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Welcome to Week 3's Weekend Winners. There were some old names and some new names and some surprising names. Let's take a look-see shall we?
It’s been a tough first two weeks for the Cam Newton, but he got back on track against the reeling New York Giants. The Panthers ran the ball 46 times compared to Newton’s 27 attempts, but he completed three touchdown passes and ran another one in himself. The seven rushing attempts for Newton were his most for the season, which is a good sign for his fantasy production going forward.
Antonio Brown had his best game ever against the Bears on Sunday night with nine receptions, 196 yards and two touchdowns. The Steelers got behind big and had to pass to catch up. Brown was the main beneficiary. He was used in the middle of the field more than the first two weeks, which is more in his wheelhouse. With the Steelers having little running game at the moment they’ll continue passing.
Drew Brees got back on track like we all knew he would with 342 yards passing, three touchdowns and a fourth touchdown on the ground. His main target Jimmy Graham also happens to be a Weekend Winner. He caught two touchdowns on nine receptions for 134 yards. He currently leads all tight ends with 358 yards receiving, which is only one yard behind DeSean Jackson for the lead in wide receiver yardage. He’s had a touchdown or more each week and leads all receivers in fantasy points. He’s been worth that early pick so far this season.
The only other tight end close to Jimmy Graham this season is the Browns’ Jordan Cameron who caught three touchdowns on six receptions for 66 yards against the Vikings on Sunday. All the hype for him this preseason wasn’t enough. He’s tied with Jimmy Graham now for tight end touchdowns and is second overall in tight end/wide receiver fantasy points to Graham. The Trent Richardson-less Browns went pass first all game and should be able to keep Cameron in targets.
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The Cowboys have been using DeMarco Murray extensively in both the run and pass game this season and he’s rewarding them by staying healthy and putting up big numbers this week. He finished the game with 26 carries for 175 yards and a touchdown as well as three receptions for 28 yards to put him over 200 total yards. If he can stay healthy he’s going to put up consistent numbers all season with that workload.
Jake Locker isn’t someone who has been on many “Winner” lists in his NFL career, but this week his skills in the running game were used as well as a nice passing effort. His 68 yards rushing and a touchdown on five carries was his career high and his 299 yards passing was his third highest number. He also led his team on a game winning drive. It was a nice step forward for Locker.
Josh Gordon wasn’t expected to do much in his first game of the season after his suspension. It also didn’t help that Brian Hoyer was making a spot start for an injured Brandon Weeden, but Gordon showed that all the talk of him fitting the Browns new offense perfectly was right on. He caught 10 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown including a 22-yard run. As long as he continues to be heavily targeted he will make something happen for his fantasy owners.
Santonio Holmes has been limited in practice and keeps talking about not being 100% healthy, but this week he broke out with five receptions for 154 yards and a touchdown. He was of course helped by a weak Bills defense and some nice play by Geno Smith who also deserves a Weekend Winner nod for throwing two touchdowns and running for another while throwing for 331 yards.
This felt like a crazy fantasy Sunday with all our predictions being chucked out the window, but Joique Bell lived up to everyone’s prognostications when he totaled 132 yards and a touchdown in a perfect matchup against Washington with Reggie Bush out. He’ll continue to be useful this season, but Bush will return.
Nate Washington has been written off by many, including myself, but he's still the heart of the Titans' receiving core and he showed it with eight receptions on 10 targets for 131 yards. With Kenny Britt playing some very poor football Washington and Kendall Wright have stepped up to lead the way.
Jason Snelling has been a bit of an unknown running back for the Falcons, but he always seems to get the job done when called upon. He was splitting time with Jacquizz Rodgers, who also had a good game, but Snelling got that coveted touchdown to go with his 111 yards on just 15 touches.
The Jets put up more yards than they knew what to do with against the Bills and many of those came from Bilal Powell. With Chris Ivory out of the game Powel had 27 carries for 149 yards. He missed a huge game by not getting into the end zone, but just for perspective, Powell's highest rushing output for his career was 78 yards.
After seeing his starting position snatched away from him after the Colts traded for Trent Richardson, Ahmad Bradshaw decided to show everyone what they would be missing out on when he is delegated to back up duty when he totaled 111 yards and a touchdown in a big win for the Colts in San Francisco.
Matt Forte continued to play well, this time in a tough matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night. He rushed 16 times for 86 yards and a touchdown while also catching four passes for 24 yards. He also totaled 111 yards, which seems to be a theme for running backs this week.