Bye Weeks: Atlanta, Miami
Grab a Helmet
Graham @ NE: I never talk about tight ends, of course, and you
certainly don’t need anyone telling you to start Jimmy Graham. Nevertheless,
it’s my birthday week, it’s my column, and…dang it, I think we need
to recognize just how historical Graham’s season might end up being.
Through five games, he’s scored 95.3 points. That extrapolates out
to about 305 on the season, or roughly twice as many as he scored
last season when he led all tight ends in points. Here’s how many
tight ends have scored over 300 points in a season since 2000 (I
don’t have data before that): zero. Here’s how many have even scored
over 250 since 2000: zero. Here’s how many wide receivers have scored
over 300 points since 2000: zero. You see where I’m going with this?
Jimmy Graham is on his way to having the best season a professional
pass-grabber has had in almost 15 years and, very possibly, IN NFL
Fantasy MVP: Jimmy Graham.
Gordon v. DET: True of false: Josh Gordon is averaging more
points/game than any receiver in the NFL not named Dez Bryant. That’s
false, actually, but the only other receiver with a better PPG average
is Justin Blackmon and he’s only played a single game. Gordon and
Blackmon have more in common than being great producers, of course,
which is why they will always be riskier than some at the position.
There’s no denying they possess elite talent, though. Like Blackmon,
Gordon plays for a crummy team with a crummy quarterback. Unlike
Blackmon, he doesn’t have a worthwhile counterpart at the other
receiver spot. Despite these impediments, Gordon always seems to
be able to get his numbers. The Browns may not be excited to have
Brandon Weeden back (or maybe they are?), but Gordon shouldn’t mind
too much. He and Weeden teamed up for five scores last year and
should tally several more in 2013.
Williams v. WAS: Art Briles must be doing something right down
there in Waco because his squads are producing truckloads of points
(over 70 in three straight games) and he’s consistently sending
turnkey offensive talent to the NFL. Gordon and Williams (along
with Kendall Wright) are three recent Bears receivers playing significant
roles for their current teams. While Gordon has become the unquestionable
show in Cleveland and Wright is a complementary piece in Tennessee,
Williams has emerged as second banana to Dez Bryant in Miles Austin’s
absence. Not a bad gig, that, especially when Tony Romo’s tossing
the pigskin around to the tune of five bills. There’s no telling
when Austin will be back, but I don’t think Williams is likely to
fade even when that happens. He’s an above-average athlete with
good hands, good size, and good speed. Put another way, he’s Austin
minus the injury concerns. Go get Williams if he hasn’t already
been snatched up.
Grab Some Wood
Washington @ SEA: The Titans may have lost some athleticism
when Jake Locker succumbed to a hip injury in Week 4 and their
overall offensive ceiling might be lower as a result, but Ryan
Fitzpatrick brings a lot of experience to the role (68 career
starts) and the drop-off in production, theoretically, shouldn’t
be too significant. I say “theoretically” because Fitzpatrick’s
timing couldn’t be worse. On the heels of a tough matchup with
the undefeated Chiefs, Tennessee gets Seattle and San Francisco
next, two of the very best teams with two of the very best pass
defenses in the league. Nate Washington is this week’s WR Sit
of the Week, sponsored by Richard Sherman. Sherman and Co. were
embarrassed by Indy last Sunday and will want to make immediate
amends. Any hope Tennessee had of sneaking into Qwest Field under
the radar, in other words, just went out the window.
Matt Stafford missed Megatron a bit last week, huh? Johnson was
a surprise late scratch in Green Bay and, perhaps unsurprisingly,
the usually high performance Lions offense looked punchless for
most of the afternoon. Despite squaring off against a very generous
Packers secondary, the Detroit receiving corps—Kris
Broyles, and Patrick
Edwards—accounted for only seven total receptions and 73 yards
(four and 43 through the first three quarters). Durham added a
way-too-late touchdown in garbage time, but it was a pretty dismal
effort against a team that had been giving up, on average, about
32 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers. ‘Tron should
be back in Week 6, but it’s no guarantee at press time. Even if
he is, these other guys look to be totally ignorable moving forward.
Wait until one of them steps up or Nate Burleson returns.
Givens @ HOU: I had pretty high hopes for St. Louis’
speedster when the season began and he gave us some decent early
returns when he snared five passes for 105 yards back in Week
2. Since then, despite a pretty steady diet of Sam Bradford targets,
Givens has managed to produce only 11.5 fantasy points. That’s
three games worth of points, a cumulative total that just barely
exceeds his Week 2 output. Home run hitters like Givens are always
going to be somewhat inconsistent, I suppose, since they traffic
in higher risk passes. Nevertheless, we need to see a few explosive
efforts if we’re going to justify rolling the dice on any
given week. At this point, I’d barely feel comfortable starting
Givens against weak opponents, let alone against one that possesses
the best statistical pass defense in the NFL (134 yards/game).
He’ll be riding my bench, for sure, and he should also be
Good luck, folks!