During the season, I will be spotlighting a player who is either on the cusp of your starting line-up for the week, or someone I see that needs some light shed on him due to match-up, man-scaping ability, or because I see something someone doesn’t.  This week we shed the spotlight on Markus Wheaton.  Basically being drafted as a WR3/4 in the vast majority of places, he is a maybe-start for most people.  Well, I am here to learn you some stuff about the second fiddle now in the city with ‘tree rivers.  Let’s start with the obvious…  Antonio Brown is as legit a number one receiver as there is in the league.  That’s a good thing, because they play the Browns, and have a top shutdown corner who they like to shadow all across the field on number one receivers.  So Haden covers Brown, but it should be noted that I’ve heard rumors to the contrary, and that Haden might be all over the field.  To tell ya the truth, I am not buying it at all.  He is a shut-down corner, is paid like one, and will try to take Brown away from the under-rated Steeler passing attack.

So now that we completely didn’t even talk about Wheaton in the first paragraph, you’re probably confused as all get out.  I will tell you why the second WR that plays against Cleveland is a smart play.  Last season, the second receiver that opposed the Browns, obviously that wasn’t covered by Haden, enjoyed great success.  Now I can dig that the Browns brought in a stud first round draft pick in Justin Gilbert, but he isn’t Joe Haden yet.  So take a look at the chart; here it’s last year’s 16 games and the 2nd receiver on each squad.

Name Targets Rec Yards TD
Brian Hartline  14  9  114  1
Marlon Brown  6  4 45 1
Greg Jennings  6  3  43  0
Mohammed Sanu  6  3 19 0
Robert Woods 12 5 64 0
Kris Durham 13  8  83 0
Jarrett Boykin  10  8 103 1
Donnie Avery  5  3 31 0
Marlon Brown 9 5 54 2
Mohammed Sanu 5 2 11 1
Emmanuel Sanders 7 6 52 1
Ace Sanders 11 8 67 0
Danny Amendola 8 4 36 1
Alshon Jeffrey 5 5 72 1
Jeremy Kerley 11 5 70 0
Emmanuel Sanders 5 2 26 0

80 catches, 890 Yds, 9 Tds.  That’s what they yielded to the second receiver on each team throughout their last 16 games.  It’s fairly obvious that teams like to take advantage of the opposite guy from Haden.  Now I understand the skepticism with Markus, only 6 receptions for 64 yds last season, but look at the bevy of veterans he was playing behind (Brown, Sanders, Cotchery).  He is the second fiddle now for a team that featured a top-10 offense in passing, passing attempts, passing TD, completion %… you’re getting the point here– the Steelers are under-rated at throwing it.

So lastly, why I really love Wheaton, for not only this game, but as a great value for the entire year– there is no savvy veteran that is coming in here to spell the youngster.  It’s his car now.  If he messes it up, it’s his own fault.  He is basically a clone of (but 4 years younger than) Emmanuel Sanders.  Height, weight, speed.  Sanders got targeted in the NFL 112 times (which is in the top-30 for those looking).  That’s more than Keenan Allen and myself combined.  The options behind Markus are all types of banged up for this game.  Martavius Bryant and Lance Moore are most likely to miss the game on Sunday, leaving Darius Heyward-Bey and Justin Brown.  Yeah, I like the chances that Mr. Wheaton gets fed the ball a lot during the game.

Prognosticator Me Says:  9 targets, 6 catches, 74 yards and 1 touchdown.

  1. Steve says:
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    Would u drop Ingram or Moreno to pick up
    starks(lacy) or dwyet(Ellington )
    Or drop both and try to pick up both
    Thanks!!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Steve: I’d hold Dwyer isn’t exactly a barn burner and more of a in line runner. I am intrigued with how Ingram will be utilized for now it’s def a hold.

  2. Steve says:
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    Would U start decker or Justin hunter over Keenan Allen this week?
    Concerned w Patrick Peterson
    10 team standard
    Thx

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Steve: ehh. U drafted Allen as a no nonsense one or two. I don’t think you can bench him. Peterson should be covering him but I can see him on Floyd a lot in the gane also.

  3. kisses says:
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    I just swapped McFadden for Wheaton so I am also looking forward to him living up to whatever hype has been created.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @kisses: nice. Dmc is more of a walking now instead if a run.

  4. Clint says:
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    Wheaton intrigues me given what the Steelers have produced at WR in recent years but the fact Matthew Berry likes him a lot makes me a bit squeamish to commit to his breakout potential.

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Clint: well I throw darts at like 5-10 guys he throws about 60. So his odds look better. He is a smart guy though, but I don’t read the conglamarite’s articles.

  5. Rocky says:
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    Wheaton is right near the top of my favorite WR 2/3’s this season along with Hunter, Randle, T. Williams, Hopkins and Sanders. Also think that Jennings, Malcom Floyd and Boldin are undervalued this year based upon ADP or auction value.

    Having a bit of anxiety in my big money auction league. Got into a bidding war early for Gio and won him at $41 (for comparison, M Ball went for 46, Lacy 59, Forte 57, Shady 67, Charles 59, AP 63, Ellington 40, all early) only to see potential bargains Beast Mode (43), Vereen (who I love this year, 17), R. Jennings (23), and D Martin (38) go later.

    My current roster is:
    QB – Rodgers
    RB – Murray
    RB – Gio
    WR – Dez
    WR – Torrey Smith
    Flex – Ruben Randle
    TE – Gates
    BN – J. Stewart, Jennings, T. Austin, Dunbar, Michael, and taking a flier on Josh Gordon until the HGH testing decision comes in
    K – Tucker
    DST – Philadelphia, GB

    Don’t love my depth and honestly am not that confident in Gio meeting expectations this season. Trying to put together a Gio based package and definitely need some advice on these potential deals. Thanks in advance!

    Gio/T. Austin for Vereen/D. Hopkins
    or
    Gio/Gates/Stewart/T.Austin for Ingram/Dwyer/J. Reed/J. Hunter
    or
    Gio/Jennings for D. Martin/Wheaton

    Thoughts?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Rocky: I like the last one because I think Marton has a big year. Hate bidding wars people should realize the guy is yours before it gets out if hand.

  6. Joe says:
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    Howdy smokey!

    I have Wheaton on my bench would you start him this week at flex (10 team h2h points .20 ppr)

    If not Wheaton my other options go as followed:

    MJD vs jets

    Gerhart vs Philly

    Kelvin Benjamin vs Bucs (but I may end up starting him in place of Crabtree if crab is a late scratch since they both have 4:25 kickoffs)

    Kenny Britt vs vikes

    Aaron Dobson vs fins

    & lastly add any of this from free agency to either keep as depth or maybe to start at flex:

    Jon Dwyer vs chargers

    Stephan Taylor vs chargers

    Andre Caldwell

    Cody latimer

    Benny Cunningham

    Or Ahmad Bradshaw

    Thanks!

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Joe: start Wheaton, grab Dwyer first, Cunningham second not over Wheaton. Live by the Wheaton die by the Wheaton.

  7. Ryno says:
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    Thoughts on Gordon? I personally don’t think he’s leaving his car salesman job do you?

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @Ryno: I would love to party with him, but for fantasy why run the roster risk.

      • Ryno says:
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        @Smokey: thx I didn’t think so either

  8. goodfold2 says:
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    best use of roster space with this. PPR with only 2 WR/2RB/1TE/1Flex (non TE/QB flex). .1 pt per return yard.
    stacy/murray/c.johnson/ivory/freeman/Run BB MC
    julio/patterson (returns)/wright/jacoby (returns)/stills
    pitta
    which of Run BB MC/Cunningham (handcuff value)/Gordon (super star bench gamble)

    • Smokey

      Smokey says:
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      @goodfold2: i think i would gamble on Cunningham or Gordon

  9. goodfold2 says:
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    hey streamers, if in fact Petit keeps his job,he has probably the best schedule there is left in year
    vs ARI, vs LAD, @ SD, vs SD.

    • goodfold2 says:
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      @goodfold2: oops, thought i put this in Grey’s post, only noticed it when somebody asked a Petit question and i couldn’t find it.

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