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Traps & Trends – Week 3

Our Traps & Trends guy is back. Matt Wilson analyzes 10 notable fantasy players and their performances from Week 2. Some are names that you already know, and some are names that you may need to know.

 

1) C.J. ANDERSON…FORMER BRONCOS STARTING TAILBACK? FORMER FANTASY STUD?

The Damage: Let’s see…Anderson…a first- or second-round pick in a huge number of redraft leagues…Week 1…oh, yeah, here are his numbers, way down here…12 carries for 29 yards and four grabs for 19 yards…Week 2…Anderson…oh, the numbers are way down on the chart again…12 carries for 27 yards and one catch for two yards…no touchdowns scored.

The Diagnosis: TREND

What we’re seeing from Anderson is the status quo for now. Anderson’s grip on his starting job isn’t ironclad, and he’s obviously not producing stud numbers. While Anderson has some more favorable matchups on the horizon against the Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders and Cleveland Browns, I don’t think fantasy owners should expect a rebound from him in the first half of the season. The extremely disappointing production isn’t entirely Anderson’s fault. Denver’s revamped offensive line has struggled quite a bit in the run blocking department.

Anderson, as you know, is playing with a toe injury, which obviously has affected him, and Ronnie Hillman unfortunately is playing well enough to command a regular workload each week. The line play should improve and Anderson’s toe should heal (they should consider sitting him), so there’s hope for the second half of 2015, which obviously doesn’t do much for Anderson owners right now.

 

2) IS RISHARD MATTHEWS MIAMI’S NO. 2 FANTASY WIDEOUT?

The Damage: Heading into the regular season, there was tons of uncertainty about the pecking order in Ryan Tannehill’s receiver corps behind his favorite target – Jarvis Landry. It looks like Matthews is slowly emerging as Tannehill’s No. 2 pass-catching option. In Week 1, Matthews hauled in four balls for 34 yards and one touchdown on six targets. He followed that up with six catches for 115 yards on seven looks. Granted, Matthews caught a deflected pass for 48 yards on Tannehill’s first pass versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it still counts.

The Diagnosis: TREND

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure this one out. Greg Jennings has been struggling. He followed up a Week 1 stinker (3-29-0 on three targets) with a Week 2 goose egg (0-0-0 on five looks). Kenny Stills is running as Miami’s fourth receiver, and he has compiled three catches for 20 yards on seven targets so far this season. Talented rookie DeVante Parker’s preseason foot surgery impacted his learning curve. Parker has amassed one catch for three yards on one target so far in 2015. Tannehill seems to have a comfort zone with Landry and Matthews – they’re the two holdovers from Miami’s 2014 receiver corps – and it shows.

 

3) MICHAEL CRABTREE? DIDN’T HE RETIRE?

The Damage: Following a very quiet preseason and lackluster Week 1 debut in a Silver and Black uniform, Crabtree erupted for nine catches, 111 receiving yards and one touchdown during Oakland’s Week 2 triumph over the Baltimore Ravens.

The Diagnosis: TOSSUP

WR_Michael_Crabtree_OAK_1
Oakland WR Michael Crabtree.

I’m actually leaning TRAP on Crabtree. It took 16 targets for him to compile that stat line. Chances are this was his best game of the season, but I’d like to see if he can cobble together a couple of more fantasy-friendly outings. He’s definitely worth a speculative pickup. Crabtree is operating in a complementary possession-type role behind rookie big-play specialist Amari Cooper. The Raiders’ other pass-catchers – Rod Streater, Andre Holmes and Mychal Rivera – are nothing special, so there should be plenty of targets coming Crabtree’s way. In case you’ve forgotten, Crabtree blew out an Achilles tendon in May 2013 and is now two years removed from that injury. During his last two seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Crabtree was miscast as a No. 1 wideout, so maybe…just maybe…the change of job and change of scenery will help a possibly healthier Crabtree resurrect his career.

 

4) SHOULD FANTASY OWNERS WANT MORE OF CROCKETT GILLMORE?

The Damage: After a quiet Week 1 (2-23-0 on four targets), the second-year pro exploded for five catches, 88 receiving yards and two scoring grabs on six looks. Has Gillmore (yes, he spells it with two l’s) emerged as Baltimore’s No. 2 pass-catching option in an otherwise weak receiver corps?

The Diagnosis: TRAP

While there are undoubtedly some solid outings in Gillmore’s short-term future – at least until talented rookie Breshad Perriman returns from his knee injury in early October – Gillmore’s big outing against the Oakland Raiders was simply a product of the matchup in a high-scoring contest. He finished third in targets behind Steve Smith (16 looks) and Kamar Aiken (seven looks). Getting back to the matchup, the Raiders defense has been very soft against the tight end position. In case you’ve forgotten, the Silver and Black allowed a 9-104-2 line to Tyler Eifert (Bengals) in Week 1. While Gilllmore is worth a flier in deep leagues, keep those expectations low.

 

5) WE HAD AN AARON DOBSON SIGHTING.

The Damage: Dobson’s performance was lost in all the fanfare about the stud outings from Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman during a thrashing of the Buffalo Bills. After a very quiet Week 1 performance (1-9-0 on one target), Dobson finished the Bills game with seven catches for 87 yards on eight targets.

The Diagnosis: TRAP…FOR THE MOST PART

Is Dobson in line for a consistent role? Probably not. With Brandon LaFell on the PUP list, New England needs a big-bodied wideout to take his spot. Dobson did that against Buffalo. The Patriots, however, love their opponent-specific game plans, which change from week to week. They went pass heavy against the Bills. Sitting behind Edelman and Gronkowski in the pecking order, Dobson needed Brady to attempt a whopping 59 passes to compile a fantasy-relevant outing. By the way, this was the first time Dobson had caught any regular-season passes since Week 6 of the 2014 season. Since New England probably won’t use this type of high-volume passing attack each week, Dobson looks like a hit-or-miss prospect if/until LaFell returns.

About Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson has played NFL fantasy football since 1994 and has been a featured columnist at FantasySharks.com since 2008. His 18 combined years of professional writing experience includes a five-year stint as a contributing writer/editor at KFFL.com. He has been a featured contributor to The Fantasy Football Guide since 2008 and has been published regularly in the award-winning USA Today Sports Fantasy Football preview. Matt is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association and holds a degree in journalism from Northern Illinois.