For a deeper review of players that are either new to the scene or playing differently than expected, Double Coverage will give the respective views of John Tuvey (Start Bench List) and David Dorey (Game Predictions and Player Projections). We'll bring 47 years of combined fantasy football experience to bear and hopefully a few things to think about as you manage your fantasy team.
QB Russell Wilson (SEA)
TUVEY: Wilson was popular with the draftnik crowd, as he graded out highly in just about every area except height. So it wasn’t a complete surprise he won the job in Seattle, although fantasy expectations were low. Over the past month or so, however, he’s actually been a viable bye-week plug-in with three multiple touchdown efforts. Of course, the chances of you starting him out of anything other than desperation were slim. We’re almost out of bye weeks, and the Seahawks are definitely out of favorable passing game matchups on their schedule. Dynasty league, maybe you stash Wilson and hope the development continues. But as a redraft guy I see only one more game on his remaining slate—Week 15 in Buffalo—where I’d trust him with a fantasy start. Maybe you stash him for fantasy playoff depth, but even then would you really start him over a regular with a tough matchup such as Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, or Tom Brady, who play the Steelers, Cowboys, and Bears, respectively? Didn’t think so.
DOREY: Wilson was the sleeper darling in late August but as a fantasy quarterback he has just never really taken the step forward into fantasy relevancy. He's 5-3 on the season but that doesn't have that much to do with him. What I am surprised about is the lack of rushing that Wilson has done. The best yardage he produced as a runner was 28 yards and more importantly, he has never scored via the run. Wilson has been a better scorer lately with three of the last four games posting 2+ touchdown passes but he's remained below 200 passing yards in all but three games this season. Russell will never be a big-time passer and unfortunately he's not been that much of a runner either. He's just sort of there while the Seahawks defense and Marshawn Lynch secures the win.
WR T.Y. Hilton (IND)
TUVEY: Loved me some TY this week, but only if Donnie Avery was going to be inactive. Sure enough, Avery made it to the field—and Hilton was left without a catch. He’s explosive, though, and the Colts got the ball in his hands on a couple end arounds to the tune of 30 yards. So long as Avery stays healthy you’ll have to cherry-pick where you use Hilton the rest of the way; your best bets will be in Weeks 11 and 12 against the Patriots and Bills as well as fantasy playoff weeks 14 (Tennessee) and 16 (Kansas City). The New England and Chiefs dates are a tad iffier as they’re road games and thus far Andrew Luck has been more fantasy-prolific at home. Of course, there’s always a chance the oft-injured Avery misses more time, at which point Hilton should be your first call for fantasy help. Plus, I bet he’s got a lot of nice ties.
DOREY: I am much higher on Hilton that I used to be and even after he did not have a catch against the Jaguars. The one interception by Andrew Luck was on a pass thrown to Hilton. Donnie Avery being able to play - and play well - was a surprise and ended up taking Hilton out of the equation other than the two runs. But one of the truisms I have gleaned from my 20 years studying the NFL is that quarterbacks make the receiver. And receivers can never be so good as to take an average quarterback and make him anything more than still average. Meaning that Andrew Luck is the real deal and in my opinion the next Peyton Manning. He is amazing and that's playing with a below-average team around him. And going forward I want to own receivers connected to elite quarterbacks. What I am really interested to see is if Donnie Avery moves on next year to his fourth NFL team as he only signed a one year contract. Hilton could stand to become a starter and I want the IND starting wideouts on my team in the future.
RB Mark Ingram (NO)
TUVEY: Man, I had the New Orleans backfield pegged this preseason! In my touchdown-only league I grabbed Ingram for peanuts, figuring the goal line back for an explosive offense like the Saints would give me points on a consistent basis. Great plan, especially in Week 2 when Ingram got 16 carries and a touchdown. In the two months since, I’d have received more bang for my fantasy buck from Armando Allen, Baron Batch, Delone Carter, and Anthony Dixon… and that’s just a partial list, working alphabetically. Even last week, with Darren Sproles out of the picture, the money shot went to Chris Ivory. What little fantasy value Ingram still had for this season expired with the trade deadline; with him still in New Orleans, there’s no way he can be trusted with a fantasy start given his average contribution of six carries, and 18 yards.
DOREY: Ingram is one of the most fascinating backs I have ever seen and not in a good way. He was merely a Heisman Trophy winner, on a national championship team and set the Crimson Tide's single-season rushing record with 1,658 yards. At 5-9, 215 he is prototypical size. He was the first back drafted in 2011 with the 1.28 pick by the Saints who wanted to create a great rushing attack again since 2010 saw the Saints struggle to run. And then... nothing happened.. It seemed like the greatest set-up. A star back, best player in college (Heisman anyway), national champion and record setter goes to the high-powered Saints offense and he laid a huge egg. He went from being the heavy-use full-time back to just part of a three man rotation. He still has never been given more than 17 carries in a game and normally is capped around eight this year. He has six career touchdowns. He only has 14 catches over two years. Worse yet, he hasn't gained more than 3.9 yards per carry for a season. Is he misused, used up before he got to the NFL or just a sudden flop? Hard to say but when Pierre Thomas outplays him consistently, it says something is pretty wrong given that Thomas is an undrafted 6th year back who has never really done that much. So one day when Ingram moves to another team, is anyone going to think "now he gets back on track?". Probably not. But again - one of the bigger flops at running back I have ever seen. When Darren Sproles got knocked out of the line-up for a few weeks, did they give more work to Ingram? No. They just moved Chris Ivory into the lineup - another undrafted, undecorated back.
TE Zach Miller (SEA)
TUVEY: Remember when Zach Miller used to be good? That was a couple seasons ago, when he was a Raider. Since leaving Oakland Miller has one touchdown, zero games of 60 or more yards, and zero games with double-digit fantasy points. He’s not seeing nearly enough targets to warrant anything other than bye week consideration, and there’s only a couple more of those left to deal with. Sad, too, because logically there’s a big role for him in Seattle. It’s a run-first team, so the tight end is a great play-action option. And it’s not as if the Seahawks are stocked with wide receiver talent. If you’ve been playing mix-and-match at the tight end position all season you could stash him and use him in Week 15 against the Bills, but hopefully you’re not that desperate during your fantasy playoffs.
DOREY: Remember back when the Raiders still thought that Jamarcus Russell was an NFL-quality quarterback? Or Jason Campbell. Man. Those were the days. And back then Miller turned in three seasons with at least semi-fantasy relevancy. He was even the lead receiver for the Raiders in 2010. But he's another guy that another team acquired and leaves you to wonder "why did they hire him and then kill him?". Miller finally scored a touchdown for the Seahawks when they went to Detroit in week eight. He gained 47 yards on two catches last week versus the Vikings. In Carolina during week five, he caught three passes for 59 yards. Miller has been better in Seattle this year than he was in 2011 since he's already totaled more yardage (248) than he did in all of last year (233). By next year, he may even be worthy of being a fantasy backup for a bye week cover but his days of 805 yard seasons appears over permanently.
QB Jake Locker (TEN)
TUVEY: Last we saw Locker, he was rolling up 378 yards and two TDs against the Lions… and then reinjuring his shoulder and missing a couple months. He’s expected back at the helm for the Titans this week, just in time to shake a little rust off before Tennessee goes on the bye. Locker’s finishing slate isn’t all that enticing, either, but the way the Titans’ defense has been playing he’ll get ample opportunity to throw the ball. I’ve stashed him in a couple of leagues where I’m QB-thin, hoping that Lions game was indicative of what Locker can don in the Titans’ offense. He’s a backup, but the upside is undeniable.
DOREY: The Titans hope to get Locker back this week and this is a guy who was drafted with their 1.08 pick last year. He was a star at Washington. But he played sparingly last season (3 games) and then fractured his shoulder in week four this year. One thing does jump out at me - he has thrown at least one touchdown in all six games that he started so far. Never more than two mind you, and three of those were sub-200 yard games. But his last game this year was 378 yards and two scores versus the Lions. His remaining schedule does contain HOU in week 13 but otherwise it is not so bad. The Titans have their rushing game back and decent wideouts between Nate Washington, Kenny Britt and the rookie Kendall Wright. I want to see where this Locker thing goes. If he can remain healthy, I am getting more interested in him.