Bye Weeks: N/A
Grab a Helmet
Welker @ BAL: There hasn’t been a stranger subplot in the
first couple of weeks than Welker’s mysterious demotion, still
being characterized (euphemized?) as a “personnel groupings” issue
by both Coach Belichick and Tom Brady. Seriously? Julian Edelman’s
a better option in ANY personnel grouping than the four-time All-Pro
football vacuum who’s led the league in receptions two of the
last three seasons? I’m no conspiracy theorist, but something
is rotten in the state of Massachusetts and it reeks of Belichick-ian
egomania. Luckily for Welker’s owners, there’s only one thing
The Nattily-Clad One hates more than uppity ball players: losing.
With Aaron Hernandez on the shelf for a couple of weeks, Welker’s
likely to find himself back in good graces for the short term.
As for the long haul? Let’s just say I’m certainly going to be
entertaining offers the next few weeks. Get him in your lineup
for Sunday night, and hope for the best the rest of the way.
Amendola @ CHI: Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Welker’s doppelganger
is coming off a Week 2 explosion wherein he gobbled up 15 of Sam
Bradford’s 16 targets to the tune of 160 yards and a touchdown in
the 31-28 win over Washington. Where the heck did that come from?
It came from 2010, actually, the year Amendola emerged as a legit
option in PPR leagues. Most, myself included, considered him a great
sleeper candidate heading into last season, but an elbow dislocation
in the opener quashed any dreams of getting Welker-like production
at the seventh- or eighth-round discount. The unintended, big-picture
benefit, of course, is that Amendola could be had for even cheaper
at the start of this season. Additionally, he seems more capable
than ever of producing like his predecessor at Texas Tech, Mr. Welker.
Expect Bradford to go looking for Amendola early and often against
the Bears this Sunday.
Amendola owners are anxiously awaiting
the follow up to his 15-catch performance in Week 2.
Hawkins @ WAS: If Amendola is Welker light, Hawkins may be Amendola
light…which is to say, he’s probably not even on your radar unless
you’re in a very deep league or live in Cincinnati. The second-year
firecracker from Toledo—by way of Montreal and St. Louis (guess
they already had Amendola)—has taken the Queen City by storm, racking
up 10 receptions, 142 yards, and one ultra-exciting score in his
first two weeks of NFL action. Not
bad for a former janitor, huh? I like his matchup against the
short-handed Skins defense this weekend. Incidentally, I also think
players like Hawkins (pint-sized but sudden and explosive) are the
natural evolution from similarly statured possession types like
Welker and Amendola. If you’re wondering what the future of this
position might look like, check out the cover of this week’s SI.
Grab Some Wood
Moss @ MIN: In with the new, out with the old. Moss in his
prime was the antithesis of a shifty, shake-and-bake slot receiver,
utilizing his enviable stride and uncommon size and athleticism
to create separation from helpless defensive backs. Though he’s
possibly still capable of recapturing that magic on a spot basis,
his days of routinely changing a game just by lining up wide are
officially in the rear-view mirror. Daunte Culpepper is not walking
through that door. Tom Brady is not walking through that door.
Jim Harbaugh…is absolutely walking through that door, and he’s
not the least bit interested in a vertical passing attack, thank
you very much. Moss will presumably get a warm welcome at the
Metrodome, but it’s unlikely he’ll be responsible for sending
the Vikings faithful home unhappy this Sunday. Steer clear.
Young @ TEN: This guy was supposed to be a breakout candidate
after a solid but unspectacular rookie campaign. He possesses
above-average wheels. He’s almost never likely to face double
coverage (thanks, Tron). He’s got a bona fide gunslinger chucking
it and the requisite hands to pluck it. Simply put, he’s got the
right skill set for the right offense at the right time. So, why
exactly has he received a mere six targets in 2012? Heck, Nate
Burleson’s already garnered 11 looks. The relationship between
quarterback and wide receiver requires trust and nurturing and
a whole bunch of other gooey elements that don’t show up on game
tape. What does show up on game tape is Young’s relative ineffectiveness
in the early going. Wait until he shows you something before getting
him in your lineup.
Bess vs. NYJ: Bess has been a pretty steady, though fairly
boring, performer in four-plus NFL seasons. He’s good for about
40-50 yards a game and occasionally finds the end zone. Perhaps
too occasionally. Through two weeks of the 2012 season, he’s averaging
(wait for it...) 44 yards per game and has failed to score. I
guess the good news is that Ryan Tannehill’s ascension to the
starting job hasn’t markedly affected Bess’s production. The bad
news, of course, is that said production was only marginally interesting
to begin with. I don’t know about you, but I want guys riding
my bench who at least have the potential to break out and be more
than what they were when I drafted them. Bess is (with apologies
to Denny Green) precisely who we thought he was.
Good luck, folks!