Fantasy Football Week 3: What To Make of Jay Cutler, Jamaal Charles, Ahmad Bradshaw, and CJ168

In last week’s initial column, I talked about how I thought Hakeem Nicks would bounce back, how Wes Welker might be on the back slope, how Michael Turner is done, and how I wasn’t too sure about Chris Johnson.

It turns out I was very right about Nicks, wasn’t totally wrong on Welker, appear to be very right on Michael Turner, and I’ll address CJ168 (his new nickname, based on his current rushing yardage pace…for the season) in just a bit.


Jay Cutler left Lambeau frustrated after being sacked seven times, but expect better from him from here on out.

 Jay Cutler

Big things were expected of the Chicago Bears offense this season, and with 14 games left on the schedule it’d be premature to say that those expectations aren’t still there.

Cutler had a good game in the season opener against Indianapolis, but he ran into a Green Bay defense in Week 2 that had something to prove. Cutler was constantly facing pressure – getting sacked seven times and narrowly escaping a few more. And when he did have time to throw, Tramon Williams had Cutler’s new favorite toy Brandon Marshall on lockdown.  Frustration led to some forcing, and Jay finished with four picks.

From a fantasy perspective, it was not a great game. Heading forward though, I don’t think it’s time to get too wigged out about Cutler as a viable fantasy QB. The Packers have his number at Lambeau, and I would not be at all surprised if this is Cutler’s worst game of the season.

Jamaal Charles

Even though Charles’ knee injury was a full calendar year ago at this point, it’s no surprise that the Kansas City Chiefs are remaining cautious. Charles had six carries in Week 2, gaining only three yards, adding three catches out of the backfield as well.

The Chiefs got down early to the Bills, Charles got a bit nicked up, and the KC coaching staff pulled him. They’d rather stay safe than sorry at this point, and if you are a Charles owner, you should appreciate their concern.

Chances are Charles was drafted in a later round (or cost less in an auction) than in years past, with the injury concern being a main reason why. His injury last season was not insignificant – tearing his ACL. Every running back responds differently, and given that Charles’ game relies heavily on his pure speed, it may be a few weeks till he’s back near the form you remember.

The fact that he did get three receptions in limited time gives you an idea of how Kansas City wants to use him, which should also be encouraging to fantasy owners. Peyton Hillis will be a between-the-tackles complementary piece in a healthy KC lineup, so that’s not worth getting worked up over.

Charles might still be limited for a short time, but if he looks good to go by Sunday, the turf in New Orleans in Week 3 could be just what the doctor ordered.

Ahmad Bradshaw

Bradshaw is out for Week 3, and be cautious of his health for the remainder of the season.

When Brandon Jacobs left for San Francisco in the off-season, I immediately had concerns about Ahmad Bradshaw.

I thought that their games were so complementary that Bradshaw needed a bruiser-type back like Jacobs to absorb some of the hits and do some of the dirty work. David Martin isn’t that player, so it’s not surprising to me that Bradshaw struggled in Week 2.

After a touchdown run solidified his Week 1 (17 carries, 78 yards) against Dallas, Bradshaw had just five carries for 16 yards against TampaBay, leaving with what New York coach Tom Coughlin is vaguely calling a “neck” injury.

His health will be a concern throughout the year, and judging from the fact that Bradshaw has been ruled out of Thursday night’s game, I’d be even more concerned about Bradshaw going forward.

Chris Johnson

Where to start with the erstwhile CJ2K?

After amassing just 21 yards in the first two weeks, there is cause for concern with the high-round pick.

First and foremost, I think his struggles might stem from the fact that the Titans just suck. Tennessee is committed to the Jake Locker experience, which is going to lead to some turnovers and fewer carries for Johnson. I think the system factors are more cause for concern than a drop in CJ63feet’s skill level.

There’s enough talent in Nashville that a 200-yard week out of the blue from Johnson would be a surprise, but not a shocker. I think the reward is high enough to outweigh the risk for Johnson owners for now if you are committed to keeping him on your roster. If you can make a trade that you’re happy with, great, but if you’ve got him, you have to keep starting him.



About Chris Callaway

Chris lives and works in La Crosse, Wisconsin, working primarily on-air while doing some writing as well. He is a part-owner of the Green Bay Packers, a Milwaukee Brewers die-hard, learning hockey while supporting the Minnesota Wild, and is also a fan of the Wisconsin Badgers and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Follow him on twitter @ccallaway33.


  1. eViL-Porcupine says:

    Would you drop Fred Jackson for let’s say Daryl Richardson or Andre Brown? Im thinking with Spiller @ Top 2 RB right now doesn’t bode well for F-Jax’s return? But then Richardson is just speculative although the dude can tote the rock and long term could have tremendous rewards!!! And Andre Brown is probably a 1-2 week replacement at best?

    Your thoughts please?

  2. do you think Darly Richardson, or Mikel Leshoure is worth a start in my #2 RB spot over Mark Ingram?

  3. Chris Callaway says:

    evil- Here are my thoughts on Daryl Richardson. St. Louis will stay committed to the run to provide a balance to Sam Bradford, and I do think the offense as a whole is a bit underrated. I would not drop Fred Jackson for D-Rich however. F-Jax and CJ Spiller will be more of complementary backs, whereas Steven Jackson will be the primary back when he returns.

    Ben- I do like Mikel Leshoure, largely because I feel like the Lions really like Mikel Leshoure. Kevin Smith hasn’t been any sort of world beater, and I think Detroit wants to get a good look at what he can do. If you’re going to go that route, I’d roll the dice with Leshoure.

    • Hey Chris thanks for your response, So would it be better to stick with Ingram? or take a gamble with Leshoure? I’m 0-2 and would really like a win. My #2RB spot is my only concern going into Sunday.

      Thanks again,

      • I only ask because I’ve read that the Lions may give the bulk of the carries to Smith because it is Leshoure’s first NFL game. BAH! I know I’m waay over thinking this…sorry


    • eViL-Porcupine says:

      Appreciate the reply. Thank you!

  4. Chris, need some help in a couple of leagues:

    First is a PPR where Return Leagues count and need to fill 1 RB and 1 Flex spot between:

    Andre Brown
    DeSean Jackson
    Chris Johnson
    Alfred Morris

    I was thinking Mathews and DeSean, but should I go Brown and Amendola?

    2nd Question:

    NON-PPR, 1 spot at my flex, do I go:

    Andre Brown
    Alfred Morris

    Thanks for the help!

    • Chris Callaway says:

      I like Mathews for sure, and then Amendola. He seems to have quite the rapport with Bradford, and I think the Rams O is sneaky good. Granted, DeSean could go off huge any game, but Amendola appears to be more consistent.

      As for the other league, I really like how much work Stevan Ridley is getting in New England’s offense. I expect them to bounce back in a big way after losing to Arizona.

  5. RG3 or Cam?
    And leshoure or smith?
    and tamme or finley?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Hope you plugged in RG3, because Cam wasn’t great Thursday night. I’m assuming you mean Kevin Smith, and for now, I’d stick with him. Glad you have Leshoure as a handcuff though. And with Tamme vs. Finley, I think there’s a higher potential reward with Jermichael, so I’d roll with him.

  6. eViL-Porcupine says:

    Thoughts on Donnie Avery and / or Austin Collie?

    Which is worth owning. PPR and non-ppr but both 10 team leagues. Coach is praising Avery as if he’s the next coming… ” diamond” he called him. Collies concussion issues are troublesome but he is considered the WR2 still right?

    • Chris Callaway says:

      Collie’s head woes scare me, big time. And like I’ve said before, I think the St.L offense is underrated. I think Avery is much safer.

  7. I have nothing at RB, I have Dwyer in right now, or should I go with Wells, D.Thomas(Mia), or Draughn(KC). I have A.Johnson, Maeshall and S.Johnson going, would you replace any of those with Welker? GB or Hous. DST.

    • I do think Welker bounces back somewhat, but it’d be hard to replace Stevie with Wes right now. I’d go with Beanie, considering he is a starter and all, at least for now. And go with Houston. Seattle is a tough place to play, especially on Monday night.

  8. Which defense would you start? Ravens , Buffalo, Colts or Miami
    Any other week it would have been easy…..worried about ravens matchup vs patriots…..

  9. Start 2 running backs–> Michael Bush, Shonn Greene, Ray Rice, Doug Martin
    Start 3 Wide Receivers–> Roddy White, Miles Austin, D- Thomas, Amendola, or Sydney Rice

  10. I have a similar question about FJax. PPR league and here is my team. Should I drop someone for Darly Richardson?

    Team (starts)
    (1)QB: Matt Ryan, Big Ben
    (2)RB: DMC, Alfred Morris, Andre Brown, FJax, Shonn Green, Michael Turner
    (3)WR: MegaTron, Roddy White, Antonio Brown, Danny Amendola
    (1)TE: Martellus Bennett, Dennis Pitta
    (1)DST: PHI
    (1)K: Jason Hanson

  11. Bush or Martin

  12. eViL-Porcupine says:

    Last minute advice needed ::

    RB2 – CJ2K or S-jax/Daryl Richardson. I have Steven Jackson handcuff just in case.

    • Steven Jackson appears to be a game-time decision, so I gotta stick with CJ2K. He’s just too talented to have ANOTHER terrible game, right? Plus, it’d be brutal if this is the game he went off, and you were starting someone you hadn’t heard of three weeks ago.

      • eViL-Porcupine says:

        Okay… agree.

        Then I have Stevie Johnson in the Flex spot. Should I put either SJax/D-Richardson there instead?

        Sorry should have asked that to begin with. Hopefully you see this before game time =)

  13. Doug martin or Darren sproles? Ppr league…..

  14. eViL-Porcupine says:

    Another last minute advice needed:

    1) Lloyd / K-Britt
    Brandon Lloyd (Q) tag plays at 5:20PM. OR go with Kenny Britt @ 10AM game? Just nervous Lloyd sits out and I have no one to drop. If feel like I should take the risk on Lloyd. What would you do?

    2) WR2 – Nate Wash/K-Britt/Colb
    or drop one of these guys and grab Leonard Hankerson with Garcon out. Rotoworld reports him as RGIII first option! Could be fireworks in that game. But then again… it’s Shanahan!!!

  15. In a large PPR league, need to start three of the following WRs: M Crabtree, Julio Jones, S Holmes, Torrey Smith, Brian Hartline, B Edwards. Julio Jones almost cost me a game last week and missed some practice this week, or he would be the obvious favorite. Thoughts?

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