Washington worth the grab

BY foxsports • September 30, 2011

Bronco99: Is Nate Washington a top-20 WR (PPR league)?

Strictly from the peripheral proceedings, Washington’s stock has skyrocketed this week. Kenny Britt is sidelined for the season, Jared Cook hasn’t made the leap many expected, and apparently no one has notified Chris Johnson that his holdout is over. Theoretically, someone has to produce for the Titans this season, and by default, Washington looks to be that entity.

For his part, Washington has answered the bell, hauling in 21 receptions for 258 yards and a venture into the end zone. Historically, Washington has been an inconsistent performer, and the lack of a complementary wideout certainly hampers his ceiling. Yet, with Matt Hasselbeck turning back the clock to 2005, Washington is undoubtedly a commodity the rest of 2011. Feel free to start the Titan receiver against Cleveland this week.

Josh: What is your opinion of Ben Tate's value now that (Arian) Foster has returned?

Not good, Josh. Foster may not return to last year’s breakout form, but he’s still a viable asset in the Houston offense. As long as Foster is suiting up, Tate’s value is extremely curbed. He’s still worth a bench spot with Foster’s vulnerability; alas, Tate’s fantasy forecast is ominous at this juncture.

B: Dallas Clark owner here. PPR league. Anyway, would Fred Davis be a good pickup or is Cooley coming back in the rotation and will limit Davis?

I can’t believe I’m making this proclamation, but I think Curtis Painter can right the ship in Indy. By all accounts, the Colts had to simplify their offense to an elementary level for Kerry Collins to comprehend the attack, evidenced by the team’s atrocious showing out of the gate. Painter has been in the system since the 2009 campaign, allowing the Colts to open up their playbook against Tampa Bay this week. Granted, Painter’s iffy display in the first two preseason games spurred management to import Collins, but the Purdue product was impressive in Game 3 against Cincinnati (171 yards, two touchdowns, 111.4 QB rating). Stick with Clark for another few weeks before throwing in the towel. (Note: I fully expect my endorsement of Painter to end like my convictions in Rudy Fernandez and Edinson Volquez: complete and utter failure.)

As for the tight end conundrum in Washington, there are too many fantasy contributors at the position this season to resign yourself to a committee situation. Davis imposed his will in the first two games, but if Cooley is full healthy, expect his targets to decline.

Anthony: Does Stevan Ridley get a shot to be the man in NE this year? The Law Firm hasn't looked good.

Probably not. Green-Ellis had a rough game against Buffalo (10 carries, 18 yards), but looked solid against Miami and San Diego. Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead remain vital components to the New England offense, impeding Ridley’s endeavor for an increase in touches. Furthermore, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady seem hell-bent on demolishing every passing record in the book, restricting the value of any Patriot back this season.

Dino: Jacoby "Model T" Ford, Terry "Cloth" Smith, or Victor "Pablo" Cruz in my 16-team, standard scoring league?

Oh, my sweet Dino, please stop with the puns. Only Charles Barkley (“They should be called the UNLV Walkin’ Rebels!”) and Chris Berman can work this magic without coming across as forced.

Cruz has been a popular pickup this week, but with Mario Manningham returning for the G-Men, not sure he has the chops to be a reliable receiver in fantasy. Smith is in the same situation, as Lee Evans should be off the sidelines this week. Although he’s battling a hamstring issue, go with Ford.

Mario: Brandon Lloyd going to be a bust this year?

Will he hit 1,448 yards again? Doubtful, but Lloyd had a positive performance in Week 1 against Oakland (six receptions, 89 yards) and contributed against Tennessee (four catches, 38 yards) despite dealing with a groin injury. Denver won’t have the same proclivity for the passing game as 2010, and the emergence of Eric Decker may subtract targets in his direction, but Lloyd remains a safe No. 2 receiver in most leagues.

Tim: Drop Josh Freeman for Matt Hasselbeck?

Pretty sure Tim’s “Freeman for Hasselbeck” inquiry is the official end of Fantasy Free-mania. Not that I’m necessarily thrilled with Freeman’s lack of statistical output, but considering the inundation of emails defending the Tampa QB after I asserted he was slightly overrated heading into the season, one would have surmised that Freeman was a mixture of Michael Vick, Philip Rivers and Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson. I still think Freeman has the capability to be a sound fantasy starter in most formats, but he’s far from entering the upper echelon at the position.

Vic: Has J. Stewart overtaken D. Wiliams due to his pass catching ability?

With Carolina’s total disregard for the run in the first three games, this request is as relevant as, “Has Brian Cardinal replaced Brian Scalabrine as basketball’s most beloved scrub?” Stewart is worth keeping an eye on, as eventually the Panthers will begin to pound it on the ground. As for now, neither deserves a spot in your starting rotation. (And for the record, “The Janitor” has overtaken the benchwarming throne after his display in the NBA Finals.)

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