Thursday, 02 October 2014 00:00

Week 5 pickups

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Darrin Reaves may not be the sexiest option this w, but he's now the starter due to the Panthers mess at running back. Darrin Reaves may not be the sexiest option this w, but he's now the starter due to the Panthers mess at running back. Keith Allison/Flickr

Teddy Bridgewater QB/Minnesota Vikings (33% Owned) 

Had it not been for an ankle injury late in Sunday’s game, the 'Te-ddy' chants would still be filling the air near TCF Bank stadium. Bridgewater was surgical in his debut, finishing the day 19 for 30 for 317 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. It was not just Bridgewater’s arm that the Falcons had to worry about as he also added 29 yards on 5 carries, including a 13-yard scamper for his first professional touchdown.

Bridgewater has given the Vikings offense the boost they have been looking for since star running back Adrian Peterson was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. Bridgewater is displaying exceptional accuracy (63%), awareness in the pocket and an ability to extend plays when the play breaks down. 

Bridgewater was forced from the game in the fourth quarter after having his ankle rolled up on as he was lunging for the goal line. There are some concerns that Bridgewater may not be able to play this Thursday. However, after the game Bridgewater was optimistic about his status, saying in a post-game interview “it’s just a sprain” and that he “expects to play Thursday”. Now that bye weeks have begun, owners are going to have some tricky decisions on their hands. If I am dealing with a bye week to my starting quarterback in the coming weeks (Saints week 6, Philadelphia week 7), adding Bridgewater while you can would not be the worst idea.

Recommendation: Add in Deep Leagues

Value: High QB2

Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro RB/Baltimore Ravens (72%, 60% owned)

All reports out of Baltimore stated that once Bernard Pierce was healthy, he would regain the starting running back job. However after not receiving a carry this past weekend, it seems the Ravens are going to lean on the committee of Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

Forsett was the bell cow for much of the game, showing good quickness and a surprising ability to make defenders miss. Forsett finished the game with 66 yards on 14 carries (4.71 YPA), 31 receiving yards, and was able to find the endzone during the first half.

I still believe Lorenzo Taliaferro is the best running back on the Ravens roster, but it may take longer than I thought for him to take over the starting role. Taliaferro struggled for much of Sunday’s game, but was able to salvage any fantasy value by scoring a touchdown when the game was out of reach.

For now it seems like Forsett will see the bulk of the carries, but as time goes on I expect Taliaferro to eat into Forsett’s reps and eventually take over the starting role. For now both players are worth a roster spot, especially going into a matchup with the mediocre Colts rush defense.

Recommendation: Add Immediately

Value: High RB3/Flex

 Jerick McKinnon RB/Minnesota Vikings (52% Owned)

After being forced to watch Matt Asiata plod his way to three yard run, after three yard run, the world was finally introduced to the athletic specimen that is Jerick McKinnon. The rookie gashed the Falcons defense for 151 total yards, and showed off the big play ability that the Vikings have been dying for with Adrian Peterson suspended.

McKinnon made a name for himself at the NFL combine with athleticism that would put him among some of the games best players. pSPARQ is a cumulative score that takes an athlete’s measurements, and compares them with other players around the league. The metrics used to measure a players pSPARQ score include; player weight, bench press, broad jump, vertical jump, forty-yard dash, ten-yard split, short shuttle and 3-cone (L) drill. McKinnon scored an astounding 147.5 on his pSPARQ evaluation, a number that has not been reached by any running back in the last 16 years.

While Asiata will continue to see the bulk of the carries, as well as the goal-line opportunities, McKinnon should continue to build a niche for himself within the Vikings offense. Going into week 5 against the Packers, McKinnon could be in for another big day going up against the NFL’s worst run defense. If you are still able to go and swoop McKinnon off of the waiver wire do it now, as he has a chance to be one of the second half stars of fantasy football.

Recommendation: Add Immediately

Value: Flex/RB

Darrin Reaves RB/Carolina Panthers (11% Owned)

So the Panthers running back situation is an absolute mess. Again. With Deangelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and touchdown vulture Matt Tolbet all sidelined for an extended period of time, the Panthers will turn to Darrin Reaves to be their starting running back.

In limited action Reaves has not shown much, averaging just 2.2 yards-per-carry so far. Standing at a diminutive 5’7” Reaves is not going to out-muscle anyone, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with versatility. Reaves will make his biggest impact for the Panthers on third down and in the passing game. Reaves caught 77 passes during his time at UAB

Reaves is never going to be the feature back for any team, but he has a chance to develop into a solid COP back. If you are looking for a bye week fill-in, or looking for some running back depth, Reaves is well worth the pick-up as Reaves will see the majority of the touches for the time being.

Recommendation: Add in Deep Leagues

Value: Low RB3

 Isaiah Crowell RB/Cleveland Browns (45% Owned)

With Ben Tate returning from an injury Browns coaches will have a tough job in determining how to split up the touches between three capable running backs. While Terrance West has done a fine job in Tate’s absence (4.3 YPC), there is another rookie that is making a case to be more involved in the Browns game plan, and his name is Isaiah Crowell.

Crowell was signed by the Browns this offseason as a UDFA after character concerns caused his draft stock to fall off a cliff. Crowell has been able to prove himself so far, giving the Browns one of the biggest steals of this year’s draft. Crowell has been a monster this year, averaging 5.3 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns. Even though Crowell will be forced to split carries with Tate, until he inevitably gets injured again that is, he should still see at least 10-12 carries a game, as well as get the majority of the goal line opportunities.

Head Coach Mike Pettine recently said that if player is effective he would continue to see more playing time. If Pettine is telling the truth, then he should waste no time in getting the talented rookie more involved in the Browns offense. When, yes I said when, Ben Tate misses more time with an injury or ineffectiveness Crowell is going to be a candidate to see over 20 carries per game, giving him the potential to reach RB1 value. Go and get him if he is still available.

Recommendation: Add Immediately

Value: RB3 w/RB1 potential

Allen Hurns WR/Jacksonville Jaguars (45% Owned)

Everyone expected the preseason darling to fade once the regular season started, but with the injuries that have depleted the Jaguars wide receiving corps Hurns is turning into the teams most reliable target.

With Cecil Shorts once again battling hamstring issues, stop me if you have heard that one before, and Marqis Lee out for an extended period of time the Jaguars will rely on rookies Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns to pick up the slack. Hurns has shown big play ability as a rookie averaging a mind-blowing 21.2 yards per reception. While Hurns is currently on pace for a 48/1,016/12 line, he is likely to see his production take a slight dip as the year goes on.

With the Jaguars grooming rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, the Jaguars offense is going to go through some growing pains this season. If Hurns is able to stay healthy he has the potential to lead the Jaguars in receiving yards due to the lack of depth behind him, making him at worst a low WR4 going forward.

Recommendation: Add in Deeper Leagues

Value: Low WR3/High WR4

 Players to Monitor

1.    Alfred Blue RB/Houston Texans (54% Owned)

Arian Foster is missing practice time due to hamstring issues. If Foster is unable to go Blue will draw the start.

2.    Eddie Royal WR/San Diego Chargers (64% Owned)

After scoring four touchdowns in his last two weeks many owners will jump the gun in hopes that lightning strikes three weeks in a row for Royal. Keenan Allen should continue to get better now that the tough part of his schedule is behind him, but if Royal can stay healthy he could finish the year number two on the team in terms of receptions.

3.    Marvin Jones WR/Cincinnati Bengals (30% Owned)

Jones was supposed to return this week from a broken foot that cost him most of the offseason training programs. However fantasy owners may have to wait as Jones sprained his ankle today at practice, leaving his availability for Sunday’s game cloudy at best. Jones is a major red-zone threat and will be the clear no. 2 target in the Bengals passing game once he returns.

 View Keith Allison's flickr page here

Last modified on Thursday, 02 October 2014 03:59

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