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“Sauer Notes” Dorial the Explorer: Mapping Out Your Stretch Run

As another week of football wraps up, we still find no shortage of storylines.  We have more undefeated teams at this point in the season than ever before.  Somerather surprising ones in the Bengals and Panthers, and the other, not so much of a surprise, the Patriots.  We saw an All-Star studded 49er team led by Blaine Gabbert, Shaun Draughn, Garrett Celek, and Quinton Patton beat the Falcons.  We witnessed a guy tougher than a civil war vet, in Andrew Luck, get thrashed and mangled by a bevy of Bronco defenders, and still get the win.  Of course, that did not come without retribution, as we now know he has a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle.  In the shootout that was Oakland and Pittsburgh, we saw Big Ben go down once again, Deangelo Williams pick up right where he left off, and Derek Carr put up another heck of a performance.   With all that being said, it is now time to divulge into our weekly wide receiver recap, and the outlook for the position moving forward.

Bye Week: Atlanta, Indianapolis, San Diego, San Francisco


Week 9 MVP’s

Antonio Brown- antonioESPN’s Matthew Berry said it perfectly on Twitter this past Sunday; “Antonio Brown is having a nice month today.”  He posted a historic 306 yards from scrimmage thanks to a team record 284 receiving yards in Week 9.  He tallied 17 receptions on 23 targets, which was a career high, as well as the yardage he accumulated.  While the astronomical numbers he put up this week were a promising sign of the Steelers’ passing attack getting back on track, that came to a quick halt as Big Ben will miss some more time with a sprained foot.  Dating back to Landry Jones’ last start in Week 7, he has hooked up with Antonio to the tune of 198 yards over their last five quarters played together.  Assuming that Mike Tomlin opts to go with the better passer in Jones, rather than Vick, Brown should still be entrenched in the WR1 conversation.

Jordan Matthews- It took seven weeks for Matthews to return to the good graces of his owners, and he did it in superb fashion.  Matthews finished off his 13 catch, 133 yard performance with a 41-yard game-winning score in overtime Sunday night against the Cowboys.  Aside from his Week 1 performance that excited all that drafted him high, he has surely underwhelmed, as has the whole high-profile Eagles offense.  It seems though that Chip andmatthewscompany have slowly turned the corner in the past few weeks.  They have been able to effectively get their ground game going with Demarco Murray and Ryan Mathews, enabling them to sequentially pick up first downs and keep opposing defenses on the field.  This is advantageous for them as they do not allow defenses to make the necessary substitutions to get fresh players on the field, and it alleviates the pass rush.  It was evident Sunday night that the Cowboys defense was getting exhausted, and the Eagles were able to take advantage.  Seeing as it was Matthews first showing since opening week against the Falcons, I would like to see him do it again before we proclaim him being “back.”


Week 9 Busts

A.J Green-  ajGreen’s scoring profile has always seen its fair share of peaks and valleys; Nevertheless, this season we are really seeing how a bevy of rich talent surrounding him in his receiving peers can affect his production pattern.  As Cincinnati remains a surprising unbeaten, credit can be given mainly to Andy Dalton who seems to be playing the best football of his young career.  This may be best in part to, finally, having all of his weapons healthy and at his disposal.  This past week, Tyler Eifert was the man putting up the big digits in a win against Cleveland on TNF, where he found the end zone three times.  Unfortunately, for Green owners this has been a constant occurrence, and does not seem subject to change unless injuries take place to some of the arsenal.  Green finished with a minuscule 4/53/0 performance, handing in his second single digit performance of the season.  Green is still a surefire WR1, and seeing as the Bengals are heavy home favorites against an exploitable Houston secondary, Green could be in for a bounce-back performance.

Stefon Diggs- diggs For a player all of us had picked up off the waiver wire, we can not be too upset about finding him in this section of the article.  It took a tilt against a solid Rams defense and losing his starting quarterback for Diggs’ streak of impact performances to come to an end.    The positive outlook here is that regardless of the dud performance, he was still the leading receiver for the Vikings Sunday, hauling in three of his five targets for 42 yards.  We have to hope that Bridgewater can suit up this week as they will face off with a beatable Raiders defense.  Diggs’ production hinges largely on the availability of Bridgewater, so if you are thinking of inserting him into your starting lineup come Sunday, preach caution if Teddy is unable to go.


Start Em’

Allen Robinson- robinsonNo, this is not purely based off my man-crush for Robinson, as you may have been quick to see based on my prior articles.  In the toughest of match-ups for WR, Robinson put up a 6/121/0 performance against Revis and the Jets.  In Week 7, before the Jags bye, Robinson produced in another tough set-up against the Bills, handing in a 6/98/1 line.  Considering the aforementioned stat lines in admittedly ‘sit’ type situations, what do you think he could do against a Ravens secondary that mirrors swiss cheese, metaphorically speaking?  We should also be aware that ascending second-year QB Blake Bortles is playing the best football thus far in the infancy of his career.  Find a way to get Robinson in your lineups, as well as the other Allen, in Allen Hurns.

Jarvis Landry-  landryThis may be more geared towards a PPR setup, as Landry is a guy who struggles to find the end zone.  Landry only has three touchdowns on the season, and one of them happens to be a rushing score.  He does find himself 17th among pass catchers in the league, seeing 9.4 targets per game.  This week, the Dolphins will play the Eagles, who boast a secondary giving up the fourth-most yards per game to opposing receiving corps.  Coincide his high usage rate, this exploitable defense, and a fast-paced game flow, and you have a recipe for success.  Even if you are in a standard scoring league (which stink, so get your commissioner and league-mates to change), you should feel comfortable starting Landry this week who presents decent upside given the numbers.

Desean Jackson-jackson Not surprisingly, Jackson did little against the Patriots in his first action since Week 1.  Seeing as it was his first time back on the field and the propensity for the Patriots defense to take away a teams biggest threat, the 3/15/0 was not really a disappointment, as most owners did not start him unless they were extremely desperate.  The Redskins have a much more enticing matchup against the Saints, who have given up 11 passing touchdowns over their past three games and the most of any team all season.  We also must take into consideration the expected game flow, as the Saints have been putting up points in bunches lately, which may force Kirk Cousins to air it out early and often Sunday.  If you are in need of a sneaky flex option this week, Jackson could very well be a viable fill-in with immense upside.


Sit Em’

Jeremy Maclin- maclinTo continue my trend of listing opposing WR against the Broncos, Maclin will find himself here this week.  Over his last three games, Maclin has failed to produce double-digit fantasy points in standard scoring.  If it were not for the 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Lions, he would have really had a forgettable performance for his owners.  Maclin may have actually forgotten his last two performances due to a concussion, so at least he is feeling your pain.  In Maclin’s Week 2 matchup with Denver, he finished with four receptions for 57 yards, and Denver’s defense has only gotten better.  If you have alternative options, you should be weighing those decisions as the matchup with Chris Harris Jr. is anything but delightful.

Sammy Watkins- watkinsFor fantasy owners, Buffalo fans, and Tyrod Taylor it was an extreme pleasantry to have Watkins back on the gridiron.  Watkins posted his best game of the season, finishing with 8/168/1.  Although, every time he was tackled or hit the turf there was a constant gasp over him getting up unscathed.  We must be cognizant that the Bills are traveling to Metlife Stadium for TNF action, and the traveling teams usually do not fare so well.  Add that in conjunction with where Watkins will be residing, Revis Island, and you have yourself an easy decision.  What Robinson did last week against Revis and the Jets was an outlier; Do not expect Watkins to put up the same production.


Waiver Wire Inquiry

Doral Green-Beckham-  dgbDid it really take the firing of Ken Whisenhunt for this club to realize the crazy talent and upside this guy presents?  In any other division than the AFC South, you would say the Titans are packing it in for next year and exploring what talent they have on the roster.  Now that Andrew Luck will miss significant time, and only trailing the Colts by two games, they are seemingly still in the mix at 2-6.  All that being said, DGB did lead the team with 10 targets and finished off with a 5/77/0 line.  He is definitely the most talented WR on their roster, and hopefully new HC Mike Mularkey sees that.  If you want a dynamic player like Beckham for your stretch run, you should pick him up now, but leave him on the bench this week as they face off with the Panthers and he could be shadowed by the legend of Josh Norman.  In conclusion, this guy may have the highest upside of any WR in the NFL, and definitely floating around on your waiver wire.

Davante Adams- adamsCheck your waiver wire and see if this guy was dropped following his ankle injury and lengthy absence.  When the news of Jordy tearing his ACL came about, Adams was flying up draft boards at an exponential rate. Expected to be the No. 2 WR in a high-flying offense led by Aaron Rodgers, a slow start combined with the ankle injury that kept him sidelined for weeks, may have caused some owners to cut their losses and create roster space.  I know in a couple of my leagues he was kicking around on the wire, and I took action.  His 11-target, seven-catch, 93-yard outing on Sunday was exactly the kind of workload his fantasy owners have been hoping for all season long.  It appears that he is fully over that ankle injury, and his workload should continue down the stretch as the Packers make their playoff push.  If you own Adams, this week you should definitely be fitting him in your lineups as he faces off with a lowly Detroit defense.

Devin Funchess- funchessI have mentioned his name in this article before for a plethora of reasons.  Another player who climbed up draft boards after Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL, there were rumblings before the season had started that he was not ready to make the jump right into NFL action, and that seemed to hold true.  The rookie finally made an impact on the box-score in Week 9 finishing catching three of his four targets for 71 yards and his first career touchdown.  He, like Dorial Green-Beckham, may be more of a stash-and-hold type prospect, but seeing as the Panthers are desperate for playmakers outside, we will see if he and Cam can develop chemistry down the stretch.  If you have roster space available, feel free to add the rookie, and hope for an increased workload during the second half of the season.  If I had to pick one of the two, I would lean towards Green-Beckham as he has more secure playing time, and a seemingly more consistent workload.


Bold Predictions

Calvin Johnson has a Megatron-esque type game going 9/145/2.

Kenny Britt does what he does and has his random good game of the season with 6/108/1.

Brandin Cooks keeps that hot-steak alive handing in a 7/103/2 performance.

Its not Odell Beckham, not Rueben Randle, but Dwayne Harris leading the Giants WR with a 6/95/1 performance.

Super Bold: In a surprising upset on SNF, the Texans take down the undefeated Bengals, but Deandre Hopkins is not the reason why finishing with a 5/61/0 performance.


Need any lineup advice, trade offers, or waiver opinions?

Find me on twitter: @zaksauer


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