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We’ll conclude our look around the NFC by analyzing the NFC East and North divisions. All of the statistics are through week 6. I’ll try to get the AFC done by next weekend.
- Dez Bryant – For the all gnashing of teeth over his slow start, Dez Bryant leads the Cowboys in targets, receptions and yardage. He has200 yardsand 2 touchdowns in his last two games.
- DeMarco Murray’s Role – Within the redraft community many have already labeled Murraya bust. I disagree, prior to his foot injury Murraywas averaging 4.4 yardsper carry and had accumulated 448 total yards. He only has one touchdown, but that number should rise.
- DeMarco Murray’s Health – Pretty self explanatory. The term “injury prone” is way overused, but it’s worth noting in his case due to heavy college work loads and numerous injuries dating back to his time atOklahoma.
- Tony Romo – He isn’t killing your fantasy team, but his ball control issues haven’t gone away. Romo is on pace for over4,500 yards, 22 touchdowns and 29 interceptions.
What to Watch
- Miles Austin/Dez Bryant – Austin led Bryant in targets over the first three weeks, 22-20. Austin is currently the 22nd ranked receiver while Dez stands at WR26. Austin has 3 touchdowns this season. Bryant is maddening. His talent is undeniable after recording over100 yards in a “bad game” 2 weeks ago. I was prepared to drop him into the WR15 range in my personal rankings, but I’ll give him the rest of the season.
- Jason Witten – After a spleen laceration related slow start, Witten has come on as of late. Over the last two weeks he has 19 catches, 200 yards and a touchdown. How much does Witten have left in the tank?
New York Giants
- Victor Cruz – Victor Cruz leads the team in receiving yards and has over half of their receiving touchdowns (6 out of 11).
- Eli Manning – Maybe he isn’t the best quarterback in the league but he can make anyone a star. Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen stud worthy games from Cruz, Hixon, Barden, and the Black Unicorn to go along with his regular guys. He’s averaging just less than300 yardsand 2 touchdowns per game.
- Hakeem Nicks – When healthy, Nicks is an elite receiver. Regretfully, that’s only about half the time. He’s only managed to play parts of 3 games this season. In terms of dynasty value, Cruz has pulled even or slightly ahead of Nicks by my evaluation.
What to Watch
- Andre Brown – I believed Brown had earned himself a role in the backfield with his dynamic performance in week 3 (20/113/2). As has been the story of his career, the injury bug got him the following week. His window of opportunity is closing. Was his performance a flash in the pan, or is there going to be more to see?
- Reuben Randle – With the aforementioned Nicks spending most of his time on the training table, will Randle earn a permanent role? In Nicks’ absence, Randle had a big week in week 5 with 6 catches for 82 yards.
- David Wilson – Will he continue to earn the coaches trust and see more of the field? There’s no doubting his long-term potential, but it’s fair to wonder when his time will come.
- DeSean Jackson –Jacksonleads the team in receiving yards with 465. I’m not saying he’s elite, but given last year’s debacle, he’s regained a lot of value.
- Michael Vick – A turnover waiting to happen, Vick has thrown 8 picks and fumbled another 6 times. He’s also completing less than 60% of his passes.
- LeSean McCoy – Valued as a top 3 dynasty running back, McCoy has struggled. He’s still on pace for 1,500 total yards and 8 touchdowns which is a testament to how high his ceiling is. Coach Reid has caught a lot of flack for not getting him the ball enough, but he’s had his chances. The running game from blocking to play calling has looked mediocre at best.
What to Watch
- Bryce Brown – Brown has looked great putting in limited work. Appropriately, he has passed Dion Lewis on the depth chart. Notably, Brown has been getting some red zone work. Is this by design or just game flow related? Time will tell.
- Jeremy Maclin – Maclin has just295 yardsthis season and 130 of those game in one game against the Lions. Drafted and valued as a high-end WR2/low-end WR1, he’s been a disappointment. I suspect he’ll get on track, but the guy throwing him the ball is a big part of the problem.
- Nick Foles – If Vick’s play continues to lag, we may get a chance to see him.
- Alfred Morris – Morris is on pace for1,435 yardsand 13 touchdowns. Looks eerily similar to some guy named LeSean McCoy. He’s racked up538 yardson 116 carries, good for an average of 4.6 per tote. Week after week he’s proving doubters (like me) wrong.
- Robert Griffin III – He’s completing over 70% of his passes and has amassed1,343 yardsand 5 touchdowns. Just okay for fantasy purposes, until you add in his rushing numbers. He’s averaging over60 yardsand a touchdown per game running the ball. He’s fantasy’s #1 QB.
- Fred Davis – Davis has 312 yards and no touchdowns this season despite leading the team in targets. Dreams of TE1 value have been dashed.
What to Watch
- Leonard Hankerson – Based on age, talent, and size Hankerson should become a WR1 or2 inD.C. Hankerson’s targets have been all over the place this season. I’d like to see him solidify himself as one of the top two guys.
- Mike Shanahan – Morris has been excellent and will most likely keep the lead-back role going forward. Then again, that’s exactly what Shanny wants you think.
- Brandon Marshall –Marshallis gathering 35.6% of his teams targets with 56 for the season. He’s averaging just under100 yardsper game and is on pace for double digit touchdowns.
- Alshon Jeffery – Jeffery is 2nd on the team with 23 targets, he was solidifying himself as a dangerous red zone weapon prior to breaking his hand. He’s been one of the most impressive rookies this season.
- Matt Forte – Forte has caught only 10 passes this season and has only 3 receptions in his last 2 games. In contrast, he had 26 catches in first four games last season. Additionally, Forte has ceded goal line work to Michael Bush.
What to Watch
- Jay Cutler – I just wanted to place the over/under on Cutler’s exasperated facial expressions per game at 5. Cutler is on pace for under 4000 yardsand has 1/1 TD/INT ration, but we know what we’re getting from Cutler.
- Calvin Johnson – Johnson has 90 or more yards in 4 of 5 games. The question was posed in the DLF forums of whether Johnson was too good? Yes, he demands extra coverage everywhere he goes, but he’s good enough that it doesn’t matter.
- Matthew Stafford – His yardage totals aren’t bad at all as he’s on pace for 4,778 yards. Unfortunately, Staffordcan’t seem to hit an open man in the end zone and when he does they can’t catch the ball. I may be in the minority, but Staffordisn’t passing the eye test this season. His accuracy is off due to a drop off in his fundamentals.
- Kevin Smith – He pulled a David Copperfield and vanished from the fantasy universe. In all seriousness, I think he looked good early on, but the people who matter didn’t see it that way. I’m still stashing him with the hope that he gets traded.
What to Watch
- Titus Young – We keep on waiting. He seems to be a guy everyone wants on their roster, but right now he trails Tony Scheffler in receiving yards 140 to 123. He has only 21 targets on the season. Burleson won’t go away and Nate isn’t that good. I’m far from giving up on Young, but I’m lower than most on him.
- Mikel LeShoure – LeShoure looked the best he has all year last week by taking 15 carries for 70 yards(4.7 ypc). In his other two games, he totaled only 126 yardson 39 carries (3.2 ypc). Kevin Smith had a better ypc average in his game against San Francisco than LeShoure did in his first two games. LeShoure may end up a great NFL running back, but he needs to improve while staying healthy.
Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers – After a slow start that had a few folks panicking, Rodgers has surged all the way to QB2 in fantasy. After his stupid good performance in week 6, Rodgers has erased most if not all doubts. For all the concern, Rodgers is on pace for over4,300 yardsand 43 touchdowns.
- Randall Cobb – “Percy Harvin Lite” is another exhilarating open-field player. Cobb is 2nd on the team in receiving yards with 346. He has become a favorite of his quarterback. Rodgers was quoted as saying of Cobb,”He’s a lot of fun to play with. He really understands the offense well … He’s very, very intelligent and diligent about his preparation.”
- GregJennings– Did he retire? We all knowJenningsis getting older and having injury problems, but the bigger problem is that his absence hasn’t created a void in theGreen Baypassing attack. He’s expendable as far as the Packers are concerned.
- Jermichael Finley – Finley is a cause of ulcers among dynasty leaguers. You live in constant fear that the day you trade him he’ll figure it out. It’s time to move on. For the year he is averaging 4 catches for 30 yardsper game. This past week he called out Aaron Rodgers as a poor leader.
What to Watch
- Alex Green – He’s a fast guy with a tough running style and shifty moves. However, he’s still learning pass protection and how to run in a traditional offense having been drafted out ofHawaii. He looked serviceable in week 6 and McCarthy has since endorsed him as their lead back for the foreseeable future.
- Greg Jennings – Greg Jennings is going to be on another team in 2013. If he can stay healthy and be a focal point on a team likeMiamihe could still be extremely valuable.
- D.J. Williams – With Finley falling apart, it will be interesting to see if D.J. Williams can make a name for himself. If not, I’ll be very interested to see who they draft next year.
- Percy Harvin – Harvin leads the league with 49 catches and has racked up 540 yards. Harvin’s only issue has been his lack of touchdowns. Regardless of having only 3 total touchdowns, he’s still fantasy’s third best wide out.
- Adrian Peterson – Not surprisingly, he once again proved he isn’t human. Just over 8 months removed from a complicated ACL tear, Peterson returned to the backfield. He didn’t just come back, but he came back looking as dynamic as ever. An article on ESPN quoted Peterson’s physical therapist, Russ Paine, as saying, “This guy is in the top half of one percent of the human bodies in the world.” Peterson is on pace for over 1,600 total yards. Like Harvin, he can’t find the end zone on a regular basis and has only 2 for the year, but that should even out by years end.
- Kyle Rudolph – A red zone revelation, he’s reeled in 5 touchdowns in 6 games. He’s also being heavily targeted by Ponder to the tune of 41 targets. Unfortunately, he has only caught 25 of those passes.
- Other wide receivers – They don’t have any. To be fair, we still need to see more of Jerome Simpson.
What to Watch
- Christian Ponder – Christian Ponder passes the eye test and he’s one of my favorite second year quarterbacks. He’s on pace for about 3,800 yardsand 20 touchdowns. His average pass travels only 5.6 yardsdownfield. Most likely this is a result of trying to get Harvin the ball, but it’s still an eyebrow raiser.
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