How art thou, Razzballians? Where art thou, fallen fantasy comrades? Even backups were sacrificed at the fantasy alter in week 8, leaving me to seriously consider picking up Chris Ogbonnaya with the third overall waiver claim. I must be crazy, but what the hell; at least I’m in good company.
Great in Week 8…or at least kind of serviceable…
Braylon Edwards-suffering the pangs of post traumatic knee surgery, it took Edwards until game time to decide to go on Sunday. I guess you could say he took his opportunity and ran with it, commanding seven targets (2nd to Crabtree’s 9) and catching four of those passes for 42 yards. The good news for prospective owners is that Edwards apparently felt no setbacks to his injury and as far as the passing game is concerned, there looks to be little in the way of competition. With only 14 targets over the last four games, Vernon Davis’s role in the new ‘Niners offense is nearly non-existent. Even Frank Gore, whose tales of studliness cannot be overdramatized, did not see a single target on Sunday. Even with Crabtree surging in his role as the undisputed #1 (24 targets, 14 catches, 1td in the last two games), there is certainly room enough for two to tango by the bay, and it doesn’t look like Davis is a very good dance partner.
Greg Little-the effort that McCoy is putting in to get Greg Little the ball is certainly not small. Over the last three weeks Little is third among receivers in passing targets with 30, trailing only Anquan Boldin (33) and Pierre Garcon (32). However, his production is in the cellar, as he produces only 4.4 fantasy points per game (standard). Once again, he was a target machine on Sunday, but he only caught four of his team high eleven targets for a pitiful 28 yards. It’s hard to not see the upside with Little, but it is hard to see the upside in that dreadful Cleveland offense. I like guys like Doug Baldwin and Early Doucet as flex pays over Little, despite the fact that he nearly laps those guys in targets. Quite an anomaly.
Denver Broncos-yeah yeah yeah. Those of you who took my advice and plugged in Thomas this week were surely disappointed. If his one catch, 10 yard and three target performance wasn’t bad enough, he was surpassed by the gossamer Eddie Royal who had six receptions for 41 yards and a humungoid 13 targets (team high). Decker also returned to form, catching six passes for 72 yards and a touch so it seems that we are in quite a pickle with this Bronco offense. I’m going to be a coward and tell you to avoid it altogether for now, but if you had to play one guy, Decker is the safest play. He’s been solid in every game but the last.
Percy Harvin-one of many fantasy busts this season, (see Chris Johnson, Peyton Hillis, Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Vincent Jackson, Jermichael Finley, etc.) Harvin look revived on Sunday, making plays on the ground and in the air. His five targets were tied for a team high (A.P.) and he managed to catch four passes for 58 yards and run three times for 15 yards and a score. The only thing left to Ponder is why this kid was sitting on the bench all this time. He looks confident, fresh, and energized and he could have the power to not only reinvigorate the Vikings, but Harvin’s fantasy value in general. It’s a bit risky, but his enormous upside for what you would have to give up to get him, makes him an interesting trade target.
Pittsburgh Steelers-the Steelers’ passing game looked great without Ward and once again, Brown was the biggest beneficiary. Tied for the NFL lead in targets with 15 (Garcon), Brown caught nine passes for 67 yards and a score. Teammate Emmanuel Sanders commanded the second most targets (8) and caught five passes for 70 yards and a score. It was clear that the Pats focused heavily on taking Wallace out of the game (7 for 70) which is what most teams are going to do. As long as Ward is out, Sanders is a decent flex play, but even with Ward healthy, Brown is going to be very hard to sit, regardless of league depth.
Kevin Faulk-Belichick’s favorite minion was back for the first time since the beginning of last year and he immediately showed why his versatility is so valuable to the Pat’s offensive scheme. Faulk earned his paycheck last week, cashing in on all five of his targets for 20 yards and rushing for 32 yards on six carries to law firm’s 9 yards on five. Given the nature of the Pat’s running game I’m not going to get too excited about Faulk’s performance. He is the same player he has always been and I think he’ll be the same fantasy player he’s always been, meaning he will give you some weeks of serviceability and some weeks where he’ll disappear. I can’t imagine him carrying the ball on the goal line (though he did catch a two yard out on the goal line) and therefore I can’t see him overtaking BGE’s role in the ground game long term. He is a decent play for desperate owners in a PPR league, but, to me, his insertion into the game plan simply devalues other Patriot’s position players.
Jake Ballard-the book of Eli is all about preaching the pass game and so far there has been enough of the Big Apple to go around. Ballard was fourth on the team with 7 targets, catching four for 55 yards. This is the third week in a row that he has put up respectable fantasy numbers (5, 81; 3, 72, 1td in the last two, respectively) and he is a promising bye week filler and potential starter going forward. Pettigrew and Olson owners may want to take note this week.
Greg Salas-the slot man seems more and more comfortable each week and he put up another decent fantasy day, nabbing five passes for 47 yards on six targets (2nd). Though he had a forgettable performance week 7 (2, 33) he was solid in week six (8, 77) and he could end up benefiting from Lloyd’s presence, who will open up opportunities underneath. I think he’ll always be a somewhat risky flex play, but he’s a guy I like against Arizona this week.
Lance Moore-Moore had only his second decent game of the year this past Sunday, catching seven of his team high nine targets for 74 yards and a garbage time score. As a fellow Lance Moore owner I almost wish he didn’t have a good game. I was a hair away from dropping him last week and now I’ll probably hang on to him while he grows cobwebs on my bench or kills me as a starter. I, like many of you, saw his potential on draft day, but the emergence of Sproles and Graham have prevented any kind of consistency from him this year. My advice would be to attach him as trade bait and hope somebody bites.
Sidney Rice-a healthy, or at least present, Tavaris Jackson sure does wonders for Rice’s value. Commanding a whopping 14 targets, Rice caught seven passes for 102 yards. Baldwin also had a solid day, catching five of his eight targets for 73 yards. As long as Jackson is playing, keep playing Rice. The last two games in which Jackson was out, Rice caught a combined six passes for 74 yards. In the three games he’s played with Jackson, he has 18 catches for 290 yards and a touchdown.
Javon Ringer-Munchak swears that Johnson is the starter but I’m beginning to believe that his reassurance is more for Johnson’s ego than the betterment of the football team. Even with Johnson in the driver’s seat (for now) Ringer is certainly worth picking up and he is nearly playable, especially in a PPR league as Ringer is sure to get some receiving looks. Though his number of carries and receptions are lower than Johnson’s, his production has been nearly twice as good and he’s actually averaging nearly three more fantasy points per game (7.5-4.8) than Johnson over the last three weeks (standard scoring). It’s hard to imagine them featuring Ringer over Johnson, but Johnson’s situation is beginning to look a lot like that of Deangelo Williams’: a “starter” who just signed a fat contract and who is slowly watching his role diminish in favor of a “less talented” running back. Crazier things have happened.