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Fantasy rewind: Curtis, Westbrook shine in Week 3

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Last week saw an excitement-filled 51-45 shootout between Cincinnati and Cleveland that produced countless fantasy points. Well, this week the scoreboard explosions came from Lincoln Financial Field, where Detroit and Philadelphia combined for 77 points and 968 total yards. In fact, four of the top 10 best performances in fantasy football in Week 3 came from this contest.

In what has been a trend this season, none of the "elite" running backs -- LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson or Larry Johnson -- made our list of top performaces. However, one of them did join several other valuable and prominent draft commodities in our look at the worst stat lines.

Best Performances

1. Kevin Curtis, WR, Philadelphia (40 points): Curtis tied for the most fantasy points of the week, but he was active in a mere nine percent of NFL.com leagues. The veteran out of Utah State recorded 11 receptions for 221 yards and scored three touchdowns in a 56-21 win over the defenseless Detroit Lions. Curtis scored on catches of 68, 12, and 43 yards. He'll be one of the hotter names on the waiver wire next week, as the Eagles head to the Meadowlands to face a New York Giants team with a vulnerable pass defense.

2. Ronnie Brown, RB, Miami (40 points): What an immense statistical turnaround for Brown, who was headed for the fantasy scrap heap after two awful weeks. He recorded six catches, 211 all-purpose yards, and scored three touchdowns in a 31-28 loss to the New York Jets. Brown, who saw all of the carries for Miami, found the end zone on runs of one and two yards and a reception of 22 yards. Next week he faces an Oakland defense that has been less than steller against the run, so Brown will be a nice No. 2 fantasy back.

Matthew Stockman / Getty Images
Brett Favre led countless fantasy football owners to a win in Week 3.

3. Brian Westbrook, RB, Philadelphia (40 points): Westbrook had an MRI on his sore knee earlier in the week, but it didn't hinder him in what was a blowout at Lincoln Financial Field. Even while in the ugliest throwback uniforms known to man, Westbrook totaled five receptions, 221 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. He found the end zone on runs of 25 and five yards and a catch of 43 yards. Westbrook did leave in the second half with bruised ribs, but he should be fine to face the Giants in Week 4.

4. Donovan McNabb, QB, Philadelphia (37 points): The third member of the Eagles to make our top five, McNabb had his best stat line of the season with 381 yards and four touchdowns. The veteran quarterback out of Syracuse connected on an incredible 81 percent of his passes and tossed three scores to Curtis (68, 12, 43) and one to Westbrook (43). McNabb will next face the Giants, a team that ranked dead last in the NFL against the pass headed into this weekend, so fantasy owners should be sure to keep him active.

5. Tom Brady, QB, New England (34 points): To the surprise of no one, Brady is on pace to have the best statistical season of his NFL career. The Super Bowl hero threw for 311 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-7 win over Buffalo. He's on pace to finish the season with 4,700-plus passing yards and 50-plus touchdowns. While he'll be hard pressed to reach those totals, Brady's projections prove how valuable he's been for fantasy owners. He'll face a weak Cincinnati defense in Week 4.

6. Brett Favre, QB, Green Bay (32 points): Favre seems to have found the fountain of youth, as he completed 28-of-45 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win over San Diego. The three scores tied him with Dan Marino for the NFL's all-time record for career touchdown passes with 420. Favre, who has now thrown for a solid 655 yards and six touchdowns over the past two weeks, faces a Minnesota team that he has dominated throughout his career in Week 4. He'll be a solid fantasy starter in all formats.

7. Anquan Boldin, WR, Arizona (30 points): Whether it was the presence of Kurt Warner under center or the challenge of a formidable Baltimore defense, Boldin came out and had a monster afternoon. He caught 14 passes for 181 yards and scored two touchdowns in a 26-23 loss to the Ravens. Boldin scored on passes of five and 32 yards from Warner, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt won't take Matt Leinart out of the top spot on the depth chart. Boldin should remain active regardless in Week 4 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

8. Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego (28 points): Favre received all the media attention and accolades, but Rivers had one heck of a stat line as well in the loss to Green Bay. He completed 27-of-36 passes for 306 yards and tossed three touchdown passes in the contest, and at one point he had completed 15 consecutive passes. Rivers has completed 70.1 percent of his passes after three weeks and should find a nice level of statistical success in Week 4, when the Chargers head home to face AFC West rival Kansas City.

9. Roy Williams, WR, Detroit (26 points): Williams recorded nine receptions for 204 yards and one touchdown in the loss to Philadelphia, and he didn't even have the most receiving yardage in the contest (Curtis had 17 more yards). One of the most talented wideouts in the NFL and an avid fantasy football owner, Williams' touchdown came on a 91-yard catch and run from Jon Kitna in the second quarter. A must-start wide receiver week in and week out, Williams faces some stiff competition from Chicago in Week 4.

10. Joey Harrington, QB, Atlanta (26 points): No this is not a misprint - Harrington had one of the top 10 performances in fantasy football this week. Whether it was the presence of Byron Leftwich or a sudden burst of confidence, Harrington looked solid with 361 yards and two touchdowns in a 27-20 loss to Carolina. His scores came on a long bomb to Roddy White for 69 yards and a 13-yard strike to Alge Crumpler. Despite the solid numbers, Harrington is still not a recommended option in Week 4 against Houston.

Worst Performances

1. Marc Bulger, QB, St. Louis (minus-2 points): The Rams offensive line is riddled with injuries and lost G Mark Settestrom in their 24-3 loss to Tampa Bay, all of which is bad news for Bulger. He threw for just 116 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions in a contest that included a serious rainstorn and little offense from St. Louis. He's still an attractive option next week against a Dallas team with a vulnerable pass defense, but Bulger needs help from his offensive line to produce nice totals.

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2. Lee Evans, WR, Buffalo (0 points): Evans might want to take his show to Las Vegas, because he has done the best disappearing act in the NFL. He had just one catch for seven yards in a 38-7 loss to New England and now has a mere five catches for 29 yards with no touchdowns after three weeks. Evans, who had 82 receptions for 1,292 yards and eight touchdowns in 2006, has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy football this season. However, he should reverse his fortunes in Week 4 against the Jets.

3. Hines Ward, WR, Pittsburgh (0 points): San Francisco showcased a much-improved pass defense at Heinz Field, as it held Ben Roethlisberger to 160 passing yards and Ward to a miniscule one catch for seven yards. Ward was targeted just three times in the 37-16 win over the Niners, who also held Santonio Holmes to three catches for 49 yards. Ward will remain a viable No. 2 or 3 fantasy wideout next week against Arizona, but Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt knows Ward well from his time in the Steel City.

4. Steve Smith, WR, Carolina (1 point): It's a shock that the Panthers won when Smith hauled in just one reception, but that was the case in their 27-20 triumph over Atlanta. Smith, the top-rated wide receiver on NFL.com's preseason ranking list, recorded one catch for 10 yards. He was targeted just six times in the contest. While this porous stat line hurt a lot of fantasy owners this week, Smith remains a must-start wideout in all formats. He should bounce back in Week 4 when the Panthers host Tampa Bay.

5. Javon Walker, WR, Denver (1 point): Walker entered this week with 17 receptions for 220 yards but he struggled to produce against what is a formidable Jacksonville pass defense. The veteran out of Florida State had two catches for 10 yards and was targeted just three times, as Jaguars CB Rashean Mathis covered him like a blanket. In fact, most of the work went to Brandon Marshall, who totaled seven catches for 133 yards. Walker haa a difficult matchup in Week 4 at Indianapolis, but he should still be active.

6. Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville (2 points): Jones-Drew has to be one of the top three biggest disappointments in fantasy football after three weeks. He totaled two catches, 55 all-purpose yards and lost one fumble at the goal line in a 23-14 win over Denver. A fantasy hero last season, Jones-Drew has just 156 all-purpose yards with no touchdowns for a Jacksonville team that was supposed to lean on the run. The Jaguars have a bye in Week 4, but Jones-Drew will be a risk until he proves his worth.

7. Matt Leinart, QB, Arizona: Leinart was a viable sleeper candidate in the preseason, but he was pulled three starts into the 2007 season in favor of veteran Kurt Warner. Leinart was ineffective while he was one the field, as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and totaled 53 yards. The offense looked much more effective with Warner under center, but Whisenhunt will stick with Leinart as his starter in Week 4 against Pittsburgh. I wound't recommended that fantasy football owners follow suit, however.

8. Rudi Johnson, RB, Cincinnati (3 points): Johnson had 13 carries for minus-3 yards at one point in the first half of Cincinnati's 24-21 loss to Seattle, but he finished with nine yards on 17 carries before an injured hamstring landed him on the sidelines. The nine yards were his lowest rushing total since 2005, when he rushed for 18 yards in a 37-7 loss to Kansas City. Johnson remains a must-start back in most formats (if healthy), but he does have a very difficult matchup in Week 4 against New England.

9. Frank Gore, RB, San Francisco (4 points): Gore is too valuable to reserve, but it's no shock to see him post porous numbers against what is a formidable Pittsburgh run defense. He rushed for a mere 39 yards on 14 carries in the loss to the Steelers, and he complained afterwards that teams are loading the line of scrimmage to stop him due to the ineffectiveness of the Niners pass attack. Gore will look to reverse his fortunes next week when San Francisco heads home to face Seattle in an important NFC West battle.

10. Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City (4 points): Fantasy owners who drafted Johnson in the first round could be faced with an 0-3 start to the season. The former fantasy stud rushed for 42 yards on 24 carries and didn't find the end zone in a 13-10 win over Minnesota. L.J. still hasn't found the end zone this season, and next week he'll have to face a San Diego team with a solid run defense. Owners might not be able to trust Johnson as a viable starter until Week 6 (Oct. 14), when the Chiefs host Cincinnati.

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