Overrated/Underrated: Gaffney's consistency impossible to ignore
Well, that certainly was another crazy week in the NFL! If you're a Chiefs or Colts fan, I welcome you to the strange feeling of victory. If you're a Raiders fan, I implore you to not jump off the Bay Bridge, because you might land on some Steelers fans. If you're a Texans fan, you need to give Andre Johnson all the HGH in the world, and if you're a Jets or Giants fan, well, better luck next week.
Fantasy rolls on even if your team doesn't, and if you've made it this far, surely you might need one last boost to put you over the top. We've been crunching the numbers in our mathatorium and here now are the most overvalued and undervalued players from a fantasy perspective.
Our algorithm has had a long-term mancrush on Gaffney. You won't get a huge game out of him, but if you are the favorite in your matchup, you're probably more concerned with consistency than you are with explosive point potential. If we throw out Gaffney's matchup against Revis Island in Week 13, he has caught at least five balls and gained 70-plus yards in each of his last five games. Gaffney leads all eligible (read: non-Fred Davis) Redskins receiving options in receptions (58) and targets (96), giving him a solid 60.4 percent catch rate. Gaffney also has a nice matchup against an awful Minnesota secondary this week. He's not sexy but he'll get the job done, which is a setup to many different punch lines that are too risqué to be printed.
Thomas has quickly become Tim Tebow's top option at wide receiver, which is to say that he's been in the general area of Tebow's most recent off-balance, off-the-back-foot desperation chucks. Thomas was targeted 13 times last week against New England and has put up 10-plus in each of the past three weeks. In fact, Thomas has over 50 points total in the last three weeks. He's a big-play receiver and the numbers show it: he adds 1.25 points to the Broncos offense on every reception. That puts him as the 13th most efficient receiver in the league on a per catch basis, among those with at least 25 catches.
Brown has been by far the most efficient option at running back for the Colts this season, and has pushed his way past both Delone Carter (slow) and Joseph Addai (slower) on the depth chart. Brown has a solid 40 percent success rate and has added more than 12 points to the Colts' offense above expectation. That may not seem that interesting on the surface, but digging deeper, it means he is the fourth-most efficient running back in the league in terms of total efficiency added, behind only LeSean McCoy, Adrian Peterson and Darren Sproles. In the Colts' first win of the season, Brown carried the ball 16 times for a career-high 161 yards and a touchdown. Not only that, Brown has put up 10-plus points in three of the last four weeks and has over 50 points total during that time period. What can Brown do for you?
Madden Cover Boy Hillis is finally healthy after missing five straight games earlier in the season and he notched his first touchdown of the year Sunday in Arizona. Don't let that 17-point performance fool you, though. Hillis has been more bust than Pamela Anderson and has two extremely tough games remaining on the schedule: Baltimore and Pittsburgh. While he is certainly a workhorse and the Browns don't have much else by way of talent, you don't want to be starting any running back against those two defenses.
Boldin is a great receiver but he just hasn't been getting the ball this year. Joe Flacco seems to love his rookie wideout Torrey Smith/throwing interceptions more, and as a result, Boldin is no longer starter-worthy on most fantasy teams. Boldin has not scored above 10 points in the last seven weeks and has three consecutive weeks under six points. In fact, in their blowout loss to the Chargers, he only recorded two catches. Boldin has a suboptimal 54 percent catch rate, well below his career average. From a supposed No. 1 receiver, that is unacceptable. He also has yet to post a game with more than 15 fantasy points. Think he misses Kurt Warner?
Once a member of the undervalued club, Decker now finds himself on the other end of the spectrum thanks to the aforementioned Thomas. In the last three weeks, the Minnesota product has only caught six balls for 80 yards -- a whopping eight fantasy points over that time period. Like Boldin, you can't be starting a wide receiver with that poor production. Decker is still the most targeted receiver on the Broncos, but his 49 percent catch rate just doesn't cut it; it's almost as if he's been attending the Pierre Garcon/Terrell Owens hands clinic during the week.