NFL Real Talk: Week Five

Have Percy
Photo Credit: Bobak Ha’Eri

When it comes to Percy Harvin, the two most common words used to shit on his fantasy value are “snap count.” Everyone is up in arms over the fact that he’s spending more time than he should on the sideline, which would make sense if homeboy wasn’t averaging over seven touches a game.

That’s right, a WR who has the ball in his hands 7.25 times a game is apparently not involved enough to make a fantasy impact… except that he is. Harvin is averaging 78.25 yards per game. That’s more than Roddy White, Rob Gronkowski, Jordy Nelson, Reggie Wayne, and countless other players who are widely considered more valuable than Harvin.

Yes Harvin isn’t on the field for every offensive play, but the team has gone to great lengths to feature him in a number of different packages as a receiver and runner. The Vikings understand they need to get the ball in his hands, but with his migraine and injury history, who can blame them for not putting him on the field for every single play? Now it’s true that Harvin has yet to score this year (outside of a kickoff return TD) and the team hasn’t been using him much in the red zone, which is disappointing. Still, it’s clear that he’s the second best offensive threat on the team behind Adrian Peterson and the opportunities will be there for him to do work.

The point is, fantasy value ultimately comes down to touches and what you do with those touches. Not only is Harvin getting his hands on the ball, but the team has specific plays mapped out where he’s the featured weapon and tries to get him out in the open field. That sounds pretty damn good for his fantasy value if you ask me.
Snap count? More like “awwww snap he’s a great buy-low target!”

Mo’ Real Talk after the jump:

With Roy Williams finally out of the starting offense, Johnny Knox is a must-own player. He’s the most talented WR in Chicago and was a favorite option of Jay Cutler’s last year (99 targets). Don’t be fooled by the three-catch, 48-yard effort in Week Four; Cutler threw the ball just 17 times as the Bears uncharacteristically went run-heavy. Johnny Knox-ill has the hands and speed to be a fantasy starter and has WR2 upside if Cutler favors him. He’s still available in a good amount of leagues and is a solid buy-low option.

Even though Mike Wallace has enjoyed an incredible start to the season, I can’t help but feel he’s a prime sell-high candidate. Between Ben Roethlisberger’s foot sprain and Pittsburgh’s O-line issues, there’s a very good chance Wallace’s fantasy production will dip dramatically. He’s still a deep play threat thanks to his elite speed, but I think he has the potential to drop below top ten WR status. He’s still great enough to put up good numbers in spite of his circumstances, but the spectre of a production slide looms large here.

Yes, you should sell-high on Cam Newton. He will finish the season with waaaaay better fantasy numbers than anyone expected, but you can’t expect him to keep up his current pace. His one bad performance (vs. JAC) came in monsoon conditions, so we can’t hold that against him. But did you know that his three monster efforts came against teams ranked among the eight most fruitful pass defenses for opposing QBs? Newton will soon be playing in colder weather and has a pair of proven RBs who will be ready to take over the offense if need be. “Killah Cam” will also have to deal with the fact that teams will be trying everything they can to stop (or at least disrupt) his game. With his fantasy value at a ridiculous level right now, this is the prime opportunity to push some “Fig Newtons” onto your leaguemates.

Rob Gronkowski is the next player to enter the “sell-high” vortex. Yes he’s been a TD machine who Tom Brady loves throwing to in the red zone, but Aaron Hernandez should be back soon and opposing defenses will ramp up their efforts to key in on Gronk’ near the goal line. Plus, the Pats’ running game looked good on Sunday so if the team goes with a more run-heavy approach near the end zone, it will limit Gronkowski’s prospects. Look, the dude is a beast and one of the best catching TEs in football, but if he isn’t scoring TDs with regularity, he will not be an elite option. With so many potential obstacles standing in his way, it makes sense to dangle him on the trade market as he could fetch quite a return.

Tired of me telling you to get rid of all your stars? Aight, how about buying low on Mario Manningham then? People are turned off by his slow start, concussion, poor route running, and demotion to third receiver in Sunday’s game, making him ripe for the picking. He is still by far the most talented receiver behind Hakeem Nicks in this offense and Victor Cruz is not a serious threat to his targets. Try to get some trade offers in for Manningham quick, because he could break out against an awful Seahawks secondary this week.

Do not be fooled by Darrius Heyward-Bey’s four-catch, 115 yard performance. Denarius Moore is still the WR you want in Oakland. I’m sure a lot of owners who roster Moore view him as nothing more than WR depth, so you might be able to grab him for virtually nothing.

I don’t want to say I was right about Greg Olsen but… I have no idea how else to finish that sentence. Yes, your boy had “Grimey” Greg listed as his 10th best TE entering the season, which prompted many to roll their eyes and/or scoff. Well, who’s laughing now bitches? Olsen has seen 17 targets in the last two weeks and as teams continue to focus their efforts on stopping Steve Smith, Olsen will have ample room to do work over the middle of the field. There’s not much of a buy-low opportunity here, but there is a fantastic “gloat-now” opportunity for me and I’m taking full advantage of it: I’m the one man Nation of Domination of Prognostication.

Just because Frank Gore ran for 127 yards on 15 carries with a score doesn’t mean he’s “back.” The Eagles have been the worst team in fantasy football against the run and Gore is still an overvalued commodity. Yes his burst and talent is still there, but between the injury concerns and clammed up offense, he’s not a reliable RB1 by any means. Thankfully, I have zero shares of Gore. But if I did, you’d bet your sister’s virginity I’d be looking for a way to unload him.

If you own Chris Cooley, I have one question for you: why?

We all thought Cleveland’s pass offense was a fantasy wasteland entering the season, but Greg Little and Mohamed Massaquoi are looking like interesting deep options. Little, you may remember, was a popular sleeper pick because of his athleticism, size, and ability to make plays after the catch. Little wasn’t too involved in Cleveland’s offense early on, but he saw eight targets in Week Four and is earning praise from the coaching staff. If his role continues to increase, he could be a solid flex option even in 12-team leagues. While Little certainly has the complete tools to be the most reliable fantasy WR on the Browns, don’t sleep on Massaquoi. The “Profit Mohamed” is averaging seven targets a game and is a big-play threat. Massaquoi will no doubt have some bum efforts due to his boom-or-bust style of play and the fact that the Browns are a dink-and-dunk pass offense, but during these bye weeks, he could come up with one of those random huge performances that piss your opponents off while simultaneously making you look like a genius.

Speaking of deep sleepers, ole’ Daddy Starbucks is keeping his monocle on Jason Hill. Though injuries have derailed him for most of his NFL career, he’s always had WR1 talent and was targeted nine times Sunday. You hate having to rely on a rookie QB to get your guy the ball, but with bye weeks underway, Hill isn’t a bad player to consider starting in a pinch. And who knows, if he can stay on the damn field and build a rapport with Blaine Gabbert, he just might end up playing a bigger role in fantasy than you think.

Ed Dickson has 21 targets over the last two weeks but is owned in only 17 percent of Yahoo! leagues. An athletic TE who can make plays after the catch, dude should really be sitting on more rosters.

Fuck Ryan Mathews. After getting all the goal line and third down work in Week Three, Mike Tolbert went right back to being a spoiler n Week Four, scoring a TD and catching five passes. Everyone was going nuts over Mathews’ game two weeks ago, failing to remember that it came against the Chiefs, who are giving up 150 yards and at least one TD per game to opposing RBs. Mathews is obviously talented, but Tolbert is still a valuable back who softens up defenses and is an ideal goal line option. People are really loving Mathews these days as Norv Turner just came out and said that he wants the RB to carry the rock 24-25 times a game, but this is the same man who said San Diego will feature a two-back attack, so you take anything that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt. Mathews will get 17-20 touches a game, but his TD potential is still handicapped enough by Tolbert to make me think that fantasy owners should temper their expectations. Plus, keep in mind that Mathews is injury prone and was dealing with a foot injury last week. All I’m saying is that homeboy’s fantasy value is insanely high right now and you could conceivably net a ton in return for his services. It doesn’t hurt to at least see what people would be willing to give up to nab Mathews.


About Starbonell

Starbonell is the co-founder of Sons of Roto and one of the most insightful and colorful fantasy analysts in the game. Mixing intelligent and well-researched advice with an entertaining style of writing that is easy to digest, Starbonell is the king of info-tainment.