Week 3 is where you can start to make safe assumptions about the quality of teams in the NFL and the quality of players on your fantasy squads. What we’ve learned so far is the Kansas City Chiefs may be playoff bound, the Pittsburgh Steelers are legitimate Super Bowl contenders and the San Francisco 49ers are pretenders. Da Bears 3-0 start has Mike Martz smiling like the Enzyte guy. The Chiefs and the Steelers weren’t getting many looks in the preseason but the league’s eyes are open now. The 49ers were the popular pick to win the NFC West but they’ve played their way into the basement of the league. If there’s any division where an 0-3 team can come back to win though, it’s the NFC West (so don’t go burning those Crabtree jerseys just yet, 49ers fans).
The biggest story of Week 3 is the parity in the NFL. On any given Sunday, any team can win (except for the Bills, Lions, Jags, Panthers and Browns). There are 24 teams legitimately competing for 8 playoff spots. We’re going to see really good teams get beat sometimes, like the Saints did in Week 3. Their sloppy play has caught up to them (I’m looking at you, Garrett Heartley) as they fell to Matty Ice and the Atlanta Falcons in OT. Word is the Saints are holding open tryouts for a new kicker (Hmm, how much is a flight from Chicago to New Orleans?).
The Cowboys got off the snide and beat a very good Texans team. Granted Andre 3k went out with a bum ankle midway through the 3rd Quarter, but this one wasn’t even close. Dez Bryant looked very good as Miles Austin came down to earth, Roy Williams abused rookie corner Kareem Jackson for his 2nd TD of the game, and the rate of suicide in Dallas has plunged.
As far as your fantasy team goes, we are all witnesses to the breakout season of fantasy stud Austin Collie (WR IND). The top ranked wideout has amassed a monstrous 27 receptions, 359 yards and 4 TDs in 3 weeks of work. If you haven’t already, get the guy off your bench and into your starting lineup. As Reggie Wayne (WR IND) is blanketed by the opposing team’s top CB every week, Austin Collie has developed a rapport with Peyton Manning. A 100 reception, 1250 yard 11 TD season is not out of the question for Collie.
Brandon Lloyd (WR DEN, Hook’s “Keep an Eye on” player Week 1) has emerged as the playmaker for the Broncos. He is a solid WR3 option currently available in 67% of Yahoo! Leagues who won’t be available after the waiver process clears. Get him on your squad.
Louis Murphy (WR OAK, Hook’s “Keep an Eye on” player Week 2) is the only receiver worth owning from the Raiders. If you’re looking for WR help, you could do much worse. Currently available in 69% of Yahoo! Leagues, this guy is the perfect bye week replacement.
Peyton Hillis (RB CLE) has emerged as a viable flex option. I have been reluctant to give this guy much attention, but a 144 yard 1 TD performance in Week 3 has me changing my tune. He’s still available in 50% of Yahoo! Leagues (apparently 50% of Yahoo! League users don’t remember their login info) and would make a nice addition to any team.
That about wraps up Week 3. If you love huge fantasy scores, you’re looking forward to Week 4. There should be several absolute blowouts as the matchups are favorable for the stronger teams in the league. I’m looking forward to Washington at Philly and Chicago at NYG as those two games will be featured in Hook’s NFL Week 4 Wrapup.
Check out Hook’s Must Adds, Must Drops, and other players to keep an eye on going into Week 4
Must Add- Brandon Lloyd (WR DEN), Peyton Hillis (RB CLE), Louis Murphy (WR OAK), Aaron Hernandez (TE NE), Mike Nugent (K CIN)
Must Drop- Garrett Heartley (K NO), Bo Scaife (TE TEN), Patrick Crayton (WR SD)
Keep an eye on- Brian Hartline (WR MIA), BenJarvus Green-Ellis (RB NE, upgrade to Must Add if Taylor is out), Lance Moore (WR NO)