Quarterbacks | Running Backs | Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Breakdown: The regular season of fantasy football is coming to an end in many leagues. With that in mind we realize that, minus the opportunity that may arise due to injury, the players with something to bring to the table this fantasy season are pretty much well known to all. Therefore our perspective must change a bit, leading us to look beyond just this season but to next season as well. Whether for keeper league purposes, trade purposes, or whatever other purposes may be pertinent, we’ll be taking a weekly look at players and situations that fantasy owners should be aware of in order to be on top of their game moving forward.
Devin Thomas (WAS) – The Redskins as a team are pretty much a mess. There are, however, a few bright spots. The defense is solid, and they have a couple of decent receivers. The list of bright spots pretty much ends there for all practical purposes. The rebuilding of this team is going to take some time, this is certain, but looking ahead Thomas stands out as someone fantasy owners should keep an eye on.
Santana Moss is going to remain the number one receiver in Washington for at least another year or two, but he’s only 5’10” and really doesn’t have the size that teams are looking for as a big target down field like Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss. Devin Thomas and fellow second year man Malcolm Kelley both are much more in that vein, and both have the talent to match. However, the team doesn’t have a reliable quarterback to get them the ball. This will likely change next season. In the race between Kelly and Thomas to see who will start, Thomas has emerged with the lead, and likely will stay in that position until ultimately both wind up as starters in another couple of years.
Thomas hasn’t had much of a role as yet, but over the past five or six weeks he’s seen his usage increase gradually, and it is obvious the team has big plans for him in their future. In the first nine weeks of the season he had a total of seven catches for 71 yards and a touchdown. Since then, in the five weeks since, he’s had eighteen catches for 254 yards and two touchdowns, evidence of good things to come, as well as that of opportunity, always the key ingredient fantasy speaking. He’s a couple of years away from really good fantasy numbers, certainly, but by next season he should be a draft day third or fourth receiver at worst in most leagues.
Robert Meachem (NOS) – Meachem’s name is pretty well known in fantasy circles, but his prospects for this season didn’t look all that great, in fact, most of the preseason fantasy magazines didn’t even list him in their receiver section. After missing his rookie season, he did a little hit and miss last year, and entered this season battling with Devery Henderson and Lance Moore for playing time. After eight weeks of this season he only had eight catches, and looked like just another receiver with a lot of potential but nothing to show for it.
Then things changed. Since week nine he has had twenty five catches for about four hundred yards and has had at least one touchdown in every game except this past Sunday. A lot of fantasy owners had him stashed on the bench for the past few weeks, then finally started him this weekend and were disappointed, but the simple fact remains, his star is on the rise. If you take into account his missed rookie year, next season will be his third full campaign, something that is worthy of note especially considering the offensive machine he’s part of in New Orleans. There are a lot of stats to be had, and he’ll be commanding more and more every week going forward. He’ll have the occasional down week, but the days of one or two catches – or none at all – are likely pretty much behind him. He’s a must keep if you’re in a dynasty league, considering the low cost you probably can keep him for. It is within the realm of possibility that he’ll end up at the higher end of some top lists next season, such as touchdowns and yardage. Where he’ll probably not be quite as valuable is in PPR leagues.
Devin Aromashodu (CHI) – The second Devin in our list this week will likely be one of the hot pickups on the waiver wire after his breakout game Sunday. The question is, will the hype be warranted? Here are some thoughts of mine on why it might.
First, for all his playmaking ability, there are still many – myself included – who don’t think Devin Hester is ever going to really break out as a receiver. He’s fantastic as a return guy, and it is understandable that the Bears would want to do whatever they can to get the ball in his hands, but that doesn’t always mean a guy’s just going to be good at a particular position. Now, this isn’t to say that Hester has lost his job, but the tea leaves aren’t all pointing in his favor, this is fairly certain. Johnny Knox and Earl Bennett are much better receivers and likely will be the starters moving forward. So what about Aromashodu?
A month ago there were comments being made by Jay Cutler about wanting to get Aromashodu more involved moving forward. When the starting quarterback starts making statements like that, there is usually something behind them. Of course, with three healthy receivers and a very good tight end or two, there wasn’t much room for Devin to wedge in. The injury to Hester changed that and he responded with eight catches for 76 yards and a TD. The telling stat, however, is that he was thrown to twelve times…while being guarded by Charles Woodson no less. Cutler has been used to throwing to the 6-4 Brandon Marshall the past couple of years, and the trio of Knox, Hester and Bennett all are 6-0 or smaller, while Aromashodu is 6-2, not Marshall’s size exactly, but still a taller target.
It would be relatively logical to think that Aromashodu is a good pick up for the rest of this year. He does have matchups against Baltimore, Minnesota and Detroit to finish things off, all of which look fairly ripe with opportunity, especially Detroit. Looking to next year it is tougher to say, as Hester will likely be back and the team will feel obligated to keep him as a starter, and the contract situation for the other three receivers keeps them locked in for a couple more years at least, so barring injury, Aromashodu fits the bill as someone moving up short term, but the long term prognosis is a little bit less bright.