Fantasy Football: Breakout performances dominate Week 3 of the N - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Fantasy Football: Breakout performances dominate Week 3 of the NFL season

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - This NFL season began with shortage of marquee moments for fantasy football owners.

Through two weeks, it seemed that the near-30-point performance was a rarity, and if you had one, you won your matchup.

Like the Chicago Bears, it just seemed like you couldn't score.

But Week 3 brought with it an explosion or production, and your fantasy scoreboard likely looked a lot more attractive.

There were 11 players that scored at least 27 points, six of which had 30 or more. Some owners even got the pleasant surprise of a 30-point performance from a defense (thanks Colin Kaepernick).

It was such a crazy week, that great team performances likely went unrewarded (e.g. my 128-points weren't enough!).

So let's lay it out. After a crazy breakout weekend, here's the best performance from each position in Week 3.

Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

Sometimes Rodgers doesn't get enough credit for just how great he is. On Monday night, one of the two best quarterbacks in the NFL threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns against a Kansas City defense that gave up five touchdowns in the first two weeks combined. Even without his top wide receiver Jordy Nelson, Rodgers has been able to make the Green Bay offense look nearly unstoppable through three weeks. His 34 fantasy points in Week 3 was the most among all quarterbacks, a spot he'll likely find a lot this season.

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta Falcons

Freeman has been stuck behind rookie Tevin Coleman through two weeks this season, but when Coleman cracked a rib in Week 2, the skies opened. Freeman was started in most leagues because of the lack of competition, and he had an enormous day. Against a Dallas defense that isn't as good as some thought, Freeman exploded for 37 fantasy points in a 39-28 Atlanta win. His 30 carries were the most a Falcons running back has accrued in a long time, but it was Freeman's efficiency that shocked owners. His nearly five yards per carry gave him 141 yards, and three redzone touchdowns cemented a day that most likely made his fantasy owners automatic winners for the week. It's yet to be seen whether he'll garner that much usage in the Atlanta offense, but he's a great RB2 until Coleman returns in a few weeks.

A.J. Green, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

With the 383 passing yards that Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton totaled, it only makes sense that somebody had to have a nice day on the other end. Green's 227 receiving yards and two touchdowns gave him 34 fantasy points, tied for the second-most of any player in Week 3. Green has always been an excellent WR1 player, but his ceiling seems to be tied to the consistency of Dalton. Much like Freeman, a huge day from this fourth-year wide receiver likely made his owners winners by 4 p.m. Sunday.

Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

Despite being the top target in the passing game for Cam Newton in Carolina, Olsen stumbled out of the gate in 2015. Through two weeks, Olsen only had eight points. But as is the trend through this column, he ended any doubt Sunday with a 25-point performance. Eight catches, 134 yards and two touchdowns led the Panthers past the Saints, and reminded fantasy owners why they drafted Olsen as the third-best tight end in the game. Maybe this will kickstart him into a stellar season.

Arizona Cardinals, D/ST

I alluded above that one particular defense benefited greatly from the ineptitude of 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. That would be the Cardinals, and their 30 fantasy points were 13 more than the next closest team. Two interceptions returned for touchdowns in the first quarter to go along with two more interceptions, two sacks and just seven points allowed were the mold for just about the best single fantasy day a defense could have. Congratulations to the Cardinals' owners out there, because you likely won your matchup regardless of what the rest of your team did.


- Not just a mobile quarterback

Maybe the biggest surprise of the fantasy season has been Tyrod Taylor, who has not only excelled statistically, but he's turned the Bills into serious AFC contenders. No quarterback has a better rating in Week 3, and his 24 points were the third-most at the position Sunday. His mobility adds value for owners who have picked him up off the waiver wire, but he's been a shockingly-efficient passer. He completed 21 of 29 passes Sunday for 277 yards and three touchdowns against a Miami defense that is no pushover. After a few weeks to prove he isn't a fluke, Taylor should be starting in just about every league.

- The Raven that won't go away

This season has begun with several impressive veteran performances, but Sunday's huge day from Steve Smith, Sr. may be the best yet. In a shootout with the Bengals, Smith got an enormous 17 targets from quarterback Joe Flacco, leading to 13 catches, 186 yards and two touchdowns. His 30 fantasy points were second for wide receivers only go Green, who got the last laugh in the Bengals' 28-24 win. Smith has shown he can still play at a high level at age 36. And with how much the Ravens throw the ball, he's a great WR2 going forward.

- Best season ever?

This guy is just incredible. Through three games, Julio Jones' 34 catches are the most in NFL history. He has had at least 135 yards in every game this season, adding 12 catches, 164 yards and two touchdowns this week in a big win over the Cowboys. The Falcons just throw the ball so much, and Jones seems to be open nearly every play. That's an unbeatable combination for a guy that is putting up historic numbers early in 2015. He's the best fantasy receiver available right now.

- Cowboy workhorse

Randle has emerged from a crowded Dallas depth chart to be the workhouse for the Cowboys this season. His three touchdowns Sunday helped him record 27 fantasy points, a career-high. Add in that Dallas has lost Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to injuries for the foreseeable future, and Randle may be the best RB2 candidate in fantasy right now. He should be counted on for a ton of carries going forward.

- Inconsistency from a Charger

Hey, so much for that -1 point game in Week 2. If Keenan Allen can pull in double-digit catches in every other game of the 2015 season, he'll do just fine. Allen hauled in 12 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns Sunday in the Chargers' 31-14 loss to Minnesota. That's 16 points in Week 1, -1 points in Week 2 and 25 points in Week 3. As the top target in the pass-happy San Diego offense, Allen has great upside every week. Let's hope though, for his owners' sake, that he can produce more than just on odd weeks.

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- Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Bridgewater wasn't very effective Sunday, but with the best running back in football behind him, he didn't need to be. The former Louisville star was just 13 of 24 for 121 yards and an interception in the Vikings 31-14 win over San Diego. Luckily, Adrian Peterson was there to take 20 carries for 126 yards and two touchdowns. At this point, Bridgewater is limited in what he can do in the Minnesota offense. But if he can just limit the turnovers and let Peterson gain the tough yards, the Vikings will win some games this year.

- Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

With the season-ending injury of Jordy Nelson in the preseason, Cobb is the No. 1 target for Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The former Kentucky star had his best game of the season Monday, catching seven balls for 91 yards and three touchdowns. Some owners worried that defenses would key on him too much without Nelson to take some of the attention, but Cobb has excelled. His 20 catches through three weeks show that he can be counted on as a consistent WR1.

- Devante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

Parker has his most-productive game as a pro Sunday, catching three passes for 46 yards. The recent Louisville wide receiver was targeted seven times by Dolphins' quarterback Ryan Tannehill, by far his most this season. It appears the Miami coaches are putting some more faith in Parker after the slow offseason, evidenced by his increased appearances on the field. He could be a valuable sub with bye weeks coming up, especially if the usage seen in Week 3 continues to climb.

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