At about 2AM on Sunday morning, I found myself in the rare position of singing “Happy Birthday” to a 63 year-old man. Not really singing as much as screaming at the top of my lungs. And it wasn’t just me, it was me and 55,000 other people. And it wasn’t just any 63 year-old man, it was Bruce Springsteen. After seeing The Boss play Giants Stadium on Friday and Saturday night, I was ready for a nice relaxing Sunday of football. Instead, I got the most insane set of early games I’ve ever seen, including three overtimes, huge upsets, and Shaun Hill outscoring Tony Romo and Jay Cutler while only playing the end of the fourth quarter and OT.
This is the time of the season where it is abundantly clear that everything we thought in the offseason is incorrect. Alfred Morris and the Cardinals are apparently good. Chris Johnson and the Saints are apparently doomed. This year more than ever, it seems like the value of players and teams are in a constant state of flux, so you have to be willing to adjust your strategy (and your lineup) quickly just to keep up. And much like my Week 1 column has become largely irrelevant a month later, someday we’ll look back on this and it will all seem funny.
PPR Leagues – Kendall Wright
After an inconsistent and disappointing first two weeks, Jake Locker and the Tennessee passing game really turned it on against the Lions. The two biggest beneficiaries were Wright and Kenny Britt, who were each targeted 11 times for a combined 13 receptions. Britt is more famous, or rather more infamous, so he is likely owned in most leagues, and will be much more expensive to acquire than Wright. But the rookie from Baylor should continue to see the ball on underneath routes, and given his raw talent, a few of those short passes should turn into long gains. With Jared Cook banged up and Chris Johnson having his issues, Wright’s role in the offense will only increase.
2QB Leagues – Christian Ponder
Ponder, who surprisingly led the league in completion percentage after two weeks, was supposed to come back down to earth against the Niners on Sunday. Instead, he led the Vikings in their assault on America’s survivor pools, putting up 198 yards and two TDs in the air along with 33 and a TD on the ground. He may not be up there with Vick, Locker and RG3 in terms of athleticism, but Ponder is in the next tier of dual-threat QBs. He gets Detroit, Tennessee and Washington for his next three games, so his value is about to sky-rocket along with the rest of the Minnesota offense. Pick him up or make a move for him, and if you already have Ponder, he’s worth starting over guys like Alex Smith, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton.
Return Yardage Leagues – Brandon Banks
I was all set to pump up Joe Adams this week, and he went out and fumbled twice in that debacle on Thursday for the Panthers. Since his future as the return-man for Carolina may be in doubt, I have changed my target but not my rationale. In return yardage leagues, you don’t always want the guy who’s the best returner, just the guy who puts up the most stats. These players are usually found on teams with suspect defenses, and if I know anything after three weeks, it’s that the Redskins can’t stop anyone. Banks is typically not featured on offense for Washington, but he will get plenty of chances to return the ball. In deep leagues with points for return yards, he’s worth a flier as the bye weeks start to hit.
Dynasty Leagues – Ronnie Hillman
The fantasy value of Hillman since the draft has looked like an EKG reading. Taken in the third round of this year’s draft, Hillman was supposed to complement and eventually replace McGahee as Peyton’s comic relief in the backfield. He got most of the work in the preseason, so it looked like John Fox was prepping him for a role right off the bat. But as soon as Week 1 rolled around, Hillman was listed as fourth on the depth chart behind McGahee, Knowshon Moreno, and someone named Lance Ball. Fourth! Lance Ball! Hillman was inactive for Denver’s first two games, and saw Moreno score Week 1, but lose a fumble Week 2. Late last week, it was rumored that Hillman would be active for the game against Houston, and on Sunday it was confirmed that he had moved back up the depth chart and could be McGahee’s primary backup. His performance wasn’t earth-shattering by any means, but he did get a couple of carries and a reception in a game where the Broncos were playing catch-up from the start. If an owner in your dynasty/keeper league grew impatient and released Hillman, scoop him up. If he’s already owned, try a low-ball offer to acquire an asset who is about to see his workload increase, and along with it his price.