Mark Sanchez may have found his favorite target on Monday night, one that is still available in more than 70 percent of leagues. As Sanchez becomes more comfortable in the Eagles’ offense, it stands to reason that Jordan Matthews will become the next breakout rookie wideout in what has become one of the bigger stories of the Fantasy football season.
Don’t confuse Matthews’ nine targets against the Panthers as a fluke, for his numbers were slowly trending upward before Nick Foles went down for the rest of the regular season. Matthews was targeted at least seven times in four of five games from Weeks 3 thru 6 before busting out with a season-high 11 in the loss to the Cardinals. While he was only targeted three times against the Texans, Matthews pulled in three passes, including a touchdown.
His 7-138-1 line on Monday night has put him on the radar among the cool kids in this week’s waiver wire, and his numbers are going to remain steady the rest of the way. Much of my reasoning comes from the fact that Sanchez gets rid of the ball quicker than Foles, who at times looked as confused as a teenage boy, uncertain as to whether he should take advantage of the “my parents are gone for the evening” text he received from his girlfriend (we called those “phone calls” in my day). Add the fact that Matthews is a smooth route runner and has the size (6’3”, 215 lbs.) and speed to turn crossing routes into huge gains, and all signs point toward a player who is about to put up some sound Fantasy numbers.
Matthews’ Monday night numbers could have been even more impressive if not for some nifty tackling by the Panthers’ secondary, which made two last-gasp tackles that would have turned into touchdowns. Just saying….Matthews is a WR3 heading into this week’s matchup against the Packers and deserves strong consideration as a flex. This game won’t be a 14-10 defensive doozy, as both Sanchez and Aaron Rodgers come into the contest blistering hot.
While you would have been laughed out of your draft in August if you invested your hopes in rookie wideouts, if you did, chances are you’re in the running for the money. Matthews, Mike Evans, Kelvin Benjamin, Sammy Watkins, Martavis Bryant, Donte Moncrief, Odell Beckham, Jr. and Jarvis Landry have either been consistent all season or have had stretches of solid production. Keeper/dynasty league owners that have at least two of them on their roster can only feel good, not just for the rest of the season but for years to come, as each has barely tapped into their potential.
So, you don’t need Matthews. No worries, as this week’s wire has a little something for everyone:
C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos: Ronnie Hillman will miss a couple of weeks with a foot injury and Bust of the Year candidate Montee Ball is expected back from a groin injury that has kept him out for a month, much to the glee of the owners who got burned by him. Anderson’s 13 carry, 90 yard effort against the Raiders has seen his ownership rise to 10 percent in polled leagues, and while he should get the bulk of the carries against the Rams, keep in mind that Denver coach John Fox said the RB situation will come down to “who’s healthy.” Anderson is certainly healthy; yet don’t discount Juwan Thompson out of the mix. Still, I’d lean in the direction of the back that’s averaging nearly six yards per carry and also averages 13.4 yards per catch. Anderson’s skill set is perhaps the best fit for the Broncos’ offense and if he can put together a solid follow-up effort this week, Fox will continue to run with the hot hand even when Ball and Hillman return.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings: He’s owned in nearly 69 percent of leagues, yet I’m making an exception by throwing in yet another strong contender for Bust of the Year. Vikes coach Mike Zimmer admitted last week that the offense hasn’t done a good job of getting Patterson more involved and the bye week would be used to begin changing that. I’m taking Zimmer at his word, because Patterson can be downright deadly if the ball is in his hands. Minnesota is also playing a Chicago defense that has been crucified for 11 touchdown passes in their last two games. Owners who will be missing the likes of Dez Bryant, Steve Smith, Jr. and (yes, even) Percy Harvin may want to take a closer look at Patterson if he is available, because I think we’re going to get a reminder as to why we all swooned over him during draft season.
Chase Ford, TE, Vikings: Geez, another Viking? What is this, 1998? While it looks like I’m a Minnesota advocate (not really, but I love Minneapolis), Ford deserves mention in that he’s become a very frequent target of Teddy Bridgewater over the last two games, getting 13 looks while pulling in 11 receptions. Ford is owned in less than one percent of polled leagues, yet I like the direction his production is heading. Kyle Rudolph will be back at some point this season, but if you’re looking for a stealth pick (especially in one-day money leagues), Ford is a low-risk investment that can pay off this week, as the Bears have given up the most Fantasy points to tight ends this season.
Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers: He’s facing the Falcons, who happen to allow the most Fantasy points to running backs. That alone puts Stewart — owned in 30 percent of polled leagues — in play. Neither he nor DeAngelo Williams have been very productive this season, Stewart seems to be the one who is more Fantasy viable. My guess is that the Panthers are probably going to part ways with one or both after this season (Todd Gurley, anyone?), so enjoy at least one more good Sunday out of Stewart.
Carlos Hyde, RB, 49ers: His season hasn’t developed in the manner I expected, but if you saw how the Seahawks bludgeoned the Giants last week, expect the 49ers to do more of the same. Hyde has just nine carries the last three weeks, yet I see him exceeding that number this week. He’s going to become a factor down the stretch, which means now is a good time to scoop and Hyde him. Owned in just 30 percent of polled leagues, Hyde has the potential to be an unsung hero to a lot of Fantasy owners, especially if something happens to Frank Gore.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: Bowe is like the friend you once loaned money to: Promises of paying you back with interest turned into excuse after excuse before you finally washed your hands of him, only now he’s come back with a partial payment while asking for your trust. I’m beginning to trust Bowe, who has been targeted 35 times over the past four games. While his 39-491-0 does nothing to excite you, Bowe — like our money-challenged friend — looks like he’s on the verge of bigger numbers. He’s going to get into the end zone eventually if you’re in PPR leagues, Bowe looks like a decent Flex option, even against the Seahawks. He’s going to pay you back, with interest.