Long-term, Short-term, and Stop-gap Action
Mike X. Williams-the X-man gashed up the gummy bears last week, torching them for ten catches and 123 yards on a monstrous 15 targets. Second in all receiver targets last week, Williams finally put up the numbers patient owners have been expecting since week 1. What’s to say Williams doesn’t slip once again into oblivion? The difference going forward is the absence of Deion Branch and a more successful run game. Williams is now in control of the number one spot and in control of his own destiny. Another concern has been his lack of touchdown production (0 on the year) but his size and leaping ability suggests that with his increase in targets, there will also come more goal line looks and more touchdowns. 15 out of his 34 targets and two of his four red zone targets came this past week. As a general rule, you can’t push all in after one big game but with the absence of Branch and the fact that he had 11 more targets than the next closest receiver bodes well for Williams going forward. Next week, he faces an Arizona secondary that has given up nine passing touchdowns and 241 yards per game through the air this year.
Bears Receivers-Mad Martz revealed last week that he had new plans for supposed number one receiver Devin Hester; he is to take on an even bigger role in the return game going forward. Last week that translated into Hester receiving only three targets, which was fewer than Knox (11), Bennett (6), and Aromashodu (5). This is awful news for Hester owners (unless you are in a return yardage league) but it opens the door for savvy owners to scoop up Bennett and Aromoshadu and make a move for hard Knox. Knox is obviously the gem of the group and his production should rise to preseason expectations. Aroma may not have the scent of greatness as he still sits behind Bennett on the depth chart but he still has more upside than Bennett and he is not a bad guy to stash in case he breaks out. Unfortunately, the Bears offensive line is like a bad Abbot Costello “who’s on first” skit. The right tackle is now the left tackle, the left tackle is now the right guard, the left guard is the right tackle; it’s more erratic than Cutler’s passer rating. That being said, they will pass the ball out of necessity because you know they can’t run it and the Bears face an awful Redskins secondary who have given up nine touchdowns and 298 passing yards a game this year.
Buster Davis-I may have had premature ebustulation when I put him as a guy to watch after week two but I’m here to back up my claim this week. With Floyd and Gates most surely out, Buster will have a chance to showcase his first round talent. Buster led all Chargers with eight receiving targets this week and with Crayton taking care of the possession receptions, Rivers will look to bust big plays with Buster this weekend when they face a poor Patriot secondary who have given up 11 passing touchdowns and 273 yards a game through the air.
Danario Alexander-The injury laden Rams called another lefty out of the bullpen last week in undrafted free agent Danario Alexander (Missouri). Alexander’s four catches for 72 yards were punctuated by a spectacular 38 yard touchdown grab. Target wise, Alexander was par for the course as his five targets tied him with touted teammate Amendola and supposed up and comer Brandon Gibson. Darnario’s 6’5” 221 pound frame certainly makes him a viable redzone option so it is perfectly reasonable for Alexander to be great in the future. He is certainly worth a pickup and he is a guy who can potentially help you right away, but I still like Amendola in PPR leagues going forward. Alexander is, however, a great stop gap option this weekend as the Rams face a Tampa team that has given up 10 touchdowns through the air in five games this season.
Deion Branch-The Branch hasn’t fallen far from Brady’s tree as the chemistry between the two looked circa 2005 last weekend. Luckily I scooped up Branch when we first heard rumors about a potential trade and if you are in any kind of competitive league that doesn’t limit waiver/free agent pickups, he is most likely gone too. However, if he is not you need to grab him as you know his connection with Justin Beiber, I mean Tom Brady, is no fluke. His twelve targets were tops on the team last week, edging out Welker’s 11 who will most likely suffer the most with the absence of Moss and the insurgence of Branch. Welker should remain relatively productive, especially in a PPR leagues, but if I owned him I would trade him for all the value I could get. Branch should yield WR 2 numbers going forward but he has a tough test this week against the top ranked pass defense in the San Diego Chargers. The Bolts have allowed only 164 yards per game through the air and are second in the league with 21 QB sacks. However, the Bolts have yet to face a truly potent pass offense and I would start Branch, in fact I am starting Branch, without hesitation.
Michael Jenkins-after missing the first five games with a shoulder injury, Jenkins exploded with a five catch 99 yard performance (career high in yardage). His 11 targets tied him with NFL target leader Roddy White and though it’s clear who the #1 man is in Hotlanta, it is just as clear that Jenkins is a powerful #2. Atlanta did play from behind against the Eagles the entire game which could account for his inflated number of targets, but Jenkins should be solid going forward provided he can stay healthy. This weekend the Falcons face an underrated Cincy pass D who have only allowed six passing touchdown so far this season.
Jason Avant-with Jackson suffering what looks to be a fairly severe concussion, Avant could be a great stop gap option for desperate owners on a bye. He made the most of his five targets last week, catching all five passes for 62 yards. Even with Jackson in the lineup, Avant has been productive and with Kolb starting again on Sunday, expect Avant to catch a lot of short to mid range routes that he could potentially turn into big gains. I like him a lot this week against a Tennessee defense who has given up 6 touchdowns through the air and 231 passing yards per game.
Guys I Mentioned Last Week Who You Should Still Snag
Nate Burleson-six catches, 50 yards and a touchdown. He had 10 targets (team high).
Mike Thomas-eight catches, 88 yards on nine targets. MSW had only two catches for 16 yards on eight targets.
Kenny Britt-two catches for 33 yards and a touchdown on a team high, yes team high, five targets. This doesn’t sound promising but Britt has scored in last four games and after Young went down they primarily ran the ball.
Anthony Armstrong-five catches for 46 yards on seven targets. He was officially named the starter this week though he has been starting for the last two weeks. He appears to be Donovan’s favorite deep threat.