Hola gang. Here are some quick target hits from week eleven.
Joe McKnight-McKnight earned himself a seat at the roundtable Thursday night with his 121 total yard performance (59 on ground, 62 through the air on six receptions). His role certainly increased with Tomlinson sidelined but when he got his opportunity,McKnight ran with it, singlehandedly sidelining teammate and perennial feature back Shonn Greene. Though it seems unlikely that Ryan will pencil him in as the starter, McKnight has certainly earned a heavier workload, and his production in the passing game should be particularly appealing to PPR owners. If Tomlinson is out again this weekend—which is likely—McKnight deserves serious flex consideration.
Kevin Smith-while we’re on the topic of running backs, we clearly need to make some sense of Smith’s 201 yard (140 ground, 61 air) three touchdown performance. Smith was mildly serviceable at the beginning of the 2009 season before again succumbing to the injuries that have plagued him throughout his career. The Pats were the only other team to even work him out this season as far as I know, and though he did have a strong workout it was hard to see this coming. I must admit that I’m a bit bitter because my opponent in my most competitive league had Foster on bye and numerous injuries and ended up playing Smith to the tune of 40 points. Needless to say, I lost that matchup and may even be out of the playoffs. Those looking to make a run in the playoffs may want to take a look at Smith too as Jahvid Best will most certainly be sidelined for weeks to come. P.S. starter Maurice Moore managed only 29 yards on seven carries and one reception for eight yards on one target. It is also fair to note that the Panthers have the worst run defense in the league. To say that his performance will not be typical is obvious, but as long as he gets the touches he’ll be fake football relevant. Ride him till he breaks down.
Kellen Winslow-Tampa Bay at least put up a fight against the undefeated champs and Winslow was a big part of it. His nine catches for 132 yards were best on the team, as were his 11 targets. The targets have not been an issue all year, as Winslow is second among tight ends for the season with 81, but his production in the fantasy world certainly has. He is top ten among tight ends in receptions and receiving yards but his two touchdowns have really held him out of the limelight. I have actually seen him dropped in a lot of leagues and given his numbers, he certainly has no shortage of upside.
Jordy Nelson-he’s no secret but the press he got this week reminded me of an SI article written in the early 90’s entitled, “When Men Can’t Run”, which lamented the downfall of the white receiver. The article chronicled the demise of guys like Dwight Clark and Steve Largeant and commented on how Tom Waddle was all the white guys had. I used to use the article in my Sports Rhetoric class as an example of clear rhetorical racism and now it’s come full circle. Interesting stuff. Anyway, what does make Nelson stand out from say, Wes Welker, is that he is a legitimate deep threat and overwhelming redzone target. Over his last three games, Nelson has 16 receptions for 291 yards and five touchdowns. He is also a bastion of efficiency as his 16 receptions came on only 18 targets. Teammate Greg Jennings has only managed 11 receptions for 84 yards and two touches in that same span. This homeboy’s on fire!
Raider receivers-I really need to stop pontificating about this mess, this disgrace, this true blackhole. DHB came out of the woodwork after a two game benching to lead the team with four receptions for 43 yards on five targets. Meanwhile, Darius seemed precarious, catching only one pass for 14 yards on two targets. Much like my proclamation with Bronco receivers a few weeks ago, I am officially abstaining from Raider receiver analysis until further notice.
Donte Stallworth-the recently re-signed receiver looked stalwart once again, catching four passes for 51 yards and one touchdown on six targets. His performance was second to Gaffney and Davis’ as I imagine it will be going forward, but with the promising young upstart Hankerson on I.R., Stallworth wants to party like it’s 2008. The biggest issue with playing a guy like Stallworth is undoubtedly the fact that Rex Grossman is his quarterback. However, Sexy Rexy has managed to pass for nearly 500 yards in his last two games, going for 289 and two scores last week against a pretty good defense. He’s certainly a desperation add but worth keeping an eye on.
Torrey Smith-Torrey stepped up yet again with a huge six catch, 165 yard and one td performance against a decent Bengal D. Boldin, on the other hand, was held to one reception and 35 yards, though he too managed to score. The most significant stat was the target differential, with Smith garnering seven and Boldin limping in with only two. Smith looks like the hot hand and with that tough Niners run D on the docket for Thursday, the Ravens will surely need to take it to the air. That being said, he is still a feast or famine kind of guy. I own him and I’m playing him, so I’m certainly counting on a Thanksgiving feast.
Jerome Simpson-with Green out, Simpson stepped up in a big way, catching eight of his 13 targets (third in the NFL) for 152 yards. If Green is out again (he is day to day) Simpson looks like a great plug and play against the Bengals in what is kind of a must win game for the big cats.
Riley Cooper-someone needed to step up with Maclin on the sidelines and this week and it was Cooper. Five catches for 75 yards and a game-winning td isn’t a bad stat line but I wouldn’t count on Riley ruffling any feathers in the future. However, if Maclin is out again, Cooper is another decent desperation play.
I Can Explain…
Damian Williams-I endorsed him fully last week, encouraging many of you to buy into the young playmaker and all I left you with was one catch for 16 yards. However, if you’ll recall, I liked Williams a lot for the fact that he should see a lot of targets and that did not change at all on Sunday as Williams commanded a team high 11 of them. If he’s dropped due to his performance I’m going to be bold and tell you to pick him up and play him against TB. In related news, Nate Washington had a monster day, catching all nine of his targets for 115 yards and two touchdowns. I know I’m not helping my argument but I still do like Williams going forward.
Laurent Robinson-the fact that he got in the endzone makes his paltry performance (four catches, 34 yards) somewhat acceptable, but many of you are left asking, “where’s the beef?” Once again I will point to the fact that he too had 11 targets, three more than second best Bryant. I still like him a lot going forward.
Vincent Brown-ok. I got nothing…sorry about that.