Hey sports fans; let’s see who’s on the target fairy’s good side for week 6.
Big Week Bruisers
Santonio Holmes: When asked if he learned anything from his four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy Holmes replied in an ESPN interview, “To look in your eyes and be honest with you, not 1%. I’ve been the same person since I stepped foot in this NFL, I’ll (continue) being the same person until I leave.” Though that wasn’t what parents and D.A.R.E. workers wanted to hear, faithful, patient owners are hoping that he is the same player he was last year when he caught 79 passes for over 1,200 yards and five touchdowns. Sanchez and Holmes’ timing was clearly a bit off Monday night but the good news is that Sanchez looked to him down the field on numerous occasions. He was targeted nine times in his season debut and that half step that wasn’t there Monday night will be there Sunday when the Jets take on the Broncos. Look for a big week and a big season from Holmes.
Danny Amendola: The great white hope has owners screaming, “Amen-dola.” Amendola is already 7th in receiver targets with 51 on the year and now that Clayton is gone from the picture Amendola should see his startling 10 plus targets per game average increase. When Clayton went down last week Amendola amassed a magnanimous 20 targets which he converted into 12 catches and 95 yards. Clearly Amendola has more value in a PPR league but it is interesting to note that he is fifth in the league in redzone targets with 8. Expect him to be a viable WR2/3 going forward. I also like Brandon Gibson to emerge as the starter alongside Amendola. Gibson had 6 targets of his own last week and he has the skill set to overtake Laurent Robinson on the depth chart. He is a guy to watch going forward.
Pierre Garcon: Coming off a three week hiatus Garcon led all Colts receivers with 14 targets (4th most in the league). The fact that Garcon was only able to convert on six of those targets for 57 yards was emblematic of rust and the (dare I say) stingy Chiefs defense. His production should continue to increase and it is relevant to note that Garcon, not Collie, was on the field in two receiver sets though this could be attributed Collie’s suspicious foot ailment. Either way, Garcon, who was clearly the preseason number two, should work his way back into the ranks nicely and have a huge game against the ‘Skins who rank 30th in pass yards allowed and who have also allowed seven passing touchdowns this season.
Michael Crabtree: I told you to go out and get him last week and those of you who made that move should be happy. Fourth in the league last week with 14 targets, Crabtree caught nine balls for 105 yards and a score. Look for his role to continue to increase and he returns to solid WR 2 status going forward. Expect him to have a big game against Oakland this weekend.
Anthony Armstrong: The 5’11” speedster has strong armed his way into the ‘Skins starting lineup and it doesn’t look like he is going anywhere any time soon. Shanahan has said that the upstart deep threat will play a larger role in the offense going forward. Armstrong was 19th in total targets (8) catching three passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 26.9 yards per catch in 2010 and he has a solid matchup against a mediocre Colts pass defense.
Nate Burleson: Burly McBurleson was beastly last week catching four balls for 56 yards and a touchdown. Burly took bracket coverage away from Megatron which seemed to help both Johnson and Burleson. Megatron’s propensity for injuring himself could help or hurt Burleson going forward but he will surely be in line for an expanded workload should Mega find himself feeling Mini this week. That being said, the meow meows face the top ranked pass defense in the New York Giants so use him only if desperate.
Devin Thomas: Thomas, who has been invisible this season after showing glimpses of greatness last year, was recently released by the ‘Skins and picked up by the Panthers. He certainly is not a guy to jump on right away, but it’s not unreasonable for him to work his way into the starting lineup sooner rather than later. Obviously the Panther pass attack needs to improve before you consider scooping him up, but Smith is another guy who has been bitten by the injury bug and they have to throw the ball to someone.
Lee Evans: Evans may experience a resurgence as the league’s smartest quarterback has proven to be an adept decision maker. The buzz right now is all about Steve Johnson who has been the Bills’ biggest touchdown beneficiary, reaching the endzone four times in the last three games. His chemistry with Fitz is certainly real, but Evans is still the more skilled receiver. Evans has more yards over that three game stretch and an equal number of receptions. Evans also has 22 targets to Evans’s 14 over the last three games. Though touchdowns are obviously important, targets are often an indicator of consistent production. I’m not telling you to discount Johnson, but don’t forget about Evans either. The Bills are on a buy this week and either one of these guys may be available via free agency or waivers.
Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid…Yet
Robert Meachem: Meager Meachem broke out of his touchdown slump last weekend but he has a long way to go before he’s worth the 7th round pick many owners gave him. After all, Meachem is fourth on the team in receiver targets and despite his production last week, he was only targeted four times, tying him with Lance Moore and slipping him behind Henderson and Colston. His upside is strong, but we need to see more out of the Saints anemic offense before you should consider putting him in your starting lineup.
Mike Sims-Walker: MSW got off the snide last weekend with four catches for 46 yards and a score. All four catches, however, came on the same drive and MSW was only targeted a total of five times. As an MSW owner I have tried to be patient with him, I have tried to argue that Mike Thomas is not the #1 receiver, and I, like the rest of you, have been continually disappointed. Thomas is clearly the go to guy, and if his nine more targets for the year in the pass game wasn’t enough, Thomas also carried the ball three times for 53 yards. I honestly like guys like Britt, Amendola, or even Armstrong this week over MSW, even against a bad Tennessee secondary.