The arbitrary nature of the NFL was hammered home in Week 3. The Browns, sauntering in with a third-string quarterback and no running game to speak of, emerged from the Twin Cities victorious. The Colts, an 11-point underdog traveling cross-country, laid the smackdown on the supposed Super Bowl favorites. Speaking of front runners, gamblers jumped all over the Panthers/G-Men line when “Carolina -1” was pushed out. Turns out that endeavor was more ill-advised than a Von Miller…well, any Von Miller pursuit aptly fits this comparison.
It’s easy to apply placidity through two weeks, chalking up underperformances as deviations resulting from this parity. However, as October nears, a multitude of rotisserie owners are growing short on patience. Not that I would ever condone taking advantage of somebody, but if one was looking to cash in on a market development, that juncture is manifesting itself in the fantasy realm.
For three weeks is far from a suitable forecast model. After all, the Arizona Cardinals opened 4-0 last season. How did that auspicious start turn out? (Taking into account that it’s the Cardinals, it probably escaped your memory. No worries – the Cards lost 11 of their last 12 games. That’s why they pay me the big bucks.) Though the capricious disposition of the league wreaks havoc in win-loss records, for the most part, individual projections are unaffected by this erraticism. Use this knowledge to your roster’s benefit.
Five takeaways from Week 3…
5. Colin Kaepernick owners better have a backup plan
Remember that fortitude we preached all of two paragraphs ago? The Niners quarterback is putting this serenity to the test, posting his second consecutive subpar outing. While a rough game against the Seahawks resistance could be forgiven, Kaepernick’s no-show (13-for-27, 150 passing yards, 20 rushing yards, two turnovers) versus one of the worst defenses in the AFC was disconcerting to say the least. Vernon Davis’ absence undoubtedly played a factor and the 49ers receiving ranks continue to flounder. Nevertheless, given his heightened expectations following a strong 2012 postseason and fantastic Week 1 showing, it’s clear that Kaepernick lacks the consistency to reside in the upper stratum of fantasy signal callers.
Don’t mistake this as condemnation on Kaepernick’s outlook for the rest of the fall, as his ground prowess and arm strength continue to make him a candidate for bountiful fantasy days. But with a schedule littered with formidable defenses, Kaepernick managers need a top-14 arm waiting in the wings.
4. Scoop up David Wilson while you have the chance
A figure that’s alarming Wilson owners at the moment is Da’Rel Scott’s 21 plays on Sunday afternoon versus Wilson’s 25 snaps. Personally, I’d take more umbrage in Wilson’s meager production of 75 yards and zero scores on the season, but feel free to direct your anger in the forum you see fit.
Scott’s usage shouldn’t cause that much panic, as most of his action came when the Giants had to ditch the run due to their major deficit. Wilson received 11 carries against Scott’s one and Brandon Jacobs’ three rushes, defusing the notion of a committee situation for the Giants. Moreover, Wilson could have posted a decent fantasy afternoon, as a 17-yard touchdown was overturned due to a penalty.
Don’t be surprised if Wilson finds his way to many a waiver wire this week. If such a proposition presents itself, snatch Wilson up in two winks of a coal miner’s eye. (Note: I’ve been told no one uses this expression. To the uniformed, that means “fast.” Hey, at least you picked up a new linguistic term from this article, right?) As almost half the backfields in the league are employing a committee approach, Wilson is an asset that cannot be ignored.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew proprietors can breathe easy
Normally 43 yards off 19 carries is cause for concern, especially with someone of MJD’s caliber. This output comes with a qualifier, one with good connotation. Jones-Drew’s status for Week 3 was up in the air, as the former All-Pro was dealing with lingering ankle issues. Coupled with his injury woes from 2012, there was a growing sentiment that the Jacksonville back might not regain his dominant ways.
He’s not back to elite status yet, but Jones-Drew showcased the ailment concerns were exaggerated, and few running backs are able to muster much against Seattle’s defense. Throw in a goal-line score and 19 yards in the receiving arena, and Jones-Drew finished with a decent game for the Jags. More importantly, that might be the first time “decent” and “Jags” have appeared in the same sentence all year. If that’s not reason for Jacksonville to sign Tim Tebow, I don’t know what is. (Just kidding, but as I’ve mentioned before, every time I write “Tim Tebow” in a story, the SEO value is off the charts. Sorry I’m not sorry for selling out.)
2. Brian Hoyer…not bad!
Make no mistake, without Antoine Winfield, Minnesota’s secondary might be one of the worst in the NFC. And it’s kind of tough not to accumulate 300 yards when you rack up 54 ATTEMPTS. But did anybody give Hoyer or the Cleveland offense a fighting chance after the Trent Richardson trade?
A common justification following the Browns’ win has been, “Well, it’s not like the Vikings are model of stability,” a claim that holds veracity. I mean, any team lining up against Christian Ponder will always have a fighting chance. Conversely, there could be some potential to be reaped from Hoyer. Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron are viable entities, and with the Browns backfield in disarray following Richardson’s departure, Cleveland will have to rely on the air assault as its offensive catalyst. Combined with the stance that the Brownies will find themselves behind more often than not and thus correlating to increased passing forays, Hoyer could be a sneaky play in deeper formats.
1. LeSean McCoy: sell high
McCoy’s the top back in fantasy at the moment, but with an amplified workload in the first three weeks, Chip Kelly’s offense is going to run this poor dude into the ground. It’s a matter of when, not if, McCoy suffers an injury from this intensified role. It may seem ridiculous, yet dangle out McCoy to see what returns can be had. As an upshot, invest in Bryce Brown, who’s available in over 51 percent of FOXSports.com fantasy football leagues.