Week 1 WR Recap

The most heavily targeted Ram this week was the former second round pick Brian Quick. The 6’3″ 220 pound Quick caught 7 balls on 9 targets for 99 yards. The St. Louis ground game still looks like trash which means plenty of passing attempts for the Rams who are in a tough defensive division. Brian Quick is available in 99% of fantasy leagues.

Justin Hunter is a big play wide out. He caught 4 touchdowns on 18 receptions last year. In week one against the Chiefs he caught 3 balls on 8 targets for 63 yards. Jake Locker turned the corner last year and that can only be good for Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright. Hunter is available in 13-22% of fantasy leagues.

Steve Smith does not look fast out there and he had a few drops against the Bengals but he is still one mean dude. Smith was targeted 15 times on Sunday. He caught 7 balls for 118 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 nasty stiff arm. Torrey Smith is explosive but Smith will do all the dirty work for the Ravens similar to Anquan Boldin a few years ago. Smith is available in 5-28% of fantasy leagues.

Three Takeaways From Thursday

It was a dominant and efficient performance by the Seattle Seahawks in the opener.

Percy Harvin was explosive and versatile… he looked like Percy Harvin. His projected fantasy numbers going forward will be inflated. Seattle is too efficient and diverse on offense for Harvin to consistenly put up great fantasy numbers. The Seattle defense also hurts his value due to the fact that the Hawks will rarely trail in the fourth quarter. I’m still taking Emmanuel Sanders over Harvin as wide outs that were taken in the WR2/WR3 portion of drafts.

The Green Bay defense isn’t awful. Julius Peppers was a top 20 defensive end last year according to all the advanced stats. Clay Matthews looks healthy and the Green Bay D will perform better than last year- 25th in yards allowed, 24th in points against. They have the Jets at home next week and that should be a great stream opportunity.

Russell Wilson finished 2013 as the 8th best fantasy quarterback despite throwing the 22nd most passing attempts among all NFL QBs. He does get it done with his legs but it is surprising that he was the 14th QB on average taken off the board in drafts.

Welker Alternatives

Not only is Wes Welker battling concussion issues but he is also suspended(MDMA) for the first four games of the NFL season. If you drafted wisely the answer is already on your roster, but if not… who are the fantasy alternatives?

Analysis: Brandin Cooks is available in 15-25% of fantasy leagues. He is the fastest player Drew Brees has ever played with and he is the most polished rookie of the 2014 draft class. The Saints finished 2nd in passing yards last year and 4th in passing attempts. Cooks is a fine Wes Welker alternative.

James Jones is the number one wide out for the Raiders(for now). Oakland should be trailing in the second half of most games this year which means tons of fourth quarter junk yards for James Jones. Jones is available in 60% of fantasy leagues.

I don’t understand the Brian Hartline fantasy aversion. He has now compiled back to back 70 plus reception, 1,000 plus yard seasons. He isn’t a touchdown machine but expect a career high from Hartline as Ryan Tannehill breaks out this season with an improved offensive line. Hartline is available in 45-85% of fantasy leagues.

Streaming Defenses- Week 1

There are always good defenses available each week and week one is no exception.

Analysis: The Philly defense should be mediocre this season but they have a great matchup with the Jags in week one. Chad Henne will get the start for Jacksonville on the road. Henne recorded a 76.5 passer rating last year with a 13 to 14 TD to INT ratio. Philly will score often and force the Jags to pass a ton in the second half which means sacks and picks. The Eagles D/ST is available in 90% of fantasy leagues.

A secondary option to consider this week is the Steelers at home against the Browns. We don’t know what we are going to get with Brian Hoyer and as a “streaming specialist” that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Hoyer looked serviceable last season but had a pedestrian 82.6 passer rating with 3 interceptions and 6 sacks in 3 games. The Browns are without Josh Gordon and the Steelers are more athletic on the defensive side of the ball this season with the additions of Ryan Shazier and free agent Mike Mitchell. The Steelers D/ST is available in 85% of fantasy leagues.

ADP Watch- WRs Part 5

The third week of the preseason is over so that can only mean one thing… that it is time to draft. As usual the third week of the preseason served up a few major injuries and smart fantasy leagues/owners have not drafted yet.

Analysis: Emmanuel Sanders is looking like a WR1 out there. On Saturday night he posted 128 yards and 2 touchdowns on 5 receptions and 8 targets. Eric Decker finished 2013 as the 8th best fantasy wide out and his replacement may be able to do the same. It seems even if you “slightly lowball” Sanders to 1,100 yards and 9 touchdowns you still have yourself a wide out that would have finished 2013 as the 15th best receiver.

Currently, Sanders is the 28th to 31st wide receiver being taken in the 65-85 pick range. Is this real life? Guys like Golden Tate, Cordarrelle Patterson, Sammy Watkins and Percy Harvin are being taken around and even before Sanders comes off the board.

There are far too many “reaches” in fantasy drafts these days but Sanders is not one of them. He can easily put up WR1/WR2 numbers for the price of a low end WR2 or a WR3.