by Matthew Gordan
The Houston Texans represent a poor fantasy situation for me. Despite some name power, the offense simply underwhelms. It’s a grind-it-out attack better suited for real life than make-believe. I’d sell Arian Foster and Andre Johnson because of this, although Foster more so because of health (coming off back surgery) and Johnson because of quarterbacking (Ryan Fitzpatrick). The combination of system and current situation does not bode well for these two.
Coming into the season I thought the Titans could be a solid source of bye-week performers. With Ken Whisenhunt taking charge with young, talented skill-position players, things were looking up. I was wrong. Well, at least for now I am. Delanie Walker looks to be a very good option at TE, regardless of quarterback. With the season spiraling downward, it’s only a matter of time before Bishop Sankey takes the majority of RB reps. A bump in volume can never hurt. Other than that, the Titans are a wasteland. I’m surprised about the lack of usage regarding Dexter McCluster, the diminutive WR/RB hybrid. There’s still time though, so PPR owners should keep an eye on him.
Golden Tate blew away his Lions teammates with 10 targets. With Calvin Johnson limping because of an ongoing ankle problem, Tate will continue to see targets. Even with Megatron healthy, Tate was averaging 7 targets a game. The increased attention will be a boon for his fantasy owners. Tate is no slouch, as evidenced by his paltry 5 drops since 2011 (none so far this season). He will be a solid WR2 until further notice.
Speaking of wide receivers, if you wanted to say Antonio Brown is the best WR in football, I’d take it. He’s incredible. Players like him are what make fantasy sports fun to play. Everyone take time and watch his highlights. Wow. Anyway, he has strong-armed Ben Roethlisberger slinging him the rock, he’ll have no shortage of targets (10 a game) and he’s talented. It may come down to him and Jordy Nelson for King of the WR Hill this year.
The good news is Doug Martin horded all of the backfield reps for the Buccaneers. The bad news is he did nothing with them (2.9 yards per carry). He did add 2 catches… for 16 yards. But hey, we all know the catchphrase around here (um, something about volume). Martin isn’t a very exciting option, but he has the opportunity. Bobby Rainey only had 5 total touches, and 5-8 will probably be the norm going forward. If Martin has a big game, sell sell sell! Otherwise, you’re stuck with a workhorse RB3.
That being said, I’d much rather own Martin than Toby Gerhart, who is a similar case. In the Gerhart situation it seems a more concerted effort is being given to give the rock to the backup, Denard Robinson, a converted QB. Robinson does have some sizzle, and is a capable receiver, but he’s a weekly lottery ticket.
What a disappointment Donald Brown was against the porous Jacksonville defense. Don’t know how that performance instilled any confidence in the Chargers or his fantasy owners. Intriguing Branden Oliver had some good touches, totaling 53 yards, although most of that was in garbage time. Philip Rivers remains the focal point of the offense and is a supremely underrated QB1.
Jerick McKinnon had a huge day with 150 total yards. McKinnon was mentioned in the comments last week, and while I thought he’d be given a chance I didn’t think he’d explode like this so soon. Matt Asiata will remain a big part of the offense for the foreseeable future. He’s a grinder that moves the pile well. But McKinnon is exciting, and the Vikings desperately need all the sparks they can get. Those in keeper leagues should be licking their chops because McKinnon has the next several weeks to state his case to be a franchise back, should the job open up.
Steve Smith, Sr. dominated the Panthers and continued to look fresh. No matter what the Ravens say, Smith has supplanted Torrey Smith has their WR1. In a Gary Kubiak offense that is a guaranteed 100 receptions. Steve Smith owners may be looking to sell high, but his performance is not a mirage. As long as he remains healthy, the numbers will be there. Go get him. Torrey Smith owners, myself included: it’s going to be a disappointing season.
I’m a big fan of Khiry Robinson. The game against the Cowboys negatively dictated his usage, but good things are coming. See if you can pry him from his owner before it’s too late… Another dud of a game for Darren Sproles. I don’t care. I’m still buying. The good weeks will outweigh the bad ones. It just may take good management on your part to max out his value. Another Eagle I’m still buying is Zack Ertz. He’s been solid each week this season, but I think he can take another leap before the year is out… This will be your weekly Mike Wallace-is-back reminder. Wallace is firmly a high-end WR3 who those with WR needs can target to be their WR2… Maurice Jones-Drew may be done. I’m not sure why I’m hanging onto any hope… Speaking of hope, I hope everyone did their Packers shopping this past week. Store is closed! Except perhaps for Eddie Lacy. If he’s available, go for it. He’s underperforming, but he’s the workhorse for an elite offense. Every week, despite his yardage totals, he’ll have a shot at the end zone.