One quarter of the way through the 2013 season, it's time to take stock of how the players are performing. Because of bye weeks, I'll evaluate the players on a yards per game basis unless otherwise noted. The elite players are who we thought they were. Over-performing players are either mid-level draft picks performing at an elite level or, in the case of the tight ends, former free agents who are now important contributors to their fantasy teams. These are the players who win championships for you. Finally, some high-level draft picks who are killing your team are reviewed. These players are dangerous because you can't trade them and just when you write them off, they tend to revert to the mean and put up monster numbers for the owner who nabs them off the waiver wire. They are best kept on your bench but out of your starting lineup.
Peyton Manning (367.5) is on pace to destroy all NFL passing records this year. He is clearly motivated by the fact that Tim Tebow has more playoff wins as a Bronco than he does. Despite a poor performance against the Bengals in Week 3, Aaron Rodgers (352.3) has a deep receiving corps, while Drew Brees (340.3) relies on his TE and RB for yardage. Watching this Monday night game, I get the feeling that Brees wants to be sure Peyton doesn't get all the attention.
Adrian Peterson (118.3) has set his sights on Emmitt Smith's all-time rushing record and is about halfway there. Jamal Charles (125.5) is 4-0 and Shady McCoy (152.0) is delivering jaw dropping runs.
Falcons WR Julio Jones (122.0) may be the most consistent player in the league and while the Giants suck as a team, Victor Cruz (106.3) still manages to find a way to do his salsa dance. Demaryius Thomas (98.3) is big, fast, strong and plays on Peyton Manning's team.
At tight end, Jimmy Graham (119.3) would probably be a first round pick if your fantasy draft were held today. Jordan Cameron (90.0) is the only Brown not currently on the trading block and Antonio Gates (91.0) is the only receiving option in San Diego.
Despite the injuries to Steven Jackson and Roddy White, Matt Ryan (332.5) is having his best season, while Matthew Stafford (315.5) and Philip Rivers (299.8) are playing their best football with limited receiving options, as well.
Reggie Bush (144.3) is the perfect fit for the Lions offense. DeMarco Murray (123.0) has stayed healthy. Matt Forte (120.0) would be truly elite if he were ever given touches inside the red zone.
Wes Welker (6 TDs) is the luckiest WR in the history of the NFL and shame on everyone who didn't see this coming when he left the New England for Denver. Antonio Brown (106.5) is the beneficiary of the Steelers inability to run the ball, and DeSean Jackson (98.3) is back in top form under Chip Kelly.
Broncos TE Julius Thomas (59.3) and Bears TE Martellus Bennett (56.3) are getting fed in pass happy offenses, while Dolphins TE Charles Clay (68.0) does a little bit of everything including running the ball for Miami.
Killing your team
New era QBs Colin Kaepernick (214.0), Russell Wilson (196.8) and Cam Newton (192.3) are not very productive when they are not running the ball.
CJ Spiller (64.8) is being outplayed by Fred Jackson, and Ray Rice (44.3) couldn't do much with his two carries in the second half against the Bills. Every other second or third round RB (MJD, Ridley, Jackson, CJ2K, Wilson, etc) has been a total disaster.
Dwayne Bowe (37.0) has a game manager at QB, Eli can't get the ball to Hakeem Nicks (57.5), and Steve Smith (47.7) is averaging 10.21 yds on his 14 total receptions.
Finally, I told you to avoid the high priced TEs not named Graham and Jason Witten (48.0). Jermichael Finley (40.3), and Vernon Davis (45.3) have been average at best.