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NFL fantasy football: Cam Newton's frustrating reality

Andre Brown, RB, New York Giants

Week 3 stats: 113 rush yards, 2 TD; 17 rec yards, TD (25.00 fantasy points)

Brown has been fantastic since taking over for the injured Ahmad Bradshaw and has deservedly been the hottest name on the waiver wire. Sure last week's big game came against the woeful Panthers, but the week before he ran well against a Buccaneers run defense that has stymied opposing fantasy backs. More importantly, he's running hard and he's not in Tom Coughlin's doghouse (I'm looking at you, David Wilson). As long as Bradshaw's not around, Brown is worth a start.

Verdict: Reality

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers

Week 3 stats: 242 pass yards, 3 INT; 6 rush yards, TD (10.28 fantasy points)

So far, two of the first three weeks haven't been kind to Cam Newton owners. The difference between 2012 and 2011 isn't the high number of interceptions -- Newton had four picks through his first three games last season; he has five right now. The difference is fewer touchdowns and rushing yards. It doesn't appear that he's going to solve the interception issue right away and it's hard to imagine him repeating his incredible rushing TD numbers from last season. Newton's season is going to be a roller coaster. You might want to invest in Dramamine.

Verdict: Reality

Christian Ponder, QB, Minnesota Vikings

Week 3 stats: 198 pass yards, 2 TD; 33 rush yards, TD (25.22 fantasy points)

After the 49ers bottled up Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, who would have imagined Christian Ponder was the man to slice through one of the league's toughest defenses? The second-year man spread the ball around on a day when Adrian Peterson took awhile to get going. But A.D. is still the focal point of this offense and while Ponder might have the occasional big day, he will be usually be in the range of 12-16 fantasy points. Don't get used to this.


Jake Locker, QB, Tennessee Titans

Week 3 stats: 378 pass yards, 2 TDs; 35 rush yards, fumble (24.62 fantasy points)

It was a pretty good day for second-year quarterbacks -- Andy Dalton also played big in Week 3 -- but Locker really opened eyes with a career-high 378 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sure it helped that he played in a shootout that went to overtime, but a good day is a good day (just ask Ice Cube). Locker has a lot of potential, as evidenced by his preseason sleeper status, but days like this won't come around very often in the near future. Especially not next week against the Texans.


Mikel Leshoure, RB, Detroit Lions

Week 3 stats: 100 rush yards, TD; 34 rec yards (19.40 fantasy points)

Ever since they drafted him in 2011, the Lions have been high on Leshoure. Sunday, we finally find out why. The Illinois product has the ability to stop the revolving door in Detroit's backfield. It certainly doesn't hurt that Leshoure can make himself useful in the Lions' passing game. He'll face a tough challenge from the Vikings' run defense next week, but more ofthen than not Leshoure should provide solid numbers.

Verdict: Reality

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 3 stats: 80 rec yards, TD (13.60 fantasy points)

Shorts only had one catch in Sunday's win over Indianapolis, but it was a big one -- both on the scoreboard and the stat sheet. Through three weeks, the second-year receiver leads the team in receiving yards (154) and trails only Laurent Robinson in catches among receivers. He's the Jaguars' home-run hitter, but that means he'll strike a few times. What we saw this week is what you're likely to get from Shorts ... once every couple of weeks.

Verdict: Reality

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts

Week 3 stats: 113 rec yards, TD (17.30 fantasy points)

The rookie from Florida International had a breakout game Sunday, but it's far too soon to expect that we'll see anything resembling this from Hilton in the near future. Two weeks ago, it looked like Donnie Avery was turning into Andrew Luck's No. 2 receiver. Last week it looked like Hilton. Next week, it could be LaVon Brazill -- who knows?


Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants

Week 3 stats: 73 rec yards, TD (13.30 fantasy points)

I asked this question on the @NFLFantasy Twitter account during Tuesday's NFL Fantasy LIVE and got an answer from the man himself.

I'm inclined to agree. Bennett and Eli Manning have found a great rapport and it's led to three touchdowns in three games for the self-proclaimed "Black Unicorn". He's the best pass catching tight end the Giants have had since Jeremy Shockey left town. Bennett is only owned in 37.3% of leagues. That number needs to be much higher.

Verdict: Reality

LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles

Week 3 stats: 70 rush yards; 8 rec yards (7.80 fantasy points)

McCoy has yet to top 12.90 fantasy points so far this season, but I have a sneaking suspicion that's going to change soon. With Philadelphia's offensive line struggling to protect the quarterback and Michael Vick turning the ball over at an alarming rate, it could be time to start feeding McCoy.


Follow Marcas Grant on Twitter @MarcasG

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