Week 3 Fantasy Pick-ups – Are Cruz and Smith legit?

If you watched any games this Sunday, you no-doubt saw the breakout performances from Victor Cruz (NYG), and Torrey Smith (BAL).  Even if you were tuned into another game, you still saw pretty much every catch these two guys had on Sunday, because it seemed like they were all for touchdowns.  Both guys were basically injury fill-ins for week 3, but could this be a sign of things to come?  Or should you find other options on the waiver wire?

Let’s start with Cruz.  His line for the day was 3rec-110yds-2TD’s, on 5 targets.  I agree, the stats are great, but this is a prime example of why stats don’t tell the whole story.  If you actually watched the game, you’d know one of Cruz’s touchdowns can be attributed to absolutely porous tackling on the part of the Eagles.  I think 5 defenders all had a legitimate shot at him and failed miserably.  The other score was actually quite impressive; stealing a ball away from Nnamdi Asomugha at the goal-line.  But I’m just not sold on Cruz making an impact when Manningham returns.  However, keep an eye on whether the Giants play Cruz outside or inside when that happens.  If he stays outside and Manningham moves to the slot, both could be in for added value.

Smith’s line was 5rec-152yds-3TD’s, on 8 targets (with another 10 yards rushing on one attempt).  I’m much more intrigued with Smith’s day than Cruz’s.  Smith has blazing speed, and this performance could warrant him more snaps as the outside receiver; with Lee Evans moving to the slot.  I doubt Smith has more than 6 receptions in a game this season, but his breakaway speed could lead to more long touchdowns.  Think Devery Henderson here; it remains to be seen whether Smith has better hands, but they’re very comparable in down-field ability.  If you do own him, be wary of inconsistency .  He’ll have huge weeks (like week 3) and duds, so he probably won’t be much more than a bye-week fill-in or match-up play. By the way, he plays the Jets in week 4, keep him on your bench.

The rest…

QB – Donovan McNabb – MIN – Mainly for the match-up next week (@KC).  The Chiefs secondary can’t stop anyone with Eric Berry out for the season, and now their top defensive back, Brandon Flowers is likely out with a high-ankle sprain.

WR – Nate Washington – TEN – Kenny Britt is done for the season with a torn ACL and MCL.  Washington will take over as the number 1, and he seems to have a good chemistry with Hasselbeck.

WR – Brandon Gibson – STL – Seems to be the top guy in St. Louis with Amendola out.

WR – Denarius Moore – OAK – Continues to prove his worth.  Had a couple of real nice catches on Cromartie, and a rushing TD.  Don’t be alarmed by the low yardage, if McFadden didn’t go off, his numbers would have been better.

WR – Donald Jones – BUF – The Bills are legit! He was targeted a team high 10 times this week. They’re going to continue to throw the ball and Fitzpatrick spreads it around.

WR – Michael Jenkins – MIN – The only Viking receiver on the same page as McNabb, and solid match-up this week (see McNabb).

RB – Kendall Hunter – SF – Stop me if you’ve heard this before, Frank Gore is having injury issues.  Gore owners better make sure Hunter is on their bench.

RB – Alfonso Smith – ARI – Had a good game in place of Beanie Wells (injury).  Wells is always an injury/turnover risk, so Smith could start seeing more work.

RB – Stevan Ridley – NE – Had a nice preseason, and a surprising 7 carries (1 more than Woodhead) on Sunday.  Green-Ellis was ineffective with 9 carries, and Belichick likes to ride the hot hand, so keep an eye on this situation in week 4.

TE – James Casey – HOU – Big day in a shootout.  Still plays behind Daniels, but having this kind of day with Walter in the lineup is a plus.  Not that it’s a logical play, but Casey is also RB eligible in some leagues.

TE – Jared Cook – TEN – Has yet to breakout like most expected in the preseason.  But with the injury to Britt, his targets have to increase! Definitely has the potential to put up top-5 TE numbers from here on out.

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