Fantasy football: Owners should join (Chris) Ivory League

SHARE Fantasy football: Owners should join (Chris) Ivory League

Chris Ivory never has been a highly respected running back in fantasy circles. You’ve probably been in drafts in which an owner, out of ideas, begrudgingly has selected Ivory. Given that he wasn’t drafted into the NFL and had three injury-marred seasons with the Saints, it’s understandable.

But Ivory has been a different player since joining the Jets in 2013. He has been reliable and durable, and it appears he’s taking a step up in class. Widely regarded as an RB3 entering the season, Ivory had the third-most basic-scoring points among running backs in Week 1 with 21.

He carried 20 times for 91 yards and two touchdowns (10 and three yards) against the Browns. Though Bilal Powell had 12 carries for 62 yards and served as the third-down back, Ivory still had plenty of work. Plus, seven of the Jets’ eight running plays in the red zone were for him.

Though the Jets’ line is solid, Ivory continues to show he can gain yards on his own. Of his 91 yards, 68 came after contact, according to ESPN. His bruising style might give owners pause, but consider that in two seasons with the Jets, he has averaged 12 carries per game. There’s plenty of tread on his tires.

Next up for Ivory is the Colts, whose run defense has been an annual problem. They ranked 18th in that category last season and gave up the fifth-most rushing yards in Week 1, allowing 147 to the Bills. Expect the Jets to continue to lean on Ivory, pushing him firmly into RB2 territory.

Other players with favorable matchups:

QB Matt Ryan, Falcons

Wide receiver Julio Jones is going to have a monster year, and Ryan will be the biggest beneficiary. The two connected nine times for 141 yards and two touchdowns against the Eagles, and Ryan finished with 298 yards. He’ll face a Giants defense that was torched by the Cowboys’ Tony Romo for 356 yards.

WR Brandin Cooks, Saints

With Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson covering him, Cooks was held to four catches for 49 yards on eight targets. He should have an easier time getting open against the Buccaneers, who were picked apart by rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.

TE Greg Olsen, Panthers

The Texans couldn’t handle the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, who had six catches for 106 yards and two touchdowns. That bodes well for Olsen, who was held to one catch for 11 yards on three targets by the Jaguars.

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Rising

WR Brandon Coleman, Saints

With Jimmy Graham out of the picture, there are passes to be caught, and Coleman figures to get his share. The Saints’ No. 3 wide receiver had four catches for 41 yards and a touchdown on seven targets against the Cardinals. Drew Brees has finished in the top three in passes in five consecutive seasons, so his third wideout has more value than others.

WR Donte Moncrief, Colts

Not only did the second-year pro have an impressive first game with six catches for 46 yards and a touchdown on 11 targets, he could see an uptick in opportunities with Andre Johnson struggling badly in his Colts debut and T.Y. Hilton (knee) possibly missing two games.

Falling

QB Peyton Manning, Broncos

Yes, it’s one game, but Manning doesn’t look like himself, and owners might be best served devising contingency plans. After throwing at least one touchdown pass in 44 consecutive games since joining the Broncos, Manning has failed to throw one in three of the last five.

WR Sammy Watkins, Bills

His situation isn’t very appealing. He went without a catch on three targets against the Colts. New quarterback Tyrod Taylor was only 14-for-19 passing, with just seven completions going to wide receivers. And the Bills ran the ball 36 times. There could be a lot more of that, too, as the Bills try to pound their opponents into submission.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

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