Wide Receiver

TOP 20 FANTASY FOOTBALL TIGHT ENDS

Thursday, 19 June, 2014

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Graham is the only fantasy position ranking that won’t move in 2014.

It truly was not that long ago where tight ends use to be an after thought on fantasy football draft day. You had the Shannon Sharpe’s and Ben Coates of the world and then everybody else. Heck, there was even a time when certain fullbacks could be drafted for fantasy value (Larry Centers/Mike Alstott). It seems as the use of a fullback faded teams started to realize the value of a new breed tight end.

Slowly other NFL teams began to seek out a capable versatile pass catching tight end. Now we are at where we are today. A true top to bottom league with high end tight ends. This translates into a much more interesting position filler. Here is a look at June’s top twenty tight ends.

1. Jimmy Graham- His contract squabbles with the Saints is all financial. Once September comes along the Saints will be using the former U basketball player as a continued aerial assault killer. Graham’s basketball skills have truly helped transform his skills on the football field. Last year was amazing to see the repetition of throws Brees would throw his way. Yet he still would haul in a whopping percentage of them.

2. Julius Thomas- Last season was a make or break year for Thomas. Denver had kept him on through his struggles and believed in him. Finally last year he was able to breakout. At the same time he rose to fantasy football stardom. Continued growth from Thomas will keep the Broncos right where they’ve been. Deep into the post season.

3. Jordan Cameron- Even though Cameron’s quarterback is in question, I’ll still keep him as a top three tight end. He showed enough through the gauntlet of quarterbacks last season. This year he’ll have one of two options. Brian Hoyer, who he fared extremely well with last year, or rookie Johnny Manziel. Consider Cameron’s chances of a one year wonder non-existent.

4. Vernon Davis
5. Rob Gronkowski
6. Jason Witten
7. Charles Clay
8. Jermichael Finley
9. Martellius Bennett
10. Jordan Reed
11. Dennis Pitta
12. Eric Ebron
13. Antonio Gates
14. Zach Ertz
15. Coby Fleener
16. Garrett Graham
17. Tyler Eifert
18. DeLanie Walker
19. Dwayne Allen
20. LaDarius Green

JUNE WIDE RECEIVER RANKINGS

Wednesday, 18 June, 2014

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1. Calvin Johnson- Johnson still qualifies as the best receiver. Just do not expect the all world numbers of a year ago.
2. Dez Bryant- There was a large stretch of last season that it looked like Bryant would hold the top receiver ranking in the NFL. This from a receiver that people were dogging just a few seasons ago. He has turned it around and will eventually supplant Johnson.
3. Brandon Marshall- Since Marshall has worked on his image and his conduct, he has been off the charts. Him and his wife need to thank the Bears organization for dragging him out of Miami.
4. AJ Green- I have some concerns over the Bengals offense this upcoming season. They haven’t limited Green thus far in his career, but a regression from Dalton surely would. Jason Campbell is not an electric quarterback from a fantasy standpoint.
5. Julio Jones- All eyes are expectant of Jones and the Falcons offense to regain its form.
6. Alshon Jeffrey- Jeffrey did wonders on two of my fantasy football teams last year. He’ll get repaid by owners like myself, and attraction from everyone else that saw his dynamic games. The only reason he isn’t higher is because Marshall is obviously Cutler’s top target still.
7. Keenan Allen- Allen resurrected franchises that picked him up off the waiver wire. Each week we kept waiting for his one month wonder, than two month wonder to end. It never did. Philip Rivers has shown in his career that when he finds a top target, he is going to keep hitting them. Those figuring Allen will slip this year should think again.
8. DeMaryius Thomas- I fully believe that this season is going to be a slightly different approach from the Broncos offense. Manning will not have the type of seasons we have seen the past two years. Instead expect them to run the football more to prepare properly for teams in the playoffs like the Seahawks.
9. Antonio Brown- Pittsburgh has been too strong of an organization to slip another season. Brown has seen Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders depart the past few seasons. It’s his role to flourish in and he will for fantasy football fans.
10. Larry Fitzgerald- Fitz is going to be one of those career long great wide receivers that keeps his name and respect amongst the NFL and fantasy football participants.
11. Randall Cobb
12. Vincent Jackson
13. Pierre Garcon
14. Andre Johnson
15. Torrey Smith
16. Jordy Nelson
17. Michael Crabtree
18. Victor Cruz
19. TY Hilton
20. Roddy White
21. Julian Edelman
22. Wes Welker
23. Cordarelle Patterson
24. Jeremy Maclin
25. Mike Wallace
26. Marques Colston
27. Kendall Wright
28. Cecil Shorts
29. Riley Cooper
30. Michael Floyd
31. Eric Decker
32. Mike Evans
33. Danny Amendola
34. Emmanuel Sanders
35. Percy Harvin
36. Dwayne Bowe
37. Reuben Randle
38. Tavon Austin
39. Robert Woods
40. DeAndre Hopkins
41. Golden Tate
42. Steve Smith
43. Brian Hartline
44. Brandin Cooks
45. Doug Baldwin
46. Anquan Boldin
47. Sammy Watkins
48. Marvin Jones
49. Terrance Williams
50. Greg Jennings

EASY MONEY WITH CALVIN JOHNSON OR NO?

Thursday, 12 June, 2014
AP Photo

AP Photo

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What Calvin Johnson did in 2013 was as ridiculous a season a wide receiver can have. The closest that I can remember having a season like that was David Boston’s lone breakout year, Terrell Owens, and Randy Moss’s 1998 season. For Boston and Moss that ceiling would never be replicated to that extreme. Owens was able to still be a fantasy touchdown machine for a string of years.

Owners know Johnson’s last season is long gone old news. His numbers almost single handily gave fantasy owners the gateway to a fantasy playoff birth. By having him on their team owners were able to count themselves an easy double digit checkoff week to week. And this wasn’t the normal double digit variety some receivers posted. Sky high results in standard leagues he sometimes posted high twenty to low thirty results. I won’t even step into the realm of his PPR results.

Quick trigger fantasy owners are going to be absent minded in putting any thought into Johnson’s 2014 potential season. He is megatron after all. Results don’t need to be thought upon.

Well maybe they should. As noted earlier athletes that have a premium season tend to regress some. At the position of receiver any type of downgrade can put you in the mix of ten to fifteen receivers. There just is not as high of a gap between receivers like there is in other football positions.

That has to be a factor when deciding on drafting Calvin Johnson.

Another is Johnson faced the poorest division in terms of NFL secondaries last year. Chicago and Green Bay were banged up all season in the secondary, and Minnesota’s young cornerbacks were going through growing pains. Of those nearly 1500 receiving yards, Johnson also faced the Cowboys for an all world game of nearly 300 yards receiving and the Steelers for nearly 200.

Both of those defenses were also torched consistently. To the point that quarterbacks such as Andy Dalton and every NFC East quarterback had extreme success.

Take away those key signature games and fill them in with average Johnson receiving yards, and he would have likely finished around 1150 yards receiving.

That puts him still as an elite receiver but not by a huge stretch in terms of yardage. Johnson’s never ending value comes in the area of touchdowns. He can be banked upon to reach double digit touchdowns year after year. His size and uncanny leaping ability is undeniable.

But will the rest of the NFC North finally catch up to Johnson and limit his consistent big numbers versus them? And will Johnson’s matchups in the AFC and non-division NFC teams gear up to stop him better?

It’s all a higher probability than last season.

This isn’t a bust label on Calvin Johnson. Rather it is a cautious high first round alert. Fantasy owners are becoming more unconscious with the new norm of drafting a non-running back in round one. Using that train of thought can come back to bite you in a quick hurry.

Best Target to Catch Ratios from Week Two

Monday, 16 September, 2013

Best Target to Catch Ratios from Week Two

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Paying attention to stats and not your fantasy points is how you can dive into your roster and decide to make necessary improvement. Each week I give a breakdown of a key category in best targets to catch results ratios from NFL players. Here is a look at who put up stellar numbers and others that did not.

Julio Jones
Jones ripped apart a St. Louis secondary considered strong. His biggest play came when he was lined up in the slot and the Rams failed to give the nickel back corner any help. That resulted in an eighty one yard play. Jones completed the game with eleven catches on fourteen targets.

Stevie Johnson
Stevie Johnson is used to playing with a different quarterback constantly. EJ Manuel may end up ending that trend for Johnson. That will allow Johnson to garner extra respect in fantasy leagues. He finished Sunday with eight catches on ten targets, including a game winning touchdown with two seconds left.

Greg Jennings
Jennings was in my personal dog house, but crept out momentarily after Sunday’s game. The Bears secondary is not the best at halting catches, their strong area is creating turnovers. Jennings was brought in to give Christian Ponder some confidence and comfort ability in finding a receiver to throw to. Sunday Jennings had five catches on six targets, and made the tough grabs over the middle you’d expect from the veteran.

James Jones and Randall Cobb
If Aaron Rodgers keeps slinging the football the way he is you might as well hand him the MVP. It’s only two games in but Rodgers nearly pulled off the upset at San Francisco, and torched the Redskins week two. James Jones enjoyed a monster game with eleven catches on twelve targets, and Randall Cobb finished the day with nine catches on ten targets.

Mike Wallace
Miami satisfied their well paid receiver with nine catches on eleven targets Sunday. They intermixed designed quick hot routes with also finding him on normal pass patterns. It seems that Wallace feeds off just getting the ball in any fashion possible to propel him. That’s a good sign for a Miami team starting to show strong signs.

Others that did well: Greg Olsen 7 catches/8 targets, Dez Bryant 9 catches/13 targets, Eddie Royal 7 catches/8 targets, DesSean Jackson 9 catches/15 targets, Antonio Gates 8 catches/10 targets, Nate Burelson 7 catches/8 targets, Jimmy Graham 10 catches/16 targets, Cecil Shorts 8 catches/14 targets, Eric Decker 9 catches/13 targets, Julian Edelman 13 catches/18 targets

Not so Good

Tavon Austin 6 catches/12 targets, TY Hilton 6 catches/12 targets, Dwayne Bowe 4 catches/8 targets, Torrey Smith 7 catches/13 targets, DeAndre Hopkins 7 catches/13 targets, Vincent Jackson 5 catches/11 targets, Wes Welker 3 catches/8 targets, Brandon Myers 6 catches/10 targets, Anquan Boldin 1 catch/4 targets, Aaron Dobson 3 catches/10 targets, Kembrell Thompkins 2 catches/7 targets

Stretching the Field

Tuesday, 10 September, 2013

Stretching the Field

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If you’re in a formatted league that gives points based on big plays, then you’re happy to have quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers that have great averages per throw, run, or catch. The impact on receivers that have high yards per catch alleviates the risk some if a player is limited to under five catches. Let’s look at some players that exceeded their positions in averages per pass attempt and per catch on Sunday.

Key Stat Filler Game of the Week: Packers vs 49ers

Both Aaron Rodgers and Colin Kaepernick put on a show Sunday. Kaepernick completed almost 70 percent of his passes. Some were blown coverages by the Packers and others were darts in tight windows. Kaepernick seems to not mind being a drop back passer if he needs to be. His yards per attempt was almost eleven, while Rodgers was near ten. Boldin and Vernon Davis had receiving averages of over sixteen yards a catch. For Green Bay, Rodgers had a nine yard average per attempt while Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb put up stellar yards per catch with Nelson over 18, and Cobb over 15.

Quarterbacks

Peyton Manning
I won’t list all the Broncos receivers that Manning’s eleven yards per completion had to do with their monster yards per catch. Manning’s night went from basic to unreal in a matter of just an intermission. A special night all around, and one of the freakish fantasy games of all time.

Russ Wilson
Wilson was the sole reason that the Seahawks were able to do anything offensively, as the Panthers negated the Seahawks ground game. He only had eight incompletions on thirty three attempts, and averaged a few tenths beneath ten yards a completion. One of his best games to date.

Ryan Tannehill
Tannehill will always be in the shadow of Wilson, Luck, and RG3. His play though has Miami thinking they’re in good shape to over take the Patriots sooner than later. He averaged over seven yards a completion Sunday and this was with only one completion to Mike Wallace.

Matt Stafford
Detroit has been looking for a back since Jahvid Best had issues with concussions. They have found one in Reggie Bush, who did not waste anytime running wild Sunday. His 100 yards receiving helped pad Stafford’s yards per attempt at 8.3.

Andy Dalton
AJ Green put on a show on Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings and the entire Bears secondary Sunday. Dalton continues to elevate his game based on having AJ Green on the field. The big plays will not stop with the duo, and if Mohammed Sanu can become a suitable second receiver watch for Dalton’s numbers to continue to remain strong.

Wide Receivers

Trio of Giants Receivers: All three Giants receivers reaped the dividends of a frustrating evening of playing from behind. Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks, and Reuben Randle all had averages of over twenty yards a catch. Those numbers surely will come down. With the Giants rushing woes it won’t be surprising to see Eli gunning the football through the air on a weekly basis.

Michael Floyd
Arizona provided Larry Fitzgerald with half of the touchdowns he had all season in one game Sunday. Floyd though had the best catch of week one, with an amazing one handed grab with a cornerback draped on his back. Floyd hauled in four catches for over eighty yards for a twenty yard average.

Antonio Brown
Brown had an average of just over fourteen yards a catch against the Titans. It looks like Brown will be used to try and fill the void left of big play potential without Mike Wallace. There are a lot of concerns with the Steelers offensive line and running game, which may hinder Brown’s overall value.

Torrey Smith
By now we have seen enough from the connection of Joe Flacco and Smith to know that these two are lethal on deep plays. Smith averaged over twenty yards a catch against the Broncos. That was on just four catches but his total was just over 90 yards.

Jerome Simpson
Simpson flourished with big plays two years ago as a Bengal. His summersault flip for a touchdown still makes people hit the replay button. With Christian Ponder’s struggles it will likely be an up and down battle for Simpson and Greg Jennings to have consistent numbers. Simpson did have an average of over 20 yards a catch Sunday.

Marques Colston
Colston is sort of like a tight end that complements Jimmy Graham. He is always in the stats sheets and he makes the over the middle type of catches that you’d expect from a tight end. He had five catches for nearly 70 yards near fourteen yards a catch.

Vincent Jackson
Jackson continues to shine as a Buccaneer, as he had his way with Antonio Cromartie Sunday. If you watched the game though it appeared more damage could have been done. On paper though Jackson had an average of 22 yards a catch week one. He’ll remain a top ten to twelve fantasy receiver all season.

Go For The Fade

Friday, 30 August, 2013

Go For The Fade

When it’s red zone time most people want to gravitate to the coaches inserting their power back in I formation. With the rise of quarterbacks statistically throwing the football more, there are other key red zone stats to look out for. Big tall targets are a quarterbacks best friend inside the five yard line. Knowing the tallest receivers in the NFL that are likely to be thrown a fade route, is yet another key stat you should know going into your fantasy football drafts.

The fade route is one of the most common throws on the goal line. Seemingly every team knows it’s coming, but teams just can’t stop it. The reason why is because of the height advantage and leaping ability with a wide receiver over the smaller defensive back. That and the quarterback and receiver have worked on the route countless times. It’s a timing route that the receiver and quarterback have a spot in mind before the ball is even snapped. All the receiver has to do is go up and get it.

Here are some guys you should keep in mind for the fade route. Obvious names such as Calvin Johnson, Fitz, Bryant, Colston, Jackson, and Dwayne Bowe I’ll keep off this list.

Mohammed Sanu
Sanu had his ups and downs as a rookie a year ago for the Bengals. It looks like he has overcome some of his struggles and will be the second receiver for the Bengals this year. He is a tall target and has already had a nice fade route touchdown catch with Andy Dalton in the preseason. Attention is coming AJ Green’s way for the third straight season, and will keep things open for Sanu in the red zone.

Mike Williams
Mike is not necessarily the tallest receiver, but he is a touchdown gobbler in red zone. He could be having a horrific game, and then have his one catch for six yards and a touchdown. That’s what makes Williams a different type of tier two wide receiver. He has done it many of times where his catches and yards may not be there in a certain game, but he makes up for it with a meaningful six point touchdown catch for you.

Justin Blackmon
When he returns from suspension Blackmon should and will be a commodity for fantasy owners. His physique and abilities is what made him a top draft pick a year ago out of Oklahoma State. I actually think he’ll still come close to his numbers from a year ago even with a four game suspension.

Golden Tate
A fade throw might not be how Russ Wilson looks for Tate, but the two have a knack for connecting in the red zone. Tate had seven touchdowns last year, including a couple of big game winners. A deep ball catch against the Patriots and the replacement referee’s jump ball notoriety catch. At 5’10 the Seahawks work and look for Tate as if he was 6’3.

Malcolm Floyd
The red zone is still Antonio Gates’ but age and loss of speed mean that others can and will have a chance to still Gates thunder. Floyd has filled that role somewhat over the past few years, but the Chargers are still looking for that Vincent Jackson type. If healthy Floyd, at 6’4, is still the primary receiver to have the best opportunity.

Jon Baldwin
His role in San Francisco and how he develops is the key here. The Chiefs obviously did not like his development so sent him for another receiver in AJ Jenkins. With Michael Crabtree out and Anquan Boldin aging, Baldwin may get a chance to replant his NFL steps and take ahold of an opportunity. In college he was dominant at Pittsburgh, and has the size at 6’4 is a quarterback’s best friend.

Alshon Jeffrey
Knowing the lingering effects of Brandon Marshall’s hip injury will be a high indicator of what Jeffrey’s season will look like. If Marshall is hindered by the injury mentally and physically on the field, it will give Jeffrey’s a prime chance to have a breakout season. Trestman’s new offense is expected to be fantasy friendly, and Cutler should look Jeffrey’s way plenty of times.