The big news heading into the third week of the NFL season happened on Wednesday night as the Cleveland Browns traded RB Trent Richardson (the 3rd overall pick in the 2012) to the Indianapolis Colts for a first round pick next year.
"What are the Browns doing?" That's what most people thought when they heard the news. I did too. It's a sign that their new front office doesn't think Richardson fits into their plans and they wanted to move. They weren't a playoff team this year anyway. If they had Richardson all year maybe they win five games. Without him maybe they win two or three games. What does that mean? A possible #1 overall draft pick, which would give them a shot at QB Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville, who I think can be a difference making QB similar to Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III last year. Most teams find RBs outside of the first round, so if you're a Browns fan just be patient because they could get it right. If you're a Browns fan I don't blame you for being upset because of all the losing in the 14 years since they returned to the NFL. I hope the Browns get better soon. Their fans deserve it.
As for the Colts, they got a potential superstar at RB that was the #3 pick in last year's draft to team up with #1 pick in Luck. That's a pairing they can build around. Richardson faced a lot of eight man fronts in Cleveland because their pass game was brutal, but he still managed 11 rush TDs as a rookie. His yards per carry as a rookie was 3.6, which is below the 4.0 mark (or above) that you want to see, but I think playing the Colts system will help. Since the Colts tend to spread the field a lot, he'll have more room to run. It should lead to his average total going up. While I don't love the Colts matchup this week at San Francisco, there's no question that long term this move will benefit the Colts offense and also those of us that have Richardson in fantasy football leagues. I thought the Colts were a 8-8 type of team this year. With a better running game in place, they could move up to 10 wins and get into the playoffs. I like the move a lot for them.
Last week I went 13-3 straight up. It was a nice bounce back from 9-7 to open the year. It was a week where the favorites mostly took care of business.
Kansas City (2-0) @ Philadelphia (1-1) 8:30 PM
It's a big game because former Eagles coach Andy Reid is going up against his old team in just his third game with his new team. The atmosphere should be great in Philly. Reid didn't lead the franchise to a Super Bowl championship, but his 14 year run in Philadelphia was the most successful period in that team's history. Will he get booed? Probably. It's Philly. That's what they do.
We know two things about the Eagles right now: They can score and they can give up a lot of points too. Their first two games were a 33-27 win over Washington and last week's 33-30 loss at home to the Chargers. I'm not sure if every Eagles game is going to have a combined score of 60 points and above, but so far that's been the case. As good as their offense is their defense is just as bad.
Can the Chiefs join the high scoring points party? Absolutely. The Chiefs have a well rounded offense led by RB Jamaal Charles, who to me is a top five back in the league. New QB Alex Smith has performed well in the passing game and he's always been very good at limiting turnovers. In going up against a poor defense like the Eagles, I think the Chiefs will be able to move the ball down the field all night long.
If you look at the other side of the field, I think the Chiefs have an impressive defense that held the Cowboys to 16 points last week and in week one shut out the Jaguars offense completely, which could be a common theme for the Jags all year long. The point is, they are pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. I can see the Chiefs forcing the Eagles into a couple of costly of mistakes, which is why I'm going with the Chiefs.
I think both teams will be able to score. The difference will be that the Chiefs can make some stops on defense when it counts while the Eagles will continue to have those issues. Eagles games are fun to watch and this one should be no different. I'll take the road underdogs for the win. Chiefs 31-27
Fantasy Football Five Thoughts for Week 3
1. If you own Colin Kaepernick like I do in several leagues, don't worry. He just had the worst game of his season last week at Seattle with 3 INTs and one fumble. I fully expect him to bounce back at home to a Colts defense that is below average. I think he'll have 250 yards passing with 2 TDs and 50 yards rushing with a rush TD too.
2. Injuries to big name RBs are piling up as Ray Rice, Steven Jackson and Reggie Bush are among those that are hobbled right now. Jackson's definitely out right now. I think Rice will play in a limited role although we may not know for sure until Sunday morning. Bush is also a maybe. If you own Rice or Bush in fantasy leagues it might be best to start other options this week although there likely aren't great choices available at this point.
3. Remember when Adrian Peterson said he was going to get 2,500 rushing yards this year? His totals of 93 and 100 rushing yards in the first two weeks aren't going to get him there. I know the Browns rush defense is pretty good, but I get the sense that Peterson is going to put up 200 yards with a couple of scores because his 0-2 Vikings really need a win this week at home.
4. The WR position is ridiculously deep. That's a product of today's NFL where teams are putting up 400 passing yards per game regularly, which means a lot of teams have two or three very good options at WR. It also means some guys will do nothing one game and then come back huge the next week. Guys like Mike Wallace and James Jones did nothing in the first game, but then were huge factors in week two. Anquan Boldin put up monster stats in week one. Week two? Completely shut down by Richard Sherman and the Seahawks. It's important to look at the matchups and not to overreact if a good player has a tough time against an elite defense. Most defenses can be thrown on in today's NFL thanks to all of the rules that make it easier for offenses to put points on the board.
5. The most shocking thing about fantasy football so far this year? Tom Brady has only 473 passing yards with 3 TDs. We can say "only" because we're used to Brady's record breaking performances, yet now he looks average. Actually, he's below average. He's not even in the top 20 in fantasy stats for a QB with guys like EJ Manuel, Terrelle Pryor and Andy Dalton ahead of him.
I think Brady will have a solid game against the Bucs this week, but it won't be huge. If star TE Rob Gronkowski can play it will certainly help, but I'm not sure if he'll be able to. Of course if you're a Patriots fan you don't care too much because your team is 2-0. If you're a fantasy football player, though, there is some cause for concern when you start to wonder if maybe starting Ryan Tannehill over Brady is a good idea (I don't think it is, by the way). Start Brady with confidence most weeks, but don't expect the guy that threw a record 50 TD passes in 2007 either.
I'll be back tomorrow with my picks for the rest of the week two games.