Mostly NFL Notes: Week 3 Recap

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The Colts' poor offensive line does him no favors, but the team's dismal defense should continue to be a boon to Andrew Luck's fantasy value. While he's unlikely to keep up his current pace to finish with 427 rushing yards, it's a sneaky part of his game in which he should continue to contribute…After kicking a field goal to go up 17-16 with 0:56 left it took all of 11 seconds for the Jaguars to retake the lead. Blaine Gabbert had 75 yards passing in the game before his 80-yard TD strike to win it…Over three games, Justin Blackmon has four catches for 31 yards. Pro Football Focus has graded him dead last among 109 wide receivers so far…So glad I held onto Austin Collie in a few leagues…It was nice to see Donald Brown catch his first pass of the year, but it sure looks like he's going to fail to live up to the preseason hype, something I fell for in a couple of leagues. The addition of Andrew Luck is going to help out the receivers a lot more than Brown, who remains an ordinary talent having to deal with poor run blocking.

C.J. Spiller was no doubt en route to another big game before suffering the shoulder injury, but the good news is it doesn't appear serious. With Fred Jackson recovering quicker than expected, it should be interesting to see how the Buffalo backfield situation unfolds in the coming weeks. It really can't be understated just how explosive Spiller looks on the field right now. Chan Gailey's system doesn't hurt either, so Tashard Choice could be useful in the short term…It's tough to get excited about Trent Richardson's performance, but he's scored in back-to-back games and has racked up 10 catches over that span. He's going to be among the league leaders in touches this season.

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Where did that come from Santonio Holmes?...I'd like to personally apologize to all Reggie Bush owners for praising him so much last week. Of course he suffered an injury soon thereafter (I am that powerful!). Daniel Thomas dominated the work afterward, but Lamar Miller sure seems to pass the eye test. He's intriguing long term…What a brutal loss of Darrelle Revis…Not only was the Jets/Dolphins game one of three overtime contests Sunday, but the result came down to Dan Carpenter missing a field goal (his second of the day) in OT and another crazy sequence at the very end, when Nick Folk had his 33-yard FG attempt blocked, only to get a second chance thanks to Miami calling a timeout right beforehand trying to "ice" him.

I'm a huge Paul Thomas Anderson fan, which led to huge expectations for "The Master," especially after an incredible trailer (that scene was somehow cut from the film). But it was good, not great. Call it a "B," which means I was pretty disappointed.

I'm not saying I totally disregarded the Saints' bad offseason, mainly the big coaching turnover, but I wasn't buying the narrative that any bad vibes would ruin their upcoming season. After all, this team was arguably one of the three best in the NFL last year. I pegged them for around 9-10 wins and another trip to the playoffs. There's a lot of season left, but man, things are looking bleak in New Orleans (their opponents this year are a collective 0-6 when not playing them). After going 9-0 at home last year (including the playoffs), outscoring their opponents by a whopping 203 points, the Saints have already lost two games in New Orleans…The defense might be the worst in the league, and while I'm not totally absolving Drew Brees, he's dealt with horrible offensive line play…At one point Sunday, Darren Sproles was averaging 47.0 YPC for the season…After missing essentially all of last year and then leaving last week with a knee injury, it was pretty crazy to see Jamaal Charles get 39 touches Sunday. 39! This is a great example of how much things can change within the span of a week in fantasy football. He's gone from a legit concern to an easy top-15 commodity that quickly.

Amazing mind reader reveals his "gift."

It's clear Alfred Morris is going to be removed on passing downs this season, but he remains locked in early down work, and that was before Evan Royster got hurt yet again. Morris had an impressive run Sunday when he continued to play after losing his helmet. This wasn't Jason Witten getting caught from behind by a safety. Morris was hit by two linebackers on both sides. Badass…Mohamed Sanu's career YPA is 73.0. Andy Dalton better watch his back…Robert Griffin obviously doesn't have the TD potential as Cam Newton with his slighter build, but the rookie ran for more yards during the third game of his career than Newton ever has. RG3's upside is simply through the roof. The question now isn't if he's a top-10 fantasy QB. It's if he's top-5…BenJarvus Green-Ellis fumbled for the first time in his career. His last was in 2007 when playing for Ole Miss.

Spearfishing takes a sudden change.

The Lions/Titans game is the heavy favorite to go down as the craziest of 2012. Not only were 85 points scored, but a whopping 46 of them came in the fourth quarter. The Titans scored four touchdowns from 60+ yards, including three on defense/special teams. The Lions were down 14 points with 19 seconds left! After a touchdown, then a successful onside kick, the game should have been over by an ensuing interception, only a personal foul afterward negated it, which resulted in a Hail Mary TD catch by Titus Young Sr. (love that, Senior), and to make it more dramatic, DIRECTV immediately changed the channel. Like seriously within 1 second of the catch, leaving viewers unsure of what occurred. I was going to argue the "bat it down" strategy may need to be reassessed, but then Monday night happened…Nate Washington's 71-yard TD catch while reaching around a clueless DB's back was awesome…Tennessee entered having allowed five passing scores on the year, but all were to tight ends. Detroit rectified that anomaly with three TDs from wide receivers.

Kevin Smith scored two touchdowns in Week 1 and got 4.8 YPC before struggling like every running back on earth does against the 49ers in San Francisco last week, yet apparently the coaching staff has soured on him entirely, giving him zero touches Sunday and handing over a full workload to someone who had never played a snap in the NFL. Mikel LeShoure looked good enough, so fantasy owners need to make the proper adjustments. I firmly believed Kevin Smith would either be productive or hurt, so I guess I was wrong…I'm beginning to think Chris Johnson may disappoint his fantasy owners this year. He had two carries for -16 yards in overtime…As if this game didn't provide enough intrigue, it also involved the first real strategy decision with the new overtime rules, as Detroit was presented with a 4th-and-1 at Tennessee's 7-yard line down three points. A FG attempt there is 90%+ certain but gives the ball back to the Lions in what becomes sudden death. Especially in a game that totaled 85 points, I have no problem with Jim Schwartz's decision to go for it, but it resulted in a botched snap, ending an exciting game in exciting fashion.

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After getting praised as possibly the best team in football, traveling to play a 10 a.m. body clock game in a loud dome against a solid team, it's not exactly shocking the 49ers showed up flat, but this was definitely the worst game the team has played under Jim Harbaugh. That said, I don't want to discredit the Vikings, as they are far from a doormat. And even if his final numbers don't jump off the page, Christian Ponder made some terrific throws. He entered leading the NFL in completion percentage and is highly mobile, so the future looks bright in Minnesota, especially with one of the most physical backs of all time and one of the more difficult wide receivers to game plan against on his side…Donte Whitner dropped an easy would-be pick-six, but the 49ers actually benefitted from a pretty big referee gaffe in which they allowed a challenge right after Jim Harbaugh signaled for the team's final timeout…Kyle Williams, who lost two fumbles in the NFC Championship Game last year, averaged 72.0 yards on two kick returns Sunday…Counting the postseason, Vernon Davis has eight touchdowns over his past five games.

This 8-year-old is tough to bring down in youth football.

Make no mistake, this Rams team is feisty, and four of their next five contests are at home…After his first game in Chicago, Brandon Marshall looked to be in store for a monster season, but defenses have since adjusted to give him their attention heavily. I'm still buying and expect solid production moving forward but drops, especially in the end zone, continue to be a problem…I find it funny the media think they actually have any clue what Jay Cutler's teammates think of him. I'm not saying they don't have a problem with him, but to act like they know for certain based on a couple of sideline confrontations on national TV seems like a bit of a stretch…Over his last 12 games, Steven Jackson has one touchdown.

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Coming off a loss and with a favorable matchup at home, fantasy owners tied to Dallas' offense were left highly disappointed, as Tony Romo didn't throw for a single touchdown while DeMarco Murray totaled just 55 yards. Jason Witten's drops have become a legit concern, and he's making other mental errors as well with penalties. Over 30 career games, Dez Bryant has eclipsed 90 receiving yards one time…With 2:51 left in the 2nd quarter, the Cowboys attempted a surprise onside kick. It didn't work, and although I respect the aggressiveness and thinking outside the box, those type of decisions typically make more sense for underdogs rather than favorites…Like Dwayne Bowe, Vincent Jackson is one of the more boom-or-bust wide receivers in fantasy football…Over the first three games of the season, the Cowboys have allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks by a pretty wide margin (the Redskins have allowed by far the most)…Of all the referee mistakes this week, this one might be the worst (ok fine, second worst).

Burglar found sleeping on kitchen floor.

I ended up with Vernon Davis or Antonio Gates in the majority of my leagues this year, not spending a top-two round pick on a tight end yet wanting to avoid the tier in which I felt there was a big drop off, and while I'm happy with the former, the latter has totaled seven catches for 65 yards with no touchdowns so far after numerous reports suggested Gates was healthier than he's been in years. The game he missed his backup scored three touchdowns, and Gates made an egregious drop Sunday, so it's been a brutal start for him…Finally returning to health, fumbling immediately at such a crucial time is such a Ryan Mathews thing to do. Still, I can't quit him. I actually don't own him in any leagues, but in trade discussions, I'd value him as a top-15 asset right now…I've been skeptical of Atlanta, but their secondary has impressed in a big way so far, even after losing Brent Grimes. And while they have been postseason disappointments, it's at least worth noting their last two losses in the playoffs came against the eventual Super Bowl champions.

Here's an extreme Prisoner's Dilemma.

The Cardinals are now 10-2 over their past 12 games. This year they have allowed just 5.9 YPA with an NFL-low two touchdown passes against. Their 12 sacks are the second most in football, and they've also yet to allow a rushing score. This defense is legit…Daryl Washington is on pace to finish with 155 tackles (139 solo) and 16 sacks. He's an absolute IDP beast…I hope you're sitting down, but Beanie Wells exited Sunday's game with an injury. Ryan Williams did later on as well, but it seemed more like a cramping issue. Not that either can be started with confidence right now, but it sure seems like this franchise has Williams' back moving forward…After scoring 20 touchdowns over 15 games last season, LeSean McCoy has hit paydirt just once over the first three games of the year…After committing nine turnovers over 12 games during his awesome 2010 season, Michael Vick has turned it over 27 times over his last 16 games. He remains a huge fantasy asset regardless, but he's routinely taking serious shots weekly. There's no way he lasts the season this way.

Sensei drops technique that goes wrong.

The Raiders/Steelers game was yet another thriller. Carson Palmer had a bizarre day for him, getting just 6.1 YPA and finishing with only 209 passing yards yet he threw three touchdowns…Despite managing just 2.7 YPC against an Oakland defense that was gashed for 263 rushing yards by the Dolphins last week, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 384 yards (7.8 YPA) with a 4:0 TD:INT ratio. Although I must say I was surprised his final TD pass was credited as such, since Antonio Brown fumbled and then later recovered it in the end zone…With 3:45 left in the 4th quarter, the Steelers went for it on 4th-and-1 at their own 29-yard line in a tie game. If they had failed, you better believe they would've been crushed in the media. Love that ballsy decision…The Darrius Heyward-Bey hit was scary. It wasn't just helmet-to-helmet (that drew no penalty), it was helmet to face mask, and the worst part was his neck hitting the ground. Ultimately, he was unconscious for about 11.5 minutes. His eventual thumbs up was the best part of Sunday's action, no question.

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While the Broncos somehow again made a once lopsided game close at the end, they were thoroughly outplayed by Houston on Sunday. The Broncos have outscored their opponents 45-6 in the 4th quarter this year. But I'm not sure that's necessarily a reflection of anything positive…If Willis McGahee has to miss time with his rib injury, expect a full-blown committee in his place…It's disconcerting for his owners just how much Houston continues to be run-heavy, but Andre Johnson's day was nearly much bigger Sunday, for what it's worth…Wade Phillips deserves some credit. Some awful head coaches can remain very good coordinators…When not facing the Broncos, Peyton Manning's opponents so far this year have a collective 6:8 TD:INT ratio, so he's not exactly had the easiest schedule coming off the injury.

Here's a classic: fear of balloons. "Oh no, don't go back there that's worse."

Tom Brady is on pace to finish with 21 passing touchdowns this year. Even as someone who constantly preaches the wait on QBs motto, I'm not exactly going to say I told you so, as I expected a big season from Brady (as in approach 50 TDs big). Crazy how disappointing the top ranked quarterbacks have been early on…Pretty cool to see Torrey Smith's big game considering his recent loss of his brother…Wes Welker owners can breath a sigh of relief, while Rob Gronkowski owners have no need to panic. Also, it feels like Brandon Lloyd could be undervalued right now based on his production vs. potential moving forward…Justin Tucker's game winning field goal was an awfully tough call. I'm not making excuses for the replacement refs (more on them below), but I can't remember a FG like that to decide a game. One thing I will say is that these refs haven't had the greatest luck when it comes to having to decide controversial calls…Running the hurry up offense constantly, Stevan Ridley saw his snaps decrease significantly, even getting two fewer carries than Danny Woodhead while also losing a goal-line score to Brandon Bolden. As someone who's hyped Ridley's value, I can't say it's not concerning (or exactly shocking), but let's just hope it was situational, as he remains by far the team's best option in the backfield.

Longread of the week: Great story about a wine collector who executed one of the biggest hoaxes ever.

Aaron Rodgers is on pace to be sacked 85 times this year, which would easily beat David Carr's record of 76 set in 2002…The Packers haven't had a 100-yard rusher since Week 5 in 2010, but Cedric Benson looked solid enough, albeit with a poor 2.6 YPC mark against a very tough Seattle defense (there's an argument to be made the three best defenses all reside in the NFC West, and it's not like the Rams have a bad unit either). Benson has eight catches over the past two games after totaling 15 all of last season…After scoring five touchdowns over the final two games last year (and 15 total), Jordy Nelson has zero over his last four games (including the playoffs). Fantasy owners obviously should remain patient, but it hasn't been a great start…So I had previously taken something of a contrarian view of the replacement refs, not getting overly worked up since I have always thought the normal refs were generally also terrible, but the Monday night game was too much. There were numerous game-changing calls (the horrible PI involving Sidney Rice comes to mind), and you don't need me to tell you about the Golden Tate "catch." But if we mock this, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this from last year. Either way, this was obviously a travesty that also happened to occur in prime time, and as much as the NFL held the hammer beforehand, this was literally Roger Goodell's worst nightmare. I was surprised the Packers eventually brought out players to go through the motions for the extra point.

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