BRONCOS RB: For the second week in a row, Knowshon Moreno got the lion’s share of carries, but Correll Buckhalter outgained him on the ground. Denver controlled the game from start to finish, and even gave the ball to LaMont Jordan and Peyton Hillis (as well as Moreno and Buckhalter) on the first drive of the game, but it looks like Buckhalter will continue to have some value as the second back as long as Denver’s ball-control offense stays strong.
BROWNS QB: Guess that leash was a bit shorter than we originally thought. Before he even made it through his third game as the starter of the Browns, Brady Quinn was replaced by Derek Anderson. Naturally, Anderson was even worse than Quinn, getting picked off three times and throwing for just 92 yards in 19 attempts. It’s still not known who will start this weekend against the Bengals, but neither quarterback is fantasy-worthy until the Browns get their act together.
BROWNS RB: Jamal Lewis missed Sunday’s game with a sore hamstring, and surprisingly it was Jerome Harrison – not James Davis – who started and got 16 carries. Davis has the most upside of any running back in Cleveland, and it won’t be long before the Browns decide they have nothing to lose by giving him the ball. Until then, as the third stringer for an inept offense, Davis has zero fantasy value outside of being stashed away for potential use later in the year.
BUCCANEERS QB: Byron Leftwich has already lost his starting job to the mobile Josh Johnson, and it’s not surprising. Although his numbers weren’t horrible in the first two games, when Leftwich went up against the Giants Sunday he was a deer in the headlights – not exactly what you might expect from a veteran quarterback. The New York defense has that effect on a lot of quarterbacks, but 22 yards passing in 16 attempts has to be some kind of record. Josh Freeman is now the backup, meaning Leftwich was demoted to third string.
BUCCANEERS RB: Derrick Ward got the start Sunday, but you wouldn’t know it from his final stat line: five carries for two yards. Cadillac Williams, who started the first two games, had just two carries as the entire Tampa Bay offense struggled. Ward should remain in the starting lineup for the time being.
CHIEFS WR: Dwayne Bowe was inactive with a hamstring injury, giving Mark Bradley another chance to show that he belongs in the Kansas City wide receiver rotation. Bradley was targeted just four times, but he caught all four passes, including a 13-yard touchdown. Bobby Wade also caught a touchdown pass, and when Bowe returns, Bradley will probably return to his role as the third receiver.
COWBOYS RB: When Marion Barber was declared out for Monday’s game with Carolina, Felix Jones owners licked their chops. They may have gotten even more excited when he caught a 20-yard pass and had an 18-yard run in the first drive of the game. Unfortunately, Jones sprained his knee in the third quarter (though he had 94 yards rushing at the time) and Tashard Choice was the Cowboy who carried the team to victory. Choice finished with 82 yards rushing and 36 yards receiving and had a five-yard score not long after Jones left the game, and he could be in line for more carries next week with Barber and Jones both banged up.
DOLPHINS QB: The Dolphins with Chad Pennington at the helm held the ball for nearly the entire game in a Week 2 loss to Indianapolis. That Miami team might have been able to make some noise this season. Unfortunately they’re going to have to do it with Chad Henne instead as Pennington has a torn capsule in his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Henne didn’t look good in relief of Pennington Sunday, but he’s going to have to improve in a hurry if the 0-3 Dolphins have any hope of returning to the playoffs.
EAGLES RB: LeSean McCoy isn’t exactly a Brian Westbrook clone, but when Westbrook missed Sunday’s game with an ankle injury, McCoy pitched in nicely with 84 rushing yards and a touchdown. If you own the oft-injured Westbrook and McCoy is still available in your league, you need to find some room for McCoy on your roster.
EAGLES WR: Speaking of injury-prone Eagles, Kevin Curtis missed Sunday’s game with a knee injury. Rookie Jeremy Maclin took his place and caught four passes, twice as many as Jason Avant, who was expected to see an uptick in playing time with Curtis on the shelf. The real beneficiaries of Curtis’ absence were DeSean Jackson (six catches for 149 yards) and tight end Brent Celek (eight catches for 104 yards).
49ERS RB: Although a wise man once said that “Coffee is for closers,” Glen Coffee couldn’t close out the Vikings Sunday, rushing for just 54 yards on 25 carries after taking over for Frank Gore in the first quarter. Gore’s ankle injury is not expected to be serious, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sit out this weekend’s game against St. Louis. With a week of first-team reps under his belt and a much more favorable matchup, expect Coffee to perform much better this weekend if Gore can’t go.
JAGUARS WR: Were you the guy who picked up Mike Sims-Walker in your league last week? No? That’s too bad, because he’s looking a lot like a No. 1 receiver right now. Troy Williamson is done for the year, and Torry Holt isn’t getting any younger. Meanwhile, Sims-Walker was targeted a team-high 10 times Sunday and has caught six passes in each of his last two games. The only negative was he lost a fumble late in the fourth quarter that nearly cost Jacksonville the game.
LIONS RB: Lost in the hoopla of Detroit’s losing streak finally coming to an end was the fact that Kevin Smith injured his shoulder. Maurice Morris, who scored a touchdown in the win, has a bit more experience than Aaron Brown, so expect him to get the ball if Smith can’t play.
PATRIOTS RB: Fred Taylor may have moved to the top of the New England depth chart Sunday. He should thank Laurence Maroney, who left the game with a minor injury, but Taylor ran wild once he got the opportunity, gaining 105 yards on 21 carries. While we’d still stay away from the New England running back situation for awhile longer, Taylor may have earned himself a permanent gig in the starting lineup.
RAMS QB: Marc Bulger’s shoulder injury wasn’t nearly as serious as first feared, but the real question is, who is better for the St. Louis offense: Bulger or Kyle Boller? The Rams could barely get across the 50 in Bulger’s first two starts, but once Boller came into the game Sunday he threw for two quick touchdown strikes and briefly put a scare into the Packers before ultimately succumbing 36-17.
RAMS WR: Laurent Robinson, is headed for surgery on his leg, effectively ending his season. Who will step in for the Rams? No. 1 Donnie Avery suffered a rib injury late in Sunday’s game. The Rams can ill afford to be without both Avery and Robinson this weekend, because next in line are Keenan Burton, Danny Amendola, and Ruvell Martin. Ouch.
SAINTS RB: Pierre Thomas was strangely a non-factor in the first half Sunday, but he took out his frustrations on the Bills in the second half, rushing for 126 yards on 14 carries and scoring twice. Reggie Bush and Lynell Hamilton saw a little more action with Mike Bell out, but it looks like Thomas has gotten his starting job back. The Saints have an embarrassment of riches on offense.
SEAHAWKS QB: Matt Hasselbeck didn’t play Sunday due to a fractured rib, but it shouldn’t be long before he’s back in action. Seneca Wallace threw for 261 yards and a touchdown in a 23-15 loss to the Bears, but there's no battle for the job here once Hasselbeck is healthy again.
TEXANS RB: Houston insists on giving Chris Brown the ball at the goal-line, which hurts Steve Slaton’s value, but after Sunday’s back-breaking fumble by Brown, the Texans might have to give the ball to Slaton in close. That’s bad news for all but one team in your league. The window on buying Slaton low is closing fast.
TEXANS WR: Kevin Walter is back, but Jacoby Jones caught a touchdown pass for the second week in a row. Andre Davis, who is still out recovering from a concussion, may have lost his spot in the pecking order. If Jones continues to be a valuable part of the offense, he’s a fantasy-relevant player in leagues that count return yards.
Article first appeared 9/28/09