The fantasy feast that was week two has given way to fantasy famine in week three. The blowouts and general high scores of last week are close and grinding type of games this week. Things are starting to take shape in the NFL and they probably are in your league as well. Not a lot of great fantasy performances this week, as only 27 players play their way into the story. Thanks, as always, for reading…let’s get right into the games…
at Indianapolis 23, Jacksonville 13
With the Jaguar defense focusing on Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James, it was Player of the Week Reggie Wayne (10 catches for 141 yards, 2 TD) that did some serious damage, leading the Colts to the nice win. These two teams appear to be heading in different directions and the Colts have opened up the season with three wins, while the Jags have recorded three losses.
Kansas City 42, at Houston 14
The Texans kept this one close early, but Kansas City took advantage of some mistakes, then Dante Hall returned a punt for a touchdown early in the third turning a 21-7 game into a rout. From there, a steady dose of Priest Holmes (156 total yards, 2 TD) was all that was needed to salt away the win. The Kansas City D (4 turnovers, 2 return TD) gets into the act this week as well. On the other side, disappointing day for most as only Andre Johnson (7 catches for 102 yards, 2 TD) had some nice fantasy numbers.
Minnesota 23, at Detroit 13
The Lions kept this close early on, but in the end, the Vikings were just too much as they keep their record perfect (3-0) at this early junction in the season. The Vikings get the win despite playing most of the game without starting quarterback Duante Culpepper, who left after injuring his back on a rush into the end zone. Early reports are that he’ll be ok to play next week. On the other side, Joey Harrington injured his finger, but the trainers were able to “pop” it back into place (as was caught on camera – ouch!) and he finished the game. Not much else from a fantasy perspective in this one as only Moe Williams (149 total yards) plays his way into the story.
at New England 23, New York Jets 16
Two long time division rivals going at it in this one like two heavyweight fighters, each connecting on body blow after body blow, neither able to land the big punch. The Jets were the first to try and make things happen, down 6-3 early in the second quarter on the New England 16, they lined up for a field goal but ran a fake. Unfortunately, the pass fell incomplete, yet the Patriots could not capitalize. The close battle of field goals finally turned on a fourth quarter interception return for a touch by the Patriots as they held on for the win. “My Cousin” Vinny Testaverde (264 passing yards, 1 TD, 1 int) the only player from either team having great fantasy numbers.
Pittsburgh 17, at Cincinnati 10
The Steelers went back to old time Steeler Ball to take the close win here. Joey Porter returned to action and had an immediate impact on defense, and the Bus got into the end zone on fourth and goal from the one that helped out the cause. Corey Dillon left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury and did not return. The slow, low scoring, grind it out affair this one was translates into little to talk about from a fantasy perspective on either side of the ball.
Tampa Bay 31, at Atlanta 10
You had to know that the Bucs were not pleased with last week’s losing result. This week, they took out their frustrations on the unfortunate Falcons, who could do nothing. They got back to basics and ground things out with Michael Pittman (164 total yards, TD), and from there the Tampa Bay D (5 turnovers, 136 yards allowed) took over. The rout was on and even Warren Sapp got into the scoring act, catching a touchdown pass and performing what might be the ugliest 300+ pound celebration dance ever seen this side of Fred “Twinkle Toes” Flintstone.
at Tennessee 27, New Orleans 12
After an extremely disappointing effort last week against Indianapolis, the Titans came back with authority this week. Their defense held New Orleans in check all game and they grind out the win here. Drew Bennett (8 catches for 105 yards, TD), Eddie “Curious” George (100 rushing yards, TD), and Steve McNair (252 passing yards, 2 TD, 0 int) all get cudos for the victors.
Baltimore 24, at San Diego 10
Breaking out the powder blue threads did not bring good luck to the Chargers. This one was a close defensive struggle for most of the first half, then the Ravens hit paydirt twice in the third quarter to put it away. Both star runningbacks Jamal Lewis (132 rushing yards, TD) and Ladainian Tomlinson (156 total yards, TD) play their way into this week’s story. You just had a feeling it wasn’t meant to be for San Diego when a first quarter Lewis fumble was picked up by fullback Alan Ricard who raced 50 yards for a score. Sometimes that’s the way the ball bounces, literally.
at Arizona 20, Green Bay 13
Yes, Folks, you are reading this score correctly. The Cardinals executed nicely on two late game drives, both taking more than seven minutes off the clock and both ending up in scores. A late rally from Favre and the gang fell short when Favre’s pass from the seven yard line with seconds remaining was picked off in the end zone. Perhaps it was the weather, as it was sweltering on the field (well over 100 degrees), but whatever it was, this result will not make Cheeseheads happy campers this morning. Jeff “Frosted” Blake (273 passing yards, rushing TD) the only player from either side to get a mention here.
Cleveland 13, at San Francisco 12
Whoa. Just a week after the Jamal Lewis debacle, the Browns quickly turn things around on the road and stun the 49ers. The defense was tough when it had to be, limiting the Niners scoring to Owen Pochman (4 FG). The San Francisco frustration boiled over in the third quarter when Terrell Owens threw a fit on the sideline (well, threw his helmet). Down by the twelve in the fourth, the Browns capped off two late scoring drives (the second with under a minute to go) as Andre’ Davis (2 TD) and Kelly “Kelly, Kelly” Holcomb (222 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) hooked up to send home the Brown faithful in San Francisco home happy. Kevin Johnson (11 catches for 109 yards) also played well for the winners.
at Seattle 24, St.Louis 23
Things have gone from bad to worst for the Rams. Just when you though Mike Martz was having enough trouble deciding on his starting quarterback, Marshall Faulk goes down with a hand injury. Not good times in Saint Louie. And this is a game it looked like they were going to win, taking over on downs late in the game, Seattle forced a turnover and they drove the field for the winning score with one minute to go (and more importantly, they tacked on the winning extra point) as Matt Hasselbeck (256 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) clicked with Koren “Missus” Robinson (7 catches for 95 yards, TD). Only Marc “Whitey” Bulger (226 passing yards, rushing TD) did well enough in defeat to make an appearance here. After the game, Martz gave the anti-Shanahan “no comment” on the extent of Faulk’s injury, stay tuned.
New York Giants 24, at Maryland 21 (overtime)
There is a saying that goes something like this, “…those that don’t study the past will be forced to relive it.” Or something like that. This game was a near carbon copy for the Giants, to last week’s contest. After blowing an 18 point lead that saw the Redskins tie the game on a field goal with seconds left in regulation, this time the Giants took care of business in the overtime session and come away with the win. A sloppy game riddled with penalties, the Giants will take it. Kerry “Tom” Collins (276 passing yards, 3 TD, 0 int), Ike Hilliard (7 catches for 58 yards, 2 TD), and Tiki Barber (126 rushing yards) played like Giants in this one. On the other side, only Patrick Ramsey “s Extra” (348 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 int) gets a mention in this space.
at Miami 17, Buffalo 7
There really wasn’t much to this one except for suffocating defense and strong running. The Miami D (4 sacks, 3 int, 118 yards allowed) did their part in stifling the vaunted Bills attack, not allowing a single point (Buffalo’s only points came on an interception return for a touch). On the other side of the ball, simply Ricky Williams (143 rushing yards on 42 carries, TD). The Dolphins had chances to put this one away early as they enjoyed a nearly 2-to-1 advantage in plays run from scrimmage. The Bills were hanging around until just under two minutes to go in the contest, Williams punched in his only TD of the game to put it out of reach. No Bills to post here.