Each week I will be walking through the Twitterverse extracting some of the best commentary from trusted fantasy football minds. Twitter can be overwhelming with the amount of information that streams live, but it also proves to be one of the fastest and easiest ways to communicate. In 140 characters or less you can learn something about a player you may have never thought of from trends, stats or analysis.
Bishop Sankey, RB TEN
The Titans rookie running back came into the season with a lot of hype and expectation. Shonn Greene put a damper on all of that being announced as the starter and garnering the majority of carries through two weeks. Week three provided a different story line that many around Twitter commented on:
Bishop Sankey out-snapped Shonn Greene 30-14. Likely a result of being blown out, but still a good sign.
— Raymond Summerlin (@RMSummerlin) September 22, 2014
Bishop Sankey tied Shonn Greene in carries for the #Titans today. The job is about to be his
— Adam Pfeifer (@aPfeiferFF) September 22, 2014
Owners who used an early pick on Sankey may soon see their investment begin to pay dividends. The fact that he was utilized when the team was down and throwing more speaks to the coaches being comfortable with his pass blocking. In addition, the Titans hopes of making the playoffs this season are slim and the staff will want to know what they have in their second round pick moving forward. I am still unlikely to start Sankey in the next couple weeks until his usage dictates such a move, but I would look for him to have FLEX appeal sooner rather than later.[inlinead]
Steve Smith, WR BAL
The NFL’s current active leader in all-purpose yards continues to impress through three weeks. Steve Smith is currently tied for fourth in total targets to wide receivers and with the recent Pitta injury, those targets are not going anywhere. Running mate Torrey Smith has seen half the targets and produced less than a third of the yards. The most impressive thing about the resurgence of Steve Smith has been his consistency as Rich Hribar pointed out.
Steve Smith has 70+ rec yards in all three games this season after failing to top 70 yds all of 2013. He's looking like he's the 2014 Boldin
— Rich Hribar (@LordReebs) September 22, 2014
This being his 14th season in the league, the long-term fantasy prospects are definitely limited. Looking strictly at 2014, you have a receiver with a high floor that should produce week in and week out as no worse than a WR3. I would be surprised if Torrey Smith does not continue to get more involved, but the older Smith is going nowhere in terms of fantasy production.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN
Only the week four bye can slow Emmanuel Sanders down. Coming into the season Sanders was thought of as no better than the 4th receiving option on the Broncos and potentially being pushed for playing time by rookie Cody Latimer. For those who invested in Latimer, you will have to wait until next season. Emmanuel Sanders has been increasing his catches and yards each week and the presence of Wes Welker did nothing to limit his opportunities. Pro Football Focus’ Mike Clay tweeted:
Emmanuel Sanders entered today having seen 29% of the Broncos targets. At 11 (of 29) and counting today. Featured player in elite O.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) September 21, 2014
Peyton Manning is known for spreading the ball around to his receivers and some regression is likely coming. Sanders has also failed to cross the goal line this season making his fantasy production less attractive in standard scoring leagues. In terms of fantasy, trying to buy or sell Sanders may be difficult right now as well. Owners will not want to give away solid production for nothing and buyers will not want to pay top dollar for a guy they can argue already had his best game of the season. I would personally recommend holding, particularly for the future as his presence in the offense appears to be cemented and he does have the game’s best quarterback throwing him the ball.
Jordan Matthews, WR PHI
The rookie wide receiver class was highly debated and continues to impress more and more each week. Sammy Watkins was the consensus top rated rookie at his position, but Jordan Matthews may show why offensive situations can trump measurables and highlight reels. In week three, Matthews doubled his targets from the first two weeks combined and came away with a 100% catch rate and two touchdowns as well. The chemistry with quarterback Nick Foles was impressive compared to miscues still seen with leading receiver Jeremy Maclin. Matthews also showed good route running and John Paulsen of 4for4.com remarked:
Jordan Matthews 8-59-2 (9) may pass Riley Cooper 4-34 (7) soon. Playing time is starting to even out.
— John Paulsen (@4for4_John) September 22, 2014
Riley Cooper was on the field for 68 snaps against the Redskins compared to 47 for Matthews, but Foles clearly maximized Jordan’s time on the field. There are a multitude of weapons on the Eagles’ roster, which may limit Matthews’ upside and consistency. But in the race for top rookie wide receiver in 2014, I would not be counting out the Vanderbilt product.
Donald Brown, RB SD
It was a somewhat curious move by the Chargers to sign Donald Brown to a three-year 10.5 million dollar deal during the off-season. Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead were expected to carry the load on the ground and through the air after solid 2013 campaigns, so where would Brown fit in. Three weeks into the season and everyone is asking: “What Can Brown Do For You”? Mathews is expected to be out another four weeks at least and Woodhead has been ruled out for the season leaving Brown as the last dependable option. Against Buffalo the running game was not optimal, but the volume was definitely there as Brown carried 31 times albeit for 61 yards. Not much is expected to change with Donald’s touches in the coming weeks as Michael Gelken (Chargers beat writer) remarked:
Philip Rivers on Donald Brown's career-high 36 touches: "He's going to get the load of it for the next while."
— Michael Gehlken (@UTgehlken) September 21, 2014
Adam Levitan of Rotoworld made the most important point as well regarding Brown’s immediate fantasy outlook stating:
Danny Woodhead (ankle) likely done for season. Ryan Mathews (knee) likely out 3-4 more weeks. Donald Brown gets JAX, NYJ, OAK, KC next.
— Adam Levitan (@adamlevitan) September 21, 2014
While the Jets are proving to be stout against the run, Brown gets some pretty soft opponents coming up ending with the Chiefs who just allowed Lamar Miller to run for over 100 yards averaging 7 yards per clip. Even when Mathews returns, Brown will likely continue to have fantasy and real world value for the Chargers. Right now he should be owned and started every week based on touches and schedule alone.
Keenan Allen, WR SD
It has been a difficult start to the season for Keenan Allen and his fantasy owners. After a stellar rookie season, a sophomore slump was not predicted. As the lead receiver for the Chargers another top 20 campaign appeared to be a solid bet. Instead it took three weeks just to accumulate over 100 total yards and has yet to register a touchdown. In week three while he played the most snaps out of San Diego’s receivers, he was only targeted twice for 17 yards. Eddie Royal actually leads the team in targets and also has crossed the goal line on multiple occasions. Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense have not been struggling to move the ball or score, so what to do with Allen moving forward? Ross Miles tweeted:
I'm buying Keenan Allen right now. Can't see how his value can get much lower. He's a low-end WR1 in dynasty still IMO #FantasyFootball
— Ross Miles (@RossMilesNFL) September 22, 2014
I definitely agree on the buy low, but the low-end WR1 case may be more up in the air. Particularly as many young rookie receivers (Kelvin Benjamin, Brandin Cooks and the aforementioned Jordan Matthews) are having breakout seasons of their own. Josh Moore commented:
Bet Keenan Allen gets dropped in a lot of casual leagues this week. I’d still buy low, but can’t feel good about starting him at this pt.
— Josh Moore (@4for4_Josh) September 22, 2014
For the non-dynasty owner, if you find Allen on the waiver wire don’t think twice about snatching him up. Talent normally wins out and Rivers is sure to remember who was making plays for him last season week in and week out. Unless you are loaded at wide receiver I also find it hard to bench him. The schedule is set up pretty good over the next few weeks and if you can swing a deal for just another running back or a future round pick I would be buying.