Jeff Cumberland's fantasy football value has been increasing.
Still, we can't get too ahead of ourselves because the New York Jets are in dire straits, and their passing game isn't the most explosive. Fortunately for Cumberland, he's had a solid year thus far, and Monday night was his most productive game of 2012.
With that, let's check out Cumberland's potential fantasy value and decide whether he's worthy of a roster spot.
Value to Jets Offense
Through five games, Cumberland has 139 yards on 13 receptions and one touchdown.
Obviously, these are not appealing numbers regarding fantasy football. However, he did get 51 yards and a score versus the Houston Texans in Week 5. And we have to remember that Houston arguably fields the NFL's best defense.
So, Cumberland is definitely a key part of New York's offense, and at this point, Gang Green needs a lot of new guys to step up. Cumberland has also received the second-highest number of targets from Mark Sanchez; therefore, his production is certainly capable of remaining consistent as 2012 progresses.
Best Areas of Impact
At 6'4", 260 pounds Cumberland is a reliable target over the middle and inside the red zone.
It is easy for Sanchez to find Cumberland downfield because of Cumberland's size, and it is quite difficult for linebackers to cover him one-on-one. Averaging 10.7 yards per catch and recording eight first downs on 13 catches, Cumberland is a go-to tight end in clutch situations.
Also, he's never going to see double coverage since the Jets' ground game is still their stronger offensive area. Well, not only does that create more favorable coverage matchups, but also it allows him to sit between intermediate zones and then accumulate yards after the catch.
However, the question, is: How much will he get to impact? After all, Dustin Keller is Gang Green's best receiving target and tight end.
Return of Dustin Keller
According to James Walker of ESPN.com:
So now, we must be concerned with which tight end is provided more opportunities to produce. The good news is that Sanchez now has two dependable targets to look for when dropping back.
In addition, if both are in the game, Keller will draw more coverage attention as the better-established player. However, in any formation that requires only one tight end, Cumberland will likely be the odd man out.
Keller is the better player overall, and when near the goal line, a heavy tight end set is only needed to win inside the trenches. The Jets remain a run-oriented offense, and getting away from that can be even more damaging.
If you're league runs deep and provides the opportunity to start two or three tight ends each week, then Cumberland is an option. Otherwise, look for another receiver or running back instead.
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