Opportunity and talent combined, Jeremy Maclin made the most of increased passes his way in the wake of injury to DeSean Jackson, who is now likely out at least a few weeks.
Got some flak on my recent Week 6 storylines and potential sleepers to emerge post. People wanted me to spell out exactly what was going to happen, which players would break out and which would tank.
Which I could have fairly easily…at least offered my opinions on the matter. But I’m not a fantasy football expert. None of us really is. Collectively, we as chinstrapninja nation are unstoppable because we offer a plethora of opinions and advice. Because we challenge readers to look beyond the boxscore and find their own diamonds in the rough.
So, did you watch the storylines? Did you see the emerging players? Let’s look back and pinpoint some stock up/stock down candidates moving forward.
Deion Branch, NE. One of the main storylines I suggested was watching the New England Patriots sans Randy Moss to see who would emerge as the top option there. Little surprise, it was Branch in his first week back with the Pats, snagging nine catches for 90-plus yards and a TD. Not too shabby. My gut here, however, is that New England passes the love in large doses to different receivers moving forward. One week it will be Branch, the next Brandon Tate. At this point, the only receiver I’d feel comfortable starting week to week is Wes Welker.
Heath Miller, PIT. Very few people expected Big Ben to fall flat in his first week back under center for the Steelers, especially against Cleveland. His presence helps improve the players around him…especially the value of Heath Miller at tight end. Not that there isn’t already a plethora of options at the position, but Miller is a nice add nonetheless. He was the fourth-highest scoring tight end last week in PPR leagues, and that was with just two catches.
Danario Alexander, STL. Without Mark Clayton, someone had to step up as the next Rams receiver. Alexander was the team’s top fantasy scorer at receiver in Week 6. His four catches, 72 yards and a touchdown were a nice surprise. But it is way too early to deem Alexander the guy to own for the Rams. Brandon Gibson still could make some noise. Same with Danny Amendola (especially in PPR settings). Same with Laurent Robinson. Still, Alexander deserves an add in all formats as we see moving forward if he can handle primary receptions.
Marshawn Lynch, SEA. His 2.6 yards per carry on a 17-for-44 effort wasn’t exactly awe-inspiring, but Lynch was used heavily in his first game for Seattle, and it is important to remember his production came against a strong Chicago run defense. Moving forward, the opposing defenses become softer than a large twist ice cream cone in mid-August.
Alex Smith, SF. He needed a win to save his job, and a win he got. It wasn’t pretty, and didn’t help lengthen the leash he’s on after some indecision and poor judgement at times, but there is little doubt that when Alex Smith plays, he produces from a fantasy standpoint.
Johnny Knox, CHI. There was a lot to watch as the Bears took on Seattle last week, and as Jay Cutler returned from his concussion and Devin Hester became less involved in the offense in favor of the return game, Johnny Knox shined. The five receptions weren’t awe-inspiring, but the 120 yards he managed with those touches were. Knox stands to get the ball more moving forward, and that will only translate into bigger numbers.
Felix Jones, DAL. Should asterisk this mention as a PPR stock up. The Vikings run defense is very stout, and Jones managed just 32 yards on the ground. However, his 10 catches for 61 yards through the air was a breath of fresh air. It is apparent that Jones will be used as an integral part of that offense, and if he can stay healthy, he could have a very nice season moving forward.
Jeremy Maclin, PHI. Opportunity dictates success moreso than talent in the NFL. Luckily for Maclin, he has both. DeSean Jackson is likely out for a couple weeks, leaving Maclin as the top receiver in an offense that isn’t afraid to air it out. Even with Jackson around, Maclin has proven to be a red zone option and decent weekly scorer.
Ryan Torain, WAS. His value continues to escalate, especially coming off a virtual shredding of the Indy run defense, which is as intimidating as a cupcake.
Mike Williams, SEA. No Deion Branch, no problem for Williams, who finally showed in Week 6 what Pete Carroll saw in the preseason with 10 catches for 123 yards.
Miles Austin, DAL. Austin has shown he is no one-season wonder with some huge games in 2010. The problem is that he follows up a huge game by a stinker. The most recent was in Week 6 with two catches for 12 yards against a beatable Vikings secondary. It isn’t like you can predict when he’ll tank from week to week, and if you have to start him regardless, just remember that he hasn’t been super consistent yet.
Antonio Gates, SD. May not seem fair to knock him because of an injury, but stats are stats, and he didn’t get it done in Week 6. A toe injury had something to do with that, but it remains to be seen how that injury will affect him moving forward.
Marques Colston, NO. Funny how Yahoo paints Colston’s Week 6 performance by pointing out he had a team-high five catches for 53 yards with a long catch of 16 yards. Bottom line is that he had 10 fantasy points in standard PPR leagues. Not what you want from a third-round fantasy receiver.
Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN. Randy Moss and Percy Harvin are Brett Favre’s new favorite play toys, at the expense of Shiancoe, who has become nearly nonexistent in the Minnesota passing game.
Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX. The Tennessee run defense isn’t exactly great, but they still shut down a MJD that has seemingly lost a step this season. One wonders if he’ll turn it around rather than when he’ll turn it around at this point.
Brett Favre, MIN. A pass-a-thon matchup with Dallas was expected to be what the doctor ordered for Favre. From a turnover standpoint, it was. He didn’t throw a single interception. But the 118 yards and only one scoring strike was less impressive than one would hope. Let’s see how he handles a prime time game against his former Packers before writing him off completely, but it definitely doesn’t look good.
San Diego D/ST. A sleeper favorite of your’s truly due to a number of great matchups throughout the season, the Chargers have actually scored a decent amount of fantasy points. Except, they’re coming off back-to-back stinkers against the Raiders and Rams. Not exactly a good sign moving forward.
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