September 23, 2013

Harmon’s Week 3 Quick-Hits

How did Week 3 treat you? Are you banking on a huge Monday night performance from Peyton Manning or members of his band of merry men?

There was some good, some bad and some downright ugly play on the Sunday slate. Colin Kaepernick owners are wringing their hands following another terrible performance. The absence of Vernon Davis limited Kaepernick’s downfield options, and Jim Harbaugh’s inexplicable misuse of Frank Gore in the second half. Gore carried the ball just three times after the break despite the game being close until the final stretch.

As for Kaepernick, he’s produced just 277 passing yards in the two games following his Week 1 explosion against the Packers with ZERO touchdowns and six turnovers. He’s a suspect play in Week 4 against the Rams.

Let’s talk about the Browns. Seriously, I did a bit for FOXSports.com about this very topic. There are a few fantasy-relevant options working here. The Browns were left for dead following a mid-week trade that shipped Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. The return of receiver Josh Gordon alongside emerging superstar Jordan Cameron made Brian Hoyer one of the heroes of the day in fantasyland. He averaged just six yards per attempt and threw three interceptions, but it hard to knock his 321 passing yards and three touchdowns.

Cameron’s locked in as a must-start tight end (make a trade with your other option) because he’s scoring regardless of the quarterback. Hell, I’m still wondering how he went uncovered on that special teams fakery.

Gordon was targeted 19 times (or 17, depending on your source), hauling down 10 receptions for 146 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. He came into Sunday’s action as a low-end WR3 Ninja with huge upside. He delivered in a big way. I’m curious to see if the Browns’ trading ways continue over the next few weeks. Either way, look for Rob Chudzinski to work the ball to Gordon in a variety of ways.

Before I leave that game, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that Adrian Peterson’s daughter called him out at bedtime last night. Peterson shared his daughter’s musings on Twitter.

Since the start of the 2012 season, the Bears have returned 10 interceptions for touchdowns. That nugget comes from Bears sideline reporter Zach Zaidman (@ZachZaidman). The gaudy number doesn’t even include the multiple fumble recoveries made the Bears, including Sunday night’s run by Julius Peppers.

The Steelers were on the receiving end of a beatdown by the Bears on Sunday night. Still, Antonio Brown generated a monster fantasy point total in defeat. Brown caught 9-of-12 targets for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the loss. He’d tallied 11 receptions for 128 yards in the Steelers’ first two games.

As expected, the Seahawks laid the wood to the Jaguars in Seattle. As you might have hoped, Cecil Shorts III piled up a solid fantasy stat line despite the team’s terrible play. He caught 8-of-15 targets for 143 yards in the loss.

Owners also received a solid, albeit unspectacular, stat line from Maurice Jones-Drew. He came in with an ankle injury that put him on my “No-Fly” list, but delivered a touchdown and 62 total yards.

Marshawn Lynch owners are cursing Pete Carroll because of his muted stat line in the blowout win. Russell Wilson was the hero of the day, rolling up four touchdown passes (two each to Zach Miller and Sidney Rice).

Kenbrell Thompkins recovered beautifully from his Week 2 struggles against the Jets. Thompkins pulled down two touchdown passes from Tom Brady to pace the Patriots over the Buccaneers. He finished the game with three receptions (seven targets) for 41 yards.

Victor Cruz caught three passes for 25 yards in the Giants’ debacle against the Panthers. I’ll spare you the carnage of Eli Manning’s stat line. Manning was sacked seven times.

Kenny Britt was targeted five times and recorded zero receptions in Tennessee’s comeback win over the Chargers. Jake Locker did a fantastic job finding time to get the ball to rookie Justin Hunter for the game-winning touchdown. Britt ranks as waiver wire fodder unless a trade gets executed to get him out of Tennessee. Look at Nate Washington for your receiving needs (huge game against the banged-up back-seven of the Chargers) and maybe Jake Locker as a spot starter or Bye week sub.

Speaking of which, remember that the dreaded Bye weeks begin in Week 4. The Packers and Panthers sit down in Week 4. We export the Steelers and Vikings to London.

What about DeMarco Murray? We know the talent and his upside. He delivered in a huge way in Week 3 against the Rams. Murray loaded up 175 yards with a touchdown (and a lost fumble) on 26 touches. He was the leader in the clubhouse after Sunday’s play, one of five running backs to rush for 100 yards.

Ninja special Bilal Powell rumbled for 149 yards on 27 carries in the Jets’ victory over the Bills. Chris Ivory left the game with an injury, thereby affording Powell an opportunity behind an improving Geno Smith. Look at Geno, too. He made big throws to Stephen Hill and Santonio Holmes in the victory. I’m intrigued.

Rookie Jonathan Franklin came on in relief of the injured James Starks (knee) and loaded up 103 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. He ran with great energy and displayed good vision as he hit the hole. Alas, he became part of the seemingly unending parade of turnovers in that game when his fumble was returned for a touchdown. The Packers hope that Eddie Lacy will be ready for Week 5.

Kaepernick wasn’t the only would-be star to get shut down in Week 3. Robert Griffin III, Eli Manning (already addressed), Matt Schaub, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith, Joe Flacco and Josh Freeman all failed to account for a touchdown this week. Andrew Luck managed just a rushing touchdown.

Ahmad Bradshaw led the Colts with 95 rushing yards with a touchdown plunge. Trent Richardson (35 rushing yards) scored on his first carry as a member of the Colts. Bradshaw will still play a role for Indianapolis in the short order, but the time for Richardson to live up to his hype is coming soon.

I’ll be back on Tuesday with some waiver wire thoughts and spot plays for Week 4.

You can lob up Sit-Start thoughts, trade proposals, game picks, derision and applause through my Twitter account @swollendome.

My full rankings will be up late Wednesday on SwollenDome.com. You can also find my “Inside Fantasy” rants on FOXSports.com.

Enjoy your Monday Night Football.