 25-yard TD.

Seahawks 37 - Rams 13

Fantasy Superman: Julius Jones, T.J. Duckett
Fantasy Performers: Steven Jackson
Hens: Torry Holt

The Seattle running game feasted on the hapless Rams defense. Julius Jones ran for 140 yards and 1 TD, while T.J. Duckett rand for 79 yards and 2 TDs. The passing game looked a little bit better (for the week) with Matt Hasselbeck throwing for 172 yards and 1 TD. His top receiver was Billy McMullen with four catches for 76 yards. The Seahawks should be getting healthier in a couple of games with Branch and Engram expected back around week 5 and I would expect Hasselbeck to return to being a quality fantasy QB2.

The Rams are looking to go 0-16 this year, but at least Steven Jackson had 128 total yards with 60 plus rushing and receiving performances, but no TDs. Big Game Torry Holt had another suspect performance and barring his freak TD last week, his 37 yard performance this week is making his future prospects questionable.

49ers 31 - Lions 10

Fantasy Superman: Frank Gore
Fantasy Performers: J.T. O’Sullivan, Rudi Johnson
Hens: Calvin Johnson, Jon Kitna, Kevin Smith

I sat Kevin Smith this week to run out Darren Sproles. Not knowing what tomorrow holds, I can’t be unhappy as Smith was limited to 3 carries for 14 yards. Instead, the lead running back for Detroit was Rudi Johnson, whose 83 yards rushing, 48 yards receiving and 1 TD had to have been wasted in all fantasy formats. The passing game was completely stifled for Detroit, with Calvin Johnson having disappointing 40 yard game, Roy Williams only 18 yards and Jon Kitna throwing for only 146 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.

Frank Gore is rapidly becoming one of the top fantasy performers this year, scoring in his third consecutive week, and being a threat in the running and receiving game by running for 130 yards, catching 4 for 32 yards and running in 1 TD. J.T. O’Sullivan managed the game well with 189 yards and 2 TDs. However, none of his receivers merit any mention this week. TE Dealanie Walker will make those who drafted Vernon Davis displeased as Davis caught 1 ball for 17 yards while Walker caught 3 for 44 yards and a TD.

Broncos 34 - Saints 32

Fantasy Superman: Drew Brees, Reggie Bush, Brandon Marshall
Fantasy Performers: Saints receivers/TE, Jay Cutler
Hens: Bronco RBs

I have a feeling that I will eventually judging Brandon Marshall by whether he gains 150 yards or more to determine where I place him. Marshall handicapped the NFL a game and is already outperforming nearly every wide receiver with his second monster game of 155 yards and 1 TD. The only drawback is for those managers who are in ppr leagues, where Marshall only hauled in 6 balls. Eddie Royal is rapidly deteriorating into the “You got him 1 game too late player” after going 4 for 11 yards. Jay Cutler had respectable numbers going for 264 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception. If anyone is still starting Bronco running backs, it is clear that this is a passing team with its running backs being the unfortunate victims of an air attack and a 3-back RBBC. Selvin Young ran for 65 yards and Michael Pittman got the goal line carries a 2 yard TD and nothing more.

Apparently, anyone in the Saints receiving corps may be worth starting with Drew Brees throwing for over 400 yards and six players receiving for more than 40 yards each. Reggie Bush clearly was the offensive workhorse carrying the ball 18 times for 73 yards and 1 TD, while catching 11 ball for 75 yards and 1 TD. Bush did give up 2 TD carries to Pierre Thomas who only rushed for 15 yards (and missed a third TD on two carries at the one). Lance Moore reeled in 7 catches for 78 yards and Jeremy Shockey 8 for 75 yards. Robert Meacham had one catch for 74, which gave him a total of 2 for 86 yards.

Jaguars 23 - Colts 21

Fantasy Superman: Maurice Jones-Drew, Fred Taylor, Joseph Addai
Fantasy Performers: Marvin Harrison
Hens: Peyton Manning

Gone maybe the days of fearing Colts players in other line-ups. Joseph Addai finally showed signs of life with 78 yards and 2 TDs. Ironically, many managers sat their first round draft pick this week. The passing game was at best average with no receiver grabbing more than 4 catches or gaining more than 74 yards (Reggie Wayne). Other than Addai, only Marvin Harrison scored a TD for the Colts. When you draft a QB in the 2nd round, you expect more than 216 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions, which were Peyton Manning’s game stats.

Maurice Jones-Drew finally paid dividends wit 107 yards rushing, 59 receiving and 1 TD. Fred Taylor also ran for over 120 yards. The passing game saw David Garrard again throwing an interception without a TD and Matt Jones being the top wide receiver with 4 catches for 32 yards.

Ravens 28 - Browns 10

Fantasy Superman: Le’Ron McClain
Fantasy Performers: Willis McGahee
Hens: Derek Anderson, Jamal Lewis, Braylon Edwards

If Le’ron McClain was on your waiver wire, he will not be by the end of this week. Although Willis McGahee returned to the line-up, Le’ron McClain carried the ball 17 times for 66 yards and 2 TDs. Willis McGahee performed okay with 64 yards of his own and 1 TD. Meanwhile Ray Rice ran only 5 times for 21 yards. Joe Flacco only put the ball in the air 19 times, completing 13 to his own team and 2 to the Browns for an average of 10 yards per pass.

Many opined that the Browns would face a much more difficult year and so far they were right. The Brady Quinn talk has begun with Derek Anderson’s 125 yard, 3 pick, 1 TD performance. Braylon Edward is still 17 TDs short of his prediction with yet another poor 27-yard performance. Braylon Edwards managers should pay attention to the mistakes made this week before sitting him against the Bengals next week. Jamal Lewis’s combined 77 yards on the ground and in the air was the Browns best performance.

Eagles 15 - Steelers 6

Fantasy Superman: Steelers Defense, Eagles Defense
Fantasy Performers: Donovan McNabb, Correll Buckhalter
Hens: Brian Westbrook, DeSean Jackson, Santonio Holmes, Willie Parker, Hines Ward, Ben Roethlisberger

When I think of Pennsylvania football, today’s game is exactly what I think of. All defense. Brian Westbrook’s first quarter departure was unfortunate, but it nevertheless destroyed many fantasy football teams this week as he ended the game with 12 yards. DeSean Jackson was finally inserted into fantasy line-ups only to go 5 for 40 yards. Donovan MacNabll threw for 196 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.

The Steelers offense was completely manhandled and not one Steeler had even respectable numbers. Willie Parker had 20 yards, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 131 yards and 1 interception. Hines Ward caught 4 for 34 and Santonio Holmes caught 3 for 32 yards.

Cowboys 27 – Packers 16

Fantasy Superman: Marion Barber, Felix Jones, Miles Austin
Fantasy Performers: Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Witten, Tony Romo
Hens: Ryan Grant, Terrell Owens

How many fantasy team went into Sunday night feeling pretty cocky, down by little, with Tony Romo, Terrell Owens and/or Jason Witten on their teams. But at the end of the night, it was the Big D running backs and Miles Austin who got the fantas numbers. Marion Barber had another very good game with 141 rushing yards, 15 receiving and 1 TD. Felix Jones proved to be a fine change of pace back with his 60 yard TD run and a total of 76 yards. Miles Austin only caught two passes, but the shortest was 52 yards and the longest was 63 yards and he would have had two TDs except for being run down at the 2-yard line. Tony Romo had a solid performance with 260 passing yards, 1 TD and 1 interception.

Aaron Rodgers did not throw any TDs, but his 290 yards without a turnover and his 1 TD on the ground could not have hurt too many fantasy teams who started him this week. Same with Greg Jennings who caught 8 for 115 yards. However, Ryan Grant once again performed poorly with only 54 yards and a lost fumble. On only three carries and 1 reception Brandon Jackson looked better then Ryan Grant. Donald Driver had a fair performance with 4 catches for 76 yards.

* For those of you who read faithfully to the end of this each week, please note that at the end of this and future recaps, I will attempt to create a list of players who should be leaping up the waiver wire after injuries or their own performances. This weeks list is as follows:

QB: Brady Quinn, Matt Ryan, Brian Griese

RB: Le’Ron McClain, Correll Buck halter (don‘t overlook Lorenzo Booker), T.J. Duckett, Rudi Johnson (in those leagues where he’s been dropped), Steve Slayton (not that he should be around in too many leagues)

WR: Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Bryant, Justin McCareins

TE: Visanthe Shiancoe, Bo Scaife