Week 3 of the 2012 NFL season featured big games by Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. With 14 games played on Sunday, September 23, here's a look at the most surprising fantasy performers from each Week 3 game on Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Colts WR T.Y Hilton - 4 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
After big weeks by Reggie Wayne in Week 1 and Donnie Avery in Week 2, Hilton became the newest Colts wide receiver to have a big game. With Andrew Luck switching up his top receiver from week-to-week, Hilton showcased his speed and looks to be an emerging target in Indianapolis. Like Avery last week, Hilton will see his fair share of waiver wire adds even though the Colts are on bye in Week 4.
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns
Bills RB Tashard Choice - 20 carries, 91 rushing yards, 2 receptions, 8 receiving yards
C.J. Spiller started the day as the Bills' running back but Choice ended the day as the team's rusher. Forced out of the game with a shoulder injury, Spiller's exit made way for Choice, who had a solid game in his place. With Spiller and Fred Jackson possibly out for Week 4, Choice could become the newest running back to start for Buffalo.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins
Jets WR Jeremy Kerley - 2 receptions, 73 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
While Stephen Hill made the biggest splash among the Jets wide receivers in Week 1, it is Kerley who has emerged as a big play receiver in his second year in the league. With three touchdowns on the season, including one 68-yard punt return in Week 1, Kerley has served as a threat on the Jets with his speed. As the season progresses, he could turn out to be a nice sleeper pickup and should be followed.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints
Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles - 33 carries, 233 rushing yards, 6 receptions, 55 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Even with Saints' struggles on defense, Charles' huge game came as a surprise. With Peyton Hillis and Shaun Draughn earning carries in the backfield in the first two weeks, Charles was a big playmaker rushing the ball and catching passes throughout the game. After a great day, Charles may have finally broken away from the pack as a reliable elite running back this season.
Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins
Bengals WR Mohamed Sanu - 1-for-1, 73 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown
On the first play from scrimmage, Sanu lined up in the Wildcat formation, received the direct snap and threw a bomb downfield to A.J. Green for the first score of the game. While rarely used so far this season, Sanu does have experience in this formation in college at Rutgers, but it will unlikely be a major part of the team's offensive scheme. This play did help propel Green's excellent day, as quarterback Andy Dalton continued to find him throughout the day following this touchdown catch.
Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans
Lions WR Titus Young - 6 receptions, 75 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
In this wild game that featured six fourth-quarter touchdowns, one player who made his mark on the game was Young. On the final play of regulation, backup quarterback Shaun Hill heaved the ball to the end zone that ricocheted off a Titan defender and into the hands of Young. Without this play, Young would have had another forgettable day but perhaps this lucky catch could jumpstart his disappointing season.
San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings
Vikings QB Christian Ponder - 21-for-35, 198 passing yards, 7 carries, 33 rushing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 rushing touchdown
Although a little less accurate than his first two starts, Ponder was very efficient when he handed the 49ers their first loss this season. Also earning a rare rushing touchdown against the 49ers defense, he showcased his ability with his arm and legs and seems to really becoming into his own as the leader of the Vikings offense.
St. Louis Rams at Chicago Bears
Bears team defense - 6 points allowed, 5 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 touchdown
With only one offensive touchdown scored in this game by Bears running back Michael Bush, it was the Bears defense that dominated a Rams offense that struggled to have any consistency in their run game. With one aspect of their offense stifled, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was forced into throwing two interceptions, include one that was returned for a touchdown by Major Wright. A good defense going into the season, the Bears team defense was one of the best of Week 3 and has so far made up for the team's struggles on offense.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys
Cowboys K Dan Bailey - 3-for-3 FGs, 1 PAT made
With only a pair of touchdowns scored in the first quarter, the Cowboys won the game off of Bailey's leg. After only one field goal made in the team's first two games, he had a solid performance that led the team to the win. Dropped often in the first two weeks of the season, Bailey might start getting added more again with his many scores in Week 3.
Atlanta Falcons at San Diego Chargers
Chargers RB Jackie Battle - 3 carries, 55 rushing yards
With just three carries, Battle once again served as the Chargers' leading rusher. Although back in a backup role behind Ryan Mathews, Battle's role will likely decrease in future weeks. Despite his productivity as a legitimate big rusher, he'll likely have little fantasy impact unless Mathews experiences a setback.
Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals
Eagles WR Damaris Johnson - 5 receptions, 84 receiving yards, 1 fumble lost
With Jeremy Maclin inactive, Johnson stepped up and led the Eagles in catches and receiving yards. The rookie showed in Week 3 that he could make a difference in the passing game despite quarterback Michael Vick's continuing struggles. Perhaps of interest in very deep leagues, Johnson made the most of his opportunity against the Cardinals as an inexperienced but fast receiver.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders
Steelers TE Heath Miller - 8 receptions, 60 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
With news of teammate Ben Roethlisberger wanting to get his tight end to the Pro Bowl, Miller continued his excellent numbers on the season against the Raiders with two more touchdowns on the season. Bogged by blocking on the line, it appears Miller is getting more opportunities than ever as a receiver, especially with Pittsburgh's run game issues. Given his rapport with Roethlisberger, Miller could easily be a TE1 for the rest of the year.
Houston Texans at Denver Broncos
Broncos WR Brandon Stokley - 6 receptions, 73 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had his best game as a Bronco by finding Stokley for six catches and a touchdown. Teammates for a couple of seasons during their time with the Colts, Stokley's value was higher this season thanks to their familiarity with one another. Still behind Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas, and Jacob Tamme on the pecking order in terms of targets, Stockley has low upside in Denver.
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens
Ravens WR Torrey Smith - 6 receptions, 127 receiving yards, 2 touchdowns
A wild game from start to finish, the big storyline from this game involved Smith and the tragedy he suffered late Saturday night. Unsure of whether he would play and how he would perform against the Patriots, Smith put up a memorable performance as one of the key reasons to why the Baltimore avenged defeat over New England. Easily breaking out as the top receiver in the Ravens offense, Smith' passionate play to end Week 3's Sunday games could be a motivational factor for him for the rest of the season.
Week 3 Scoreboard, Yahoo! Sports
Jeremy Kerley Game Log, Yahoo! Sports
Mohamed Sanu News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports
Titus Young News & Notes, Yahoo! Sports
St. Louis at Chicago | Sunday September 23, 2012 | Box Score, Yahoo! Sports
Dan Bailey Profile, Yahoo! Sports
Heath Miller: Steelers trying to get TE Miller to Pro Bowl, Rotoworld.com
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Austin Chang is a lifelong football fan, San Francisco 49ers supporter, and fantasy football player since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @_austinchang.
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- Jamaal Charles
- Jamaal Charles
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Kansas City Chiefs
- Heath Miller
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Torrey Smith
- Indianapolis Colts
- Baltimore Ravens
- Tashard Choice
- Jeremy Kerley
- Mohamed Sanu