Wasabi Razzballers? Hopefully you’re staying alive through week five. Week six is really the week that desperate owners need to make a move in order to avoid that catastrophic 1-5 or 2-4 start that almost certainly spells doom for your fantasy playoff hopes. With bye weeks looming, you need to take advantage of the waiver wire guys more than ever and once again we’re here to help you do that.
Week five was a strange week with many guys either coming out of the woodwork to produce big games (i.e. Baldwin, Battle, Hill, Dreesen, Avant, Roosevelt) or guys finally living up to preseason or early season hype (i.e. Breaston, Jones, Floyd, Doucet, Garcon). As always, it’s more important to predict who will come up big in the future, rather than dwell on the past so here we go.
The Feisty Fivers
Doug Baldwin-despite being listed as number four on the depth chart, Baldwin has been the most productive Seahawk wide receiver this season, putting up respectable fantasy numbers in weeks one, four, and five, and he is averaging 10.1 fantasy points per game (standard scoring). Last week Baldwin went big with eight catches, 136 yards and a score. He was also second on the team in targets with 9 (Obamanu) and he really seemed to benefit from the absence of Mike Williams and the injury to Tavaris Jackson. Jackson, however, should be back next week but Williams has been dinged up all year so that is something to pay attention to. Though I don’t see many games like he had in week five in his future, Baldwin could be a good flex play week seven against the Browns. Seattle is on bye this week so you may be able to stash him in free agency if you have the space. I don’t think Baldwin has an incredibly high ceiling, but again, he’s a decent flex play in the bye week season.
Victor Cruz-the cat’s out of the bag with ole Victor but it’s worth talking about his production anyway. He once again stole the show last week from his terrifically touted teammates by producing eight catches for 161 yards and a touchdown on his team high 11 targets. Over the last three weeks, only Welker has more receiving yards (499 to 369) and only Calvin “all he does is catch touchdowns” Johnson (sorry C.C.), Dwayne Bowe and Pierre Garcon have more TD’s (5, 4, 4 to 3, respectively). It’s hard not to drink the Cruzaid but it is interesting to point out that Manningham also had a solid day (5, 56, 9 targets) and he played in the majority of 2 WR formations. Cruz is making some ridiculous plays, which begs the logical man to question whether or not he can keep it up from week to week. I, for one, think that he has reached his ceiling and if I owned Cruz I would sell him high all day. If I could get a guy like Darren Sproles for Cruz in a PPR league, I would laugh all the way to the fantasy playoffs.
Pierre Garcon-Painter is looking like a French surrealist and Garcon is his latest masterpiece. After two straight two touchdown games, Garcon is 10th in targets over the last three and he has put up a total of 353 yards and 13 catches in that span. He seems to be benefiting from the fact that teams are simply forgetting about him as they focus on stopping Wayne and stacking the box to ward of Addai. I like Garcon going forward but Wayne has still commanded more targets and like Cruz, I think Garcon’s ceiling is as high as it is going to get.
Jared Cook-two weeks ago he cooked the Browns with a huge 80 yard touchdown grab and I cautioned you all to hang back and wait to see if Jared is cooking filet mignon or Banquet Chicken (yeah, I know, I like Banquet Chicken too but come on). This time around, he proved to be a big part of the Tennessee passing attack, commanding 9 targets (2nd to Damien Williams) and catching four passes for 59 yards. I still don’t like him as a safe TE1 but I do like him as a solid TE2 so we’ll see if the Titans figure out how to use him more in their week seven game against the Texans. It is, however, fair to note that the Titans were down early to the Steelers and were therefore forced to throw more than usual (Hasselbeck threw it 49 times compared to 20 against the Browns), which undoubtedly led to more looks for Cook.
Javon Ringer-I’m not going to read too much into this but Munchak has been talking for weeks about getting Ringer more involved in the offense. Those in a PPR league should note that he had six targets to Johnson’s three and Ringer hauled in six passes for 16 yards. Nothing too special but just a little F.Y.I. If you like to roster a lot of backup runningbacks like I do, Ringer is a decent one to have.
The Texans A.J. (after Johnson)-Everyone was speculating about where Schaub would go with the football after Johnson went down, and despite some big statistical games to the likes of Dreesen and Walter, the race to AJ air apparent is still a bit muddled. Walter stepped up with five catches for 81 yards and a td on six targets yet Jacoby Jones led all Texans with 11 targets. Unfortunately for those who chose Jones over Walter, Jacoby hauled in only one catch for nine yards. Dreesen, the team’s number 2 TE, snagged five catches for 112 yards and a td on nine targets and Arian Foster stole five catches for 116 yards on seven targets. There are a lot of baffling statistics in this paragraph and in my debatably expert opinion I am going to predict the following: Dreesen’s performance is an anomaly and if you had to start a WR I would still start Jones over Walter. Houston plays Baltimore this week and you know they will need to air it out. A risk/reward play would be putting Jones or Walter in the flex.
Darius Heyward-Bey-we’ve been waiting years for Bey to live up to his talent but now we’re realizing that we were really waiting for the Raiders to be respectable. Now that they are, starting wide receiver Darius the hyphenator is producing. See his seven catch 99 yard and one TD performance last week and his four catch 115 yard performance against NE a week before. Last week he received 12 targets, five more than any Raider receiver and over the last three weeks, the big D has racked up 22 targets, as many or more than Greg Jennings, Vincent Jackson, Desean Jackson, Brandon Lloyd, Steve Johnson, Santana Moss, Jordy Nelson, and Mike Wallace. The seemingly pedestrian Jason Campbell is on pace to pass for 3,700 yards and Bey looks to be a prime time beneficiary. I like him as a bye week flex against the Browns this week.
Malcom Floyd-over the last two years, Floyd has proven one thing; the man can seriously blow an opportunity. Floyd at least rolled over in his slumber last week, catching three passes for 100 yards and a score. Though he is most likely owned in your league, he does have a bye coming up and he has only caught a total of seven passes in his last three games. He’s simply shown me too little for me to invest anything in him, regardless of the fact that Rivers is his quarterback.
James Jones-Jones is a guy I liked a lot as a late round sleeper before the draft but a healthy Jermichael Finley and a committee backfield has spread the cheese too thin in GB. However, despite the myriad of weapons at Rodgers’ disposal, James had his second straight productive week with a monster performance against the Falcons. He led the team in receptions with five, yards with 140, and he hauled in a score for the second time in as many weeks. Last week Jones caught three balls for 48 yards in addition to his score and it’s beginning to look like J.J. really does have a place in this offense. I think he’s being helped by Finley’s inability to catch passes and Driver’s age but in this offense he is always going to have upside. He outperformed the big three on Sunday night and a game at home against the Rams should be like taking candy from a baby.
Jason Avant-Avant looked like a savant against the Bills last week, catching nine passes for 139 yards on a team high 10 targets. The slippery slot man also had a productive week against the ‘Niners a week before, catching six passes for 69 yards. With Vick getting knocked around every play he is being forced to throw the ball early which benefits Avant. However, I still see Avant like I’ve always seen him, as a risk/reward PPR play with little upside. Play him at your own risk.
Naaman Roosevelt-the dead president came to life in the wake of Roscoe Parrish’s season ending injury, catching five passes for 41 yards on a team high seven targets. Though he won’t usurp Stevie as the Bills’ #1, he is a Buffalo man through and through. Born and raised in Buffalo, he also attended UB and now he’s a fan favorite in the all-American city. Fan favorite is not the same as fantasy favorite, however, and it’s still a bit early to crown him startable. An injury to Jones or Nelson would surely help his stock but sit back for now.
Early Doucet-After a great week one outing I urged you all to wait on Doucet but now I’m telling you to pounce. In his last three games he has the fourth most targets of any receiver in the NFL (28) and his stat lines read 5, 125 2tds; 2, 146, 2tds; 6, 82 yards respectively. Kolb is looking to him more often than Fitz and it seems insulting to call his relationship with Andre Roberts a competition. Roberts after all has only 12 targets over the last three weeks, no touchdowns and only 74 total receiving yards. It is no longer too Early to drop a Doucet on your roster and with a bye week in week 6, those who own him may be forced to drop him. Use your pooper scooper and pick him right up.
Steve Breaston-heralded in the preseason for his reunion with Todd Haley, Breaston and the Chief offense have emerged as of late. Breaston has now posted three straight respectable games in a row, the most recent of which he totaled 50 receiving yards on four catches and two touchdowns. Once again, he’s a guy you might be able to snag due to the bye week.