So like my team (the best team in the league of course) the Patriots had their bye on Week 4, so did I. But now I’m back, and all of you who were lost without my words of wisdom are saved. As the season is ¼ over, we are starting to see injuries, starters struggling, and backups thriving. This changes the tide of who is worth owning and who is worth dropping. As always, I’m here to lead you in the right direction. And the first player I’m going to talk about is someone I never thought I’d mention worth owning since like 2010…
We saw an emerging PPR darling in Lance Dunbar go down Sunday night with what is now diagnosed as a torn ACL and MCL and is out for the rest of the season. And considering Joseph Randle only saw four carries in the second half and Christine Michael only saw one offensive snap the entire game, Darren McFadden makes for an interesting pickup candidate. He is the best pass-catching running back out of the group and it does not seem likely the Cowboys will go out and sign a running back. Brandon Weeden provided Lance Dunbar with 10 receptions for 100 yards in week three and considering Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley have not done much as the fill-in starters at wide receiver, McFadden could get a decent amount of looks. Randle is quickly souring for the Cowboys and Michael has no receiving ability and is far from being trusted in Dallas. McFadden is a running back I’d recommend picking up in 12-team leagues if you have adequate bench space. Not saying he is worth starting, but is definitely someone to keep lying around for bye weeks as they approach.
We have seen a changing of the guard in Atlanta, and I’m not talking about their running back core. I’m talking about their wide receivers with Roddy White all but officially demoted to the number three wide receiver for Atlanta while relative nobody Leonard Hankerson has taken over as the number two wide receiver for Matt Ryan and the Falcons. Through four games, Hankerson has seen 16 more targets, gotten 149 more receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns to White’s zero touchdowns. Heck, Hankerson had more targets, receptions, and yards than Julio Jones in week four. Hankerson is someone who needs to be owned in all 12 team leagues going forward in that high powered Falcons offense.
I had predicted several weeks ago that Todd Gurley will be the Odell Beckham Jr. of 2015. A top-15 draft pick who played in the SEC, did not start the season healthy, and would have a huge impact after some time. Gurley started on the right path towards that with a 19 carry, 146 yard performance on Sunday against a rather tough Arizona defense. Gurley needs to be started every week going forward as he will only get more touches and get better. On the other hand though, those who had hoped for Tre Mason to make a big impact this season are now very, very sad. Mason is safe to drop in leagues, as he only had two carries for negative one yards on Sunday. He is merely a low-value handcuff as Gurley is either at or near full strength.
Guess who has the ninth most fantasy points in PPR for tight ends? No, not Eric Ebron, not Jimmy Graham, not Coby Fleener, but Gary Barnidge. Barnidge has two straight games with a receiving touchdown and no less than 75 yards receiving and six receptions. He is becoming someone who is getting targeted a lot (22 targets on the season, including 16 in the past two games and only behind Travis Benjamin for the most on the team ). Travis Benjamin (who by the way, should be owned and seen as a boom-or-bust flex option) and Barnidge are becoming the two reliable targets for Josh McCown as he has thrown at least 40 passes in the past two games. Barnidge is definitely a low end TE1 for the time being as he continues to receive the amount of targets he has gotten.
Tavon Austin is somehow putting up a decent amount of points in fantasy football. He has received at least five targets in the past two games with at least five receptions in those games and even had two touchdowns yesterday on 96 yards receiving. As the clear #1 wide receiver for Nick Foles right now with Brian Quick (who sadly can be dropped) completely off the radar and also having some serious play-making skills, Austin is an intriguing wide receiver that could be very boom or bust for the rest of the season. But he could have a lot more boom than bust if the Rams keep it up and somehow beat good teams like the Seahawks and Cardinals. There are much worse WR4/5 guys to have out there, so if you are in need of some depth bench with upside, Austin could be your guy.
This last player is someone who under the radar has put up at least 60 yards receiving in every game this season and only owned in 19% of Yahoo! leagues. That player is Allen Hurns. Coming off a monster game with 15 targets (15! Only behind DeAndre Hopkins for 2nd most targets and tied with Vincent Jackson with that distinction) for 11 receptions, 116 yards and a touchdown. He has now scored a touchdown in two straight games and has been sneaky consistent with receiving yard totals of 60, 68, 70, and now 116 yards in his first games of the season. Hurns has weekly WR3 appeal and needs to be owned across the board as Blake Bortles continues to improve with a steady run game by T.J. Yeldon and an emerging star at wide receiver in Allen Robinson. Suddenly the Jaguars have fantasy football relevant players? I guess so!
Well, that’ll do it for this week. Now go out there and make me proud! I take payment by either cash, check, or Papa John’s gift cards.
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