Sammie Coates - WR - Pittsburgh Steelers
This past Sunday night I watched about a half-hour of the second presidential debate. While the real winner of the debate, Ken Bone, only spoke for a few seconds I must admit watching Donald Trump act like a third grader was quite entertaining. On the flip-side I can't really get over how a reality TV star is somehow in the middle of a presidential race and the way he talks about America you would think the majority of it is up in flames. I'm a believer that you get what you look for in life and a pessimistic world view is not a enjoyable way to live.
I'm far from perfect but I try to view each player through a positive lens. Sammie Coates is a player where his flaws are obvious but when you take a step back and view his talent and tactical value he adds to his team, he's a valuable asset. Week 5 is a perfect example. Coates was the WR1 in fantasy this week. He caught 6 passes for 139 yards and 2 TD's. He also dropped 5 passes.
Let's take a look at few plays from the past few weeks.
Coates is filling Martavis Bryant's role in this high-flying Pittsburgh offense as the vertical deep threat and is reaping the rewards. He currently is 7th in the NFL in receiving yards (421) and leads the NFL with 6 receptions of 40+ yards this season and it's easy to see why. More often than not he's the best athlete on the field.
Whenever I see Coates I think of Terrell Owens just due to his strength, size and speed. Physically he's such a mismatch.
Also like Owens, there is a Jeykell and Hyde to his game. Much more so with Coates.
Here Coates slows up in his route for whatever reason and is unable to snatch the ball away from his body.
As many opportunities as Coates creates for himself you'll see that he leaves plenty of plays on the field. Coates hands and ball skills have always been a concern even when he was at Auburn and I haven't seen really an improvement since entering the league.
Still his athleticism is a natural trump card that allows the Steelers offense to function at it's best and that's a point I really want to emphasize here. Even though each game is a rollercoaster his tactical value makes all the negative plays worth living through.
I'm not saying forget the drops, everything is fine, but let's look at the things Coates can do. He creates effortless separation and will swing games with his play making ability. On simple crossing patterns he can create YAC with the best of them and he's doing enough filing in for Martavis Bryant. Big Ben has one of the best deep balls in the NFL and Coates allows Ben to aggressively push the ball down field numerous times a game. Defenses now need to game plan for this. Something they wouldn't need to really do if Markus Wheaton and Eli Rogers were out there.
Brandon Marshall, and Terrell Owens are Hall of Fame receivers who have had drop issues. Some of the best young receivers in today's NFL like Mike Evans, Amari Cooper, Jordan Matthews, Will Fuller and Martavis Bryant have had some maddening stretches as well but they bring so much good to the table.
I'd like to think of Coates as a clean up hitter in baseball or a 3-point specialist in basketball. Often times they are far from prefect players but they're a key piece to an offenses success. Let's take Matt Kemp for example here. The Braves were one of the worst offenses in baseball the 1st half of the season. Even though Matt Kemp was still an impressive power hitter he's been largely criticized for his poor OBP and fielding the past few years. He wasn't seen as much of an asset. The Braves acquired Kemp at the trade deadline and plugged him in right behind Freddie Freeman in the lineup. Kemp provided pop that the Braves offense has sorely lacked since trading Heyward, Gattis and Upton over the past few years. According to Fangraphs, the Braves had the 2nd best offense in the MLB in the 2nd half of the season and Kemp was a big part of that. In basketball terms think of Coates as the 3-point specialist that spaces the floor for an offense and can blow a game open with a few quick threes.
For fantasy purposes Coates will be a boom/bust play from here on out. He needs to be owned in all formats and is a perfect WR3 and maybe even a WR2 depending on the match up.
I'll also add this side note since lineup strategy isn't talked much in fantasy football. Let's say you're a Coates owner and are going up against one of the best teams in your league and are expected to lose by 20 points. Rather than going with a safe play and plugging in like a Jordan Matthews, put in Coates because like we saw this week, it's not hard for him to have a 30 point game. Coates is the prefect home run play and you'll need to make up some points somewhere.
WEEK 6 BYE: MINNESOTA & TAMPA BAY
Week 5 Thoughts: Brian Hoyer is an alright streamer again this week vs Jacksonville. He's now had 3 straight games of over 300+ yards, 2 TD and 0 INT...Philip Rivers faces a tough Denver defense two of the next three weeks so he won't be a reliable fantasy option these coming weeks but I just wanted give him props for his play with his depleted cast of weapons the past month. He's done much better than I expected...Thank god that Colin Kaepernick is finally starting in San Francisco...Derek Carr has been phenomenal this year...What a disappointing week for Eli Manning vs that banged up Packers secondary. Fantasy owners were definitely hoping for more.
Marcus Mariota - Tennessee Titans
I despise Mike Mularkey and this 1940's offense that the Titans run but Mariota should be a worthwhile streamer this week. He faces the Browns defense that is one of the worst in the league. To give you an idea of what Mariota is going up against the worst QB performance vs Cleveland this year is Joe Flacco in Week 2 where he threw for 302 yards, 2 TD & 2 INT. Mariota had 7 rushes for 60 yards and a TD last week. Mariota's ability as a rusher gives him a reasonably safe floor with a crazy QB1 overall ceiling upside like we saw in Week 5. Might I also add that the Titans play IND, JAX and SD in the upcoming weeks. I don't want to get ahead of myself and tell you to put any of your eggs in the Titans offense long term but this week should work out for you if you choose to rely on Mariota.
Alex Smith - Kansas City Chiefs
Coming off his BYE, Smith should be available in most non 2QB leagues but now is the time to pick him up and ride him if you're about that streaming QB life. The Chiefs upcoming schedule couldn't be better - @OAK, NO, @IND, JAX, @CAR, TB. All those are great match ups. I know it's never pretty with Alex Smith and you'll be furious watching 7 yards passes down the field but more times than not he honestly gets the job done. Now I'm not saying play Smith over like Aaron Rodgers but he's a better option than like Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning or whatever streaky QB1 play you might be tempted by.
Week 5 Thoughts: Bilal Powell has now outscored Matt Forte the past three weeks in PPR formats...Eddie Lacy's ankle injury seems minor but it still might be worth taking a look at James Starks this week. Starks production has been disappointing thus far but any time a starting RB is available he deserves your attention...Justin Forsett signed with Detroit today. With Dewayne Washington sidelined with a foot sprain he could see some action in the coming weeks. I don't expect Theo Riddick's role to change at all if you're worried about that...Bobby Rainey seems to have locked down Shane Vereen's role in this Giants offense. He's been targeted 15 times the past two weeks for 13 receptions. He's got nice value in PPR formats...Arian Foster is likely returning this week. Jay Ajayi looked good last week. If not for a holding call he would have had 2 rushing TD's. The Dolphins offense is terrible so unless Foster goes down again I don't see too much value from here on out for Ajayi...Tevin Coleman is averaging 18.4 YPC. That's crazy. He's looked so so good as a receiving out of the backfield...For the second week I'll state again that Doug Martin is a super attractive "Buy Low" target. Martin should return after Tampa's BYE this week. Tampa then faces SF, OAK, ATL, CHI, KC and the Saints in Weeks 14 and 16. For the time being it appears Tampa might have lost faith in Winston seeing as they handed the ball to their backup RB 30 times against a team missing their starting corners from last season and that just gave up 300 yards to a single wide receiver the week before...Terrance West ran hot for the second week in a row. With Trestman gone I suspect the Ravens will become more run oriented, meaning West's stock will continue to go up...Sell LeGarrette Blount now. With Brady back Blount's workload will be more around 15 carries than the 25 he was being fed with Brissett and Jimmy G under center. Now there will be "Blount Weeks" but I'd try to sell him while his stock is the highest...In the worst possible game script for Cleveland, Isaiah Crowell still had 14 touches. Think of that as his floor. With Thomas and Bitonio now banged up I am a little more concerned about Crowell moving forward. He's still looking great but with some tougher run match ups and a hobbled OL his early season production will be harder to come by. I know most people aren't drinking the Crowell Kool-Aid and don't believe in his Top 10 ranking so far but it's worth seeing if you can trade him for something like Martin or Devonta Freeman. Maybe an underperforming WR like Alshon Jeffery.
Devontae Booker - Denver Broncos
Booker's snap count has increased every week this season and the Denver backfield is coming closer to a committee than maybe we would like to admit. In a preseason piece I mentioned that Ronnie Hillman still averaged 16 touches a game in the 2nd half of last season when CJ Anderson got rolling and averaged over 6+ YPC. There is seemingly room for both in this offense so don't go and selling CJ Anderson for whatever you can get. He just might be more of the low ceiling/high floor RB2 that many envisioned coming into the season.
Jacquizz Rodgers - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs are on BYE this week and Doug Martin should be healthy come Week 7 but any RB that gets 35 touches in a game should immediately come on our radar. With Charles Simms on IR I'd expect Quizz to take his work when Martin returns. That's good for 7-10 touches a game still.
SLEEPER RUNNING BACK
Jalen Richard - Oakland Raiders
Jalen Richard's game stylistically is very similar to CJ Anderson's. The Southern Miss product is a shifty compact all-purpose back. He doesn't wow with his athleticism but he's quietly been the most efficient Oakland running back so far this season. He's playing better than fellow rookie DeAndre Washington and if Latavius Murray is sidelined any longer with his turf toe issue Richard could serve as a desperation play at RB. Right now try to get him on your roster within reason to see if his role blossoms into anything more.
Here is clip of Richard last season at Southern Miss.
Week 5 Thoughts: Corey Coleman and Donte Moncrief are both a couple weeks away from returning from their respective injuries. If someone dropped them now is the time to go out and grab them...Michael Thomas has one less target and 3 more receptions than Brandin Cooks so far this season. He's really good and perfect for this Saints offense. I think most people are still sleeping on him so he might be an easy "Buy Low" coming off his BYE...Was surprised to see that Travis Benjamin played the least amount of snaps between the Chargers top 3 WR's (Inman & Williams). Oh, Tyrell Williams is on pace for 1,100 yards right now!...Kenny Britt is also quietly on pace for 74 receptions and 1,100 yards...Michael Floyd and John Brown had disappointing games in Week 5 but we should have known that was a real possibility with Drew Stanton starting. Don't knock them because of it...Good to see Randall Cobb have his first 100 yard receiving game since Week 2 of last year...For all the talk this past week about how the Lions were going to involve Golden Tate more he just had 3 receptions for 39 yards on 5 targets. I love Tate the player but it's not happening right now...I mentioned the Chiefs upcoming schedule above. Go and get Jeremy Maclin while his owners are still pissed at him...Go out and try to acquire Quincy Enunwa if you still can. I'd trade Randall Cobb for him, just to give you an idea.
Chris Hogan - New England Patriots
With Tom Brady back in action I'm trying to buy as much of the Patriots passing game as I can. Martellus Bennett and Gronk are an incredible duo at TE and as you'd assume they are go-to targets in the red zone. However, Hogan looked impressive this past week catching a couple of deep balls. He's running as the WR2 in this offense and has played just 5 less snaps than Edelman this year.
Cameron Meredith - Chicago Bears
Meredith has the measurable you look for in a WR. He's 6'3", 207 lbs and posted impressive numbers at his Pro Day - 4.49 40, 39" Vertical, 10'7" Broad Jump, 4.12 Shuttle. Meredith went undrafted in 2015 and spent the year on the Bears practice squad. Fast forward to 2016 and he's suddenly picking up where Kevin White left off in the Bears offense. Last Sunday he turned 12 targets into 9 receptions for 130 yards and a TD. Now Jeffery, Royal and Miller aren't 100% these days and in the coming weeks maybe he becomes less of a focal point but I don't think he's someone who we can just ignore. White was Hoyers favorite targets when healthy and the Bears seems to be using Jeffery as more of a deep threat this year. Pick up Meredith just to see if the production continues. The Bears are still one of the worst teams in the league and have a difficult stretch of games vs solid secondaries in Jacksonville, Green Bay and Minnesota before their Week 9 BYE.
SLEEPER WIDE RECEIVER
Davante Adams - Green Bay Packers
Adams is a punching bag for fans around the league. His sophomore season wasn't good but he's been alright so far this season. Most importantly defenses will continue to do their best to contain Jordy and Cobb which can funnel targets Adams way. He's been targeted at least 7 times in 3 of 4 games this year and has 3 TD's to show for it. If you're desperate for WR help you can do worse than Adams.
Week 5 Thoughts: Antonio Gates scored a TD in his first game back after missing two weeks...Gary Barnidge is on a little bit of a role now. Still waiting on him to hit pay dirt but you'll take 5 catches and 60 yards from your TE most weeks...Greg Olsen went bonkers on Monday night for 9 receptions and 181 yards. He's in for another great week as the Panthers go up against the Saints...Martellus Bennett is a thing, guys. He's a TE1 from here on out. There will be hills and valleys as there are with the majority of TE's but I'll remind you that in 2011 when Gronk has his best season to date Aaron Hernandez also finished as TE3 for the year. The Patriots know how to use these guys...Also it's fun to point out that the Bears somehow didn't think Bennett and Olsen were worth keeping around. That was good idea.
Charles Clay - Buffalo Bills
With Sammy Watkins out of the picture for possibly the rest of the season we're still looking for someone to step up in the Bills passing game. Charles Clay has had back to back 5 reception weeks and is facing a 49ers team this week that has already given up two 100 yard receiving games to TE's.
SLEEPER TIGHT END
Ladarius Green - Pittsburgh Steelers
Green was put on the PUP list to begin the season which means he won't be available until Week 7 at the earliest. Green has been optimistic that he'll be ready to go and reports the past few weeks seem to match up with that. With Brown and Coates on the outside there could be plenty of green space for Green in the middle of the field. He's much more of a big play threat than Jesse James. If you're hurting at TE Green is worth a preemptive pickup in most formats.