“Sauer Notes” Week 4 Wide Receiver Landscape
Week 3 has commenced and we have plenty to look back on. In terms of the games themselves, there were no crazy upsets that took place; although, the Raiders did win again. Some players mentioned in last week’s article still have yet to show up to the party, namely Andre Johnson, who may now be floating around on some waiver wires. Others who I advised to snag up on the waiver wire showed why they are viable options for your fantasy teams. Leonard Hankerson looks like he has taken the WR2 spot over Roddy White in a high-flying offense featuring Julio and the boys. Rishard Matthews turned in his second straight 100-yard game and has put up double digit fantasy points throughout the first three weeks. We will briefly go over some Week 3 MVPs and busts, move to Week 4 Start Em’ Sit Em’, and, lastly, scope out the waiver wire for players you should be targeting.
Quick note before we get started, my friends. DO NOT TRADE ANTONIO BROWN. I understand the worry about the dip in production with the loss of Big Ben, but he is too explosive and OC Todd Haley and the Steelers are too smart not to find ways to get him the ball. Vick is not the Vick we saw with the Falcons or the Eagles, but he is still competent enough to get his playmakers the ball. You can expect Brown’s production to drop a bit, but we know he can get open downfield on some of those ‘scramble drill’ plays, where Ben stays upright and evades pressure long enough for Brown to break loose down field. Vick has the ability to get out of the pocket and create some extra time for Brown to finagle himself free behind the defense. Do not accept the trades that may be sent your way where you are receiving 75 cents on the dollar. If you are not an owner of Brown, shoot some low-ball offers to his owner and see how much they are worried with Vick at the helm. I digress.
Week 3 MVP’s
No need to keep bringing up Julio, as thus far he seems to be the league MVP.
A.J Green- Green finally had his coming out party of the 2015 season Sunday against the Ravens. Green finished with a line of 10/227/2. Posting a career best in yardage, he was the first Bengal to reach those lofty thresholds since Chad Johnson did so in 2006. That’s tremendous, but there is a catch. If Green is going to have these WR1 blow-up weeks, someone else has to suffer. There are too many talented, and fantasy relevant players in this offense. On this day, it was Tyler Eifert who caught zero passes in Week 3, with Green going off and Marvin Jones supporting with 5/94/1. We will touch on Marvin a little later in this article. You should not need anymore encouragement to deploy Green, but it’s relevant to note the Chiefs have allowed the second most yards and the most touchdowns to wideouts this season.
Steve Smith Sr.- Well, it seemed to be the ageless wonder Steve Smith versus the A.J Green show on Sunday. As the two teams seemed to go back and forth, it was these two gentlemen who were carrying the torch for their respective teams. The Ravens running game only generated 36 yards, and no other Raven WR amassed more than 29 yards. That left Smith being targeted 17 times, which had him finishing with 13/186/2. After being shut down by the dominant Denver defense in Week 1, Smith has had back to back 150+ performances. Smith will take on a vulnerable Steelers defense on Thursday Night Football this week, and look for him to be heavily relied on once again. He looks even better than he did during his hot start in 2014, but he is due for some regression; nevertheless, volume alone should keep him at a WR2 status until further notice.
Keenan Allen- Allen makes the cut after another outstanding performance in Week 3. Allen was targeted 18 times and hauled in 12/133/2. The third-year pro has been the epitome of a boom-or-bust option through three weeks. Combining the totals for Week 1 and 3, he has a whopping stat-line of 27/299/2, but sandwiched between those weeks is a two-catch, 16-yard performance. Allen should maintain a healthy enough target volume to finish as a WR2 at season’s end, but the week-by-week outlook could be a bit tenuous. Philip Rivers has long showed a propensity for wanting to spread the ball around. Week 4 may be a tricky one as he goes up against a talented Browns secondary, but they were just exposed by the Raiders emerging offense.
Week 3 Busts
T.Y Hilton- For a player who was universally taken in rounds 3-4, the return on those who invested has been slim to none thus far. Albeit, any skill player taken from the Colts has underachieved so far, so he is not the only player at fault here. First off, this game we call ‘football’ is won in the trenches, and the Colts possibly have the worst offensive line in the league. You can give some leeway to Hilton and the Colts for the first two weeks, as they may have faced two of the top premier defenses in the NFL (Bills/Jets). Week 3, the Colts had an advantageous matchup against the Titans, and Hilton finished with a 4/94/0 on seven targets. This week though he faces a Jaguars team that Hilton exploited for 202 yards and a score last season. Keep Hilton in your lineups as the Colts have the propensity to put up numbers in bunches, and this may be the week we see it.
Allen Robinson- Coming off a stellar performance in Week 2, where he saw 12 targets against Miami finishing with a 6/155/2 stat-line, he disappointed owners who started him in Week 3. One could have foreshadowed a lesser of performance out of Robinson against the Patriots, as we know Belicheck focuses on taking out his opponents best weapon. Regardless, Robinson was still the Jaguars most targeted WR for consecutive weeks, yet, he was not able to take advantage of a weaker Pats secondary without Revis and Browner. He was held to 4 catches and 68 yards on seven targets, but 57 of those yards came on the team’s final drive with the game well out of hand. Unfortunately, he may need garbage time production again to accumulate any sort of viable numbers as he matches up with lockdown corner Vontae Davis.
Start Em’ Sit Em’
As it was prefaced in my last article, this section will not feature guys who are obvious starts, or players who are WR 4/5 that should not be pondered when making lineup decisions.
Tedd Ginn Jr.- If you have not heard about or listened to our Major League Fantasy Football radio shows on Sunday mornings at 11a.m or Tuesday nights at 8p.m, you are obviously not aware of the amount of discussion around Ginn we have had this season. I know you are probably chuckling while reading this, but continue reading as we break down some numbers here.
We must be cognizant that Ginn already has prior chemistry with Cam as they played together in the 2013 season, before Ginn became a 49er. With the unfortunate injury to Kelvin Benjamin, Ted Ginn Jr. is a major part of Carolina’s Cam Newton-led passing attack. Over the course of the the team’s first three games, Ginn has amassed 22 targets. It might not sound like much, but it’s just six behind team leader Greg Olsen and a whopping 11 ahead of the next person in the category, Devin Funchess.
In this scenario, opportunities equal production, especially considering Ginn is the team’s best deep threat. Now he gets to exploit a leaky Tampa Bay defense that let up three scores and 48 points to wideouts through the first two weeks of the season before Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins caught 8/101/1 this past weekend.
Allen Hurns- If you thought I meant the other Allen I did not, and there are a few reasons why. It seems that these Jacksonville WR keep popping up in these articles. Rightfully so though, as the Jags tend to find themselves trying to play catch-up in the second halves of games, chucking the ball quite a bit. Bortles has thrown the ball 33 times in both of has last two games, and 40 in Week 1 against Carolina. It is a week to week risky proposition of which Allen to play out of the two, but for the reason stated above with Robinson being shadowed by Davis, this Allen may be the better play.
Currently, there are 12 total fantasy points separating the two, with Robinson in the lead. What sticks out is they both have 11 receptions on the season but Robinson got his on 28 targets while Hurns got his on just 15 targets. Hurns appears to be doing more with his opportunities and has a juicy match up this week with Vontae Davis likely taking the Robinson duties. I like him to finish as the higher scoring Allen this week. Having the second highest over-under at 48, Vegas seems to think this could be a high scoring affair, with the Jaguars trying to play catch-up at the end.
Good Matchups to not Overthink
Jordan Matthews vs. Redskins- Although he is coming off a slow start, and dropping a lot of passes. He is the team leader in targets and receptions, and RB Darren Sproles is second in those respective categories. This indicates that Matthews is the only Philly WR that Bradford has on his radar, and the sheer volume with eventually generate production. The Skins may be without corner Deangelo Hall, which bodes well for Matthews and the Eagles passing attack.
Donte Moncrief/T.Y Hilton vs. Jaguars- The best medicine for the ailing Colts is to play in their own division. The Colts are on a massive 14-game winning streak against their own division, and I do not envision that ending here in Week 4 against the Jags. Expect Andrew Luck and his top two targets thus far to have solid games as they look to get back on track.
John Brown vs. Rams- Arizona Cardinals receiver John Brown was predicted to be a consistent contributor to Bruce Arians’ offense early in the offseason, but his production looks to be limited now that other Cardinals receivers are beginning to outperform him. Veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald has already emerged as Carson Palmer’s favorite target, as he currently leads the team in nearly all receiving statistics including targets and receptions.
With Fitzgerald surpassing Brown as the No. 1 receiving target, it seems unlikely that he will be able to earn substantial fantasy points against the St. Louis Rams. With both Trumaine Johnson and Janoris Jenkins both playing quality football to start the season, expect Palmer to rely on his veteran target for most of the game.
Golden Tate vs. Seahawks- After a career year in 2014, when he was heavily relied on with the often injured Calvin Johnson, Tate is off to an abysmal start. Here are his game logs through the first three weeks in order, 4/24, 6/80, 5/57. As you can see he has yet to find the end-zone in the 2015 season.
This week things will not get any easier, as he faces off with his former team in Seattle where the 12th man will play a factor in the disruption of this struggling Lion offense. Not to mention the Seahawks star safety, Kam Chancellor, is now back in the mix and this defense will only get better from week to week. For the Lions, its the Megatron show and that’s it. Leave Tate on the bench if you have alternative options.
If you have better options for players like Jarvis Landry who will be visiting Revis island this week than I advise you to plug them in. Furthermore, if you are an owner of Vincent Jackson I would also advise you to look elsewhere as he takes on an extremely tough corner in Josh Norman of Carolina. I know you may not have better options or the depth to substitute these guys out, but if you have any viable options to stray away from the two, it would be recommended.
Waiver Wire Picks
If you read last weeks article I mentioned Leonard Hankerson and Rishard Matthews for particular reasons and both came to fruition, so snag those guys if they are still available.
Marvin Jones- has back-to-back touchdown games and 5/94/1 on Sunday. Dalton is playing at an elite level right now, and when Jones was healthy two years ago he was a touchdown machine, even catching four in one game.
Victor Cruz- set to make his debut in Week 4 against a strong Bills defense. Really an unknown commodity at this point, but we know what he has done in the past and is worth and stash-and-hold pick up.
Kenny Britt- has back-to-back double digit fantasy point outings, and seems to be Foles favorite target. Coming off a 7/102 performance against the Steelers, Britt has shown he can play. This guy has always had all the talent in the world just never lived up to the hype. Worthy of a pick-up as it seems he will be the lone wolf in the St. Louis passing game.
Doral Green-Beckham- now if we want to talk about a guy who has all the measurables and talent in the world, look no further than DGB. He is not quite up to speed on the playbook and pace of the NFL it seems, but when he acclimates himself to these factors he can be a huge threat. He is coming off back-to-back touchdown games, and can easily take over the WR2 spot on this roster over the likes of Harry Douglas and Justin Hunter. When getting a player with outrageous potential, you have to be the early bird to get the worm, so pick him up while you can and watch him grow.
Ty Montgomery- with Davante Adams suffering a high-ankle sprain that usually is accompanied by a multi-week absence, Montgomery will see a bump in snaps. We know who is throwing him the football, and all targets in the passing game can be viable as we have seen A-Rod do in the past. Pick him up especially if your league awards points for return yardage as Ty handles the kick returning duties.
Bold Predictions for Week 4
Cecil Shorts III is the leading Texan WR finishing with approximately 7/110/1.
Antonio Brown still puts up a dominant performance with Vick at the helm, 9/140/1.
Devin Funchess finds the end zone for his first career touchdown, but drops another.
Tempered expectations for Beckham against the Bills sheds no light, as he continues to torch opponents, and finishes with 8/135/2.
Stay tuned for next weeks article, and hopefully we will be boasting about our waiver pick ups and how they helped us win some of our leagues this week. Enjoy another wonderful week of football, sit back, have some fun, and good luck to all folks.
Find me on twitter: @zaksauer
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