What a way to start week three!
In a trade that shocked most of the NFL, the Cleveland Browns traded running back Trent Richardson to the Colts for their first round selection in the 2014 draft. This now gives the Browns multiple choices in rounds one, three, and four in 2014. This certainly looks to be the end of the Brandon Weeden era at quarterback. They will use those picks to select a franchise quarterback, possibly someone similar to Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater.
The Browns will turn to Brian Hoyer to start at quarterback this week in Minnesota with Chris Ogbonnaya and former Raven Bobby Rainey at running back. It’s unclear if newly-signed Willis McGahee will be ready to go come game time.
This now gives the Colts the power runner they have sought. They have the first overall selection from the 2012 draft with quarterback Andrew Luck, and the third overall choice from the same class with Richardson. Do not expect much from Richardson in San Francisco this week as he has just a couple of days to get ready. He will however play a big part in their game plan the following week against the Jaguars. I predict Richardson will finish in the top-eight in fantasy scoring for running backs in 2013.
Trades of this magnitude are seldom seen, and it is hard to draw much of an analogy— perhaps the 1964 preseason trade between the Eagles and Redskins can compare when the Eagles sent promising starting quarterback Sonny Jurgensen to the Redskins for their gifted quarterback Norm Snead.
While each went to Pro-Bowls and Jurgensen is in the Hall of Fame, neither started a post-season game in their career. So while the trade had shock value, it did not bring anyone a title.
Sam Bradford— Rams at Cowboys
Bradford has attempted 93 passes, thrown for five scores, and has 651 passing yards. Perhaps the most important stat is that he has not been sacked. With the Rams not yet trusting running back Daryl Richardson, the Ram passing game should stay steady with this stat. The Cowboys are allowing 314 passing yards a game and have allowed the fifth-most points to fantasy quarterbacks.
Eli Manning—Giants at Panthers
Manning has thrown seven interceptions, a number that has many owners steering clear of him. This week should provide a favorable matchup against Panthers who are banged up in the secondary. They will not have Charles Godfrey or Josh Norman on Sunday and they allowing more than 290 passing yards a game. Russell Wilson had his first 300 yard passing game in week one and rookie EJ Manuel almost had his first last week. In 2012, Manning was 27-35-288-1 in an easy 36-7 Giant win. Eli and Co. should score more than 30 points again Sunday.
Joique Bell—Lions at Redskins
The Lions have never beaten the Washington Redskins on the road, and while they may not come out on top again this week, Bell still has a great matchup. Reggie Bush will be limited at best, giving Bell a minimum of twenty touches. He had five receptions last week against the Cardinals. The Redskins are allowing 200 yards a game on the ground, giving up 5.5 yards a carry. This all should add to a bounty of fantasy points for Bell Sunday.
Bernard Pierce— Ravens vs Houston
Ray Rice is questionable on Sunday and even if he plays, he’ll give away a majority of his touches to Pierce. Houston is average against the run, allowing 99.5 rushing yards a game; but with Rice limited, Pierce will get the goal line carries and will be involved in the check-down passing game.
Julian Edelman—Patriots at Buccaneers
With Danny Amendola out for another week or so, Edelman should lead in targets from Tom Brady again. With Edelman running from the slot, outside receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson will get the attention of the feared Darrelle Revis. Tampa Bay is allowing 255 yards per game through the air, and one of those games was against Geno Smith.
Jerome Simpson— Vikings vs Browns
This has more to do with the Browns coverage than the ability of the Viking passing game. You have to play the trends to win in fantasy football, and the Browns have allowed scoring throws in each of their first two games to “second receivers”. Simpson is the second wide receiver for the Vikings with Greg Jennings atop the depth chart. With the Browns not defending well in man coverage, Simpson should see a lot of single man coverage and find the goal line on Sunday.
Coby Fleener—Colts at 49ers
The 49ers are never an easy match up, but they are allowing 322 passing yards a game. With Dwayne Allen out for the year, Fleener will get more attention from Andrew Luck. Fleener caught four passes for 69 yards and a score last week against the Dolphins and Allen scored in week one against the Raiders. Luck uses all of his receivers and Fleener should be in line for a big fantasy year without having to share with Allen.