With two weeks of injury-plagued, underwhelming football in the books, Week 3 was the fantasy football gods’ attempt at balancing the scales with 15 multi-touchdown games coming from wide receivers and running backs alone. Of those 15 performances, five were hat tricks, which certainly fueled some improbable comebacks in the fantasy world.
Senior citizen appreciation week
Who said wide receivers Steve Smith Sr., 36, and Larry Fizgerald, 32, were done? Both proved that they have plenty of gas left in the tank. In a show for the ages, Smith Sr. rumbled his way to 186 yards and two touchdowns on an incredible 13 catches for the Baltimore Ravens. The 15-year veteran demonstratedtremendous physicality and dominance on the field while reeling in some highlight-worthy grabs. Meanwhile, on the westcard, Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns as the Arizona Cardinals wrecked the San Franciso 49ers. The future Hall of Famer is experiencing a renaissance this year with a league-leading five receiving touchdowns through three weeks. You can still slot these two vets up in your lineups every single week with confidence.
Bell tolls on bruised Big Ben
Ben Roethlisberger’sinjury history is so long it need its own section in the Library of Congress. Week 3 added another page to its volumes. A helmet to the knee was all it took to send the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 6’ 6”, 240-pound quarterback to the ground. Fans held their collective breath as Big Ben, famous for playing through sprained ankles and cracked ribs, cringed in intense pain, crumpled on the ground. Early reports project Ben to miss anywhere from four to six games with an MCL sprain and bruised knee. The one silver lining is that Roethlisberger did not damage his ACL, which would have surely benched him for the season. Pittsburgh now hands the offensive reins over to backup Michael Vick, dampening the fantasy outlook of all skill position players on the team. Expect running back Le’Veon Bell to be the Steelers’ focal point going forward and a near lock for 30 touches per game.
2012 was a magical year for 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick. He supplanted Alex Smith as the team's starting quarterback, took the league by storm with his cannon of an arm and electrifying running abilities, and guided his team to the Super Bowl. He recorded a record-breaking 181 rush yards in a playoff game. Sadly, flawed mechanics and a deteriorating supporting cast have since thrown a wrench into Kaepernick’s career. His Week 3 performance saw nine passes for 67 yards and four interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns To put those horrific stats into perspective, seven wide receivers had more catches than Kaepernick had completions. With the undefeated Green Bay Packers coming in Week 4, Kaepernick’s days as starter may be numbered. Get him off your fantasy team before the situation gets uglier.
Karlos Williams makes lemonade
Who’s Karlos Williams you ask? Oh, just the guy you added off the waiver wire earlier this season. The Bufallo Bills’ second-string running back has casually put together an incredible season so far, registering three touchdowns and 186 rush yards on 24 carries. Star running back Lesean McCoy has been hobbled by a recurring hamstring injury since the pre-season and is unlikely to play in Week 4. Besides, McCoy’s been far less effective than Williams, rushing for fewer yards on nearly double the touches. Williams is likely to get the start this week in a promising matchup against a weak New York Giants defence. With the lingering nature of hamstring injuries, don’t be surprised if Williams carves out a bigger role for himself going forward. He is a must-add.
The Colts are back on the saddle
Following two shocking losses against the Bills and the New York Jets, the Indianapolis Colts finally got a win after a stunning come-from-behind victory over the Tennessee Titans. Trailing 27-14 by the close of the third quarter, star quarterback Andrew Luck connected with wide receivers Phillip Dorsett and Donte Moncrief for touchdowns a mere 56 seconds apart. The Colts haven’t quite turned their season around yet, but a Week 4 meeting with the Jacksonville Jaguars should help Luck right the ship in Indianapolis after the Jags were made to look like kittens in a 51-7 loss in Week 3 to the New England Patriots.
In his three seasons as Seattle’s defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn turned his unit into the most fearsome in football. The group carried the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowl appearances and one title. This off-season, he decided to take his talents to Atlanta, this time as head coach. Today the Falcons sit tied atop the NFC South at 3-0, less than a year removed from last season’s 6-10 finish. With an upcoming schedule that should be relatively easy Quinn’s Falcons are shaping up to be true playoff contenders in his first year at the helm and have a defence, and position players, worth adding.