Fantasy Football: Emergency Golden Tate replacement

Steven King/Icon Sportswire

All week, there has been fantasy excitement building for Detroit Lions’ offensive players. And for good reason with the poor Indianapolis Colts’ defense on tap.

In 2015, they allowed the seventh most offensive yards and eighth most points to opposing offenses.  They haven’t even played a game yet, but the 2016 Colts’ defense is not off to a good start. Cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Darius Butler have already been ruled out for this contest.

Some of the excitement for one of the Lions’ main weapons came to halt when the injury report was released. On Thursday, wide receiver Golden Tate was designated with a questionable tag with a bad ankle. While he might play and see his regularly expected workload, fantasy players will want to be covered.

When looking for a last minute replacement there are three things to look for. First is the player on the waiver wire. Second is the time of the replacement’s game and finally, do they have a favorable matchup.

A perfect target for those that have Tate on their fantasy roster is the Washington Redskins’ Pierre Garcon. The pass catcher meets all three requirements nicely.

The pass catcher is owned in only 39.2 percent of ESPN and 20 percent of Yahoo fantasy leagues, so Garcon is widely available for pick up off the free agent list.

Also, the Colts are in the second wave of games on Sunday, which sometimes creates an issue when trying to find replacement players because most games play in the earlier round. But, Garcon doesn’t play until Monday night so fantasy players won’t have to rush to an early decision on Tate. Instead, they can wait to see the official active list from the Lions before making any lineup decisions in regards to the wide receiver position.

Besides his large availability and his start time, Garcon is a solid play in Week 1. The wide receiver finished the 2015 season very strong. Garcon scored a touchdown in each of the last three games last year.

But, more importantly, just like Tate does against the Colts, Garcon has a favorable matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in Week 1. Last season, the Steelers’ secondary was routinely beaten badly by opposing wide receivers. Pittsburgh allowed the second most fantasy points per game to wide receivers in 2015 with an average of 26.79 per game.

Rarely in fantasy football do you want to target a team’s third option in the passing game, but despite being behind DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed in terms of looks, Garcon could be the best of the bunch this week. The Steelers allowed 74.3 yards per game to No. 2 wide receivers in 2015.

And with the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger leading the charge for Pittsburgh, this game could turn into a track meet. Expect plenty of points to be scored in this one, which only gives Garcon more opportunity to help fill the shoes of Golden Tate this week.

While you never want to start the first week of fantasy football chasing a replacement for an injured player, the Redskins’ Garcon has plenty working in his favor if indeed the Lions’ Golden Tate misses the game on Sunday.

Fantasy Football: Emergency Golden Tate replacement

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