By: Justin Lynch
High Picks Start to Turn the Page?
Lamar Miller disappointed compared to his draft position throughout the first five weeks of the season, but he came to life on Sunday Night Football this week, gashing the Colts’ defense for 149 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. He even added a receiving score, marking the first two times he reached the end zone this season. But he needed to face the ghastly Colts defense to put up these numbers. With games against Denver, Detroit, and Green Bay in the not-too-distant future, Miller is at risk to falling back to the numbers he put up in weeks 1-5. I don’t believe Miller has the talent to break out against better defenses, especially as opponents will focus on stopping the running game due to Brock Osweiler’s inability to play quarterback. Miller is what he is at this point, and though he will have games where he breaks out, it’s tough to expect first round numbers out of him.
Cooks finally produced quality numbers after a 4-week stretch of irrelevance, going 7-173-1 versus Carolina. But Carolina’s secondary, much like Indianapolis’ front seven, is abysmal. And without an 87-yard touchdown, Cooks day seems much more pedestrian. With Coby Fleener emerging as a red zone target and Michael Thomas gaining targets, it’s tough to see Cooks as a weekly dependable starter. His only two good games have come against bad secondary’s, and he can’t seem to find the end zone unless a defense break down leaves him wide open 30 yards downfield. With that said, Cooks, and the rest of the Saints’ receiving core, has a top-5 schedule going forward. The easy schedule makes me more hesitant to sell high after one good week, but I have little confidence in Cooks going forward.
The Last Free Agent Steal?
Available in 50% of ESPN leagues, Hunter Henry may be the last waiver wire MVP candidate still up for grabs. Henry now has at least 60 yards and a touchdown in three straight games, and has taken over as Philip Rivers safety valve, a position we saw Antonio Gates thrive in for over a decade. Henry is big and nimble for his size. He is a must-own if he’s still in free agency, as Rivers predilection for tight ends combined with the inconsistency of most tight ends makes him a weekly starter.
Don’t Worry About These Quarterbacks?
I must admit, I’m a bit worried about Luck. Injuries derailed his season last year, and he’s been sacked more than anyone in the league, by far. Dwayne Allen is hurt, Donte Moncrief is hurt, and the Colts don’t have any weapons out of the backfield. Plus Luck’s running ability furthers the injury risk. But the Colts are bad, and they throw all the time. Luck is carving out good fantasy outings and he will continue to do so if he’s healthy. It’s not an ideal situation, but Luck is overcoming it right now. If he can stay healthy, he will continue to be solid.
Rodgers has come out of the bye week slow, but fear not. The Packers next four games are Chicago, Atlanta, Indy, and Tennessee. Randall Cobb’s emergence will help the passing game, and James Starks absence will force the Packers to throw more. The biggest issue for me is a week 16 matchup at Minnesota. But Aaron Rodgers is still one of the best in the league, and now his schedule will allow him to provide big payoffs for owners who stuck with him.
So, he’s got a torn meniscus. But there are already reports he may be ready for week 9 following the Steelers’ bye. The three weeks will allow his knee to heal, but it will allow the rest of his body to get some rest and get ready for the last two months of the regular season. Roethlisberger has been one of the best quarterbacks in fantasy football this season, and owners bailing based on this injury are simply giving up on a stud quarterback who gets to play Indy, Cleveland, and the Giants leading up to the playoffs. Now is the perfect time to buy low.
I’m not ready to say the Panthers stink, but the Panthers may stink. Their defense is nowhere near the production last year, as they rank among the worst teams in the league versus the pass. Jonathan Stewart is back, but his production is spotty at best. This is all good news for Cam Newton. With the Panthers letting up points at will, Cam is throwing and making plays all game. There won’t be any running out the clock this season in Carolina, and matchups against the Rams, Saints, Raiders, Falcons, and Bucs make Newton’s outlook even brighter. The Panthers season may be in the gutter, but Cam Newton’s fantasy potential is sky-high.