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.
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.
Week 14 is the beginning of the playoffs for many teams, crunch time baby! It's also the time of the year when we begin to see teams starting to rest starters for the post season. We also have to be concerned that the have nots will be taking a look at youngsters for next season. Most importantly, as we navigate December, every player has various bumps and bruises, just some are in worst shape that others.
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 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.
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.