Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
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.
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.
Roughly 50% of Cutler's passes have been
in Marshall's direction.
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
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.
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.
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!