Greetings survivors. Unless you’ve got a lot riding on the consolation game, I’ll assume that you guys have one of four teams remaining in your respective leagues. Let me be one of the first to say congratulations and good luck in the semifinals. This past week there weren’t many meaningful surprises in the target department but what I’ll try to do is give you a list of guys who you may be able to snag off of waivers for flex replacements and give you a couple of guys that I like as starters. As always, good luck.
Doug Baldwin-Baldwin’s coming off a huge Monday night performance, during which he caught seven of his team high eight targets for 93 yards and a score on top of blocking a punt that turned into a defensive touchdown. While Baldwin is not exactly a well-kept secret, he continues to be widely available and though he is only the third wide receiver on the Seahawks’ roster, he has more targets over the last three weeks than guys by the name of Vincent Jackson, Jordy Nelson, Antonio Brown, and Eric Decker. Also, over the last three weeks Baldwin is averaging 7.8 fantasy points per game (standard), good for 31st among WR’s and ahead of guys like Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson, and Santana Moss. Though he faces a tough Chicago D on the road this week, Baldwin should be a big part of the Seattle game plan.
Titus Young-the youngster has certainly made plenty of rookie mistakes this season and on Sunday he nearly lost the football before crossing the goal-line. However, the td did count, as did his four catches for 87 yards and team high seven targets. He racked up sixty yards on only two catches the week before and the Lions are sure to throw it around a lot at Oakland on Sunday given the woes of the their ground game. Titus is more of a desperation flier but he’s almost sure to be available and he is averaging 7.3 fantasy points per over the last three games, good for 37th overall among WRs.
Nate Washington-before the game, Titans’ coaches were concerned that Nate may be forced into a limited role due to his nagging ankle sprain. It turned out that during the game he also suffered back spasms, but his menagerie of ailments did not stop him from catching six of his nine targets for 130 yards and a score. He did a nice job cutting into Damien Williams’ production as well. Though the young receiver did lead the team with ten targets, he only managed to catch two passes for 62 yards. Washington and Williams have been inconsistent, but the Titans do have a great matchup against Indy this weekend which makes them both WR3/flex worthy.
Jabar Gaffney-despite Moss’s comeback, Gaffney has remained productive in what is always sure to be a pass heavy Redskin offense. Last week, Gaffney grabbed six passes for 92 yards and a touch on a team high eight targets. Teammates Moss and Stallworth were also productive, gaining 81 and 96 yards through the air respectively. The Redskins will need to air it out again this weekend as they face the hungry Giants who are not going to leave anything to chance. While it’s tough to recommend any Redskin receiver with certainty, I like Gaffney in PPR formats, even over Moss.
Julio Jones-I don’t expect him to be available, but he has really come on strong after his series of hamstring injuries. After putting up respectable numbers last week, catching four passes for 68 yards, Jones showcased his big play dominance this past weekend, catching three passes for 104 yards and two touchdowns. His big play potential and strong upside is undeniable, and fantasy owners who need a high ceiling out of their flex position may want to give him a look. The Falcons play the Jaguars on Thursday night.
Demaryius Thomas-Thomas has lit it up the past two weeks, catching eleven passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. His 13 targets were far and away team best this past weekend and he seems to be nudging out Decker as Tebow’s favorite target. In the past three weeks, Decker has only managed to catch eight passes for 123 yards and one touchdown and over that same span, Thomas is ranked seventh among WR’s in fantasy points per game with 13.4 (standard). He’s near the top in wide receiver production as of late and in the fantasy playoffs it’s usually a good idea to play the hot hand. I don’t own him in any of my leagues and he’s not available for me, but if I did own him, I would sure have a hard time sitting him against the beleaguered Patriots secondary.
Kyle Williams-I wrote about this speedster last week and once again he turned in a productive day. In addition to his solid four catches for 42 yards, the most important stat is that Williams commanded six targets, only one behind Crabtree for second on the team. Like Young, he is a somewhat risky play, but he’s been giving steady production in three of his last four games (he put up a donut two weeks ago) and it looks like he has clearly surpassed Braylon Edwards in both playing time and production. He’s a speedy guy with big play potential, and that could be important this Monday when the ‘Niners take on the stingy run defense of the Steelers.
Donald Driver-with Jennings out for the remainder of the fantasy playoffs, my money is on Driver being the biggest beneficiary of Jennings’s injury. This past weekend, Driver garnered a second best six targets (Nelson) and hauled in four passes for 75 yards and a td. Last week he was also very productive, catching four passes and two touchdowns. Jones, Driver’s logical target competitor, has tremendous upside and youth, but his production has fallen off over the last few weeks. He did score a touchdown three weeks ago, but in his last three games, Jones has only caught five passes for 123 yards. Both could be potential plays this week against K.C. but I like the old dog to continue to show us some new tricks.
Keep Starting These Guys
Stevie Johnson-Johnson has been on a tear these last few weeks, ranking 10th in fantasy points per game over the last three (12.1 standard). His ten targets were tops on the team this past week and he managed to pull in four of those passes for 116 yards. Expect the Bills to throw it a lot against that tough Dolphin run D that held Lesean McCoy to 38 yards on 27 carries last week.
Percy Harvin-Harvin’s production over the last three weeks has been off the charts. His 18.7 points per game (standard) is over two points greater than runner-up Wes Welker’s for the NFL lead among receivers. He’s been utilized in the run game as well as the pass game and even if AP gets back on his feet this week, Harvin remains a must start.