Maclin Rising, Smith Falling

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There have certainly been some statistical ups and downs this season —just ask owners of Roy Williams, Matt Cassel, Percy Harvin, Mark Sanchez and Jabar Gaffney. Now that three weeks have been played, we are starting to see more of a complete picture. We can start to pick up on consistencies of certain players, and really begin to pin-point some player values. Heading into the first round of bye weeks, here is the latest report of risers and fallers...

 

RISING

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles—The second-year former first-round pick has four TDs in his first three games, becoming a red zone favorite of Mike Vick. It is time fantasy owners recognize him for what he is —a true weapon who should be in lineups moving forward. As long as Maclin stays healthy, he will grow into a larger and larger part of the Eagles’offense. As defenses focus on DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy, Maclin will see plenty opportunities.

 

Jabar Gaffney, WR, Broncos—Many owners bailed on Gaffney following his two catch, 15-yard performance in Week 2, but he is clearly the top seasonal WR to own at the moment, after hauling in 12 balls for 140 yards against Indy in Week 2. He remains a solid WR2/3 moving forward, as Kyle Orton figures to continue to target him most of all Denver WRs over the coming weeks. It looks like he could put together career highs in all categories this year and finally live up to his first pick in the second round billing of 2002.

 

Michael Turner, RB, Falcons—The beginning of the 2010 season has been a bit tumultuous for Turner owners, with injury issues occurring and the emergence of Jason Snelling causing some reason for concern. However, the fact that the 28 year old played through a groin injury in Week 3, and rushed 30 times for 114 yards and a score bodes well for him. He faces the 49ers tough run defense in Week 4, but then has great matchups against the Browns, Eagles and Bengals prior to the Week 8 bye.

 

Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings—First, he had hip issues, then his grandmother passed away, causing him to miss the beginning of training camp. Then, migraines. Then he passed out in practice and was rushed to the hospital. There hasn’t been much good news surrounding Harvin since last season, making him very easy to overlook. But it’s important to realize as he heads into his bye week, that he’s now caught 11 balls in his last two games, including six balls for 62 yards and a score against the Lions. Despite all of the controversy surrounding him, he is a solid WR3 with high upside.

 

Louis Murphy, WR, Raiders—Despite playing for Oakland, the second-year man from Florida has started to establish himself as a consistent fantasy option, in addition to being one with a solid amount of upside. With Bruce Gradkowski at the helm, Murphy, who has caught four or more balls in each game this season, including five for 119 yards in Week 3, is a very, very solid WR3.

 

Earl Thomas, FS, Seahawks—The first round pick from Texas had a monster game in Week 3, intercepting two passes, including a game clincher on the final drive. He has been extremely active in his first three pro games, and looks like a winner IDP option, especially in leagues that require starters at defensive back.

 

Kenny Britt, WR, Titans—Just when it looked like Britt had fallen into the fantasy abyss, garnering negative preseason reports based on his attitude and inability to “beat out”Justin Gage and Nate Washington, he again looks like a favorite target of Vince Young after hauling in a TD in Week 3. The fact that he’s back on the field making plays and earning the trust of his teammates is something to seriously take into consideration, as the T.O.-like athlete develops. He’s not starter-worthy yet, but he should be stashed for sure in all long term formats.

 

Chris Wells, RB, Cardinals—After missing the first two weeks of the season, it looks like Beanie is not only back healthy, but pretty much ready to reclaim the RB job from Tim Hightower, after getting 14 carries to Hightower’s 11 in Week 3. Consider him a flex starter with upside over the coming weeks.

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FALLING

Fred Jackson, RB, Bills—With Marshawn Lynch seeing 13 carries for 79 yards, and C.J Spiller scoring a receiving TD, Fred Jackson (four carries for eight yards) was again the odd man out in the Bills’backfield in Week 3. With the younger backs shouldering the workload, and not a whole lot of offense to go around in Buffalo, scratch Jackson off your weekly cheat sheet.

 

Brandon Jackson, RB, Packers—Since taking over for an injured Ryan Grant, Jackson has averaged just 2.2 yards per carry. On top of that, after being called a “three down back”during the preseason by Mike McCarthy, the Packers are now committed to a committee, which apparently includes FB John Kuhn.

 

Steve Smith, WR, Panthers—Let’s face it, with Jimmy Clausen at the helm, there’s a really good chance that the Panthers offense will take a huge nose dive, as evidenced by their Week 3 performance against Cincinnati. This affects Smith the most, as he managed just three catches for 22 yards. I’d bench him until further notice.

For more risers and fallers, check out our weekly rankings on Wednesday.

Paul Hickey

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