It’s Not So Hard to Say Goodbye
Coby Fleener– It’s time to cut the cord on Fleener until he shows some kind of chemistry with Drew Brees or better yet a knowledge of the offense. Through two games, Brees has completed 57 of 86 passes for 686 yards and five touchdowns. In that time, Fleener has seen 12 targets and has three receptions for 35 yards. Maybe he will get up to speed and on the same page as Brees at some point but he’s definitely off the ‘Stud’ list.
Gary Barnidge– There appeared to be some hope for Barnidge once Josh McCown took over at QB as the two had it going on last season. No such luck as Barnidge posted a paltry four receptions for 47 yards in week two after a goose egg in the opener. Now McCown is hurt and rookie Cody Kessler is going to be the starter moving forward. It was fun while it lasted (last year at least) but Barnidge’s days of being a ‘Stud’ are gone.
Jared Cook, GREEN BAY vs. Detroit- If you’ve read any of my Wally’s World (shameless plug…again) [Editor’s Comment: Did I mention that there’s a link to Week 3’s Wally’s World above?] articles then you are aware of my man crush on Cook. This is the week I have been waiting for. No defense is allowing more points to TEs than the Detroit Lions. It’s now or never for Cook against a battered D/ST that has given up 179 yards and four touchdowns to TEs in the first two games.
Jordan Cameron, MIAMI vs. Cleveland- Just when I thought I was done with Cameron he’s pulled me back in. Last week he put up five receptions for 49 yards and a score against New England. Granted, the Patriots had a big lead and the Dolphins were in throw, throw, throw mode. I love this matchup for Cameron as the Browns just gave up nine receptions and 102 receiving yards to Dennis Pitta. My rising from the ashes scenario at TE continues as I see a big week for Cameron against the lowly Cleveland defense.
Jimmy Graham, SEATTLE vs. San Francisco- It was encouraging to see Graham play 55 snaps last week even if his stat line wasn’t the best. It’s also encouraging that he’s lining up against a 49ers defense that just allowed Kelvin Benjamin, Greg Olsen and Devin Funchess to haul in a combined four TD passes. What do I particularly like about that? Benjamin is 6’5”, 245 lbs., Funchess 6’4” 225 lbs. and Olsen is 6’5” 255 lbs. Big men dominate the 49ers secondary and in case we forgot Graham is 6’7”, 265 lbs. It’s a big fantasy day for big Jimmy Graham this week.
Martellus Bennett, NEW ENGLAND vs. Houston- When Jacoby Brissett isn’t handing the ball off to LeGarrette Blount he will be looking to hit Bennett over the middle or down the seam. After taking over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo, Brissett targeted Bennett three times connecting on all three passes for 68 yards. Look for the rookie to lean heavily on Bennett even if Rob Gronkowski plays.
Gary Barnidge, CLEVELAND at Miami- Barnidge falls from the penthouse to the outhouse as he not only loses ‘Stud’ status but lands on the bench list. Yes, I realize that Martellus Bennett just went off for 114 yards and a touchdown against the Dolphins. No, I do not believe Cody Kessler is as good (or ready to play) as Jimmy Garoppolo or even Jacoby Brissett for that matter. Avoiding Barnidge until we see the rookie QB play is strongly advised.
Jacob Tamme, ATLANTA at New Orleans- It might be tempting to chase the five receptions for 75 yards and a score that Tamme put up last week in a matchup against the Saints. A closer look shows that New Orleans has been surprisingly stingy to the position through two games. They held Clive Walford to only 25 yards in week one and the combination of Larry Donnell/Will Tye to 34 yards last week. They have yet to allow a TD to the TE position. In the two games between these teams last season, Tamme had only seven catches for 93 yards without a score. There are better options this week.
Vance McDonald, SAN FRANCISCO at Seattle- Do you get the sense yet that I see a long day for the 49ers out in Seattle this week? McDonald contributed in week two hauling in a 75 -yard TD as San Francisco played catch-up in Carolina. That was his only catch though and he now faces a defense that’s allowed only 67 receiving yards to TEs in two games. Seattle has also kept the position out of the end zone and I don’t see McDonald getting there this week.
Dennis Pitta, BALTIMORE at Jacksonville- It was great to see Pitta return from injury to post over 100 receiving yards last week after all he’s battled through. This week he will have a tough time repeating that performance against a Jaguars defense that has allowed only five receptions to TEs. They did allow Antonio Gates to find the end zone last week but held him to only 15 yards receiving. Let’s take a wait and see approach with Pitta this week.