Samaje Perine proved his worth at the University of Oklahoma. In 2014 he had a stellar year. In 2015 and 2016 the stat line would suggest a decline in his performance, but that is due in part to sharing snaps with Joe Mixon.
Perine set the single game rushing record for all of the NCAA by tallying 427 yards. He averaged 6 yards per carry over the course of his 3 years in a Sooners jersey.
Rob Kelley is Samaje’s only competition for snaps since Chris Thompson will get most of the receiving snaps from the backfield. Kelley only averaged 4.2 yards per carry last season. After losing Pierre Garcon and Desean Jackson, the Redskins are going to need all the yards they can get on each play. This makes Perine the more desirable back.
One of the qualities that Perine possesses that I admire is his ability to gain ground when he is tackled. TV announcers often say, "he did a nice job of falling forward to get the first down". I would not say that Kelley is bad at this, but Perine is great at it. Another thing I like is that unlike most big running backs, Samaje is able to make people miss tackles in the open field.
Even if Rob Kelley were to get more snaps than Perine, the offense will still be in the red zone frequently. Perine should see the majority of the carries at the goal line. I would compare Perine and Kelly to Blount and Lewis from the Patriots last season.
Assuming that both backs split carries evenly with Perine getting the majority of goal line snaps, he can have a 1000 yard season with 12 touchdowns. If he gets the starting role then he could see more yards. I would not reach too far for him, but if he is available later in 6th or 7th round then he holds a great value.
I think that he can have a season much like Ezekiel Elliott had last season. The main difference that I notice is that Zeke had very little competition. Even if he is not the primary back he can still be useful in dynasty leagues or as a flex option in other leagues. Don't get me wrong, he is a long way away from being Zeke, but if he can start off the year hot he will carry that through the season.
Start of the Week
1. Sammy Watkins v. New York Jets #15 Weekly Rankings
Watkins had his first career 100-yard receiving game in week 7 against the Vikings, including the game winning touchdown catch with two seconds remaining. Now that Kyle Orton is the starting quarterback in Buffalo, Watkins should be a more consistent fantasy option in the second half of the season.
After his best game as a pro in week 7, Watkins now gets the fortune to play against a Jets secondary that is exposable. The Jets are allowing an average of 22 fantasy points-per-week to opposing wide receivers, a number ranking them in the bottom half of the league. In the three weeks that Kyle Orton has been the Bills starting quarterback, Watkins registered 10 or more targets in two of the three weeks, showing Watkins is going to get plenty of work going forward.
Even though head coach Doug Marrone has a preference for a running-dominated offense, I do not see the combination of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon having a lot of success against the Jets front-seven. If the Bills want any hope of pulling the upset in New York, Watkins will to be involved early and often against the suspect Jets secondary.
2. Zach Ertz v. Arizona Cardinals #8 Weekly Rankings
Early on this season, Eagles tight end Zach Ertz was looking like a diamond in the rough for fantasy owners. Ertz was heavily involved in the Eagles passing offense, totaling 7 catches on 10 targets for 161 receiving yards and one score in the first two weeks of the season. However it has been rough sailing for Ertz lately, having just 143 yards combined after week two.
If you were patient with Ertz, I think this is one week you can depend on him to put up some high-end TE1 numbers. The Cardinals' defense has allowed an average of 9.2 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends, a number that ranks them in the bottom-10 in the NFL. With Ertz’s ability to attack a defense vertically, I think Ertz could have his best game of the season. If you remember last year, the Cardinals also struggled against tight ends, and Ertz benefited from that and recorded his first break out game as a rookie in 2013. Ertz caught five of six passes for 68 and two touchdowns in that contest. According to Pro Football Focus, the Cardinals linebacker’s struggle in coverage, especially ILB Larry Foote. Foote has been picked apart in coverage this season, allowing 20 receptions leading to a passer rating of 97.4 on passes thrown in his direction.
If you had the patience to stick with the ultra-athletic tight end, I believe your patience will pay off this weekend.
1. Doug Baldwin v. Carolina Panthers #25 Weekly Rankings
Fresh off a 7-catch, 123-yard game against the St. Louis Rams in week 7, Baldwin looks to keep the hot-streak going against one of the most underachieving defenses in the NFL.
When the Seahawks sent Percy Harvin to the Jets for a conditional draft pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, I had a serious question as to who was going to pick up the slack out of the Seahawks' receivers. Although none of the Seahawks' receivers are going to make opposing defensive coordinators cower in fear, Baldwin’s skill-set will lend itself to consistency. He's not going to make many big plays (only 4 passes thrown 15 yds+ this season) but his route-running combined with his consistent hands should make him a reliable option for quarterback Russell Wilson, who has exceptional accuracy to the short and intermediate areas of the field.
Baldwin was likely one of the first couple players picked up off of the waiver wire this week and I feel he has a chance to make an impact right away for fantasy owners. The Panthers have been terrible from a fantasy perspective against opposing wide receivers, allowing a league-high 12 touchdowns and an average of 26.4 fantasy points-per-game.
2. Jordan Reed v. Dallas Cowboys #9 Weekly Rankings
I know that Colt McCoy is starting for the Redskins, and that does scare me a little bit. However, I still feel that Redskins tight end Jordan Reed is still capable of having a very productive fantasy day against a Cowboys' defense allowing the third-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends.
So far in the early stages of the NFL season, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the biggest surprises in the league with their 6-1 start. Coming off a season in which they allowed an NFL record for total yards allowed, many people (including myself) figured the struggles would continue due to the lack of talent on the defensive side of the ball (especially the front-four).
Despite the team being ranked the no. 14 defense in the NFL in terms of yards per game, the Dallas defense has been susceptible to big games from tight ends. The Cowboys defense has allowed the most receptions (50) and rank in the bottom two in yards (541) and touchdowns (7) to tight ends. Even though the Redskins are down to their third-string quarterback, I still feel that Reed has the ability to carve out a very productive fantasy day.
1. Brandon Marshall AND Alshon Jeffery v New England Patriots #13 and 14 Weekly Rankings
Now before you panic fantasy owner’s let me just be clear that I am NOT telling you too bench Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery. However, I am telling you to temper your expectation’s for the tandem this weekend.
Last weekend it was reported that Brandon Marshall was frustrated with Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and his inability to take care of the football. While Cutler has had his issues, I feel like Marshall was letting out more of his own personal frustration then specifically too Cutler. Marshall is currently on pace for around 75 receptions and 750 yards, totals that would be the worst since his final season in Miami,
Jeffery has been the more consistent of the two Bears receivers so far this season, but last weekend was held in check, totaling just one catch for 9 yards. This weekend the tandem of Marshall and Jeffery get to take on combination of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, two cornerbacks that love to play physical man-to-man coverage with receivers. As expected the Patriots have been great against opposing wide receivers this season, allowing the second fewest fantasy points on a weekly basis (14.7). Even though I still expect the tandem of Marshall and Jeffery to still put up respectable numbers, I just advise tempering your expectations with a very tough matchup in this week 8 matchup with the Patriots.
1. Odell Beckham Jr. and Reuben Randle WR/New York Giants (7.8% Owned, 53.6% Owned)
It's never a good sign when someone goes down with a non-contact injury. Reports surfaced almost instantly after Cruz was carted off that he would be lost for the season with a torn patella tendon in his right knee. With Cruz headed to injured reserve, the Giants will lean on third-year wide receiver Reuben Randle and promising rookie Odell Beckham to pick up the slack.
Randle is a player that has been on the cusp of fantasy relevance for a couple seasons now. With Hakeem Nicks leaving in free agency, the time is now for Randle to establish himself as a consistent fantasy option. Through six weeks, Randle currently is tied for 16th in targets (47) and despite a 59% catch percentage, Randle is consistently one of the primary targets in the Giants' passing game. Randle hasn't proved much of a vertical threat so far, only being targeted seven times (1 catch) on passes 20+ yards down the field. Randle will most likely become the “possession” receiver for the Giants, giving him some extra value in PPR style leagues.
No receiver’s role will increase more for the Giants than rookie Odell Beckham Jr, who will now be asked to take a full workload with Cruz sidelined for the season. Beckham will add a legitimate deep threat to the Giants offense (4.4 speed), and should be a consistent fantasy option in terms of targets for the rest of the season.
Recommendation: Add Both Immediately
Value: Low WR2/Flex play
2. Jerrick McKinnon RB/Minnesota Vikings (5.1% Owned)
The free McKinnon campaign finally paid off as the rookie was granted his first start of his career. McKinnon was the only bright spot for the Vikings offense, totaling over 80 total yards of offense against the No. 1 defense in football in Detroit. McKinnon is going to be the starting running back for the Vikings for the duration of the season and should provide the running game with some much-needed big-play ability.
As long as McKinnon is able to stay healthy, he'll be worth a look as a weekly flex option and could even work his way to high RB2 value with his pass catching ability. The Vikings' running backs are going to have another tough matchup with the Bills in week 6, but there's hope for optimism as the Vikings matchup with Tampa Bay, Washington, Chicago, and Green Bay in the coming weeks.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Flex w/High RB2 Potential
3. Jordan Reed TE/Washington Redskins (50.5% Owned)
Reed showed why he has so many people in Washington frustrated by his inability to stay on the field for an extended period of time in the team's latest matchup against Arizona. After missing the last five weeks of the season due to a slight tear of the hamstring, Reed made his presence felt early and often upon his return.
Reed caught 8 of his team-high 11 targets for 92 and proved to be a matchup nightmare for linebackers. It was clear the Redskins wanted to ease him back into the fold, playing just over 50 percent of the snaps (35/65), but after making it through the week unscathed, that total will surely rise in Week 7 against a Titans defense ranked in the bottom 10 in terms of average points allowed to opposing tight ends.
Reed's usage within the Redskins offense has never been the question, but his inability to stay healthy has been. After suffering at least three concussions during his NFL career, Reed is one shot to the head away from missing the entire season, so be sure to proceed with caution. However, there's no doubt that when on the field Reed is a legitimate TE1 and needs to be in lineups as long as he can stay healthy.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Low TE1
4. Carson Palmer QB/Arizona Cardinals (6.4% Owned)
After missing the last few weeks with a nerve issue in his shoulder, Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer was able to return to the starting lineup against the Redskins. While his numbers won’t jump off the page (25/44, 250 yards, 2 touchdowns) he gave the Cardinals' offense some much-needed consistency out of the quarterback position.
Palmer was clearly not 100% this week, as shown by the limited shots he took down the field, but he was able to move the chains consistently without suffering a setback. The happiest people to have Palmer back have to be receivers Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald, as they both caught touchdown passes.
Going into week 7, Palmer has a juicy matchup with the horrendous secondary of the Raiders. As long as Palmer is able to stay healthy, he should be able to put up numbers that put him on the cusp of QB1 value.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: Low QB1
5. Mohamed Sanu WR/Cincinnati Bengals (38.2% Owned)
If you're a fantasy owner that had the fortune of adding Sanu before Sunday’s game, you have to like the potential for him the future. With superstar receiver A.J. Green sidelined for this weekend's matchup, Sanu made the most of his opportunities to a gaudy 11/120/1 line against the Panthers.
Without the services of both A.J. Green and Marvin Jones due to injuries, Sanu was clearly the no. 1 option in the passing game, getting targeted a team-high 15 times. Sanu does suffer from a case of the drops on occasion, a trend that has continued this year (5 total), but if the Bengals are going to be without their top two receiver options, Sanu is well worth a flex play with the potential to reach WR2 value yet again.
Recommendation: Add Immediately
Value: WR3 w/Potential
Players to Monitor
1. Antone Smith RB/Atlanta Falcons (5.1% Owned)
Now that my “Free McKinnon” campaign is finished, I am taking my campaign skills to Falcons running back Antone Smith. All the guy does is score touchdowns, folks. Smith has scored double-digits fantasy points in four of six games this year, the time is now for the Falcons to give this man a bigger role within the offense. I am still not willing to put Smith in my top additions section due to the lack of snaps he sees on a weekly basis, but with Steven Jackson on his last leg look for Smith to get more involved as the year goes on.
2. Storm Johnson RB/Jacksonville Jaguars (1.1% Owned)
Blake Bortles college teammate drew his first start this past weekend and was supposed to break out in a big way against a suspect Titans' run defense. However, Johnson struggled to get free most of the afternoon, and was only able to muster 21 yards on 10 carries. He salvaged some fantasy value with a rushing touchdown, but was largely ineffective due to the Jaguars dreadful offensive line. If Johnson is going to continue to carry the load for the Jaguars' rushing attack, he should able to produce better numbers than he did this weekend. Just keep this guy on your radar.