It sucks that we are almost through the first quarter of the NFL season. It seems like just yesterday that I was cracking open a beer when I read the NFL and the players agreed to a new CBA. While I am sure there are many who are enjoying this season as much as possible, there are 1000s more that wish this season would finally end. If you have any of my fallers, then you know what I mean. BTW, did I mention that I held onto Torrey Smith through the first two weeks of the season? Glad I held out and waited.
Mark Sanchez - NY Jets: Sanchez has really progressed from 2010 and has taken the Jets' passing game to a whole new level. Through three games, he's averaging around 295 passing yards a game and already has two 300+-yard games under his belt.With Shonn Greene running in mud and LaDainian Tomlinson still nothing more than a third-down back, expect Sanchez to continue to air it out.
Ryan Mathews - SD: After a disappointing rookie season and nothing more than a committee back with Mike Tolbert to start 2011, Mathews has been on fire the last two weeks. The team has started using him on third downs and in the redzone and he's made the most of the opportunity, rushing for three scores in the last two games. He's also been a weapon through the air, tallying fourteen receptions and averaging 62 receiving yards a game. As long as he stays healthy and can continue to develop, Mathews should stay as an RB2 for the rest of the season.
Torrey Smith - BAL: Smith was supposed to be the answer to the Ravens' passing game as a field stretcher and someone to take pressure of Anquan Boldin. But after a disastrous preseason, Smith was relegated to the bench, which forced the team to trade a draft pick on former Bills WR Lee Evans. With Evans out (ankle) against the Rams, Smith blew up to epic porportions, hauling in three touchdowns in the first quarter alone. He's expected to make another start against the Jets, but temper expectations. The combination of Darrell Revis and Antonio Cromartie could keep Smith's fantasy value as nothing more than a WR3 at best. But if he at least capitalizes on the opportunity, he could continue to make some noise even after Evans comes back.
Jimmy Graham - NO: It shouldn't be much of a surprise that Graham has broken out this year after looking like a bonafide starting option last year while sharing with Jeremy Shockey. Graham has averaged almost 80 yards a game and capped off Week Three with his first 100 yard game of the year and a touchdown against the Texans. Graham's fantasy value could take a bit of a hit once Marques Colston comes back, but owners should be able to get away with using him as a borderline TE1 for the rest of 2011.
Alex Smith - SF: It didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that Jim Harbaugh wasn't going to be able to turn Smith's career around, despite having success with other quarterbacks of lesser talent. Smith ranks 28th amongst quarterbacks with 168 passing yards a game. I don't see that number increasing much. Vernon Davis has consistently been his favorite target, leading the team in overall targets with 17. If Smith wants to get anything out of the season, he is going to have to start getting his other receivers more involved. It also doesn't help that San Francisco's running game has been dismal to.
Reggie Bush - NE: A promising Week One has been pushed aside now that rookie Daniel Thomas is up to speed with the team's playbook. Through two weeks, Bush has only mustered up 31 rushing yards and eighteen receiving yards. Another problem is that the team refuses to use Bush's strength as a pass catcher and line him up as receiver in certain sets. Those who are still holding out hope that Bush can get back some of his fantasy value should give it up. I released him last week. After Thomas was able to put up another strong game last weekend, it's looking like the right move.
Deion Branch - NE: Owners are still asking themselves what happened to Branch on Sunday. Tom Brady threw 45 passes in the loss to the Bills, but only three of those went towards Branch and he caught none. Just last week I had Branch as a riser because he had fifteen receptions through two weeks. Maybe it was more of a fluke, but this is the problem owners will have to deal with if they want to put Branch in their lineups. He could have a huge game one week and then bottom out the next.
Zach Miller - SEA: Remember when Miller was fantasy relevant as a member of the Raiders? Hell, I am sure there were Raiders fans who were willing to give up an entire year's worth of salary just to keep him in Oakland. Maybe he should have stayed because he's awful in Seattle. He's averaging only two fantasy points, yes TWO, a game and clearly isn't part of the team's passing plans. It almost seems like once a tight end goes to Seattle, he's MIA. Anyone remember how GREAT John Carlson was supposed to be? I still want my pick back.