We are all usually skeptical about trying something new. Trying a new restaurant or entrée, relying on a new co-worker for a project, or checking out a new band or album push us too far outside our comfort zones. Anything unproven can cause a little trepidation. So, it’s natural that fantasy owners haven’t given some of the following names any love yet, but I’m here to tell you that it’s time. You’ll notice that most of them are WRs, but there’s one non-pass catcher that is the biggest shock/value – and is likely available in your league.
On the other side of the coin, there’s a couple of RBs that it may be time for seasonal owners to give up on.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills – Who would have thunk it? The 27-year-old journeyman just may have found a home in Buffalo. Despite being 0-6, the Bills are thrilled with their new starter. After tearing up the Ravens’ defense for 374 yards and four TDs in Week 7, he has now thrown for 11 TDs and only four interceptions in his last four games. After finishing the 2008 season with less than 2,000 yards and only eight TDs in 13 games taking over for an injured Carson Palmer, it was hard to believe that he could turn Lee Evans and Steve Johnson into legit fantasy options, but he appears to have done so. But seriously, while he may still be unproven, it sure looks like a legit starting option moving forward, especially with the Chiefs, Bears and Lions up next.
Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs – After a putrid first four games, the ultra-talented Bowe has found the end zone four times in his last two contests. With the Chiefs’ offense clicking on all cylinders, and Matt Cassel certainly playing better, “the show” is definitely on the rise. Dynasty owners should be smiling, while seasonal owners can consider him a must-start moving forward.
Kenny Britt, WR, Titans – Speaking of dynasty owners smiling, those that hung onto Kenny “Legit” Britt through thick and thin have been rewarded, big time. He’s a legit must-start, when active, after his seven catch, 225 yard, three TD domination of the Eagles’ secondary in Week 7. Not only was that with Kerry Collins throwing him the ball, but it occurred in only 2½ quarters – which leads me to the “when active” part. Seasonal owners should take note that Britt could face further punishment, either from the league, or from the Titans, for his alleged involvement in a bar fight last week. The good news is two-fold. A, it’s his first offense, and B, he will not be in the “doghouse” following any punishment, as Tennessee clearly needs him on the field. The 6’3” 218 pounder is a must-keep dynasty gem.
Jordan Shipley, WR, Bengals – When the rookie from Texas caught five balls in each of his first two games, dynasty owners definitely raised their eyebrows. Entering Week 7, he had been quiet, mostly due to a concussion suffered early on in the season. However, Shipley burst back onto the scene against the Falcons, catching all six of his targets for 131 yards and a score. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that this guy will continue to see a growing role in his rookie season, and I wouldn’t be surprised with Chad Ochocinco (32) and Terrell Owens (37) if he’s not catching 75 balls a year starting in 2012. Shipley is certainly someone to keep an eye on, as he’s already proving he can be productive at the pro level.
David Gettis, WR, Panthers – Could the rookie sixth rounder from Baylor be the Panthers’ version of Marques Colston? After an eight catch, 125 yard, two TD breakout performance against the 49ers in Week 7, it’s possible. Fellow rookie Brandon LaFell added six catches for 91 yards, while Steve Smith only had four balls for 50 yards. Despite playing in a horrible offense, Gettis should probably be added in all formats, especially dynasty.
Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders – Much like Kenny Britt, McFadden had his doubters heading into Week 7. He started the season strong, but injuries opened the door for Michael Bush to take carries away. But after rushing for 165 yards and three TDs, and catching two balls for 21 yards and an additional score against the Broncos, he has now solidified himself as a must-start when healthy. And, oh yeah dynasty owners, despite being in his third season, he’s only 23 years old.
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings – Hello, were you scared of Percy Harvin heading into the season? Come on, admit it. The hammy, the migraines, and the lack of Sidney Rice? Well, all those worries are out the window. Harvin is clearly one of the best players on the field, as he’s racked up 20 catches for 245 yards, 72 rushing yards and five total TDs in his last four games. He’s an all-purpose threat and commands the ball. With Randy Moss on board, defenses cannot keep up with Harvin. Regardless of Brett Favre’s status, Harvin should be in lineups.
Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers – What the heck is going on? Norv Turner is really irking me right now. He will not play his rookie stud that the Chargers traded up to number 12 overall in the NFL Draft to select. Who cares if you fall behind early? Is it a rule that you can’t run the ball if you’re behind? Come on, Norv. At this point, seasonal owners should look in a different direction, with Mike Tolbert getting goal line carries. Dynasty owners need to stay patient, but bench him for now. Mathews will be “the guy” one day, but not any time soon, it appears.
Justin Forsett, RB, Seahawks – Marshawn Lynch has taken command of the featured back role in Seattle, after gaining 133 yards and a score on 41 carries in his first two games. Forsett is a change of pace guy now, and will see three to seven carries a game, depending on the situation. He’s not really roster-worthy in any format.