Week 3 of the 2012 Fantasy Football season brought about a lot of pain and some big gains. Among the wounded include Jets defensive star Darrelle Revis, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, Dolphins running back Reggie Bush, the injury-prone Colts wide out Austin Collie, and even a second running back on the Bills CJ Spiller.
On the other hand, the Jets defense held onto the win, Shaun Hill led the Lions passing game in crunch time, Daniel Thomas lifted the ‘Phins while replacing Bush, T.Y. Hilton came up big for the Colts, and Tashard Choice was the third Bills running back to enjoy fantasy relevance this season.
Here’s a look at the top 10 week 3 Fantasy Finds.
10. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts
A talented rookie on the Colts, T.Y. Hilton, stepped in for the injured slot receiver Austin Collie and put up a career day posting 113 yards on only 4 catches including a 40-yard TD from fellow rookie Andrew Luck. Hilton ranked as the 11th best wide out in fantasy leagues this weekend easily surpassing his teammate Reggie Wayne. If Collie does not come back soon, expect Hilton to get more playing time as the team’s third receiver. Consider Hilton a bargain, as he’s available in 99% of fantasy leagues.
9. Ramses Barden, WR, Giants
Seldom-used wide out Ramses Barden stepped in for the injured Hakeem Nicks for the Giants against Carolina last Thursday night and had a career night catching 9 balls for 138 yards. He caught all but one of his ten targets and excelled between the numbers against the Panthers secondary, catching all seven of his targets in the heart of the field for 114 yards. The eighth best wide receiver in fantasy football this weekend, Barden saw his fantasy ownership rise from zero to 12% of fantasy leagues. Buyer beware, even with this performance Barden still ranks as the third best wide receiver on the Giants behind a healthy Victor Cruz and Nicks.
8. Jake Locker, QB, Titans
Jake Locker, the sophomore quarterback for the Titans, threw for his first 300-yard game in only the third start of his career. The key to his success this week was that he was 22-31 for 317 yards against four-or-fewer pass rushers. Locker also averaged a season-high nine yards per pass attempt all while being able to connect with eight different receivers on the day. The fifth best fantasy quarterback this weekend, Locker remains available in 68% of fantasy leagues.
7. Kevin Kolb, QB, Cardinals
Kevin Kolb did not win the starting quarterback job for Arizona out of training camp, but he has taken the job and run with it since replacing John Skelton for the surprising 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. Kolb completed all seven of his third down attempts against the Eagles for 77 yards and a touchdown, though none of those passes travelled farther than 11 yards past the line of scrimmage. Also, yesterday, Kolb was extremely effective between the numbers completing 11 of 13 passes for 140 yards and 2 TDs. The biggest key in the fine performance was that the veteran signal-caller finally formed a rapport with star wide out Larry Fitzgerald who hauled in nine grabs for 114 yards with a touchdown. Kolb has been a pleasant surprise this season now racking up more fantasy points than better known quarterbacks Philip Rivers and Jay Cutler. He remains available in 96% of fantasy football leagues.
6. Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
Bilal Powell, a 2nd year running back out of Louisville, earned a career high ten carries against Miami yesterday 45 rushing yards. He seems to be slowly taking away touches from starter Shonn Greene who is only averaging 2.8 yards per carry this season, while Powell has averaged 4.0 yards per carry. If you’re looking for a running back bound to overtake a starter, Powell could be a solid pickup considering he remains available in 97% of fantasy football leagues.
5. Daniel Thomas, RB, Dolphins
You get two for the price of one with the duo that replaced the injured Reggie Bush who left the Jets game with a knee injury. Both Daniel Thomas and Lamar Miller, available in 87% and 97% of fantasy leagues, will likely receive several more carries in the coming weeks. Thomas would appear to be the starter going forward after getting 20 touches against the Jets for 80 yards with a touchdown (his most since Week six of last year).
5. Lamar Miller, RB, Dolphins
Third-string RB Lamar Miller impressed rushing for 48 yards on nine carries, all coming in the third quarter. Miller, tied for ninth in the NFL averaging close to six yards per carry, is likely the greater upside bet but also carries more risk considering he is lower on the depth chart.
4. Tashard Choice, RB, Bills
Tashard Choice, available in 90% of fantasy leagues, came in for the Bills in relief of the injured C.J. Spiller against the Browns and performed admirably carrying the ball 20 times for 91 yards. It was his most rushing attempts in a game since 2008. If Bills starting running back Fred Jackson still cannot go next week due to injury, expect Choice to get a heavy workload for Buffalo.
3. Shaun Hill, QB, Lions
After having to step in to relieve the injured Matthew Stafford late in the fourth quarter, Shaun Hill offered a near perfect quarterback rating (157.9) throwing for 172 yards in only 13 attempts. In fact, Hill landed Detroit in the record books by becoming the first team in NFL history to score two touchdowns in the final 18 seconds of regulation to either take the lead or force overtime. If Stafford is shelved with an injury, Hill becomes an immediate fantasy star considering the wealth of talent in the Lions passing game, specifically fantasy sensation Calvin Johnson. Hill entered the week available in 99% of fantasy football leagues, a number that will soar should Stafford miss time.
2. Denarius Moore, WR, Raiders
Denarius Moore, a second-year receiver for the Raiders, had five receptions for 45 yards and a critical TD for Oakland in their upset win against the Steelers on Sunday. Moore figures to have a major impact going forward for the Raiders after being targeted a team-high 10 times by veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, doubling the targets of both Marcel Reese and the now injured Darius Heyward-Bey.
1. Mikel Leshoure, RB, Lions
It sure took some time to make an impact, but after missing all of last season due to injury and then the first two games of this season due to suspension, Mikel LeShoure got a surprising 26 carries and gained 100 rushing yards. No other running back on the Lions had more than five carries including veteran and former starter Kevin Smith. This is LeShoure’s backfield going forward and the fifth most valuable fantasy running back in week three remains available in the majority of fantasy leagues.