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Fantasy Fix: Kiddie Quarterbacks

At least three rookie QBs got significant playing time in Week 3, and none of them was named Johnny Football.

Derek Carr started for Oakland, as he has done all season (not that anyone cared because . . . Oakland), but we also got to see Teddy Bridgewater, MIN, and Blake Bortles, JAC, in the pocket when starting QBs for their teams went down with injury.

Nobody ever wants to start a rookie QB on their fantasy teams (the most recent exception being Cam Newton, Version 2011). Even their good outings are usually marred with mistakes that in the real world we chalk up to part of the learning process, but in the fantasy world we call 5.5 points, thanks to three INTs and a lost fumble.

That said, with six teams on bye in Week 4, and Carr, Bridgewater and Bortles all slated to start, a lot of fantasy teams will be starting rookie QBs this week. So, who has the edge? Or. at least, who is likely to make the fewest mistakes?

* Bridgewater has wheels in his favor, and even though he'll face a fairly stingy Atlanta defense, he has the most potential to do something fantastic, like scoring a rushing TD or hit WR Cordarelle Patterson with a short pass that Patterson turns into a long TD. Minnesota has a decent offensive line built for a star rusher and alleged child abuser who shall remain nameless, and that could make all the difference for Bridgewater.

* Carr and Bortles are not without their charms. Bortles has young but flashy receivers to aim for, and Carr has a whole three games of experience to draw upon, and while he hasn't been terribly impressive, he also hasn't been impressively terrible. Bortles is probably on a lot of fantasy teams already, since he came close to being named the Jaguars' starter before the season began, and might even be the best of the three to own long-term.

* What else did we learn from Week 3? Kirk Cousins, QB, WAS, who is not a rookie, but is new to starting, threw for 427 yards, three TDs and one INT, and pretty much stole the starting job from Robert Griffin III. RG-3 won't be back from injury for at least another five weeks, but how can you not start a guy who threw for more than 400 yards? Fantasy team owners should be asking themselves that same question.

* Pittsburgh had two RBs - Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount (can we start calling them Le-Le?) - rush for more than 100 yards in the same game. Starter and obvious fantasy baller Bell totaled 147, while Blount, who has enjoyed a few brief shining moments on the fantasy stage, ran for 118. Bell is now second in the NFL in rushing yards this season, though Blount is a really valuable handcuff and goal-line vulture. If you have Bell, you might want to pick up or trade for Blount. It's the best RB partnership since last year's Bush & Bell combo (Reggie Bush and Joique Bell in Detroit.)

* Something of note for PPR leagues: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN, is the surprising new leader in receptions through the first three weeks. He has 25, after hauling in 11 catches in Week 3. He's also now third in receiving yards with 334, yet he's still probably not better than the third - possibly even fourth - target on his own team most weeks. He benefited some from the Seattle defense swarming around Peyton Manning's other favored options. That doesn't mean Sanders won't have fantasy value ongoing, but I would be careful of fellow fantasy owners trying to trade him away this week while his value is higher than it ever has been.

Expert Wire
* SB Nation likes Bortles, but is wary of his supporting cast.

* Bleacher Report remarks on the failure of first-round fantasy RBs to find the end zone.

* ESPN's Talented Mr. Roto on what passes for fantasy value during a big bye week.

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Dan O'Shea is our man in fantasyland. He welcomes your comments.

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