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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email |
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - WRs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 1
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Chris Givens v. ARZ: It’s ironic that everyone’s buzzing about the resurgent Rams offense only now that they’ve severed ties with one of the most productive players in franchise history, Steven Jackson. Most of that chatter is being generated by rookie Tavon Austin, who brings the element of imminent danger to a long-stagnant attack. Givens, however, is no slouch in the danger department, even if he lacks the insane shiftiness of his brand new teammate. The former Demon Deacon may still be a raw receiver but possesses elite top-end speed, a trait that helped him notch the sixth best yards-per-reception total in the league last season (16.6). In fact, he tallied at least a 50-yard play per game during one midseason stretch (Weeks 4 through 8). If Austin and Jared Cook are able to keep defenders honest in the mid-range game, don’t be surprised to see Givens start hitting those home runs even more routinely.

Danny Amendola

Danny Amendola should be Brady's main target on Sunday.

T.Y. Hilton v. OAK: Speaking of home run hitters…. It may not be rare for a team’s #3 receiver to serve as its top deep threat, but it’s virtually unprecedented for said individual to double as his squad’s most productive wideout, as well. I mean, wouldn’t that make him the de facto #1 guy despite what the official depth chart says? Hilton could certainly pull the trick in 2013 as he continues to build rapport with fellow NFL sophomore, Andrew Luck. He scored in every preseason game in which he appeared and showed off the dazzling big-play ability that helped him notch a 17.2 yards-per-catch mark in 2012, good for 5th in the league (and one slot higher than the guy we just talked about). Reggie Wayne will continue to be the alpha dog in Indy, but I’ve a sneaking suspicion the aging vet will be overshadowed – at least from a fantasy perspective – by Hilton this year.

Danny Amendola @ BUF: About this time last year, the Pats were playing head games with Wes Welker, presumably to demonstrate they’d be just fine without the soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent should he elect to walk at season’s end. He did and once that messy divorce was finalized, New England went out and nabbed…well, about the most similar person to Wes Welker you could find on planet Earth. Though not as talented as his predecessor, Amendola possesses an eerily similar skill set, a strong work ethic, and an innate understanding of where quarterbacks need him to be, why, and when. If the younger Red Raider alum is deficient in one aspect, it’s durability. He’s already missed more than five times as many games as Welker (in fewer than half as many seasons) and will need to prove he can stay on the field before we consider him a reasonable facsimile. While he’s still healthy, though, get him in there.

Grab Some Wood

Any AFC East Receiver Not Named Danny Amendola or Mike Wallace v. Anyone: Just kidding! Amendola and Wallace probably aren’t the ONLY receivers who will end up proving useful this season, but I’d certainly challenge you to find another, at least this early, you’re certain you can trust every single week regardless of matchup. Steve Johnson? Better wait until EJ Manuel proves he belongs. Kenbrell Thompkins? Better wait until Tom Brady proves he belongs (by looking the kid’s way when the games count). Jeremy Kerley and Santonio Holmes? Just kidding again! I’m struggling to remember the last time an entire division experienced such a wide-scale power outage, actually. The pickings are so slim, I can safely say I fully trust only a single non-Patriot heading into the season. If you can guess who it is, you’ll know who I spent most of my auction money on several weeks back (hint: rhymes with “stat filler”).

Greg Jennings @ DET: It’s hard to interpret Jennings’ bizarre preseason skewering of ex-teammate, Aaron Rodgers, as anything other than general crankiness at having to catch passes from Christian Ponder instead of the surefire Hall of Famer. Because of that, I’m willing to let him off the hook. I mean, I’d be peeved too if the only franchise I’d ever played for deemed me too expensive or too old (or both) and gambled they could get equivalent production for less money by letting me go. Jennings shouldn’t take it personally, of course: It’s just the Packer way under Ted Thompson and it’s hard to argue with the results. It would also be foolish to bet on Jennings in a new uniform because if there’s one thing we’ve learned about players forsaken by Thompson since he took the reins, it’s this: They almost never retain their value after leaving Titletown. Be realistic about Jennings in 2013.

Michael Floyd @ STL or Alshon Jeffery v. CIN: These two guys are being talked about as potential bust-out candidates for the 2013 season after mostly wasted rookie years. Floyd spent 2012 attempting to matter on a team that employed a bunch of quarterbacks who couldn’t get anyone the ball consistently, including Larry Fitzgerald. Jeffery, meanwhile, spent his rookie campaign playing with a quarterback who was perfectly capable of getting people the ball but only seemed interested in one of them (Brandon Marshall). Carson Palmer instantly makes Floyd more interesting and Marc Trestman, if he can get through to Jay Cutler, does the same for Jeffery. Don’t mistake “interesting” for “exciting,” by the way. Either player (maybe even both) could take the big leap predicted for him this year, but why not take a wait-and-see approach since neither has proven worthwhile thus far?

Good luck, folks!