What’s up folks? Good luck to all of you during the mad rush to the playoffs and may all of your fake players play really well. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises on the target front this week so what I’m going to do is try to give you some insight into guys I like given their trends and performances over the last few weeks.
Laurent Robinson-I’ve been writing about him a lot over the last few weeks and it’s for good reason. At this point he should not be available in your league, but if he is, he needs to be given paramount priority. According to Jerry Jones, Austin is close to returning but he has stressed that they do not want to rush Miles along, stating, “there is a lot of football left.” With the Giants loss on Monday night, the Cowboys command a comfortable lead in the division and despite Austin’s progress, I would be surprised if he played this weekend, especially given the production of Robinson. That being said, I really believe that Robinson has carved out a permanent role in this offense regardless of Austin’s health and he has clearly been Romo’s favorite target over the last few weeks. Some startling stats on Robinson: he has five touchdowns in his last three games, catching 14 passes for 186 yards in that span. His 12 targets on Sunday were seven more than second best Jason Witten. Over the last three weeks, Robinson is tied for 8th among NFL receivers with 26 targets and he is averaging the most fantasy points per game over that same span (16.2 standard scoring). The point is that Robinson is not only putting up WR1 numbers, he is also receiving WR1 opportunities as he consistently leads the team in targets week to week. Don’t sit this guy until further notice.
Percy Harvin-Harvin was a big part of the struggling Vikings’ offense Sunday, catching all eight of his targets for 95 yards and a score. He also carried the ball five times for 11 yards. Harvin has a lot going in his favor: he is healthy; Ponder is relatively productive; the Vikings will almost always play from behind, and perhaps most importantly, AP is likely out, according to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, with a high ankle sprain. I like Harvin a lot this week due to his versatility against a Denver D that can be run on.
Mike Williams (TB)-for all intents and purposes, Mike Williams has had a very disappointing year. Heralded as a preseason WR1/2 Williams has managed only 52 receptions for 573 yards and three touchdowns on the year. Williams is also kind of an enigma when it comes to targets vs. production. He is ninth on the year among WRs in total targets with 98, but he is only ranked 41st in fantasy points per game (6.8), tied with James Jones. Thankfully for Williams’s owners, his production has recently matched his target opportunities. Tied for fifth in receiver targets over the last three weeks with 27, Williams is 12th in fantasy points per game, averaging 11 in standard scoring leagues. He has posted nearly identical stats the last two weeks, catching six passes for 84 yards and a score this week and seven catches for 83 yards and a score last week. I’m banking on the Williams of new showing up this week against Carolina.
Stevie Johnson-he shot himself in the leg, crashed a jet, and dropped a key fourth quarter pass, but when it was all said and done, Johnson looked like the one we used to know, posting gaudy numbers despite being stranded on Revis Island. His eight catch, 75 yard and one touch performance on 13 targets was particularly impressive considering the number of missed opportunities he had. I’m not as high on him as I am the three guys listed above him, but to do what he did against Revis gives me faith that he still has the ability to light up opposing defense. However, in his two games prior, Johnson managed only four total catches so I’m not a total buyer on Johnson. Despite his 26 targets over the last three weeks (8th), his fantasy points per ring in at a paltry 5.3.
Avant, Celek, Cooper-the three amigos in Philly have been fantasy relevant even with their team losing and their starting quarterback sidelined. Avant amassed eight catches for 110 yards and a touch on a magnanimous 14 targets and Celek didn’t do too bad either, catching five of his six targets for 75 yards. Avant and Celek seem to have really benefitted from Vince Young’s proclivity to pass from the pocket as he is hitting these guys on intermediate routes and checkdowns. According to the Eagles’ official site, Vick will not play Thursday barring a miracle so Avant and Celek should be in line for more work yet again. Celek is a bit more appealing than Avant given the lack of competition at his position and I expect Young to lean on him heavily against the stingy, run-stopping defense of the Seattle Seahawks. I actually like Celek over guys like Olson and Ballard this week. Maclin is also out for Thursday’s game which means Cooper is in line for yet another start. He had five targets last week, catching three for 71 yards and I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw seven or eight this week, giving him potential for flex consideration.
Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox-the chemistry Earl exhibited with Cutler seems to be gone with Hanie, as Bennett caught only one of his four targets for five yards. Knox, on the other hand, put up big numbers for the second week in a row, catching four of his team high ten targets for 145 yards and a score. Over his last two games Knox has been good for seven catches, 244 yards, and two scores. I’m willing to cut Hanie a bit of slack with it being his first game of the year but it’s hard to argue that Knox is on fire and deserves serious consideration this week against K.C.