After two less than impressive wins in the first two weeks of the season, the Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz were drawing attention from around the league and from fantasy owners alike. After defeating the Browns and the Bears, all attention turned to the Week Three showdown with in-state rival Pittsburgh, who were also off to a 2-0 start thanks to their prolific offense including QB Ben Roethlisberger, RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Antonio Brown. This would be when we would find out if the Eagles, and Wentz, were for real.
After taking a 10-point halftime lead, this game was never in question. The Eagles, still playing without starting TE Zach Ertz and having to replace an injured and ineffective RB Ryan Mathews early in the game, opened things up in the second half. Philadelphia outscored the Steelers 21-0 in the second half to win going away.
Wentz had certainly gotten the job done in the first two matchups of the year, but he hadn’t created a buzz in the fantasy community like he has now. Previous finishes of QB11 and QB23 look like the appetizer to Sunday’s QB5 performance, which included his first career 300-yard game. Wentz also threw a pair of touchdowns, giving him five on the season and most impressively, he still has yet to throw an interception. In fact, the Eagles haven’t turned the ball over at all through their three wins. The Eagles are on bye next week, but fantasy owners have to start considering Wentz as a potential starter when he faces the Lions in Week Five.
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In Other News
We’ve all known that Browns WR Terrelle Pryor was an athletic freak who could do a little bit of everything on an NFL field, but up until Sunday, we’d never really witnessed it all come together. It finally happened at the most surprising time. After losing both QB Josh McCown (shoulder) and WR Corey Coleman (hand) over the past week, the team was down to rookie QB Cody Kessler under center and Pryor was easily their best playmaking option. Pryor was already having a solid game, but when Kessler got banged up, things took off. By the end of the game, a game the Browns nearly won, Pryor had thrown for 35 yards, rushed for 21 yards and a touchdown and caught eight of his 14 targets for 144 yards. That performance was enough to make Pryor a top-three fantasy receiver on the week. With Coleman due to miss up to six weeks, we could see plenty more of Pryor making plays all over the field.
Seattle cruised to an easy win over the San Francisco 49ers, which was ideal considering QB Russell Wilson once again suffered an injury that forced him from the game. Wilson reportedly has a sprained knee, but he seemed confident he could have returned to the game if called upon. Wilson will reportedly undergo an MRI, though both he and HC Pete Carroll seem to think Wilson is a go for Week Four. Wilson was still able to rack up 243 passing yards and a touchdown.
Staying with the Seahawks, we saw yet another step in The Awakening of Christine Michael. With RB Thomas Rawls out with a leg injury, Michael drew the start and was set to see the bulk of the carries. He began the game with a 41-yard scamper for a touchdown and added another first quarter touchdown, giving Seattle a 14-0 lead. Michael and the Seahawks took things easy for the remainder of the game, but he did finish with 106 yards, a new career high and just his second game over 100 yards.
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The Steelers’ rushing offense struggled as RB DeAngelo Williams, likely starting for the final time with RB Le’Veon Bell due back next week, managed only 21 rushing yards…While WR Antonio Brown had another nice game (12/140), fellow WR Eli Rogers exited the game with a toe injury and did not return…Taking over as the new starting TE for the Bucs, Cameron Brate had a career-best game with 46 yards and two touchdowns… The Browns were forced to go with rookie QB Cody Kessler and he played well, throwing for 244 yards, but no scores. The Browns lost to Miami in overtime… Rookie WR Tajae Sharpe seemed to be an afterthought for QB Marcus Mariota for much of the day. While he finished with three catches for 49 yards, he was out-targeted by WR Rishard Matthews for the first time this season. The shine may be fading for Sharpe… The Cardinals were never even in the game with Buffalo, and that was largely due to QB Carson Palmer and his four interceptions with no scores… The good news, if there is any, is the “return” of WR John Brown, who had been almost invisible through two games. Brown was tied for second on the team with 11 targets, totaling 70 yards on the day… It was a banner day for the Packers’ offense as Green Bay defeated Detroit. QB Aaron Rodgers totaled four touchdowns in the first half, with two of them going to WR Jordy Nelson. RB Eddie Lacy crossed the 100-yard plateau for the first time this season. The Packers are on bye in Week Four… Packers WR Randall Cobb continues to disappoint as he made just one catch on the day for 33 yards… In one of the top matchups of the day, the Vikings upset the Panthers in Carolina, holding down QB Cam Newton and the Carolina running game. Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin, who entered the week as the top scoring fantasy WR, was completely shut out with no catches on one lone target… Rams RB Todd Gurley finally got his season going, rushing for 85 yards and scoring his first two touchdowns of the season… Lions WR Marvin Jones exploded with a career game, hauling in six passes from QB Matthew Stafford for a whopping 205 yards and two touchdowns. Jones is locked in as the Lions’ WR1 and should be considered a weekly fantasy starter… Things didn’t get any better for the disappointing Jaguars on Sunday as they lost to the Ravens. QB Blake Bortles threw a pair of scores to WR Allen Robinson (7/57/2), but also threw three interceptions, opening the door for the Ravens’ win… With RB Jamaal Charles once again out, the Chiefs continued to use RB Spencer Ware and dominated the Jets in every way, winning 24-3. The Chiefs defenders intercepted Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick six times… Vikings QB Sam Bradford is playing his best football of his injury-plagued career and he’s locked in on TE Kyle Rudolph, who posted a 7/70/1 line on a team-high 10 targets… With veteran RB Arian Foster out with a groin injury, the Dolphins used a committee attack, with rookie Kenyan Drake and Jay Ajayi getting the bulk of the work… One of the best games of the day featured a Colts comeback led by QB Andrew Luck, who was questionable for the game with a shoulder injury. He finished with 331 yards and a go-ahead touchdown pass to T.Y. Hilton… TE Jace Amaro saw some regular season action for the first time in over a year and led the Titans with 59 receiving yards on three receptions… While WR Doug Baldwin (8/144/1) and TE Jimmy Graham (6/100/1) carried the Seahawks, second-year WR Tyler Lockett was held without a catch… Broncos QB Trevor Siemian played his best game as a pro, throwing four touchdowns in Denver’s win over the Bengals. Siemian found WR Emmanuel Sanders for two scores and capped it off with a late scoring strike to WR Demaryius Thomas… Bucs WR Mike Evans saw 13 targets, catching 10 of them for 132 yards and a score, though it wasn’t enough to help his team get the win over LA… Speaking of LA, rookie QB Jared Goff was active for the first time, though he didn’t see the field… Week Three wasn’t nearly as bad on the injury front as last week, but 49ers TE Vance McDonald and Chargers LB Manti Te’o did suffer injuries which forced them from their respective games… The Redskins got their first win of the season, defeating the division-rival Giants. QB Kirk Cousins played much better, throwing for 296 yards and a pair of scores. His fantasy value and even his starting job was in question after last week, but this big win should quiet the doubters… Bills WR Sammy Watkins sat out the game with his foot injury, which will likely bother him the rest of the year. The changes the team made on their coaching staff seemed to pay dividends as the run game looked dominant. RB LeSean McCoy ended with 110 yards and two touchdowns… With TE Antonio Gates out, rookie Hunter Henry got his first chance at significant playing time and responded well, catching all five of his targets for 76 yards… Bengals RB Jeremy Hill struggled through the first two weeks, but exploded for a 50 yard run early in the game against Denver and finished with 97 yards and two touchdowns… Eagles rookie RB Wendell Smallwood led the Eagles with 79 yards and his first career touchdown. Starter Ryan Mathews struggled early in the game and then team moved to a committee with Mathews on the sidelines… WR Odell Beckham did battle with CB Josh Norman all day and came out ahead most of the time, totaling 121 yards on seven receptions. OBJ is still without a touchdown on the year, though this was his first game with over 100 yards… The Redskins and QB Kirk Cousins continue to spread the ball around. WRs Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon and TE Jordan Reed each saw seven targets coming their way, while WR DeSean Jackson led the team with eight, despite missing some time with a leg injury… Cowboys rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott enjoyed his first career 100-yard game as Dallas dominated the lowly Bears, who were without QB Jay Cutler… There had been reports earlier in the week that the Bears would be moving away from RB Jeremy Langford as their starter and the team was left with little choice when Langford suffered an apparent Achilles injury, forcing him from the game. Rookie RB Jordan Howard led the team both in carries and in rushing yards and could be the team’s starter going forward, depending on the severity of Langford’s injury…