5 Months San Diego Chargers
The Chargers are expected to assign impending restricted free agent WR Danario Alexander with a tender "as high as the first round" this offseason.
A first-round tender would give San Diego the right of first refusal should another team try to sign Alexander to a multi-year deal, and a first-round pick as compensation should that team formally acquire Alexander. In other words, it would lock Alexander into being a Charger in 2013. The price of first-round restricted tenders in 2013 is expected to be an affordable $2.879 million.
5 Months San Diego Chargers
Danario Alexander caught three passes for 69 yards and a touchdown in San Diego's Week 16, 27-17 win over the Jets.
Alexander reeled in three of his six targets and worked mostly against Antonio Cromartie with Malcom Floyd now ending the season on injured reserve. Considering how shut down Cromartie has been this season, it's a respectable stat line for DX. The San Dego defense sacked Greg McElroy 11 times on the day and was the sole reason for the victory. Alexander will get his first look at the Raiders in Week 17.
What a wild weekend of NFL football! If you managed to survive and advance after the inordinate number of blowout losses, shutouts and underachieving big name studs then congratulations are in order.
Some studs such as Drew Brees, Andre Johnson and Adrian Peterson kept their owners alive while others picked a very inopportune time to lay an egg. Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles and Danario Alexander probably ended more than a few fantasy playoff runs this weekend.
As championship weekend awaits here are some names that stood out this weekend as possible plug-and-play options to help steal that Week 16 win. As well as a few names that may just be fantasy mirages and are best left alone.
Riley Cooper, WR, PHILADELPHIA: Cooper scored his third touchdown of the season on Thursday night and has filled in admirably for the injured DeSean Jackson. Over the past three weeks Cooper has played 95% of the Eagles offensive snaps and produced nine receptions for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Rookie quarterback Nick Foles seems to have an eye for Cooper as he has been targeted 21 times in the last three games. At 6' 3", and 222 pounds he is a nice red zone option for Philadelphia and has the Washington Redskins on tap for Week 16. Washington is among the top three defenses in allowing fantasy production to the wide receiver position and Cooper is looking at a strong fantasy finish to the 2012 season.
DuJuan Harris, RB, GREEN BAY: In the past two weeks Harris has rushed for 58 yards and scored a touchdown on very limited touches. Look for that to change moving forward because Alex Green is simply not getting the job done for the Packers. After a decent performance against the Lions in Week 14 where he amassed 66 total yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry, Green put up only 41 total yards on 14 touches against the Bears. Look for Green Bay to turn to the former Jaguar Harris, sooner rather than later. Green will still get some action on passing downs but Harris is due for a look as the No. 1 RB for Green Bay.
Leonard Hankerson, WR, WASHINGTON: It was a very nice week for Hankerson as he turned three targets into a two catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns. For the season he now has 36 receptions for 521 yards and three touchdowns. Hankerson will be a hot name next week as a possible Week 16 starting option, but don't buy into it. Remember that it was Kirk Cousins under center for the Redskins and while he had a nice rapport with Hankerson, as soon as RG III returns,...
5 Months San Diego Chargers
Danario Alexander was held catch-less in the Chargers' Week 15 loss to the Panthers.
He was targeted three times. Philip Rivers had no time to throw against a swarming Carolina defense, and was inaccurate on the rare occasions he did. It's hindsight analysis at this point, but San Diego's offensive dysfunction was bound to catch up to Alexander in the box score. It did -- with a thud -- in fantasy semifinals week. Facing Antonio Cromartie's Jets in Week 16, Alexander will be a riskier roll of the dice in title games.
Below, I'll list the player, their week 15 matchup, and the percentage of leagues in which he is owned according to our friends at fleaflicker.com.
The hope is that you don't find yourself in a situation like this. The hope is that you dodge the bullet. But hope won't help you come Sunday.
Let's move on to this week's targets, keeping in mind that these aren't every week starters. Instead, these are guys that should only be used if you're in some kind of roster emergency. With the majority of big name quarterbacks, including Robert Griffin III, expected to be active, we'll skip the position, moving on to running backs and receivers.
Joique Bell @ARI -- 38%. Last week, Arizona gave up 284 rushing yards to the Seattle Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch ran for 128 yards and three scores on just 11 carries. His backup ran 20 times for 108 yards. Granted, last week's 58-0 drubbing was a unique situation, and I wouldn't expect that kind of productivity again, but Bell and "lead-back" Mikel Leshoure have been splitting reps of late. Leshoure is still the goal line option, but Bell is more explosive and adds a pass-catching dynamic that Leshoure just doesn't have. Our staff has projected him for 70 yards rushing, four catches for 35 yards, and a touchdown. I think those numbers are fairly realistic, and he's available in way too many leagues.
Montell Owens @MIA -- 10%. We didn't know what to expect from Owens last week. But he served well in a lead role against the Jets, running for 91 yards on 14 carries, including a nice 32-yard score. There were some early week whispers that Rashad Jennings might return from a concussion this week, but he had yet to pass the necessary tests to return, meaning Owens is the default option in the Jaguars' backfield. When our projections were posted, we estimated 65 total yards for Jennings and 55 for Owens. With Jennings all but ruled out, I like Owens to put up 80-100 yards, with a good chance to score.
Danario Alexander vs CAR -- 54%. How is he available in almost half of leagues?! Right now, he is easily a top-25 fantasy receiver, and possibly higher, meaning he should not only be owned, but started in almost every league. Want further proof? Since week 10, in standard leagues, only Calvin Johnson and Dez Bryant have scored more than his 16.7 points per week. With a decent matchup in what could turn into a shootout with Carolina, I love Alexander, especially with teams covering him with just one defender...
5 Months San Diego Chargers
Coach Norv Turner said defenses are yet to adjust to Danario Alexander.
Over the last five weeks, Alexander has 30 catches for 494 yards and five touchdowns. "He's still seeing a lot of single coverage, a lot of matchups where he's not getting the best (defensive back)," Turner said. "He's getting the third DB, and he's taking advantage of it, and I think we're taking advantage of it." Alexander might start seeing some more coverage roll his way, but it's not a huge concern. The 6'5/217 monster has more than enough talent to overcome it.
The final few weeks of the fantasy football season comes with its own set of challenges. Teams are not only fighting through a litany of injuries, but many teams who find themselves out of contention are quietly beginning the process of preparing for next season. With several young and emerging players getting extended looks setting your fantasy playoff roster can be tougher than ever to fill out. Which situations should you be monitoring as we close the season out?
No waiver wire addition will draw more attention than David Wilson this week, and the interest is well warranted. Wilson eclipsed 100 yards and was responsible for three total touchdowns in the Giants thumping of the Saints. Wilson was already receiving an expanded role with Andre Brown landing on injured reserve. As if that opportunity was not enough, we find out that Ahmad Bradshaw is banged up with a knee injury. Owners who have Bradshaw have to cash in the insurance policy with Wilson. A start or two down the stretch would make Wilson a must-own player in all leagues.
With the Cowboys pushing to make a run towards the playoffs in the muddled NFC East the ominous word out of Dallas on Monday is that Dez Bryant suffered a finger injury that may require season ending surgery. This season Bryant has focused on beating defensive backs and has developed in to an every week WR1 starter. Teams who have relied on Bryant to get them to this point will need to prepare for his possible absence.
Danario Alexander is a solid option that fantasy owners should give consideration to adding to fill in at reveiver. Alexander has always had the talent to perform at a high level and this season he has shown that ability to stay healthy and is getting reps as a starter. Alexander displaced Robert Meachem half way through the season and has been developing a nice rapport with quarterback Philip Rivers. Despite some tougher matchups, Alexander should be added for owners who need depth at receiver.
With DeSean Jackson's season over, the Eagles' Jason Avant has had an opportunity to step in to a starting role. Avant does not possess the overall talent that Jackson offers, but he does have reliable hands and veteran savvy. Avant hauled in seven catches for over 100 yards on Sunday against the Buccaneers and will offer your fantasy squad a reliable option over the last several weeks if you find yourself desperate at receiver.
Brent Celek has already been ruled out for Week 15 with the lingering...