Week 8: PPR Watch
Have a question about a player not featured in this article? Use the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @MarkKadubec.
Sure Thing - PPR value at running back has been a tough thing to find this year, with only 4 RB's averaging over 4 receptions a game. With that in mind, Willis McGahee has been surprisingly versatile in PPR formats. The veteran back is 8th among starting RB's with 18 catches, and his 133 yards receiving are enough to push him ahead of guys like McFadden, and McCoy in total yards. Look for Denver to try to keep Brees off the field and use a heavy dose of McGahee against a Saints defense that is worst in the league in points allowed per game to RB's. Make no mistake, at 12th in PPG in PPR formats, McGahee has been a low end RB1 so far this season, and in shallower leagues you should find a way to get him in your lineup. I think he's also an excellent trade target, with easy to acquire handcuffs and a bunch of excellent matchups both in and out of the division.Injury Status: Injured Reserve
Confident - Owners who picked up Gibson looking for a bye week fill in have stumbled on a consistent option in the St. Louis passing game. With Amendola out, Gibson has slid nicely into the WR1 slot, and continues to deliver solid, if not mind blowing performances. Targeted 7 times in week 7, he converted for 5 catches and 60 yards. Almost his exact average over the last 3 games. That's a high enough floor to make him low risk, and I feel pretty good about his match with New England. The Patriots seem to be getting worse by the week against the pass, especially in the second half. I expect Gibson to see at least 9 targets and manage 6+ catches and 75+ yards. Not too shabby.
Confident - Keller was added a bunch this week, and with so few TE's performing at a high level for fantasy purposes, he is nearly a must add. He said in an interview that he still doesn't feel quite 100% coming back from hamstring injury, but he looked the part in week 7, catching all 7 of his targets for 93 yards and a TD. I haven't been a fan of Keller in the past, feeling he was a player that often teased at his potential, but lacked a position on a consistent enough offense to produce reliably. This year however, the situation is a little different. With no proven commodity's at WR, Keller is about the only guy out there that's played long enough with Mark Sanchez to have developed a real rapport. If you don't have a top 5 TE then you should be looking to add and start Dustin Keller, the potential is there for him to have a difference making second half.
Confident - Even despite a heartbreaking loss against the Giants, Washington has taken huge strides on offense this season and is very much in the playoff picture. It doesn't look like Pierre Garcon is going to be back anytime soon, and RGIII is throwing the ball well enough to make his receivers fantasy relevant. Santana Moss had a bit of a revival in week 7 with two touchdowns and could see more playing time because of it, but he still only saw 24% of the offensive snaps. Hankerson on the other hand, was on the field for nearly every play of the game, a whopping 97%, and managed a pretty nice day with 6 catches on 8 targets for 70 yards. With Fred Davis out, those targets could increase even further, even in a tough matchup against the Steelers. If you're looking for a receiver and Hankerson is available, snatch him up. He's 1 touchdown catch away from being a hot commodity.
Caution - Even in PPR, Andre Roberts is currently a top 20 receiver. A lot of writers including this one, believed he was a nice sleeper last year with Fitzgerald on the other side and the arrival of Kevin Kolb. That obviously didn't work out so well, making this years ascendance even more surprising. Look, with these numbers Roberts has to be owned, and someone's got to start him, but I'm glad it isn't me. In the two weeks prior to last weeks 103 yard performance, Roberts had just 7 catches for 57 yards. Anyone who's read this column knows I hate boom or bust players, and on an offense as challenged as Arizona's I just can't recommend playing this guy against a Niner defense that's allowed the second fewest fantasy points per game to wide receivers in PPR. If you have choices, sit him.