Kevin Ogletree (US Presswire)
Sure, I can give you plenty of reasons to doubt Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree, to dismiss his huge stat line from Wednesday's NFL opener between Dallas and New York. Ogletree hauled in eight passes on 11 targets against the Giants, finishing with 114 and two touchdowns. This is a player who entered his fourth pro season with zero career TDs, just another name on the Dallas depth chart. It's entirely possible that Ogletree's big night was simply a next-man-up event, as two key members of the Cowboys' receiving corps were battling injuries: Miles Austin (hamstring), Jason Witten (leaky spleen).
Still, we still need to give full credit to Ogletree for beating his man all night, like a pinata. Highlights right here.
Usually, Ogletree's man was the dude pictured above, fill-in corner Michael Coe. That guy had a rough night. Now, destroying Coe isn't quite the same as torching, say, Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis, but we shouldn't pretend that Ogletree will ever draw much attention from the elite corners. He'll often find himself with friendly match-ups, and he's flashed the ability to win 'em, cleanly and decisively. (On the second of Ogletree's touchdown catches, just for the record, he shed Corey Webster with a nifty double-move).
This is where I'm supposed to tell you not to get carried away with the Laurent Robinson comparisons for Ogletree, because it was only one game. But of course if you take a wait-and-see approach with this player, you'll lose him. He was added in over 180,000 Yahoo! leagues on Wednesday, while his breakout performance was underway. If you were a Robinson skeptic last year, you missed out on 800-plus receiving yards and 11 scores. The Dallas offense has already demonstrated that it can support three ownable wide receivers, plus Witten. It's hardly a stretch to think that Ogletree will have ongoing fantasy value.
If there was one moment from Wednesday's game that genuinely reminded me of Robinson, it was Ogletree's first touchdown, a 10-yard improvisational play in the second quarter. Tony Romo dodged pressure, Ogletree created space. So many of the big plays where Romo and Robinson connected last year were unscripted events, fire-drills in which the QB reflexively looked for No. 81.
This year, in similar situations, maybe Romo begins to zero-in on No. 85.
It's worth making the pick-up, just in case. I'd drop most (but not all) handcuff running backs for Ogletree. (Don't even think about it with Tate, Gerhart, Jennings or Brown, to name a few exceptions). I'd also drop nearly every receiver outside my preseason top-40 to take a flier here. Every NFL season gives us a few unexpected breakouts; no fantasy owner should be surprised if Ogletree is something better than a one-hit wonder.
One last note: I'm probably not the only fantasy owner out there who's actually facing Ogletree in a league this week, but there aren't many of us. These things happen in 20-team leagues. Just take a look at this ridiculous match-up page. Tip of the cap, Eisenberg. I'm on the verge of tears here, just like the guy in my W/R/T flex spot.
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