As we reach the midpoint of most fantasy football league seasons, we are seeing some names from the past being resurrected from nothingness to apparent relevance. In the case of Kendall Wright with the Tennessee Titans, the hype may be warranted as Marcus Mariota is finding his way in his sophomore season in the NFL.
In Week six, Wright was targeted nine times and caught eight passes for 133 yards and a TD. If you have watched Wright with the Titans before Mariota’s arrival and since, he is a possession receiver that catches the five to ten yard out patterns and short passes across the middle as the Titans are driving. When the Titans are in scoring range, it is then that Wright goes downfield and becomes a scoring threat.
I do not expect Wright to ever achieve elite WR status by any means, but do not shy away from his being a solid WR3 or FLEX option going forward, especially in PPR leagues. The targets will continue to come his way and there will be a week this season where he gets 2 or more touchdowns in 1 game.
On the flip side of the coin, Knile Davis was traded to the Green Bay Packers this week and many people are spending their FAAB money frivolously to acquire him. Trades made in the NFL do not work the same as they do in Major League Baseball. Players cannot transition well in the NFL to mid-season trades as they have to learn an entirely different system and the players around them.
The best case example of in season trades not working as many of us thought they would is when the Browns traded Trent Richardson to the Colts in his second season, one year after he was drafted highly out of the University of Alabama. The Colts thought he was the missing cog in the engine to an offense with Andrew Luck. Trent Richardson never fit the system and went on to become one of the bigger busts in the history of the NFL.
In 2015, like many other fantasy owners, I was all over Davis as Jamaal Charles’ handcuff. When the opportunity arose after Charles’ season- ending injury, Davis fell down the depth chart behind Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware. Davis ended 2015 with 28 carries for 72 yards with one touchdown and caught just two passes for 24 yards.
This season, he has been truly irrelevant. He has just one carry for -2 yards and two catches for 14 yards. His only strength could be argued is that he has fresh legs as he is not a victim of overuse. This week, it has been highlighted that he is the Packers’ only healthy running back, but being that he joined the team on Tuesday and the game is on Thursday night, be cautious with any expectations whatsoever you may have with his Week seven performance and also any hopes you may have for him going forward.
For weeks now, if you have read my tidbits, you have realized I hate when west coast teams travel cross country to play 1 o’clock games in the eastern part of the country. This week, the Raiders travel to Jacksonville. Rather than telling you to shelve away your Raiders starters such as Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree, let me tell you what you must do instead. Start Blake Bortles!!! Bortles has had a miserable season so far throwing just 8 touchdowns while being intercepted seven times. This may be the week for the Jacksonville Jaguars offense to wake up as the Raiders have allowed 26 or more points in five of their six games.
Another name to look for in this game that has been a disappointment this season is Allen Robinson. What attracts fantasy owners to Robinson other than his obvious talent is the immense number of targets he receives on a weekly basis. So far in five games, Robinson has been targeted 47 times, but has only caught 24 passes. In three of those games, Robinson was targeted 10 times or more (15 targets in Week one, 11 targets in Week three, and 10 targets in Week four). I would expect that kind of volume against the Raiders at home on Sunday and since I believe Bortles will have a big game, I expect the same to be the case for Robinson.
In Cincinnati, there are 2 teams playing that have combined for a 2-10 record so far. The Bengals and the Browns reside in the bottom half of the AFC North standings, but forgetting about this game would be a mistake for fantasy owners.
On the Bengals side, expect the offense to be focused on ball control with some mixing in of some deep throws to A.J. Green. My reference to ball control for the Bengals means that I expect them to run the ball a lot, and that means Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill will be the players to own this week. Marvin Lewis tends to go with the running attack/ball control game plan rather than opening the game up in a pass heavy attack mode with Andy Dalton in control.
On the Browns side of the ball, they will be the garbage kings of the NFL this week. They will most likely be playing from behind, so that will mean that their wide receivers and running backs should be catching a lot of underneath passes. Everyone knows about Terrelle Pryor and his success by now, but does everyone realize that Gary Barnidge has not yet caught a touchdown through six games already played? Look for this to change come Sunday as the Bengals defense always has a problem covering the opposing tight end they are facing.
Outside of tidbits about these individual games, I want to make you all aware of something you may or may not yet realize. Week seven has just two teams on bye, but in Weeks eight and nine, six teams are on bye each of those weeks and Weeks 10 and 11 have four teams on bye those weeks as well.
Make sure you take a look at your rosters and check for potential conflicts you may have in coming weeks and address them now by making pickups now. Preparing now for those potential shortcomings may help you be stronger in these upcoming critical weeks of the fantasy football season.
As always, I appreciate your feedback and provision of your own tidbits. A special thanks to John Ceperich (aka JMan) who consistently responds to my articles. We may not agree on our individual takes every week, but through collaboration, we are all made stronger. Good luck this week everyone.
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