Fantasy football lights up

This past week was my strongest win to date.

My team put up 84 points for the week, while Team Leandro, who probably auto-drafted and then never edited his lineup, mustered a whopping 28 points.

I finally had a strong set of running backs to start — Le’Veon Bell came back from suspension, and LeGarrette Blount actually scored points. He really broke my heart in week two when he only rushed for four yards in his first appearance of the season, putting up a goose egg on the fantasy scoreboards. Unfortunately, my other running back, dead-to-me Jerick McKinnon, also rushed fewer than 10 yards.

But week three was a completely different story. Even though the Steelers struggled to score against the Ravens, Bell still showed why he was ranked the best overall draft pick of this season, rushing for 62 yards and scoring Pittsburgh’s only touchdown of the night. In the end, he still put 19 points on my board. I expect him to be my saving grace this season.

Blount’s week three fantasy success can be attributed mostly to the absolute failure of the Jaguars. He scored three touchdowns and rushed for 78 yards, coming to a grand total of 26 points for the week. The Patriots have their bye this week, so I’ll have to wait a little while to judge whether or not this was an absolute fluke, but my instincts say yes.

Because I can’t play Blount for week four, I’ll have to bring McKinnon back as a starter, as much as it pains me. Since I’m in a 20-player league, there are simply no quality running backs to be found on waivers. And since my team is basically a combination of stars and losers, I’m not comfortable letting anyone go in a trade.

Despite my perpetual running back woes, I’m still projected to come out on top this week against the St. Pete Seminoles. Although it’s possible that he has yet to even think about week four because he’s still starting two players with bye weeks. If that’s the case, I’m praying he sleeps past 1 p.m. on Sunday.

I definitely have him beat in terms of quarterbacking. Russell Wilson has been my most consistent player so far this season, and I’m confident that he’ll come through. St. Pete, however, is starting Andrew Luck, who will warm the bench this week because of a shoulder injury. Too bad he didn’t check, because Luck’s backup on the bench is Jameis Winston, who will face off against the Panthers this weekend. The Panthers are proving to be a force to be reckoned with this season, and I’m not sure the Buccaneers will stand a chance. That could have meant big points for St. Pete, but I’m not complaining.

At running back, I expect absolutely nothing from McKinnon, but I’m okay with that for now. Le’Veon Bell had a great performance Thursday night against Baltimore, even though the Steelers eventually suffered that painful defeat in overtime (looking at you Josh Scobee). Bell scored 20 points, which is realistically enough to make up for McKinnon and beat out both of St. Pete’s consistently single-digit-scoring running backs.

I’m starting Pierre Garcon and Nate Washington at wide receiver this week, who have both been consistently putting up between five and 10 points each week. St. Pete has Julio Jones, and, assuming he plays, I don’t expect either of my WRs to outscore him. I just need them to keep the gap as tight as possible. I also have wide receiver Eric Decker as my flex. He started the season strong but then suffered a knee injury in week two and sat on the bench week three. I’m cautious about his return, but hopeful that he’ll get back to where he was.

After week two I finally dropped wide receiver Nick Toon. As hilarious as his name is, he hasn’t scored a single point all season. In his place, I picked up Ladarius Green, who then got a pretty bad concussion. And now I’m back to where I started, with Jared Cook. He’s really just okay. But for this week I’ll survive because St. Pete is starting Eric Ebron, who is alright but no Gronk.

The Jets D/ST has had a pretty good season so far, and even though they slumped in week three, it isn’t enough to convince me to start my bench D/ST, the Giants. I still expect my Jets to be competitive against his Seahawks, so the defensive match-up should be interesting.

And finally, I have a confusing soft spot for kicker Brian McManus. Ever since his 18 point performance in week one, I’ve just kind of fallen in love. He isn’t even that much better than Nick Folk, who I’ve kept on my bench all season, but he’s my star and I’ll keep starting him unless he gives me a reason not to. Ian Tanaya also recently explained to me that it’s unusual for a team to keep two kickers, so I’m considering dropping Folk in order to fill a gap somewhere else.

After I win this week — which I will — I’ll increase my streak to two wins and stay tied for first place in my league. I’m still pretty confident that as I work out the kinks in my team and my own fantasy understanding, I’ll be a champion.