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Dave’s Take: Fantasy Football Tips, News & Notes – Week 3

By: — September 23, 2011 @ 12:00 pm
Filed under: Player Analysis

1. If Week 1 wasn’t enough evidence that Fred Davis has clearly overtaken Chris Cooley as the Redskins main receiving threat at tight end, then Week 2 cemented that notion. A week after catching five passes for 105 yards, Davis had six receptions for 86 yards and a reception this week against the Cardinals. Meanwhile, Cooley has had just five targets in two weeks and went without a reception for the first time since Week 5 of the 2009 season. Look for Davis to continue to be targeted heavily in the passing game with Cooley relegated to a secondary role and likely to be jettisoned off the roster next season unless he accepts a massive reduction from his scheduled $3.8-million salary for the 2012 season.

Welker benefits with Hernandez on the sideline.

2. Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has had a strong start to the 2011 season with 14 receptions for 165 yards and a pair of touchdowns during New England’s first two games of the year. He suffered a sprained MCL during the team’s Week 2 win over San Diego and initial reports indicated he would be out for one to two weeks. Subsequent reports speculated that he could be up for up to six weeks and, in true Patriot fashion, Hernandez was apparently walking without much of a limp. Good luck figuring out how to juggle your fantasy roster to replace Hernandez. If Hernandez is out, Chad Ochocinco figures to see his playing time increase dramatically but the biggest winner is likely Wes Welker, who moves back into his customary slot position where he is far more comfortable (and productive). With the Patriots having used two tight end sets the majority of their first two games, Welker had been lining up outside most of the time with Hernandez manning the slot position.

3. With the Jaguars decision to insert rookie 1st round pick Blaine Gabbert into the starting line up, the fantasy value of the team’s other skill position players took another hit. First, there was the drop off from the steady, yet unspectacular David Garrard to veteran retread and career backup Luke McCown. Now there’s another drop to Gabbert. The rookie struggled so badly in training camp that when the Jaguars began contemplating releasing Garrard, they moved McCown ahead of him on the depth chart because they didn’t feel he was ready. Or more likely, felt like he would be overwhelmed having to start in Week 1. How has that changed in two weeks? It hasn’t. What has changed is that McCown was even worse than expected. That moves Gabbert into the starting line up and sinks the value of wide receiver Mike Thomas and tight end Marcedes Lewis, if their values could go any lower.

4. With the Seahawks sitting at 0-2 but playing in the league’s worst division in the NFC West, there situation can’t be described as dire just yet but they face a crucial matchup in Week 3 in their home opener against Arizona. Look for the heat to get turned up dramatically on general manager John Schneider and head coach Pete Carroll if the Seahawks go down to the Cardinals with the team’s key offseason additions drawing the ire of the team’s fans. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson was brought in to lead the offense, Sidney Rice was signed to provide the team with a true number one wide receiver, guard Robert Gallery was expected to help shore up the offensive line and tight end Zach Miller provided a better blocking and receiving option than John Carlson. Although it’s early, none of those moves has paid dividends thus far. Jackson has struggled and could be headed to the bench with another poor performance in favor of Charlie Whitehurst. Gallery missed time in the preseason with a knee injury and will be out for 4-6 weeks with a groin injury. Rice has yet to play and Miller has been a non-factor with three receptions for 32 yards. If the Seahawks struggle to contend for a playoff spot, look for changes in Seattle’s management with Schneider likely headed out the door.

5. Sticking with the Seahawks, the team’s coaching staff made the somewhat surprising move to demote starting strongside linebacker Aaron Curry this week in favor of rookie 4th round pick K.J. Wright. The fourth overall selection in the 2009 draft, Curry has not been able to translate his considerable athletic ability into production on the field. Simply put, he hasn’t made enough big plays to justify keeping him in the starting line up. In just over two seasons in Seattle, Curry has recorded four forced fumbles and six sacks. He renegotiated his contract in the offseason, foregoing his guaranteed salary in 2012 in order to become a free agent at the conclusion of next season. However, even if his demotion turns out to be a motivational tactic and he improves his performance, this will be Curry’s final season in Seattle and he will go down as one of the biggest busts taken within the first five picks of the draft.

6. In Kansas City, there is increasing speculation that head coach Todd Haley could be replaced at some point during the season if the team doesn’t show drastic improvement. Despite coming off an AFC West division title last season, Haley’s personality has rubbed Chiefs management the wrong way at times as well as a number of the team’s assistant coaches. Not helping matters was Haley’s decision to buck the trend and focus on the team’s conditioning during the early portion of training camp, which appears to have left the Chiefs woefully unprepared to start the season. That decision coupled with key injuries to running back Jamaal Charles, safety Eric Berry and tight end Tony Moeaki ensures that 2011 will not go down as Haley’s finest coaching season but general manager Scott Pioli shouldn’t go unscathed if the Chiefs fail to turn their season around. Pioli has failed to add enough playmakers on both sides of the ball and made a number of questionable draft picks, starting with the curious decision to select diminutive scatback Dexter McCluster in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft. In addition, 2009 1st round pick Tyson Jackson hasn’t panned out at defensive end and critics questioned the team’s decision to use their 1st round pick this season on wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin due to character concerns.

7. Two games into the season, the Eagles have determined that their revamped linebacking corps isn’t getting the job done. Philadelphia entered the season with major question marks at the position with Jamar Chaney starting on the strongside, rookie 4th round pick Casey Mathews in the middle and Moises Fokou on the weakside. However, the team’s solution amounts to little more than rearranging the chairs on the decks of the Titanic. Chaney will move back to the middle where he played last year, Mathews shifts to the weakside and Fokou moves to the strongside. Look for the opposing offenses to run heavily until this unit improves their performance.

8. Kudos to Packers wide receiver Donald Driver who became the team’s all time leader in reception yards with 9,666 during this week’s win over the Panthers.

9. Sticking with the Packers wide receivers, if there is anybody out there still buying the notion that James Jones is going to emerge to get significant targets in 2011, it’s time to end those thoughts. Over his last five games (counting last year’s playoffs), Jordy Nelson has caught 28 of 38 targets for 447 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 13.8 fantasy points per game during that stretch. Buy now before the word gets out.

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