Each week, we’ll focus in on a number of players who both exceeded expectations and phenomenally disappointed fantasy owners. Week 3 represents the last bye-free weekend we are going to see for a while, so hitting on your studs become even more critical to victory. Will the over-achievements continue? will the under-achievers bounce-back? Let’s jump in and tkae a look at our Week 3 Achievers.
Over-achiever – EJ Manuel (BUF)
19-for-42, 243 yards, TD, 6 rush 40 yards
We could almost pick a name out of a hat this week for the over-achieving quarterback as Manuel was not the only surprising name in the top-12. That’s right, Manuel was joined by Geno Smith, Christian Ponder, Terrelle Pryor and… Brian Hoyer as a top-12 fantasy QB in Week 3. Still, out of this group, we see Manuel in the best position to repeat. He’s got plenty of talent at the skill positions –though an extended absence from C.J. Spiller would not be good — and is showing excellent poise and presence in the backfield while leading the Bills to a late-game surge for the second straight week. Of course, the team fell just short Sunday, but Manuel has shown enough for us to turn bullish on his future, He throws a nice ball and does just enough with his legs to help fantasy owners. Expect the improvement to continue.
Under-achiever – Colin Kaepernick (SF)
13-for-27 150 yards, INT, 7 rush, 20 yards
Kaepernick put up a second straight stinker as the Indy defense gave the Niners fits all day. To be fair, however, the San Francisco defense did not hold up their end of the bargain, allowing the revamped Indy running game to gash them for 179 yards on 39 carries. Kaepernick just couldn’t get much going and, without Vernon Davis in the lineup, the 49ers receivers simply looked over-matched. The Colts defense played well, but they aren’t exactly an overpowering bunch. Times will get better for Kaep, but it’s unlikely we see his full potential until at least Davis (and perhaps even Michael Crabtree) returns to the starting lineup.
Over-achiever – Demarco Murray (DAL)
26 carries, 175 yards, TD, 3 receptions, 40 yards
The last time Murray faced the Rams, he put up a monstrous 250-yard effort to set the Cowboys’ single-game rushing record. While he didn’t quite match that performance on Sunday, owners hoping for FLEX-level performance were please to get the top scorer at the running back position on Sunday. Murray was, no doubt, aided by a stellar passing day from Tony Romo who picked the Rams secondary apart for three scores in the first half and the ground game took over from their. Murray gets the Chargers next week and will certainly e rising up in our rankings after a strong showing in Week 3.
Under-achiever – David Wilson (NYG)
11 carries, 39 yards
Wilson had yet another frustrating day and clearly has been one of the biggest busts of the 2013 season after rising all the way into the third round in preseason drafts. There were a lot more positives than negatives for Wilson this Sunday, however, as the Giant’s were shellacked by the Panthers. Certainly, New York’s inability to keep Eli Manning upright is a concern as Wilson’s pass protection struggles have been well documented. Still, he did manage to hold onto the ball while also emerging as the Giants’s bell-cow runner, leading the three-headed backfield monster in carries. Wilson beat the Panthers elite front seven around the corner for what would have been a very nice 17-yards touchdown, only to have the play negated by penalty. Owner’s who just check the box score will see just the disappointing 11-for-39 performance, though we know that could have just as easily been 12-for-56 with a touchdown… something that would be regarded as a breakout for Wilson on this young season. The talent is evident in the way he runs and after another fumble-free effort, expect the G-Men to turn heavily to Wilson as they try to jump-start their offense. Keep the faith and buy low.
Over-achiever – Josh Gordon (CLE)
10 receptions (19 targets), 146 yards, TD
Coming off of a two-game suspension with a green starting QB in Brian Hoyer, expectations were understandably low for Gordon. Well, we were wrong… dead wrong. Gordon beasted his way to 146 yards and a touchdown while being targeted 19 times in the passing game. Hoyer looked Gordon’s way early and often and the wide receivers’ elite size and speed were quickly evident. If Gordon continues to get this type of workload, he’ll threaten the top-10 overall among receivers. It’s that simple. Now, while Hoyer certainly deserves another start regardless of Brandon Weeden‘s health, we cannot be sure that this type of attention will continue. Still, this is a player to target if he somehow was not owned prior to the week.
Under-achiever – Dwayne Bowe (KC)
1 receptions (3 targets) 4 yards
Bowe was a dud on Thursday night and, quite frankly, has been pretty unimpressive outside of his lone touchdown reception during the 2013 season. Andy Reid’s pass-happy approach has perplexingly turned to a more-logical lean-on-the-run attack through the first three games. Bowe is the big loser in the situation as Alex Smith has shown a reluctance to force the ball to his No. 1 target and when the Chiefs were up and killing the clock this week, Bowe was not even on the field. Moving forward, Bowe’s value takes a serious hit, though we would like to see just what happens when KC falls behind in a game and Andy gets back to his passing ways. At this point, his production has been so poor, that it’s hard not to recommend a buy-low offer at this point as the talent far out-weighs the production. Things can and will get better for Dwayne Bowe, but he wont be meeting top-15 expectations unless we see a different kind of Chiefs offense out there.
Over-achiever – Jordan Cameron (CLE)
6 receptions (11 targets) 66 yards, 3 TD
Cameron was ranked pretty highly this week and while the presence of Bian Hoyer seemed to be a slight concern, the tight end exceeded even the most lofty of expectations. Cameron caught a pair of touchdowns from Hoyer and another on a fake field goal while seeing 11 targets in the game. With Cleveland’s limited weapons, Cameron figures to continue to be a top-2 option on the team and a top-5 options at the tight end position.
Under-achiever – Martellus Bennett (CHI)
2 receptions, (5 targets) 5 yards
Bennett broke his two-game touchdown streak in Week 3 and really disappointing fantasy owners who were getting used to his red zone dominance. His biggest problem, however, was really just game flow. Bennett is not a major option when the Bears are between the 20s and given their lack of red zone opportunities on Sunday night, it is not surprising that Bennett had an underwhelming day. He can thank the defense that managed a pair of touchdowns for keeping the Bears’ O on the sidelines more than usual, but fantasy owners need not be overly concerned. Tight ends are hit or miss and as one of Jay Cutler’s preferred red zone targets, expect Bennett to hit more often than not.