Hola Razzballians. We are finally starting to settle in to the NFL season. At this point you should be expecting some trends to develop, but many trenders were tarnished in week three (see the law office of Green,Davis, Simpson, Burleson, and Branch). Trying to predict what will happen in this crazy fake sport is like trying to prevent Christopher Walken from playing the creepy guy in every movie he’s in. It’s just not happening, but let’s try anyway.
This Week’s Studs
Andre Caldwell-seeing more playing time as a result of Jerome Simpson’s impending jail time, Caldwell showed why he has a chance to be the most consistent target in the Bengal passing game. With Green up and down (5 targets, 4 rec., 29 yards in week three) Caldwell filled the gap by garnering 12 targets (5th in the league) for 6 receptions and 53 yards. Unless Simpson’s munchies allow him to eat the mountain of evidence against him, you should expect consistency from Caldwell in the future. Some of you may remember his sporadic production a year ago when he played third fiddle to the T.Ocho show. I see him as a solid flex play this week in what should be a shootout with the Bills, or at least one team shooting out the Bengals and the Bengals shooting blanks. Either way, he should see a lot of targets. If Simpson is sidelined, I like Caldwell as a solid flex/WR 3 going forward.
Michael Jenkins-Cagey drafters may have taken a flier on Jenkins in hopes that he would work his way to a solid spot in the tenuous Vikings pass game, only to drop him after two weeks of lackluster production. Tied for 8th in the league with 11 targets, Jenkins joyously jumped on nine of those passes, gaining 88 yards. Personally, I’m not as confident in his sustained production as I am, in say, Caldwell or Sidney Rice’s, but you can bank on a few facts: McNabb will need mcthrow it, a lot; Bernard Berrian is an abomination, and Percy Harvin’s headaches will frustrate fantasy owners at least a handful of times this season. Keep your eye on him.
Sidney Rice-Those who drafted Rice in hopes that his talent would overcome Tavaris Jackson’s lackthereof, were finally rewarded when Rice played his first game of the season on Sunday, putting up a respectable eight catch, 109 yard performance on 10 targets. As bad as Jackson is, his chemistry with Rice is apparent and he now goes from easily droppable to damn near must startable. It’s one game, but his talent is undeniable and barring any injury setbacks, he is a guy I would like to have in my lineup.
Antonio Brown-Once again, he wasn’t blowing anybody away but after week one I wrote about Brown as the guy to eventually take the number two spot from Hines Ward and he is finally starting to take over that role. Targeted more times than Mike Wallace, Brown led the team with eight targets, capitalizing on four for 75 yards. Ward was warranted a dismal four targets (3 catches, 17 yards), and Colonel Sanders sauntered in with five (2 catches, 21 yards). Don’t wait until Brown explodes for a 100 plus yard, two touchdown game. Get him before they start writing about him on ESPN and Yahoo. In short, ask yourself this question: what can Brown do for you?
Torrey Smith-Torrey exploried the end zone on his first three catches and as a result he is a guy that is suddenly on everyone’s radar. I will say that his talent is undeniable and he is a guy I was watching in the preseason along with Tandon Doss, but I do believe that if healthy, Evans will be a big play guy in Raven offense who can steal some targets. The upside, however, clearly belongs to Torrey Smith and the way Flacco is throwing the ball, Smith is worth a waiver shot. He had 8 targets, catching five for 152 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Dane Sanzebacher-“and we’ll order it from” Sanzebacher, “and then I’ll f-ing love him completely and then I’ll…” hopefully you get the Tenacious D reference with some strong liberties with the lyrics. Now I would not endorse a strong waiver push for Sanzebacher, but he seems to be the primary red zone target for Cutler over the last two weeks and he sets up nicely for a stopgap play against the Panthers. As long as the Bears’ receiver roster looks like a platoon from Apocalypse Now, desperate owners looking to fill in a flex might think about being a member of the Dane Gang.
Titus Young-the young man certainly put up a Titan performance against the Vikings, catching four passes for 51 yards on 8 targets. I’d would be hard pressed to put him into any starting lineups but Burleson owners (I being one, twice over) should beware of this young upstart. Burleson bombed with two catches on two targets for 12 yards as Titus stole his thunder time and time again. He is guy to possibly snag off of free agency who could start peaking over the next few weeks. He’s a man to keep an eye on for sure.
Brandon Pettigrew-Pettigrew looked like he had Mackey pedigree in the Lions comeback against the ‘Vikes. Leading all tight ends with 13 targets, Pettigrew pulled in 11 catches for 112 yards. The only problem with Pettigrew is shifty Scheffler who happened to command only one target. Though research has shown that Pettigrew is the one Lion TE to own, I’ve been trying to notice a target trend with these two for over a year and I just can’t seem to nail it down. Despite the big game, I would be reluctant to call Pettigrew a TE1 but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a decent play against Dallas next week.
Rob Gronkowski-‘nuff said.
James Casey-Owen owners were psyched to see some production with his five catch, 76 yard, and one touchdown performance, but even his long awaited awakening was no match for upstart James Casey. Dropping hits like Casey Kasem, James jammed one of his seven targets in for a score, totaling five catches for 126 yards. I’d love to say that I saw this coming, but I certainly did not. The athlete from Rice played FB and TE, getting some runs out of the backfield and getting open for big plays. An athlete this versatile is extremely valuable in our fake sport so I would certainly grab him if I were struggling at TE and I would keep a close eye on him even I weren’t.
Ben Watson-Watson proved that champing the fantasy sports world is indeed elementary, catching five of his 10 targets for 64 yards. Just when it looked like Evan Moore (3 targets, 2 catches for 19 yards) was more than opposing defenses could handle, Watson reminded us of why he was a serviceable TE a year ago. To be honest with you, I don’t like either guy unless you’re absolutely desperate, and if so I tend to like the youth and athleticism of Moore over the caginess of veteran Ben Watson. Though McCoy is proving to be a serviceable real life QB, he doesn’t lead a very good fake QB life and thus he and his minions of receivers and tight ends are of no use to us.
Earnest Graham-those desperate to fill a flex in PPR leagues may want to earnestly consider taking a bite of the Graham cracker. Through three games Graham ranks fourth behind only Mike Tolbert, Darren Sproles, and Matt Forte in receiving targets and he is tied for third among running backs with 20 total receptions. His yardage total (116) is nothing too impressive and neither is fact that he has failed to reach the endzone, but a nearly seven catch average should be enticing for PPR owners struggling for consistency.
Darren Sproles-Spoles, in all honesty, is the most valuable fantasy running back on the Saints roster. Due in large part to his work as a receiver, Sproles is number one in targets and number two in receptions among running backs through three games. He’s a guy that may not be in a lot of starting lineups, but PPR buffs may be able to get him cheap for now. Beware, however; he will not be flying under fantasy radar for much longer.
Santonio Holmes– two targets for one catch and 19 yards. He looked like he wasn’t even trying and on Sunday Sanchez threw more dump passes to Tomlinson than Charlie Sheen blew lines. The Jets need to take the reigns off “Sanchize” soon, before Holmes owners go fantasy homeless.
Nate Burleson-two targets for two catches and 12 yards. Once thought to be a rock solid WR3, the youth of Titus Young may be getting to Burleson.
Deion Branch-it’s hard to predict what Brady is going to do with the ball, but on Sunday against the Bills he certainly wasn’t sharing it with Branch. Branch put up goose eggs for receptions and yards after receiving only three targets.
Danario Alexander-just give up on trying to figure out Rams’ receivers. Alexander led the team with eight targets but caught only two passes for 28 yards.
Marcedes Lewis-looking more like a Plymouth Horizon hatchback than a Mercedes, Lewis has garnered only five targets, capitalizing on quatro for 43 yards. The first cut is the deepest. Say goodbye my friends.
Fred Davis-I picked him up in three leagues and told you to do the same only to see him catch one measly pass to Cooley’s four. After week one I argued that Cooley would steal his targets when healthy and after week two I argued that it wouldn’t matter how healthy Cooley was. Just call me Eggo because I am waffling hardcore with Davis. I don’t think you should drop Davis if you took the time to sacrifice a claim for him, but we should monitor this situation going forward.