Stephen Williams (WR, ARI) 0%
Firstly, for those of you living under a rock or have just finished serving a stint on Ryker’s, this is not the Kurt Warner driven Cardinals of the past few years.
This is a shudddering, juggering shadow of a team that was challenging for the Super Bowl all too recently.
Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, Edgerrin James and Kurt Warner are all gone for one reason or another. At quarterback we have a bit of a problem with Matt Leinart checking out and Derek Anderson checking in …
Steve Breaston is currently down with a meniscal injury (that bit of crescent shaped cartilage that acts as a “buffer” inside your knee and between the bones in case you were wondering). Williams dazzled in preseason and turned plenty of heads. At 6-foot-5 he’s hard to miss.
He is – for all his natural ability – still very, very raw. We saw that in Week 2 against the falcons. The Arizona wide receiver (whether hindered or helped by Anderson’s arm) will need to be productive with the numerous looks and targets they will receive against San Diego (Phillip Rivers) and New Orleans (Drew Brees) the next two fixtures before their bye week and the subsequent re-evaluation of Breaston’s injury.
It could be the raw talent of Williams or their other rookie Max Komar, but I expect one of them to pick up the slack. Arizona is expecting…
James Jones (WR, GB) 4%
Ah, Brandon Jackson! How I laughed at the hype on the waiver wire … I can assure you that there is a reason why he has been a career third-down back working behind a guy taken off the Giants’ practice squad – Ryan Grant. Incidentally, don’t forget what I told you last week, keep an eye on James Starks. Jackson’s 2.9 yards per carry just isn’t going to cut it.
So, a pass-heavy team loses its running game. What do you do? Exhibit A: The Indianapolis Colts (2009), Exhibit B: The Houston Texans (2007), Exhibit C: The Philadelphia Eagles (2009), etc.
Basically, you give up on it and focus on the workable part of the offense – the passing part.
Jones has had a bit of topsy-turvy start to the season. Firstly he was battling Jordy Nelson for the WR3 gig. Then he has a few bad plays which could easily have gotten him lost in the mix and Nelson bumped back up the chart.
He’s still there however and (more importantly) he still has Aaron Rodgers’ trust.
Is he going to be viable enough on a weekly basis to roster? Like the Lance Moore suggestion I made last week I wouldn’t count on him for production. What he is going forwards to me is an upside flex play.
If he relaxes and gets into the groove over in Green Bay then he could become a solid WR2. No guarantees, but anyone that gets 3-4 looks per game with Rodgers at the helm has the potential to do it.
LeGarrette Blount (RB, TB) 1%
Was tweeting about picking him up last Wednesday where you could (see
here). Only owned in a paltry 1 percent of leagues, it’ll be worth grabbing him in dynasty leagues and stashing him in redrafts and keepers.
The bye week will be doing a number of players a number of favors.
Post bye week I’m expecting to see an uptick in production from Dexter McCluster, Blount as well as an appearance or two by Arrelious Benn (someone I’d suggest thinking about stashing while he’s inconspicuous over the next week or two).
The 2.4 yards per carry from the running game at a franchise with a young quarterback, young wide receivers (ergo a young passing game) as a whole is pretty inhibiting. Coach Raheem Morris spent little time explaining the facts of life to Derrick Ward. I don’t expect Carnell ‘Cadillac’ Williams to be canned, but I do expect him to be shelved.
Will it be pretty? Possibly. Earnest Graham certainly has something left in the tank and Kareem Huggins has caused sufficient interest amongst the coaching staff that we will see him on at least some plays – when fit.
Best case scenario: Blount emphatically nails the job, Morris doesn’t look back and the offense improves as a whole thanks to a legitimate running game. Worst case scenario would mean a three-headed HBBC (“hydra” back by commitee).
It’s easily worth the risk, my fantasy friends.
Javon Ringer (RB, TEN) 5%
Staying in running back mode we turn our attention to one of Michigan State’s finest sons – Ringer.
Ringer isn’t the biggest back around but the guy can bulldoze the chains along. He’s also the primary cover behind an offensive line that has produced four years of 2,000 yards total rushing.
The question with Ringer though that will resonate while you mull it around is how do you feel about handcuffing players. Me? I rarely handcuff unless the player involved is productive. Chester Taylor in Minnesota for example.
In fact, the Taylor analogy is a good one.
Ringer can catch well and make nice plays either side or up the middle of the line.
If we were strictly talking about a straight-handcuff only, then you could count me out. As we are talking about someone stealing touches and being employed more as a potential RB2 (like Taylor), then – like Spock – I’m all ears.
Tony Moeaki (TE, KC) 9%
It’ll likely be the last time I bang the drum on Moeaki.
Having been beating it since shortly after the NFL draft (here) and again here and here … I’ll leave it to others now to hop on board
Same applies now as in previous months.
You’ve been hearing it from me on FantasySharks now since the early summer.
It’s time to hand over the baton to the Remora that follow behind in the wake!
Brian Hartline (WR, MIA) 2%
I have to confess … I’ve been hot and cold on Hartline for a while. This week I’m hot, next week I might be cold.
I’ve already said before I was a big fan of him as an Ohio State Buckeye and was hopeful that he could follow up a solid rookie season with a campaign that built on those good foundations.
To date, it’s been mission inconclusive in regards to that particular pipe-dream.
Henne has looked like he’s forcing things, as has Hartline. Davone Bess is Bess and will always produce a steady but unspectacular string of points (especially in points per reception leagues) but with Marhsall clicking with Henne and the running game it’s usual fundamentally sound and powered by Ronnie Brown. Things are on the up and up in Miami.
He’s a talented player that might, just might have had the light come on after coach Tony Sparano was threatening to bench him. Great coaching or juvenile, facile motivational ploy – who knows (and outside of Dolphin fans) who cares. I just want some fantasy points.
Looking ahead, Hartline has a nice game against the New England Patriots. A tough slate after that though, with Cincinati, the Balitmore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers all coming after their bye. While it gets remarkably soft down the home straight (aka fantasy playoff weeks) with games against Cleveland, Detroit, Oakland, Buffalo and the Patriots again.
Just goes to show why you should never hold a grudge in fantasy football.
Here’s the list of players worth a look this week:
Unless you’re thinking ahead to next year? I wouldn’t be looking at White as anything but a PnP (Plug & Play) against a porous Jacksonville secondary whilst Pierre Garcon is recuperating and getting back onto Peyton’s Christmas list until further notice.
Josh McDaniels (DEN) – How does Peyton Hillis + 2 Draft Picks for Brady Quinn look right about now, ’cause i’m guessing that if you throw in whatever you threw away to get Maroney and the salary waste you’re expending on LenDale White? Then it all adds up to a big fat mess that was easily avoidable…
Derek Anderson/ Jimmy Clausen (ARI & CAR) – Its actually pretty hard to get a sub 53% passer rating so credit where it’s due, guys.
Trent Edwards (BUF) – Staying with Quarterbacks for a moment, I’m actually staggered he didn’t clear waivers. Buffalo fans breathe easier, next year you can watch a top draft pick QB get similarly abused if they don’t do the decent thing and draft a legitimate NFL starting caliber left tackle.
Cincinnati (CIN) – For showing us how NOT to get your field goal unit onto the field. Simply stunning
With a number of teams in bye weeks, i’m actually expecting one or two players to come out the other side of it with even more expanded or improved roles; Blount and McCluster being two of the more prominent.
Both KC & TB are young teams rebuilding with equally youthful and talented coaches. I’ve been a believer all off-season and buying in where I can in dyna leagues.
Win, lose or draw i’m hoping both teams can continue to demonstrate the progress they’ve shown over the early stages of this season.
James Elvins is a Staff Writer for Fantasy Sharks.