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The point is, don't feel bad if you're in that group of just about everyone -- 84 percent of Brown's ESPN standard league owners -- who had him on their bench Sunday. I did, too. Really, in a way you had to be a bit desperate to activate him, maybe dealing with injuries or game-time decisions or those other strugglers. Brown is owned in 96 percent of leagues, but was active in only 16 percent. Rather than blame yourself for a foolish decision, call it one of those things impossible to predict.
For the record, Brown had rushed for 48 yards the first two weeks, not even in the top 50 overall, and worse than the now-benched Tarvaris Jackson. If I had to choose between Brown and Williams, yes, I would have gone with Brown, but it was a reach to start him with confidence, or expect the Dolphins to win at New England by 25 points. Of course, that's why they play the games and why nearly a quarter of all entrants in our Elimination game are now, well, eliminated!
Early on it was apparent there was much Brown could do for you, the fantasy owner. He scored three rushing touchdowns by halftime, though his yardage was hardly special. Two of the scoring runs came on direct snaps, with Williams either in motion or in the backfield with him. Then Brown's LaDainian Tomlinson impression went one step further when Brown took another direct snap, rolled left and showed off his lefty arm by finding tight end Anthony Fasano with a 19-yard touchdown pass. What, Brown couldn't find the time to catch a TD pass as well? LT, I think not. Let's not blame Chad Pennington for playing so poorly that Brown had to throw; Pennington threw only three incomplete passes all day. Alas, it is Brown who becomes the better fantasy play moving forward.
The Patriots cut the Miami lead to 28-13 late in the third quarter, and the Dolphins set out to pound the ball with their two-headed running back monster, which had been nonexistent the first two weeks. To that point Brown was obviously having a good day, but then he broke a 62-yarder for a score to open the final quarter. By topping 100 yards and scoring for a tough-to-believe fifth time, Brown's day became the best in fantasy football -- easily -- for this season. His 39 standard league points were 11 more than the No. 2 guy Sunday (Michael Turner). Turner's 34 points in Week 1 were the most for the first two weeks.
So what happens from here? Well, like colleague Matthew Berry, who wrote in his Sunday night TRUM he'd be dangling Brown in trade talks to see what he could get, I would try to trade Brown. Not that Brown isn't capable of future star performances, it's just that they don't happen often. Brown was leading the league in rushing when he tore his ACL last October, so we can at least assume he is back to full health, and that is a great sign in itself. He should remain a capable fantasy asset, a No. 2 running back most weeks I would think, but I'd rather have Turner. Nothing against Brown, but he will have good and bad moments in 2008 as he needs to overcome at times his quarterback, his recovering knee and a potential timeshare of carries. Some people might think Turner has to overcome his quarterback and Jerious Norwood, but I don't agree. Turner has more upside.
So, can we expect the Falcons' Michael Turner to play well only against bad defenses? In home games against the feeble Lions and Chiefs, Turner has rushed for 324 yards and scored five touchdowns. In Week 2 at Tampa Bay he provided four fantasy points. With road games at Carolina and Green Bay ahead, then the Bears and a bye, it might be awhile before Turner carries a fantasy team again, though he remains a solid No. 2 fantasy running back. We'd just like to see him thrive against a good defense. Turner was activated in 91.2 percent of leagues, so most people were paying attention.
Welcome back to relevance, Joseph Addai and Maurice Jones-Drew! With 94 rushing yards between them entering Week 3, these running backs combined for 41 fantasy points Sunday. Addai's second touchdown, with just over a minute to play, topped off a solid game with 78 rushing yards, and gives fantasy owners hope the consensus top-5 overall pick can play like it. Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor did more than that, as each of them topped 100 rushing yards. While some of this was the fault of the Colts, apparently the Jaguars' offensive line is strong again. The only other time this duo each rushed for more than 100 yards in the same game was against the Colts in 2006. If you have a running back facing the Bob Sanders-less Colts run defense coming up, expect big things. After a Week 4 bye, that includes Steve Slaton, Willis McGahee and Ryan Grant.
|This Week In Fantasy Football History|
By Neil Tardy
1997: Few NFL teams fielded as many fantasy teases as the '97 Oakland Raiders. There was the rifle-armed Jeff George, who'd already idioted his way out of Indianapolis and Atlanta, the blazer Napoleon Kaufman and the equally blazing -- and aptly named -- James Jett. And yet, for this season, each came through for fantasy owners. And for this week, each was huge: George threw for 374 yards and three scores, Kaufman had 148 total yards and Jett had five catches for 148 yards and a pair of TDs. For the year, George threw for 29 scores and put up a league-best 3,917 passing yards, Kaufman amassed almost 1,700 total yards and Jett added 12 receiving touchdowns. But, for what it's worth -- which would be nothing to fantasy owners -- the Raiders lost to the Jets. They won four games in 1997.
Steve Slaton, Texans
Against a tough Titans defense that made Matt Schaub's day a bad one, rookie running back Slaton broke through with 116 rushing yards, including a 50-yarder, and a six-yard touchdown. Don't worry about Ahman Green's health prognosis, Slaton should make the veteran irrelevant soon, if he hasn't already.
Willie Parker, Steelers
He entered leading the league in carries, but got only 13 more, and after averaging 122 yards in the first two weeks, he didn't even manage to get 22 yards in Week 3. Parker is going to face tough defenses this season, and fantasy owners hope he can manage more than two fantasy points in those contests.
Julius Jones, RB, Seahawks: Sure, the competition might not offer much resistance, but it's tough to fake 267 rushing yards and two scores in two games. Jones might not want Matt Hasselbeck to get his weapons back. Jones' 140 rushing yards stood as the Week 3 high until former teammate Marion Barber topped it in the nightcap.
Larry Johnson, RB, Chiefs: Kansas City's main offensive weapon bounced back from a 22-yard effort in Week 2 with 121 yards and a touchdown. He did this despite Tyler Thigpen compiling a 23.8 passer rating, which is a nice sign. I'd still entertain trade offers, though.
Rudi Johnson, RB, Lions: While Kevin Smith received three carries early and then nothing, and no injury has been reported, Johnson exploded with 131 total yards and a receiving touchdown. And the Lions still got drubbed.
Marvin Harrison, WR, Colts: A week after catching one pass against the Vikings and getting Anthony Gonzalez owners to believe their guy had become a stud, Harrison caught a touchdown pass and twice as many Peyton Manning passes as the kid.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh, WR, Bengals: Now that's what we call a solid game. Houshmandzadeh hauled in 12 passes for 146 yards and a score, as he and Carson Palmer showed life after two bad weeks. Now if only that Ocho Cinco guy could break out.
Matt Cassel, QB, Patriots: Hey, this guy was the top projected quarterback for the week by ESPN Fantasy, so obviously there were expectations for more than 131 yards and five fantasy points. He did manage to outscore the three starting QBs for AFC North teams not named Carson Palmer. Ben Roethlisberger, Derek Anderson and Joe Flacco combined for three fantasy points.
Derek Anderson, QB, Browns: Sure, it can't be much fun to face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, but 15 total fantasy points through three weeks is no way to get fantasy owners to believe 2007 was the real thing. Luckily, the Cincy game approaches.
DeAngelo Williams, RB, Panthers: Few expected a big game against the Vikings' vaunted run defense, but 27 yards isn't much. Jonathan Stewart, still advertised as the reserve, did worse, but scored his third touchdown so far.
Andre Johnson, WR, Texans: His owners shouldn't get too concerned, because the Titans appear to be a top defense, but Johnson was his own worst enemy, dropping a few touchdown passes in the first half. He ended up with only two receptions, and the Jaguars' defense comes up next. Just wait for October games with the Lions and Bengals.
Meanwhile, Ben Roethlisberger left the loss to Philly a bit early as well, though it wasn't clear if it was due to more shoulder problems, or a hand injury or something else. The Steelers would be a different team with Byron Leftwich at the helm.
The Lions have a bye this coming week, which means Jon Kitna can rest his sore right knee that forced him from Sunday's game prematurely. While Kitna didn't do much for Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams on Sunday, he would appear a better option than Dan Orlovsky.
Steve Smith of the Panthers starts his second game of the season, against familiar foe Atlanta. Smith actually has struggled against the seemingly lowly Falcons the past three meetings, with six catches for 71 yards, total.
Willie Parker has really struggled against the Ravens. In his past three games against them he has 46 carries for 93 yards, barely two yards per rush, and no touchdowns.
Wow, your favorite Browns really need a game with the Bengals, don't they? Who can forget their 96-point Week 2 meeting last season. The quarterbacks combined for 11 touchdown passes, but don't forget Jamal Lewis ran wild for 216 yards.
It should be an interesting test for the 49ers, who have lost to the Saints 31-10 and 34-10 the past two seasons. Frank Gore rushed for 81 total yards in those contests. In 2006 Reggie Bush had a four-touchdown affair against the 49ers. Of course, the 49ers seem better now.