Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: These are guys who are on the rise, moving up from where they’ve been over the first few weeks of the season. They may or may not be on a roster, but likely are, and may even be starting here and there. They are listed here because circumstances are favorable for them to move up in their overall ‘stature’ from a fantasy standpoint. With bye weeks now in season, these are guys who can help you in the coming week, and sometimes beyond!
Antonio Bryant (TBB) – Of course, Tampa Bay is anything but a good team this year, but things aren’t entirely hopeless from a fantasy standpoint. Case in point, Antonio Bryant, who was one of last year’s studs, but due to injury, has been a late ‘significant’ arrival to fantasy relevance. With a new quarterback, things will take some time to get in a groove, but it already appears that Johnson is focusing on Bryant. It is likely that Antonio has languished on your bench so far this season, but the time is right to get him back to the starting lineup. He’s not going to be a number one receiver for a while, but as a two or three guy he’s got good value. He was targeted five times and caught four including one for a touchdown against a relatively solid Redskin secondary, and the five targets represent about twenty-five percent of the teams’ passes, so he’s getting a decent amount of the action, which, again, is the key element from a fantasy perspective.
Kenny Britt (TEN) – Britt is quickly moving into the number one option in Tennessee, quite a bit faster than many expected. With Washington and Gage ahead of him, there really wasn’t any hurry for him to advance. However, with the team being forced to the pass more often than even it expected, he’s become a key player. His seventeen receptions in four weeks lead the team, and there is no indication the team will have any change of approach any time soon. The only thing missing at this point from Britt’s production is touchdowns, he hasn’t caught any so far, but that will change at some point. It should be noted that Britt’s significantly larger production this week was in part due to facing Jacksonville’s less than stellar secondary, but he’s still getting enough looks and catches each week to warrant a starting spot in deep leagues in most situations.
Steve Smith (NYG) – It seems that the season has been full of talk about Hixon, Nicks and Manningham and what each of them will or won’t do as Giants receivers this year. However, while all of this has been going on, Smith has been off to one of the best starts a receiver could ask for. On a pace for over 1,600 yards and sixteen touchdowns, he’s the only receiver so far this year, after four games, to be averaging over one hundred yards a game. Will this pace continue? Maybe not at this rate, but it will be a big surprise if he doesn’t finish with at least ten touchdowns and twelve hundred yards when all is said and done. It seems as though we’ve moved from the era of Steve Smith (CAR) to the era of Steve Smith (NYG). Mark it down, as it’s unlikely you’ll see something like that again in your lifetime!
Sidney Rice (MIN) – Lost a bit in the mix of the high expectations veteran, Bernard Berrian, and hotshot rookie, Percy Harvin, is a third year receiver who is having himself a fairly decent season so far, on an offense that seems to be coming into its own rather quickly under the tutelage of one Brett Favre. Sidney Rice had 5 catches for 70 yards and has touchdowns in the last two weeks. While he is going to share time, he’s looking like a very good option to get points each week, and has a matchup with St. Louis next week, a recipe for even more good times. Do take care though, he follows that up with contests against Baltimore and Pittsburgh, so all days may not be rosy!
Waiver Wire Radar
Breakdown: These are guys who more than likely are not residing on many, if any, rosters. They are in situations that are favorable for possible fantasy impact in the not too distant future.
Mohamed Massaquoi (CLE) – It is a somewhat peculiar situation here. Braylon Edwards has been in a freefall since his huge breakout year a couple seasons ago, however he remains the team’s number one wide-out. This week, though, the team found the guy that is going to be lining up on the other side of the field for a good while. Massaquoi didn’t just break out, he busted things wide open. In fact, had a couple of other throws been a foot shorter he would have had one of the biggest days any wide receiver has had in quite a while. As it was he made a statement. He’s not going anywhere. Cleveland’s defense isn’t going to be stopping many people this year, so expect the team to be airing it out quite often, and with teams – at least for the moment – having to focus on Edwards, expect more nice outings from Massaquoi periodically throughout the year. Grab him now if you still can.
Sean Ryan (KCC) – If you’re in a PPR league that requires a tight end, bye week help may be available in Ryan. After two catches (one for a touchdown) in the first two weeks, the Chiefs tight end has had nine catches for 80 yards and a touchdown over the past two weeks, including five of those this week against the Giants. As improvement goes, Sean’s is significant, and also comes along with Matt Cassel getting back in the swing of things with the team. He has already surpassed his season long output in any of his six previous seasons, so appears to finally have found his place and gained a certain comfort level. Either way, his quarterback seems to have found his comfort level with him, so upside is present. Not yet a serious number one starting option – he is playing for KC after all – but during the bye week season he is a serious option when necessary.
Marcedes Lewis (JAC) – While he’s not necessarily the leading receiver, Lewis is getting plenty of looks from Garrard where it counts, the end zone. He is averaging over sixteen yards per catch and a 50/50 chance of a touchdown each week, both things that bode well for fantasy owners looking for tight end help. Jacksonville is struggling to really find its offensive identity at the moment. It has been known as primarily a running team for quite some time, but seems to have had more trouble in that area lately than they have in the past, leading to a more balanced attack that at times has to rely on the receiving game much more. This helps guys like Lewis and certainly lifts their fantasy value. Lewis is a mid-tier option, and is a legitimate start even on non-bye weeks.
Jermichael Finley (GBP) – Aaron Rodgers would appear to have found himself a new favorite tight end in the form of Jermichael Finley. With a big night Monday night he’s solidified himself as one of the leading receivers for Green Bay, a team who loves to throw the ball. The danger with Finley isn’t that he won’t see plenty of stats, but rather when the lapses will come. The solace is in the fact that Green Bay likes to use their tight ends, and even thought they have a couple, so no one will monopolize, Finley seems to be the weapon of choice, so his upside is larger. Grab him and ride as far as the train will take you, especially with bye week holes coming up.
Austin Collie (IND) – Collie lost out on the starting spot replacing Anthony Gonzalez, but he figured into the plans on a sizeable scale. This weekend he took advantage of the big win against Seattle to have his best day yet. It is significant to pick him up this week if he’s available because his next two match ups (with a bye week in between) are against Tennessee and St. Louis, both which are giving up a ton of offense week in and week out. All in all, with bye weeks in full swing, Collie is a great addition to your squad and possibly even starting lineup depending on the makeup of your team. It should also be noted that Manning has had four 300 yard games consecutively for the first time in his career…primarily due to the almost complete lack of a decent running game. This also bodes well for Collie and his fellow receivers.
…And On The Slide – Quick Hits
Breakdown: With the season in full swing and bye weeks about to begin, we felt it time to add a bit of the ‘flip side’ to our movers review. These are guys who are relatively well known, but whose stock is most definitely not moving in the right direction – with just a quick hit as to my personal thoughts on the matter.
Braylon Edwards (CLE) – Believe it or not, Edwards may – if he stays at his current output – finish with lesser numbers this year than last year…an amazing feat considering where he was two seasons ago. While the team is applauding his ‘blocking’, it is catastrophic what has happened to his production, caused primarily because of his terrible hands. The talk of the week was all about how Derek Anderson being reinserted as starter would help Edwards number, and what happened? Edwards laid a big ole goose egg. At this point the only sane fantasy move is to bench him until something happens to turn things around.