Cleveland 16, Baltimore 23
Quarterback Brandon Weeden is making strides in his rookie season, finishing Thursday Night’s game with 320 passing yards. Like all young quarterbacks, Weeden is still making rookie mistakes as evident by staring down his wide receiver on a 3rd-and-5 causing a pick-six to Ravens cornerback Carey Williams. Although Weeden has zero fantasy value, his elevated play could very well render a Browns wide receiver viable by season’s end.
The ongoing question is “which of the Browns wide receivers could emerge as a fantasy starter?” Early in this contest Greg Little was looking like a waiver addition. Through the first three weeks of the season Little has been targeted just over six times per game, but plagued by drops allowing a league high 11 passes to slip thorugh his fingers. Little again found it difficult to hang onto the football dropping a very catchable touchdown in a tight ballgame with time ticking down. Little remains on our “watch list”, but is not yet worthy of a roster spot until he can rectify these issues.
Trent Richardson put together another solid game considering the stout Ravens defense. Richardson is proving worth the 2nd round pick fantasy owners spent to draft the star running back.
Torrey Smith gave fantasy owners an early season scare after being absent from the Ravens passing game in weeks one and two. With 20 targets over the past two games totaling 224 yards and three touchdowns Smith is now a lineup lock.
Joe Flacco is slowly emerging as a fantasy option in the Ravens new high octane offense climbing up to become a mid/low QB1.
In typical Anquan Boldin fashion he is delivering one good game every three weeks. His lack of consistency is unnerving and hard to rely on as a weekly starter. Consider Boldin is a spot start when the Ravens have a softer defensive matchup.
Carolina 28, Atlanta 30
As a member of my preseason sleeper list, I was starting feel like a donkey for recommending Greg Olsen in the later rounds. However, Olsen has redeemed himself the past two weeks finally getting into the end zone along with 89 yards receiving in his matchup with the Falcons. Olsen should be viewed as a low end TE1 moving forward.
Cam Newton, who has been slow start to the season, received a strong vote of confidence with a stat line that included 215 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 86 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. He is impossible to bench unless you have amazing depth at the quarterback position (ie; Big Ben or Griffin III).
With Jonathan Stewart back in the lineup, both he and DeAngelo Williams had nearly identical carries. This week it was D-Will scoring the touchdown as the RBBC is alive and well in Carolina. Hard to recommend any Carolina running back.
Matt Ryan is a stud and Roddy White is the security blanket when things get tough. However, most puzzling is the up-and-down performance of Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones. Targeted eight times, Jones only managed one catch for 30 yards. No way this trend continues as Jones could be a “buy low” at the right price.
Aging Michael Turner ripped through the paper thin Carolina run defense accumulating 171 total yards and one touchdown. Moral of the story, start your running backs facing the Panthers.
New England 52, Buffalo 28
Quickly falling behind 21-7, the first half of this game was filled with uncharacteristic mistakes from the Patriots. Rob Gronkowski had a fumble along with three early drops. Welker even put the ball on the ground and normally rock solid kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed two makeable field goals. But in the end talent prevailed as all major players on the Patriots offense ended the game with solid fantasy point production including; Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Wes Welker and Brandon Lloyd.
Stevan Ridley owners were also rewarded with 106 yards and two touchdowns. But talk round the Monday morning water cooler will be “who the heck is Brandon Bolden?” After a long history of an RBBC, Bill Belichick is again utilizing a two-headed attack as rookie running back Brandon Bolden took 16 carries totaling 137 yards and one touchdown. If you are doing the math, that’s 8.6 yards per carry as Bolden went beast mode through the Bills defensive line. Ridley owners should be worried as Bolden has now entrenched himself as a partner in the backfield, including sharing goal line looks. As for Bolden, he is most certainly worth adding and now is a must handcuff for Ridley owners.
As predicted, the Patriots made it a point to shut down the Bills strongest weapon, Steve Johnson. That forced Ryan Fitzpatrick to find other options as Fitzpatrick obliged, tossing four touchdowns including two scores to tight end Scott Chandler. Targeted eight times in this game Chandler remains a mid/low TE1 as the Bills lone red zone player.
Much of the talk throughout the week has been “who will start in the Bills backfield with Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller ailing from injury?” To our surprise, both suited up and saw action. Although neither was all that impressive, Jackson looks to be the lead horse with 13 carries to Spiller’s eight. Let the RBBC ensue along with our confusion of who to rely on in our starting lineups.