Week 6: PPR Watch
For too long PPR leagues have been fantasy football second-class citizens. PPR is an after thought, a quick mention at the end of the column, as though it were unworthy of sound research and a singular focus. Well no more, brother. PPR honors the role players of the NFL, the first down makers, the guy that goes over the middle, and even occasionally, the wise running back that catches a pass for negative yardage. PPR is here and our time is now.
Confident - Ride him while you still can Hillis owners. The contract situation is becoming a distraction, and it's safe to assume that at some point this season Montario Hardesty is going to get a chance to show the coaching staff whether he's their guy for 2012. Until then, expect the Browns to ride Hillis and ride him hard. For now, he's still the man and he gets a juicy match-up against a Raiders defense that's been ripped for over 5 YPC and 4 touchdowns. Not good enough? Well, they're also giving up the league's most yards to running backs through the air and the 7th most receptions. Hillis is more than capable of taking advantage, and owners should have a good idea after this game of whether they will get anything close to the return they expected from their second round pick.
Confident - Victor Cruz is here to stay. Even if you subtract the crazy deflection touchdown, Cruz still would have had 7 catches for over 100 yards. And really, why subtract it? Cruz showed terrific concentration and athleticism in turning the usual Eli Manning poor decision into one of the plays of the week. Cruz is now in the top 15 in targets and top 10 in receptions over the past 3 weeks. We've seen three receivers have value in this offense before, and it seems clear that the impression Cruz made on Tom Coughlin in the pre-season has turned into substantial playing time. The Giants play the Bills at home in week 6, and Buffalo is giving up the 6th most fantasy points to WR's. Start him.
Confident - There is no doubt that Daniels' value is way up so long as Andre Johnson is missing. The Texans' passing game looked lost against the Raiders, but still Daniels rewarded owners nicely in week 5, grabbing 7 catches for 89 yards. On paper, a week 6 match-up against the Ravens would seem to be off limits. Baltimore has been stingy against tight ends, allowing only 11 catches for 127 yards in 4 games. Still, looking deeper, that was against Cook, Kendricks, Miller and Keller -- not exactly a who's who of the best TEs in the league. Daniels will continue to get opportunities; and so long as he's the most reliable receiver in their offense, I'll start him and feel really good about it.
Caution - When 'the powers that be' write someone off as a poor draft pick, they tend to be slow acknowledging when they're wrong. They aren't wrong yet, but 'DHB' should definitely be on your radar. Heyward-Bey was targeted 12 times against Houston, converting for 7 catches and a highlight reel touchdown. So the downside? In the previous 4 weeks he had only 9 catches, and his 12 targets accounts for over 40% of his season total. If you're looking at the rest of the season, Heyward-Bey is a high upside week 5 add, but if you're planning to insert him right into your lineup, there's a couple things to consider. 1. The Raiders have been inconsistent with their WR targets. 2. Cleveland has given up the 4th fewest points to wide receivers. - Put him on your roster, but I'd wait another week to see if these numbers are legit.
Caution - Is there a point to putting a caution on Marshall? I'm not sure. He's a top tier talent, and I don't really expect anyone to sit him, particularly during a stretch of bye's. So play him as usual in your deeper leagues, but if you're in a 10 team and under, consider some of the excellent options you likely have on your bench. Miami is taking their 0-4 record on the road to NY, where not only does Marshall get the worst wide receiver match-up in football, but he does it with a second string quarterback. The Jets are angry, the Dolphins are bad, and Marshall is struggling with 5 drops. To make matters worse, the Jets have been vulnerable against the run, and it's not hard to imagine a run heavy formula for Miami. If you can avoid a super star, this might be the time to do it.