Seasons can be won and lost on the waiver wire, perhaps more so in baseball but no matter the sport, the claims following week 1 are by far the best. Up until we see some real stats opening weekend, we must comb through the hundreds of expert opinions and browse the preseason box scores. While injury opportunties will provide leading free agent candidates all season long, week one settles some depth chart question marks.... well, sort of.
It's crunch time in fantasy nation and each and every starter can make or break your entire season. Is Danny Amendola back? Is Brandon Lloyd finally delivering like we expected he would all season? Can Danario Alexander be trusted? Is Torrey Smith still a legitimate starter and how about that concussion? Are Brandon Marshall and Victor Cruz in a funk? And have Michael Crabtree and Antonio Brown recovered with better quarterback play? Questions many of you are pondering as we approach week 16.
A seemingly never ending week of football started at Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day and wrapped up Monday night at the Linc in Philadelphia. As we wind down and enter the fourth quarter of the season, the cream is certainly rising to the top. Many leagues are approaching the playoffs and the alwayys tricky managing of lineups as some teams look at young talent with their season's basically over, while others rest stars to keep them healthy for the post season.
As we roll into the second third of the season, fantasy teams welcome back stars from their bye week. Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Vincent Jackson and Calvin Johnson are a few of those back to inject life into receiving corps across NFL fantasy nation. While Dallas, Oakland, Tampa Bay and Detroit return, Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans have the week off. Owners of Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall and Marques Colston will have to do without, testing their reserve rosters. Reggie Wayne gets this week's honors as the top target, while Danny Amendola and Brian Hartline share the weekly "down to earth" award.
The number of targets a receiver gets is relative. Relative to what they had been getting and/or expected to get. While nine targets is a breakout performance for one receiver, it is a disappointment for elite fantasy receivers. Danny Amendola and Brian Hartline had nine targets in week three, which is most likely reflective of them dropping down towards a number we can more likely expect on a regular basis. Receivers like DeSean Jackson and Victor Cruz probably saw double teams in week three, with their regular partner at the position out with injury.
How did Kevin Ogletree work out for you? How about Stephen Hill? As one of the many fine writers here at the Alarm franchise pointed out recently, ride the studs! It's well known that rookie wide receivers often struggle. Players like Julio Jones and A.J. Green are freaks of nature, they are not the norm. Atlanta and Cincinnati, as well as the many fantasy owners that had Jones and Green as rookies, were well rewarded in 2011. Will Alshon Jeffery be a solid NFL receiver? probably so, but maybe not the extent of his SEC brethren, certainly not as quickly and more importantly, not as consistently.