Mike Glennon, QBLast week: Thaddeus Lewis
Obviously Andrew Luck had the best game of any QB in week 7, so I’m going to give him his shout out and move on. Who I really want to talk about is Mike Glennon. Since taking over for Tampa Bay in week 4, the rookie from NC State keeps getting better. He hasn’t done anything worth a pro bowl spot but the fact that he’s seemed to consistently improve over the last three games is enough for him to stand out to me. The coaching staff seems to think so too: Glennon is averaging 43 pass attempts per game; those are almost Stafford numbers. Sunday, against the Falcons, he completed 26 of 44 passes for 256 yards and 2 TDs – both to Vincent Jackson (who happened to be featured in last week’s standouts column). He’s gone from throwing 2 INTs in week 4 to 1 INT in week 6 and 0 INTs in week 7. Now all he has to do is throw more TDs and he’ll be one of the best waiver wire pickups of the year.
Bottom Line: Glennon is an ideal bye week replacement or QB2. I think he’s going to put up slightly bigger stats this week and hold it right around there for the rest of the season (of course, he’ll have his down games like any QB). What should be noted as the biggest factor to his success is his incredible connection with Vincent Jackson. Let’s just say, if both of their names were in the dictionary, they’d be on the same page. The rookie QB faces the Panthers next and it won’t be an easy matchup. With the departure of Doug Martin, Glennon will probably have a harder time keeping the passing game open. However, he’s getting sharper and although I love to scrutinize a tough matchup, I still think this kid can get you around 15-20 fantasy points this week. If you lost Cutler or Bradford on Sunday, look no further than Mike Glennon as your replacement. He’s got high QB2 appeal and with what’s probably in the free agency, you could do much worse.
Harry Douglas, WRLast Week: Vincent Jackson
I don’t know about you, but I heard a lot of trash talk from experts about Harry Douglas when Julio Jones went down for the season. The kind of talk that basically said he would be quite the mediocre fill-in for the Falcons’ star receiver. Well, I guess anyone can have a good week, right? Douglas really stepped up in Jones’ absence. Sure, 149 yards and 1 TD is a great stat line, but what really stood out to me is that he caught all 7 of the passes thrown his way. That’s a green flag to me and I’m colorblind. Douglas and Matt Ryan seem to be able to connect fairly well. Aside from week 3, Douglas tends to catch the majority of his targets. If he and Ryan can keep that up, Douglas has the possibility to join Mike Glennon as one of the best waiver claims this season.
Bottom Line: Harry Douglas played Sunday without WR Roddy White across from him. If White plays this week he probably won’t be 100% – a common theme for him this season – and aside from some targets going his way it probably won’t affect Douglas’ chances too much. In fact, it might even help him since it seems the Falcons took to using White as a decoy for much of the season. Once Steven Jackson is able to return, the passing game should open up even more and Douglas could hit a trend as a nice WR2 with a high ceiling. The Cardinals are shutting down receivers more often than you shut down your computer – allowing opposing wideouts to average only 15 fantasy points per game. What’s worse is the Falcons face the Cardinals in Arizona which adds a nagging disadvantage to an already tough matchup. Douglas is still a great filler, especially if you’re one of the many who lost Reggie Wayne. Even though he nearly doubled the targets of any other player on his team, I don’t expect a 100 yard game this week, but I think you can rely on him for 4 catches and a TD.
Roy Helu, RBLast Week: Stevan Ridley
Roy Helu pulled a Joseph Fauria on Sunday. His 3 TDs on top of an incredibly mediocre 41 rushing yards pretty much is the epitome of a fantasy vulture. What stands out is that not all of those TDs came on the goal line. Two were 3 yard runs but his first of the game was a 14 yard scamper in the 2nd quarter to make it 10-10. Hot hand plays like that get you more redzone carries and sure enough in the 3rd and 4th quarters Helu saw the endzone again and scored the game winning touchdown too. He’s averaged 41 yards per game over the last three weeks which is nothing special, however he’s often incorporated in the passing game – an area where starter Alfred Morris is known to lack. With that in mind, it’s clear that Helu will remain a utilized part of the offense going forward. Like any vulture though, he will have “silent nights” and I can guarantee you they won’t write any Christmas carols about them.
Bottom Line: Roy Helu is another RB product of Mike Shanahan whose potential could go anywhere. Unless Morris is out for a period of time, Helu won’t get many more than 11 carries or so, which really isn’t bad considering his involvement in the passing game. With RG3 seemingly remembering how to run all of a sudden, Helu could lose a little play time, but the Redskins backup RB is still worth an add off waivers this week for his matchup against Denver. The Broncos are giving up a lot of points this year and there’s a good chance the Redskins will be on the field often if Denver gets back into sync with its fast-paced play calling. Running backs are averaging almost 20 fantasy points per game – even though the Broncos allow the fewest rushing yards in the league – so Helu is a viable filler this week for those missing Doug Martin or have a bye, especially since the RB position is already shallow as it is.
Rob Gronkowski, TELast Week: Joseph Fauria
Before I begin, I need to do a Jordan Reed plug. I have a feeling he’s going to stay fairly consistent going forward this season and if you’re in need of a TE or a reliable FLEX player, I think he can be that guy. There aren’t many good TE options out there, especially in deeper leagues.
All right, enough of that. Gronk is back. I have him in two leagues and decided to only start him in only one. It wasn’t the worst fantasy mistake I’ve ever made but I did kick myself for not trusting him. I don’t know where to begin with why Gronkowski stands out this week. First off, he starts the season with an injury that most of us thought would be cleared up by week 4 but instead we were left with more indecision than a kindergartener at the lunch line. He finally makes his debut in week 7 and goes off for 114 yards on 8 catches. He didn’t find the endzone, but in a PPR league that was a pretty solid game. In fact, he was the only TE in the top 13 who didn’t score this week. All of that aside, what sticks out the most is that Gronk had 17 targets. Clearly Tom Brady had some separation issues during his absence.
Bottom Line: If Gronk had caught 70% of his passes, he likely would’ve scored and made that 6 week wait even more worth it. The reality of the situation is this: Gronk is the #1 receiver on the Patriots, plain and simple. He’s going to get back into form and he’s going to receive double digit targets every game. Targets equal opportunity, opportunity plus a dynamic playmaker equals fantasy gold and Gronk will be just that. The only worry you should have this season about Gronkoswki is if he gets hurt again. The Patriots play the Miami Dolphins next who are giving up the second most fantasy points to tight ends. There’s no reason to think Brady won’t lean on the 6’6” receiver and with a matchup like this, Gronk is almost sure to score. Quote me later if you like, but I predict that Gronk will have double digit fantasy points in nearly every game left in the season – as long as he plays the whole game. Get him in your lineups but monitor his status constantly; it’s reported he will wear a brace on his arm for the rest of the season.
Buffalo Bills, D/STLast Week: Kansas City Chiefs
The Bills had quite the battle with the Miami Dolphins over the weekend. Despite giving up 21 points, Buffalo’s defense managed to put up 14 fantasy points for the few owners out there who started them. This was largely thanks to the interception return for a touchdown by rookie Nickell Roby out of USC. The play came in the first quarter and somewhat set the course for another interception, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery.
Bottom Line: The Bills go to New Orleans this week and face the Saints in their own house. Coming off a bye, it’s likely that Drew Brees and his crew are going to beat the Bills like they owe them money so I wouldn’t advise having them in your lineup this week. Stranger things have happened, but you’re better off playing the matchup game than rolling with Buffalo.
I know, I know. Weatherford means nothing for you in fantasy but he absolutely deserves some credit here. It’s hard for me to choose a standout kicker every week. No disrespect to kickers but I rarely catch their big plays. I’m sorry. Weatherford, however, seems to be one of the only Giants on special teams that doesn’t stop until the play is over. He hunted down Marcus Sherels during his 86 yard punt return for a TD on Monday. Might I add that Weatherford kicked a great punt and the runback was a result of completely blown coverage. He might as well have been out there by himself. Despite the horse collar tackle, Weatherford deserves some props for his hustle. Good on you, Steve!
Bottom Line: Since I shafted you on a standout kicker I’ll just list some good starters for the week here. Alex Henery is facing the Giants on Sunday and if we recall back to week 5, Henery kicked for 18 fantasy points and was in fact featured in this section of my column for it. Sebastian Janikowski could be a nice gamble against the Steelers this week in a game that should see both teams kicking for at least a few field goals each. Steven Hauschka has been on fire lately and is a great security blanket for the Seahawks when they can’t quite make it to the endzone. He plays the St. Louis Rams on Monday night.
Last Week: Arian Foster
Vincent Jackson, WR
The Tampa Bay Bucs aren’t going to win the Superbowl this year but with how the past two weeks have gone for Vincent Jackson, he might want to put a different kind of ring on Mike Glennon’s finger. I’m being facetious of course, but Jackson at least owes the rookie QB a beer – or four. Between weeks 6 and 7, Jackson has recorded 19 receptions for 252 yards and 4 TDs. If he didn’t already have his bye week, he would probably be the most targeted receiver in the league; he got 22 in week 7 alone!
Bottom Line: Clearly Mike Glennon trusts Jackson and rightly so. He’s caught all of his touchdowns over the last two weeks. They’ve formed quite the connection, and while Tampa doesn’t have much of a chance winning games going forward, Jackson should continue to produce on an elite level. He faces a tough matchup in the Carolina Panthers this week but start him with the confidence that he’ll keep the TD streak alive. Targets mean success in this league and Jackson is on a roll with making them count.
Sleeper to Watch:
Last Week: Joseph Randle/Peyton Hillis
Peyton Hillis, RB
I know I already covered him in this section last week and I did so with extreme caution. If I recall correctly I believe I said that he was “merely worth keeping tabs on and that’s it.” I said that to cover my behind but I truly didn’t think Hillis was going to produce double digit fantasy points on Monday night. I know how bitter many analysts and experts are toward him but there’s always a place for the bruising back in my fantasy football heart. He didn’t get much going on the ground with 18 carries for 36 yards but many of his touches saw him immediately stuffed in the backfield. Luckily he managed to punch one into the endzone and add 5 catches on 6 targets for 45 yards.
Bottom Line: Hillis isn’t going to be a fantasy stud again – barring a miracle – but let’s look at one important stat here. He had 18 carries in Monday’s game. That’s a pretty fair amount and he split the backfield with Michael Cox who had 11 carries himself, however once Hillis seemed to get going a little bit, Cox didn’t see much of the field. Hillis remains a sleeper because Brandon Jacobs could possibly return to face the Philadelphia Eagles this week. If that’s the case, Hillis has still solidified his seat as the #2 RB as it stands now and will most likely get double digit carries to spell Jacobs as he recovers from his hamstring injury. If Jacobs is out, then #44 will certainly get the start. I’m not going to get ahead of myself now. I know that Monday night could’ve been a fluke but Hillis didn’t look bad, especially for a guy who metaphorically got off the couch 6 days before playing. Hillis is a great flier this week for those who lost Doug Martin or have Rice and Foster on a bye. The Eagles are average against the run – giving up around 16 fantasy points to RBs per game – but the stout back should find at least 4 catches in the passing game to go with around 45 yards on the ground. To say he’ll score is being a bit ambitious until we know if he’s starting or not. I feel no shame in listing him as a sleeper two weeks in a row.
For more insight and analysis from Ryley Henry, follow him on Twitter: @ryleyhenryff