Houston's Jacoby Jones a good flex play against a reeling Dolphins secondary
We told you in the preseason that the tight end class was as deep as it's ever been, so there was no reason to reach for the position in your fantasy football draft.
So are we surprised to see Buffalo's Scott Chandler leading all tight ends after Week 1 with 20.8 points and Arizona's Jeff King ninth with 13.10 points? Of course we are.
Depth at the position is one thing, but those are certainly two outliers after one week of action.
In between Chandler and King are names we expected to see as part of the depth of this year's class — Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, Jermaine Gresham, Dustin Keller, Ed Dickson, Jason Witten and Jimmy Graham rank Nos. 2-8.
But back to Chandler. He was left off my Week 2 Waiver Wire story for a number of reasons. For one, he has been in and out of the league since 2007 and it took him until Sunday to register his second career catch, which came as part of a five-catch, 63-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs. Secondly, his coach, Chan Gailey, does not have a productive history with the TE position.
So pardon me if I am quite shocked considering Gailey's TEs combined for 187 yards and one score ALL of last season. Not counting Tony Gonzalez's 10-score, 1,058-yard season in 1998, a player Gailey inherited during his prime, the tight end position has combined for 1,884 yards and 21 TDs over eight seasons and five different teams under his tutelage. That averages out to three scores and 269 yards per season.
Chandler is not worth an add to your roster, but I will say he is worth keeping an eye on if the target trend continues. Someone has to replace the targets that Lee Evans left behind.
Another TE that surprised me was Daniel Fells in Denver. He is also in a system, coached by John Fox, that has not historically had little regard for the position.
Fells had six targets Monday night against Oakland, catching three of them for 32 yards. It's not a stellar night, but worth noting considering Fox's history with the position. Fox had three tight ends at his disposal last season in Carolina, and only once was one of them targeted six times or more last season (Dante Rosario in Week 2). In his nine seasons in Carolina, Fox saw the position eclipse 700 yards only once, and it never went caught more than six TDs in a season.
Again, monitor how Fox targets the position, and if Kyle Orton is tossing it around the yard 46 times a game like he did Monday (doubtful), then Fells may be worth an add if he can do more with the targets.
And in full-circle fashion, one of those three TEs Fox had at his disposal last year was Jeff King. He was never targeted more than six times last season in Carolina, catching 19 balls for 121 yards and two scores. However, after Week 1 of the 2011 season, King, now in Arizona, is the ninth-best TE thanks to two catches for 61 yards and a wide open, uncovered, 48-yard TD against his former team Sunday afternoon. He was considered option No. 3 at the postion for the Cards this season, behind veteran Todd Heap and rookie Rob Housler.
On to Ask Athlon for Week 2...
Now that Kevin Walter is out, is Jacoby Jones worth playing over Mike Thomas or Malcolm Floyd? Thanks
— Mike Crowther from Athlon Sports on Facebook
For this week, yes. For the season, no.
Jones is still going to be the third passing option for the Texans behind Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels and maybe even fourth when Arian Foster returns. However, it is an inviting play this week considering the Texans face a Dolphins team that just gave up 517 yards through the air to New England and on Tuesday let go of veteran defensive back Benny Sapp.
Malcom Floyd is also normally the third or fourth option behind Antonio Gates, Vincent Jackson and a pass catcher out of the backfield for the Chargers. Floyd was targeted eight times, catching just three for 45 yards in the opener. However, he also faces a New England team that allowed Chad Henne to throw for 416 yards Monday night while trying to play catch up, and I think the Chargers might be doing much of the same Sunday afternoon.
I would go with Jones for this week, just because of the absence of Walter and the inviting match up.
Normally Thomas would be the play in a PPR league because he is the main target in Jacksonville — registering 11 in the opener (tied for fifth most in the league) and catching eight of them for 55 yards. However, he will likely draw Darrelle Revis this week as the Jags travel to play the Jets. Revis should have no trouble shutting him down.
What established player is Julio Jones worth as equivalent in trade?
— Brent Allen from Athlon Sports on Facebook
We had Jones ranked 66th overall and our highest rookie WR — between fellow WRs Mario Manningham, Jeremy Maclin, Marques Colston on one side and Steve Johnson and Percy Harvin on the other side — in our final preseason Athlon Top 280. Also around his ranking were QBs Eli Manning, Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford as well as RB Beanie Wells.
If you are looking to trade him for one of the aforementioned, I would not. He did receive six targets in his NFL debut against Chicago, catching five of them for 71 yards. If you can give up one of the aforementioned to get Jones, I would.
What's St. Louis' game plan with an injured QB and RB?
— @marshall_68901 on Twitter
I expect the Rams and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to continue to pass the football.
I expect Sam Bradford (finger injury) to play against the Giants on Monday Night Football next week. Cadillac Williams proved capable as a both a pass catcher out of the backfield (nine targets, five catches, 43 yards) and a runner after 19 carries for 93 yards in Steven Jackson's absence (quad). With Jackson probably out for Week 2, as well as WR Danny Amendola (shoulder), rookie Greg Salas may slide into Amendola's role and be a worthy successor. Plus we just saw Redskins QB Rex Grossman throw for 305 yards, two scores and no interceptions against a depleted Giants secondary.
Rams right tackle Jason Smith does not have a high ankle sprain as first feared, and could still go Monday night. If he does, while I am not as excited about the prospects of the Rams as I was just a few days ago, I think Bradford, Williams, rookie TE Lance Kendricks and WRs Brandon Gibson, Mike Sims-Walker and Salas are capable of keeping the Rams offense going in Week 2.
Should I claim Cam Newton off the waiver wire. Can he keep up the pace?
— @bamaboy9501 on Twitter
I address Newton in the Week 2 Waiver Wire story, and I think the Carolina QB is a terrible play against Green Bay in Week 2. However, he should have success again in Week 3 against Jacksonville. Go ahead and pick him up if you have the space, stash and wait.
— Corby A. Yarbrough @AthlonCorby on Twitter