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The third week of the regular season has basically come and gone (with the exception of Monday night’s game). As usual, many players played better than their pre-season rankings justified and vice versa. Below is a list of some names that Craig, Greg and Mike think could be worth a shot on your roster. But please keep in mind that we are only three weeks into the regular season. This list will be updated throughout the day Monday, just in time for waiver wire openings on Tuesday.
1. Mark Sanchez, NY Jets — Believe it or not, I’ve still seen Sanchez on waivers in a few of my leagues. He won’t be there after this week. After two consecutive weeks of three TD passes (against division rivals no less), it seems as if Rex Ryan trusts his passing game as much as his running game and the Jets are going to continue to throw the ball all over the field… if Braylon Edwards can stay out of trouble. And remember, Sanchez gets Santonio Holmes back in a couple of weeks.
2. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo — Fitzpatrick was announced the starter over Trent Edwards going into Week Three and played better than expected in the loss to the Patriots. With 247 passing yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, owners in 16-team leagues or higher will want to give Fitz a look. But please remember, this is still the Bills.
3. Bruce Gradkowski, Oakland — Gradkowski, once again, turned into the savior that he was last year in place of JaMarcus Russell. Even though the Raiders lost to the Cardinals, Gradkowski’s 255 yards passing, one touchdown and one interception provided a much needed boost for the passing game. Heck, he even got Darrius Heyward-Bey involved. Gradkowski could prove to be a low-end QB2.
1. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, New England — Slowly, but surely, the Patriots are trying to get BJG more work in the offense. With Fred Taylor sidelined with a toe injury, Green-Ellis racked 98 yards on sixteen carries with a touchdown. If Fragile Fred lives up to his nickname going into Week Four, BJG should continue to see a good amount of carries going forward.
2. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo — Amazingly, he’s still available in about 25% of all FantasyFootball.com leagues. It’s becoming apparent that Lynch is Chan Gailey’s favorite and will continue to get the bulk of the workload until the coaching staff regains faith in CJ Spiller. Lynch ran for 79 yards on 13 carries Sunday vs. New England… that’s 6.1 yards per carry.
3. LeGarrette Blount, Tampa Bay — Blount only received six carries, but he had a solid 4.5 ypc and a touchdown against a very good Steelers defense. Cadillac Williams received the same amount of carries, but didn’t do much. And lets face it, Caddy can suffer a blown tire at any moment. Those who drafted Kareem Huggins (still kicking myself) and still kept him, may want to turn their attention to Blount. Owners should remember that Blount was a mid-round prospect in this year’s draft, but went undraftable because of off-field issues at Oregon. There is talent here, but he has to learn to keep his head on straight.
4. Earnest Graham, Tampa Bay — PPR specialist. Though he didn’t get six carries like Blount, he did receive a couple of runs (for 6.5 yards per carry) and caught four passes for 57 yards. Though Blount scored a short touchdown, Graham still managed to keep up with him in fantasy points with those receptions.
5. Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville — Mainly for deeper leagues, but still a smart suggestion for anyone who owns MJD and doesn’t have Jennings as a handcuff. Jennings continues to have a better YPC average than MJD and yet he’s barely touching the football. That won’t continue if the Jags keep losing games and MJD isn’t getting the job done. Keep Jennings in the back of your mind and add him only if you have room.
6. Ryan Torain, Washington — We mentioned Keiland Williams last week in this space before the Redskins acquired Torain. Now the tables have turned as Mike Shanahan is familiar with Torain and trusts him in this offense. Torain posted the same numbers as Clinton Portis and will likely start to dip into his touches with each passing week.
7. Kenneth Darby, St. Louis — Steven Jackson suffered another groin injury and missed much of the second half in Week 3 vs. Washington. Both Darby and Keith Toston split the rest of the carries, but only Darby did any real damage. Toston has more explosive speed, but Darby sees the field better and would be a solid option in deeper leagues… especially if you own Jackson.
8. Willis McGahee — Ray Rice owners should have already had McGahee locked up. If not, pick him up quick. Rice is currently dealing with a knee injury. And while it’s believed to be minor, you just can’t trust player or coach talk right now. Remember, Beanie Wells had a knee “bruise” which turned out to be arthroscopic knee surgery.
9. Maurice Morris — Jahvid Best owners will want to move quick to pick him up, or fantasy leaguers that need an RB will want try and add him this week, even before the news of Best’s injury. His injury doesn’t sound good, as Best wasn’t able to weight on his toe and it’s being called, at the outset, sprained ligaments. Check back on Best’s injury update and Morris, at this point, makes a nice pre-emptive pickup, especially those in PPR leagues.
10. John Kuhn — Brandon Jackson may be the starter, but Kuhn is the obvious bruiser on the team. Through three weeks, he has posted a very healthy 4.8 yards-per-carry average, with another 30+-yard game against the Bears on Monday night. The threat of a trade still looms, but it appears that the Packers like what they see from Kuhn. Plus, he will continue to get goal-line work.
1. Lance Moore, New Orleans — Remember when Moore was fantasy relevant back in 2008? I saw a lot of “that” Moore in Week Three with six catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns against the Falcons. Temper your enthusiasm, however, because there are a lot of hands in the cookie jar in the Saints’ offense. However, Moore could be someone to look at if your receiving unit is depleted by injuries, or needs a spark. Brees could gain some of the confidence he had in Moore back in 2008. If you pick up Moore, it’s probably safe to drop worthless Robert Meachem.
2. Roy Williams, Dallas — It’s still tough for me to ever suggest starting him, but if either Dez Bryant or Miles Austin were to get hurt, Williams would be next in line. Don’t expect many two-TD games from Williams in the future, but he would be a nice insurance policy to have behind Austin and/or Bryant.
3. Kenny Britt, Tennessee — After being MIA in Week One, Britt has now caught seven passes for 67 yards over the last two, with one of those passes ending in a touchdown against the Giants. He is someone to keep on your roster if you have him, but he still has a ways to go before supplanting either Nate Washington or Justin Gage for a starting job. If he is still on your waiver wire, pick him up and stash in the hopes this is the beginning of better days.
4. Jacoby Jones, Houston — All this guy does is continue to get targets each week, and although he’s not catching TDs like Kevin Walter, he’s being targeted as many times as Walter per game, and with Andre Johnson ailing right now, it’s only a matter of time before he misses a week or two. Jones is a solid pass-catcher and seems to be drawing rave reviews from Matt Schaub.
5. Danny Amendola, St. Louis — 10 targets and six receptions is a very nice way to get the attention of the fantasy world. He’s quietly produced 16 receptions for 162 yards, but has yet to get into the end zone. Trust me, his time is coming… he’ll get there soon.
6. Brandon Lloyd, Denver — His career-best numbers for a season: 26 receptions for 364 yards and two touchdowns in 2008. So far this year: 14 receptions for 339 yards and one touchdown. Lloyd is going to easily surpass his career-best numbers, likely in the next two games. Denver’s WR corps is a mess right now, as it’s nearly impossible to figure out which receiver is going to be the hot hand from week-to-week. Lloyd is no different, so don’t consider him an every-week start till further notice.
7. Louis Murphy, Oakland — I realize we’re talking about Oakland, but as long as Gradkowski is the QB, he’ll find a way to get the ball to his best play-maker on offense.
8. Arrelious Benn, Tampa Bay — Benn finally made his 2010 debut with three catches for 33 yards against a strong Steelers Defense. While I think he is nothing more than a stash-and-wait player in deeper leagues, he could prove to eventually be a worthy pickup in 12-team leagues down the road. He has much more upside than Sammie Stroughter and Michael Spurlock and Josh Freeman is continuing to show great progress as a starting quarterback.
9. James Jones — Jones always seems to wind up on waiver reports, but he is very hit or miss. He caught five passes on Monday night, but he has matched that number in Weeks One and Two combined. Jones needs an injury to gain any real fantasy value.
1. Tony Moeaki, Kansas City — I’ve been suggesting him since the pre-season as a sleeper to keep on your watch list. Well, after Week 3 against San Francisco, I don’t think he belongs on any watch list, he belongs on your roster either as your starter or backing up one of the top 5 or 6 guys.
2. Aaron Hernandez, New England — This is the last week I’m going to list Hernandez. He’s catching as many balls as anyone else on the team and is targeted as often as anyone.
3. Ben Watson, Cleveland — Since Seneca Wallace has been leading the Browns, Watson has accumulated nine catches for 109 yards, with a score coming in against the Ravens this weekend. He is still nothing more than a low-end TE2, but he could be a decent bye week option if he can keep it up. Hopefully, Jake Delhomme doesn’t come back anytime soon.