FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

The Pick-up Joint: Week 3
John Tuvey
September 18, 2012
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Top Adds For Week 2
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Kevin Ogletree, WR, Cowboys 85%
Alfred Morris, RB, Redskins 53%
Stephen Hill, WR, Jets 48%
Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens 40%
Andre Hawkins, WR, Bengals 34%
Total Week 2 Touchdowns: 1  
Top Drops For Week 2
From MyFantasyLeague.com
Greg Little, WR, Browns 19%
Rashad Jennings, RB, Jaguars 19%
Buffalo Bills D/ST 17%
Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers 14%
Ronnie Hillman, RB, Broncos 14%
Total Week 2 Touchdowns: 3  

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE

Chris Johnson, RB, Titans
A couple flashback preseason runs sucked us in, but after two hideous games it’s clear Johnson’s greyhound days are behind him; he’s all sled dog now. He hasn’t seen more than 15 carries in any of his last six games, and against a San Diego defense that let Darren McFadden rack up 13 catches he could only snare two. And what’s his solution to the problem? Tell his teammates they need to step up their level of play. Something about CJ’s 1.1 yards per carry suggests it’s not all on his line and his quarterback. If you can find someone in your league who still sees value in Johnson, get what you can and get out.

Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers
Good from far, but far from good. Meachem was a sexy offseason add for the Chargers, and many fantasy owners mistakenly leapt to the conclusion that he would step into the WR1 role vacated by Vincent Jackson. But the same guy who couldn’t get it done consistently with Drew Brees has struggled to get on the same page with Philip Rivers; while Malcom Floyd is putting up top-10 fantasy receiver numbers Meachem has six targets, two catches, and was shut out in the Bolts’ 38-10 Week 2 win—with no Antonio Gates or Ryan Mathews to swipe looks. It’s not going to get any better for Bob.

Fred Davis, TE, Redskins
There’s a long-standing theory that young quarterbacks lean heavily on their tight ends. There’s plenty of logic in the theory, but even if it’s been proven there’s an obvious corollary to the theory: if the young quarterback has world-class speed, he’s going to simply pull the ball down and run rather than look for his tight end. Davis is falling victim to this corollary, with a mere nine targets, four catches, and 49 yards in two games. Now he’s nursing a concussion, which could cost him a game or at least limit his involvement. Meanwhile, RG3 throws deep balls to Pierre Garçon or scrambles for yards; there’s no in-between, which puts Davis in no-man’s land—a place where there aren’t many fantasy points to be found.

“IT’S NOT ME, IT’S YOU”

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins
The good news is, Helu has caught all four passes RG3 has thrown his way this season. The bad news, of course, is that Helu is somewhere behind Alfred Morris in the Redskins’ running back rotation. You could keep him on your roster and wait for Mike Shanahan to change his mind, but all you’re doing then is setting yourself up for a new set of headaches. Helu is still on 85 percent of MFL rosters; here’s hoping Huddlers are in the wiser 15 percent of that equation.

Isaiah Pead, RB, Rams
Steven Jackson gets robbed of a touchdown by the scab refs, his coach fails to review, and he picks up a 15-yard penalty for spiking the ball in frustration. Enter Pead, the Rams’ second-round pick? Nah; instead, Jeff Fisher rolls with seventh-round selection Daryl Richardson, who beat out Pead in the preseason. If you wanted Jackson’s handcuff you likely Pead yourself; flush him from your roster and pick up the productive Richardson instead.

Stephen Hill, WR, Jets
With all the Kevin Ogletree love in Week 1, Hill’s 5-89-2 fell largely under the radar—aside from the 48% of MFL leagues noted above who chased the tail of last week’s scores. Their reward in Week 2? Two targets, zero catches, and a face full of egg. There’s little reason to think the Jets’ passing game will bounce back and make a productive fantasy wideout out of a guy who’s at best the second target on a run-first team with quarterback issues, so if you’re looking for roster space feel free to expose Hill to the free agent pool.

ONE NIGHT STANDS

Andre Brown, RB, Giants
Pressed into duty after Ahmad Bradshaw left the Giants’ Week 2 win with a neck injury, Brown sparked the previously moribund Big Blue running game with 71 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Rookie David Wilson remains in the doghouse, so if Bradshaw misses any time—and with the Giants on a short week due to the Thursday night game, that wouldn’t be at all surprising—Brown is the Giants’ go-to back. Doesn’t hurt that the Thursday game pits Brown against a Carolina defense that’s giving up the most running back yards in the league thus far this year.

Bilal Powell, RB, Jets
The utterly pedestrian Shonn Greene took his 3.3 yards per carry to the sidelines with a concussion in the Jets’ Week 2 loss to Pittsburgh. Powell wasn’t markedly better, but he did get nine carries in relief of Greene—proof that he’s next up in the Gang Green backfield. If Greene’s concussion lingers, Powell would get the touches against Miami this week; if he’s impressive, he could bite into Greene’s workload the rest of the season. Consider this a one-night stand with potential long-term benefits.

PUT A RING ON THAT THING!

Donnie Avery, WR, Colts
With Austin Collie still sidelined with a concussion, Avery has slid seamlessly into Andrew Luck’s receiver rotation. He sports both the targets and productivity of a fantasy WR2, playing for an Indy squad that will play plenty of catch-up and has no running game. Worst-case scenario for Avery’s fantasy value has Collie returning and the speedy Avery creating mismatches out of the slot; best-case, Collie remains out and Avery offers a solid secondary option to Reggie Wayne—and your fantasy club.

Dennis Pitta, TE, Ravens
Who has two thumbs and leads all NFL tight ends in targets? This guy! Pitta has seen 24 balls thrown his way, one more than Jimmy Graham, and like the Saints superstar Pitta has 13 catches on the year. Ed Dickson has been back in the mix, but Pitta clearly has the upper hand and has taken over the role of Joe Flacco’s security blanket. Not a bad gig to have, and Pitta is still available in more than half of MFL leagues.

Scott Chandler, TE, Bills
Dante Rosario’s hat trick? That’s a fluke. But Chandler’s two touchdowns in as many games is beginning to feel quite real. Sure, he roared out of the gates last year before being shut out in 10 of his last 11 games. But with David Nelson out the Bills have a serious second-target deficiency, and while C.J. Spiller is fast he’s not the kind of guy you pound at the stripe. Chandler could be just what the doctor ordered to cover the roster hole left by Aaron Hernandez’s injury for the next month and a half.

BEAT THE CLOSING-TIME RUSH

Before you know it the bye weeks will be upon us, and while losing the Steelers and Colts in Week 4 won’t be particularly taxing Week 5 will take a bigger bite with four teams—Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, and Tampa Bay—who all feature regular fantasy starters.

Much like the old adage “go ugly early”, the suggestion here is to beat your leaguemates to the punch when it comes to insulating your roster against bye-week issues. In addition to the aforementioned players, here are three kickers who are currently available in at least half of all MFL leagues who might actually stick around as your regular kicker after the break.

Billy Cundiff, K, Redskins
A missed playoff kick and a hotshot rookie (see below) cost Cundiff his gig in Baltimore, but he didn’t have to travel far to find a new home. Tacking on points for the RG3-led Redskins offense does have its advantages.

Justin Tucker, K, Ravens
Remember when the Ravens used to play defense and kick a ton of field goals? They’re mixing in a few more touchdowns but Tucker is still getting ample opportunity to swing the leg, and should continue to do so regardless of whether the offensive Ravens stick around or they revert to their former form.

Blair Walsh, K, Vikings
The Vikings offense is a work in progress, to put it mildly, but if they can get close Walsh has a big enough leg to do some damage; he’s already knocked home 50-plus yarders in each of his first two NFL games. As an added bonus, he kicks indoors so no weather worries down the fantasy stretch.


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