Make no mistake about it – when Ward is healthy he will still get on the field, but the veteran is starting to wear down at this point in his career. While I like Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown more in terms of fantasy value, Sanders can still help owners at this point in the season.
On Sunday, Sanders caught five passes for 70 yards. That’s pretty impressive considering he was the third or fourth option most of the time. Sanders’ value goes down once Ward returns, but don’t forget he came on at the end of last season, too. Now fully healthy from a foot injury, Sanders is a receiver on the upswing.
Sanders isn’t going to start for you but he adds some nice depth in case you suffer injuries down the line at receiver. Later in the year don’t be surprised if Ward is banged up again and Sanders is a big part of the Steelers offense.
The Final Call: If you’re like me and you have a Robert Meachem wasting space on your roster, drop him and pick up Sanders. The Steelers have been a passing team for three years now and all of their receivers have fantasy value.
Titus Young, WR, Detroit – With Calvin Johnson and Brandon Pettigrew having big seasons, Young has been sliding under the radar. However, it looks as if the Lions have another future stud pass catcher on their hands.
On Sunday, Young caught four passes for 66 yards and a score. The big-play threat is slowly replacing Nate Burleson as Detroit’s third-best option in the passing game. The good thing about the Lions offense is they throw the ball so much most weeks, there’s enough targets to go around for everyone.
The other thing I like about Young is even though Johnson is a fantasy machine, defenses have been paying even more attention to him after his sizzling start to the year. In future weeks this is going to leave Young in a lot of man coverage, and with his speed he should make a lot of big plays.
The Final Call: Young has been hit-or-miss so far this year but I like him to be more hit over the final two months. I say pick him up if you have the roster room.
James Jones, WR, Green Bay – Jones was a guy I picked up last week for a couple of reasons.
First, while Jones is the type of receiver who can get you 25 points one week and three the next, I like the fact that he’s getting more targets in the Packers offense. Jones has talent; he just plays with a lot of other receivers that have talent, too, so he’s inconsistent. However, with the way Green Bay throws the ball, any of its receivers are a good option as a spot-start.
The other reason I like getting a guy like Jones right now is because in the playoffs sometimes I opt to play defense. A lot of owners who have Aaron Rodgers will make the playoffs. Now if you’re playing against that owner and you rotate guys at the flex spot, Jones is a possibility to try and offset the 30-40 fantasy points Rodgers is likely to get.
Jones isn’t going to start for my fantasy team but being able to get a Packers’ receiver who sees a lot of snaps at this point in the year isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.
The Final Call: At the very least, I think Jones is worth a roster spot in deeper leagues. He’s been coming on of late and Jones plays with the top quarterback in the NFL right now. That’s a pretty good combination.
Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh – Miller had his best game of the season catching seven passes for 85 yards against New England. While I’ve always liked Miller I don’t think this will be the norm.
Miller is a victim of his situation. The Steelers offensive line isn’t the best when it comes to pass protection, so Miller is left in to help the offensive tackles block a lot. This hurts his production as a receiver. It’s always been that way and it will likely remain that way.
The Steelers used Miller on quick passes early in the game against New England. This week against Baltimore he’s likely to return to his role as a blocker, though. Miller has proven over the years that he can be a reliable receiver, but the Steelers feel he’s more valuable as a blocker and that will always limit his fantasy value.
The Final Call: If you need another tight end Miller is worth a shot. Just don’t expect him to put up big numbers on a weekly basis.
You can read Thomas Casale’s column ‘The Fire Sale’ every Tuesday on SI.com. Also, you can follow him on Twitter or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org for more fantasy advice.