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Is Mark Sanchez a quality pick-up?

Is Mark Sanchez a quality pick-up?

When a team attempts more than 50 passes in a game, it can tend to inflate everyone’s numbers. Look no further than the Week 3 totals in Denver for an example. That said, there’s no denying the emerging fantasy value in the Broncos passing game, led by Kyle Orton and his 359-yard average through three games.

The 476 he tallied on 57 attempts against the Colts Sunday pumps that figure way up, but Orton has thrown for at least 295 yards in every game so far. The touchdown totals have lagged behind the yardage, but when you combine the production with the very shaky backfield situation, it’s easy to believe the Broncos won’t be shy about continuing to throw the ball.

Orton’s next three matchups – Tennessee, Baltimore and the Jets (assuming they have Darrelle Revis back by then) -- may prove tougher, but Oakland, San Francisco and Kansas City follow that stretch. Plus, facing defenses that play the run tough should only encourage Denver to attempt more throws. It’s also never too early to look way ahead in fantasy, and Orton’s Week 16 matchup at home with Houston could prove very favorable. At the least, he makes for an attractive fantasy backup right now.

Mark Sanchez, QB, N.Y. Jets
I would certainly not have counted myself among Sancehz believers heading into this season, but one can’t ignore consecutive three-touchdown outings – especially when they came in charged matchups with division rivals. Dustin Keller’s emergence as a go-to target gives Sanchez a matchup to exploit in the middle of the field, and LaDainian Tomlinson’s rejuvenation provides an outlet. When you factor in those two, Sanchez doesn’t have to rely as heavily on a receiver corps that is unreliable. The playmaking ability even there, though, will only rise when Santonio Holmes becomes eligible in Week 5. Top the whole thing off with Sanchez’s above average running ability, and you have a player well worth rostering as a fantasy backup.

RUNNING BACKS
Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns
If you and your fellow owners were paying attention through the first couple of weeks of the season, Hillis should no longer be available. As of Monday morning, though, he was owned in fewer than half of Yahoo! leagues. Expect that to change quickly after a monster game against Baltimore. Bid high if he happens to somehow be around in your league.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, Patriots
I had Green-Ellis pegged as a guy to add to deep rosters for potential value somewhere down the road, but I had no idea that road would be so short. The “Lawfirm” led the way for the Patriots with 16 carries for 98 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 and looks, at the least, like a quality goal-line option going forward. The New England backfield remains crowded, so we can’t count on him as a weekly option just yet. If Fred Taylor is significantly injured, though, that will change immediately.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Lance Moore, WR, Saints
A day like he had against the Falcons in Week 3 – six catches, 149 yards and two touchdowns – necessitates a pickup. You simply can’t leave that kind of production on the wire for a leaguemate, particularly when it came in an offense from which we know we can count on regular passing production. That said, owning any Saints receiver should come with a patience policy. You will absolutely be frustrated at some point by any New Orleans wideout that you own. Moore, for instance, saw zero targets last Monday night and just four (for three catches) in Week 1. He certainly has the potential to become a more consistent target than Robert Meachem, though, and at least looks good as a flex consideration in PPR leagues. Moore enjoyed a tremendous breakout campaign in 2008 when several of his corps mates got hurt, but his own injuries all but negated his 2009. We’ll see what role he can ultimately settle into now, but that’ll be more fun to “see” with him on your bench than someone else’s. If he can’t get consistent, Moore could at least provide intriguing trade bait.

DENVER DUDES
Brandon Lloyd enjoyed his second 100-yard game of the season on Sunday and was targeted 10 times. Jabar Gaffney led the way with 14 targets, becoming the third different wideout to lead his team in that category in three games. What do we make of this situation? Well, for the time being, these two, Eddie Royal and Demaryius Thomas should all be owned in the average point-per-reception league. Royal still looks like the best weekly PPR bet, and Thomas’ status as a first-round pick and top Week 2 target (in his first game) support the notion that he’ll keep getting looks. Gaffney and Lloyd are a bit harder to read, but I still trust Gaffney more. He has been with Josh McDaniels longer and comes with a steadier track record than Lloyd. I mentioned the latter’s history in this space after his big Week 1, and although a second strong outing makes that history easier to overlook, I still have trouble trusting Lloyd for continued production. That becomes even harder in such a muddled situation.

Louis Murphy, WR, Raiders
There’s not likely to be a consistent producer in the Oakland pass offense, because the team has yet to find consistent quarterback play since Rich Gannon retired. That said, Murphy made five of his six catches in Week 2 after Bruce Gradkowski entered the game, and Week 3 provided his second 100-plus yard collaboration with Gradkowski. The two hooked up for 128 yards and two scores in an upset at Pittsburgh last season before connecting for 119 yards on Sunday. At the least, Gradkowski seems to be good for Murphy’s numbers, and Murphy adds a WR3 option to fantasy rosters on a team with few answers at his position.

Tony Moeaki, TE, Chiefs
Moeaki probably falls into the already-gone category in many leagues, too, but he should be snapped up where available. The numbers aren’t overwhelming, but Moeaki has averaged four catches through three games and has scored twice. His touchdown catch in Week 3 was a terrific play, the kind that gives a quarterback confidence in going to that guy whenever possible. Moeaki’s outlook is further bolstered by the lack of production among his team’s receivers. Dwayne Bowe has disappointed through three weeks, and Chris Chambers has all but disappeared. This can only help a good-looking young tight end look even better.

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Matt Schauf

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