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!
Donnie Avery (STL) – Following a six catch first week, Avery had disappeared into the ‘abyss’ if you will, of fantasy foot ball. This was primarily due to a lingering hamstring injury, but obviously the inept ability of the St Louis passing game hadn’t helped much. So, even though the team got routed again, Avery had a relatively good day all things considered with seven catches – the total he’d had the three previous weeks combined – and his first touchdown of the season. With three games to play before his bye week, and two of those against Jacksonville and Detroit, Avery has very nice fantasy potential going forward. It is quite likely that some owners of Avery had already benched him, and possibly even waived him, prior to this week, so whether he’s residing on your bench, available for trade, or even waiting on the waiver wire, now is the time to have him in your lineup.
Braylon Edwards (NYJ) – Edwards moved up simply on the virtues of a trade out of Cleveland. Whether or not the problems he’s had the past season plus are his and his alone or partially the product of a bad offense remains to be seen, however, after one game with the Jets he’s already looking better. The quarterback situation isn’t the same, he’s still doesn’t have an established, veteran quarterback throwing to him, but he’s got a system, a running game, and a team that is on the rise, that is on the right track, and isn’t a train wreck happening every week. Edwards will be a compliment to Sanchez, and with a lot of other threats on the field, should see a lot of chances to put up nice stats. Will he grab a touchdown a week? Not likely. However, fifty yards a week with a touchdown every other week or so wouldn’t be a great surprise based on early indications.
Roddy White (ATL) – White, one of the top wide receiver picks in drafts this year, has had a slow start, as have many of the Falcon offensive stars, however, it appears as though he and Matt Ryan finally may have found the same playbook again and could be ready to start dishing it out a bit more like they did last year. Of course he’s not going to have two hundred year games every week, but with a lineup of games coming up that are very conducive to good passing numbers, now is the time to make sure that he is in your lineup week in and week out, with no exceptions.
Kellen Winslow, Jr. (TBB) – Winslow is finding a very nice groove in Tampa Bay and seems to now be getting in synch with his new quarterback. He went into the game Sunday with seventeen catches, ten more than the next receiver on the team, and two touchdowns. Sunday, he added nine more catches, over a hundred more yards, and two more touchdowns. The only receiving option on the team that is working with any regularity, Winslow has done one more important thing this season – stayed healthy. If he’s able to continue both of these trends, he could finish with a very good season for a tight end, and something very close to his ’06 numbers, the second best year he’s had. He struggled the previous two weeks, predominantly due to the team breaking in Josh Johnson at quarterback. Johnson is getting comfortable, and appears to have a bead on Winslow, meaning good things for Winslow owners.
Eddie Royal (DEN) – Eddie was bound to break out at some point, as with all the changes in coaching, schemes and personnel there was bound to be a ‘learning period’. Well, it appears the learning is over and that Kyle Orton has finally figured out what kind of a weapon he has in Royal. Of course, there are a lot of receivers to make happy in Denver, but Royal is still the number two guy to Brandon Marshall, and if both stay healthy they will make life miserable for opposing secondary’s week in and week out, leading to good things for both. He caught more balls this week, ten, than he had all season, eight, and even though he has yet to grab a touchdown, you know that is coming – very likely against San Diego next Monday night in Prime Time. If you’d benched him in favor of receivers who were producing, now is the time to get him back up in your starting lineup.
Nate Burleson (SEA) – Here is the effect the move to Seattle by T.J. Houshmandzadeh had on most draft days. T.J. was drafted, on average, as the thirteenth receiver overall, at about the end of the third round. Burleson, by comparison, was drafted, again on average, as the fifty-fourth receiver all, in about the middle of the twelfth round. So, who got the better end of the deal? The guy who waited and drafted Burleson. After week five, Burleson is on pace to push twelve hundred yards and ten touchdowns, while Houshmandzadeh is on a pace to barely eclipse one thousand yards and possibly hit six touchdowns. Obviously neither stat projection is bad, and both are must starts each week, but as owners start seeking for value in trades to set their team up for the deep part of the season, it is good to know the facts, as well as the value. Burleson is that. He’s maintained the value even when Seneca Wallace had to start at quarterback for a couple of weeks, a great sign should it happen again later in the season.
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.
Michael Jenkins (ATL) – With the resurgence of White and Ryan, as well as the rest of Atlanta’s offense, the residual effects are likely to stretch to Jenkins. His output has increased steadily throughout the season, before taking a step back this week as White got the feature role. However, the upcoming schedule, as well as the fact that Atlanta has had their bye week, makes Jenkins relatively valuable at least in the short term during the bye week season. As the offense continues to get back in synch, look for Jenkins to have a few more good fantasy days, including one or two with Chicago, Dallas and New Orleans the next three on the docket. He won’t always be the best option, but he’s better than many in the next few weeks all things considered.
Chris Henry (CIN) – Henry is a well known commodity, but he’s had a slow start. With the Bengals looking more and more like a serious contender, with a good running game and solid defense, there is every reason to think that Palmer will continue to regain his former skill and that the passing game will benefit from it. Henry won’t be the number one or two guy, but he’s still one of Palmer’s favorites, so will have games like he did Sunday on several occasions. Unfortunately for fantasy owners that isn’t very consistent, but if you catch the match ups right he can offer good fantasy rewards. Baring an injury to Caldwell or Ochocinco he won’t move up in status beyond where he seems to be, but he definitely warrants residence on a fantasy roster during bye week season, if not beyond.
Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) – Muhammad is a very well known receiver in fantasy circles. He’s been around seemingly forever, has had a couple of flashy seasons, but more than anything has been a relatively dependable point maker, who lately has lost a lot of looks due to his perceived decline. Sure, he’s not the top receiver he used to be, but looking at what he’s doing this year, compared to his average draft position, he’s definitely a ‘moving up’ candidate. In fact, while he’s likely on the waiver wire in most leagues, it is likely he’s on some rosters already. If you’re looking for touchdown help you don’t want to look here, but in PPR leagues, and basic yardage leagues, he’s a nice number three, especially during the bye weeks. He’s on pace for about 75 catches, for about 750 yards, not great, but when you consider his average draft position was the fourteenth round, the 63rd receiver drafted, it makes those numbers seem a whole lot better. Consider this, he has more catches than Eddie Royal, Donald Driver, Marques Colston, Terrell Owens and Roy Williams, all drafted much higher than he was. He has more yards than Royal and Braylon Edwards, and is averaging more yards per catch than Wes Welker, again, all guys taken well ahead of him. Again, he isn’t the answer for a number one or two guy going forward, but he could be great help when you’re needing a number three guy as we work through the bye stretch.
…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.
Laveranues Coles (CIN) – One of the bigger off season moves, at least from the level of talk it got, has turned into one of the biggest busts. Coles has only ten catches this season, including none this past weekend, and his top yardage output was thirty-four yards. With Chris Henry coming on as well again, and the play of Caldwell alongside Chad Ochocinco, Coles hasn’t figured at all into the Bengals attack this season and doesn’t appear to be on the road to changing that. If he’s still on your roster it might not be a bad time to upgrade.
Roy Williams (DAL) – Roy was drafted as the 18th overall wide receiver (average), around the fourth round in most leagues. What has he done? Well, beyond continuing a disturbing recent injury trend, he’s gone on a seriously lousy pace for the season. At the rate he’s going, he’ll be lucky to reach seven hundred yards and three touchdowns. Not what you want from a top twenty (on draft day) receiver. It is really puzzling why he and Romo can’t seem to get things together, but it is now a much bigger concern than it was after the trade last year. They’ve had an offseason to get on the same page and evidently haven’t. Roy is not necessarily bench worthy (if he’s healthy that is), but he’s barely a third option at this point.