Week 10: Player Upgrades
Even though Steve Johnson is questionable heading into Week 10 with a thigh contusion injury, early reports from head coach Chan Gailey are leaning toward having the fifth-year wideout ready to play. Johnson has not lived up to his preseason expectations as he currently ranks on the fringes of the Top 30 at his position. He can quickly turn that around with his next four games against New England (24th-ranked fantasy defense against WRs), Miami (29th), Indianapolis (25th), and Jacksonville (17th). Even though the former Kentucky Wildcat's numbers are generally down, that has not really slowed down his target numbers. Johnson is on pace for 140 targets this season which is right in line with his totals from 2010 (143) and 2011 (135). If you need one final observation to illustrate Johnson's value, remember that the Bills are losing more than they are winning. Falling behind early always leads to more passes which means more production for Buffalo's receivers.
Remember Antonio Gates? After not hitting the end zone through the first five games of the season, Gates has scored three TDs in his last three games. What makes this uptick in production even more appetizing is that San Diego has a very desirable set of matchups over the next four weeks. The Chargers face Tampa Bay (21st-ranked fantasy defense against TEs), Denver (30th), Baltimore (19th), and Cincinnati (27th). Granted, these positional matchup rankings aren't as reliable when making predictions compared to other positions, but the larger takeaway is that Gates is playing better and the Chargers have a long history of finishing strong during the second halves of their seasons. One troubling number statistic is his targets. Only seven over the last two games will require a small leap of faith when sticking with the ten-year vet over the coming games.