The Good and the Bad: Veteran WRs
Aging wideouts tend to be the wild cards during drafts that some owners can’t help but jump at, while others stay away from them at all costs. Sometimes these picks hit and you laugh all the way to the playoffs, and other times these guys show their age and you quickly turn to the waiver wire. So far through Week 3, we have a couple of veterans that are turning back the clock, while a couple of others are showing that Father Time may finally be calling. Most of us tend to be enamored with the new flash coming into the league, like an Odell Beckham, but if you check your league’s positional rankings you’ll find Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith currently residing inside the Top 10. Meanwhile, two other veterans (Andre Johnson and Roddy White) are struggling to produce and may find themselves on waivers in many leagues.
Talk about a forgotten guy that’s on a roll. Larry Fitzgerald has found the Fountain of Youth, and apparently, it’s a healthy Carson Palmer. With most experts pointing to John Brown as the receiver to break out of this group, it’s been old reliable Fitzgerald that has been quite impressive. His catches and yardage have increased each week, and he is without question the No. 1 option in this passing game, with 28 targets in the first three games. The last two games specifically, it’s like we’ve been watching the Fitzgerald from five years ago. He’s been tough to defend, and even if defended well, he’s been catching everything within his radius. Although he has been somewhat unreliable during the past two seasons, I don’t see why Fitzgerald would not keep this production up. You may see some owners attempting to sell high on Fitz due to his age, and if you can talk them down to a reasonable price, go after him. The pace at which this offense is playing, you’ll be glad you did. This upcoming game will find Fitzgerald again at home against a divisional foe in the Rams. This Rams defense has been porous at best in the passing game so far, and I would expect Fitzgerald to continue feasting. Going forward, as long as Palmer stays healthy, Fitz will be a weekly play and should be penciled in as your WR2.
[caption id="attachment_98667" align="alignright" width="300" class=" "] Fitzgerald still has gas in the tank. Photo Credit: Guy Harbert[/caption]
This guy has absolutely no quit in his game, and it’s a head-scratcher as to how he’s become so productive again. The slow Week 1 aside, Smith has been on a tear the last two weeks. In Week 3, Smith saw a crazy 17 targets that totaled out to 13 catches for 186 yards and two TDs. It was a monster effort for the 36-year-old receiver, that many proclaimed to be done just two seasons ago. Smith was open all day, as evidenced by the targets, and the Bengals’ secondary just didn’t seem to have an answer for him. The back and forth between AJ Green and Smith was crazy to watch unfold, as it was an old fashioned game of “top this.” Going forward Smith could be your prime sell high candidate, as their will be games in which his snap counts will be lower when he begins to hit a wall. Owners of Smith in 2014 know full well of this when he seemed to disappear around the mid-way point. This could very well happen again this season, so the smart owner would be wise to get peak value for him early on. The next game for the Ravens has them traveling to Pittsburgh for the Thursday game. The Steelers’ secondary has played decently, aside from the New England game, and I would expect Smith to continue seeing a healthy amount of targets this week. It is always a low scoring affair between these two teams, and I expect to see that trend continue, except with Smith finding a way to score. Keep plugging him into your WR2 slot while the hot streak lasts.
Johnson looks like a shell of his former self, and making the Texans look smart for letting him go. Most indications were that with Johnson playing with the best QB he’s ever played with, it would rejuvenate his career and see an uptick in production. Nothing has been further from the truth thus far. The targets were there the first two weeks, but the catches and yardage were not. Coming into Week 3, the general consensus was that THIS was the week that he would break out against the Titans. Johnson garnered one target and no catches in the game, leaving owners that started him fuming. He has looked incredibly slow so far this season, and the strength that used to be the biggest asset of his game seems to be gone. Couple this with the emergence of Donte Moncrief, who continues to out-snap Johnson (57-41 this week), and things are starting to look like they may be over for the former Texan. Johnson could be a buy low player for some owners based on name recognition and the offense in which he plays for, and if you can get a decent offer take it. But with another couple of performances similar to what he has produced thus far, you should cut bait and let Johnson become waiver wire fodder. A home game against the Jaguars ahead could be an opportunity to show something, but I would bench him moving forward until he shows some life on the field.
This situation has got to be the one of the hardest to explain in all of Fantasy Football. In Week 1, White received eight targets and caught four for 84 yards, and you think all is right in the world. Since that game, one target?? Someone explain that to me. There is no injury situation involved, as White played 64 snaps against Dallas on Sunday (four more than Julio Jones). Roddy White is just simply not getting the ball, which would send Keyshawn Johnson into a hissy fit. Maybe his work as a host on Sirius/XM Fantasy could be the cause here, as his mind is on giving start/sit advice rather than playing. As a result, Leonard Hankerson is starting to make a name for himself in this offense, seemingly taking over the WR2 role over the last couple of weeks. I would hold onto White for the time being, as he could very well turn this around in one week and have a huge game similar to the likes of Larry Fitzgerald. If White is on your waiver wire and you have a roster spot to spare, pick him up and hope you beat your fellow owners to the punch. The Falcons have a home game vs. the Texans this week. While White might recommend himself to be in a Fantasy lineup, I will not be buying in. He shouldn’t be dropped due to his playing time, but he should stay benched until further notice.
Please follow me on Twitter (@bmurch316) for any questions or comments.
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