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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - WRs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 15
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Mike Wallace @ DAL: Was anyone happier to see Ben Roethlisberger return to the Steelersí lineup than Mike Wallace? While the big guy was away for three games, Wallace managed a paltry 93 yards on 10 catches (and no touchdowns) despite a relatively healthy 22 targets over that span. Last week, in Big Benís first game since he was knocked out in Week 10, Wallace tallied seven catches on 11 targets for 122 yards and two scores. Three games without his battery mate? 7.9 points. One game with him? 23.2. You think those two might have developed a bit of chemistry over the years? Wallace probably still hasnít accepted Todd Haleyís significant scheme adjustments, but heís an immensely talented wideout. If he can move past these philosophical differences, bury the hatchet with his head coach, and block out the Heinz Field boo birds that have become more vocal of late, heís got a chance to finish this season strong. If youíre still in contention and youíve been waiting on him, thatís gotta be music to your ears.

Brandon Marshall

Roughly 50% of Cutler's passes have been in Marshall's direction.

Brandon Marshall v. GB: I wouldnít normally recommend you sit down a quarterback, as I did with Jay Cutler, and then endorse his favorite target in the same column. I feel comfortable doing so in this case, however, because almost 50% of Cutlerís passes this year have been intended for Marshall, an absurd lack of balance the Bears donít seem interested in correcting. Last weekís game is a great example of this, actually. Cutler attempted 44 passes, 19 of which he sailed in Marshallís direction (43%). Though His Grumpiness managed only 260 passing yards, a score, and a modest 18.6 points, Marshall racked up 10 receptions, 160 receiving yards, that score (naturally), and 22 points. In other words, the fantasy fates of these two mates donít seem to be inextricably linked, as most such relationships typically are. Go ahead and start Marshall even if youíre concerned about the guy throwing him footballs.

Cecil Shorts @ MIA: Marshall overtook Calvin Johnson for the top spot in the receiving ranks last week, which is pretty amazing when you consider the latter is on pace to break Jerry Riceís single-season record for most receiving yards. More amazing still, perhaps Ė at least to a bargain hunter like me Ė is the list of guys who are officially hotter than Chicagoís main man over the past five weeks. Johnson is one of them (20.4 pts/game), naturally, and Dez Bryant is too (18.8). The next hottest receivers, however, are Danario Alexander (15.9) and Mr. Shorts (15.2), two guys you could have had for a song earlier this year. I did acquire them, actually, though it hasnít altered my fortunes enough to make me relevant in every league. Regardless, itís what makes fantasy football fun for me. If everyone performed to expectations, after all, it would be a pretty boring diversion. Start Shorts this Sunday and hope for continued excitement.

Grab Some Wood

Greg Jennings @ CHI: This guy used to be a thrill a minute in the Packís high-flying aerial show, but the last time he posted exciting stats was more than a year ago (December 4th) when he tallied 94 yards and a score in a game against the Giants at the Meadowlands. Trust me: I know where your brain is at. You drafted him too high, suffered through this mostly injury-riddled campaign, but managed to endure his absence and are now looking to squeeze him back into your lineup right as he reemerges as a threat, a la last December. Itís a great thought and all and, as a Pack loyalist, Iíd love for you to get the last laugh. Thereís just one problem, though: It isnít gonna happen. Not this week, at least. Jennings has posted some solid career numbers against Chicago but heís clearly not back to full speed and his return coincided with a pretty noticeable shift toward a more balanced Green Bay attack. There are good reasons for that (the line is very green and the weatherís getting worse), but it doesnít really matter why. The bottom line is that Jennings isnít a worthwhile risk at such a critical point in the season.

Steve Johnson v. SEA: This formerly brazen Bill has really toned down his act the last two years, but unfortunately, his production seems to have leveled off as well. Heís still comfortably in the top 25 at his position Ė meaning heís still viable in most 10 and 12-team leagues as a second or third wide receiver Ė and heís actually on pace to best his total 2011 fantasy output. Nevertheless, thereís justÖsomething missing with him. Heís only topped the century mark once this season and hasnít topped the 15-point mark since early last year. Moreover, on a points-per-game basis, heís regressed from a career high of 10.5 in 2010 to a fairly modest mark of 8.3 this season. You can live with that, I suspect, but he draws a pair of stud Seattle corners this week that specializes in shutting down #1 receivers. Modest ceiling + really tough matchup = playoff disappointment if you give him the nod. Donít.

Larry Fitzgerald v. DET: I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but I almost consider it a public service at this point. People simply must know how tragic the Arizona quarterbacking situation is. In his last four games, Fitzgerald the Younger has been targeted a robust 37 times by John Skelton or Ryan Lindley, one fewer than the previously mentioned Cecil Shorts. Of these 37 intended passes, the remarkably sure-handed Fitzgerald has managed to catch just 6 of them. SIX! He’s translated that into a microscopic 6.7 fantasy points over that abysmal stretch. Meanwhile, Shorts has snared 20 of his intended targets to the tune of 60.6 fantasy points. Bear in mind Shorts is playing with Chad Henne, not exactly a Joe Montana clone. Folks, Arizona’s QBs are so bad, they can’t even manage to get the ball NEAR Larry Fitzgerald’s historically sticky hands. He probably sunk your whole season, but if he didn’t, don’t let him do it now.

Good luck, folks!