This has been a pretty hectic start of the week in terms of changes around the league. Ken Whisenhunt was fired from his job as the head coach of the Titans. Also, Colt's offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton was let go. These coaching changes will have the biggest impact on my tight end rankings and I'll explain why in my article tomorrow. Not only are these coaching changes affecting my rankings, injuries are also playing a role. Steve Smith Sr. and, most recently, Keenan Allen were both placed on the IR (we will get to San Diego receivers after the list).
This is week has the largest amount of players missing from action than any other week in the season. A total of six teams are on a bye. So the field gets a little deeper than usual towards the end. But, let's get started.
BYE WEEK: Arizona, Baltimore, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Seattle
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I think the most important factor in my rankings this week, as I mentioned above, is the situation in San Diego. Keenan Allen's season has come to an end due to a lacerated kidney. His loss leaves the Chargers with huge production to make up for. He has double the amount of fantasy points (160) than the next highest receiver, Malcolm Floyd (80), in PPR leagues. Allen's 67 catches so far this season ties him for the second-most in NFL history through the first eight games. The absence of Allen provides huge value to a couple of guys that look to replace him in the leagues most dominant passing offense.
I may be in the minority here, but I like Malcolm Floyd over Stevie Johnson. Floyd may be more of a deep threat guy, and that may limit him to less targets than Johnson, but he will have to have an expanded roll in this offense. That means WAY more targets of shorter distance. However when they launch it deep, you better believe that Floyd will be the guy they go to, which still gives him big play ability. Not to mention, it seems Floyd is the only healthy receiver left in this offense, unless you count Danny Woodhead as a receiver in the backfield. Johnson is still a little banged up from a shoulder injury, Antonio Gates played with a knee injury, and Ladarius Green was taken out of the game after suffering an ankle injury. Floyd is the most healthy option they have. I expect him to play a huge roll is this pass-or-go-home offense moving forward.
What a show Drew Brees and the Saints put on this week. After averaging 1.3 passing touchdowns per game through the six games he has played in, Brees threw a record-tying seven touchdowns in a single game and 505 yards, both career highs. As a result, all three of the Saint's wide outs had over 25 points. This could be a turning point for a guy like Brandin Cooks who hasn't had the year we expected. He had double the touchdowns in one game (2) than he had all season until this point (1).
Brees had 50 passing attempts that game, which wasn't much of a difference from his 42 attempts per game coming into the contest. But, something just seemed to click for Saints passing game that has been absent this year. I think Cooks will be a top-15 play this week followed by Willie Snead as a top-25 pick. I'm not too crazy about Marques Colston because this game was a huge spike in what has been a lackluster year. He may be worth the add if you need an option in deeper leagues.
Another guy I'm not too high on is Dez Bryant. He is in full form and played a majority of the snaps in the game against Seattle last week. But, I can't get behind Matt Cassel. He looked awful. Even with all of Dallas' offensive weapons on the field, he only amounted to 97 yards. Will there be improvement this week? Probably. I don't think Cassel will throw for less than 97 yards. But, I can't put too much stock into Bryant until Tony Romo gets back under center in a couple of weeks. He is number 20 on my list this week, so he makes a case for all lineups. His ability is undeniable, but it all depends on if Cassel can get the ball in his hands.
Last quick note: I think Kendall Wright can be a good flex play this week. New coaching could be what this offense needs to get jumpstarted. I mean look what happened in Miami once they got a new head coach. If history repeats itself, Wright may have a big day.