RosterWatch Nation, Tajae Sharpe did work last week! While he didn’t get the touchdown I predicted he did go for seven catches and 76 yards against a tough Vikings defense. I hope you picked him up early because he’s the Titans #1 receiver for the rest of the year, easily.
Tight ends, like most years, are slim pickings. Gronk is the easy choice every week but his questionable injury status adds a major dilemma. I’d love Tyler Eifert this week if he were healthy against a Pittsburgh defense that couldn’t button down the seams last year. Travis Kelce, while superbly talented, is going against a stifling Houston Texans defense and still costs $5000 on Draft Kings.
You could go with a guy like Gary Barnidge but you need a little excitement in your life. You need someone cheap but who still lets you walk on the wild side, like the pretty cashier at Wal-Mart with a nose ring and a butterfly tattoo. You need… the Outlaw Jesse James!
Since Ladarius Green has a concussion in his ankle, the Steelers’ tight end options have been limited to the second year Nittany Lion, the “other” David Johnson, and relative unknown Xavier Grimble. I like James’ value this week and his potential in week 2.
Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives for Jesse James while considering his fantasy value in Week 2 versus the Cincinnati Bengals defense.
– Size: He’s not a diminutive joker-type tight end. He’s got a great frame that he’s added some muscle too, though he’s still not built like a Heath Miller or Matt Spaeth.
– Quarterback Play: Let’s face it. Big Ben is a top 3 quarterback, who improves the play of every pass catcher on the team. He seems to have gained more trust in the Outlaw in his second year. There is likely to be significant pressure in his face from Domata Peko and Geno Atkins so he’s going to want to get the ball out of his hand quick, which means some good targets for James and DeAngelo Williams. If James got 5 receptions last week against a lousy Redskins defensive line, how much work does he get against a fierce Bengals one?
– Matchup: Normally five receptions for 50 yards or seven receptions for 87 yards would be decent for a receiver but these numbers from two regular season meetings between the Bengals and Steelers are paltry for arguably the best receiver in the league, Antonio Brown. He’s going to get significant attention. At the same time, Heath Miller had ten receptions in each game against the Bengals last year. This isn’t the same defense but I’d argue that they will perform more poorly in the middle of the field while missing vitriolic linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
– Limited Athleticism: He’s not really going to present you with huge mismatches. He’s a decent athlete but not running away from anyone like a healthy Ladarius Green might. He’s improved as a route runner but he’s still somewhat robotic and choppy when running.
– Low Touchdown Ceiling: The Steelers have a bevy of offensive weapons even without Green, Bell, and Martavis Bryant. AB, Eli Rogers, Markus Wheaton (when healthy), DeAngelo Williams, Sammie Coates, and even Darrius Heyward-Bey are significant threats to a defense. We could very lucky with a James touchdown but I can’t see him having a multiple TD game like a tight end in an offense with fewer mouths to feed.
– Defensive line: As stated earlier, Big Ben is phenomenal, but historically he’s had trouble with this defensive line. Between Carlos Dunlap, Peko, Atkins, and an emerging Margus Hunt, I worry for Big Ben’s safety. If he spends most of the day on the ground it’s going to be hard for Jesse James to have a breakout game.
DECLASSIFIED: Jesse James’ Week 2 Fantasy Outlook
LaDarius Green will be out at least almost half the season. This is not a great week for some other marquee tight ends. I really like Jesse James’ outlook this week and now is the time to get him before demand grows exponentially.
He’s available in over 75% of redraft leagues. Long term value is questionable but he could be a good pickup now if you’re a Green owner and he’ll be an easy drop by week 8. Perfect fill-in player.
He’s only $3400 in DraftKings this week. Barely above the minimum. On FanDuel he’s $4500, the cheapest you can get a tight end.
I love the value of James this week in most any fantasy format.
All factors considered, I would expect the Outlaw Jesse James to pull down 7 receptions for 75 yards in Week 2 versus the Cincinnati Bengals!