When Anthony Gonzalez went down with a knee injury in Week 1, waiver wires
lit up across fantasy football leagues. Pierre Garcon was a popular
pickup and had the potential to be an effective bridge for owners that either
had Gonzalez or were unhappy with their depth chart in the early going.
The popular policy among NFL coaches is that a player cannot lose his roster
spot due to injury, so what happens when Gonzalez returns to the lineup?
Is Garcon worth owning after that point?
So far this season, Garcon has only seven receptions, but those seven
catches have gone for 136 yards (19.4 average) and two touchdowns. Garcon
also has 13 targets in that time, so Peyton Manning is certainly looking his
Garcon has found the end zone the last two games
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
Garcon had only one reception in Week 2, but that went for 48 yards
and a touchdown — the game-winning touchdown — which certainly got the
attention of fantasy owners everywhere.
He is currently owned in 87 percent of fantasy football leagues and is
started in 40 percent of Yahoo! leagues and 66 percent of Sportsline leagues.
Garcon is no longer a secret at this point in the season, but, if he is
available in your league, he is worth picking up. He is worth owning
because he has shown so far to be a capable deep threat and skilled with the
ball in his hands, either as a receiver or a runner (one carry for 17 yards).
Garcon is gaining the confidence of Manning, which is certainly the first
step to success. The offense has been missing a threat at the X position
since 2007. Gonzalez appeared to be that threat, but he went down with a
knee injury and his exact return date is unknown.
That means that his
value in the short term is unquestioned — if he is available, put in a waiver
request immediately, but he is unavailable in the four leagues that I am in.
Garcon should continue to get more targets as Manning becomes more comfortable
with him and, by proxy, Tom Moore begins to trust him more, which will only make
his value increase.
Reggie Wayne (29, 20) and Dallas Clark (23, 18) are
still the prohibitive favorites in terms of targets and receptions,
respectively, though, so expectations should be realistic.
The burning question revolves around what Garcon's role will be when Gonzalez
returns. The answer to that question depends upon Garcon's development as
the X receiver in the Colts offense. Wayne is firmly cemented as the Y
receiver and Clark has been Manning's de facto second option thus far in 2009,
but the X receiver was an extraordinarily productive spot for Indianapolis when
Marvin Harrison was in his prime.
It can be that position again, but the
Colts need to find the right man to fill Harrison's shoes. Gonzalez was,
possibly, that man, but he has averaged only 13.2 yards per reception in his
career (compared to 19.4 for Garcon in that position so far, in a much smaller sample size), has scored only
once every 13.4 receptions (once every 3.5 receptions), and has a career long
reception of 57 yards (53).
Gonzalez is a known quantity at the Z or slot position in the offense,
whereas Garcon was not able to establish himself in that position when given an
opportunity (albeit limited). Garcon's best bet to stay relevant is to
establish himself at the X position, where Gonzalez's numbers are less
The Colts are going to throw the ball. The Colts are
going to come out, on average, in a three-receiver set. Clark, on average,
is going to get more targets than everyone not named Reggie Wayne. But,
the production of the X receiver position in the Indianapolis offense, from an
historical perspective, cannot be ignored.
If Garcon can establish himself
at that position — and he is off to an exceptional start — then Gonzalez will
still be starting on Sundays, but from the Z position.
The time to snag Garcon is either now, while he is languishing on another
fantasy team's bench, or when it is announced that Gonzalez will return.
When Gonzalez returns, it is entirely possible that he will return as the Z
receiver, but it is assured that he will have a limited role until he proves he is up to speed.
If you have
Gonzalez, try to trade him for Garcon. If you have a big-name receiver
that has underperformed, trade him for Garcon. The strategy is to acquire
the rights to Garcon and his production at some point between now and when it is
announced that Gonzalez will be back in the lineup. If Garcon continues
to develop, he will be the man to have that is not named Wayne, Clark, or
Visit the ColtPower.com forums!
Follow ColtPower's updates on Twitter!
Take advantage of our FREE seven-day trial!