Peyton Slices, Dices Raiders

Nick Mensio
Evan Silva focuses on 1-2 critical fantasy Matchups in each of Sunday's Week 17 games

Silva's Week 17 Matchups

Evan Silva focuses on 1-2 critical fantasy Matchups in each of Sunday's Week 17 games

It was just another day at the office for Peyton Manning and the entire Denver offense in Monday night’s 37-21 win over the division rival Raiders. The Broncos moved to 3-0 to keep pace with the Chiefs atop the AFC West, and Manning is the No. 1 overall fantasy player after three weeks. Michael Vick (No. 2), Aaron Rodgers (No. 3), Drew Brees (No. 4) and Philip Rivers (No. 5) round out the top-five.

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Peyton put his name in the record books a couple more times Monday night as he continues his red-hot start to the season. His 12 touchdown passes through three games are one more than Tom Brady had in 2011. Manning has yet to toss an interception, and that ties Michael Vick for the record when Vick started his 2010 campaign with 12 touchdowns before throwing his first pick.

The way Manning picks apart and diagnoses a defense is truly a thing of beauty. He just gets it. On his first touchdown strike to Eric Decker on Monday night, Peyton busted out one his patented play-action fakes to bring the defenders up and allow Decker to sneak into the back of the end zone wide open. On the other two touchdown passes Manning threw, he sniffed out what the defense was going to do and changed the plays at the line of scrimmage to get the ball to Wes Welker and Julius Thomas for untouched scores. After 19 regular season games in Denver, Manning has thrown 59 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. He’s on pace to toss 64 scores in 2013 in the Broncos’ flawless, high-octane attack.

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Raiders at Broncos Quick Slants

The Broncos are allowing just 2.25 YPC through three games. They’re doing it minus their top run defender in SLB Von Miller. Miller has three games left on his six-game suspension. This defense is scary good. LeSean McCoy faces this defense in Week 4. … Montee Ball lost a fumble for the second game in a row. He needs to fix the issue if he’s ever going to overtake Knowshon Moreno atop the depth chart. … Moreno, Ball and Ronnie Hillman played in almost an even rotation Monday night. Moreno started, Ball was the second back in, and Hillman was last to enter. Ball and Hillman ran better than Moreno, but this is still Moreno’s job for the immediate future. The two youngsters got a lot of run late in the game with the Broncos ahead comfortably. … Terrelle Pryor threw the ball well. He still has happy feet in the pocket, but his talent is undeniable. The Raiders could have something here. Pryor sustained a concussion in the closing minutes and will be up against the clock for next week’s home game against Washington. He’ll have to get through concussion protocol on a short week. If he can, he’d be a nice bye-week fill-in for Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton owners. … Denarius Moore had his first 100-yard game since Week 6 of last season. … Eric Decker scored his first touchdown of the season. Owners that dumped him after a lousy Week 1 and scoreless Week 2 are kicking themselves for selling low.

News Nugget #1

FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported late-Monday night that Le’Veon Bell (foot) is set to play against the Vikings in Week 4. The second-round rookie suffered a Lisfranc sprain on August 19. He’s been taking first-team reps in Steelers practice for the past week or so and has apparently looked good in the process. As long as Bell avoids any setbacks, he should lead the Pittsburgh backfield in touches this week. The Vikings have surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs through three weeks. We wouldn’t trust Bell as much more than a flex option in Week 4, but that’s mainly because we just want to take a wait-and-see approach. The Steelers are 31st in rushing after three weeks. Isaac Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones are all safe to drop from fantasy rosters in the event they mistakenly found their way onto them in the first place. Bell will be on the RB2 radar sooner rather than later. He’s a three-down back.

News Nugget #2

ESPN’s Falcons writer Vaughn McClure reports Steven Jackson is actually dealing with a hamstring injury, not a thigh issue as was previously reported. Jackson missed the Week 3 game against the Dolphins. McClure reports Jackson is expected to be sidelined through the Falcons’ Week 6 bye before possibly returning for Week 7 against the Bucs. Jackson is 30 years old, so it’s going to take him longer than other young players to get over a soft tissue injury. He has a ton of miles on his tires. Jacquizz Rodgers and Jason Snelling filled in admirably for Jackson this past week, combining for 204 yards and a touchdown on 35 touches. Rodgers has the edge in PPR formats, while Snelling is the way to go in touchdown-heavy leagues. Jackson owners need to just wait it out with him. He’ll return to lead-back duties when healthy and will see plenty of goal-line looks.

News Nugget #3

C.J. Spiller suffered a thigh – not knee – injury in Sunday’s loss to the Jets. He exited the game in the third quarter and did not return to action, allowing Fred Jackson to soak up the reps in the Buffalo backfield. Spiller said on Monday that he expects to play this week against the Ravens. It’s a tough matchup for Spiller versus Baltimore’s No. 4 run defense, but it’s one where he still needs to be started unless you play in some crazy shallow fantasy league or are loaded with front-line running backs. It might be a good time to throw some lowball offers toward Spiller owners. He’s averaging just 3.56 YPC and 51 yards per game through three weeks. Those numbers are bound to rise.

Quarterback/Running Back Slants

Coach Gus Bradley announced Blaine Gabbert (hand) will start Week 4 against the Colts. … The Bucs remain committed to Josh Freeman as their starter this week. … Coach Rob Chudzinski declined to name a Week 4 starting quarterback Monday. Brian Hoyer led the team to its first win on Sunday, while Brandon Weeden is still working his way back from a thumb injury. … Daryl Richardson (foot) said he’ll be “good to go” for Thursday night’s game against the 49ers. He played just two snaps in Week 3 before getting his injured foot stepped on. Richardson is nothing more than a flex option this week. … James Starks underwent an MRI on his knee Monday. He thinks he may have strained some ligaments. The Packers are entering their bye week, and Eddie Lacy (concussion) is expected to be ready for Week 5. Starks is purely a handcuff after his Week 3 spot start. … Chris Ivory is expected to miss some time with his hamstring injury. He’s battled hamstring woes his entire career. … Coach John Harbaugh said Ray Rice (hip) “could” return for Week 4. … Coach Marc Trestman said Michael Bush will be the Bears’ goal-line back moving forward. He’s still merely just a handcuff option for Matt Forte. … Giovani Bernard played on a season-high 53.5 percent of the snaps in Week 3. Look for his role to continue to grow at the expense of plodder BenJarvus Green-Ellis. … Maurice Jones-Drew said the swelling in his ankle is gone. … Reggie Bush (knee) said he will play against the Bears this week.

Wide Receiver/Tight End Slants

Chris Givens missed Monday’s practice with a knee injury. He played his full load of snaps in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, suggesting it’s not a major issue. Keep an eye on him, though. Givens is more WR4 than WR3 at the moment. … Justin Hunter may play more at the expense of Kenny Britt moving forward. … Andre Johnson (shin) is considered day-to-day. He should be ready to roll for Week 4. … Vincent Jackson’s rib injury is not considered serious, and he’s day-to-day. … Jon Baldwin may be active for the 49ers this week. … The Browns reportedly have an offer on the table for Josh Gordon, though the team denies it’s trying to trade him. … Miles Austin’s latest hamstring injury is not considered serious. … Vernon Davis (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis Monday. The 49ers may have held him out of Week 3 to get him ready to go against the division rival Rams on Thursday night. … The Raiders placed David Ausberry (shoulder) on injured reserve Monday. Mychal Rivera will remain the starting tight end in Oakland. … The Bucs placed Luke Stocker (hip) on injured reserve. … The Jaguars expect Marcedes Lewis (calf) to make his season debut this week.

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