Things we learned in Week 3
Compiled by Thomas Harrigan, Jesse Pantuosco, and Steve Schwarz.

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Sunday was a day for the unusual. Jets quarterback Geno Smith scored more fantasy points than Aaron Rodgers. So did Brian Hoyer.

Rookie Johnathan Franklin posted more points than Adrian Peterson and both Santonio Holmes (remember him?) and recently reinstated from the suspension list Josh Gordon were more productive than Calvin Johnson.

If you find someone who predicted those events correctly, immediately make him your financial advisor.

Below are a few more things we observed.

Carolina New York

The Giants running game has been a mess since the season opener, and the passing game has joined it in futility. Eli Manning completed just 12-of-23 for 119 yards and one pick. His leading receiver was Rueben Randle with 40 yards, Victor Cruz had 35 yards and Hakeem Nicks was shut out.

The Panthers' issues in the secondary were covered up by the front seven. Carolina sacked Eli Manning seven times.

Cam Newton didn't wait until the season's second half this year to remind fantasy owners why he was such a high pick. After throwing for 354 yards, three touchdowns and one interception and rushing for 53 yards on nine carries over the first two games, Newton produced 223 passing yards, 45 rushing yards and four total touchdowns.

Ted Ginn Jr. has pulled in a deep touchdown in two straight games. We'll see if he emerges as a Devery Henderson-like lottery ticket for fantasy owners.

With Jonathan Stewart out, DeAngelo Williams has carried the football an average of 21 times per game over the first three weeks, including 23 times for 120 yards Sunday.

Houston Baltimore

Arian Foster and Ben Tate combined to carry the ball 12 times in the first quarter and just nine times the rest of the game even though the Texans were within four points until Tandon Doss' punt return TD with 45 seconds left in the second quarter.

Houston trailed in its two previous games but didn't abandon the run; it's curious why it chose to do so this Sunday.

Bernard Pierce only rushed for 65 yards on 24 carries, but he did score a touchdown and has a favorable matchup in Week 4 at Buffalo if Ray Rice misses another game as expected.

Torrey Smith has quietly recorded 85-92 receiving yards in all three games this season. Consistency was a concern with Smith in previous years.

Green Bay Cincinnati

For the second straight game, a Green Bay running back rushed for 100 yards in relief. This time it was rookie Johnathan Franklin, who had 103 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries after James Starks (14 carries, 55 yards) left with an injury. However, with the Packers up 30-27, a Franklin fumble became a Bengals' defensive touchdown with 3:47 remaining in the game.

Eddie Lacy (concussion) will likely get his starting job back in Week 5 after Green Bay's bye, and fantasy owners have to be encouraged by Green Bay's run blocking the past two weeks.

Giovani Bernard continues to look like the superior player to teammate BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Bernard had 50 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, while Green-Ellis also had 10 carries and a touchdown but managed 29 rushing yards and lost a fumble. Bernard added 49 receiving yards on four catches.

The Bengals defense proved you don't always have to bench your fantasy defense against the Packers. Cincinnati had four sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a touchdown.

The Packers scored 30 points even though Aaron Rodgers had just 244 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. You don't see that happen often.

St. Louis at Dallas

DeMarco Murray feasted on Sunday (175 yards rushing, one TD). The 26 carries he received were a career-high. About the only thing he did wrong was lose a fumble.

Here's one for NFL Network's "That Helps No One" segment. Gavin Escobar scored his first career touchdown on Sunday. For those of you who aren't familiar with Escobar's work (which is everyone), the Cowboys drafted him in the second round out of San Diego State last April.

Is somebody telling the Rams what time these games start? They've been outscored 41-3 in the first half the last two weeks.

If you're wondering why Daryl Richardson is missing from the box score it's because he only played one snap. Clearly the foot injury he's been dealing with is more serious than we all thought.

DeMarcus Ware (two sacks) became the Cowboys' all-time sacks leader on Sunday. With 115 for his career, Ware is just three behind Jared Allen for 16th in NFL history.

Cleveland at Minnesota

I thought the Browns were supposed to be tanking so they could get Jadeveon Clowney in next year's draft. Brian Hoyer must have missed the memo.

If I go into hiding it's because I left Jordan Cameron (six catches, 66 yards, three TDs) on my bench this week. Just thought you should know.

I hope Brandon Weeden likes holding clipboards, because that's exactly what he'll be doing a week from now. Hoyer (30-for-54, 321 yards, 3 TDs, 3 INTs) wasn't perfect, but he did get the win, something Weeden's only done five times in 18 NFL starts.

Suddenly the whole "Willis McGahee not having a job until 48 hours ago" thing makes sense. He contributed a thoroughly underwhelming nine yards on eight carries Sunday in his Cleveland debut.

The turnovers are starting to pile up for Christian Ponder. He's already been intercepted five times this season. Last year, he didn't throw his fifth pick until Week 7.

Adrian Peterson (88 yards, one TD) continues to be the model of consistency. If you include last year's playoffs, he's now rushed for at least 80 yards in each of his last 14 games.

Josh Gordon didn't miss a beat in his return from a two-game suspension. The second-year wideout racked up 146 yards on 10 receptions. The 19 targets he received were easily a career-high.

Tampa Bay at New England

And just like that, New England is 3-0. Take that, Wes Welker!

Who needs Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola when you've got ... Kenbrell Thompkins (41 yards, two TD receptions)? Sure he made an adventure out of it, but that's what rookies do, right? Speaking of rookies, Thompkins is the first Patriots' rookie in 30 years to catch two touchdown passes in a single game. Not bad for a guy who went undrafted five months ago.

By throwing those two touchdown passes to Thompkins, Tom Brady was able to extend his streak of consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass to 51 in a row. That puts him three behind Drew Brees for the all-time record.

The Buccaneers' longest drive of the game led to a turnover on downs. That tells you all you need to know about Tampa Bay's offense on Sunday.

If Greg Schiano's goal was to coach himself out of a job this season, he's doing a great job. The way Tampa Bay handled the two-minute drill at the end of the second quarter was cringe-worthy.

Oh, so that's who Kevin Ogletree (two catches, 35 yards) plays for now? Got it. Moving on ...

At least Tim Tebow's better than somebody. His career completion percentage (47.9) is two points higher than Josh Freeman's this season (45.7). Way to go, Tim!

New England's leading rusher on Sunday? Who other than former Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount (14 carries, 65 yards). Brandon Bolden was second with 51 yards on three totes.

Aqib Talib for Defensive Player of the Year (three interceptions in three games)? I could get on board with that.

The Talib interception extended New England's streak of consecutive games with at least one takeaway to 30 in a row. The NFL's next-longest streak belongs to Cincinnati (17 straight).

Arizona at New Orleans

The Cardinals scored first with a run from little-used Alfonso Smith but the offense and all its fantasy-worthy starters were silent for 60 minutes.

Drew Brees is simply too good even on his mediocre days. He completed just 29- of-46 passes against the Cardinals, but still earned the 300-yard bonus (342), threw for three touchdowns and ran for another.

It's nice to be confident enough in tight end Jimmy Graham to give him a jump ball in the end zone and know that its more than likely going to end in a favorable outcome. The Saints took the lead in the second quarter with just such a play for 16 yards and the score.

San Diego at Tennessee

Was Philip Rivers' first two weeks an aberration? He threw four touchdowns against Houston in the opener and three more scores with 419 yards against Philadelphia. he started out today's game with a touchdown pass, but did little over the final three quarters. At least the interception-prone quarterback (35 over the last two seasons) didn't throw any today and only has one all the season.

The first catch of rookie second-round selection Justin Hunter's NFL career was a 34-yard touchdown for the win. Surprisingly, he wasn't open but quarterback Jake Locker trusted that his 6-goot-4 receiver would go and get it. He did.

Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker came up a yard short of the first passing bonus, but his 299 yards and two touchdowns (one passing, one running) was his first fantasy-worthy game of the season. The Titans host the Jets in Tennessee next Sunday and Locker might be a viable bye-week replacement.

Nate Washington was Locker's favorite target this week, but Kendall Wright still leads the team in targets through three games. Both are ahead of Kenny Britt who should no longer be one of your fantasy options.

Detroit at Washington

Lions' running back Joique Bell was everything fantasy owners could hope for - a solid runner (65 yards, 1 TD) and pass catcher (4-69).

Detroit found a second option to go along with Calvin Johnson (7-115-1) in Nate Burleson (6-116), but we will see if he can do it against a tougher defense than Washington when they play the Chicago Bears in Week 4.

After two big second halves to save fantasy owners in Week 1 and Week 2, Robert Griffin III couldn't quite get it done a third time. He did finish with 326 yards against Detroit, but with zero touchdowns and one interception.

Atlanta at Miami

There never was a question about whether Julio Jones' sore knee would keep him out of the game and fantasy owners weren't fooled by his questionable tag all week. Jones chalked up his third consecutive double-digit fantasy points total.

Jacquizz Rodgers (18-86-0) and Jason Snelling (11-53-0) more than made up for the sidelined Steven Jackson.

The Dolphins' have a secret weapon in rookie kicker Caleb Sturgis who has yet to miss a kick this season, including a 50-yarder Sunday.

Mike Wallace may be the Miami Dolphins "home run hitter," but Brian Hartline is going to be the more consistent fantasy option week-in and week-out. He can thank Wallace who usually gets covered by the opponent's best cover man which was Asante Samuel in Week 3.

Buffalo at New York Jets

Where was the C.J. Spiller who was supposed to run until he throws up? Nine carries for nine yards in the first half? He finished the day with one more useless carry for zero yards before it was announced he was out with a knee injury.

Fred Jackson continues to be a viable flex option. He rushed for 77 yards and finished with 109 yards from scrimmage.

Geno Smith took advantage of a beat up Bills' secondary as he threw for 187 yards and a score in the first half and 331 yards for the game. See how it's supposed to be done Eli?

Bilal Powell carried the running game (27-149-0) and posted his second consecutive double-digit fantasy total. He's become a viable fantasy option, albeit a low-end model.

After being out of the limelight since 2011 a hardy welcome back to fantasy relevance to Santonio Holmes.

Indianapolis at San Francisco

Trent Richardson scored from the 1-yard line to salvage a bad Colts' debut into a mediocre one for fantasy owners (13-35-1).

We saw a pedestrian game from Colts' QB Andrew Luck, but then facing the 49ers tough defense, at home, is never an easy task. Good thing Luck is also a good runner. No, he's not in the Colin Kaepernick or RGIII class, but he's good enough to be useful as he showed Sunday with a rushing touchdown to clinch the victory. Luck has run for six touchdowns in 18 NFL games.

Kaepernick apparently still hasn't recovered from last week's debacle in Seattle, going 13-for-26 for 150 yards against the Colts' below average defense (22nd ranked in total yards). Many of those yards were in garbage time.

Frank Gore was the only first-half bright spot for San Francisco with eight carries for 70 yards, but didn't get much work after the break and finished with 82 rushing yards.

Jacksonville at Seattle

The Jaguars were clearly overmatched in every facet of the game against Seattle.

A Maurice Jones-Drew 2-yard TD run off an interception late in the third quarter broke up the Seahawks' shutout attempt. Jacksonville scored a meaningless touchdown again in the fourth.

Russell Wilson continues to play at a high level, throwing three first-half touchdown passes and four in all en route to another big day as the Seahawks cruised to the expected victory.

I tried to cut Sidney Rice in my fantasy league last week to make a waiver claim, but I didn't get the guy I wanted and it turns out that was a good thing as Rice roamed free in the Jaguars' secondary for most of the afternoon (5-79-2).

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

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