Week 3: Peaks & Valleys



When you're up on a peak you can see both back to where you've been, and forward into the valley where you are going. In full view this landscape can be tactical and daunting, but at this height maintaining vigilance on the unknown ahead is a supreme advantage.

In fantasy football, highs and lows are different for every player on every team. A horrendous team can still have fantasy treasures, just as a stellar winning machine can be void of any reliably useful resource.

After a miserable attempt in Week 2, it was necessary to rally this week, in what is the last full slate of games until Week 11, and rally I did.

Down we go!



I'm the first one to tell you never believe any pre-season hype, but I've learned the hard way with the 49ers this year. They have the talent to make Singletary a winning head coach, but there is so much disorganization on both sides of the football for them that placing blame can't fix. Coaching changes are a glossy attempt to persuade locker room motivation, but I fear a long, rough season ahead for San Francicsco. Kansas City is going into their off week now at what could arguably be the peak of their season, yet I can see them continuing to be noisy and play tough ahead. The Chiefs have young, willing talent who are being guided by three mastermind understudies, making them dangerously hungry to learn while they can. San Francisco won't get any breaks next week, facing a monster at home in Atlanta, who are fresh off a road upset of the Champs. 0-4 won't be that hard to overcome, but it will take them to rally fast if they want to beat west to east coast academia on Sunday.

GOING UP: Dexter McCluster, Tony Moeaki, KC Defense, Ryan Succop, Frank Gore, Vernon Davis, Alex Smith

GOING DOWN: Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Chris Chambers, SF Defense



The exacts of this one are difficult. I dont know really what to make of a Adrian Peterson heavy victory over a injury riddled, young Lions team on the road. The trap was set for a cat-skin in Minnesota, yet there was a small glimmer of hope. Matthew Stafford has begun throwing again, and while Calvin Johnson has been mute, Tony Scheffler and Brandon Pettigrew have picked up some slack. The turf toe to Jahvid Best is concerning, but he's young and should be able to bounce back fast. As for the Vikes, they are still anemic at wide-out, even with an ailing Percy Harvin siting. Still, I'm concerned about the old man Favre, and his lack of options. AP can't always go all day, at some point, you need new tires and a fill up. The rest will do them good, and so will a dose of MNF in the Meadowlands. The Lions continue their road story in Green Bay as a cheesy compliment of meow mix.

GOING UP: Tony Scheffler, Maurice Morris

GOING DOWN: Shuan Hill, Jahvid Best, Calvin Johnson, Brett Favre, Visanthe Shiancoe, Greg Camarillo, Calvin Johnson, Sidney Rice, Bernard Berrian, MIN Defense



It appears that the Patriots are more than willing to duke it out with any team foolish enough to launch bombs with them, providing loads of fantasy points in the process. For once it would appear Belichick has caved into the fantasy football madness and given us something to use. Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski and BenJavrus Green-Ellis (not to ment Gostkowski) are on all cylinders, while the entire Bills offense played the role of Dollar Tree imposters behind Ryan Fitzpatrick and C.J. Spiller (Lindell also). This Buffalo team seems to be the AFC version of the 49er's, minus the expectation of course. They just can't find an identity, and most likely won't against the Jets next week despite being at home. There is a chance for the upset and I'll root for it, but I sincerely doubt it. The Patriots land in Miami where it will surely be one for the sea scrolls.

GOING UP: All Patriots, C.J. Spiller, Marshawn Lynch

GOING DOWN: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Lee Evans, Fred Jackson



This game became trendy as Sunday neared, mostly due to it being a short week for the Saints and the now missing piece that is Reggie Bush, however, back in August while preparing my charts, graphs and notes for the season, I highlight potential danger upset games on the entire calendar, and this was the only one I had circled in Week 3. I even turned the game off when I thought Hartley was kicking the winner through on Sunday, again, a lesson learned. So now that we know the Falcons are a dangerous offensive and defensive team, it's safe to look forward to using them weekly, especially against a lost and confused San Francisco defense at home next week. The Saints should also bounce back at home against Carolina. I'd expect a fireworks display from Drew Brees.

GOING UP: Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, NO Defense, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Michael Turner, Tony Gonzalez, ATL Defense

GOING DOWN: Jason Snelling, Michael Jenkins, Robert Meachem, Ladell Betts



I pined over this game, feeling that Peyton's vast knowledge of the Tennessee defense would help Eli bring this one home, but the last minute scratch of C Sean O'Hara for the Giants convinced me the Titans would do what they did, and they did. The Giants aren't a terrible team, the chemistry just isn't clicking this year for some reason. The offense only has a few concerns, but the defense, with all the added and returning talent should be in a far better place than their current status. I like them to improve as they battle together, but until they win in a big game against a big time opponent, like Sunday against Chicago perhaps, they are unreliable. The Titans regrouped after a deflating loss at home to Pittsburgh. As long as Chris Johnson continues to get 100K, they should win. No reason to fear Denver next week either, especially playing at 1 pm.

GOING UP: Chris Johnson, TEN Defense, Mario Manningham, Eli Manning, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks

GOING DOWN: NYG Defense, Vince Young, Kenny Britt



Another trendy upset special unfulfilled, I finally gave Pittsburgh a chance and they did me good. Tampa Bay is a quality team but are still going through some growing pains. The Steelers have a variety of offensive weapons with Charlie Batch running things. Mendenhall can go hard and Hines Ward's coverage allows Mike Wallace to find gaping holes deep in the secondary. The Buccaneers will enjoy a rest this week while the Steelers go home to face the visiting Ravens. Oh boy!

GOING UP: Mike Wallace, Rashard Mendenhall, PIT Defense, Jeff Reed, Charlie Batch, Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow, Legarret Blount

GOING DOWN: Cadillac Williams, TB Defense



The Panthers must be kicking themselves for letting Jake Delhomme go. Cedric Benson and the Cincy defense proved who was the more powerful pussycat in the league, but neither QB played worthy of fantasy consideration. DeAngelo Williams lost out to Jonathan Stewart, yet neither are elite at this point. The aerial targets for Carson Palmer are a trail mix - OchoCinco attracts, TO flees, while Shipley & Gresham work the interior. It's another mind boggiling offense that should be a low option on the list. The Bengals continue to travel and visit Cleveland on Sunday where they should make quick work of the shit Browns. Carolina will endur another reckoning at the hands of the fallen Champs in New Orleans. Kitty gumbo ya'll.

GOING UP: Cedric Benson, Jordan Shipley, Jermaine Gresham, CIN Defense

GOING DOWN: Carolina, period. Terrell Owens, Bernard Scott, Carson Palmer



I apologize, the Browns aren't shit, they're just shitty right now. They hung tough, even winning in Baltimore going into the fourth quarter, but they just couldn't hold on. It doesn't matter how you start, it's how hard you finish. The Ravens are finishers, and will need all the polish they can muster in Pittsburgh next week. Ray Rice's knee injury is deflating, but there might not be a lot to do on the ground anyway. Peyton Hillis has finally made enough ruckus to merit weekly play despite opponent, so cash in while you can on that train. The Browns face the Bengals at home next week, but it could be the same result as Week 3 in a uncomfortably familar setting.

GOING UP: Peyton Hillis, Ben Watson, Seneca Wallace, Joe Flacco, Anquan Boldin, Todd Heap, BAL Defense

GOING DOWN: Ray Rice, Derrick Mason, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Le'Ron McClain, Jerome Harrison, CLE Defense



Roy Williams just peaked everyone. In life and in fantasy. If making a rookie pay for a team dinner you organized isn't karma enough, blowing your wad on three TD's surely must be. Don't waste your waiver claim on him, believe me, you'll regret it. This was just a hiccup for the Texans. They should be back in top form in Oakland. Arian Foster and Kevin Walter continue to earn their cards, while Schaub and Johnson are hot and cold. It would behoove fantasy owners to shuffle Cowboys now while there is still chance if you're feeling weary; the price could never be higher.

GOING UP: Arian Foster, Miles Austin, Andre Johnson, HOU Defense, Neil Rackers, Kevin Walter, Marion Barber, DAL Defense, Tony Romo, Dez Bryant

GOING DOWN: Roy Williams, Jason Witten, David Buehler, Jacoby Jones, Matt Schaub



I finally got my Rams upset, but not without a little cotton mouth first. The Redskins pulled up lame in St. Louis, giving Bradford, Clayton and Steven Jackson their first win of the young season already. So soon, I'm sure, before they figured they would, so a resounding kudos goes to Washington. Unfortunately, the Rams welcome a rowdy Seattle bunch who are wired for a second helping of road rage after taking down San Diego. The Redskins and McNabb will visit the Eagles in a balls-out rock-em sock-em revenge match that Donovan can downplay all he wants, but we all will be watching for which McNabb will show up. If they plan on winning they must hope to contain Vick and maximize Clinton Portis and Ryan Torain to their fullest, especially in Philadelphia.

GOING UP: Ryan Torain, Chris Cooley, Sam Bradford, Mark Clayton, Kenneth Darby, Santana Moss, Donovan McNabb, STL Defense

GOING DOWN: Clinton Portis, WAS Defense, Danny Amendola



I toyed with the outcome of this for two reasons. 1) The Florida team sweep was out there 2) I don't want to believe in Michael Vick. I came to my senses and realized that generally the stars don't align for Florida football teams, ever and that I can't hate Michael Vick forever. Proper vision served me well and the combination of DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are a virtual fantasy flock. The Jaguars should be in panic mode with the Colts coming to town. Losing two in a row in your own house can get you the rake real fast Jack Del Rio. Maurice Jones-Drew's ankle and knee didn't appear too concerning, but my faith is fading fast in the tiny rock. Philadelphia will want to welcome Donovan McNabb and his Skins back warmly with a good dose of the rock up the middle. McNabb/Vick #1 should be the most enjoyable game of the daytime on Sunday.

GOING UP: Michael Vick, Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, David Akers, PHI Defense

GOING DOWN: David Garrard, Mike Sims-Walker, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis, JAX Defense, Josh Scobee, Kevin Kolb, Brent Celek



The floating hype around Pierre Garcon was deafening in the pre-season, to the chagrin of all those Austin Collie believers out there. This game validated over a years worth of yapping about who was going to emerge as Peyton's next go-to guy. Clearly, it is Collie. The Colts are functioning at their normal pace now, and should have a nice road sequel in Jacksonville on Sunday. The Orton Broncs have a tough test away against the Titans, but the sling 'em attitude of Josh McDaniels makes me like the recieving group of Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and Brandon Lloyd a lot.

GOING UP: Austin Collie, Dallas Clark, Peyton Manning, IND Defense, Adam Vinatieri, Kyle Orton, Laurence Maroney, Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd

GOING DOWN: Knowshon Moreno, Correll Buckhalter, DEN Defense, Joseph Addai, Donald Brown, Anthony Gonzalez, Pierre Garcon



Disgusting display of special teams. The Raiders had a gimme game on the road and Janikowski couldn't lock it down. That was officially the last time I will buy into the Raiders in any shape or form. The changes they made kept them in a tight one that could have been a pivotal win for this team, yet home field karma interceded. Neither team gave me reason to cross my legs, but Tim Hightower and Louis Murphy should be more than worthy of consideration going forward. The Raiders host the still #2 team in Texas Texans, in what should be a nuclear disaster in the Bay. The Cards venture a little further west and face 1000 watts of fury in San Diego.

GOING UP: Tim Hightower, Steve Breaston, Louis Murphy, Zach Miller

GOING DOWN: Beanie Wells, ARI Defense, OAK Defense, Bruce Gradkowski, Sebastian Janikowski, Darren McFadden, Michael Bush, Larry Fitzgerald, Stephen Williams, Derek Anderson



To say this outcome is surprising isn't true; in fact, it was rather predictable, but as a football person, you like to have faith that Norv Turner and Phil Rivers wouldn't lose to L.A. Pete and the Seahawks. LT Marcus McNeil will be back in a few weeks, which is something Rivers and Matthews need badly. Until then, they will feast on the meek as Arizona hops a SouthWest flight on Sunday morning to San Diego. Ryan Matthews could even return, but I wouldn't jump aboard just yet. Seattle simply represents at home, it's a year after year reliable fact. It should be like field day in St. Louis so keep most of the options in that game in mind for the first bye pinch. San Diego's regulars should take care of the Cardinals on Sunday afternoon.

GOING UP: Justin Forsett, John Carlson, Matt Hasselbeck, Phil Rivers, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Mike Tolbert, Golden Tate, SEA Defense, Leon Washington

GOING DOWN: Legadu Naanee, SD Defense, Julius Jones, Mike Williams, Buster Davis, Darren Sproles, Patrick Crayton, Nate Kaeding, Olindo Mare



They walk. Bravo. Two very similar offenses clicked in a duel that vaulted many players into fantasy relevance. Dustin Keller and LaDainian Tomlinson are emerging as the Jets feature fantasy players, joining their defense, and the consistence of Mark Sanchez is reason to be optimistic for New York. Brandon Marshall and Chad Henne were spectacular together for the Dolphins, while Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams sputtered, the defense held it's own for almost four quarters, but in the end red zone mis-management was their weakness. An extra day off in another prime time division home show down is what awaits them in New England on MNF, and if they would have won against the Jets, then in fact I would have liked them less than I do now.

GOING UP: LaDainian Tomlinson, Dustin Keller, NYJ Defense, Brandon Marshall, Ronnie Brown, Dan Carpenter, Davone Bess, Anthony Fasano, Braylon Edwards, Mark Sanchez

GOING DOWN: Ricky Williams, Nick Folk, MIA Defense, Chad Henne, Jerricho Cotchery



It was imperative that Chicago's defense minimized the damage Rodgers can do in a single blow. Good for them Julius Peppers mere prescense made the front line for Green Bay's offense pee their pants. Despite, Rodgers still put up a stud fantasy day. The Packer offense is dependable, if you have all of them. Picking which receiver or between Kuhn & Jackson is spotty at best. Jennings and Rodgers, GB Defense and Crosby could be the only must plays. Jay Cutler continued to pay his membership dues, as did the skill crew of Hester, Knox and Forte. A fortunate turnover created by Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher validated the effort of the entire defense against a talented offense. I like the Bears to run wild against the Giants, and while we are on the topic, the Packers should also take care of business at home against the gimpy Lions. The NFC North is stacked. It will be fun to see what happens in Green Bay, Detroit, Chicago and Minneapolis the rest of the season.

GOING UP: Aaron Rodgers, John Kuhn, Greg Jennings, JerMichael Finley, GB Defense, Donald Driver, Jay Cutler, Johnny Knox, Devin Hester, Matt Forte, Greg Olsen, CHI Defense

GOING DOWN: James Jones, Devin Aroshmadu, Desmond Clark, Robbie Gould

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