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Scouting Notebook: Baby, let's Cruz

Michael Salfino
Yahoo Sports

Lots of fantasy points on the waiver wires in Week 3 and let's start there.

Giants WR Victor Cruz(notes) is, like me, from Paterson, NJ via Paterson Catholic, which no longer even has a football team. That's a tough town. And Cruz plays a lot bigger than 6-foot and really can go and get the ball, as demonstrated last preseason when he scored three times against the Jets. Move him into your lineup in deep leagues on weeks when Hakeem Nicks(notes) or Mario Manningham(notes) are out. If starting, he'll have about as good a shot as about half the top 40 receivers.

Texans TE/RB James Casey(notes) is very interesting. Here's the key takeaway from his draft profile:

"Compares To: WES WELKER(notes), New England meets DALLAS CLARK(notes), Casey's pass catching ability is on par with Clark's, but he does not have the size and blocking skills to be considered a traditional tight end."

Torrey Smith(notes)? Well, nine out of 10 rookie wideouts are beat once defenses pay even a little attention to them. If Lee Evans(notes) is out, he'll have a deep safety eyeing him on every play. And if Evans is healthy, he's probably on the field only in passing situations, which makes the big plays less likely. So, pass, I'm afraid.

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It's uncommon for players to get off to poor starts and then completely reverse course and get red hot. But Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) has done that two weeks in a row. He does not remotely have a NFL arm, but is showing that arm strength is very overrated. Remember, though, (if you're thinking long term) he's not a guy who will effectively battle the wintry elements he seems sure to face in Buffalo.

Stevan Ridley(notes) got some big carries after BenJarvus Green-Ellis(notes) fell out of favor due to getting stuffed on consecutive touches after first-and-goal from the 1.

Chad Ochocinco(notes) dropped a certain TD pass and rounded off a route that led to one of Tom Brady's(notes) four picks. Don't be surprised if he's released this week. Either way, he's a zero right now.

Cam Newton(notes) looked like a sloppy rookie versus Jacksonville of all teams. The monsoon did not help matters, but he missed a lot of very easy NFL throws. Maybe it's just a bad day. But we have to trim the forecast from top five fantasy QB to top 10 with this new data.

Matthew Stafford(notes) took a beating and the lack of a running game is going to be an issue because too many third-and-longs allow defenses to pin their ears back and hit you. It's also going to force Brandon Pettigrew(notes) to stay in on more passing downs to fortify the protection. Remember, the Lions do not need a lot of receivers in patterns with No. 81 around.

Kenny Britt's(notes) likely torn ACL and Matt Hasselbeck's(notes) surprising resurgence makes Nate Washington(notes) a top 30 wideout (at least) going forward.

Is Reggie Bush(notes) overrated as a receiver, too? Since he was drafted in 2006, 27 backs with at least 100 catches have averaged more yards per catch than Bush's 7.2. The list includes luminaries like Correll Buckhalter(notes), Mewelde Moore(notes), Maurice Morris(notes) and Marion Barber(notes).

Hey, Michael Vick(notes), if you want to run like a running back, you are going to be treated like one by the refs. Plus, complaining about how you get hit on "every play" is not going to win you points with your offensive line. Kurt Warner(notes) played with a non-throwing hand injury and actually handed off backwards. So Vick could do it, too. But he probably will not be able to secure the ball and protect himself when he falls. So running is out probably for weeks, maybe as many as 6-to-8.

When healthy, Lance Moore(notes) is about as bettable as Saints wide receivers come. Yes, this is hedging, but I'm tired of Sean Payton making a monkey out of me.

Steven Jackson (four carries) was probably limited by the score as opposed to his quad. So, let's see: old, high-mileage, stinky team, always hurt. Yep, that's the profile of a top 20 pick. But he was a value pick!

How does Mark Sanchez(notes) throw for 369 yards and Santonio Holmes(notes) end up with one catch? Plus, Shonn Greene(notes) with seven catches? I always thought that it's silly to say that pro backs can't catch. Just because they don't get thrown to doesn't mean they can't do it. Witness Greene and Brandon Jacobs(notes) this week and Michael Turner(notes) earlier in '11. Your six year old can catch a football in the park – it's not difficult.

Darren McFadden(notes) should probably be the No. 1 pick in a redraft, maybe No. 2, but Adrian Peterson's Vikings supporting cast scares the hell out of me.

Ryan Mathews(notes) is the man in San Diego, it seems safe to say after beating Mike Tolbert(notes) 21-4 in carries and getting two short TD runs. We all knew that Mathews was better. Heart and toughness only go so far. It's like saying the girl is pretty on the inside.

I expect these types of outbursts from Jermichael Finley(notes) and so should you.

Rashard Mendenhall(notes) didn't even average 4.0 yards per carry last year. He's looking like an even more expensive Shonn Greene through three quarters of Week 3. But, no one runs on the Colts, right?

Michael Salfino writes for the Wall Street Journal and is a regular contributor to Yahoo! Sports.

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