Week 3 Risers and Fallers
October 1, 2015 | Chet
So the Patriots are going to score a lot of points this year, the 49ers as a franchise are nose diving into the Pacific and star-studded players will get injured just like everybody else. What’s new? Nothing is certain but the fact that some of our favorite players’ stocks will rise and fall considerably. Let’s have a look at some of these guys right here. If you’ve got any questions or comments about a specific player feel free to leave a comment down below or hit me up on Twitter.
The ownership percentages are a median between Yahoo! and ESPN own%.
Greg Olsen (99.2%) came out and gave us the production we had been waiting two long weeks for against a weak New Orleans defense. Cam targeted his big guy 11 times, converting on two different 11-yard scores and helping him beat out his combined first two week totals in catches (8 to 7) and yards (134 to 81). Luckily you were smart enough to know his mild performances would end up turning into an explosion like this, as he now leads the team with 28 targets, far more than closest receiver Ted Ginn (22). When you can throw it down the seam to Olsen, why even bother throwing it to guys like Ginn and Funchess? As long as Cam and JStew’s legs stay under them, expect the TE to get loads of looks out of Play Action on top of splitting out as a wide out all year long.
Donte Moncrief (79.7%) joined Brandon Marshall, James Jones and Travis Benjamin as the only WRs with TD catches in each of the first three games this season. One of these receivers is not like the other, though. One of these receivers is the no. 2 option on a team that has Andrew Luck throwing the ball, and whether you want to believe it after a sloppy start to the season, Andrew Luck is good at throwing footballs. Moncrief? Good at catching footballs. This all rains bad news on a quickly fading Andre Johnson. Even without Dwayne Allen in the game and Phillip Dorsett receiving a mere 3 targets, Andre was targeted just once and ended up without a catch.
The Colts should come out swinging against a Jags defense that has allowed 282 passing yards/gm and 91 total points through these first three games. If Luck gets going early look for him to keep his foot on the pedal and prove to the rest of the NFL that they are not going to lose hold of this terrible AFC South.
Ryan Mathews (65.2%) sandwiched a couple catches and a lost fumble with a nice 23-yard touchdown catch on a great pass from Sam Bradford. The few mistakes don’t hurt us all that much in fantasy as he still approached 20 fantasy points against a Jets defense that had looked pretty damn stout up until their loss against the Eagles. They still kept Bradford to 113 yards and forced Philly to run the ball 39 times, so whoever is starting out there against Washington will undoubtedly be given the ball a multitude of times. The bizarre start of the year for DeMarco Murray should continue in Week 4, as 2014’s rushing leader is back at Eagles’ practice as of Tuesday. If you have Mathews as a back-up or handcuff last week was a good sign that you need to keep him on your roster. If you have Ryan but not DeMarco, this could be a perfect sell high opportunity as the DeMarco owners are probably licking their chops right now.
Karlos Williams (64.1%) has three rushing touchdowns through 3 weeks of play on only 24 carries. And these are no Jerome Bettis numbers, as the Buffalo Bills RB also has 186 yards to go along with those scores, including this wonderful gallop. LeSean McCoy left that Miami game in the 2nd quarter with some hamstring issues and returned in the second half to manage only 12 snaps and four carries. While Karlos has remained quite productive with Shady in the lineup it should be even easier to produce if he isn’t in the lineup, which looks to be pretty likely. Unless Buffalo goes out and trades for another big named back (Matt Forte, lolz) Williams could have a couple of weeks of Tyrod handing to him and (almost) only him. RB2 could be expecting too much, but I’m all about him in my FLEX spot.
Derek Carr (41.0%) and his new weapon Amari Cooper disposed of Joe Haden and the Cleveland Browns’ secondary with relative ease this past weekend. He targeted the rookie 11 times in the game, using a litany of high-efficiency 7 and 8 yard passes to get his weapons the ball in spots that they could turn and take off up field. Derek finished with 314 yards, 2 touchdowns and, most importantly, zero turnovers. He has now finished three weeks of action with 726 yards and a single interception. Things shouldn’t be too much different in Week 4 as long as Latavius Murray can continue to run the rock and keep the pressure off of Derek Carr to do too much; they’ll head into Chicago to face a team that has allowed 105 points through three games.
Marvin Jones (37.1%) has taken advantage of a red-hot start by Red-Haired Andy Dalton and A.J. Green as Tyler Eifert attracts the defenses’ eyes over the middle of the field. Sometimes these stats are a big pile of “no crap”, but it’s pretty interesting to note that when A.J. and Marvin each score a TD in the same game the Bengals are 8-1. With both of these guys healthy and producing, Dalton is free to toss the ball in their general direction, just as Marvin showed again and again and again. The Bengals’ no. 2 WR finished with 5 receptions for 94 yards and a score, gobbling each of his three targets of 15+ yards downfield. And it’s not as if he ate into Green’s production as he managed to go a measly 10-227-2 on the day. As Cincinnati continues to fade away from the ground-and-pound which ruled the last part of the 2014 season, there should be many weeks where Marvin is very much a viable fantasy option.
Gary Barnidge (3.8%) was the winner of this week’s “who the hell is worth anything in that Cleveland offense?” as he was tied with Travis Benjamin for 10 targets while leading the team with 6 snags, 105 yards and this score. The good news? Josh McCown will be right back under center against the Chargers next week. The bad news? The Raiders just allowed their third straight tight end to set a career high in yards, so this showing may have been more about the defense than the talent or chemistry of McCown-Barnidge. The numbers were there and that’s all we’re concerned about, but I would give it a little more time before I start streaming Gary Barnidge all willy-nilly.
Justin Forsett (97.8%) had his worst showing of the year against Cincinnati, rushing for 13 yards on 10 carries and catching 4 of his 7 targets for another 16 yards. This is hardly a small sample size either, as his 39 carries over the season have netted him 124 yards and a 3.2 YPC. Woof. Looking ahead to tonight’s game against the Steelers isn’t exactly through rosy lenses; Pittsburgh has allowed a whopping 167 yards through 60 carries, a 2.8 YPC. Woof. Woof. With Lorenzo Taliaferro and rookie Buck Allen trying to nip at his heels, it might be time to throw those preseason expectations for Justin out of the window.
Lamar Miller (95.6%) is in a similar spot as that of Forsett, but it would seem as if his is more injury and inept defense related, and less O-line and talent related. After a great start against Buffalo’s defense (7-38 rushing, 3-27 on three targets receiving) the Dolphins practically abandoned the run, allowing Ryan Tannehill to throw the ball 49 times. Jonas Gray of all people managed 9 rushes for 49 yards and will likely eat in to Miller’s production once again over in London against the New York Jets defense. Miami follows up the game across the pond with a Bye Week, so hopefully that will be all the time Lamar needs to get healthy again. It’s hard to get hardly any production out of a guy you were hoping to be your RB2 until week 6, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. He should be held onto until then.
Vincent Jackson (90.7%) and Jameis Winston welcomed Mike Evans back pretty much exactly like we figured they would; by getting Jackson his lowest target total of the young season. The veteran received four of the rookie’s 36 pass attempts while Evans was targeted 17 times against the Texans. Wait…lemme check…Yep, that’s right seven. teen. Of 36 pass attempts. Poor Vincent and his 2-40-0 line. Lovie Smith did acknowledge that the targets needed to be spread out more, but why not feed your explosive, healthy 22 year-old wideout? V-Jax should continue to get Red Zone looks with ASJ injured, but he will remain a hard guy to start week in and week out unless your team can withstand a terribly low floor from your FLEX spot.
Philip Rivers (86.7%) has 890 yards and is averaging 297 yards/gm, how could he be falling? Well those six turnovers through three games behind footballoutsiders.com’s 27th ranked O-line in Pass Protection could be a blinking red light. San Diego’s Adjusted Sack Rate is 8.6% after taking into account down, distance and opponent. Rivers was the QB24 against Minnesota, throwing a pick-six and whatever the hell this was while still racking up 246 yards, though he needed 34 pass attempts to do it. He should have an easier time against a Cleveland Browns’ defense that couldn’t keep Derek Carr in check and don’t forget about Philip’s main squeeze Antonio Gates coming back in a week’s time.
Colin Kaepernick (59.3%) is a mess and those big ol’ cute gazelle legs aren’t fooling us anymore. We now know that all that hubbub about Colin being made into a new, improved quarterback by Kurt Warner after six weeks of training with him has really just produced a lot of this. He ended his day against the Cardinals after going 9-of-19, 67 yards and 4 interceptions. Four INTs. Nine completions. What a joke. While scampering into the end zone and finishing with 46 yards on the ground is fine and dandy, it didn’t help him move past QB23 on the year as his 567 passing yards rank him 29th in the league; barely ahead of Teddy Bridgewater and Tony Romo, who has played less than two games. Barring some throwback heroics against a Green Bay defense this weekend, it’s time to send him into the waiver wire abyss.
Markus Wheaton (35.6%) was having a hard enough time catching balls with Martavis Bryant suspended and a top-5 QB throwing balls all over the field. Things are going to get a lot tougher when now-journeyman Mikey Vick runs around like a dildo and gets himself and Wheaton’s value killed just like…ya know. He may be worth one last start against a flimsy Baltimore secondary before Martavis returns, but you’d have to be pretty desperate.
Brandon Coleman (22.5%) started off the season with 7 targets, converting them for 4-41-1 against a staunch Arizona defense, and looked as if he could end up being a decent option for fantasy teams as a no. 3 WR on a Drew Brees led offense. His week 2 and week 3 combined had a similar 4-42-0 while Luke McCown helped an injured Brees throw for about 6 yards at a time. He was out-targeted against Carolina by Brandin Cooks (8), Mark Ingram (5), Marques Colston (6), Ben Watson (4) and Willie Snead (7). Being 6th in targets is bad enough, but Snead is actually now out-snapping him in the WR3 role. If this offense returns to anything resembling a New Orleans offense Brandon should have some sort of value, but not right now.