NFL fantasy football: Stick with Tom Brady, but beware of Bowe
BY JEFF AGREST Staff Reporter September 24, 2013 7:41PM
WEEK 4 OUTLOOK
Bye weeks: Packers, Panthers.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Eagles at Broncos: The Broncos rank first in offense, the Eagles second. Anyone who dresses is worth considering.
GAME OF THE MEEK
Redskins at Raiders: A matchup of bad teams has fantasy potential (see Browns-Vikings), but who’s an implicitly trustworthy start here? Alfred Morris might be it.
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
WR Anquan Boldin, 49ers: The Rams have allowed an average of 203.3 yards to wide receivers.
Ravens running back: Whether it’s Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce, he should exploit a Bills defense that has allowed an average of 146.7 rushing yards to running backs.
QB Tony Romo, Cowboys: The
Chargers have allowed the most passing yards in the league and have only one interception.
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
WR Andre Johnson, Texans: First a concussion, then a shin injury, now the Seahawks, who lead the league in pass defense with only one touchdown catch allowed.
RB Chris Johnson, Titans: We haven’t seen the big-play ability yet, and it doesn’t figure to come against the Jets, who are allowing 3.2 yards per rush.
QB Eli Manning, Giants: After being sacked seven times Sunday, he’ll face a Chiefs defense that leads the league in sacks with 15.
WEEK 3 PICKS
PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
RB Frank Gore: 11-82 rushing;
RB Trent Richardson: 13-35-1 rushing (pick was made before trade)
WR Torrey Smith: 5 catches,
PLAYERS OF THE MEEK
RB Darren McFadden: 12-9-1
rushing; TD pass
RB James Starks: 14-55 rushing; injured
WR Kenny Britt: 0 catches
Updated: September 24, 2013 10:58PM
So you draft Tom Brady as your starting quarterback and, because he’s Tom Brady, don’t reach for a backup.
But three weeks into the season, Brady hasn’t had a 300-yard game. That has happened once since 2003, not including the season he missed in 2008. He’s completing only 57.5 percent of his passes, which would be a career low. Above all, he’s 21st in scoring among quarterbacks.
What in the name of Victor Kiam are you to do?
Don’t panic. Tight end Rob Gronkowski (back) might return this week, rookie receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson are coming around and a Falcons defense that ranks 25th against the pass is next.
Gronk’s return can’t be underestimated. The 6-6, 265-pound behemoth commands extra attention, and he should help open up the offense. Brady is averaging only 5.5 yards per pass attempt; Gronk has averaged 14.2 yards per catch for his career.
Brady isn’t just a victim of circumstances. He missed a wide-open Dobson in the end zone Sunday and was intercepted two plays later. But better days are ahead, though probably not the salad days his owners have enjoyed. Think
top-10 quarterback, not the
No. 5 QB I expected.
Other players who aren’t meeting expectations, with their preseason position ranking:
WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (No. 15): He signs a five-year, $56 million contract during the offseason, making him the third-highest-paid receiver in the league, and he has nine catches for 90 yards in three games. The problem is the offense. Quarterback Alex Smith is taking no chances, so Donnie Avery is shining in a short-passing game. Bowe will deliver eventually, but big games figure to be few and far between. Consider him a No. 3 receiver.
RB C.J. Spiller, Bills (No. 4):
He’s averaging 5.2 yards per carry for his career but is at 3.6 this season. Fred Jackson is outperforming him on fewer carries, and the schedule isn’t favorable with two top-10 run defenses on tap (Ravens and Browns). That said, you have to stick with him. Spiller is immensely talented, and he has home-run speed. He had 103 yards against a tough Panthers defense in Week 2. Just consider him a No. 2 running back for now.
TE Tony Gonzalez, Falcons (No. 4): Even with Roddy White (ankle) ailing, Gonzalez has only 11 catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. He’s being targeted, but the production we’re used to isn’t there. With so many other options at tight end, there’s no need to wait for Gonzalez to deliver. Consider benching him.