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Risers and Fallers – Week 3

St. Louis Rams vs Chicago Bears

Steven Jackson – One word encapsulates what exactly transpired on Sunday against the Washington Redskins; Stupid.
[Editor’s Note: It has come to my attention via my children in grammar school that the word ‘stupid’ is a bad word and should never be used. But given it’s appropriateness in this situation, I will allow it. But don’t tell the children] It was a stupid call on the referees to not award Jackson the touchdown that he clearly earned. It was stupid for Coach Jeff Fisher to not challenge the call. It was stupid for Jackson to spike the ball in protest, in turn, earning a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty. And it was stupid for Fisher to bench Jackson for the rest of the game for his actions.

After the game, Fisher explained how Jackson wasn’t benched, but instead sat due to a strained groin. That’s pretty coincidental given that injury happened on that very play and the fact that Jackson stood on the sideline in full pads, apparently ready to get back into the game. This could be a very large, confusing, and unforeseen set to circumstances unveiling in St. Louis. The way that Jackson and Fisher both handle this week post-sitting and how Fisher utilizes Jackson against the Bears will speak volumes to his value for the rest of 2012.

This isn’t the first time a coach has sat a player for their behavior. The incident with Wes Welker citing ‘feet’ several times during an interview against the Jets and earning a spot on the pine quickly comes to mind. Daryl Richardson looked average at best, but still got the job done for the Rams in Jackson’s absence. The Rams’ big man has a ton to lose here in Week 3.


Buffalo Bills vs Cleveland Browns

C.J. Spiller – We could have a very special player on our hands here. Last season when Fred Jackson went down with an injury Spiller was turned to as a backup plan. Here in 2012, Spiller may have already shown enough in two games to be viewed as a lot more than just a replacement option moving forward. Spiller has been an absolute animal in the first two games of the season. His average yards-per-carry is completely off the charts and his explosive play ability has defenses trembling.

If C.J. Spiller can keep the ball rolling he will have made his case to receive the majority of the carries even when Fred Jackson returns. Owners may have gotten the gem of the draft in selecting the former third down specialist. If Spiller burns Cleveland down like we are expecting him to, Jackson’s role in the offense will be extremely smaller when he returns. The new Bills’ burner is rapidly screaming up the rankings and could have a permanent place there with a triple game run of massive points. If this continues Spiller could be the value pick of the draft.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Dallas Cowboys

Tony Romo – There’s the Tony Romo we all know and love. Well, at least know. Romo is an extremely up-and-down quarterback. He has been for his entire career and will continue until he retires for a life of supermodels and golf. Being extremely up-and-down suggests that Romo could be set to rebound in superior fashion here in Week 3. We should be expecting a performance closer to week one’s stat line and less reminiscent of last week’s bobble against the Seattle Seahawks.

Romo and ‘Boys get the same defense that Eli Manning and his crew just tore up for 500-plus passing yards. Romo should have plenty of chances to locate Kevin Ogletree, Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, and Jason Witten. This is the perfect opportunity to reassert himself among the best options at the position. If, however, he stumbles again, owners will be left reeling and incredibly frustrated. His value will either return to top-tier status or bottom-out for a while depending on week three’s outcome.


Detroit Lions vs Tennessee Titans

Matthew Stafford – So far the top quarterbacks taken in the 2012 fantasy draft are not impressing their owners. Stafford is a member of this frustrating, underperforming crew. Here’s a scary thought, after two weeks of play, Bills’ quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has more touchdowns than Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford combined! Rodgers and Stafford owners all over the world just dropped their cookies at that thought. But, staying grounded, we need to remind ourselves that it’s only been two weeks.

This is a great game for Stafford to right the ship and get back on course. Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew should provide constant targets and yards after the catch, helping restore Stafford’s confidence. A nice homerun to speedster Titus Young would certainly be appreciated by the struggling quarterback as well. This is his chance to show owners why they used a top selection on him on draft day. But if he continues to be slow to start three games in a row, owners may take drastic measures. Three really low games from a top pick could mean three straight loses. That’s the definition of the worst way to possibly start the season and owners could begin searching for alternate options. Stafford should rebound nicely here.


New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins

Reggie Bush – As always, with a huge game from Reggie, owners want to see it again. Owners want not only top rushing performances but they want to see it week-after-week and against stiff competition. That’s how stud players are born. While the Jets certainly don’t qualify as the best, they are indeed one of the better defensive units in the league. If Reggie can go over 100 yards and cross the goal line in week three against the Jets he could very well earn the right to be a weekly start regardless of the competition. After last week it’s certainly tough to not start Reggie. Let’s see how Bush handles being the focal point of both the Dolphins offense and Rex Ryan’s defensive game plan.

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