Fantasy Fodder: What to make of Torrey Smith's outburst

Torrey Smith torched the Rams in Week 3, catching five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns. Now he is burning up the waiver wire, and you can be sure that someone will claim him in your fantasy league.

I got a text message shortly after midnight early Monday morning from a friend from Pittsburgh who wanted to know what the deal was with Smith so he could put in a waiver claim. It wasn't hard, but I convinced the Steelers fan to drop Hines Wards for Smith (of course, only a Steelers fan would own Ward at this point).


I'm still not crazy about Smith's fantasy prospects, but after watching him Usain Bolt past the Rams in the first quarter on Sunday, we don't know what his ceiling is. But a player such as Hines or Donald Driver, we know what we're going to get out of them at this point -- and we don't want it in our starting lineup.

So go ahead and get rid of some dead weight to open up a roster spot for Smith, but keep him on your bench like John Harbaugh did in Weeks 1 and 2. Make him prove it again before you start him.


Game over for Kenny Britt: I advised everyone to stay away from Britt before the season, and I was right by default, not that I feel good about it. Britt was one of the top fantasy wide receivers in the first two weeks of the season, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3. I'm not nuts about the other Tennessee receivers. However, Nate Washington had eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.

Back that thang up: Cadillac Williams, James Starks and Willis McGahee have each scored more fantasy points than three running backs who were billed as top-10 fantasy backs: Chris Johnson, Frank Gore and Rashard Mendenhall. CJ2K, Gore and Mendenhall are averaging three yards per carry or fewer this season, and Gore is injured, of course. Ride it out with Johnson and Mendenhall, and if you own Gore, go grab his backup, Kendall Hunter.

Fantasy penthouse: Flacco was the top fantasy quarterback after throwing for 389 yards and three TDs, and Torrey Smith had as many fantasy points as Wes Welker (16 catches for 217 yards and two scores). Darren McFadden rushed for 171 yards and two touchdowns. Jermichael Finley scored three TDs.

Fantasy doghouse: Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and no touchdowns against the lowly Chiefs. Reggie Bush had 10 carries for 13 yards and fumbled once. Santonio Holmes had one catch.

The wire: 1. Sidney Rice finally got on the field for Seattle and had eight catches for 109 yards. … 2. Up in Cleveland, Montario Hardesty impressed with Peyton Hillis out with an illness. … 3. Daniel Thomas has 202 rushing yards in his last two games and has wrestled the starting job away from Reggie Bush. … 4. Kendall Hunter scored a huge touchdown with Gore down. … 5. Eli Manning threw four touchdowns against a good Eagles secondary.

Five guys I really like this week: 1. Rex Grossman and 2. Santana Moss (look at what the Ravens did against the Rams in Week 3). … 3. Adrian Peterson (he's always good, but he will be really good against the Chiefs). … 4 Matt Forte will have more than two rushing yards. … 5. Victor Cruz is a must-play if Mario Manningham remains sidelined, and I'd also consider playing him if Manningham suits up.

Reader questions: @bigphilmd on Twitter asks, "If Cedric Benson is suspended for 3 games, is Bernard Scott a good pickup for bye weeks?" My response: There's probably a reason Scott hasn't passed Benson on the depth chart, but if he's a starter for the Bengals in a pinch, then he can be a starter for your team in a pinch, too.@bmore_1daful on Twitter wants to know if he should trade Matt Stafford and Sidney Rice for Wes Welker because he has Tom Brady. My response: If you have Stafford as an insurance policy for Brady, go ahead and cash it in if you can get Welker.PSURavens on the blog asks "Which 2 WR would you start:  Julio Jones, Burleson, Sims-Walker, Driver, Manningham, or McCluster?" My response: Go with Manningham (if healthy) for sure, and I like Dexter McCluster as a WR/RB, too. Julio Jones should be a fantasy factor by season's end. And by the way, don't trade Chris Johnson for receiver depth. He will come around.

Extra point: Wes Welker, who was coming off a serious knee injury in 2010, has been one of the biggest fantasy steals of 2011. He has 31 receptions in three games for 458 yards and four touchdowns. Welker made 16 catches in Week 3 alone, which is more than all but 14 NFL wideouts have on the season. With Tom Brady throwing the ball 45 times a game, Welker will seriously outperform his fantasy draft position.


Matt Vensel is a blogger and community coordinator for The Baltimore Sun. Send your fantasy questions and comments to, @mattvensel on Twitter or leave them in the comments section below.