Bye Weeks: N.Y. Jets, St. Louis, San Francisco, New England
Grab a Helmet
Williams @ OAK: I’ve been slow to embrace the Tampa passing
attack, mostly because I watched a fair amount of Rutgers games
the past few years (I’m a college football junkie…what can I say?)
and just never saw Greg Schiano demonstrate an affinity for pass-first
football. Nevertheless, the Bucs are airing things out fairly
regularly so far. More importantly, they aren’t exactly a dink-and-dunk
operation, meaning they’re maximizing those aerial opportunities.
Their 8.1 yards-per-completion mark is actually tied for second
best in the league (with Washington and Carolina). Vincent Jackson
gets most of the pub (and deservedly so after that Week 7 eruption
against the Saints) but Williams has really been coming on of
late. He’s getting consistent targets – about eight per game in
his past four – and has topped the century mark twice in recent
weeks. He’s also notched a couple of scores, including one last
week against Minnesota. I like him this Sunday against the Raiders
Shorts v. DET: I was a little quicker on the trigger with
the exciting Shorts, recommending a start against the Pack last
Sunday. He didn’t let me down, parlaying 12 targets, a career
high, into eight grabs and 116 yards in the loss at Lambeau. Coach
Mularkey has rewarded the Mount Union product (awesome!) with
a permanent starting gig, despite the fact Laurent Robinson is
back at practice and ready to resume contributing. It’s not hard
to see why Shorts has become so valuable despite ho-hum measureables.
He’s got adequate size, is a former QB, and is also a coach’s
kid (always a bonus). Incidentally, he’s also not the first Mount
Union receiver to make it to the big time recently. Can you name
the other? While you’re chewing on that, get Mr. Shorts in your
lineup against the Lions this weekend.
Cobb v. ARZ: Cobb is a guy I really liked coming into the
2012 campaign (and I can prove it)
but even a bleeder of green and gold such as myself couldn’t have
predicted this kind of breakout for him. Of course, I also couldn’t
have predicted Greg Jennings would basically not play and that
Jermichael Finley would basically not perform. Throw in a couple
of nagging Jordy Nelson injuries and you’ve danged near got a
new #1 wideout, at least temporarily, in the land of cheese. One
thing’s for sure: Aaron Rodgers sure loves this guy, as evidenced
by the 50 targets he’s earned despite a sometimes secondary role.
Moreover, he’s getting red zone looks, odd for a slot-type such
as Cobb. You can’t go too wrong in fantasy football when you’ve
got one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite receivers playing for you.
Start Cobb against the Cardinals.
Grab Some Wood
Britt v. CHI: Count me as one of those folks beguiled by Britt’s
natural ability. I’m not sure how I missed him in college (since
I watched all those Rutgers games) but he really is how you’d
draw up a receiver if you were building one in the lab: tall,
heavy-ish, quick enough, above-average hands, solid route-runner.
He’s got some character concerns, yeah, but he seems to be maturing
in this, his fourth season. Now, if he could just get paired up
with an actual NFL quarterback. No offense to Matt Hasselbeck,
but…I wish he were more offensive (the good kind). Despite a whole
bunch of targets, Britt has only topped the 60-yard mark once
this year and has exactly one TD to his credit so far. I’d call
that a semi-slump and the best way to break out of a semi-slump
is to play almost anybody but the Chicago Bears. If you’ve got
some decent depth, sit the former Scarlet Knight down. This is
a ghoulish matchup.
Nicks v. PIT: Nicks has had a mostly disappointing year punctuated
by one gigantic performance (199 yards and a score in the Week 2
win over Tampa). His nagging, leg-related ailments are the primary
cause for his inconsistency but he’s been ruled healthy for several
weeks now and…nope, not a lot to show for that. He’s averaging about
50 yards per game the past three weeks and has still only scored
that one touchdown on the season. At the risk of sounding like a
broken record, there are a lot better ways of breaking a slump than
facing one of the league’s better secondaries. Chicago’s is certainly
the most opportunistic but Pittsburgh’s may still be the very best.
They’re fresh off shutting down super-rook Robert Griffin III in
Week 8 and will probably be up to the challenge of slowing down
Eli et al. this Sunday. Wait until Nicks shows you he’s “back” before
giving him the nod.
Nicks is averaging 50 yards over the last
Henderson v. PHI: He’ll sucker you in with a great performance
(123 yards and a score against San Diego), tease you further with
a decent follow-up game (75 yards against Tampa), and then –
right when you’re ready to buy Devery Henderson stock –
he’ll do what he did last Sunday night against the Broncos:
nothing. I mean, literally nothing. Drew Brees looked his way four
times in the loss to the Broncos and the former LSU Tiger managed
to catch none of the passes. Zero catches for zero yards = zero
points. I have a higher than usual risk tolerance but even I can’t
stomach gambles such as this guy. Knock yourself out if you’re
desperate but don’t be surprised when Henderson returns the
favor with a knockout blow of his own to your team’s playoff
Good luck, folks!