Roto Arcade - Fantasy

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_fantasy_experts__5/ept_sports_fantasy_experts-834199526-1222039350.jpg?ymwRYrADjoLEe06SBefore declaring earlier today that you obviously lost if you faced a Ronnie Brown owner (see below), perhaps we should have checked the "% Start" column.

Brown is owned in 95 percent of Yahoo! leagues, but in Week 3 he was only used in 26 percent of them.

If you were with the majority on that start/sit decision, feel free to blame the expert community. It would be safe to say that none of us foresaw Brown's 39-point performance. A cursory review of various sites reveals that he was ranked somewhere between 29 and 52 by those of us who are paid to do this. 

Perhaps we should be paid (or not paid) to do other things. We're clearly making assumptions about the Patriots that are no longer valid.

"We had trouble with their new stuff, we had trouble with their old stuff," Bill Belichick said. Miami's new stuff included direct snaps and misdirection for which New England had no answer. The previously winless Dolphins gained 461 net yards, and coasted to a 38-13 win over the previously undefeated Patriots. Their decision to back off and stop throwing in fourth quarter was particularly classy. 

The important number from the boxscore might actually be this: 216. That's how many total yards the Pats gained on Sunday. In 2007, that was an acceptable quarter.

Four running backs you'll need to add without delay: Steve Slaton, who rushed for 116 yards against a terrific Tennessee run defense; Correll Buckhalter, who replaced the injured Brian Westbrook (right ankle) and finished with 87 combined yards and a TD; Le'Ron McClain, who got the most out of his girth (66 yards, two TDs); Rudi Johnson, who mysteriously got nearly all the work today, and led the Lions in both rushing (83 yards) and receiving (48).

If you're wondering what happened to Kevin Smith, you're not alone.

The early reports on Westbrook suggest that x-rays were negative, but an MRI is scheduled for Monday. 

Matt Millen's decision to staff his defense entirely with American Apparel models has not worked well. Highlights here. Check out the short TD by Frank Gore. He bobbled the pitch, but still had all day to collect, survey, and run through a massive hole.

The final Denver-New Orleans yardage numbers are still being tallied and confirmed, but, as we all expected, they're big. The Saints gained 502 net yards, and Drew Brees threw for 421. Nine different Saints actually had multiple receptions. The 50 percent-owned Pierre Thomas rushed for two TDs, and Reggie Bush added two more...and still, New Orleans lost.

Jay Cutler had a quiet 264 yards, Brandon Marshall was excellent again (six receptions for 155...and check out the TD), and Michael Pittman had his usual short-yardage touchdown.

Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor both topped 100 rushing yards against the Bob Sanders-less Colts, and Josh Scobee drilled a 51-yard game winner. 

This is a great time to sell Julius Jones. Sure, he had a huge day against an atrocious Rams defense (140 yards, TD). But Maurice Morris returns soon, Seattle has a bye in Week 4, and the schedule gets more difficult in Weeks 5, 6 and 7

THIRD QUARTER

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_fantasy_experts__5/ept_sports_fantasy_experts-789211687-1222034819.jpg?ymuRYrADc3ATRQq2Brian Westbrook still hasn't resurfaced after heading to the Eagles' locker room with an ankle injury. Correll Buckhalter has five carries for 23 yards in his absence, and he scored on a 20 yard TD reception shortly after Westbrook left the field.

Kevin Kolb quarterbacked the Eagles briefly when Donovan McNabb left with a chest injury. It actually looked like McNabb's problem was going to be arm-related. He was driven shoulder-first to the ground by multiple Steelers. 

If you were expecting an endless buffet of fantasy points from the Broncos and Saints, you have not been disappointed. After two quarters, we've seen 449 net yards and 43 points. Reggie Bush is responsible for two TDs -- one for Denver after a fumble, one for the Saints after a 23 yard gain -- and he has 102 combined yards. He leads New Orleans in receptions, too (seven for 58 yards). 

At half, David Garrard had successfully completed passes to only one receiver: Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD had 12 touches for 114 total yards. Joseph Addai had 14 touches for 74 yards and a TD at half for the opposition.

Predictably, the defenses of the Lions and Rams are being mauled. Again. This will continue each week. They don't cover, they don't tackle. This bullet-point will become a permanent Sunday Scene fixture.  

We have two more veterans to welcome to the '08 fantasy season: Willis McGahee and Marvin Harrison. Each player has a TD...which makes this a good week to attempt to trade 'em.

SECOND QUARTER

http://a323.yahoofs.com/ymg/ept_sports_fantasy_experts__5/ept_sports_fantasy_experts-234757843-1222028318.jpg?ymsRYrADA7FbRhcKIf you're facing Ronnie Brown today, well...at least the pressure is off. You can relax and enjoy the Broncos-Saints game without worrying about your fantasy matchup.

Week 3 has not been good to you.

Brown rushed for four TDs, threw for another, and finished with 113 yards on just 17 carries. Four of the five touchdowns followed direct snaps to the running back. The Patriots clearly have problems with the Arkansas Razorbacks' playbook.

(Highlights of Brown's effort here, via NFL.com. Note the obliteration of Ellis Hobbs at the end of touchdown No. 2). 

Ricky Williams added 98 yards on 16 carries, as Miami rushed for 216 yards and threw for 245. 

Isn't it odd when Joey Porter is dead-on right? This was Porter's assessment of the Patriots earlier in the week:

"If it's not Tom Brady, it shouldn't be that hard."

Apparently not. Porter had three of the Dolphins' four sacks. 

Welcome to the 2008 fantasy season, Larry Johnson. And you too, Carson Palmer. You're only two weeks late. No big deal.

Brandon Lloyd looked terrific on Sunday in the Bears' humiliating collapse against Tampa. Lloyd made a few excellent adjustments to the ball, separated easily, and ended with six catches for 124 yards and a TD. If you have to own a Bears receiver, he's the one to get.

A quick look at committee workloads: 14 carries each for Michael Bush and Darren McFadden, and neither did enough to help you; Sammy Morris had nine carries to LaMont Jordan's six, and neither averaged 4.0 yards per attempt; DeAngelo Williams had 10 carries for 27 yards, and Jonathan Stewart had seven, plus a short-yardage TD; Chris Johnson and LenDale White each ran 16 times, and White had the goal-line work.

After a three-INT, 188-yard effort, you have to assume there will be some Sage Rosenfels discussions in Houston.

OK, maybe if you started Michael Turner (104 yards, three TDs), you've got a chance against Ronnie Brown this week. Maybe. 

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FIRST QUARTER

Go add the 60 percent-owned Steve Slaton (9 carries, 104 yards, 1 TD), then come back and sift through the early bullets...

After 795 rushing attempts in Week 2 (or whatever it was), the Raiders curiously came out throwing. JaMarcus Russell hit Javon Walker twice in Bills territory, but the mini-drive stalled at the five. It was all set up by a long Johnnie Lee Higgins kickoff return.

Impressive numbers from the Redskins first drive: Jason Campbell went 6-for-6, completing passes to five different receivers. Clinton Portis scored the first touchdown of Week 3, darting through a substantial running lane from the three.

And the day's second TD was another short-yardage effort. LenDale White (not Chris Johnson) found the end zone from two yards away.

Roddy White got himself very deep and very open on that 70-yard TD reception.

Early candidate for play of the day (unless you're a Matt Forte owner): At the Tampa 34, Chicago lined up Forte at receiver. He bolted down the sideline with only LB Barrett Ruud to beat, and Kyle Orton lofted a well-thrown pass to the end zone. For the briefest of moments it looked like Forte possessed the football, but Ruud immediately separated him from it. Ruud then somehow kept the ball alive as he fell to the turf, and turned a well-designed TD into a ridiculous interception.

Orton earned his next INT, though. He threw a screen pass directly at Gaines Adams' face.

Tyler Thigpen's line after 10 pass attempts: 1-for-10, -1 yards, 1 INT.

So far, the Matt Cassel era has been great...for Stephen Gostkowski owners, and almost no one else.

Ronnie Brown (three first-half TDs) and Michael Turner (76 yards, two TDs) are staging an epic duel for Week 3 high-scoring honors. Turner is just a plow, whenever necessary. 

POST-PREGAME

Uh-oh: Laurence Maroney is inactive, so Sammy Morris gets a value bump today.

Phew: Adrian Peterson is active, so you'd really have to have an amazing bench in order to sit him.

PREGAME

Greetings, practitioners of the fantasy arts. Please join us in chat today over at Fantasy Football Live, beginning at noon ET. We'll be answering questions, updating injuries, and ridiculing the on-air talent.

This is what it looks like when you fail to set your fantasy lineup on Sunday morning...

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Those are the co-managers of the Snohomish Ballerz. They left the Baltimore defense in their lineup in Week 2, and ultimately lost a squeaker to the Dilfurbys, 81-79.

Tough loss, but we could have helped them.

And while you're waiting for chat to launch, please check out this movie trailer, this review, and this book. (Warning: possibility of strong language). As some of you know, I'm involved with a few projects that don't intersect with the fantasy demographic...but this one just might.

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Photos via Getty Images (Bush, Slaton, Seattle) and AP (Belichick).

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