Sep 22,2010

Looking to Week 3: One for the Money, Two for the Show, and Three to Let Go

The Money: Mark Clayton

Sometimes all you need is a change of scenery. This certainly seems to be the case for the Rams newly acquired WR, Mark Clayton. Drafted in the first round by the Ravens back in 2005, his time in Baltimore was hampered with injuries and inconsistency. Now in St. Louis, however, he and filthy rich rookie QB Sam Bradford have got a good thing going. Perhaps it’s because of their shared experience as former Sooners or maybe it’s simply the lack of depth on the Rams roster. Whatever the case, fantasy owners had better take notice, while St. Louis fans gather some cautious optimism.

At their home opener against Arizona, two of the newest Rams demonstrated textbook chemistry, connecting for 10 receptions and 119 yards. In Week 2’s outing to Oakland, Clayton stepped it up and made every catch count, hauling in two receptions for 24 yards and two TDs. This week the Rams will head back home and take on a struggling Redskins secondary. While I don’t necessarily believe the Rams will finish the season with a winning record, I am positive that the Clayton/Bradford pairing will not only help St. Louis, but also your fantasy team’s chances at victory.

Bottom line: Mark Clayton is only owned in approximately 55% of most leagues. That’s crazy considering he’s outscored Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Roddy White, and a host of other elite receivers. If you’re in a three WR league or need someone to replace the totally useless Michael Crabtree then do yourself a favor and make a play for #89.

The Show: Josh Freeman

Dozens of NFL QBs have fallen victim to the ever abundant “sophomore slump.” Josh Freeman, however, is not one of them. For the sake of the Glazer Family‘s collective heart health, I should hope that the former Kansas State Wildcat improves on his previous season’s numbers. That being said, #5 is beginning to show signs of life and also starting to make good on his five-year, $26 million contract with the Bucs.

Whether it’s the addition of rookie Mike Williams, more experience in the league, or a combination of the two, Freeman is off to a promising start. Leading the Bucs to victory for two weeks in a row, the former first rounder has passed for a total of 360 yards, rushed for 77 yards, scored 4 TDs, and thrown one interception. So what does all of that mean? Well, it’s means that he’s scored twice as many TDs as Tony Romo and thrown half as many interceptions as Aaron Rodgers. In terms of fantasy points scored he ranks seventh (non-PPR), just behind Tom Brady and above Matt Schaub. Right now he’s only owned in about 15% of most leagues, but I’d expect that to change… assuming his ascent does not.

Bottom Line: Freeman and the Bucs take on the Steelers and their as of yet unstoppable defense this week at home. Given the unfavorable match-up, I’d advise you to sit the burgeoning fantasy option for the time being. However, you’ll want to keep an eye on him or stash him away as a viable QB2 alternative in the coming weeks.

To Let Go: Jason Campbell

Believing him to be a victim of personnel changes and unfavorable circumstances, I had hoped that Jason Campbell would flourish in Oakland. That hope died 1.5 games into the 2010 season when he was benched by Coach Cable in favor of back-up QB Bruce Gradkowski. While Cable hasn’t announced who will be the starter in Week 3, I’m going to go ahead and surmise that Jason Campbell’s fantasy potential finally took its last breath.

It’s clear that Campbell’s confidence has diminished about as quickly as JaMarcus Russell‘s work ethic. His showing in week one was well below expectations. While the former Redskin did complete 22 passes for 180 yards in the air, rushed the ball 7 times for 35 yards on the ground, and scored a passing TD, he was also sacked 4 times, fumbled the ball twice, and threw an interception. Seemingly on track for worse numbers in Week 2, Campbell threw for a meek 87 yards with another interception, two more fumbles, and a pair of sacks… against The Rams… in the first half! Youch!

Bottom Line: Regardless of who Cable chooses, I’m staying away from Oakland and would advise you to do the same.