Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season wraps up on Monday Night Football with the Seattle Seahawks hosting the Green Bay Packers. Given how wild Sunday turned out to be, expect the unexpected in Seattle. Week 3 saw Chris Johnson continue his descent to fantasy irrelevancy, and Jamaal Charles emerge triumphantly from knee concerns. There are plenty of fantasy matchups still to be decided, but Sunday provided plenty of excitement on its own.
It was a tough day for several fantasy running backs. Dolphins running back Reggie Bush took a helmet to the knee in the first half on Sunday. It was the same knee he injured in 2007 and 2008, and the Dolphins are concerned he might need to miss a few games. Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller are the backs in line to replace Bush during that time.
Bills running back C.J. Spiller went down with a left shoulder injury, but at this point the Bills believe it is merely a shoulder sprain. The Bills are expecting Fred Jackson back by Week 4, but Chan Gailey has indicated the team thinks Jackson could be back before then. If he is ready for Week 4, this injury could get him back into the starting lineup in spite of Spiller's strong performances to date.
Matthew Stafford had to leave the Lions' Week 3 loss with a leg injury that reportedly had been bothering him during the week. There is no word yet on the Week 4 status of Stafford, but I would imagine we will get some kind of update from Jim Schwartz at his Monday press conference. Shaun Hill replaced Stafford and would be a decent fantasy option at home against a shaky Vikings' pass defense.
The big game of the day belonged to Steelers' quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben was facing a questionable Raiders defense, and he proved himself strong in dominating Oakland. Roethlisberger finished the day with 384 passing yards and four touchdowns. The Steelers went with a higher tempo approach and it paid dividends for Roethlisberger owners.
Second year quarterback Jake Locker took a step toward fantasy relevancy as he threw for 378 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the Titans in rushing with 35 yards (more on that in a minute). Locker remains no more than a bye week fill-in, but the right matchup brings solid value for the former UW star.
On the other side of things, a week after a strong performance had many considering Sam Bradford over more established fantasy stars, the Rams quarterback faced a fate many quarterbacks face in the Bears' defense. Bradford threw for 152 yards and two interceptions as the Rams could get nothing going on offense.
Welcome back, Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs' running back had knee issues in Week 2, leaving many fantasy owners questioning whether to play him. For those who remained loyal, Charles rewarded them in a big way, rushing for 233 yards and a touchdown, and another 55 yards receiving. The performance netted him the honor of highest scoring player in standard leagues.
Lions' running back Mikel Leshoure was the surprise performer of the day. In his first game back from suspension, Leshoure was announced as the starter ahead of Kevin Smith only an hour before the game, which left fantasy owners scrambling. Leshoure had a strong first game against a weak Lions' defense, rushing for 100 yards and a touchdown.
The day was filled with plenty of poor performances, but the worst of the day continues to belong to Chris Johnson. Any CJ2K references at this point are purely ironic. Johnson rushed 14 times for 24 yards. He now has 45 total yards on the season and is averaging 1.4 yards per rush. Fantasy owners will continue to hold on to Johnson, but at some point it will be time to cut bait on the Titans running back.
After a relatively quiet Week 2, A.J. Green blew up on Sunday against a weak Redskins' secondary, finishing as the top performing fantasy receiver with 183 yards and a touchdown. Torrey Smith was a close second in his inspiring performance following the death of his brother in a motorcycle accident. Smith was a key part of the Ravens' comeback victory over the Patriots, as he finished with 127 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
The surprise performance of the day belongs to Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton. Austin Collie returned to the lineup but left with a right knee injury and Hilton was the man who emerged in Collie's wake. Donnie Avery had stepped up previously but was held in check. Given Hilton's inexperience, ups and downs are to be expected. He is developing into a nice long-term option, but for one and done leagues, he remains waiver wire fodder.
On the other side of the rookie coin, highly publicized receivers Justin Blackmon and Stephen Hill struggled. Blackmon was held to one catch for seven yards and currently has a total of four catches for 31 yards three weeks into the season. Hill was held with no receptions and continues to sit on his Week 1 performance of five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
There is a lot of football left this year, but both rookies are going to be inconsistent at best. If you have space on your bench, feel free to stash them there. But if you are going to need some roster space for the coming bye weeks,
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