Fortune, not necessarily favor
RB: Stevan Ridley (24-22-14), Danny Woodhead (6-9-17), Brandon Bolden (5-0-2)
WR/TE: Brandon Lloyd (8-13-12), Rob Gronkowski (6-9-3), Aaron Hernandez INJ (8-1-X), Wes Welker (5-11-10), Julian Edelman INJ (2-6-9), Deion Branch (X-X-3)
Just when Ridley was starting to look like a safe play he only registered 37 yards on 13 carries Sunday night while playing half as many snaps as Woodhead. Oh, and he was passed over for a short touchdown run in favor of Bolden. Ridley remains the only Pats running back to roster, at least for now, but Woodhead will continue to take away playing time when the team opts to spread it out. Yup, it's the same type of frustrating, matchup-based New England backfield we've come to loathe.
Welker continues to catch lucky breaks, literally. The reduced snap count in Week 1 was a result of the team's desire to use Edelman (hand) over Welker for blocking situations in two-wide sets. However, with tight end Aaron Hernandez (ankle) missing several weeks and the aforementioned Edelman leaving last week's game due to a hand injury on a touchdown catch, Welker is now in the clear as the team's unquestioned slot machine.
- Heading into the season, New York Giants rookie Rueben Randle was the assumed No. 3 wide receiver. Scratch all that. Ramses Barden took advantage of Hakeem Nicks (foot) being unable to play on a short week and a defense that threw a ton of coverage at Victor Cruz converting nine of his team-high 10 targets into 138 yards. With Nicks due to return, Barden continues to offer value as the No. 3 receiver in the pecking order on an offense that loves taking big shots down the field. Even when Nicks is active, Barden should continue occupying an outside spot while Cruz slides inside to his comfortable slot placement.
- With Oakland Raiders tight end Brandon Myers (concussion) and wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion) getting battered, Denarius Moore is surging ahead as Carson Palmer's top target. Even running back Darren McFadden has dropped four passes. Only eight of Moore's 18 targets have turned into receptions, but the lack of healthy bodies makes him the leading receiver by default.
- With Jeremy Maclin (hip) out of action, rookie wide receiver Damaris Johnson led the Philadelphia Eagles with 11 targets, five catches and 84 yards Sunday. They believe Maclin will be ready for Week 4, but Johnson is the name to remember if there's a setback.
- Atlanta Falcons running back Jacquizz Rodgers totaled 67 yards and a touchdown on 15 touches in Week 3, as he continues to play a bigger role and eat into Michael Turner's opportunities. In an up-tempo offense, Turner is not a good fit, making Rodgers a decent flex play when the Dirty Birds are flying high. Owners may want to take advantage of Turner's 80-yard, one-TD effort and explore trade options before the aging back reverts to the poor performances he had in Weeks 1 and 2.
- Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson continues to look awful, so the team is going to the air. Tight end Jared Cook (shoulder) scored on a long touchdown but was injured and may not be able to practice until the end of the week. Thankfully, Kenny Britt (ankle) continues to work his way back from knee surgery. He caught half a dozen passes on 11 targets, matching rookie Kendall Wright, for 55 yards. Without Cook, Britt would take over as the top option in the red zone. Either way, Britt's risky but elite potential may start to show up more often soon.
About Eric McClung
Eric McClung has been profiled by the FSWA for covering the fantasy sports spectrum and is a three-time award finalist. Over the years, he's made several appearances in print and on radio. McClung began contributing to KFFL in 2008 and currently serves as one of KFFL's featured fantasy NASCAR experts. He's also captured the fantasy football championship in the KFFL staff league twice.
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