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What Did We Learn – Week 3 Edition

Nate Washington is now the go-to guy in Tennessee. Kenny Britt’s torn ACL is bad on so many levels. Britt had begun to fulfill that promise that so many knew he had, putting up elite numbers through the first two weeks of the young season. Matt Hasselbeck is famous for spreading the ball around, and after Britt went down, we saw that on display. But of his 27 completions, he hit Washington eight times (92 yards, 1 TD). Chris Johnson was second on the team with four receptions. Look for Washington to get more attention from defenses, but Hasselbeck will be looking for him as well.

Daniel Thomas is officially “the guy” in Miami. After his coming-out party last week, Thomas received another heavy workload, toting the rock 23 times for 95 yards. He also caught three balls for 27 yards and a score. It seems as though the Dolphins’ coaching staff has finally realized what just about every football fan could have told them: Reggie Bush is not an every down back. With Chad Henne looking better than we thought he would, Thomas might have the kind of running lanes that prove useful to fantasy owners.

Brandon Pettigrew is becoming a viable fantasy tight end. While the position has been deep this year, Pettigrew has the potential to blowup. He plays for a dynamic offense that will put up a ton of points. He has a strong-armed quarterback. And he has Calvin Johnson attracting the attention of safeties on the outside. He needs to be consistent in his route running, but he is on the verge of being a stud.

Now that Lance Moore is healthy, he’s Drew Brees’s favorite weapon. This is actually something we’ve known for a while. The problem is that Moore is never healthy. But now that he is, Brees is targeting him quite a bit. He’ll continue to see 8-10 targets a game while Marques Colston is out. I don’t expect the Saints to put up 40 points every week, but 30 is definitely within reason, and Moore will be a big part of that passing game.

DeAngelo Williams doesn’t look like he’s 100% healthy. At least I hope he’s not healthy. If he’s at 100% right now, and only has 27 carries for 61 yards in three games, he should call it quits. At the start of the season, we expected some struggles in the running game. Teams would load up on Williams to make Cam Newton beat them. Well Newton has been impressive, but Williams still can’t get on track. I’d recommend trading him, but no one in their right mind would give up anything of value for him.

The Jets have become a passing team. They’ve finally given Mark Sanchez the keys to the car. He threw for 369 yards on Sunday, with two touchdowns and a pick. The resurgent LaDainian Tomlinson had five catches for 116 yards and a score. Dustin Keller and Plaxico Burress each had solid games. While Santonio Holmes struggled, it’s only a matter of time before he gets involved. With their running game and offensive line a bit shaky this year, they’ll need to depend on the pass. While I’m no Sanchez believer, they’re going to live or die with him.

Torrey Smith will be a top pickup this week. When you score three times in the first quarter, you’re going to attract some attention. Smith did a bit of everything, beating the Rams deep, going up on jump balls, and ultimately stretching the field for Ravens, just like he was meant to do. Joe Flacco has to be a fan at this point, and with Smith’s speed, he might be a frequent deep target for a quarterback with a big arm.

Ryan Mathews is taking control of the Chargers backfield. He’s been overshadowed by Mike Tolbert since early last season. But he’s improved his overall game, including blocking and blitz pickup, meaning Head Coach Norv Turner can leave him in there more often. While Tolbert was such a valuable commodity so far, it appears that Mathews is finally asserting himself. His 141 yards and pair of scores certainly won’t go unnoticed.

I have no idea what’s going on in Green Bay’s backfield. I’m not sure if Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy is riding the hot hand or what, but in Week 3, it was Ryan Grant who outperformed James Starks. He racked up 92 yards on 17 carries, while Starks struggled mightily. Late in the game, Grant did leave the field with an injury, which was finally disclosed on Monday as a bruised kidney. I’m all for toughing it out, but when you have injuries to internal organs, I take more of a wait-and-see approach. If Grant can’t go in Week 4, Starks becomes an interesting play as Green Bay hosts Denver. If Grant plays in Week 4, I guess he’s the guy right now, but the only way I’m starting one of them is if the other is hurt.

Vince Young is a sneaky/interesting play this week if Michael Vick can’t play. Think of Young as Mike Vick Lite. He’s not nearly as quick, elusive, strong-armed, experienced in the offense, or any number of other things. But Vince Young can win football games. He’s been an effective fantasy quarterback before, and with LeSean McCoy and DeSean Jackson, he can be again. If he’s out there and you’re not happy with your current options, he’s worth a look.

Of players that may be available in standard leagues, here are some potential waiver wire targets:

Top waiver wire QBs

1. Matt Hasselbeck (Wk 4 – @CLE)

2. Vince Young (Wk 4 – SF)

3. Andy Dalton (Wk 4 – BUF)

Top waiver wire RBs

1. Dexter McCluster (Wk 4 – MIN)

2. Stevan Ridley (Wk 4 – @OAK)

3. Alfonso Smith (Wk 4 – NYG)

Top waiver wire WRs

1. Lance Moore (Wk 4 – @JAC)

2. Nate Washington (Wk 4 – @CLE)

3. Torrey Smith (Wk 4 – NYJ)


Good luck.

Drew Magyar is a staff writer and can be reached at

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