By: Justin Lynch
All the articles and all the talk this week about what’s wrong with Aaron Rodgers seems to have lit a fire under him. Rodgers came out and threw three touchdowns in the first half against Detroit, and looks to keep building on a huge effort. Rodgers look focused, poised, and ready to prove to everyone that he is still indeed Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers will now have to wait two weeks to play again with the team’s bye this week, but a soft schedule awaits him, and big numbers are on the horizon.
He’s been there all along, but it took a 6-205-2 effort to get everyone’s attention. Jones is the number one option in Detroit, and is now a borderline must-start fantasy wideout. With Jim Bob Cooter’s west coast style and Calvin Johnson gone, Stafford has been forced to throw short more often. But he loves the deep ball and can’t resist taking a shot everyone once in a while. Jones is the only one who justifies Stafford throwing downfield, and he’s become Stafford’s favorite option because of it.
McCoy quietly produced solid numbers in both weeks one and two, but really exploded against Arizona. McCoy looks quick, explosive, and fully healthy, and is a staple in that offense with Sammy Watkins ailing. He’s averaging 4.9 yards per attempt, and is even getting looks in the receiving game. A tough schedule and a fight for goal line carries worries me some, but McCoy looks like real value with a number of top backs struggling.
Derrick Henry’s carries keep increasing, but there is no reason to worry with the way Murray is producing. Murray is averaging a shade under six yards per carry and already has 17 receptions. His receiving prowess along with his big-play ability out of the backfield has allowed him to flourish behind a revamped Titans line. Murray looks a lot more like the version we saw in Dallas this season again, and though Henry is in the mix, Murray is quickly becoming a fantasy MVP candidate.
Cobb wasn’t invited Rodgers’ touchdown party, only bringing in one reception on three targets. Cobb may have been hurt by the Packers being up by so much so early in the game, but three weeks into the season he hasn’t had any solid outings. Cobb looks a lot more like the Cobb we saw last year again, and it’s tough to see him returning to his 2014 form, if only because Rodgers hasn’t been looking his way. He won’t continue to be this bad, and I believe he will turn things around, but it’s tough to see him living up to expectations.
Mathews rushed for negative yardage on just two carries against Pittsburgh. Philly got out to a big lead and the Eagles responded by giving the ball to Kenjon Barner and Wendell Smallwood instead of Mathews. Mathews is averaging just 3.2 yards per carry, and didn’t see the goal line carries that bailed him out the last two weeks. With Darren Sproles getting all the receptions as well, there may not be much left for Mathews.
Murray is in the Ryan Mathews position, but hasn’t stopped scoring touchdowns yet. He has a solid yards per attempt, but has been pulling full-Rashard Mendenhall’s. By that, I mean he saves each game by one long rush and a touchdown. That is fine for the time being, but the Raiders need more consistency, and Jalen Richard and Deandre Washington are casually receiving similar carries and production. Look for this to be more of a time share going forward, and don’t expect Murray to score every game, either.
2 Things to Think About
With Thomas Rawls out, Michael had a big game this week versus San Francisco. Coming just days after Pete Carroll praised his progress, things are looking up for Michael. However, Rawls won’t be out forever, and it’s tough to see him sitting on the bench. Therefore, it may be time to sell high on Michael, and take advantage of his big week. At the same time, the Seahawks are committed to the running game, and Michael looks like the feature back. I wouldn’t feel good about getting rid of him, but I also don’t think you should expect Marshawn Lynch-type numbers going forward.
Carlos Hyde has now had two huge games and one dud. He upped his yards per attempt in garbage time this week versus Seattle, and tacked on two more touchdowns to his season total. Hyde looks explosive, and is getting just about all the carries, but he hasn’t been super productive and isn’t a factor in the receiving game. His schedule isn’t so scary, but do you feel confident starting him? I would think long and hard about how you would feel about tying your team’s success to Carlos Hyde.
1 Concluding Thought
Now three weeks into the season, the wait is about to pay off for Tom Brady, Josh Gordon, and Le’Veon Bell owners. Just one more week for Gordon and Brady as Bell makes his triumphant return this week. For Bell owners, hold onto him tight and ride out who may be the best back in the league as long as you can. However, Brady and Josh Gordon now have real value, and are underrated trade assets. Brady will likely be crazy good upon his return, but if you already have a quarterback, don’t be afraid to trade him for help at other spots. Gordon is another big name who people may want, and don’t be afraid to get some value for him, either. I know you’ve been patient, but someone may see Gordon or Brady’s name and give too much, so keep an eye open. With that said, the way the Browns targeted Terrelle Pryor makes me very excited about Gordon’s potential, so don’t give him up too easily.