Updated 10/29 by Sigmund Bloom, Exclusive for Footballguys.com
Kevin Smith, RB, DET - Smith has actually lived up to reports of
a great leap forward in his game from the offseason. His running style is
more efficient and powerful, and his receiving skills look fluid and natural
He is ready to be part of a "triplet" with Matthew Stafford and
Calvin Johnson, people have just forgotten that because Johnson and Stafford
have been out. Smith could approach top five numbers in a robust offense,
and Stafford and Johnson promise the possibility of that in the future.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, BUF - Did you know that Lynch is only 23 years
old? Lynch is a beast of a running back in the making. He already runs angry
and gets stronger as the game goes on. If they can build any semblance of
an offense in Buffalo, he'll be a top 10 RB in his prime. Lynch has successfully
fought off any idea that Fred Jackson merits nearly as much work as he does,
despite a great September from Jackson. At some point in his career, Lynch
is going to go on a tear that will make him untouchable in the mind of his
owner. Get him on your roster before that happens.
Chase Coffman, TE, CIN - Coffman was a proficient pass catcher at
Mizzou, but he was rarely asked to block. Now he's learning how to be a real
tight end - half blocker, half receiver - and people have forgotten about
his promise in dynasty leagues. He has a great QB who is square in his prime,
on a team that looks to be entering a stretch of respectability on both sides
of the ball. J.P. Foschi is no long term answer, and Dan Coats can't even
beat him out to start, but that hasn't stopped Carson Palmer from firing passes
at them at a rate of almost five a game. He might target the TE even more
if the player was a reliable receiver like Coffman.
Michael Crabtree, WR, SF - Crabtree might still have the stain of
an ugly holdout on him in his owner's minds, and he didn't change the world
in his debut. San Francisco just made a QB change, and their passing offense
has suffered for many years now. The picture of Crabtree dominating as a freshman
and sophomore at Texas Tech is fading from our minds, but it shouldn't be.
He was precise and strong in his routes vs Houston, and his hands and run
after catch instincts are as good as advertised. If this is how he looks after
a long layoff as a rookie with only two years under his belt, then Crabtree
really does have the potential to be one of the best WRs of his era. Be willing
to bowl his owner over with a deal that includes your first next year.
Zach Miller, TE, OAK - Miller has alternatively excited and angered
his owners this season, but that isn't his fault. He had almost 800 yards
receiving last year, and he has been explosive anytime JaMarcus Russell resembles
an NFL QB. His productivity in this tar pit of an offense is positively outstanding.
Miller can be a premier fantasy TE if he ever plays in a 21st century competently-quarterbacked
offense. Strike while his owner might even be benching him.
Santonio Holmes, WR, PIT - The upstart Steelers passing offense has
lifted the stock of Roethlisberger, Ward, and Heath Miller, but Holmes has
been left behind after a hot start. He has been the culprit on a few drops,
but he has also been the focus of opponent's coverage schemes. Holmes certainly
has the look of a receiver with #1 ability - the do-everything game that can
produce with great ball skills, deep speed, and aggressive run after catch
instincts. It's just a matter of time before Holmes goes on a TD tear. As
quiet as he has been this year, he's well on a one-thousand yard pace. Holmes
will evolve into the Steelers #1 and fantasy #1, but his owner could be persuaded
to give him up while he has been a slight disappointment.
Malcom Floyd, WR, SD - Chris Chambers days are numbered. You will
continue to see Floyd get more looks from Philip Rivers regardless of who
starts, and as we get deeper into the season, the chances of Floyd starting
go up by the week. Floyd does his damage on deep passes and in the red zone,
a perfect recipe for a second wide receiver who still produces enough to be
relevant. You have to also love his rapport with Philip Rivers and Rivers
ability to increase the fantasy value of his targets. Floyd might be had for
not much more than the price of a waiver pickup right now.
Chris Johnson, RB, TEN - 0-6 tells the story for the Titans, and
it mostly tells the story of Johnson's fantasy season, save for week 2, when
Johnson reminded us that he has the potential to be the #1 RB in all of fantasy
football against the Texans. The Titans have gone away from what worked in
that game, lots of receptions for Johnson (including splitting him out wide),
and hand-offs against more spread out defenses, sometimes from the shotgun.
With Vince Young back in at QB, look for Tennessee's version of the wildcat,
which could be lethal, and a "back to basics" approach on offense. Johnson
should be the center of this offense, and if he is this week vs. the Jags,
you might not be able to pry him from his owner come Monday.
Tashard Choice, RB, DAL - The amnesia of fantasy owners regarding
Choice will kick in soon now that he is only in for passing downs. They'll
forget how versatile he is, how strong he ran, and how he showed the ability
to both get the tough yards and break some long plays. It will require patience,
but Choice has the look of a back who will gain a Leon Washington/Ahmad Bradshaw
type-role at worst. He remains undervalued in dynasty leagues.
Steven Jackson, RB, STL - If Jackson's scoring drought isn't broken
vs. Detroit, he might join his team in going 0 for 16. What he is doing -
averaging over 100 total yards a game - in an offense as feeble as the Rams
- is nothing short of astounding. Put Jackson on a mediocre team, and he might
be the #1 fantasy RB. Put him on a good team, and he would become an instant
20 TD a year uberstud. He is as rare a talent as Adrian Peterson and Maurice
Jones-Drew, eventually his fantasy numbers will catch up to his ability. See
if you can catch his owner in a moment of weakness.
Kevin Kolb, QB, PHI - I can't shake the feeling that the Eagles passing
offense might be better RIGHT NOW with Kolb in instead of McNabb. Regardless
of the accuracy of that hypothetical, Kolb has still shown how effective he
can be in the Eagles system. One would think the fiscally conservative Eagles
organization would attempt to lock him up before he garners a starter's price
on the open market. While we're waiting for 2011, Kolb can always become a
week-to-week startable fantasy QB when McNabb misses time. He's got more upside
than any other QB not starting right now, but his trade value doesn't reflect
Donovan McNabb, QB, PHI - The Eagles success as a team this year
has masked more erratic play from McNabb this year. He has harnessed the deep
speed of DeSean Jackson, but he has failed to get in a good rhythm in the
west coast passing game, or demonstrated consistent accuracy on short and
intermediate passes. He has also gotten injured and failed to rise to the
occasion in the only close game he has played in this year - a loss to the
lowly Raiders. McNabb's days as a starting fantasy QB are coming to a close,
hope for an injury to a topnotch fantasy QB and see if you can pawn McNabb
to their owner if you are relying on McNabb as your starter.
Owen Daniels, TE, HOU - Daniels has stepped up his game in a big
way, and I don't want to take anything away from that, but his rate of production
is unsustainable. Try to turn him into a Jason Witten, Dallas Clark, Antonio
Gates level talent as part of a bigger deal, or ask for a king's ransom for
him from a TE poor team if you have another strong option at TE.
Austin Collie, WR, IND - Collie has certainly caught Peyton Manning's
eye, and he has turned into a reliable weekly option while we wait for Anthony
Gonzalez to return. When Gonzalez returns, Collie will certainly go back to
being a 4th option and sharing snaps with Pierre Garcon. Gonzalez is not going
anywhere, and he is just as precise a route runner as Collie, but with more
speed and better run after catch instincts. Collie's owners will have to go
into an indefinite holding pattern waiting for more playing time soon, but
right now you might get the "promising young receiver on the rise"
price for him.
Mike Sims-Walker, WR, JAX - I believe in Mike Sims-Walker. His breakout
is not that big a surprise considering how formidable he looked next to Brandon
Marshall at Central Florida. The only reason that he's listed here is that
you probably won't get more him in a deal than you will right now for a while.
He is red hot and facing a pass defense he already lit up once this year.
If you can upgrade him into a more established young stud in a better passing
game like Greg Jennings, or turn him into a stud at another position of need,
Ricky Williams, RB, MIA - Ricky's nose for the end zone has made
for a great ride so far this year, but his rate of TDs seems unsustainable
on such a low amount of weekly touches. He also has probably only more viable
year left at his age. The Saints were ripped up by the wildcat last week,
but by the end of the game, they stopped it by crashing down with the cornerbacks
on blitzes (as Jeff Duncan of the New Orleans Times-Picayune pointed out in
his weekly film breakdown). The NFL is a copycat league, and teams will steal
that tactic from the Saints to short circuit the formation that has been the
source of so much production from Williams (and Ronnie Brown) this season.
Ryan Grant, RB, GB - Grant got well against the Browns last week,
and the Packers offensive line had probably their best game of the season.
This is good time to put him on the market because just about any of the NFL's
top 50 RBs would have had Grant's numbers last week. His burst isn't special,
he's not particularly elusive, powerful, or creative, and he is merely an
adequate starting RB. The Packers could easily look to supplement the position
with a strong sidekick in the draft or free agent very soon. If you can move
Grant laterally for a Smith/Lynch type young feature RB, don't hesitate to
pull the trigger.