Josh Gordon caught 3 balls for 99 yards and a score Sunday against the Bengals.
Analysis: Josh Gordon now has 3 touchdowns and 181 receiving yards over his last two games. While these are impressive numbers, he will not sustain anything close to that level of production. Those 181 yards came on just 5 receptions and 12 targets. Very, very few wide outs can score on just 25% of their targets. We must also consider that Brandon Weeden is not the quarterback you want to rely on for helping your fantasy wide outs put up monster numbers.
Josh Gordon may be available in just about every league out there but he isn’t even worth your time. He has yet to record a 4 reception game in his six games this year, he has yet to have a 10 target afternoon and he’s the second most targeted wide out on his team next to Greg Little. Picking up Josh Gordon is a recipe for disaster when there are far better options out there for you. Nate Burleson has 19 receptions in his last three games and even Kenny Britt is still available in a few leagues out there.
Trent Richardson is the best running back to come out of college since Darren McFadden. “Experts” have been feeding the hype machine calling this kid the best back since Adrian Peterson.
Analysis: As much as I love Trent Richardson, he just did not end up in the right situation. First off, take a look at the AFC North defenses. The Ravens, Steelers and Bengals all finished in the top ten in the NFL in rushing yards against per game last year. All three divisional rivals also finished in the top ten in the NFL in yards per carry against. Richardson found himself in the worst possible division to rush the ball, plain and simple. To compound the situation the Cleveland quarterback situation is not solid. Any novice can see that you stack the box against the Browns now and make them beat you in the air.
All these negatives don’t mean he won’t have an offensive rookie of the year campaign but don’t go expecting RB1 type numbers. He will be drafted by some impressionable fantasy owner as a RB1 which means he should not be on your fantasy team this year. The real winner here is Cleveland wide out Greg Little. Little amassed over 700 receiving yards in his rookie year. With all the attention Richardson will receive Little could make a run at 1,000 receiving yards in 2012 if he can limit his drops.
Titus Young recorded his third touchdown in his last five games Sunday afternoon in Oakland.
Analysis: Although Titus Young only amassed twenty-one receiving yards Sunday, there are still plenty of reasons to like the rookie. Young did record five receptions on a solid ten targets and he was targeted another seven times last week. As mentioned before, he’s scored three touchdowns in his last five games and he should continue to be a hit or miss option in deeper leagues.
The Lions have attempted the third most passes in the NFL and they will continue to sling the rock the remaining two weeks of the season against the Chargers and Packers. Considering Young is available in well over ninety percent of fantasy leagues you definitely have some time to figure out what your roster needs down the stretch before you have to pick him up. Greg Little is another deep league wide out that is widely available that you may want to consider. Little put up 131 yards and a score on nine targets Sunday. He may be a longshot but with games against Baltimore and Pittsburgh coming up, the Cleveland passing game will be relied upon heavily.
Another solid draft for Pittsburgh. At the top, the AFC champs addressed both lines. Cameron Heyward can play inside or outside in the 3-4 and along with D’Qwan Bowers has the biggest upside at the position. The Steelers continue to rebuild their aging D-line, Heyward is a nice complement to Ziggy Hood. Offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert also has excellent upside. Like Heyward, Gilbert has the versatility to play multiple positions and could contribute at both guard and tackle as Pittsburgh has a need at both. Texas defensive back Curtis Brown should also be part of the rotation as a rookie. Brown also excels on special teams both as a return man and as a gunner.
The Cleveland Browns were the recipient of a draft day gift courtesy of Atlanta. The Falcons giving up five elite picks for the right to move up to take Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones. Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor is a load and should start from day one as Cleveland moves from the 3-4 to the 4-3. Pitt’s Jabaal Sheard was a nice pickup in round two and will provide rush on the edge. With their extra 2nd rounder, Colt McCoy gets a much-needed target in North Carolina wide receiver Greg Little. One of many Tar Heels sitting out 2010 due to off the field issues, Little is tremendous running after the catch. The Browns went to the Pac 10 in the 4th round, getting Southern Cal tight end Cameron Jordan and Stanford fullback Owen Marecic. Jordan, a former basketball player brings athleticism to the position, while Marecic was a two way star for the Cardinal. With Peyton Hills at tail back following the lead blocking of Marecic. the Browns should have a nice power running game. The gift keeps on giving as the Browns will have Atlanta’s 1st and 4th round picks in the 2012 draft.
Three teams are the prototype for rebuilding through the draft while staying competitive. The New England Patriots, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore identified two players that fit a need prior to the draft and got them both. Colorado Jimmy Smith was a top-15 talent that slipped due to “character” concerns. Smith was the second best cover corner in the draft, behind only the freakish Patrick Peterson. Age is creeping up on the Ravens defense and Smith may push for a starting role in September. Baltimore picked up the fast, athletic receiver they needed in local product Torrey Smith. Smith was electrifying in the return game at Maryland and will be the perfect complement to Anquan Boldin. Jay Reid arrives from Central Florida and projects as the long-term bookend offensive tackle with Michael Oher. I like what the Ravens did at the end of the draft getting Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor and Georgia Tech running back Anthony Allen. GM Ozzie Newsome is raving about what Taylor may add, while Allen is a nice power back option to supplement Ray Rice.
The Cincinnati Bengals are at a crossroads as older big name players are moving on. Quarterback Carson Palmer and receivers Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens appear to be moving on. A.J, Green was the most complete receiver in the class and will start from day one. Green and Jordan Shipley should be a nice combination for years to come. What will the Bengals do at quarterback? Andy Dalton was the man they targeted and they were elated to pick him up in the second round. Dalton appears a perfect fit for new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden’s west coast offense. LB Dontay Moch runs an amazing 4.4 and brings athleticism to the linebacker corps. Along with former USC studs Rey Maualuga and Keith Rivers, Cincinnati appears to be in good shape at linebacker for quite some time.
Tomorrow we review the AFC South
The Chiefs selected 6’5″, 230 pound Jonathan Baldwin with the 26th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. This pick just may take the Chiefs to the next level but it’s more likely that Baldwin follows the career path of one James Hardy.
Analysis: If you take a look at the positives you just may find yourself liking Jonathan Baldwin more and more. Outside of Dwayne Bowe and his 132 targets no other Chief wide out was targeted more than 43 times. Unless things go absolutely wrong at training camp, Baldwin should slot right into the number two receiver role in Kansas City. Baldwin does have 4.5 speed so he should be able to become a deep threat but his 42 inch vertical to go along with his 6’5″ frame is exactly why he was drafted in the first round. The Chiefs still remain a run first team at least while Thomas Jones is still in town so don’t get overly excited. Matt Cassel isn’t a slouch at quarterback so Baldwin should be getting some catchable balls but the question remains- is Baldwin the next James Hardy or is he a souped up version of Plaxico Burress? In dynasty leagues I’m taking the obvious guys along with Greg Little and Leonard Hankerson (needs a QB) before I’m taking Baldwin.
Projection: Baldwin is barely relevant in fantasy leagues this year. Expect 40 receptions, 480 yards and a few scores.