Hello all. Hopefully you’re one of the few, the proud, the fantasy healthy. Every week seems to bring more decimation to our rosters. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one who is snakebitten. In one league I have Santana Moss, Tim Hightower, Peyton Hillis, Beanie Wells, and Felix Jones all on the same team. Needless to say, I’m 2-5 despite having Tom Brady and Wes Welker on my roster. Anyway, we need less commiseration and more domination, so let’s see what you can do to plug some holes.
Lucky Week Sevens
Demaryius Thomas: The oft-injured first round pick showed some of his talent on Sunday despite the egregious ineptitude of quarterback Tim Tebow. The sacred one looked to Thomas six more times than any other receiver, giving the GT grad 10 total targets on the day (tied for 7th in the league). Unfortunately, D-Thom only managed to come down with three of those passes for 27 yards. The good news for Thomas owners, or prospective Thomas owners for that matter, was that he did catch a touchdown pass from five yards out. As an Eric Decker owner I was hoping for double digits after the ousting of Brandon Lloyd, but Black and Decker’s warranty may be up in the mile high city. Decker commanded only three targets for two catches and 21 yards. Tebow’s presence should force even the most steadfast to shy away a bit from the Bronco receiving core, but at least Thomas appears to have the greatest upside going forward. He’s worth a grab in most leagues.
Davone Bess: Bess led all NFL receivers with 12 targets last week and he finally showed why he was a PPR sleeper in the offseason. Though never a guy who is going to rack up significant yardage (around 10 YPC the last four seasons), Bess has proven PPR serviceable, catching 79 and 76 passes the last two seasons, respectively. His seven receptions for 52 yards were season highs and his role seems to have increased slightly with the insertion of Matt Moore into that horrid Dolphin offense. Moore at least appears to be more accurate than Henne, both statistically and to the naked eye, which bodes well for a sharp route runner like Bess. Don’t expect touchdowns out of this guy and don’t roster him in anything other than a PPR league, but dare I say he could be a decent stop gap receiver in the future. I like him this week against the Giants and really against anybody, as it is clearly apparent that the Dolphins are going to be throwing the ball, a lot.
Steve Breaston: I’ve written about Breaston a couple of times in recent weeks and once again, he put up flex respectable numbers. His nine targets were second to Bowe, as were his five receptions for 64 yards. Bowe knows #1, but it seems like Cassel and the K.C. coaching staff know that Breaston is the clear #2. He seems healthy and it looks like Baldwin still has a long ways to go before he can challenge the veteran. The Chiefs play San Diego on Monday night and the Chargers just gave up three touchdowns to the Jets’ #2 receiver Plaxico Burress. He’s a sneaky flex play for those dilapidated by byes and injuries.
Darrius Heyward-Bey: Despite the absolutely despicable quarterbacking of Boller and Palmer last Sunday, Run-DHB stood out as the Raiders go to guy, commanding 11 targets (six more than the next man). He also accounted for 1/3 of all receptions (5/15) and ½ of all receiving yards (89/177). I consider DHB a solid WR2 going forward and if McFadden misses any time, he will become even more valuable. Some owners may drop him due to Palmer’s poor play or the impending bye week. Be there to scoop him up if they do.
Brandon Lloyd: Even with A.J. Feely at the helm, Lloyd leaped out of the gates with a six catch, 74 yard performance in his first game as a Ram. He also commanded a league high 12 targets which was six more than Denario Alexander, his nearest teammate. After only one week I think it’s clear that Lloyd is going to be a big part of Josh McDaniels’s gameplan. I like him a lot going forward and with Jackson fully healthy I’m expecting that Rams offense to pick it up a bit in the coming weeks. Though he’s not available, he’s a nice guy to add on to a trade deal. Remember, as bad as the Rams are, they can’t be any worse than the Broncos.
Antonio Brown: He’s back, and lo and behold, he has his picture featured on the cover of yahoo’s fantasy homepage. Called it, but no one likes a bragger. He once again led the team with nine targets and added seven receptions for 102 yards. I will admit that it is a bit disconcerting that he has not found the end zone once this year. You can look at this one of two ways. He’s either a) not a part of the red zone game plan (pessimist), or b) long overdue for a score. I’m going to be an optimist and say he’s long overdue. Besides, he has put up respectable fantasy numbers in all but two games this year and the Steelers have a receiver friendly matchup this week against the porous Pats. Play him already!
Michael Jenkins: I’m man enough to admit when I’m wrong and I admit that I’ve been skeptical of Jenkins despite his production this year. On Sunday he put up another solid performance by catching three of his team high eight targets for 111 yards and a score. Berrian, though not listed on any injury reports, was a game time scratch, and once again, something seems to be ailing Percy Harvin. These two facts, coupled with the strong performance of Ponder against a great NFL defense (though admittedly weaker than last year) leads me to believe that Jenkins does have a fantasy future. Besides, in standard scoring leagues, Jenkins ranks 36th among wide receivers in fantasy point per game (7.3), which though not great, is still ahead of the likes of Santana Moss, Santonio Holmes, and Reggie Wayne. How many of you have been starting those guys week in and week out?
James Jones: He was still strong even though he was held out of the end zone for the first time in four weeks. His four catch, 63 yard performance was once again a notch better than competitor Jordy Nelson who also had four targets and four catches, but only 52 yards. Over the last five weeks, Jones and Nelson are tied for catches (17) with Jones having more yards (310) and one more touchdown (3 to 2) in that span. Nelson has a slight edge in targets (22 to 25) but I’m starting to like Jones a little more than Nelson even though Rodgers is more likely to take shots to Nelson downfield. I’ve been starting him over guys like Lance Moore and Nate Burleson and it’s been paying off.
Fred Davis: Once again a strong performance (5, 80, 1td, team high 8 targets) and Cooley done for the year.
Vincent Jackson: Despite having a team high eight targets, Jackson was once again rendered useless. Following a three catch 34 yard performance last week with a one catch 15 yard performance this week, owners are wondering if Jackson’s next trick will be a total disappearing act. Rivers has been dreadful and Jackson doesn’t look explosive. If you’re an owner, he has absolutely no trade value and you can’t drop him so the only thing you can do is be patient. Maybe I have too much faith in Rivers, possibly because I own him, but one would think they’d have to straighten things out eventually. Despite his woes, I like Jackson as a slight risk, high reward trade venture.
Chris Ogbonnaya: Though Hardesty is the one earning hard yardage, Chris O is the one getting receiving looks out of the backfield (five catches, 43 yards). He even averaged five yards a carry as a runner (3, 15). If Hillis disappoints us all again by sitting out, I like the big O as a super desperate deep league PPR play.
Jabar Gaffney: Gaffney has actually been more productive than Moss this season anyway and with Santana sidelined for 5-7 weeks, you can count on Gaffney being the #1 inWashington. Last week he had four catches for 68 yards on 8 targets.