In every NFL season, there are a handful of Charles Von Nobodies who emerge from the ether to have huge fantasy football seasons. Last year, Victor Cruz salsa danced his way into the hearts of fantasy owners across the country, and it seems the 2012 season already has its first potential waiver wire gem.
Dallas Cowboys’ third-string wide receiver, Kevin Ogletree, had a career game on Wednesday night when he tallied 114 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 24-17 victory over the rival New York Giants. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not Ogletree’s game is a sign of things or come, or it is just another in a long line of fantasy fool’s gold.
Why Ogletree Could Be The Real Deal
Seeing a 100+ yard game in the box score is always nice, but to gauge long-term success, we have to ask ourselves just how the receiver went about getting those 100 yards. Was it simply the case of an 85-yard bomb and a couple of measly check-down passes that got the player over the 100-yard threshold, or was it a full four-quarter effort with catches throughout the entire game?
After seeing Ogletree’s performance, the biggest indicator of future fantasy value comes from the number of targets he received. Romo looked Ogletree’s way 11 times, which was more than Dez Bryant and Miles Austin combined.
The Most Telling Incomplete Pass Ever
The one play which made me take a flyer on picking Kevin Ogletree up off waivers came on an incomplete pass. The Cowboys had reached the Giant’s 15 yard-line late in the 3rd quarter and were attempting to build onto their 14-10 lead. Romo made one and only one read on the play, which was Kevin Ogletree’s post-corner into the end zone.
The pass was behind the receiver and the Cowboys had to settle for three points on the drive, but that is one instance which cannot be brushed aside. The Cowboys were marching toward the goal line and ran a play specifically for Kevin Ogletree. Most third receiver options get their receptions on broken plays or as a check-down pass after the QB’s first two reads are covered, but all night Ogletree was right in the mix as the first or second option look for Romo.
Fantasy owners may remember a Cowboys’ receiver last season who had a big year by the name of Laurent Robinson. At the time, Robinson was third on the depth chart – just like Kevin Ogletree is – and all he was able to do was rack up 858 yards and 11 touchdowns.
The Cowboys run the type of offense which allows Romo to spread the ball around to a number of different receivers. Laurent Robinson got 81 targets out of the third wide receiver slot in 2011, and his 54 receptions were the same total Julio Jones got in Atlanta last season.
If Ogletree really is the player expected to take up the slack for the departure of Laurent Robinson, then there is no reason to think he won’t have continued success this season.
Why It’s Too Early To Tell
One game does not a fantasy football season make. Kevin Ogletree had a tremendous first week, but could there have been other factors which contributed to him having such as strong showing?
Giants’ Depth At Corner
The first thing fantasy owners should worry about is whether or not Kevin Ogletree would have had the same game if the Giants’ secondary was at full strength. The G-men’s No. 1 corner, Prince Amukamara, did not play on Wednesday which pushed all the other corners up the depth chart. Then Michael Coe went down with an injury during the game, leaving the Giants even more depleted.
Kevin Ogletree’s success came at the hands of New York’s four and fifth best corners. One has to wonder if the Cowboys game plan to target Ogletree so often was not directly related to who was covering him.
Jesse Holley And Patrick Crayton
Tony Romo has a few of these games every year whereby a no-name player gets a big chunk of yards and looks like they could be the next great Cowboys’ wide out.
Last season, Jesse Holley put up 96 yards against the San Francisco 49ers. Although, as I said, Holley’s big game did come on only 3 receptions, including a 77-yard deep ball, so perhaps his big game can be overlooked.
However, Patrick Crayton had a number of good-to-great games with the Cowboys without ever becoming anything worthwhile from a fantasy standpoint. In Week 1 of the 2009 season, Crayton tallied 135 yards and one touchdown and then didn’t really do much of anything the rest of the season until he added a 99 yard game in Week 17.
We’ve Done This Dance With Ogletree Before
Kevin Ogletree is not a rookie – this is now his fourth year in the league. Coming out of Virginia, the Cowboys had been high on Ogletree as a possible third wide receiver before, but each time his play did not live up to expectations and some other player ended up taking over.
Before Wednesday night, Ogletree’s best game was for 50 yards, and the most receptions he had ever caught in one contest was 3. If past failures are any indication, then Ogletree may not be the same player who caught 8 balls for 114 yards against the Giants.
Final Fantasy Prognosis: If you have room on your bench then take a flyer on Ogletree. However, do not drop a more established wide receiver in hopes Ogletree will be your fantasy dream come true. The season really has not even started yet and there is going to be a handful of guys who make you want to take a look. Throw Ogletree on your bench and let him sit there for a couple weeks; if he proves to continually get a healthy number of targets for Tony Romo, then you can have confidence in giving him some spot starts or making him your third wide receiver.
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