Fantasy Football Thoughts: Receivers and Tight Ends

Featured, Sports and Bets — October 5, 2014 at 9:37 am by

by Babes

Continuing my fantasy thoughts segment, today I’m going to examine the wide receiver and tight end position.  The top receivers as a whole have been much more consistent than running backs.  This leads me to believe that next year, the first round will be riddled with more receivers than running backs.  Unless of course, you’re like me and already have Demaryius Thomas in four leagues as a first round pick.
Starting with the good, Antonio Brown has been outstanding so far, leading the league by over ten points. Brown has found the end zone five times and is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game. Jordy Nelson has been on fire as well, with a league high in both targets, with 49, and yards, with 459, through four games.  The surprise of the year at wide out so far as been our boy, Steve Smith.  Ranking third in fantasy points, Smith is averaging 10.3 yards per target!  He was only making 11 yards a catch last year, but with the Ravens, he’s tearing it up.  Yes, it is possible that his numbers are a tad fluky, but you can’t deny Smith is top 15 the rest of the year.
Rounding out the top five,there are no surprises with Julio Jones and Randall Cobb.  Both play in exceptional passing offenses with elite quarterbacks.  The surprises in the top ten are the omissions.  No Calvin Johnson, no Alshon Jeffrey, no Brandon Marshall (despite the fact that he has five td catches), and no D.T.  In fact, no Denver receivers are in the top twenty.  Yes, they have played one game less, but up to this point the Denver offense hasn’t been anywhere near what they were last year, not that anyone thought they would be.  But DT’s performance thus far is what’s killing me.  He’s dropping passes, and he’s not separating from top cover men like he did a year ago.  Let’s just say you would never guess he was in a contract year.

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I have to say, another one of my top players going into drafts this year was Cordarrelle Patterson.  If you take out his 105 yard, one touchdown rushing performance in week one, Patterson has managed a meek 17 points in four weeks.  It’s well documented that Patterson is not a good route runner, but c’mon, isn’t that what you have coaches for?  The guy has 13 catches in four games, but only 21 targets.  On a offense starving for big play ability, get the ball to your best big play threat, dammit.
A few other receivers have pleasantly surprised fantasy owners. In the top twenty receiver rankings are Eddie Royal, Kelvin Benjamin, Allen Hurns, and Terrance Williams- all guys who were either not drafted or taken late in drafts.  All are blowing up right now. Eddie Royal did the same thing last year, as he scored a bunch of early Td’s, but his performance proved to be extremely fluky.  In Benjamin’s case, I think he has firmly planted himself in the top 15-20 at his position.  He is an enormous red zone threat with his massive size, and he has demonstrated a keen ability to make tough contested catches with corners draped all over him.  I also like T Williams going forward because he will consistently face single coverage from inferior corners playing opposite Dez Bryant.

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When looking at the tight end position, you have to be able to identify talent to be successful at attaining quality fantasy tight ends.  Guys like Larry Donnell, Travis Kelce, and Delanie Walker all have something in common- they are freakish athletes.  They all have a great size/speed combination, which makes them attractive options for their quarterbacks.  The three players I mentioned are fifth, seventh, and third respectively in fantasy tight end rankings.  Of course, the usual heads are there too, with Graham, Gronk, and Julius Thomas.  All three were drafted high and for good reason, they are consistent.
Topping the list of tight ends in points through four games is Martellus Bennett, who is second only to Jimmy Graham in targets with 37.  Bennett has four end zone visits already, to go with nearly 300 yards receiving.  This makes him a must start the rest of the season.

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The tight end position has seen it’s share of injuries as well.  Top ten drafted tight ends Kyle Rudolph, Vernon Davis, Dennis Pitta, and Jordan Reed are all staring at significant down time due to their various injuries.  That’s why it’s important to always be on the look out for the next Larry Donnell.  A guy to keep an eye on is Clay Harbor in Jacksonville.  In his first game back last week he was targeted eight times and caught all eight for 69 yards.
Keep your eyes open for those waiver wire gems.  If you can spot them a week or two early, it makes all the difference in not having to hope you win the waiver claim when he blows up.

cover pic: chicagonow

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