A day late is better than never, right? So to recap, in my four leagues I am (2-1) and still not satisfied. I think the primary reason for that dissatisfaction are because Ray Rice is hurt (hip) and Colin Kaepernick isn’t playing at a high level as of yet. Speaking of Kaepernick, the prevailing question I’ve had all week is should you be worried about his performance.
Well, it depends.
I am still pretty high on Kaepernick. Look his talent is undeniable. You don’t reel off a regular/postseason run like he did and come out of the chute in 2013 and not have an idea of what the position entails. You also can’t deny that he’s a quarterback with an exceptional running ability. So what is the problem? Well for starters, you can’t lose your top target as a second-year player and expect all to be well. You also can’t lose said target and rely solely on Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis in the passing game. You aren’t beating too many secondaries with that match-up. If you take this into account you would cut the guy some slack.
Sadly that isn’t the reality of an NFL quarterback.
The narrative that the 49ers made a mistake in taking Kaepernick over Smith isn’t a reliable one. Alex Smith, off to a good start in Kansas City, has continued to prove two things: he benefits greatly from young, elite runners in his backfield (Jamaal Charles); and having Alex Smith under center nullifies talented receivers that stretch the field (where have you gone, Dwayne Bowe?). Relying on this to sustain through a full season and possibly the playoffs isn’t a reality. No knock on Smith, but you have to get the ball downfield at some point.
The verdict on Kaepernick: Continue to start him. Chances are that (aside from the last couple weeks) there aren’t many better options out there for you to replace him. His match-up couldn’t be better this week against the Rams (it is 2013 not 2012). But until the secondary receivers learn how to get open (receiving is a lot easier when this happens), Harbaugh should consider the “Alex Smith” model offense until then.
Week 3 recap
What do you know? The Cowboys do have a pulse in the backfield. It was a nice sign to see DeMarco Murray (175 ru. Yards, TD) running wild for the Cowboys. I have him in a dynasty league and am hopeful this production can sustain. I think the most surprising performance of the third week has to go to Josh Gordon (10 rec., 146 yards, TD) of the Cleveland Browns. As long as he’s wearing a Browns uniform I would count him as a WR2 in your leagues. The Browns do not have a run game right now and will rely heavily on the pass for more reasons than just being behind in games.
Continuing on the Browns portion of this post, I’m going to go out on a limb and say Jordan Cameron is about as good a play as anyone in the National Football League. His three touchdown performance week three was just what owners wanted to see. The only reason to take him out of your lineup is if the Browns are on a bye.
Other Top Performers from Week 3
Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: 374 yards, 3 TD
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: 342 yards, 3 TD’s, 1 rushing TD
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: 9 rec., 196 yards, 2 TD’s
Jonathan Franklin, RB, Green Bay Packers: 103 rushing yards, TD
Jason Snelling, RB, Atlanta Falcons: 53 ru. Yards, 58 re. yards, rec. TD
Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos: 133 yards, TD
Denarius Moore, WR, Oakland Raiders: 124 yards, TD
Terrell Pryor, QB, Oakland Raiders: 19-of-28, 281 yards, TD
Of course there were those who disappointed for us last week. For every Peyton Manning there was a…well…Eli Manning. I think one of the bigger disappointments not just of week three but to this point in the season was anyone associated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense. The Josh Freeman era is over in Tampa and in steps NC State Wolfpack alum Mike Glennon (I’ll be posting on this later). Tony Gonzalez has become the forgotten man in Atlanta, and many are hoping that changes sooner than later. While if you’re sending Maurice Jones-Drew out there every week in your lineup you might want to consider abandoning ship. He’s clearly the only person who can get anything going in that offense, and I don’t know how well he will be able to do that with teams essentially daring the Jaguars to pass.
Underperformers for Week 3
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans: 12 carries, 54 yards
Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: 119 yards, INT
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers: 244 yards, TD, 2 INT
David Wilson, RB, New York Giants: 11 carries, 39 yards rushing
Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 34 yards
I’m hoping everyone listened to me last week when I stated (pretty clearly) that giving Jason Snelling of Atlanta and Jonathan Franklin of Green Bay a shot at starting this season. Both put up numbers worthy of a top15-20 spot at their position. Snelling could be a great play again as Steven Jackson is expected to miss another week or two due to injury. I like the way Snelling runs, he’s better at just about every facet of the game than Rodgers, and physically I think he fits the mold of what Atlanta wants to do better. Keep him in mind.
Another tip: The Indianapolis Colts is playing the Jacksonville Jaguars this week. Chances are this unit is on the waiver wire. I think you see where I’m going with this. I didn’t expect much from their defense at the beginning of the year, but I don’t see any reason why a repeat performance can’t be expected after they held San Francisco to seven points on the road. Look for them, and reap the benefits; especially if you own that Packers defense currently on bye.
It looks like Ray Rice is going to chance it this week against the Buffalo Bills. As a fantasy player, you almost want him to sit out to get an extra weeks rest if he needs it. Bernard Pierce filled in nicely for me in a league and I see a lot of opportunity for him to do it again. Keep an eye on this situation because if the game gets out of hand at all, you could see Pierce mopping up instead of Rice. A 60/40 split in carries is also a good possibility.
I would also keep a close eye on the quarterback situation in Oakland. If Pryor passes his concussion tests and plays, he should start (he’s earned it). If not, steer clear of Matt Flynn. The Redskins don’t have a very good defense, but I sense an increasingly angry defensive front anxious to get after a passer who can’t make as much happen as the ones they have faced so far (Vick, Rodgers, Stafford). Look at Tampa Bay (yes, that Buccaneers team) and their quarterback instead. I think Mike Glennon will have a very good game and utilize the weapons a little better than his predecessor Freeman.