Week 3 was one for the ages, as the Sunday slate was crammed full of overtimes, injuries, and big time fantasy points. The following performances were of note on Sunday, as we saw some strange backfield splits and week 2’s top running back performers both go down to injury…just as we planned, of course. Let’s start this rundown with the brightest of week 3 stars, the Big Chief himself…
Jamaal Charles: In a performance that was equally as exciting as last week’s performance was depressing, Jamaal Charles barbequed the Saints on Sunday and looked like the Charles of old. After the smoke settled in New Orleans, Jamaal Charles stood tall with 288 total yards (233 rush/55 rec) and most importantly, a healthy knee. Charles is sitting at 5.9 yards per carry on the season, lining up nicely with the running back we all adored before that awkward step last season in Detroit. Let the knee and Peyton Hillis concerns exit your mind…
Ben Roethlisberger: Large Ben threw the ball 49 times on Sunday, as the Steelers were busy losing to the Raiders. With the Redman/Dwyer/ghost of Jerome Bettis backfield stinking it up, Ben will be forced to throw and throw often, as he did on Sunday. Ben finished with 384 yards and 4 touchdowns, and has had a solid start to the 2012 season as Pittsburgh heads into the always enviable week 4 bye.
A.J. Green: Green caught a 73 yard bomb on the first play of the game and never let up, as he finished with 9 grabs for 183 yards. Green is a big bad receiver and has 311 yards already in what looks to be an impressive year for the young Bengal.
Chris Johnson: Still sucks…carry on.
Matthew Stafford: Just as Stafford was beginning to salvage his fantasy point total for the day, he left the game in the 4th quarter with a bad hammy. Stafford now has 3 passing touchdowns and 4 interceptions on the season in addition to the new injury concern. Keep tabs on the injury this week, but if Stafford is a go, you’ve gotta keep rolling him out there, no matter how much noise Joe Flacco is making on your bench. Tell him to pipe down.
Tony Romo: After Eli Manning threw for 9.2 million yards against Tampa Bay in week 2, Tony Romo thought it would be fun to check in with 283 yards, a pick, and a goose egg in the touchdown column. I can assure you, his fantasy owners didn’t find the effort as enjoyable as Tony did. There will be better days for the Cowboy passing attack, but this makes back-to-back clunkers.
Matt Schaub: Schaub had himself a nice Sunday afternoon, chucking 4 touchdown passes and totaling 290 yards through the air. Don’t get too excited, as Schaub still plays on a “play good defense and mash the ball with our sweet running backs” type of team, but this was nice to see if he’s your backup or you play in one of those wild and crazy 2 quarterback leagues.
Maurice Jones-Drew: MJD did his thing on Sunday, torching the Colts for 177 yards rushing. Once again, the tales of his demise have been a little premature, as MJD is averaging 5.3 yards per carry so far in 2012. Those who feasted on MJD’s lock out status in drafts are looking good. Goooooooood.
Mikel Leshoure: Well, it appears that the Detroit Lions have just been buying time until their savior Mikel Leshoure returned from injury/suspension/alien abduction. In the shocker of the week, resident Detroit ball carrier, and skilled pass catcher, Kevin Smith received ZERO TOUCHES IN THE BALL GAME. Those are my YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME caps. Leshoure was force fed the rock all game long, carrying the ball 26 times for 100 yards and catching 4 passes as well. For the moment, it appears Kevin Smith is toast, but give him another week or two to be sure and of course, pickup Leshoure if he is available.
Darren McFadden: Run DMC is awesome again and all is right with the universe. McFadden racked up 113 yards and a touch, and is still a studmeister5000. Exhale.
C.J. Spiller: The great C.J. giveth and the great C.J. taketh away. After electrifying the NFL in weeks 1 and 2, Spiller promptly left this Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury. Luckily for Spiller’s fantasy owners, he was able to scamper for a touchdown before he bowed out. An MRI will be conducted on Monday, but with the impending return of Fred Jackson and now a bum shoulder for Spiller, the Buffalo backfield is looking awfully messy. Week 4 may even turn into the Tashard Choice show, which I will choose to DVR and then immediately delete to make room for the latest episode of Honey Boo Boo.
Reggie Bush: Just when Reggie Bush was emerging as a top option at the running back position, the fantasy world turned yet again, and Bush went down with a left knee injury in the 2nd quarter after rushing for 61 yards. An MRI is upcoming for Bush and details should be released Monday. Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller are Miami’s other ball carriers, with Miller being the far more interesting waiver target.
Torrey Smith: Simply an incredible performance by Smith Sunday night, as the young Raven wide receiver had an amazing game after losing his brother in a motorcycle accident early Sunday morning. Smith finished the game with season highs in catches and yards (6/127) and chipped in two scores while Baltimore topped New England. A nice performance from a great young player, who will only improve along with quarterback Joe Flacco.
Larry Fitzgerald: Do you own Larry Fitzgerald? Go apologize to your fantasy football leaguemates for making them listen to your whining for the past two weeks. Fitz finally joined the 2012 fantasy football party, and did it in typical Larry Fitz style, catching every single target headed his way (9) and racked up 114 yards and a touchdown. The Arizona offense is still nutty, but they have apparently remembered they possess one of the best receivers roaming the planet.
Kyle Rudolph: Rudy came through in the red zone for the Vikings on Sunday, snaring a pair of touchdowns. Despite having great athleticism and catching ability, Rudolph is still more of a red zone target than a tight end that can stretch the field. His role can always change, and he is a solid player, but he’s still on the lower rung of TE1 territory.
Tony Gonzalez: Leading all NFL tight ends in receptions was old Tony Gonzalez. The Falcons tight end caught 9 of 12 targets for 91 yards and what seems like his 927th career touchdown. Gonzalez now has 21 catches on the young season and gets the Carolina defense next week. Batter up.
Ryan Succop: Booted 6 field goals on Sunday. That’s a lot of field goals. Get some ice on that foot.