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Week 3: Gut Check Time

Welcome to Week 3 of the Brew Crew Corner. This week is your gut check week, and what I mean is you now have had two games of to evaluate your team. It’s time to decide what you need to make your team better for the future.

Beware of the one week wonders. Last week it was Louis Murphy, this week it’s Johnny Knox. You may feel an impulse to add the hot hand but you have to sometimes be patient as the one week they play well may be the only week they do anything. Make sure that the player has an absolute opportunity to produce in more games. If not you may as well hang on to the players you already have.


Texans at Titans

(or T-N-T)

This was a slugfest of scoring from the opening gun. Matt Schaub redeemed himself while Andre Johnson showed why is one of the top receivers in the league with 149 receiving yards and two TDs. Steve Slaton owners should be worried after a second straight poor outing. His two fumbles left him with -1 fantasy points on the day in standard leagues.

Chris Johnson is back and shows why he’s a dangerous RB. His 197 rushing yards with two rushing TDs and 87 receiving yards with a TD makes him the stud of the week. The rest of the passing game is mediocre and you should keep all receivers reserved. Where was the defense today?


Saints at Eagles

Can anyone stop Drew Brees? He may break Dan Marino’s passing record and Tom Brady’s TD record all in the same season. It was Brees and Marques Colston all day as they connected for two touchdowns. Reggie Bush is a fantasy bust; I don’t care if he scored. Pierre Thomas was active but saw little action. Mike Bell left with a sprained MCL and his fantasy relevance is short-lived.

Kevin Kolb got the start and put up decent numbers despite the three IsNT but the Eagles were playing from behind all game. The defense was killed all day by the Saints in the air and on the ground. The Eagles need to get Brian Westbrook more involved in the passing game as he had just three receptions. He left with an ankle sprain, and it is the same one he hurt last season. DeSean Jackson is day-to-day with a groin problem. That’s now their starting QB, RB and WR hurt going into the next game.

Cardinals at Jaguars

It was

Arizona early, but

Jacksonville saved the fantasy scoring for the end. Welcome back Mike Sims-Walker. He looks to be healthy and should be owned in all leagues.

Kurt Warner bounced back and played well. Tim Hightower is holding off the rookie for now but by midseason he will be the change of pace RB. Half of Larry Fitzgerald’s receiving yards came on his 22-yard TD. Had he not scored, he would have had a very poor outing.

Raiders at Chiefs

A low fantasy stat game in this contest. A 5-yard TD run by Darren McFadden saved a lackluster rushing day. The rest of the Raider offense was non-existent.

Matt Cassel made his Chiefs debut and put in an OK performance but nothing to make him a fantasy starter. Dwayne Bowe scored for the second week and Bobby Wade shows he can still be serviceable.


Bengals at Packers

Upset special.

Chad Ochocinco made good on his word by doing the Lambeau Leap after he scored, but the fans were not amused. Cedric Benson is proving people wrong so far. Carson Palmer is making his way back to being a Fantasy starter after a poor Week 1.

Packer owners don’t panic yet, but where was Greg Jennings? He went M.I.A. in this game with no stats. He was thrown to five times but failed to record a catch.

Vikings at Lions

The streak continues. Right now Calvin Johnson is the only Lion worth starting. He has 501 yards and five TDs in his last six games. Mathew Stafford is making strides, but there is still a lot of work for this team to do.

Adrian Peterson didn’t light it up like he did in Week 1 but he still had 116 total yards and one TD. The passing game will be a non-factor until the team is playing from behind. Percy Harvin scored for the second week in a row. Harvin will lead this team in receiving TDs and has my early vote for Rookie of the Year.

Rams at Redskins

Move along, nothing to see here. Ugly game all around. The playcalling is killing this team.

Steven Jackson rushed for 104 yards but failed to score.


Patriots at Jets

Tom Brady was shut out of the endzone, which killed a lot of teams. Wes Welker being inactive on game day was a big blow. Julian Edelman, welcome to the fantasy conversation. The rookie led the Patriots with eight receptions for 98 yards. If Welker misses more time, Edelman may be a big pickup. Randy Moss with just 24 receiving yards is another fantasy killer.

The Jets backed up their trash talk. Not a lot of fantasy scoring on this side as it was a slow-grinding game. Chansi Stuckey had a TD catch overturned.


Panthers at Falcons


Carolina offense played better in Week 2 as Jake Delhomme had a decent outing. He waited until 2:39 left in the game to throw his daily INT. Steve Smith returned to making plays but was held without a TD. The problem with the Panthers is more on the defensive side as they lost another lineman, Louis Leonard.

Matt Ryan is the real deal, and now that he’s clicking with Tony Gonzalez, this offense is going to play well. Gonzalez played like the No. 1 and Roddy White also scored. Jason Snelling is the ultimate fantasy killer. He’s the type of player that sits on the waiver wire unnoticed until he racks up some yards and scores a TD, taking away scores from your main guy. Then someone picks that player up and he is useless … until he’s dropped on the waiver wire and he strikes again.


Buccaneers at Bills

Trent Edwards proved he can be a viable fantasy QB but he’s not yet good enough to be a starter. But you should have confidence having him as your No. 2. Terrell Owens showed up in this game but was still held to just three catches. Lee Evans’ lone catch was a 32-yard TD. Marshawn Lynch will return but Fred Jackson rushed for 163 yards will make it tough for the Bills to not give him the ball too.

Byron Leftwich keeps trying to fight back and be a starter in this league. He threw for 296 yards and three TDs with two INTs. Kellen Winslow, Jr., is their best receiver and they used him the way they should, but expect games where the offense goes away from Winslow and it hurts them. The Cadillac is still running strong … for now.


Seahawks at 49ers

Don’t look now but the 49ers are 2-0 and Frank Gore had a monster game. He did tweak his ankle which limited him the rest of the game. After his 80-yard TD, he touched the ball just one time the rest of the quarter. And in the fourth he had two runs of -3 yards and three yards. If you owned Gore last season you know that the ankle injury cost you games down the stretch.

This is the year of the cracked ribs. Matt Hasselbeck joins Donovan McNabb on the injury report. The passing game will suffer while he is out. Julius Jones disappeared and was replaced by Justin Forsett. Keep Forsett on your radar.

Ravens at Chargers

Defensive battle went out the door as this was an offensive game.

Darren Sproles had a great day receiving but he had just 10 carries for 26 yards. With the game on the line they elected to run Sproles on short yardage. Not a smart idea.

L.T. is the Shaun Alexander of 2007. As I said in the preseason, he is the biggest first-round risk/reward RB. Right now, he’s more of a risk. Keep an eye on owners in your league who may dump him on the waiver wire as he could have some value in spot starts, but if you already have him then start making some roster moves.


Steelers at Bears

We knew it was going to be a tough matchup for the Bears but they played well enough for the win. Jay Cutler got back on track with two TDs but Matt Forte continues to struggle on the ground. Johnny Knox led the team in receiving. Let’s see if he continues to see throws go his way.

Where is the Steelers run game? Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall continue to play poorly. Let’s see if they can turn it around against the Bengals in Week 3. If they don’t play well, you have to try and trade them or keep them benched until they get back on track.


Browns at Broncos

The Browns played awful in this game as they made the Broncos look like a playoff contender. Braylon Edwards has yet to score a TD and he probably wished Derek Anderson was behind center.

The Broncos defense played well but the offense did not. Correll Buckhalter put up 75 rushing yards and a TD, but Knowshon Moreno had almost twice the number of carries. Brandon Marshall had three catches for 34 yards.


Giants at Cowboys

This matchup never disappoints to entertain and this game was a classic rivalry game that went down to the wire. For the Giants, the running game struggled so Eli Manning took to the air as Mario Manningham continues to step up and fill the void left by Plaxico Burress. He will be a top waiver pick this week. If Steve Smith is available, pick him up because he will be more consistent then Manningham this season.

The Cowboys are going to be up-and-down all year. Some games where they have good matchups, they will look like world’s best. The next week you will scratch your head and wonder where the offense is. The running game played well but Marion Barber hurt his quad. He plans on playing this week but expect his touches to be limited if he goes. Tony Romo will be inconsistent all year as Roy Williams disappeared in this game.


Colts at Dolphins

Wildcat! What a wonderful play. Many teams will use it in their offense but the Dolphins are the only team that can execute it with consistency. Until Ted Ginn, Jr., can make plays, this team will have to rely on the run game. Ronnie Brown is a great value RB, and if he’s your No. 2 or No. 3 you will benefit greatly from that value.

Peyton Manning is a winner and he will find the open receiver. Reggie Wayne was kept quiet but Dallas Clark exploded for 183 yards and one TD. The run game continues to struggle but that was due to the limited number of plays they ran.

The Golden Mug Award

Awarded to the fantasy player who came through for their team.

Chris Johnson – 16 carries for 197 yards, 2 TDs; 9 receptions for 87 yards and 1 TD. That’s the C.J. we like. That’s what we expect from him. He put up the stats of three fantasy players for you and it feels good when you can put up those type of points.,

Andre Johnson – 10 receptions for 149 yards, 2 TDs. It was a good game for anyone named Johnson as Andre put up top WR numbers. As long as Matt Schaub can stay healthy, Johnson will continue to put up monster numbers.

Frank Gore – 16 carries for 207 yards, 2 TDs. Gore is an underrated RB in fantasy leagues and he rewarded his owners with a great performance. However he got hurt again which could limit his next game.

The Urinal Cake Award

Awarded to the fantasy player who you would like to, well you know.

Greg Jennings – zero. He wasn’t hurt, nor was he inactive, but with just five targets going his way and not a catch to show for it, you have to be angry about it.

Roy Williams – 1 reception for 18 yards. Williams had a tough matchup but he only saw four passes thrown his way. His Week 1 stats were more due to the Buccaneers defense than it was Williams. Expect more disappointing games.

Eddie Royal – 3 receptions for 20 yards. The Broncos passing game is not right. Brandon Marshall was suspended, which contributed to his chemistry with Kyle Orton, but Royal should be on the same page. The coaching staff needs to get him more involved.


The matchups I like this week for QBs:

Aaron Rodgers against the Rams. Look for Rodgers to get back into rhythm with Greg Jennings as the Rams defense will not be able to contain this offense. The Rams have generated just one sack this season and are allowing 258 passing yards per game. After losing to the Bengals last week, the Packers will come out firing.

Trent Edwards against the Saints. Two teams with bad passing defenses is a recipe for a shootout. This game could be a high scoring game as both clubs give up a ton of passing yards. The Saints will go up early as Buffalo will have to pass to come from behind. Start ‘em if you got ‘em.

Matt Schaub against the Jaguars. If you waited to draft a QB or like to play matchups, this is the game you can start Schaub with confidence. Jacksonville has just one sack so far this season and are allowing 279 passing yards per game. Add in the 22.5 points per game they are allowing and you have to feel good going into Week 3.

The matchups I like this week for RBs:

Felix Jones against the Panthers. Even if Marion Barber plays, I see Jones as the bell cow in this contest. The Panthers lost another starting DT and are now pulling guys off the street to fill the position. Look for the Cowboys to lean on the running game to avoid losing again in the new stadium. The Panthers have given up 168 rushing yards per game.

Matt Forte against the Seahawks. This matchup will be Forte’s season breakout game. Bank on it. The Seahawks are banged up again and may be without Lofa Tatupu. The Seahawks are 26th in run defense and are giving up big chunks of yards at 7.1 per carry.

Willis McGahee/Ray Rice/LeRon McClain against the Brown. McGahee is another surprise this season as many expected Rice to take over, but as I said last week, this will be a three-headed RBBC situation but one that everyone can still be productive. McGahee is getting the red zone touches and is proving good value where he was taken. If you’re using him as a flex player then you should be smiling. If you’re still not convinced he will produce later in the season, trade him now that his value is up. Cleveland is at the bottom of the league in run defense (31st) and have allowed 205 rushing yards per game with 5 rushing touchdowns scored against them.

The matchups I don’t like this week for QBs:

Matthew Stafford against the Redskins. Stafford has not caught a break yet. With Washington, Chicago and Pittsburgh as the next three games, the going will be tough until they play the Browns in Week 6. Washington held St. Louis to just seven points last week and are giving up just 15 points per game (seventh) and 183.5 passing yards per game.

Matt Cassel against the Eagles. Yes, the Eagles got lit up in Week 2 but that was Drew Brees. Cassel started last week after missing Week 1 with a knee injury. Cassel is still trying to get into game shape and will struggle in this game. Look for the Eagles defense that dominated the Panthers in Week 1.

Matt Hasselbeck/Seneca Wallace against the Bears. Hasselbeck is expected to still play but I feel that he won’t finish the game. If you own any Seahawks receivers, be worried as this could be a repeat of the passing offense of 2008. The Bears are allowing just 17.5 points per game (10th) with 176.5 passing yards allowed per game.

The matchups I don’t like this week for RBs:

Jamal Lewis/James Davis/Jerome Harrison against the Ravens. Lewis is slowed by a hamstring injury and he was slow before he got hurt. The Browns offense has been bad this season as they are scoring just 13 points per game (30th) and rushed for just 71.5 yards per game (27th). They face a Ravens defense that has allowed just 41 rushing yards (first) and no rushing TDs. So you have a poor offense facing a great defense, which results in a horrible matchup for the these RBs.

Darren Sproles against the Dolphins. Sproles is a good running back, and with LaDainian Tomlinson out for this game, he will be the lead rusher. But as you saw in the last game, he had little success on the ground with just 26 yards. He did put up good numbers receiving but 81 of his 124 receiving yards came on one play. The Dolphins are holding rushers under 100 yards as they allow just 67 rushing yards per game.

Cedric Benson against the Steelers. Here is the big test for Benson. He’s run well so far this season and against a good Packers defense last week. Let’s see if he can run on this defense. The Steelers are allowing just 13.5 points per game and give up just 65 rushing yards per game. This defense has yet to surrender a rushing TD.

Good luck to everyone in Week 3.


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