Must-Own Players

Brandon Bolden, RB (NE)--After missing the first two weeks of the season, Bolden has resurfaced as a fantasy option out of the Patriots backfield. There was an even split in snaps (26) for both Bolden and starter Stevan Ridley in Week 3, with Bolden finishing with three carries for 51 yards while hauling in five catches for 49 yards. Bolden's skill set is similar to Shane Vereen, who emerged as the top running back for the Patriots after Week 1, but is now sidelined for at least four more weeks, which should result in an increase in snaps if he continues to produce at this level. Let's face it, the Patriots are not pleased with Ridley after a few unproductive games, so Bolden may end up on top of the depth chart in no time. 

Bilal Powell, RB (NYJ)--Don't look now, but the Jets are 2-1 through the first three weeks of the season, and Powell has been a major contributor in their offense thus far. Powell finished Week 3 with 149 yards on 27 carries to accompany two receptions for nine yards, which was a result from Chris Ivory going down with a hamstring injury. It is unclear if Ivory will miss Sunday's game against the Titans, but right now it looks as if Powell will be the top running back for Week 4. While I don't think his upside is as high as Ivory's, he has proven he can stay healthy in his young career, which is polar opposite from what his counterpart has shown. The Jets have favorable matchups in each of the next two weeks, so even if his expanded role is only short-lived, he will still be able to produce good enough to make him worth adding this week. 

Stephen Hill, WR (NYJ)--Hill is a very trending addition this week, as his stock continues to climb each week, with Week 3 being his best performance of the year. Hill finished with three receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown on six targets in Sunday's win over the Bills, as he continues to build a great on-field relationship with rookie quarterback Geno Smith. Some may say that Hill's production is a direct correlation to the weak Bills secondary, but as we saw in Week 1 against the Buccaneers, he continues to get targeted despite the matchups. Hill is the big-play threat downfield for the Jets, and considering the upcoming schedule (Week 4: Tennessee, Week 5: Atlanta) he could he a plug'n'play at least for short term purposes.  

Kenbrell Thompkins, WR (NE)--After converting only four of his 14 targets in Week 1, a lot of owners throughout fantasy football leagues dropped Thompkins as it appeared he would never get on the same page as quarterback Tom Brady. Well, a lot of those former owners will be running to the waiver-wire this week to try and reclaim Thompkins, after a two-touchdown performance on Sunday. Although he only finished with three receptions for 41 yards, it was his targets in the red zone that make him an enticing addition. The Patriots are optimistic that Rob Gronkowski will return in Week 4, and if that is the case, some of the pressure will be taken off of Thompkins which should result in more open looks in the passing game. His fantasy value should only go up from here as long as he continues to convert when it counts to most. 

Solid Additions

Isaiah Pead, RB (STL)--After Daryl Richardson went down with an injury early in Sunday's loss to the Rams, it was Pead that the Tams turned to to try and balance out their passing attack. Pead finished with six rushes for 20 yards while hauling in seven receptions for 43 yards, totaling in 13 touches. The fact that the game was a blowout early on is likely the reason for the low number of carries, but in the upcoming weeks the Rams will have to plan a more balance attack if they want to turn their season around. While Pead is clearly the No. 2 option in the running game when all rushers are healthy, it is starting to look more and more like Richardson's injury is going to be a lingering one. As Thursday night's game approaches, there is a chance Richardson may not be able to play coming off of a work week, so Pead would get the nod, although it a tough matchup (Niners). If the injury is in fact going to leave Richardson sidelined, Pead has the chance to emerge as a solid RB2 moving forward. 

Ryan Broyles, WR (DET)--Although Broyles did not make the original cut for this week's article, late last night it was released that Nate Burleson broke him arm in a car accident early Tuesday morning, which opens the door for Broyles to get in on the action. I never wish harm on anyone, but this was the type of break Broyles needed to build on what he showed us late in the 2012 season. Broyles was active for the first time in Week 3, finishing with three receptions for 34 yards, converting all three of his targets in the Lions win over the Redskins. If you factor in the nine targets Burleson was given on Sunday, there is a good chance Broyles could be in line for a significant jump in production in the upcoming weeks. As long as the Lions continue to pass the ball over 60 percent of their offensive plays, all wide receivers in the Lions offense are worth owning. 

Nate Washington, WR (TEN)--The Titans have clearly ran out of patients in regards to Kenny Britt, which has opened the door for Washington to one again become fantasy relevant. It was unknown as to how much he would be on the field with all the options in the Titans passing attack, but Washington clearly answered that question with a great performance on Sunday. Washington converted eight of his 10 targets for 131 yards, and has now caught 68 percent of the passes through his way, which has likely earned him a heavy does of targets moving forward. At this point in his career Washington is nothing for than a WR3 or FLEX play, but with the upcoming bye-weeks, he is a solid add to round out rosters in all fantasy formats (outside of TD-Only leagues).

Heath Miller, TE (PIT)--Miller made his return to the Steelers offense in Week 3 and quickly became a favorite of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, finishing third on the team in targets. He was asked to block more than usual due to the tough mathcup against the Bears, but in the upcoming weeks will likely have an expanded role in the Steelers offense. The most important news to take away from this game was the fact that Miller made it through without aggravated his restructured knee, which he injured late last season. While it is tough to imagine him topping his career-year from 2012, he is clearly a top option in the Steelers passing game, especially in the  red zone, and could become a solid starter if he production increases in the upcoming weeks. 

Digging Deep 

Brian Hoyer, QB (CLE)--Brian who? Unless you are a Patriots fan, odd are you had no idea who Hoyer was leading into Week 3, but now should be aware of him after a solid performance in the Browns victory over the Vikings. Hoyer finished with 321 yards on 30-for-54 passing with three touchdowns and three interceptions, landing just outside of the top 10 in fantasy scoring. The Browns have yet to name their Week 4 starter, but Hoyer certainly earned another start, especially if you consider the sub-par performances from Brandon Weeden thus far. While Hoyer is not going to be an add in standard leagues, he is a player to target for those participating in two-quarterback leagues, now that the Browns passing game has shown what it is capable of doing. 

Johnathan Franklin, RB (GB)--For the the second week in a row the Packers saw a backup running back emerge following an injury to the starter, this time around being the rookie out of UCLA. Franklin stepped in for James Starks, who left the game early due to injury, finishing with 103 yards on 13 carries. Like his teammates Starks and Eddie Lacy, Franklin suffered an injury of his own, although it does not appear to be anything serious. With an upcoming bye-week, the Packers may get both Lacy and Starks back in Week 5, which would move Franklin back to a reserve role. It is too early to tell how this situation will play out, but those in need of running back depth will want to consider adding Franklin although his playing time may be in question. 

Defensive Matchup Play of the Week 

Indianapolis Colts Defense/Special Teams (IND)--After totaling 11 fantasy points through the first two weeks in standard leagues, the Colts surpassed that total in their Week 3 victory over the Niners. The Colts allowed only seven points to one of the better offenses in the league, finishing with 12 fantasy points. This week they are matched up against the Jaguars, who are clearly the worst team in the league, so an encore from last week is a distinct possibility. There are other options that are better this week, but if you were someone that waited on drafting a defense and are struggling because of it, this is the team to add while they have a very favorable matchup. 

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Matthew Beck is a Fantasy Sports Columnist for Rotoinfo.com. If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail him at matthewbeck@rotoinfo.com.  Also follow him on Twitter @MatthewRBeck for up-to-date Q&A and fantasy information.  And, to make setting your Fantasy Football lineup easy, be sure to utilize RotoInfo.com’s new NFL Lineup Grids.




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About Matthew Beck

Accomplished chef, journalist and dedicated fantasy sports player. When Matt's not in the kitchen, he's preparing the recipe for fantasy sports success. He is...The Fantasy Chef. 

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