To me, the recipe for success in fantasy football is a combination of three things. Talent, opportunity, and most importantly, luck.
All three things happen to be in Kamar Aiken's possession.
If you've read my previous writings, you know that I'm quite the Kamar Aiken fan. The now fifth-year wide receiver has bounced around the league, and is relatively unheard of by most. But that doesn't mean that he can't have a positive impact on your fantasy team this Sunday.
Let's back up to those three hallmarks of fantasy success I mentioned earlier. Talent, opportunity, and luck.
First, Kamar has loads of talent. He has just never had the opportunity to showcase it. I went into great detail of Aiken's abilities and talents in my earlier essay, but in a nutshell, Aiken was by far the most productive WR3 on the Ravens last season. The undrafted receiver who had never seen a NFL snap before looked polished and impressive. He was great in the slot, and seemed to make a difference every time he stepped on the field. Whether it be on special teams, or in the red zone, Aiken was there to make the play.
But don't take it from me, take it from Steve Smith, Sr.
Now comes the second and most important part, opportunity, and a little luck.
Opportunity was something that Aiken didn't get a lot of last year. In the WR3 rotation, the team seemed to lean on rookie Michael Campanaro and veteran Marlon Brown, rather than Aiken. That's not happening this Sunday.
With rookie Breshad Perriman almost certainly out with a PCL sprain, Aiken is stepping up in his place as the de facto WR2 until Perriman returns. While the Ravens' offense isn't known for churning out good fantasy numbers, the matchup this week offers potential. The Ravens face the Denver Broncos this week, and while on the surface it sounds bad for the boys in purple, it could result in good fantasy numbers for all involved. I suspect a long arduous game in which the ball will be exchanged many times. Expect the Ravens to try to stretch the field against the Broncos' weaker safeties, which means the speedy Aiken may be the recipient of a notorious Flacco long bomb or two. Aiken is also a very good end-zone target, especially in the slot. The point is, volume breeds fantasy effectiveness, and Aiken should receive a lot of it in this game.
So I know what you're asking, should I pick up/start Aiken? Well the answer varies. In 12-teams, he'd serve you well as a bench stash, or a WR3/FLEX if you're lacking at skill positions. However, his real value lies in deeper leagues. 14 and 16-team owners should be very pleased starting Aiken at the WR3/FLEX spot. In my 14-teamer, I'm starting him with confidence in my WR3 slot. Regardless of your format, Aiken is a fantastic bench stash, especially considering the fact that Breshad Perriman is potentially out for a month.
STAT PREDICTION: 5 REC., 65 YDS., 1 TD. (17.5 PPR PTS., 12.5 STD PTS.)
Aiken has been making plays during all of training camp, the preseason, and has drawn rave reviews from practically anybody and everybody in Baltimore, as both Coach John Harbaugh and quarterback Joe Flacco have praised his route running and ability to be a starter. There's no reason to believe that his preseason success won't translate to the regular season.
If you'd like to further read up on Aiken, I recommend my earlier writeup as reading material. Best of luck this week!