Week 4: PPR Watch
Have a question about a player not featured in this article? Use the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @MarkKadubec.
Confident - Jackson has been vastly overrated in PPR for most of his career. If his 10 catches for 204 yards and a TD have left you unimpressed through 3 weeks, let week 4 show you why he can be a WR1. So far, Jackson hasn't been lacking for targets, ranking 15th with 27. His conversion rate on those targets is obviously terrible, just 37%, but given the attention he's drawing from the secondary it is not entirely surprising. VJ has always been fairly one dimensional as a receiver, and that dimension is definitely not possession receiving. Still, fantasy football is all about opportunity and matchups, and Jackson has both. The only team that's allowed more points to WRs than Tampa is Washington, their opponent in week 4. Jackson should be top 5 in targets this week and deliver one of his biggest games of the year for the home crowd.
Startable - Let's start with the downside. Obviously Rodgers isn't going to get any looks at the goal line, and his carries/touches seem to be varying dramatically from week to week (9 week 1, 3 week 2, 15 week 3). He's a risk, I won't tell you otherwise. Still, if you need a running back and are very weak at the position, Rodgers seems like a player to consider seriously. Atlanta's been airing the ball out and getting on top of teams. That should mean lots of second half touches for the Falcons' RB committee against a Carolina defense that has allowed the third most points to RBs in PPR formats. Most noticeably, the Panthers have allowed 32 receptions for 242 yards to opposing runners in just 3 weeks. Those numbers are a little inflated because of a game against the Saints, but Rodgers caught 5 balls in week 3, which is a lot closer to what we were hoping to see from him. I think he's viable this week if you're desperate.
Startable - No reason to worry about that week 2 fumble any longer. Owned in less than 50% of leagues, Ryan Williams should immediately be added to your roster in PPR formats. Beanie Wells has been placed on IR, giving Williams the feature roll until at least week 12, and that alone is pretty hard to find. Arizona hasn't exactly been dazzling on offense, and their line hasn't played well, but that sounds a lot like the same situation Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden are in. Williams has great hands, and dazzled against an excellent Philly D, notching 83 yards on just 13 carries. He's a low end RB2 without question, especially against a solid Miami run defense, but his receiving ability should be enough to ensure some level of consistent production regardless of matchup. If you need him, play him, and feel reasonably good about it. I'm a lot more worried about his durability than his talent.
Caution - It's once again that time of the year where we start to wonder if drafting Dez Bryant was a huge mistake. After 3 weeks, Bryant has just 13 catches on 20 targets, and no touchdowns. He's had serviceable games at best, but nothing even remotely warranting his draft position. For what it's worth, I'm not ready to give up on him. Dallas still has the potential to be a potent passing offense, and selling at this stage is unlikely to return a player with similar upside. Nevertheless, at some point upside has to turn into something tangible, and Dez continues to be unable to beat double coverage and evolve into a true #1. I'm not sure it's going to happen in week 4 either. I like that they're playing at home, but the Bears' pass rush has been stellar through the first 3 games notching 14 sacks, and Dallas has struggled offensively the past 2 weeks. In my mind he's downgraded to a WR3 at best against Chicago, so set expectations and lineups accordingly.
Caution - I really liked Fred Davis coming into this season. WIth a rookie QB, and a lock on the starting job, I thought Davis had the athleticism to make a difference for the Redskins. So far this year, he's been mainly a no show, with only 4 receptions on 9 targets in the first 2 weeks. He bounced back a bit in week 3, converting on all 7 of his targets for a solid 90 yards. Unfortunately, I worry that this may be the anomaly rather than a firm indication of Davis's return to fantasy relevance. At the very least, I want to see him do it two weeks in a row before starting him. With Pierre Garcon likely to return, and a matchup against a Bucs secondary that's already allowed more receptions and yards to wide receivers than any team in football, you can't help but wonder why Robert Griffin would bother throwing to the Tight End. I don't think he will.