Baldwin BrothersTuesday, November 01, 2011
Prior to Monday night's breakout game against the Chargers, Chiefs first-rounder Jonathan Baldwin was known primarily for trashing his teammates and coaches after leaving Pitt and mangling his hand in a training-camp fight with Thomas Jones' gun show. Finally healthy and in game shape after two months on the sideline, the athletic play-maker put on a show in front of the Arrowhead faithful with 82-yard breakout game highlighted by a leaping 39-yard touchdown.
The timing of Baldwin's breakout was interesting, as SI.com's Peter King touched on the Chiefs rookie in his Monday morning review of Michael Holley's new book War Room: The Legacy of Bill Belichick and the Art of Building the Perfect Team. Belichick advised Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff against his blockbuster trade for Julio Jones because Baldwin is "just as good." Another member of the Belichick tree, Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, ended up pulling the trigger on the physical downfield threat.
Along with Seattle slot receiver Doug Baldwin, who has topped five receptions and 70 yards in three of his last four games, Jonathan headlines this week's waiver pickups.
On to the players. Here is how I rank the top players at each position as we head into Week 9. Full writeups of each player are below.
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QuarterbacksMatt CasselSam BradfordChristian PonderTarvaris JacksonAndy DaltonRunning BacksJavon RingerRoy HeluChris OgbonnayaDonald BrownKevin FaulkKendall HunterChris IvoryTashard ChoiceWide ReceiversJonathan BaldwinEarly DoucetEmmanuel SandersDoug BaldwinLance MooreBraylon EdwardsTitus YoungLeonard HankersonBen ObomanuTight EndsBrent CelekHeath MillerJake BallardZach MillerDefense/Special TeamsRaidersTexansFalconsQuarterbacksMatt Cassel, Chiefs - I’ve never been a believer in Cassel, but rookie Jonathan Baldwin gives the Chiefs offense a different dimension and the schedule is made-to-order for fantasy success. Already a respectable 15th in fantasy points over the past five weeks, Cassel has dream matchups against the Dolphins (third-most fantasy points to opposing QBs), Broncos (most) Patriots (second-most) over the next three weeks. He’s a borderline QB1 for the next month. Recommendation: Should be owned in all leagues. Sam Bradford, Rams - Bradford has finally ditched his walking boot, though his status is still up in the air for an attractive matchup against the Cardinals’ burnable secondary in Week 9. Even if he ends up sitting out again, Bradford is well worth a roster stash with Brandon Lloyd emerging as a viable go-to receiver and Steven Jackson providing a stable ground attack. This offense has a chance to make waves in the second half of the season.Recommendation: Should be owned in 12-team leagues. Christian Ponder, Vikings - Ponder’s 102.7 passer rating and 8.4 yards per attempt against the Panthers are both season-highs, as he continues to show an aggressive streak and a strong enough arm on mid-level throws. Fantasy’s No. 13 QB in just over two starts the past three weeks, Ponder has the entire Vikings offense on the rise heading into the Week 9 bye. He has a host at high-end QB2 value in the second half. Recommendation: Worth a look in 12- and 14-team leagues.Tarvaris Jackson, Seahawks - After a disastrous September, T-Jax has established career-highs of 319 and 323 yards in two of his past three games. The return of Sidney Rice, emergence of Doug Baldwin and improved offensive line play have helped turn Jackson’s season around. Over the past five weeks, he’s been top-12 in fantasy points per game. Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.Andy Dalton, Bengals - Dalton is a fine young quarterback, but he’s feasted on low expectations and an unbelievably easy schedule thus far as fantasy’s No. 22 QB. His darkhorse Rookie of the Year status is about to take an uppercut to the jaw with matchups looming against the Steelers (27th-most fantasy points to opposing QBs), Ravens (31st-most), Browns (30th-most), Steelers again and Texans (28th-most) after squaring off with the Titans in Week 9. Dalton is only an option in two-quarterback leagues going forward.Recommendation: Worth a look in deeper leagues.Watch List: Brady Quinn, John Skelton, Matt Flynn, Vince Young, Shaun HillQuinn may get the call in a few weeks if Tim Tebow can’t turn himself into a quarterback. … An accuracy-challenged Skelton isn’t better than Kevin Kolb, and it’s not even close. But those in two-quarterback leagues may have to take the plunge if Kolb’s turf toe keeps him out this week against the Rams.
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