Week 7; things that should be on your mind this week.
Ryan Broyles was supposed to be the main complement to Calvin Johnson. It is true that he suffered a major injury last season and needed to put in the work just to get back to where he was. The Lions were determined to wait until he was healthy. He played sparingly in Week 3 (17 snaps) and roughly 40 snaps in weeks following. He has notched five catches for 61 yards in four weeks on eight targets.
You can infer that he isn’t healthy enough to get open, or doesn’t figure into the Lions offensive game plan. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson has been ailing, rookie tight end, Joseph Fauria has cashed for five TDs on seven receptions, and Kris Durham has 215 yards on 16 grabs with one score. Reggie Bush has been a staple in the passing game, notching 20 grabs for 261 yards and two scores. Calvin Johnson has 24 grabs for 337 yards and four scores. The distribution is a little odd to this point.
Speculative Add: Kris Durham WR Detroit Lions
Last week Durham was targeted a whopping 13 times. I think a speculative add is in order because of his size 6’6″, 215 lbs. You can watch the next few games and get a feel for the plans the Lions have for him going forward. I have acquired him based on the increase in workload. Thirteen targets is a whopping number for any receiver. Durham converted 8-of-13 targets for 83 yards, and if you watched him, then you already know that he presents match-up problems. Calvin Johnson should take most of the coverage with him leaving Durham alone in man coverage. Do you know any corners that can cover receivers 6’6″? This is a big advantage.
It’s obvious to me that Matt Stafford has confidence in Durham. I have nothing to lose with a guy like Randall Cobb on the shelf for 6-to-8 weeks.
Speculative Watch: Joseph Fauria TE Detroit Lions
The only reason this guy is not an add is purely a volume question. His value would be off the charts if he was at six targets a game. Currently, Fauria has been targeted three times in three games this season with the largest payoff being last week with three TDs. He is a monster target at 6’7″. This is a home run derby play because it’s all or nothing.
If you can remember Scott Chandler gaining relevance in 2011, one can draw a similar fantasy value. Chandler is listed at 6’7″, 263 pounds, while Fauria is the same size and about four pounds lighter. Unless his targets increase this is a big all or nothing situation that folks should avoid. If the targets were to go up, this could really be something here. Watch closely but don’t expect the production that you saw last week.
When Tampa Bay ownership and Greg Schiano chose to put Josh Freeman on the shelf in favor of Mike Glennon, you knew it would be the end of Freeman as a Buccaneer. That was great for the Minnesota Vikings who were pretending that Christian Ponder was the guy that they wanted at QB. When Ponder went on the injury report with a rib injury and the Vikings were forced to go with Matt Cassel, no one expected that Freeman’s name would come up.
Well it has, and regardless of the fact that Ponder practiced this week, Freeman has already been named the starter. Ponder’s 2:5 touchdown to interception ratio leaves a lot to be desired. So after one week Freeman being named the starter surprised no one. Everyone watched Freeman this season implode under Schiano. The tension was obvious and I knew at one point that something had to give in that relationship.
The biggest winner in the Vikings organization is Kyle Rudolph followed closely by Greg Jennings . I found both very easy to acquire via trade for a ham sandwich two weeks ago. I knew what was about to happen. Don’t even think for a minute that Freeman can’t play. He is going to put up very solid numbers. That’s not his major problem. It’s imploding and throwing picks when he has nowhere to go with the football.
Enter Adrian Peterson, who will take a ton of pressure off of Freeman. Some will argue that Freeman had elite talent with Doug Martin in Tampa, but I don’t agree a bit. Peterson is the premier runner in the game and with defenses trying to shut down the run by moving more personnel into the box, there will be opportunities in the seam for Rudolph. Don’t forget the intermediate and deep patterns by Jennings.
Speculative Acquire via trade: Kyle Rudolph TE , Greg Jennings WR Vikings
If you can get them now you will pay rock bottom price. If you wait two weeks, you may not be able to get them. Rudolph is a fantastic play this week.
Jennings showed he still has a pretty decent gear left three weeks ago versus Pittsburgh with a 30-yard per reception average and two TDs. I saw many experts speculate about Jennings being a bust. That was a ranking with Ponder at the helm. Freeman needed a change of scenery and someone to believe in him. That person is Leslie Frazier and this could be really special.
If you examine the next four weeks of the Vikings schedule (NYG, GB, Dallas, and WAS), you’ll agree that it doesn’t get any better than this folks. Fantasy gold is about to happen right before your eyes. I’m not under any illusion that Freeman is the perfect QB.
I simply believe he is serviceable where Ponder was not. How many times do you get opportunities like this? The answer is not often. Freeman is a season removed from 4,000 yards passing and 27 TDs. His interception numbers were alarming at 17, with eight of them in two weeks (15 and 16).
The Philadelphia Eagles are going to have quite a decision after this week. Nick Foles looks like a real QB. This week he makes a case that the Eagles not remove him, but it still won’t matter.
Michael Vick will get his job back regardless of the performance this week. I said it. Vick’s mobility is the thing that Chip Kelly like better than his arm. Foles gives them a good pocket passer, while Vick’s speed opens up the run. Ironic that Vick is toward the end of his career and now those nagging injuries keep biting him like the latest hamstring he’s dealing with. Vick was decelerating heading for the sideline when the injury happened. Father time seems to be catching up to Vick.
I really like Foles as a start this week. Nothing spells confidence more than a 70.7 completion percentage, 296 yards passing, three passing TDs, a rushing score, and being named NFC offensive player of the week. Do I have to go on about Dallas being ranking dead last in fantasy points given up to QBs, or would you rather hear that even Eli Manning racked up 36 points in week one. Eli has been simply pedestrian this year.
Speculative Start: Nick Foles QB Philadelphia Eagles
There’s only one thing to really speculate about and that is how many rushing TDs Philadelphia will have. Dallas is in the bottom third of defenses versus running backs. So it’s plausable, but they are in the bottom third against all positions. No team has surrendered more fantasy points in the last three weeks to offensive players than the Cowboys. How ’bout them Cowboys?
Are we going to talk about moral victories this week when the Eagles drop 38 points on the Cowboys? Jerry Jones is trying to sell seats telling folks that at least they can complete. The only thing worse than the media spin Jerry is…. wait for it… your defense.
Questions/Comments/Concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow me on Twitter @AudibleFantasy. Michael Sarmento is a proud member of the Fantasy Sharks Team and Fantasy Sports Writers Association.