by Ray Kuhn
A 47-yard pass. At any point in the game, you can’t argue with a play like that. It is especially true, when that connection comes on the first play of the game as it did last week when Ben Roethlisberger connected with Sammie Coates.
After serving as a big play threat in the season’s first three weeks, Coates worked as possession receiver against the Chiefs last week. Entering Pittsburgh’s offensive explosion Sunday night, Coates had caught seven passes for 203 yards which works out to be an average of 29 yards per reception.
At this point, it is clear that Coates has surpassed Markus Wheaton and Eli Rodgers, who is also battling injury issues, as Pittsburgh’s number two receiver behind Antonio Brown. Following his explosive start to last week’s game, against what is generally considered to be a good Kansas City defense, Coates was targeted seven more times and caught five passes for 32 yards.
What has held Coates’ value down so far this season, is the fact that he has yet to find the end zone. However this week, I would expect that to change.
Even with Darrelle Revis playing this season, the Jets’ secondary has had some holes and been susceptible to the big play. A.J. Green burned New York to start the season, and Buffalo had two quick strike touchdowns the following week. One of those, 71 yards, came courtesy of Greg Salas with the other by Marquise Goodwin (84 yards). Neither have made an impact since this season, and last week saw Tanner McEvoy come through with a 42 yard touchdown catch against the Jets.
You are not in the minority if those players don’t exactly scream fantasy relevant to you.
Plays like that have not been the exception for the Jets this season, and instead they have been the norm. Through four weeks this year, New York has allowed 17 pass plays of greater than 20 yards, with nine of those being greater than 30 yards.
This week, Revis is doubtful and unlikely to play due to a hamstring injury, and the Jets secondary appears to be even more vulnerable to the big play. While Antonio Brown is also slated to have a big game, you have to expect that the Jets will focus their efforts on the Pro Bowl receiver. That should open things up for Coates who is clearly earning the confidence of Roethlisberger.
After not reaching the end zone in the first four weeks of the season, I would expect to see that trend reversed this week as Coates is a solid bet to surpass 100 yards and score a touchdown.