Gutentag gamers. Welcome to another installment of target breakdown where the fun never stops and the numbers never lie. At least I hope that’s the case. Well, there’s nothing more fun than winning so I suppose I should try to make that happen for you. This week we’ll examine a few troubling trends and I’ll be advising against a number of guys who have looked decent on paper. We’ll also take a look at the bright side as we examine the upside of a few young up and comers who can help fill in your bye week gaps and beyond. This week, you’ll need players to plug in for Brandon Marshall, Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, Steve Smith, and Greg Olson. Let’s jam.
Explanation of Scoring System
In addition to my comments, my enthusiasm for each player’s potential will be measured out of five tacos. Since we live in America where more is better, the more tacos I rate a player, the more I like him. Why tacos you ask? Well our goal in this fake world is to fill our rosters with so many dominating players that we effortlessly pummel our hapless victims. This pummeling inevitably manifests itself into delight equivalent to a vinegar stroke. If you’ve ever watched The League you’ll know what vinegar strokes are and since this is a family show, I won’t go into an in-depth explanation. You’ll also know that the term was coined by “Taco,” which provides the logic for my use of tacos as positive denotations. That and the fact that I obviously love a good taco. It makes sense in my head.
This Week’s Top Ten(ish) This Year’s Top Ten
Reggie Wayne-20 Reggie Wayne-60
Marques Colston-18 Dwayne Bowe-57
Brandon Marshall-17 Victory Cruz-57
Larry Fitzgerald-15 Brandon Marshall-56
Julio Jones-15 A.J. Green-56
Wes Welker-15 Larry Fitzgerald-53
Tony Gonzalez-14 Wes Welker-52
A.J. Green-13 Brian Hartline-52
Andrew Hawkins-13 Marques Colston-50
Steve Smith-13 Danny Amendola-49
Kendall Wright– Kendall “Wright said Fred” is becoming too sexy for the waiver wire. The rookie has serious upside going forward as a talented target who has developed a nice report with coaches and both quarterbacks. I wrote about Wright earlier in the year as I guy on the radar and he has shown a surprising amount of consistency so far. Week one aside, Wright has led the team in targets in every game this season, commanding 7-11 targets in each of those contests. He also leads the team in receptions with 27, but is behind Washington in yardage and tied for the team lead with two touchdowns. Overall, Wright is 18th in the league among WRs in targets (44) and 17th in catches (27). He seems to be trending upward in these categories as he has posted top ten numbers the last three weeks in targets (30) and receptions (20) for WRs. However, he is only ranked 45th in yards (214) and he has hauled in a modest two touchdowns which leaves him with a relatively low FPPG (6.7), especially in standard leagues. It’s because of these stats that Wright has largely remained on the waiver wire, flying under the radar of most owners. The time is now for snagging Wright, before he puts up that big game he is clearly capable of. With Wright I really only have two reservations and they are the Titan’s complete inadequacy on offense coupled with the fact that Britt hasn’t been healthy and limited in his snap counts. That being said, he is most likely the strongest WR remaining on the waiver wire and a guy who has posted top 20 numbers in targets and receptions over the course of a five game season certainly deserves a roster spot. The time is Wright.
T.Y. Hilton– Those looking for upside may want to consider renting a suite at the Hilton. The speedy rookie deep-threat had nine targets against Green Bay (tied with Avery), and three catches for 37 yards and a rushing attempt. Though those stats are about as sexy as Mike McCarthy in a mumu, Hilton has steadily improved in each of the three games he has played and he seems to be developing a nice relationship with Andrew Luck. Over the last three games, Hilton is 40th among receivers in FFPG (7.5), and he has 18 targets and 8 catches for 165 yards and a score. With Luck’s upside through the ceiling it is perfectly reasonable to assume that the ceiling will rise for all offensive players in Indy and that includes Hilton. For the record, I still like Avery as a safer play at the moment, but I believe that Hilton’s upside is more intriguing. If I had to choose either guy to play for a bye week filler this week, I would play Avery, but if you have a roster spot open in a deep league, I would plant Hilton on the bench and watch him grow.
Jordan Norwood– SM’s looking for DLRS (deep league roster stash) may want to give the fourth year man out of Penn State a call. With vowel master Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin out against the Giants, Norwood led all Browns with nine targets, catching all for 81 yards. His game was overshadowed by starter-by-default Josh Gordon, the unimpressive (my opinion) rookie who went yard on his only two receptions. Though Gordon’s stat-line was more outstanding, I was impressed by the chemistry displayed between Norwood and Weeden, who looked to him in key possession situations. This is actually the second productive week in a row for Norwood (only two games played) who caught four passes for 56 yards a week ago against the Ravens, a game that Travis Benjamin played in. Though he’s by no means a lock, I’ve been searching for the most reliable WR on that Browns offense, a position that seems to be growing in value as a result of their rookie QBs maturity. To me, Massaquoi has a pathetically low-ceiling and Greg Little, who failed to record a catch on only two targets, could very well take a permanent seat in the doghouse. I haven’t seen any real upside from Travis Benjamin who is plagued by a hamstring issue which leaves Gordon as the only other receiver with any upside. It’s largely a hunch but I think Norwood is the guy who will develop into Weeden’s #1. Although a few weeks ago that would be as valuable as the starting running back is in Arizona, Weeden is currently fourth in the league in pass attempts and 8th in passing yardage which makes his go-to-guy a fairly valuable asset.
as a roster stash
Rueben Randle– Randle had a handle on the Browns defense on Sunday, leading the team in targets (9), receptions (6), and receiving yards (82). This was Randle’s first real impact as an NFL receiver as he combined for a total of four targets, one reception, and four yards over the first four games of the season. Those abysmal numbers leave a lot of questions about his value going forward but they drafted him for a reason and someone has to step up and be the next Victor Cruz, especially with an ailing Nicks. His non-existent numbers through the first four games may be a result of restricted playing time due to what many insiders have noticed to be a rift between the Giants coaching staff and Randle’s work ethic. From a fantasy standpoint I would rather see a player limited for his attitude than his talent and it’s possible that Randle sees his opportunity with Nicks on the sideline, motivating him to change his ways. In terms of talent and upside in a high-scoring offense, Randle is certainly worth a look in deep leagues and a possible flier against the ‘Niners if Nicks is out. Though the matchup is bad, I think the Giants will put up some points and the dink and dunks underneath that the Giants will likely have to take advantage of will certainly favor Randle.
Devery Henderson– Henderson displayed that great deep-threat speed we’ve forgotten about on Sunday. We all know he has it but unfortunately we don’t see it enough, like the groundhog emerging from Andy Reid’s mustache or more than a fifth grade vocabulary from Antonio Cromartie. While it was nice to see Henderson be a productive member of fantasy society, I don’t trust him at all going forward. Filling in for an injured Lance Moore, Henderson harnessed some huge numbers: ten targets, eight catches, 123 yards and a score. While those numbers are certainly impressive, they bring Henderson’s totals to an uninspiring 21 targets, 14 catches, 197 yards and one touchdown on the year. Don’t expect this kind of production to be in the ball park of consistency, and don’t put him in your starting lineup unless Lance Moore or Colston miss more time.
Leonard Hankerson– Losing RGIII in the middle of the game doesn’t help, but even before RG went down Hankerson was useless. Benched before the game in favor of Josh Morgan, Hanky deserves a spanky after catching one pass for three yards on only one target. He’s dead to me until further notice.
Anquan Boldin– Though he’s not a guy who’s exactly been flying under the radar, you have to give credit where credit is due and over the last three weeks Boldin has been an absolute PPR monster. Over that span, Boldin is 12th, 12th, and 11th in targets, receptions, and yardage respectively, among WRs. He has even bested teammate Torrey Smith in targets and receptions over that span and has only one fewer receiving yard. Over the last two weeks, Boldin has over twice as many targets as Smith (22 to 10) and nearly twice as many yards (213 to 135). His only downside is that he has only one touchdown on the year and he’s clearly behind Pitta, Smith, and Ray Rice when it comes to redzone looks. However, Boldin is only being started in about 60% of yahoo leagues, a number that should be higher considering his production, especially in PPR or.5 PPR leagues. While I still love Smith and think Torrey is a better standard league play, those with Boldin on the bench should boldly go where all winners have gone before and play the man at home against the ‘Boys this Sunday.
Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker– Again, they’re not guys who you’re going to find on the wire but they’ve been absolute studs over the last three weeks. Over that span they are tied for 14th in targets among WRs (28) with Thomas catching 17 passes for 325 yards and Decker catching 19 for 236 and two scores. Manning is continuing to show signs of improvement and the way he’s throwing the ball, Denver has two borderline WR1’s on their roster. The Manning’s must like twins as the Thomas/Decker combo reminds me a lot of the Nicks/Cruz combo in New York. It goes without saying that both should continue to be started but my main purpose for bringing these guys up is to suggest that they are not good sell high or low candidates. I think this type of production will be fairly typical from this duo as the season goes on and with the Broncos battling through a tough schedule all season, they’re going to have to rely on Peyton’s arm more often than not.
Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen– What do we do about this promising TE tandem? Both are major contributors on a solid offense but do either have long-term fantasy value? Tamme’s been no slammy in the dunk department but he drew a lot of looks from long-time colleague Peyton Manning on Sunday. He actually tied for the team lead in targets with eleven, catching six passes for 50 yards. Meanwhile, fellow teammate and touchdown vulture Joel Dreessen caught all four of his targets for 21 yards and a score. Despite commanding only 12 targets over the last three weeks (26th among TEs), Dreessen scored for the third time in as many games, leaving Tamme owners at the alter. In short, I see Dreessen as a desperation bye-week flier in standard scoring leagues given his diminutive level of opportunities. If this were an SAT analogy, Dreessen is to Tamme as McGahee was to Ray Rice in Baltimore. However, that doesn’t mean that Tamme doesn’t have a lot of value going forward. Over the last three weeks, Tamme is actually 2nd only to Tony Gonzalez in TE targets with 27, is 7th in receptions (14), and 13th in yards (119). There is valid concern over his inability to find the endzone but with the shear volume of passes headed in his direction, he’s sure to find paydirt. I see Tamme as a solid TE1 in a PPR league and a borderline starter in standard leagues but I do see his value trending upward as that Broncos offense is getting better every week. I’d pick up Tamme if he’s been dropped but leave Dreessen on waivers.
Owen Daniels and James Casey– There’s a tandem forming in Houston as yet another team seems to be taking a page from the NE playbook. For whatever reason, the Texan receivers have been dormant, leaving the TE tandem to capitalize in the air attack. Both Daniels and Casey proved valuable on Sunday, each commanding five targets. Casey caught four for 53 yards and Daniels caught four for 79 and a touch. In week four, the two put up similar numbers as well, with Daniels catching all six of his targets for 72 yards and score and Casey catching all five of his targets for 36 yards and a score. Casey’s value really lies in the fact that he is considered a running back on paper but is clearly the #2 tight end as well. He’s got a lot of Dallas Clark type skills and the H-back seems to be carving out a nice role for himself. While I wouldn’t suggest that their value is even, Schaub is looking Casey’s way almost as often, at least over the last few games and while Daniels is certainly not going to be on the waiver wire, Casey most likely is. His running back designation gives owners some creativity when it comes to plugging him into fantasy lineups and his matchup with a soft GB defense is an intriguing one for owners who are looking for relatively safe bye week fill-ins.
Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, and Stephen Hill– The Jets offense has been grounded lately and while they’re taxiing on the runway they’re also taxing on fantasy lineups. With Santonio out the equation the question remains as whether or not any Jet receiver will be worth owning. The fact that the Jets have absolutely no run game and will need to be playing from behind in presumably most of their games, suggests that there is value in one of these guys. Kerley led the way on Monday night, catching five of his team high nine targets for 94 yards. Schilens was more fantasy worthy after scoring a touchdown on one of his four receptions. However, he was only targeted five times and amassed a paltry 29 yards. In short I don’t think Schilens deserves a spot on anyone’s roster given how he looked in the game. He was slow getting in and out of routes and he looked easy to cover for the most part. Kerley on the other hand does have some value in PPR leagues as he will most likely be the consistent leader in targets, even when Hill gets healthy. Hill presents the most upside of the group as he will certainly be the #1 in title when he comes back from his hamstring injury, but there’s not telling whether or not that injury will linger. There are also questions about whether or not he can be the focal point considering he ran the wishbone in college. Regardless, the Jets did spend a second round pick on him and there’s no questioning his talent. My suggestion would be to pick him up this week if you’ve got a spot and wait and see how he plays. It’s very possible that he could come back and be instantly productive with his talent and large frame in the redzone and if you wait until after that happens, you’ll need to sacrifice more to get him.
Hill (long-term) Kerley (PPR) Schilens