Value Up-Value Down: Week 3

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thumbs up or thumbs down?

I was all excited to start this week’s article with a “Eddie is fantasy Royalty in San Diego” joke. As an alternative, I thought about rolling with a “I keep Snelling something foul” wisecrack. All would have gone according to plan if it wasn’t for those meddling kids; and by meddling kids I mean Jim Irsay and Ryan Grigson (the Colts’ owner and general manager). As of mid-day Wednesday, the Indianapolis Colts pulled the trigger on a deal that landed them Trent Richardson for a future first round pick.

The Browns traded Trent Richardson!?!? Why?

The only answer I can come up with is they must think he’s damaged goods. I saw a stat on twitter that Richardson has only gone over 3.6 YPC in one of his last eight games. For a guy who’s supposedly elite, that isn’t exactly an impressive number. According to Evan Silva of Rotoworld, the Cleveland Browns were ranked as the #6 overall O-Line coming into the season. While having a good amount of talent in front of him, it’s pretty troubling he couldn’t do a better job. With that being said, he is not the reason I have gone on this rant.

No, the reason for my rant is because now the man with the greatest value change heading into week 3 is Willis McGahee. After trading Richardson, Cleveland brought McGahee in for a physical and immediately signed him. Considering the alternatives in Cleveland are Chris Ogbonnaya and recently signed Chris Rainey, I don’t see any true challenge for playing time long term. McGahee should step into the Trent Richardson role which includes catching a significant amount of passes and goal line work. While McGahee will have to deal with a combination of Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden at quarterback, he should at worst be FLEX-worthy every week. In the right match-up, he will have the upside of a high end RB2 to low end RB1. Spend the farm on him because a better opportunity may not come around anytime soon. If the choices are him, James Starks or Jason Snelling; you know what to do.

With all that being said, here are the other players whose values have changed significantly since this time last week. Remember I try my best not to be so obvious with the players I choose.

Value Up:

Jay Cutler – Whatever it is that Marc Trestman has done to the Bears’ offense, it has resulted in Jay Cutler getting him mojo back. Like Austin Powers, Cutler is once again “groovy baby, yeah.” Somehow the “Quarterback Whisperer” has turned last year’s QB24 into QB13 so far, which is borderline start-able in all leagues. Cutler hasn’t exactly played two cupcakes either: he faced the formidable Bengals defense in week 1. I’m skeptical as to whether he can keep this up, but at the same time, he now has weapons he has never had before. He now has two big wide receivers, a pass-catching tight end and a much improved offensive line at his disposal. If Trestman’s system continues to prove to be successful, Cutler will be worth owning in all but the shallowest of leagues.

Danny Woodhead – After I counted him playing a measly six snaps in week 1, Woodhead rebounded nicely in week 2. Unlike week 1, Woodhead overtook third down and two-minute drill duties from the near fantasy corpse Ronnie Brown. He produced in the role racking up 14.4 fantasy points in standard PPR formatting. Given an expanded workload, Woodhead has proven to be an explosive player worth using in deeper PPR formats. If used right, he could catch 60 passes, which is nothing to scoff at.

Eddie Royal and Vincent Brown – What a horrific scene it was when Malcolm Floyd got sandwiched by two defenders and laid there in pain. You never like to see a player get hurt no matter whose back up you own (assuming you are humane). After the smoke cleared and Floyd was carted off, that left Royal and Vincent Brown as the top two wide receiver targets on the Chargers. Undoubtedly, week 2 was Royal’s time to shine. Now that defenses will have time to watch him on tape, they will look to game plan towards shutting him down. Having the focus taken off him, Vincent Brown should be looking at some good weeks in the near future. Eddie Royal is the guy I’d rather own in PPR formats, but I don’t think the gap is nearly as large as the stats would suggest. If the Brown owner is panicking that he isn’t the guy in San Diego, swoop in and grab him. The way Rivers is playing is only sending good vibes for his 2013 season.

Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers – For a guy with a massive build like Steven Jackson, he sure does get hurt a lot. If you checked out his picture in the ESPN: The Body issue, you’d be hard pressed to fathom a way in which this titan could break. Somehow, someway he always does. Coach Smith’s timetable of 2-4 weeks leaves the backfield a competition between Jason Snelling and Jacquizz Rodgers. I would pick up both if they are available, but given the choice, I’d take Snelling. Rodgers has always been the guy to come with the hype, but has always faltered when given the chance at lead back. Rodgers is more of a gimmicky type pass catching back who needs a pure runner along with him to succeed. Snelling fits the bill of the pure runner. Last week, Snelling racked up four catches and unsurprisingly was given the goal line carry. Expect that trend to continue along with the bulk of the carries. For that reason, Snelling is the guy I’m (reasonably) breaking the bank to get in hopes I can get a solid two to four games out of him.

Knowshon Moreno – Montee Ball fumbled! Montee Ball really fumbled! Moreno owners rejoiced when they saw that ball pop loose on Sunday. After that moment, Moreno was handed the reigns to the Bronco’s running game. He produced. When all said and done, Moreno had 107 total yards and 2 TDs. With a performance like that, there is no reason to believe his job is in jeopardy. As long as he continues to produce, Peyton Manning will continue to hand him the ball. It’s that simple. Even beyond that point, he’s the best back the Broncos’ have at pass blocking. In a Manning offense, that is equally as important as the effectiveness of the running. Please acknowledge the fact that Moreno is a quality RB2 until he proves unable.

Charles Clay – Here’s something you don’t see everyday: a true H-back. The Dolphins literally used him like a 255 pound Percy Harvin. They line him up in the slot, as a tight end and in the backfield as a fullback. Listed as a tight end on nearly every site, Clay impacted fantasy by scoring a rushing touchdown this week. Chalk Clay up to the “offensive weapon” category and start him every week with confidence. They are going to use him in so many ways that he’s bound to contribute somehow. Quietly, I believe he’s going to be ultra consistent.

Heath Miller – Trivia time! Who was the only tight end besides Jimmy Graham to finish top five in all three of the main receiver categories (REC, YDS, TD) among the position? I’m assuming you guessed the answer considering this is linked to his name: Heath Miller. I’m not sure how Miller’s monster season was so under the radar but it was. Now, having watched the Steelers’ miserable offense, it’s clear they need some kind of spark. Coach Mike Tomlin warned people not to expect he’ll “step out of a phone booth with a cape on.” In other words, don’t expect him to save the day for the Steelers’ offense single-handedly. Sorry Mike, but I will not be heeding your words. I think Miller steps in and immediately becomes their main red zone target. All their other receivers are small by NFL standards, so they basically have to go to him. For the rest of the season, he will easily lead all pass catchers in fantasy points in my opinion; especially in standard formats. Go and get him if you are struggling at the tight end position.

 

Value Down:

Russell Wilson – QB24? Is that really what you had in mind when you drafted him between QB7 and QB11? In two games, Wilson has two passing touchdowns and is averaging 231 passing yards per game. The 20 yards rushing per game is not making up for the lack of passing. Sure, he played one of the leagues’ better defenses in San Francisco last week. Let’s face it though, his group of receivers to throw to are way below average. I know he had the same group of receivers last year, but maybe you can only sustain that success for so long. I don’t necessarily believe in the sophomore slump, but it can happen. Is it panic time for Wilson owners? No, not quite yet. He has a tasty match-up this week at home against the Jaguars. If he can’t capitalize on this one, I would begin to start worrying.

Chris Ivory – How does the average at best Bilal Powell beat out Ivory for carries? It just doesn’t make sense. Powell is the better pass catcher so he’ll play on passing downs, but come on man. Ivory should be getting the goal line carries yet Powell scored the touchdown from in close this week. While I still think Ivory eventually comes out as the better fantasy option, I’ve seen nothing to believe that things will change anytime soon. Chris Ivory meet the bench.

Daryl Richardson – Um, what happened to Daryl Richardson as the “lead back?” In just his first week back, Isaiah Pead played 30 snaps while Richardson played 39. Richardson is averaging just 3.29 YPC through two games. If D-Rich doesn’t step his game up, he will find himself in a full blown committee very soon. To make matters worse, Richardson was spotted at practice today sporting a walking boot. Don’t fret, he’s expected to play, but he better play well if he wants to hold onto his RB2 status.

Antonio Brown – Sorry fellas (and ladies) but I’ve been saying it all along: Antonio Brown is not a #1 WR. He’s not a #1 wideout in fantasy (any format) nor reality for Pittsburgh. Brown has 11 REC in two games but still no touchdown. He’s 5 foot freakin’ 10. Why would you target him in the end zone? To me, Brown is nothing more than a guy whose a decent receiver with better value in PPR formats. I wouldn’t want him as anything more than a low end WR2 or high end WR3. I’m operating under the theory that before the year is over, Markus Wheaton will be the best wide receiver on the Steelers’ team.

Fred Davis – The Redskins’ TE position is like an assembly line: Davis took over for Cooley when we thought he was the guy and now Jordan Reed may be taking over for Davis who we thought was the one to own. Davis has only been targeted six times in two games while Reed has nine including eight receptions and a touchdown. Are we watching Davis fizz out of the offense in front of our eyes? I honestly believe we are. If Davis couldn’t do anything with the Redskins playing from way behind in two straight games, what’s he going to do in a close game? Close games involve more running situations. While I was as high as anyone on Davis coming into the season, it’s time to cut bait. Make the swap for Reed if need be.

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