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Week 3 in Fantasy Football: What We Learned

C.D. Carter breaks down some of the most important fantasy football lessons from week three.

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon
 Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon

Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) celebrates his 47 yard touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Browns win 31-27. Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy football is, by its very nature, maddeningly unpredictable, with a thousand factors on every play of every game of every week determining the outcomes we try so hard to predict.

Week 3 was among the least predictable weeks in recent fantasy memory. Why do I say that? See below.

  • Tony Gonzalez, squaring off against a Miami defense that had allowed 15 catches for 199 yards to tight ends through two weeks, scored two fantasy points.

That list could go on for another two dozen bullet points. The point, put succinctly: we shouldn’t beat ourselves over the craniums for using guys like Lynch, Rodgers, Griffin, and Gonzalez this week. They were excellent plays with juicy matchups (for the most part).

Perhaps there was an argument to be made for deploying Locker against a horrendous San Diego secondary or Hoyer in a game that was sure to see him throw a lot, but beyond daily fantasy games, you’re not going to bench Rodgers for Locker, or Lynch for Ronnie Brown.

You made the right call based on available information. If you do that next week, and the week after, and so on and so forth, you’re going to win in the long run. Trust me.

Here are a few takeaways from Week 3’s fantasy happenings.

  • The best part of getting through a few weeks of fantasy football: we now have somewhat reliable data set that can be used to make sounder choices in our lineup composition. Lessons from that data include the absolute imperative to pick on the secondaries of the Vikings and Chargers. They were both gouged once again this week, with San Diego now allowing 358 passing yards per game, and Minnesota giving up 317 yards through the air. Start your quarterbacks and receivers with confidence against both defenses.
  • Fred Jackson could once again have long-term fantasy value. The extent of C.J. Spiller‘s knee injury isn’t yet known, but even before the injury, Jackson was getting a decent amount of work in Buffalo’s run-heavy attack. Jackson is a plodder, yes, but when plodders can post 109 yards on 11 touches — as Jackson did against he Jets — he’s worth your No. 1 waiver wire priority. Jackson’s upcoming schedule is hideous, but you can’t do much better on the wire.
  • Fantasy Points Per Route Run (FPPRR) superstar Jason Snelling had himself a day against a usually stout Miami front seven, finishing the day with 111 yards on 15 touches (7.4 yards per touch). Jacquizz Rodgers played nine more snaps than Snelling this week, so there’s no reason to think Snelling is going to emerge as an every-down option in Steven Jackson‘s (extended) absence. He’s incredibly efficient though, and always has been. Snelling is an answered prayer for running back-needy fantasy owners, especially in PPR formats.
  • Josh Gordon, in case you didn’t notice, is a must-play in 12-team leagues. Fantasy’s No. 2 receiver in Week 3 saw a jaw-dropping 19 targets from Brian Hoyer. He reeled in 10 catches for 146 yards. Gordon’s comparables on rotoViz’s similarity app included Calvin Johnson, as they both have the un-teachable size-speed combination that makes them lethal in the red zone. I think Gordon will prove to have one of fantasy’s highest weekly floors in an offense completely void of a running game.
  • Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has robbed us of a fantasy football jewel. New Orleans’ defense was a giver of fantasy glory in 2012, and a constant target for savvy owners. This season is quite different. The Saints are holding opponents to 9.6 points per game — a performance good enough to put them among fantasy’s top-15 defenses for three straight weeks. The unit that gave up more than 7,000 yards of total offense in 2012 (440 per game) is no more. They should no longer be viewed as the fake football welcoming mat they once were, and if you don’t believe me, ask Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald owners. Adjust accordingly.
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