Fantasy Impact: Week 3
Ken Pomponio
September 24, 2012

Cowboys 16, Buccaneers 10
Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, Texas)

  • The Cowboys are 2-1, but two of their usual fantasy standouts have largely been MIA this season. After a strong season opener (308 passing yards yard, 3 TDs), QB Tony Romo has accounted for only one TD and four turnovers over the past two weeks, including a pick and two fumbles Sunday. Meanwhile, TE Jason Witten, who suffered a ruptured spleen in the preseason, only has eight receptions for 76 yards and no TDs on 19 targets this season. He was limited to 2 catches for 8 yards by the Bucs.
  • Extra points: Dallas RB DeMarco Murray's 11-yard second-quarter scoring run was only his third rushing TD in 16 career games. ... The extra attention Dallas gave Tampa WR Vincent Jackson paid off as the wideout recorded one reception for 29 yards on 7 targets.

Bears 23, Rams 6
Solider Field (Chicago)

  • For the second time in three games this season, the Bears' veteran defense overwhelmed a young QB. Two weeks after flustering the Colts' Andrew Luck, the Bears intercepted the Rams' Sam Bradford twice and sacked him six times while keeping St. Louis out of the end zone.
  • Extra points: As expected, Bears' RB Michael Bush was solid filling in for injured starter Matt Forte, rushing for 55 yards and a TD on 18 carries and catching a pair of passes for 18 more. ... Rams' RB Steven Jackson, who missed practice most of the week with a groin strain, gained only 29 yards on 11 attempts and caught two passes for 5 yards.

Vikings 24, 49ers 13
Mall of America Field (Minneapolis)

  • The 49ers' defense flustered QBs Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford in getting off to a 2-0 start, but second-year Vikings' QB Christian Ponder wasn't deterred in the least Sunday, throwing for 198 yards and two TDs and rushing for 33 yards and  another score -- all without turning the ball over once.
  • Extra points: After Sunday, here's the receiving totals for Niners TE Vernon Davis over his past six games, including the postseason: 31 catches, 579 yards and eight TDs. ... Vikings' WR Percy Harvin has made a catch on 27 of the 32 passes thrown his way this season, including 9-89 on 11 targets Sunday.

Titans 44, Lions 41 (OT)
LP Field (Nashville)

  • Top-five preseason fantasy QB Matthew Stafford left in the fourth quarter with what was called a strained leg muscle and was replaced by Shaun Hill, who improbably proceeded to toss a pair of TD passes in the final 18 seconds of regulation to send the contest into OT. Stafford finished 33-of-42 for 278 yards and a TD, while Hill was 10-of-13 for 172 and the two TDs.
  • Extra points: Tennessee QB Jake Locker nearly matched his 2-week season totals (403 passing yards, 2 TDs) with a career-high 378 yards and a pair of TDs Sunday. ... The Titans' defense/special teams came into the game with 7 total fantasy points (Huddle Performance scoring) but scored TDs on a pair of kick returns and a fumble return. ... RB Mikel Leshoure started in his NFL regular-season debut and finished with 100 yards and a TD on 26 carries and added four catches for 34 yards. Kevin Smith, the team's leading rusher entering the game, didn't have a carry or pass reception. ... The struggle continues for Titans RB Chris Johnson, who ran 14 times for 24 yards and caught a pass for 5 yards.

Chiefs 27, Saints 24 (OT)
Superdome (New Orleans)

  • Jamaal Charles' fantasy owners have gone from panic to jubilation in one week. After being unable to finish a Week 2 game in which he rushed for 3 yards on 6 carries, Charles scorched the defenseless Saints for 288 total yards, including 233 on 33 rushing attempts. He also threw in 6 receptions for 55 yards. The highlight was a 91-yard TD sprint in the second quarter.
  • Extra points: K.C. RB Peyton Hillis (ankle) and WR/RB Dexter McCluster (shoulder) left in the third quarter with injuries. ... Darren Sproles led the Saints in rushing with 62 yards on 7 carries after entering the game with zero rushing attempts. Sproles, though, failed to catch a pass after coming in with a team-leading 18 receptions.

Bengals 38, Redskins 31
FedEx Field (Landover, Md.)

  • Sophomore slumps evidently don't exist in Cincy. After struggling in the opener versus the Ravens, second-year QB Andy Dalton has thrown for 646 yards and 6 TDs in wins over the Browns and Skins. Meanwhile, WR A.J. Green racked up a career-high 183 receiving yards on nine catches Sunday. He got going early -- very  early -- reeling a 73-yard scoring reception from rookie wideout Mohamed Sanu, who took a direct snap on the game's first play from scrimmage.
  • Extra points: The fumble lost by Bengals RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the third quarter was his first in the NFL, coming on 560th pro carry. He did compensate with 38 rushing yards and a TD. ... Despite enduring a second straight loss, D.C. QB Robert Griffin III still lit up the fantasy stat sheet with  221 passing yards and a TD and 85 rushing yards and a TD on 12 attempts.

Jets 23, Dolphins 20
Sun Life Field (Miami Gardens, Fla.)

  • Reggie Bush played i 15 games last season for the first time since his rookie year of 2006, and it resulted in a career-high 1,086 rushing yards. He was off to a sterling start this season with 312 yards from scrimmage and two TDs to rank second among fantasy RBs through two games. Those injury concerns, however, resurfaced late in the second quarter Sunday when Bush left the Week 3 game with an apparent helmet contusion to his left knee. He finished with 61 rushing yards on 10 carries and a catch for 1 yard. Daniel Thomas (19-69-TD) and rookie Lamar Miller (9-48) stepped in from there.
  • Extra points: In all the preseason concern over the Jets' passing game, Santonio Holmes has somewhat fallen by the fantasy wayside, but he remains a viable starter as evidenced by his 9-catch, 147-yard performance Sunday. ... Jets reserve RB Bilal Powell (12 touches-69 yards) outdueled starter Shonn Greene (21-49) on the stat sheet. ... The Jets' D may have lost its top player, CB Darrelle Revis, for awhile with a possible ACL tear.

Bills 24, Browns 14
Browns Stadium (Cleveland)

  • C.J. Spiller's run atop the fantasy RB rankings hit an unexpected roadblock in the first quarter Sunday when the Bills' RB was forced from the game with a left shoulder injury. Later updates revealed that Spiller does not have a broken collarbone and could miss only a game or two. Before the injury, he was well on his way to another big outing, with 16 rushing yards and 2 catches for 42 yards and a TD. Tashard Choice mopped up nicely with 20 rushes for 91 yards and 2 catches for 8 more.
  • Extra points: Overshadowed by Spiller, Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is quietly thriving so far with his 3 passing TDs Sunday giving him an 8-3 TD-to-interception ratio through 3 games. ... TE Jordan Cameron, who entered the game without a reception, led the Browns with five catches for 45 yards.

Jaguars 22, Colts 17
Lucas Oil Stadium (Indianapolis)

  • Guarantees don't exist in fantasy football, but Maurice Jones-Drew versus the Colts comes close. MJD rolled for 193 total yards, including 177 on 28 rushes, and a TD Sunday, giving him seven games in the his past eight against Indy with 100 or more yards from scrimmage.
  • Extra points: The Jags' two most-owned WRs, Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, who left with a possible concussion in the first half, combined for one catch for 7 yards. Meanwhile, Cecil Shorts and undrafted rookie Kevin Elliott had three grabs for 104 yards and a TD. ... Colts' QB Andrew Luck has no shortage of targets with third-round pick T.Y. Hilton (4-113-TD) complementing vets Reggie Wayne and Donnie Avery. ... Fellow Indy wideout Austin Collie made his 2012 debut but departed with a knee injury after catching one pass for 6 yards.

Cardinals 27, Eagles 6
University of Phoenix Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)

  • If you didn't get the memo after last week's upset win in New England, here it is again: The Arizona Cardinals and their defense is for real. It's also a fantasy force with the latest points coming Sunday via a TD (James Sanders' 93-yard fumble return), five sacks and three fumble recoveries vs. previously unbeaten Philly.
  • Extra points: Cardinals' WR Larry Fitzgerald -- who came into the game with 5 receptions for 67 yards, including one catch for 4 yards last week -- snared 9 passes for 114 yards, including a 37-yard TD. ... With WR Jeremy Maclin out with a hip injury, undrafted rookie wideout Damaris Johnson led the Eagles with 5 grabs for 84 yards on a team-high 11 targets.

Falcons 27, Chargers 3
Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego)

  • A pair of injured fantasy heavyweights were back in the ring Sunday for San Diego, but neither produced much for their anxious owners. RB Ryan Mathews made his debut from a broken collarbone suffered in the preseason opener and logged 10 of the Chargers' 13 RB carries. He finished with 44 yards on the ground and added 5 catches for 32 yards but also lost a fumble. Meanwhile, TE Antonio Gates notched 3 catches for 22 yards on seven targets after missing Week 2 with a rib injury.
  • Extra points: With his 3 TD passes and one interception, Falcons QB Matt Ryan now has accounted for 9 TDs (1 rushing) and only one turnover this season, keeping him in line for top fantasy QB honors. ... Not-past-his-prime Falcons TE Tony Gonzalez hauled in 9 passes for 91 yards and a TD, giving him a scoring reception in all 3 games this season. ... The Atlanta D forced four turnovers for the second straight week and has given the Falcons an 11-1 turnover differential this season.

Raiders 34, Steelers 31 Coliseum (Oakland, Calif)

  • The grind-it-out, ground-oriented Steelers are a rapidly fading memory. With QB Ben Roethlisberger's 384 passing yards and four TDs Sunday, Pittsburgh now has scored eight of its nine offensive TDs via the air this season. The Steelers rushed for 54 yards in the game that they led until the final play and are averaging only 65 ground yards per outing through three games.
  • Extra points: Courtesy of his 64-yard scoring dash -- his first of the season -- Raiders RB Darren McFadden shed his slump and finished with 113 yards on 18 carries. Outside of the 64-yarder, though, McFadden only has 103 yards on his other 43 rushes this season. ... Believe it or not, TE Brandon Myers has led Oakland WRs and TEs in receiving yards in all three games so far. He had four grabs for 55 yards Sunday.

Texans 31, Broncos 25
Sports Authority Field (Denver)

  • The Texans may be the NFL's top running team, but don't forget about QB Matt Schaub. The Broncos did Sunday, and the veteran quarterback burned them with 290 yards and a quartet of TD tosses. The four TD passes were as many as Schaub had compiled in his previous five games dating back to last season.
  • Extra points: With his 3-yard scoring reception, the Texans' Arian Foster now has found the end zone in 10 of his past 11 games. ... Peyton Manning shrugged off his 3-interception performance last Monday night with 330 yards and a pair of TDs Sunday but lost for only the third time in 19 career games against the Texans. ... Three Denver skill players -- RB Willis McGahee (ribs), TE Jacob Tamme (ankle) and WR Brandon Stokley (back) -- all went out with injuries in the second half.

Ravens 31, Patriots 30
M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)

  • On a wild, emotional night, WR Torrey Smith came through for the Ravens a big way. Less than 24 hours after his younger brother was killed in a motorcycle crash, Smith elected to play and caught 6 passes for 127 yards and two TDs. He had four catches for 108 yards entering the contest and had not found the end zone.
  • Extra points: With fellow TE/fantasy standout Aaron Hernandez out with an ankle injury, the Pats' Rob Gronkowski was taken out of the equation by the Ravens' defense, catching only 2 passes for 21 yards. ... On the flip side, WRs Wes Welker (8-142) and Brandon Lloyd (9-108) were the beneficiaries on a combined 22 targets. ... Meanwhile, just when fantasy GMs thought they had a handle on the Pats' running game, leading rusher Stevan Ridley finishes with only 37 yards on 13 carries and takes a backseat to fellow backs Danny Woodhead (16 total touches) and Brandon Bolden who both ran for TDs.

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