The Cleveland Browns have apparently dragged all of their skill players onto the front lawn and posted a "YARD SALE" sign. This franchise is ready to deal. Just days after Trent Richardson was shipped to Indy in exchange for a future first-rounder, Cleveland has reportedly placed receiver Josh Gordon on the trade block, too.
I'll say this much for the Browns' timing: The team definitely understands the sell-high concept. If they're shopping Gordon, they're doing a fine job showcasing him.
Gordon delivered a monster performance at Minnesota on Sunday, catching 10 balls for 146 yards and one score, adding 22 rushing yards. He was peppered with targets, as Brian Hoyer looked his way 19 times. Gordon absolutely roasted AJ Jefferson on this 47-yard first quarter TD, a simple stop-and-go.
If you patiently waited out Gordon's two-game suspension, congrats. You've got yourself a potential star. And if you happen to play in a league where Gordon is still available — he's 70 percent owned as of this writing — then STOP READING AND GO GET HIM. Or go place a claim. This column can wait; your fantasy roster cannot.
Gordon has ideal size (6-3) and excellent deep speed, and, for the moment, he's tied to an offense that throws the ball 50-plus times per game (55 attempts in Week 3). Of course he's also just one misstep away from a full-season suspension, which perhaps explains his availability. But he's a no-doubt starter in our game, a huge talent.
Hoyer, we should note, played well enough to earn future starts for the rebuilding (de-building?) Browns, completing 30 of 54 throws for 321 yards, three TDs and three picks. He directed a 55-yard game-winning drive, punctuated by Jordan Cameron's third touchdown reception — yup, his third. Cameron was actually left unaccounted for on this earlier score, off a fake field goal, which tells you something about the quality of the Vikings coverage.
• The New York Giants somehow gained only three total net yards in the first quarter of Sunday's loss to Carolina, and just 18 in the first half. Eli Manning absorbed six sacks in the first two quarters. New York trailed 17-0 at the intermission and eventually lost 38-0. The team is now 0-3.
With few exceptions, teams don't qualify for the postseason after opening 0-3, so the Giants are pretty much cooked. They'll face the unbeaten Chiefs in KC next week, a game that probably won't end well for New York. Wish I had words of encouragement for those of you who root for Big Blue, but, um ... nope. Got nothin'.
Eli is a notoriously schizophrenic quarterback, and I have a can't-quit-you relationship with him in fantasy. So I'm not kicking him to the curb ... even though I bet that would feel awesome. The Giants receiving corps remains loaded, not that any of its members made noise in Week 3. Hakeem Nicks was a notable dud — he saw his first target in the fourth quarter, and didn't catch it. The highlight play for New York may have actually been the David Wilson TD that was negated by penalty.
It's not as if the Carolina D is a buzzsaw, by the way. The Panthers entered the week allowing 403.0 total yards per game, plus they were missing multiple starters due to injury. Greg Hardy terrorized Manning on Sunday (3 sacks), but you'd like to think the Giants could have done something — anything — against Carolina's secondary. But no, they really didn't.
Cam Newton beasted against New York's lousy defense, delivering 268 combined yards (45 rush) and four scores (3 pass, 1 rush). Mike Tolbert poached a short-yardage TD, because that's what he does.
• Colin Kaepernick had a miserable day against an Indianapolis defense that allowed a million combined yards to Terrelle Pryor just two weeks ago. Sometimes, there's no figuring the NFL. Of course it's reasonable to blame Kap's dud performance on his lack of competent receivers (no Vernon Davis, no Crabtree)*, but I certainly expected something more than 20 rushing yards. Just a brutal day for the Niners all around, as Patrick Willis was dinged (groin) in a 20-point loss.
(*On behalf of the fantasy community, I am formally requesting a Josh Gordon-to-San-Francisco deal, immediately. Let's make this happen. Online petitions, people. Let's get to work.)
Trent Richardson had his usual low-efficiency rushing day, carrying 13 times for 35 yards. And per his usual, a touchdown saved his fantasy line. Ahmad Bradshaw was outstanding for the Colts, finishing with 95 yards and a late score on 19 carries. He, apparently, will not go quietly.
I've watched quite a bit of Richardson film over the past week, including every touch this season, and I can't call that guy a top-tier talent. It's complicated, though. He gives you a bunch of runs where you feel like he does very well to get 2-3 yards. But Richardson only rarely makes a secondary move that results in a significant gain. We're now 311 carries into his NFL career, and the guy only has two runs of over 20 yards. His longest gain from scrimmage is 32 yards. If you ignore the brand-name, you'd have to say the Browns did well to get a first-round pick for a player with this statistical profile.
• The Saints offense was game for a shootout in New Orleans, as Drew Brees lit up the Cards defense for 342 yards and three scores (two to Jimmy Graham). Brees also ran for a touchdown, which almost never happens. But Arizona's passing game did little against Rob Ryan's D, as Carson Palmer was sacked four times and picked twice. Cameron Jordan had two of the sacks for New Orleans. (How great/terrible is it that Jordan Cameron and Cameron Jordan are both making plays this season? It's kind of an editorial nightmare.) Larry Fitzgerald wasn't a fantasy difference-maker this week, but he caught five of his six targets for 64 yards, restoring confidence.
• Everyone sees where this CJ Spiller thing is headed, right? He's obviously going to be a second-half monster, blowing up when it's waaaaay too late to save anyone who drafted him. [BAD WORD]. Spiller broke your heart (and mine and Buffalo's) today, gaining just 10 yards on 11 touches, then checking out with a knee thigh injury. Fred Jackson ran well on Sunday, as he often does (seven carries, 72 yards). This blurb is so, so close to making me physically ill.
Every time I checked in with Bills-Jets, flags were flying — usually on Kyle Wilson. The Jets piled up 20 penalties for 168 yards, yet still managed to win. No simple feat, that. Bilal Powell had a nice day on the ground (149 yards), Geno Smith passed for 331 and two scores, and both Santonio Holmes and Stephen Hill topped 100 receiving yards. Hill seems severely under-owned (5 percent), considering his talent and situation. In case you'd forgotten, check that kid's combine performance. Ridiculous.
• No great surprise here, but Seattle pummeled the Jaguars on Sunday, 45-17. The beating was so bad that Pete Carroll pulled his varsity in the third quarter, turning things over to Tarvaris Jackson. But still, Russell Wilson managed to deliver excellent numbers on limited playing time, passing for 202 yards and four scores — two TDs each for Zach Miller and Sidney Rice. Golden Tate didn't visit the end zone, but he did lead the Seahawks in receiving with five catches for 88 yards.
Also: Watching Jacksonville football is like watching a three-hour dental procedure. Not recommended.
• Green Bay and Cincinnati combined for eight turnovers on Sunday, in a messy yet entertaining game, full of fantasy goodness. Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis each carried 10 times for Cincy, and both backs broke the plane. Gio had a much better yardage day (shocking no one), rushing for 50 yards and catching four balls for 49. AJ Green caught his usual touchdown; going forward, I'll only mention him here on the rare occasions that he fails to score.
Jordy Nelson caught damn-near everything that came near him (8 REC, 9 targets) and James Jones broke the plane, but Cincinnati's defense ultimately held Aaron Rodgers to 244 yards and one score. Jermichael Finley suffered a concussion on a wicked but clean hit over the middle, early in the game. James Starks gained 55 yards on 14 carries playing in relief of the concussed Eddie Lacey, but he eventually checked out with a knee issue. Rookie Johnathan Franklin was terrific as a fill-in for Starks (103 rush), until he fumbled away the game.
• Tom Brady has apparently been texting various former Pats receivers, including Deion Branch, Brandon Lloyd, Ben Coates and possibly Irving Fryar. But he didn't need any of those guys in a 23-3 win over Tampa this week. Kenbrell Thompkins finally made himself useful (2 TDs) and Aaron Dobson caught seven balls on 10 targets. If you rolled with Patriots in Week 3, you're probably not feeling too bad — unless of course you're still playing Steven Ridley. If so, here's a disturbing image...
Yup, that's LeGarrette Blount leading the way in terms of carries and yards. Brandon Bolden had the day's long run for New England, plus he caught five balls for 49 yards. This backfield has a definite committee feel; Blount and Bolden are both on the pick-up radar.
• Robert Griffin III had another empty 300-yard game for the 'Skins, this time with zero touchdowns and a killer fumble. Washington was close this week, but a home loss to the Lions is, well ... not good.
Matthew Stafford put up the expected big numbers against a horrid defense (385 yards, 2 TDs), and Joique Bell was as useful as advertised (132 scrimmage yards, TD). Nate Burleson caught at least six balls again (third time this year), finishing with a season-high 116 yards. Next week, the Raiders will get a shot at this Washington D. Should be interesting to see what happens when an easily resisted force meets an easily moved object.
• The Texans and Ravens combined for six field goals on Sunday, plus they gave us a defensive score and a special teams touchdown. Baltimore running back Bernard Pierce gave us the game's only offensive TD, not that he had such a spectacular day (24 carries, 65 yards). Andre Johnson limped away from Houston's loss, needing a Monday MRI on his shin. We all like DeAndre Hopkins, but part of the reason we like him so much is that AJ draws loads of attention. No one benefits if Johnson is slowed or unable to play in Week 4.
• Ryan Tannehill was plenty impressive in Miami's comeback win over Atlanta, leading a game-winning drive that was capped by a beautiful touch-pass to Dion Sims for a 1-yard score. Tannehill finished with 236 passing yards and two scores, essentially matching Matt Ryan's production (231-2-1). The Falcons weren't playing at full strength, but they didn't really seem to miss Steven Jackson terribly. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling combined for 204 total yards and one score. Jackson isn't likely to play in Week 4, when Atlanta hosts the Pats, so expect another week of committee rushing.
• DeMarco Murray destroyed the Rams on Sunday, rushing for 175 yards and one score, adding three catches for 28. In his two career games against St. Louis, he's now rushed for an insane 428 yards. (Sure, he's only gained like 17 total yards against every other team, but that doesn't really matter to his owners today.) Tony Romo went 17-for-24 with three TD passes in a relatively low-stress win. Rams running back Daryl Richardson aggravated a foot injury early on Sunday, which led to a larger-than-expected workload for Isaiah Pead (13 touches, 63 yards).
Oh, and one final thing: If you had Week 3 in the Miles Austin hamstring injury pool, you're a winner. If Austin is forced to sit, rookie Terrance Williams could get interesting.
PRIORITY ADDS FOR WEEK 4
RB Bilal Powell at Ten
RB Jason Snelling vs. NE
RB Jacquizz Rodgers vs. NE
RB Brandon Bolden at Atl
RB LeGarrette Blount at Atl
RB Jonathan Dwyer at Min
WR Stephen Hill at Ten
WR Nate Burleson vs. Chi
WR Aaron Dobson at Atl
WR Terrance Williams at SD
WR Rod Streater vs. Was
QB Terrelle Pryor vs. Was
QB Brian Hoyer vs. Cin