I was one of those people who completely wrote off anything and anyone to do with the Panthers offense in fantasy leagues for this season. Yet, after the first two weeks, I’m starting to sing a different tune with Cam Newton’s newest toy, Rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin. While a lot of NFL scouts were skeptical of the Panthers using a 1st-round pick on Benjamin, the 6’5 – 243 lb has certainly proved those individuals, myself included, wrong so far.
Benjamin is looking every bit as legit of a redzone target that he appears to be in stature, as Newton continues to look his way on fade patterns. The former Seminole has already been credited with a few highlight reel catches through the first two weeks and is locked in for double digit targets with the depleted Panthers WR corps complementing him.
Owned in just 45% of ESPN leagues, Benjamin is every bit worth rostering in 10 + team leagues.
It’s no secret that the New Orleans Saints backfield has been nothing more than a complementary-piece to the pass-happy offensive scheme that Sean Payton has implemented. The revolving door of cast characters has seen the likes of Reggie Bush, Chris Ivory, and Darren Sproles all depart in the past handful of years, and while Pierre Thomas has been old reliable, there’s another back in the Saints backfield who possesses big-play ability moving forward: Khiry Robinson.
After wildly-disappointing Mark Ingram finally appeared to grab the reins in the Saints backfield, he sustained a broken hand in the first half of last week’s game vs. the Browns. The injury is expected to shelf the former 1st-round pick for at least a month. With Pierre Thomas seeing limited snaps solely on passing-downs, Robinson, the former UDFA out of West Texas A&M, has a chance to run away with the starting gig.
Robinson’s physical style of down-hill running has drawn comparisons to Chris Ivory and even flashed big-play potential across a few games for the Saints last season. With teams continuing to pump the brakes in the box, in attempts to slow Brees and his high-powered passing attack, look for Payton and the Saints to install a more balanced-attack with Robinson at the head of the table.
Doug Martin was forced out of yesterday’s game vs. the Falcons with a shoulder injury and never returned. Martin won’t return at all for the rest of the 2013 season. This is a huge blow to an unraveling Buccaneers team that has suffered an absolutely disastrous 0-6 start to the season. Martin was a consensus top five pick in fantasy drafts this season, going as high as #2 on various draft boards. The second year player out of Boise State had struggled to live up to the hype, falling far short of the gaudy numbers he posted during his rookie campaign.
The Bucs are in serious trouble moving forward and it’s highly likely that Greg Schiano will get the axe before any other head coach in the NFL. Consider the Bucs to be in the mix for the #1 overall pick and the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes in the 2014 draft.
Well, that escalated quickly. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano has seen enough from starter Josh Freeman, as the Bucs will send out rookie QB Mike Glennon to start vs. the Cardinals on Sunday.
The former backup to Russell Wilson at N.C. State until Wilson transferred to Wisconsin, Glennon amassed 7,085 yards and 62 TD’s between his junior and senior seasons. Glennon impressed the coaching staff in an August pre-season game vs. the Patriots, completing 12 of 22 passes for 2 TDs and a pick.
Glennon should be able to seize the starting job moving forward if he can secure a win at home vs. the Cardinals. With Freeman’s poor start to the season and his issues showing up to team functions, it doesn’t look good for the 5th year QB trying to land a new contract. This could potentially be the end of the road for Freeman as a starting Quarterback in the NFL.
James Starks – The last time I can remember James Starks being a relevant name drop was when my buddy Nano and I went down to this girl’s party in Newton, MA in 2010. While we ran the ‘ruit table, some herb was chatting about the University at Buffalo football program, pretty obscure, unless of course you’re the girlfriend of the logo designer for this site. Naturally, I knew saying “James Starks what up” to the kid, would provide him with an instant football orgasm. Sure enough, he talked about how much of a beast Starks was while at Buffalo. That year, while playing in relief of Packers starter Ryan Grant, Starks capped his rookie season with a Super Bowl ring and set the Packers rookie record for most rushing yards in a post-season game with 123. Three years later and Starks seems to be all the rage this week on the waiver wire.
After relieving concussed Eddie Lacy this week, Starks became the first Packers RB to rush for over 100 yards in a game since Oct. 10th, 2010. With the Packers bye week approaching in week 4, it looks like Lacy will sit out this week as Starks is primed to get the start in Cincinnati. While Lacy’s status remains hazy, look for the Packers to trend towards more of a time-share when both backs are in the lineup, to minimize the hits on their rookie.
The Bottom Heist: If Starks continues to perform, he will sculpt his own permanent role within the Packers offense, making him at the very worst, a top handcuff in a high-powered offense.
Jacquizz Rodgers – Much like Starks, and is often the case for off-the-radar fantasy backs, Rodgers’ value is contingent upon an injury to the Falcons starter, Steven Jackson. However, contrary to the situation in the Green Bay backfield, ‘Quizz has more than enough time to play himself into a role. For the last few years now, the pass-heavy Falcons have looked for Rodgers to be a dynamic threat in the pass game, coming out of the backfield. Not doing himself any favors with the opportunities he has been given, Rodgers maintains the shiftiness that many offensive coordinators covet from their scat back. For PPR and/or leagues that count return yards, Rodgers is a legitimate flex play for the interim. While the numbers haven’t been there in the early-going, the touches are firmly laid out in the on-deck circle.
The Bottom Heist: With S-Jax a candidate to return after ATL’s Week 6 bye, Rodgers has more than enough time to prove to the Falcons coaching staff that he deserves a role in the offense. He’s worth a look in 12+ team leagues.