2012 Watch List #6

2012 fantasy football watch listThe deeper we get into the fantasy football season, the more clear the picture should get. Unfortunate that does not seem to be the case this season. Injuries continue to wreck havoc for some owners, which in turn has them scrambling to find replacements. Injured this week Bob3, Jerome Simpson, Martellus Bennett, Cedric Benson, Jermichael Finley and Jimmy Graham to name some. Toss into the equation the start of the BYE weeks and that could leave some owners coming up just a bit short. My take on BYE weeks, you should have planned coverage during the draft, not via the waiver wire, but that is an old school philosophy

Week 5 is finishes tonight and you should have some idea how your season is shaping up. With approximately 8 weeks remaining even an 0-5 team or 1-4 team have a chance at glory. The wire also becomes a bit thinner as the season rolls along. Many names appearing are probably castoffs that have been added and dropped numerous times. That doesn’t mean you can’t find a gem to add to your roster, it just becomes a bit more challenging. At this point, you have some idea who is expendable on your team to drop, if you are struggling you might look at changing it up and taking a chance. BYEs in week 6; Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans.

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 6 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK
Christian Ponder MIN 11-35-258-2-2 3-31
I see his name come up almost weekly now, asking if he should be played. He has struggled at times this year, but has tossed 6 TDs in his last 3 of 4 games and is still without an INT. MIN has WAS , ARI and TB in the next 3 games. WAS is dead last in FPPG vs the pass.

Kevin Kolb ARI
Arizona is coming off their bye week and Kolb was battered vs STL. Kolb came up just short of throwing for 300 yards in back to back games. Prior to the STL game he had 5 TDs in 2 games. Arizona has a nice match up vs BUF and Kolb could be a solid starter for a bye week cover as the Bills are near the bottom vs the pass.

Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF 16-26-126-0-1
>His performance vs SF was forgettable, so put it behind and look toward the Arizona Cardinals who have surrendered 572 yards and 3 TDs in their last 2 games vs the pass. Fitzpatrick continues to turn the ball over too much, but as a bye week cover could produce some good numbers in the desert.

Brandon Weeden CLE 22-35-291-2-2
Forget the home opener to start the year for CLE and Weeden hasn’t been too terribly bad. Like many rookies, he is making some poor decisions that usually result in a turnover. he has surpassed 300 yards passing twice this year and has 2 multiple TD games. Trailing as the Browns have been doing he is needing to throw. Browns travel to Cincinnati in week 6.

Other notables:

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Rashard Mendenhall PIT 14-81-1 (3)2-20
He shouldn’t be on the wire, but if he is then take a stab at him. His initial start was better than the replacements of Dwyer and Redman had done.

Alex Green GBP 9-55 (1)1-8
Green gets a bump as Cedric Benson left the game in the first quarter with a leg injury. The numbers are a bit misleading, as 41 yards of his 55 came on a 41 yard run late in the game. Watch the news on Benson, but Green could be the starter in week 6, unfortunately the Pack players HOU.

Other notables:

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
Andrew Hawkins CIN (13)5-47
While some were probably expecting bigger numbers vs MIA, Hawkins was targeted 13 (team high) times in the game by Dalton. Still, he has not had that break out game but week 6 they play CLE at home. He is a nice option as a BYE week cover.

Randall Cobb GBP (4)4-82-1
Cobb has a big upside, but the consistency seems to be the missing piece. He caught everything thrown his way this week, which included a TD. Some of his success was due to the fact Greg Jennings was still injured and not playing. This is back to back good games for Cobb, watch the news on Jennings. GB plays at HOU in week 6.

Jordan Norwood CLE (9)9-81
Look a Browns wide receiver who actually caught the ball. Finished the game with a career high 9 catches, but was starting in part due to injured to Massaquoi and Benjamin. He has some upside headed into week 6 vs Cincinnati.

Kendall Wright TEN (11)9-66
Need a PPR wide receiver? Wright could be the “right” guy as he continues to get a good number of targets a week and posted games of 7 and 9 receptions in the last 2 of 3 games. He continues to be targeted due to the fact Kenny Britt is limited.

Robert Meachem SDG (4)3-67-2
I am not sold on Meachem, haven’t been since his move to SD. Part of the reason was no rapport with Rivers through camp and the early part of the season. He only had 9 catches headed into the game vs NO and probably played with a chip on his shoulder. Consider him a risky pick up due to his inconsistency.

Other notables: Josh Gordon (8)2-82-2, Devery Henderson NOS (10)8-123-1

TIGHT END
Kyle Rudolph MIN (7)4-23-1
Rudolph continues a strong start to his rookie campaign as a favorite target, especially in the red zone for Christian Ponder. He scored his 4th TD on the year, but continues to be low on the yardage. He does bring a big upside in the number of red zone looks, he beats many of the TEs who are still under performing. MIN is at WAS in week 6.

Other notables: Heath Miller (5)4-41, Joel Dreessen DEN (4)4-21-1

2012 Watch List #2

2012 fantasy football watch listBefore I get to the 2012 Watch List #2 I need to make an early observation, based off comments I read this week. Have patience with your team, I don’t buy into the hype of a player emerging to the forefront of a week after only one game.

While that player’s performance will probably get them noticed on ESPN and the highlight reel, it will also get their name on the watch list. But does that mean I subscribe to the idea of immediately claiming that player off the wire or through free agency? No, I don’t. If any player who makes this list is available, I would pick them up only if they improved my team. I would not pick them to potentially trade them or as depth if I have to drop another player who could impact any given position.

With that said, here is the watch list as we go into week 2 of the NFL.

QUARTERBACK
Robert Griffith III (aka Bob3) 19-26-320-2 10-42
Another stellar performance by a rookie QB in his first game. Bob3 led the underdog Redskins past New Orleans, 40-32. He was 8-8 before tossing his first incomplete pass, later connecting with Garcon on an 88 yard TD. He also added 42 yards on the ground, making him a double threat on Sunday.

Other notables: Blaine Gabbert 23-39-260-2, 5-6

Russell Wilson SEA 18-34-153-1 8-20
Numbers not as strong as what we saw in the preseason, partially due to the fact he was limited on the ground by the Arizona defense. Could have made a better showing if he could have driven his team in for the winning TD when on the Arizona 4 yard line.

RUNNING BACK (number in (#) represent targets)
Alfred Morris WAS 28-96-2
The secret of the week, thanks to Shanny was Morris who the Redskins on the ground and was the best performing RB when compared to Helu and Royster. Take that for what it’s worth, when you are a RB in Washington you just don’t know what Shanny will do. Can’t argue with 28 carries, but the 3.4 YPC is a bit worrisome.

Dexter McCluster (10) 6-82
Kansas City uses McCluster like New Orleans uses Sproles. His contribution was seen in the second half as he became the go to player for Cassel. His totals could be a bit inflated due to the fact KC was trailing and trying to come back from such a deficit.

Jonathan Dwyer PIT 9-43, 2-11
With Mendenhall still sidelined, Dwyer and Redman split the carries, but it was Dwyer who looked the better options averaging 4.8 YPC. His performance could lead to a larger part of the RBBC in Pittsburgh.

Other notables: None

WIDE RECEIVER (number in (#) represent targets)
Kevin Ogletree DAL
As a WR3, he took advantage of the lack of coverage and the double teams of Bryant and Austin to be the top WR for Dallas opening night. Ogletree was targeted 14 times and caught 8-114-2 TD. Not buying the hype on him yet, he still is the third or fourth option (with a healthy Witten) in the Cowboys offense.

Stephen Hill NYJ (6) 5-89-2
Hill averaged 17.8 YPC in the rout of the Bills on Sunday. The rookie hauled in 2 TDs, both from Sanchez. A un-Jet like performance, based on the “ground and pound” strategy of Rex Ryan. Not sure if this is a new look Jets offense or just the Jets taking advantage of a soft Buffalo defense.

Jeremy Kerley NYJ (4) 4-45-1
Kerley scored twice in the game, on a 12-yard pass from Sanchez, followed by a 68-yard punt return in the second quarter. Not sure there is much fantasy value here, just a young player making the most of his opportunities. With Keller, Holmes and possibly Hill as better options Kerley might not have much fantasy impact at this time.

James Jones GBP (6) 4-81-1
Who’s hot on the Packers this week? Jones, who I suspect went undrafted in many leagues with the emergence of Jordy Nelson. Jones held without a caught the first half exploded in the second as he became Rodgers top target, hauling in 4 catches including a 10-yard TD catch. He averaged 20.3 YPC on Sunday.

Alshon Jeffery CHI (5) 3-81-1
Jeffery could be one of the more consistent players this season with the addition of Brandon Marshall to the Bears. Teams willing to double team Marshall will put the rookie in lighter coverage, which could be an advantage for Jay Cutler. He was still way behind Marshall in targets (15).

Other notables: Randall Cobb (9) 9-77, Cecil Shorts (7) 4-74-1, Andre Roberts (9) 5-54-1, Brandon Gibson (5) 4-51-1, Alderick Robinson (6) 4-52-1, Donald Jones, (7) 5-41-1

TIGHT END
Coby Fleener IND (10) 6-82
While Indy still lost their opening, the chemistry looked good between Luck and Fleener. Targeted 10 times, second to Reggie Wayne (18), Fleener made the most of his receptions including a long for 24 yard. Indy will be playing from behind much of this year, Fleener could represent a good candidate to keep your eye on.

Marcedes Lewis JAX (5) 5-52-1
Lewis looking to bounce back this year (0 TDs in 2011) started off the year strong catching ever pass that came his way on Sunday. He was Gabbert’s top target on Sunday, which rewarded him with a 1 yard TD in the second quarter. With young Gabbert at QB, Lewis could return to his 2010 form.

Other notables: Martellus Bennett (6) 4-40-1, Heath Miller PIT (7) 4-50-1

The Sproles Effect

The Sproles EffectIt seems to happen early in fantasy football every year. A lower tiered player comes to the forefront who was not necessarily expected to outperform star players. Unfortunately, no matter how good you are at predicting statistics, providing advice to other owners or making decision based on fantasy tools you use, the biggest part you have no control over is luck.

We have read and heard Russ Bliss discuss this factor previously. Last night Saints running back, Darren Sproles scored 2 TDs and had 7 receptions for 75 yards. If asked would I start Sproles chance are pretty high I would have said no on many accounts. Why? Simple. He was one of three running backs in an RBBC for Sean Peyton. Preseason did not give us a good read on how each of these backs would be used. Knowing Sproles from watching him for years in San Diego, Peyton used him exactly how Norv Turner used him. Sproles, along with returning kicks, was used as a receiving back out of the backfield. On Thursday he happened to capitalize on his ability to catch and run.

On a similar note, rookie, Randall Cobb of Green Bay scored twice, including a 108-yard TD return and a TD pass from Aaron Rodgers. He finished with 2-35 yards and 2 TDs. Should he have been considered a start? Nope, not with the weapons the Packers have, there should have been no thought of even having him on your fantasy roster.

The morning after, we now have fantasy owners bum rushing the waiver wire to pick up Darren Sproles (if he wasn’t drafted in your league) as well as Randall Cobb because of a single game performance. As FFS moderator James stated, “Do you think Sproles has a 41 point production week left in him the rest of the year?” The last time Sproles had 2 TDs in a game was against 2009 against Denver in Week 5 in which one was a kick return, the other a TD reception. In Week 2 of that same year He had 7-124 yards, 1 TD. Again, he was not a real fantasy option for many owners.

Another comment I subscribe to. The fantasy football season is a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t buy into early season hype or performance based on a single game. If you do, you could end up chasing hot players all season long, while possibly ignore talent you have on your bench. While it was great to see Sproles do well reunited with Drew Brees and amazing to see the talent Randall Cobb bought to the Packers I have neither on a watch list after just a single game. Great performances that added to the Saints/Packers shoot out, but after a single game I am not ready to start sprinting.