Originally posted on The Fake Football  |  Last updated 9/21/13
Julius Thomas, Jordan Cameron, and Martellus Bennett have posted top 12 TE performances in each of the first two weeks. Do they all finish the season inside the top 12 at the position?   Kevin Roberts Follow @NFLSoupKevin I don’t’ see why not. Thomas may be inconsistent in random weeks due to having three other elite weapons in the passing game, but through two weeks he’s shown enough to suggest he’ll even it out with more big performances. Cameron is simply in an offense that caters to his talents and ability. Josh Gordon returning this week actually helps him a lot, too. Bennett is probably third in line here, simply because he’s probably the third best talent of the three and wouldn’t have as much value if he wasn’t scoring touchdowns. But that’s splitting hairs. These guys are great talents in offenses that clearly know how to use them. If they’re not top-12 in the end I’d be shocked at this point.   Greg Smith Follow @gregsauce Assuming health, yes they will. I ranked Cameron and Bennett as such in the preseason, but was hesitant to include Thomas because I was worried he wouldn’t see enough targets in the loaded Broncos offense. Those fears have been assuaged after the first two weeks of the season. I still expect some low-scoring weeks, but his good games should make up for the bad ones and keep him in the top-12.   Phil TWR Follow @PhilTWR The only one in this group I’m ready to proclaim top 12 is Julius Thomas. Peyton Manning has made fantasy stars out of much lesser TE talents, and with the Broncos averaging 70 offensive plays per game in the early going, I’m not concerned about Thomas being overlooked in the passing game. I had no doubts about Jordan Cameron until Wednesday evening, but with girly armed Brian Hoyer taking over at QB for the Browns, and the shocking departure of Trent Richardson, it’s fair to at least wonder if the Cleveland offense is now completely toxic for fantasy purposes. Cameron owners should take some solace in the fact that he hasn’t been doing much of his damage on deep routes (only 2 of his 17 targets have been of the 20+ yard variety), where Brandon Weeden’s strong arm would be sorely missed. Bennett seems to have found a niche as the Bears top receiving option in the red zone, but the depth at TE this year has me leery of making a top 12 guarantee on good ol’ Martysaurus. We can probably agree that Graham, Gronkowski, Jason Witten, Vernon Davis, Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley, Greg Olsen, and Thomas are the favorites to finish as TE1′s in 12 team leagues. That only leaves room for four out of Cameron, Bennett, Jared Cook, Owen Daniels, Antonio Gates, Kyle Rudolph, and Brandon Myers. With news that Dwayne Allen is out for the year, you can add Coby Fleener to that list. Rookie Tyler Eifert has shown some flashes, and Miami’s Charles Clay has to be considered a dark horse at this point. I would still give the tentative top 12 nod to Cameron, but I don’t think there’s as much separation between Bennett and the rest of the pack due to his reliance on TDs.   Robert Griffin III is the 8th ranked fantasy QB, but he’s not running, and his passing stats have been almost entirely amassed in garbage time. Does Griffin just need another game or two to shake off the rust, or is it something worse? Are you trusting him as a top 10 QB going forward?   Kevin Roberts I think the rust definitely plays into it, but it’s also pretty obvious that RG3 isn’t completely comfortable as a pure pocket passer. His only success in 2013 has come in the second half (zero points in two first halves) and he hasn’t operated with designed runs. Considering working out of the pistol is what made him so dangerous a year ago, defenses are now simply dropping back and covering against him. It’s forced him into four interceptions in two games. Considering he had 5 all year in 2012 as a rookie, that’s a problem. But it doesn’t really matter how effective he is, or if the Redskins win games. All fantasy owners want to know is if he can keep up top-10 production. And the answer is yes, because you have to throw when you’re behind.   Greg Smith While I’m worried about Griffin in regards to health and turnovers, I’m not worried about him finishing outside the top-10 at QB. Yes, the bulk of his production has come in garbage time, but I haven’t seen anything from the Washington defense to make me believe Griffin won’t see garbage time in the majority of his games. I’m assuming the rust will gradually flake away and Griffin will be just fine as a fantasy starter over the long haul.   Phil TWR Is anyone actually shocked that Griffin doesn’t look like himself? He’s only 8 months removed from a total knee reconstruction, and week one marked the first live contact he’s seen since January. I’m more than willing to give him another month or so to regain confidence in the knee, especially if the Redskins defense keeps playing Griffin into the 2 minute offense by half time every week. Both RGIII and Mike Shanahan have spent the last few days answering countless questions about the lack of zone read plays through the Skins’ first two games. The pistol is coming back soon enough, and when it does the only folks who will be worried about RGIII will be his fantasy opponents.   Eric Decker, James Jones, Cecil Shorts, and T.Y. Hilton bounced back from rotten week one performances to lead their respective teams in targets, receptions, and receiving yards last week. Which one do you like to sustain the best production going forward?   Kevin Roberts Hilton. He has less competition for targets than Decker or Jones (who will both experience more weeks like week one) and actually has a quarterback (Shorts doesn’t). The Colts realized they needed to get the explosive Hilton involved more, and made up for not doing so in a big way in week two. Hilton is more versatile and simply the better all around talent than current #2 WR Darrius Heyward-Bey. I’d be shocked if Hilton wasn’t the Colts’ #2 WR by mid-season.   Greg Smith I’ll also take Hilton. The Colts knew they underutilized him in Week 1 and responded with a better game plan in Week 2. Decker and Jones should do well, for the most part, but the nature of their respective offenses (i.e. the fact that both teams are stacked with quality receiving options) will result in occasional quiet fantasy weeks. Hilton won’t be fighting for targets quite as much, so he’s the best bet for consistent fantasy points.   Phil TWR I usually try not to go with the consensus in these little roundtables, but I have to admit the arrow is pointing up for Mr. Hilton. Coby Fleener gets the obvious bump in the wake of Dwayne Allen’s season ending hip injury, but the biggest beneficiary might be Hilton. Without Allen, Pep Hamilton will be forced to use less two TE sets which should mean more three receiver sets (and by extension more snaps for Hilton) by default. You could also argue that the presence of Trent Richardson will force defenses to honor the run and drop less men in coverage, opening things up for the Colts passing game in general. Decker and Jones may end up with better looking end of season numbers thanks to a few monster games, but Hilton could be the most dependable (and highest upside) WR3 in fantasy this year.   Trend or Mirage? Philip Rivers, Eddie Royal, and the resurgent San Diego Chargers offense.   Kevin Roberts Trend. I saw this coming before the season started. I wasn’t about to call Rivers out as a top-10 quarterback, but his arm was clearly no longer a fit for Norv Turner’s vertical offense and Mike McCoy’s dink and dunk system had the potential to maximize Rivers’ accuracy and timing. So far, so good. I’m not necessarily buying Royal here, but this offense is legit and I think Rivers can keep it up. That doesn’t protect him from his classic late-game implosions and it won’t guarantee the Chargers a winning season, but I do believe it continues to translate into fantasy success for members of the San Diego passing game.   Greg Smith Trend. Both Rivers and Royal have shown these sort of skills in the past. I don’t expect Royal to stay on pace for 40 TDs, but it’s clear he’s a factor in the San Diego passing attack and considering his awesome start, double-digit touchdowns is in the realm of possibility.   Phil TWR Mirage. Rivers only completed 48% of his passes for 195 yards against the Texans in week one. The 4 TD’s (while great) masked an otherwise crappy performance. There’s no denying Rivers looked like his old self against the Eagles last week, but we’re talking about the same defense that just allowed Alex Smith to roll up 306 total yards without even throwing the ball down field. You guys can go ahead and cast your lot with an offense tied to a QB that hasn’t been any good in 3 years. I’m waiting at least another two weeks before lending this “resurgence” any credence. The trip back down to earth will begin this week against the much improved Titans, who have sacked opposing QBs 7 times through two games.   David Wilson: What are we supposed to do with this guy now?   Kevin Roberts Keep him on your bench. In week one he was running with confidence and lost two fumbles. In week two he didn’t fumble but ran like a frightened child who just walked down the wrong alley. He needs to get his mind right and the Giants giving the plodding Brandon Jacobs goal-line carries isn’t going to help. This is a committee attack until further notice, unfortunately. You can’t drop the guy yet based off of where you drafted him, but that’s a question you could be asking yourself in a couple of weeks if this doesn’t get better in a hurry.   Greg Smith Buy low! The Giants don’t have better options at running back and once he reestablishes his confidence, Wilson will be a valuable fantasy asset. Considering two tough match-ups at Carolina and at Kansas City, it’s not a terrible idea to bench Wilson in the short term, but Week 5 against the Eagles could be Wilson’s coming out party.   Phil TWR My stance on Wilson hasn’t changed since last week. In fact, your buying opportunity has only grown. Go ahead and dangle your WR3 for Wilson and hope his owner is fed up enough to bite. He’s too talented, and the Giants are too thin at RB, for this misery to last too far beyond this week. You’ll probably have to bench him in the near term (and watch him explode for 35 points on your bench – you just know this is coming), but Wilson is the epitome of a player that can swing your league championship, and his price tag will never be lower.     The post Fake Football, Real Questions (September 21st Edition) appeared first on Fantasy Football Rankings & more, The Fake Football.
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