Miami at Arizona
Rob Housler saw his snap count increase the first three weeks of the season. Last week it dipped slightly from 50 down to 44 but his targets increased from 2 to 3. Arizona doesn’t typically incorporate their tight ends heavily into their offensive game plan, but they should, because they have a jewel they are hiding in Housler (he reminds me of a young Jason Witten). Housler has that type of upside, but until Arizona realizes this he remains merely someone to monitor. Be ready to swoop in if his targets increase. Michael Floyd has played in just under 50% of the Cardinals snaps the last two weeks and received eight targets against the Dolphins. He remains at best the third passing option behind Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts, but Floyd's role is growing and he should eventually receive more goal line targets than the latter as he has 4 inches and 25 pounds on the 2nd year pro out of Citadel. Ryan Williams was stifled by Miami’s run defense. William Powell actually had more snaps and was featured in the Arizona’s hurry up offense in the fourth quarter, which is something to monitor if you are counting on a heavy dose of number thirty-four. You might not get enough touches if Arizona is forced to play catch-up. Lamar Miller received only eight snaps and Daniel Thomas saw 21. Miller is clearly a better runner than Thomas but he may need two injuries before he becomes fantasy relevant.
Houston at Tennessee
Remember all the preseason talk about Ben Tate eating into Arian Foster’s workload? Tate outpaced Foster a full yard per carry in 2011 leading to fears that offensive coordinator Rick Dennison would be ‘forced’ to feed him the rock more in 2012. The opposite has been the case. Foster has seen no fewer than 24 carries in any given week and leads the entire NFL in carries. Even with Houston up 31-7 late in the fourth quarter Tate remained on the sidelines twiddling his thumbs as Foster handled mop up duty. Tate has been fantasy death three out of four weeks this year and remains nothing more than a Foster insurance policy or a desperation flex play until he sees the field more often. Kendall Wright received eight targets. All other Titan WR’s received eight total. Wright also leads the team with 33 targets on the year. Jared Cook has seen his snap count dwindle from 60 on opening day to just 25 on Sunday. Not a good sign for those who drafTed Cook to be a TE1.
Cincinnati at Jacksonville
Justin Blackmon tested the waters of marginal fantasy relevance with a ‘breakthrough’ performance catching 6 passes for 48 yards. Remember that he reported late to camp and is still learning the nuances of Bob Bratkowski’s offense. If Blackmon keeps getting touches the points will eventually come as the rookie has massive YAC ability. I wouldn’t start him yet unless you are desperate, but I wouldn’t drop him either as some others have suggested. Keep Blackmon stashed in hopes of making an impact in the second half of the season. Marcedes Lewis is unstartable as long as he’s kept in to block. It remains to be seen if Lewis will have any fantasy relevance this year. Cincinnati needs to wake up and run more three wide receiver sets so that the team can get their second best offensive weapon out on the field more often. After getting nine looks week one, Andrew Hawkins has only been targeted 10 times the last three weeks and remains a feast or famine flex play.
San Diego at Kansas City
Excessive hype pushed Mr. Glass up to a mid-first round draft position in early preseason drafts. Since then Ryan Mathews owners have received one piece of bad news after another. Yet roto nation continues to view one of the most brittle backs in the NFL through rose colored "Glass"-es. The latest rosy picture painted before us is that the time share with Jackie Battle on Sunday was a one time aberration solely used to motivate the third year injury prone halfback. While that is certainly possible I would not assume that is the case. Mathews has always been part of a time-share during his short career. He’s never carried the ball more than 222 times in a single season. He’s had ball security issues and is as fragile as they come, so if the time-share continues it should be no surprise. Yes, he’s clearly the most talented running back on the roster, but that alone doesn’t guarantee anything. If you judged only by the box score it might seem that Antonio Gates is slowly being fazed out of the offense. Receiving only 3 looks on Sunday, his 18 targets on the year barely outpaces Eddie Royal. He poses an interesting problem to fantasy owners. Do they keep plugging in TE3 production into their starting lineup? Or do they bench him and risk watching a Jason Witten like explosion (13 catches for 112 yards) on their bench? Jonathan Baldwin is a sleeping giant waiting to explode himself. He just needs more targets. He’s only received 15 total the last three weeks. If some impatient owner in your league cut bait on him, gobble him up for the upside.