Maybe Calvin Johnson should have started the season suspended.
After all, it’s worked for receivers like Jacksonville’s Justin Blackmon and Cleveland’s Josh Gordon this year in fantasy football.
Blackmon missed the first four games of the season due to a suspension, but has been a beast for the Jaguars since returning in Week Five, with 19 catches for 336 yards and one touchdown in two games. If he’s still available in your league (he was in a quarter of ESPN leagues as of Thursday), add him immediately. With a game against the Chargers, who are allowing the seventh-most points to opposing receivers, Blackmon is poised to continue his No. 1 receiver production.
Gordon, meanwhile, has 25 catches for 429 yards and a pair of touchdowns in four games for the Browns since completing a two-game suspension to start the regular season. His average of 17.2 yards per catch is tied for 10th in the NFL. At 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Gordon is a big play waiting to happen every week.
Johnson, meanwhile, continues to struggle with a knee injury that has limited him to seven catches for 69 yards and just one touchdown over the past three weeks, a source of major frustration for fantasy owners (like myself). But at least he’s still playing. In the past couple of weeks, marquee receivers like Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Green Bay’s Randall Cobb have gone down for either the entire season (in Jones’ case) or most of it (Cobb’s situation).
Aside from Blackmon and Gordon, another player who has stepped up as a replacement in the last two weeks is San Diego’s Keenan Allen. He has 15 catches for 222 yards and two touchdowns in the past two weeks for the Chargers, and has been targeted a healthy 21 times by quarterback Philip Rivers.
Atlanta’s Harry Douglas is also worth considering for an add to your squad. Douglas has gone from No. 3 to No. 1 on Atlanta’s depth chart — at least while Roddy White is injured.
New York Giants receiver Rueben Randle has three touchdowns in the past two games, making him a player worth considering as well, especially if you’re holding onto a bust like Sidney Rice (guilty) and Randle is available for your bench.
Foles a good spot start
With Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on a bye this week (along with Oakland), fantasy owners will be in need of a spot starter. One good option is Philadelphia’s Nick Foles.
He produced 296 yards and three touchdowns last week against Tampa Bay, and has five touchdown passes the past two weeks in place of the injured Michael Vick. Foles faces the Dallas Cowboys in Week Seven. They are allowing opposing quarterbacks 22.7 points per game in standard-scoring ESPN leagues, the most in the NFL.
Another strong performance from Foles on Sunday could mean he takes over the job full time from Vick.
Stacy taking over
The Rams’ backfield situation appears to be leaning toward Zac Stacy, a rookie drafted in the fifth round out of Vanderbilt. He’s gotten 32 carries and produced 157 yards over the past two weeks, although he hasn’t reached the end zone.
Stacy is questionable this week for the game against Carolina because of a rib injury. Monitor his status Sunday when the inactives come out — he’s a good low-risk add as a potential No. 1 running back.
Analyzing the Bills
How close of a call is it right now between running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller? ESPN has Jackson ranked 18th and Spiller 20th for this week’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
CBS Sports’ fantasy writer Nathan Zegura, meanwhile, has Spiller 24th and Jackson 25th in his weekly rankings.
I expect Spiller, who has produced 470 yards over the past three games against Miami, to have a big week. The Dolphins are giving up more than 20 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs, fourth most in the league.
Bills receiver Stevie Johnson returns this week. In his last six games against Miami, he has only one touchdown catch. I’d shy away from starting Johnson on Sunday.
On the Miami side, the Dolphins’ running game doesn’t offer much hope. Lamar Miller is the lead back, and while he’s averaging a decent 4.2 yards per rush, he’s coming off a dog game of seven carries for 15 yards against Baltimore. The Bills’ run defense, however, is still suspect, which gives Miller decent value as a No. 2 back.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is 80 of 128 (62.5 percent) and has seven touchdowns and just one interception for a passer rating of 98.2 in his past four home games. He’s a borderline starter this week.
Dolphins tight end Charles Clay has a touchdown catch in each of the Bills’ last two games, but has a tough matchup. The Bills have held tight ends to an average of 32 yards per game since Week Three.