Welcome to week three and the first of nine straight bye weeks. We wade into things with only Green Bay and Carolina off, but the impact will certainly be felt. Brandon LaFell owners are going to have to wait a week to see if he can do it again, while the trio of Packers, Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson and James Jones will certainly be missed. Do we have a changing of the guard at wide receiver in the NFL? Certainly some new names like Josh Gordon and Cecil Shorts appear poised to assume prominent fantasy roles. This week's Thursday night action features an NFC West matchup of St.Louis and San Francisco on the NFL Network.
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.
Congratulations are in order to some of you, to others.... better luck next year. To those in leagues still running, in either regular or post season, we bring you our last regular season look at fantasy football targets. I am torn with the question of how much to spend on receivers in my draft or auction. While watching Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green, Brandon Marshall and the other studs, part of me wants to allocate enough funds to get a pair of my own in 2013. The other part of me recognizes that James Jones was a major part of my first place finish this season,. Last month I even dropped Jones when he disappeared, only to pick him up again the following week.
Did you properly space your bye weeks during your draft or auction? It amazes me that so many owners, especially veterans, fail to track this all important consideration. Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans return from bye in week seven, with fantasy studs like Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall and any number of Saints wide receivers return to lineups. Have a dozen teams have week seven off, including Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia and San Diego. Notable players you'll have to do without include dangerous duos on the Falcons, Eagles and Broncos, Dwayne Bowe and Malcolm Floyd. Of course the knife cuts both ways, perhaps you won't have to face these guys in your matchup this week.
As the season winds to a close, elite receivers league wide are getting even more “looks”, week by week. As we have mentioned in past weeks, the reliability of the top wide outs far exceeds running back by committee options at the “flex” position. While it is nice to have one of the top quarterbacks throwing to “your” receiver, the numbers show, even pedestrian signal callers can create some huge numbers for their targets.
As we wind down the 2011 regular season, we have some receivers that have long promised with potential that are finally delivering. Youngsters like Demaryius Thomas and Michael Crabtree are a pair in particular who are showing why they were high first round draft picks. “High profile” receivers who “killed” owners in week 14 were Calvin Johnson and Greg Jennings (injury). The season long battle for “top target” among wide receivers continues with Roddy White and Wes Welker separated by only two.
If you are in distressed with your wide receivers or have poorly planned your bye weeks, you are in luck! We have more emerging pass catchers this week than at any other time this season. While some may be replacing former “one week wonders” on your roster, at least there are some options. We have aging vets showing they have something left in the tank and also young bucks stretching their wings. As with any passing game, quarterback play is greatly impacting the success wide outs are having converting their opportunities into receptions. As a reminder, make sure you check the bye weeks of your potential pickups as you don’t want to end up picking up a bye replacement that is on an off week.