Trending into Week 7 October 17, 2012  |  Neil Parker


The first few weeks in the NFL season are unpredictable at best, and most fantasy owners either tread water or make hasty decisions.  Most are guilty of both to a certain extent.  The road was paved with gold to Canton for Kevin Ogletree after his Week 1 performance, whereas those who gave up on Shonn Greene and sat him Sunday missed out on some serious fantasy football production.  At this point in the season it is time to look at trends that are starting to develop, and obviously, Ogletree and Greene serve as examples that there is potential for a breakout at almost any time, but consistency from Sunday to Sunday is what brings home the victories.  Here are some players who are trending in the right and wrong directions over the past number of weeks.

 

Quarterbacks

 

Andy Dalton: One trend that is certain to continue with Dalton is that he is going to throw the football a lot, and he is also throwing to the NFL’s best fantasy receiver.  Through 6 games, Dalton has thrown for over 300 yards 3 times, and has also connected for 3 TDs in a game 3 times.  In the Bengals past two games, Dalton has tossed it up over 40 times, and with Green-Ellis’ inability to be a game breaker the Bengals will continue to attack through the air first and foremost.  Dalton has been a top 10 fantasy option at QB thus far, and there is a good chance that he remains a fringe fantasy starting option at QB throughout the season.  The Bengals aren’t stopping anyone on defense, so Dalton isn’t going to stop throwing the ball, and A.J. Green is proving to be as good a receiver as there is.

Matt Schaub: The Texans QB has completed exactly 20 passes 3 times this season, but only once has he completed more.  Schaub has yet to throw for more than 300 yards, and if you take out the 4 TD game against Denver, he only has 4 TD passes in his other 5 contests.  This isn’t the same Texans team that Schaub stood behind center for when he was tossing for 4000 yards a season.  The Texans are relying on a strong defense and one of the league’s best rushing attacks, which means Schaub is not the offensive catalyst he once was.  With the Texans sitting at 5-1, their offensive approach is working, so to expect anything other than Schaub continuing to manage the offense by handing it off to his backs would be unwise.  Schaub will have a few more weeks where he’ll be worthy of a start in fantasy, but don’t expect him to start throwing up consecutive 30 completion games anytime soon.

Rapid Fire

One Up: Tony Romo can only go up from here, with the running game’s feature weapon wounded, and the Cowboys sitting on a losing record, Romo will have to start throwing the football.

One Down: Alex Smith has three divisional games, the Bears and a bye in the next 5 weeks, and it doesn’t look overly promising after that either.

 

Running Backs

 

Alfred Morris: The rookie has been a force all season, with his worst performance coming in his second game, where he rushed for 89 yards on 16 carries, otherwise he has been fantasy gold.  Morris tied his season low on rushing attempts Sunday with 16, but he crossed the line for a score, and really didn’t have much of an opportunity to be involved because the Vikings couldn’t stop Griffin III to begin with.  Morris’ touches are not in danger, and he is averaging just under 20 carries a game, to the tune of 5 TDs, and 4.6 yards a carry.  With Griffin III keeping defenses honest, his connection with Morris in the option and the lack receiving threats, Morris is going to continue to be a large part of the Redskins attack.  The Redskins have defensive issues, so their offense will have to score to stay competitive, and Morris’ ability to break tackles and pound the ball at the goal-line keeps him a fantasy must-start.

Ahmad Bradshaw: The Giants’ back has put together two nice games in a row after injuries hampered him for a few weeks.  The formula looks simple, give Bradshaw 25+ carries and he’ll score and rack up the yards, but can he maintain that pace for the rest of the season?  Now concussed Andre Brown had success too when he was given the opportunity, so it seems whoever is getting the carries will be productive for the Giants, as defenses have to respect Eli’s passing attack.  Rookie David Wilson has shown his explosiveness, and game changing ability, so the Giants backfield looks to be in great shape heading forward.  The only concern is Bradshaw’s injury history, and if, or how the carries are going to be split up.  If Wilson can spell Bradshaw enough to keep him relatively fresh and more importantly help keep him healthy, it will be good news for Bradshaw shareholders.

Steven Jackson: Saw his carries dwindle to a near 50/50 split with rookie Darryl Richardson this past Sunday, and without a trip to pay dirt or a 100 yard rushing game on the season this trend could continue.  Jackson is averaging just 3.6 yards a carry, compared to Richardson’s 5.2 and with Jackson likely done in St. Louis after the season, look for Fisher to see what he has in Richardson.  Obviously it is not time to bail on Jackson, but he has never been a reliable source for touchdowns, and if he continues to lose carries to Richardson there is less and less to like going forward.  Richardson has broken a few big runs this season, showing off his big play potential, whereas Jackson has only topped 60 yards rushing in one game all season.  St. Louis is far from an offensive juggernaut, so even if Jackson was getting all the carries he would be a fringe starter.

LeGarrette Blount: Has scored touchdowns in his last 2 games, but this isn’t the 2nd half of 2010 and with only 20 carries on the season Blount is a bye week fill in at best.  He may have cemented the short yardage and goal-line duties going forward, but rookie Doug Martin will see the majority of carries and opportunities out of the Buccaneers’ backfield.  Blount may carve out a small niche and provide some weekly fantasy production in the deepest of leagues based on his role in the offense, but you’ll have to count on him scoring each week.  He picked up all his production on Sunday in garbage time duty, with only a carry a quarter before his TD run series with 4 and a half minutes left in the game. Blount’s value lies predominantly in replacing Doug Martin if he were ever injured.

Rapid Fire

One Up: Darren McFadden will look to build on his touchdown run this past Sunday as the rest of his schedule looks incredibly favorable.  It is time to buy low if possible.

One Down: Marshawn Lynch only faces one favorable defense against the rush in the next 7 weeks, and finishes the fantasy season against San Francisco.  Tough to bail ship, but it might be the opportune time to sell high.

 

Wide Receivers

 

Sidney Rice: The game winning catch on Sunday cannot go without mention, but the Gamecocks alum has been gaining momentum for the past 3 weeks.  Rice has been the man before, just look at his 2009 stats, and Russell Wilson needs someone to throw to when it matters. Sunday’s catch should prove to be just one more reason for Wilson to look Rice’s way, both when it counts and a little more often.  The Seahawks don’t throw the ball a lot, but Rice is seeing his targets and as the chemistry continues to develop with Wilson his production should also continue to increase.  It is unlikely that Rice surges into fantasy stardom, but he should prove to be a solid bottom tier starter most weeks over the remainder of the season.  It is worth noting that his value isn’t as high in PPR formats though.

Dez Bryant: The single most important trending statistic for the Cowboys disgruntled wide out is the game by game increase in his targets. Bryant was targeted 15 times on Sunday, and hauled in 13 receptions for 95 yards and 2 scores.  Jason Garrett take note, and Tony Romo don’t forget that the ball needs to go Dez’s way.  He is an ideal target in the endzone, while being equally adapt as a deep threat and possession receiver, who is capable of making defenders miss, in addition to running them right over.  Why Bryant has seemingly been eased into the Cowboys offensive is unknown, but from here on if he doesn’t see double digit targets there is a problem.  With Miles Austin and Jason Witten in the fold defenses wont be able to focus solely on Bryant either.  If he had caught the 2 point conversion pass he would be on the cover of Sports Illustrated this week.

Steve Smith: Was a top 10 receiver in 2011, after he finished last season with nearly 1400 yards, 79 receptions and 7 TDs.  So far this season the undersized spark-plug is hardly sporting numbers worthy of a starting roster slot.  Smith has yet to find the end zone, despite remaining Cam Newton’s first option in the passing game.  Smith has under 5 catches in his past 4 games, as defenders are focusing in on the 12 year veteran and the Panthers as a team aren’t scoring through the air either, with only 4 TD receptions on the season.  Smith is only a few big games away from returning to fantasy relevance, but unless Carolina shows improvement off of their bye week it could be more of the same for Smith.  Smith was drafted as a go to fantasy player, but he might finish outside of the top 25 fantasy receivers.

Antonio Brown: It is clear that the Steelers wide receiver is going to get his hands on the football a lot, but scoring touchdowns may always prove to be tough for Brown.  Brown is featured heavily in the Pittsburgh passing attack and could approach 100 receptions on the season. However, with only 3 career TDs and other proven red zone targets, Roethlisberger might just continue to lean on Brown as more of a possession receiver.  Mike Wallace and Heath Miller each have 4 scores on the season, whereas Brown has more yards and catches than both of them. Obviously Brown has more value in a PPR format, but unless he can start to string together a few 100 yard games he just might fail to live up to the hype projected his way heading into the season.  As it stands Brown hasn’t topped 100 yards in a game, or caught a pass for over 30 yard, but he is still a strong PPR starter each week.

Rapid Fire

One Up: Jeremy Maclin got back on track this week, and after a hip injury hurt his production the previous few weeks he looks healthy going forward.  Look for an improved Eagles offense coming out of their bye week, and they’ll need it when you look at their schedule.

One Down: Andre Roberts has seen his production fall in two straight weeks, despite getting the second most targets in the Cardinals offense.  Speaking of the Cardinals offense; it is banged up with injuries, so it could be tough starting anyone not named Fitzgerald.

 

28 Responses

  1. Neil Parker says:

    Thanks for the support.

  2. Pedro says:

    Nope he’s gone. 12 teamer. A lot of guys on bye. Take my chances with gabbert. 9ers r legit defense

  3. Pedro says:

    Signed up for the newsletter last week. Started followin Chet last year. Been on board since razzball

  4. Pedro says:

    Waiver wire slim due to 2 qb league… Grabbers or r. Wilson? Bad situation I know

    • Neil Parker says:

      That is pretty much a coin flip. Most rankings have Wilson ahead – and I might go with him. Gabbert has the benefit of coming off of a bye and playing a weaker defense. Anyone else ? Hasselback ?

  5. Neil Parker says:

    Good for you. You gave up two mid tier players for a guy who was being drafted in the middle of the first round, and has an awesome schedule ahead. Good Luck, and thanks for checking in. Get signed up for our Newsletter, and follow the crew on Twitter.

  6. Pedro says:

    Just did! Wooo! Thanks!

  7. Pedro says:

    Which deal would be excellent?

  8. Pedro says:

    Got a bite… Sellin bjge +Maclin for McFadden. Owner rebuttle s with he wanted d.Martin instead. I think that’s too much. Keep in mind I have Wayne Julio and dez. I guess the question is how do I convince him bjge?

    • Neil Parker says:

      That would be an excellent deal. That is the type of Running Back I’d aim for. Keep the trading lines open and once you get a deal you feel comfortable with pounce on it.

  9. Josh says:

    Would you ship cobb and LeShoure for D-Bowe and David Wilson? PPR, don’t need the RB help other than a stash, but could use WR…too much?

    • Neil Parker says:

      Interesting. Cobb has been sneaky good of late, but like I’ve mentioned above, there is only one football to go around. LeShoure really hasn’t shown a whole lot, but he does grab a few receptions a game, and is a safe low end starting RB. I think that the value you’re getting back is relatively fair, but I would target another wide receiver. Bowe is talented but a real headache to own and unhappy in KC. If he goes to a new team there is a chance it takes him time to learn the offense and connect with the QB. It could be worse if he stays in KC.
      Right idea with this deal, but I’d aim for a WR in a better situation.

  10. Neil Parker says:

    I would pounce – I find FAAB advice tough though, because you have to have a feel for the owners in your league. What are their tendencies, favorite teams, who do they personally watch and perhaps most important their roster situations and budgets. I view Jackson as a low end flex play most weeks, but he’ll have a few good games, and potentially a time share might be the best thing for him staying healthy over the long haul and fresher within games. As long as you don’t expect 2nd round fantasy points you wont suffer through the frustrations of his previous owner.

  11. jay says:

    Frustrated owner dropped SJax, what are your thoughts on a FAAB? I’m not big on him but will store him on bench if I can get cheap enough.

  12. jay says:

    Frustrated owner dropped SJax, what are your thoughts on a FAAB?

  13. Pedro says:

    Maclin not MacLaine

    • Neil Parker says:

      I was impressed with Green-Ellis after the first two weeks, but he has shown nothing recently. I like Peterson a lot, and I watched a lot of the Redskins/Vikings game Sunday and he looked great, especially when he broke the 32 yard scamper early in the game. Obviously, addressing your Running Back situation is going to be crucial going forward. However, before I made any hasty moves, I’d make sure that every owner in your league knew you were willing to move Julio Jones, or another receiver to land a RB. You have Bryant, Wayne, Maclin and Jones who could all land you an upgrade on Green-Ellis so make sure you evaluate all your options. Jones climbed into the top 15 picks in some drafts so get active and promote a bidding war for him, or one of your other top WR options.

  14. Pedro says:

    MacLaine back on track. Acquired him in trade. Have him Julio, Wayne, dez. Should I trade Julio for PETERSON. My other rb are Martin and bjge. This is a ppr

  15. mt says:

    Trade question for you…I was offered Calvin Johnson and Cam Newton for DMC, Dez, Ponder, and Garcon…I feel this may be giving up too much…I have romo, AP, Alf, SPiller, Bowe, SSMith, AntBrown…thoughts? tradee has Daniels + Finley, may look to add one as I have only Rudy..thanks in advance..

    • Neil Parker says:

      I would try and tweak the deal slightly, could you replace Bryant with Steve Smith ? Ponder and Garcon aren’t really deal breakers, but I’m not really keen on Newton going forward. You’re dealing from a position of strength – RB – so getting a first round talent like Calvin Johnson is the goal. I don’t think this is a bad deal, but I might target a RB heading back your way instead of a TE. Keep the talent pool as deep as possible on your RB depth chart. Thank you and good luck.

    • Neil Parker says:

      Pull the trigger on a Brown & Ballard for White.

  16. stumanji says:

    I own both Wallace and Antonio Brown in a PPR league. I offered Antonio Brown and a bench RB2 for Roddy White, but I feel like the other owner might push back and ask for Wallace, which I still think I should do. My other WRs are Cruz and Britt. Brown has more catches/yards but Wallace is the TD/big play guy. Who would you rather give up? Are both good trades for Roddy?

    • Neil Parker says:

      In this situation it really would depend on who the Running Back is that you’re giving up, and if you are able to replace him on the Waiver Wire with similar fantasy talent. Running Back depth is incredibly beneficial, so before I dealt that security I’d make sure I can afford to do it.
      At the same time, starting two WRs from the same team can be a tough situation, as there is only one football to go around. I really like Antonio Brown, but he hasn’t been able to show any nose for the end zone, and I do think that Roddy White has proven that the passing of the torch to Julio Jones hasn’t quite happened yet. In fact, White may be better than ever with Jones in town. White, Cruz, Wallace/Brown and Britt would give you some serious fire power at WR.
      I don’t know how much of an upgrade White is over Wallace per game for the rest of the season, if he is a fantasy point per game better, that is only 7 points over the last 7 weeks of the season – Remember that White is on a bye for this current week too – and if it is only a marginal upgrade is it worth the hit in the RB Depth Chart?
      I don’t hate the potential of adding White for either Brown or Wallace, but the unknown variable at Running Back is the concern.

    • stumanji says:

      It would be Michael Bush or Vick Ballard…really nothing special. One is a guy that doesn’t even start, the other will probably lose his job when D. Brown returns. My starting RBs are DMC and Mendenhall (both had byes already), and I also own J-Stew and K. Hunter.

    • Neil Parker says:

      Pull the Trigger on Brown and Ballard for White.

  17. y4rivera says:

    Nice article. What’s good value for Lynch?

    • Neil Parker says:

      I am glad that you asked, because I didn’t mean that it is time to rush right out and move Lynch – do or die style. He has been good, and considering the shakiness and instability of the Running Back position there is a lot to like about what he has done, and is likely going to do. Just wanted to point out that matchup wise there could be some tough roads ahead.

      With that being said, if Running Back is a strength and you could package Lynch to improve at QB or WR and also land a solid RB2 back in the deal, than it could be something to look at. If you could swap Lynch for McFadden and also get an upgrade at another position it isn’t a terrible deal, and remember in most drafts 2 months ago McFadden was going ahead of Lynch.

      I was just suggesting that it might be a good time to test Lynch’s value and see if it can be used to improve your team going forward. I wouldn’t look to move him unless you’re getting near equal value at RB in return because it is such a vulnerable position and a good bump somewhere else.

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