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FANTASY FOOTBALL IN-SEASON FEATURES

Player Trends Report - Receivers - Week 7
Tim Van Prooyen
October 14, 2008
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers
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RISING

Patrick Crayton, Cowboys – After looking to be replaced as a starter by Miles Austin, Crayton has had solid outings for three weeks running.  It could be argued that one of those weeks was a fluke, but either way, points on the board are points on the board.  While it is easy to say that anyone other than T.O. or Witten is a stretch as a fantasy starter among Dallas wideouts, the reality is that while Witten has been a stud at TE, Owens has been very subpar, being outplayed by the likes of Crayton and Austin at times early in the season.  Crayton would appear to be a must start for the time being, as Dallas looks to be in quite its share of shootouts this season.   While Austin did have a touchdown this week, it was his only catch, and it would seem that he’s continued to stay behind Crayton after Crayton’s resurgence.

Donnie Avery, Rams – St. Louis is struggling offensively, but rookie Avery has taken on more and more of a role over the last three weeks, becoming what could be considered a low end fantasy option considering the struggles the team has had.  With the coaching change made, the starting quarterback settled and a tough win under their belt look for Avery to grow into the lead receiver role on the team as the season progresses and as Tory Holt enters the twilight of his career.  With Dallas on the horizon, he could have a solid day in what likely will be a relatively high scoring affair.

Nate Washington, Steelers – While he was off this week, he warrants mentioning here as he’s come on in the last three games with thirteen catches for over 160 yards and a touchdown on a team that isn’t exactly a passing juggernaut.  He’s still the third guy among receivers on the team, but he’s moving up and could arguably be a threat to move into the second spot, though it would likely hurt his overall production.

Alex Smith (TE), Buccaneers – He’s doing it quietly, but Smith is becoming a big target in the end zone again for the Bucs.  He’s not putting up a ton of yards, but has two touchdowns in the past three games, with at least two catches in all but one game this season. If you need bye week tight end help or if yours goes down, look for Smith on the waiver wire as he could very likely be available.  Tampa is becoming a playoff contender but has an offense that sputters here and there and the tight end will continue to be an important part of the scheme.

John Carlson (TE), Seahawks – He’s been mentioned here before, prior to slipping back a bit, but with all the trouble the Seahawks are having with their passing game in general, he’s become the closest thing the team has to a go-to guy.  He recorded his first touchdown this week and as a rookie, should only continue to improve.  He’s on a team coached by a guy who likes to use his tight ends, so while he’ll toss a dud here and there, he’s got some value if bye weeks and injuries put you in a bind.

FALLING

Anthony Fasano (TE), Dolphins – After a huge week one, Fasano has had a couple of beeps on the radar, but has seen his importance on this resurgent offense diminish overall.  He’s taken a backseat to fellow tight end David Martin, and while Martin isn’t lighting things up, he’s more firmly entrenched in the offense.  The possible redeeming factor here is that the Dolphins seem to be going in the right direction finally and are becoming a factor as a team as well as an offense.  For now, if you grabbed him after his huge week one, consider scrapping him, as he doesn’t look to have many more days like that in his future.

Todd Heap (TE), Ravens – Baltimore isn’t a team that’s going to put up big passing numbers anyway, but much, much more was expected of Heap and he’s not produced at all.  He is a top talent, but for whatever reason things aren’t working out in his favor this year.  There is plenty of time for things to turn around, but there is little indication that it will at this point.  The team has stated they’ll stick with Joe Flacco at quarterback, so if that is helping the problem it could be a long, long year for Heap.

Chansi Stuckey, Jets – After looking like he was off to a solid season as Favre’s favorite guy in the red zone, Stuckey has gone missing in the stats field.  While there may still be value there as the season moves on, he’s definely moving down as Coles and Cotchery find their footing and solidify their one and two status.  Stuckey is droppable at this point if you need to move someone to make room for better scoring talent.

One Hit Wonders?

Malcom Floyd, Chargers – He had a nice outing Sunday night but was only a factor because of the absence of Chambers.  Chambers will be back sooner rather than later it is assumed, so Floyd’s value is very low.  Keep in mind these were his first three catches of the season, so going forward he likely will revert back to bench duty.

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