A great deal of clarity was extended to fantasy football enthusiasts over the course of week three in the NFL. They realized that Aaron Rodgers is still pretty damn good, posting a solid performance after an uncharacteristic shaky start to the season.
In addition, fans were made aware of this season’s potential breakout candidate. This season, none other than former Cal product and current Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones seems to be that player, who, three games into the season, already has 18 receptions, 408 yards and two touchdowns. Are you shocked? Many fans are, assuming most thought Golden Tate would be the beneficiary of the departure of all-time great Calvin Johnson.
But if this obscurity can tell us anything, it’s that fantasy football always works under the mindset of “expect the unexpected.” That’s the beauty and the beast of fantasy: It’s a gamble and guessing game that involves a little luck. But hey, that’s why fans obsess about it and love and hate it simultaneously, right?
With week three in the books, many former Bears were in action. How did they perform?
Bears on the up:
Week three stats: 205 passing yards, four passing touchdowns and 22 rushing yards.
Hey Mr. Rodgers, nice to see you again! In week three, he returned to MVP form, getting the Packers offense back in sync. Following subpar games against the Jaguars and Vikings, he was dialed in against an inconsistent Lions team. The offense looked crisp, with Rodgers throwing four touchdowns and leading Green Bay to a 31-10 lead at halftime.
Rodgers only completed three passes in the second half, yet the Packers still won 34-27. This performance was great because it allowed Green Bay to silence the naysayers and let them know Rodgers and Co. are still a highly productive offense. He and the Packers will look to build off this strong outing in a week five duel with the Giants after their bye.
Week three stats: six receptions, 205 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
Who’s Marvin Jones? Of course Cal fans know the name. The average NFL fan may not though. He has not only been a pleasant surprise for Detroit but also for many fantasy football fans. Jones has set the tone and framework to snatch the Lions’ No. 1 receiver crown. Golden Tate is not producing quite like Jones, whose connection with quarterback Matthew Stafford has been a joy to watch. It’s no secret that the Lions’ love to display an explosive passing attack against opposing teams.
This has allowed Jones to fit in seamlessly with his smooth route-running and playmaking ability. In week three against the Packers, he was targeted eight times with more than 200 yards receiving, hauling in one of his touchdowns with an explosive 73-yard play. In week four, he should keep up his production in a great matchup against a struggling Chicago Bears team.
Week three stats: five receptions, 96 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown.
Jackson is still one of the NFL’s most electrifying playmakers, there is no denying that. His inconsistencies, though, irk fantasy owners. Jackson’s week one performance against the Steelers left many giddy, as he tallied more than 100 yards receiving. Then he laid a dud in week two against the Cowboys, posting only 40 yards receiving. Owning Jackson in fantasy is no doubt a roller coaster ride — there’s going to be some ups and downs.
In a 29-27 win against the Giants, Jackson delivered after a week of trash talk with New York’s cornerback Janoris Jenkins. He talked the talk and walked the walk, gaining nearly 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Though Jackson’s great performances may be sporadic, he is primed for another big game against the Cleveland Browns next week.
Bear on the down:
Week three stats: 37 rushing yards, one reception and four receiving yards.
Anderson was pretty solid through the first two weeks of the season. Yet against the Bengals he was not very effective. This is a testament to Cincinnati’s stout defensive unit, who bottled up the running game and dared quarterback Trevor Siemian to throw. This tactic ultimately did not work, as Siemian threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, leading the Broncos to a 29-17 win. It is clear that Denver has a more balanced offensive attack than initially presumed.
Head coach Gary Kubiak may start to implement an offense of greater variety in weeks to come. A balanced offense that could grant opportunity for both Anderson and their young quarterback. If employed, this could actually be very beneficial to Anderson because defenses would no longer be able to stack the box, as they would also have to respect the passing attack. He and the Broncos running game have a prime opportunity to get back on track in their next matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Though Cal has many productive players currently producing in fantasy, the injury bug has hit some of the Bears’ great alumni. San Diego Chargers star wideout Keenan Allen, poised for a big 2016 season, tore his ACL in week one against the Kansas City Chiefs and will miss the remainder of the season.
Additionally, New York Giants running back Shane Vereen sustained torn triceps, potentially putting his 2016 season in jeopardy. Until the Giants decide whether or not to pin him their injured reserve player with return designation, his status to return to the field this season remains unclear.
Contact Ryan Groves at [email protected].