Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Moore vs. WAS: A league mate of mine once divulged
that, all things being equal, he’d prefer to draft players who
play for the league’s best offenses. This seems pretty obvious,
in retrospect, but also deceptively brilliant. I mean, would you
rather have Greg Little, Cleveland’s top target (“they’ve gotta
throw it to someone!”), or Lance Moore, New Orleans’ fourth target
most of the time (behind Marques Colson, Jimmy Graham, and Darren
Sproles)? You may feel otherwise, but give me Moore. He sports
elite quicks, possesses great hands, and has proven himself over
several years to be a reliable (three years with at least eight
touchdowns) and trusted target for one of the league’s three best
quarterbacks. Moreover, this year he doesn’t have Robert Meachem
in his way. If Moore stays healthy, I could see him putting up
career numbers in 2012.
Heyward-Bey vs. SD: DHB will never justify his lofty
draft position. Period. He was the first receiver chosen (with the
seventh pick) in a draft that included Michael Crabtree, Jeremy
Maclin, Percy Harvin, Hakeem Nicks, Kenny Britt, and Mike Wallace.
Ouch. So that’s the bad news. Here’s the good: He isn’t the total
bust people thought he was going to be. Carson Palmer is part of
the reason why, but Heyward-Bey deserves some of the credit, as
well. He’s worked hard to improve his suspect hands. He’s become
a better route runner. He seems to have learned how to translate
his otherworldly athleticism into production. Combine all that with
the chemistry he and Palmer developed late in 2011 and you might
have the makings for a breakout campaign in this, his fourth, season.
Late bloomer? Maybe. But bust? Not so fast.
DHB has worked on improving his suspect
Wright vs. NE: Conventional wisdom says rookie receivers
rarely make much of a fantasy impact. I happen to agree with conventional
wisdom in this case, but there are certainly exceptions to every
rule. Wright might be it in Week 1. For starters, he is one—a starter,
that is. Kenny Britt is serving his league-mandated suspension,
so the former Baylor Bear gets the nod opposite Nate Washington.
Second, Wright was very impressive in the preseason, notching a
team-high nine receptions for 116 yards and a score. Granted, it
was preseason, but he seems to have developed a solid rapport with
Jake Locker already. This is important because Locker is also a
first-time starter and doesn’t necessarily have any established
relationships. Might Wright be his first favorite, at least until
Britt returns? Why not?
Lloyd @ TEN: Tom Brady and his deep threat du jour
have reportedly established a similar rapport in practice, but
it sure didn’t manifest itself during the preseason games. Lloyd
was targeted a paltry four times in August and connected with
Tom Terrific on just one of those passes. Hmmm. No need to panic
just yet, Lloyd owners, as he’ll almost certainly be a factor
at some point. Right out of the gate, though? I’m skeptical. The
Patriots’ complicated scheme places a premium on timing, with
its option routes and multiple sight adjustments. Though Lloyd
has experienced wild success in Josh McDaniels’ version of the
system, he’s never worked with Brady, an avowed perfectionist.
I suspect it will take a while for the two of them to connect,
especially since Brady already has three established, elite pass-catching
options at his disposal in Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron
Meachem @ OAK: Here’s another guy who’s going to need
some time to jell with his battery mate, it appears. Philip Rivers
hasn’t looked his way much in the preseason, and on the few occasions
he has, the ball has more often ended up in a defender’s hands
than Meachem’s. Oops. To be fair, Rivers showed a propensity for
forcing balls into coverage last year (hence, the career-high
20 interceptions) but I’m betting the blame can be partially laid
at his new receiver’s feet. Simply put, it takes time for quarterback-receiver
relationships to mature, and this one is still in its infancy.
Be patient but don’t forget that Meachem never really dominated
in New Orleans’ high-flying offense. At some point, it might be
worth asking why.
Robinson @ MIN: Robinson also switched teams this past
offseason after parlaying his astonishing second half with the
Cowboys into a lucrative payday with Jacksonville. Stop me if
you’ve heard this before, but…he’s having a hard time getting
on the same page with Blaine Gabbert thus far. He’s also probably
fallen behind rookie Justin Blackmon in the Jaguars’ pecking order.
I gotta be honest: This might be the least surprising development
of the preseason. Gabbert, though making strides, struggled mightily
in 2011 and probably isn’t ready to be even a top 20 quarterback
at this point. Robinson, moreover, had never really done anything
prior to last season’s explosion in Big D when he, not coincidentally,
played with perennial Pro Bowler Tony Romo. Am I being unfair
by asking him to prove it again?
Good luck, folks!