Of course you did Fitz. The week after I declare that you should be benched, you bust out with a 19 point performance. You doubled your touchdown total on the year with only 6 catches. I had you benched on my fantasy teams and it killed me to do it, but your 6 previous performances demanded it.
That is why I am going to continue to recommend Larry be benched for some better options if you have them and why my title is sarcastic. 5 minutes left he catches a 5 yard TD pass on-screen set up for him. Make no mistake, Larry Fitz is a major target in the red zone as proven by the play-action set up for him in the first quarter. Going into the 4th quarter, Larry Fitz had 3 catches for 30 yards with a TD. After his 2nd TD he had 4 catches for 35 yards and 2 TD’s. You can’t help but notice, without the TD’s this looks exactly like his last week (3 catches for 30 yards). That is what scares me. Larry Fitz continues to get targets, but is unable to get the yardage and catches that you want from your number 1 WR, nevermind what you hope to find in your second WR. This week is an anomaly in terms of his first 8 weeks, I hope it continues, but I’m not ready to say, “Welcome Back Larry!” and actually mean it.
Enough post hoc rationalizing of my benching of Larry Fitzgerald. The “Who Dat” on this weeks show was about the emerging talent to be discovered around the league. We started the game with Ryan blowing us all away by calling Steve Johnson, knowing only his rank among wide receivers, which was 13th going into this weekend. Johnson, a 6’2” 202 lb, 24-year-old has been playing like a superstar for five straight games now. He has a touchdown in each of the last five and has been adding at least 30 yards in each of those games. I discussed my approval of Ryan Fitzpatrick a few posts ago and this guy has been the main beneficiary. In years past I didn’t want any part of the Bills passing game but the turnover from year to year is probably one of the best things about the NFL. Once Trent Edwards hit the free agent list, the Bills became a passing possibility for your fantasy team.
I was heavy in the wide receiver department this week, but I think for good reason. After talks of being benched or worse early in the season, Dwayne Bowe has 5 touchdowns in his last 3 games. It seems some players respond to hard times, and some do not. I was glad to see that Bowe was able to bounce back rather than fall back even further into obscurity. He has a tonne of talent and at 26, he should have a long career ahead of him. What has made him such a great red zone target is his size, he is 6’2, 221 lbs. The only way wouldn’t be starting Bowe is if you play in a yardage heavy league. Bowe only had 16 yards on 3 catches this week. The Chiefs have found a game plan that is winning them games and it seems to be far more run heavy. This seems to mean that Cassel is far less likely to air it out deep to Bowe like they did coming back from the half last week against Jacksonville. If you are in a dynasty league, you are holding onto Bowe, but if you’re looking for a quick move to make your team better, this may be the time for a blockbuster. Bowe’s next 3 games are against top 15 defences, whereas his last 3 games were against bottom 15. If that scares you, then trade Bowe while he is at his highest value.
Keeping with wide receivers, and getting further down the list brought us to Davone Bess. To look at him, you may be impressed, but let his stats do the talking. Bess had a touch down in 3 straight games. He has had 5 catches in every game except week 2. This is a huge boost for those of you playing in PPR (point per reception) leagues. Many people may not have heard of him, and rightfully so since he has been a punt returning 3rd wide receiver for the majority of his time with the Dolphins. This weekend however he was rewarded for his great play by the Dolphins by being upgraded to the number 2 position. Going into week 8, Bess had more fantasy points than Marques Colston, Larry Fitzgerald, Donald Driver, and Wes Welker. I’m sure you’ve heard of those guys. A surprisingly good matchup is ahead for Bess this upcoming weekend as he plays the Ravens, who have been lit up by wideouts this year as they are ranked 24th. Look for defences to give Bess a lot of room to make plays while Brandon Marshall demands their attention.
When researching hidden gems in the running back ranks this past week it didn’t take me long to find a familiar name that I, and I’m sure many other fantasy players, have been waiting for. Ahmad Bradshaw was leading the league in yards going into his bye on week 8. He was only ranked 9th among running backs, probably since his fumbles (4) outnumber his touchdowns (3). The fumbles are worrisome but I place a lot more stock in the carries that he has been getting this year. Bradshaw has generally been used in passing situations and has been teasing owners with his talent for years. 15 carries is the least amount Bradshaw has received in every game this year. When a guy with this kind of talent gets the ball that many times, I want him on my fantasy team.
Need help in your Tight End spot? Brandon Pettigrew was on a tear of 6 plus catch games. It didn’t pan out this weekend as he only had 2, but one was for a touchdown. Pettigrew has been the picture of consistency this year. We were all sold a bill of goods last year in the pre-season that said Pettigrew was the next best thing. It was the equivalent of the hype for Jermichael Finley this year, not quite, but almost. In 7 games in 2010 he has 5 more catches than last year and is set to go set new personal bests in yards and touchdowns. He may not be Antonio Gates, but who is? Pettigrew is a great plug-in for a guaranteed 4-6 points every week.
You can catch Henry along with the rest of the crew on Athletes Angle with Ryan Karhut every Monday at 3 p.m. ET on 101.5 UMFM and on the podcast available at athletesangle.com. Email any fantasy football questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and put Fantasy in the subject line. Unlike the big guys, we will get back to you.