The replacement referees are dominating league headlines again this week, but in our fantasy world, life goes on. It is worth mentioning that the aforementioned referees are not affecting fantasy point output noticeably thus far. This week the NFL kicked off Thursday in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Panthers versus Giants 7-36
Notable Performers CAR:
Cam Newton- Cam had an abysmal 243-yard, one-touchdown (rushing), three-interception, and nine-FP game. Thursday was not his night and playing the Falcons on the road next week won’t make his job easier.
Greg Olsen- Olsen led Carolina pass-catchers with a seven-reception, 98-yard, and 9-FP game. He also leads the team in targets with 24. It appears Olsen is emerging as a safety valve for Newton this season.
Notable Performers NYG:
Andre Brown- Brown’s 113-yard, two-touchdown, and 24-FP game paced the Giants offense. Ahmad Bradshaw is expected back at practice this week so expect a significant dip in Brown’s touches as long as Bradshaw is on the field.
Martellus Bennett- Three straight games with a touchdown for Bennett, Manning is comfortable throwing to him in the red zone.
Ramses Barden- Barden filled in for the injured Hakeem Nicks, catching nine passes for 138 yards. Nicks will be back next week but keep an eye on Barden if there are any more injuries to Giant receivers.
Browns versus Bills 14-24
Notable Performers BUF:
Tashard Choice- C.J. Spiller went down early with a shoulder injury and Choice got 20 carries. He gained 91 yards scoring 9 FP. Fred Jackson may play next week and Spiller might not miss much time so don’t overreact to Choice.
Ryan Fitzpatrick- Fitzy played terrific Sunday throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions. Albeit against the Browns, his performance is encouraging after a sub-par start to the season.
Notable Performers CLE:
Greg Little- You shouldn’t own him, but if you do you should know that he was benched for dropping passes this week.
Titans versus Lions 44-41
Notable Performers TEN:
Jake Locker- Locker had a great 378-yard, two-touchdown, 24-FP performance. The Lions are pretty horrible against the pass so don’t read into this too much. Houston is on deck for the Titans so Locker shouldn’t start for you in the near future.
Kendall Wright- He had a team-leading seven catches Sunday, but most notably the rookie leads the team in targets with 25.
Notable Performers DET:
Matthew Stafford- He left the game in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury but had a decent 18-FP effort before he left. If he misses time Shaun Hill is a solid start against Minnesota.
Calvin Johnson- Megatron had his first huge fantasy game of the year as he racked up 164 yards and a touchdown on his way to 22 FP. With 31 targets this year I anticipate that games like these will be the norm.
Mikel Leshoure- In his first game off suspension he gained 100 yards on 26 carries. The high carry number indicates the Lions will go with him as starter going forward. He is a solid second running back.
Colts versus Jaguars 17-22
Notable Performer IND:
T.Y. Hilton-He led the Colts in receiving yardage with 113 on Sunday. This came out of nowhere considering he had just one catch total in the first two games of the season. Austin Collie is out for the season so keep an eye on Hilton because it’s anyone’s guess who will be the second receiver in Indy.
Notable Performer JAC:
Maurice Jones-Drew-He was the Jaguars offense once again accounting for 193 yards and a touchdown. As a perennial preseason fantasy stud he continues to live up to the hype with outings like this.
Dolphins versus Jets 20-23
Notable Performer MIA:
Daniel Thomas- Reggie Bush left the game with a knee injury and in his absence Thomas got the bulk of the carries. He is an intriguing option for the next couple of weeks as Bush is expected to miss some time.
Notable Performer NYJ:
Santonio Holmes- The nine-catch, 147-yard, and 14-FP performance led the team and he was the only Jet to have more than two catches.
Vikings versus 49ers 24-13
Notable performer MIN:
Christian Ponder- His three combined touchdowns led the Vikings in the upset. His 24-FP effort was enough for third among quarterbacks this week. Playing against the Lions next week, he is poised to have another top-five week.
Kyle Rudolph-The tight end caught two more touchdowns and has cemented himself as an intricate part of the Viking offense. He is a starter from here on out as far as I am concerned.
Chiefs versus Saints 27-24
Notable Performer KC:
Jamaal Charles- Charles bounced back in a huge way after his one-FP performance with a 288-yard, one-touchdown, and 34-FP game. Obviously this was a monster game for Charles and this could mean he is fully recovered from his knee injury.
Redskins versus Bengals 31-38
Notable Performers WSH:
Robert Griffin, III- Yet another top-three performance this week; he is the most reliable fantasy quarterback right now.
Notable Performers CIN:
A.J. Green- This was another big game for Green, who led all receivers with 25 FP. In his second season, he is selling himself as an elite fantasy receiver early on.
Andy Dalton- Dalton was terrific completing 70 percent of his passes for over 300 yards. This is his second-straight week with more than 20 FP and I expect a third next week against the Jaguars.
Cardinals versus Eagles 27-6
Notable Performers ARI:
Larry Fitzgerald- Following his goose egg against the Patriots, Larry came back with a nine-catch, 114-yard, one-touchdown, and most importantly 17-FP game. He is too inconsistent to recommend as a number-one receiver.
Ryan Williams- He got a majority of the work when Beanie Wells went down with injury. Williams can be an interesting play if Wells misses time.
Chargers versus Falcons 3-27
Notable Performer ATL:
Julio Jones- With five catches and a touchdown, Jones came back well from his 14-yard performance last week. Week two seems to have been a blip on the radar, expect bigger games in Jones’ future.
Broncos versus Texans 25-31
Notable Performer DEN:
Peyton Manning- Despite completing just 50-percent of his passes, he had a great fantasy game, notching his second 20-FP night this season. Manning may slowly be getting into form considering these numbers came against the stout Texan defense.
Notable Performer HOU:
Matt Schaub- Throwing for four touchdowns will never go unnoticed. Tennessee is up next for the Texans and a repeat performance should be in the cards for Schaub.
Raiders versus Pittsburgh 34-31
Notable Performer OAK:
Darren McFadden- He rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown in the win Sunday. With just 54 rushing yards in the first two weeks, this is an encouraging result that I expect to continue.
Notable Performers PIT:
Ben Roethlisberger- A monster game for Ben, who led all quarterbacks with 31 FP. This is expected against such a horrible defense but still it was nice to see heading into a bye week.
Antonio Brown- He got into the end zone for the first time this season. He also leads the Steelers in targets with 29.
Ravens versus Patriots 31-30
Notable Performer BAL:
Torrey Smith- In the wake of the passing of his younger brother, Smith caught a pair of touchdowns with a heavy heart Sunday night. The gutsy performance netted him a top-three 24 FP among receivers.
Notable Performers NE:
Wes Welker- In the first game without Aaron Hernandez it was Welker who picked up the slack for the Patriots. Welker had 142 yards receiving for 14-FP. As long as Hernandez is out, Welker should have a larger role in the offense.
Brandon Lloyd- He finally broke out as a Patriot Sunday night when he caught nine passes for 108 yards. He didn’t find the end zone but that will surely come soon.
Seahawks versus Packers 14-12
Notable Performer SEA:
Golden Tate- The controversy surrounding his second touchdown catch speaks for itself, but for fantasy, all it means is eight more points. With only three catches, I don’t know how you can rely on Tate but congratulations if you started him this week.
Random Stat: Last week home teams were 14-2, this week, 8-8.
The games and teams that I omitted had no extremely relevant fantasy players in week 3. Check back tomorrow for the second part of my column where I pick my favorite and least-favorite matchups for week 4.