The topsy-turvy 2010 fantasy football season is rapidly winding to its close.
I’m not ready to put a cork on this season just yet. Some fantasy owners competing during this championship week will make last-minute lineup adjustments. No position will cause as much vexation and consternation as that of wide receiver.
Top Wide Receivers
(Other than Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, Wes Welker, Brandon Marshall, Brandon Lloyd, Vincent Jackson, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Greg Jennings, Hakeem Nicks, Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston, Roddy White)
Santana Moss at Jacksonville
I realize that by placing Moss in this list that I’m showing a level of trust in Rex Grossman. I’m comfortable with that against this Jacksonville pass defense. He’s caught five or more passes in 11 games this season. During those contests, he’s averaged 82.8 receiving yards and 6.7 receptions per game with six touchdowns (three in the past two games). Moss has been targeted a total of 124 times this season (8.9 per game). He’ll have opportunities in this game.
Mike Williams vs. Seattle
Williams rebounded nicely from a weak Week 14 effort against the Redskins (one reception for 15 yards) with a tremendous six-reception, 96-yard performance against the Lions that included his eighth touchdown reception of the year. He’s caught multiple passes in 13 of 14 games this season while averaging 62.9 yards per game. Given the balanced attack in the Tampa Bay offense with LeGarrette Blount,
I don’t anticipate that Williams’ output varies much from his efforts to date (He’s eclipsed 80 receiving yards only five times.). I do anticipate another high target count (117 to date) with red zone opportunities against this Seattle secondary.
Anquan Boldin at Cleveland
Boldin has hardly been the model of consistency that we’d hoped for in his first year in Baltimore. Alas, he’s become the perfect picture of the dreaded “fantasy-reality” split. That is to say, much of Boldin’s contributions to the Ravens’ success in 2010 can’t be translated into fantasy box scores. He’s finished with 50 or fewer receiving yards in eight games.
However, he’s on the radar for a big-time effort against the Cleveland defense that he torched for 142 yards and three touchdowns in Week 3. The Browns allow 234.4 yards and 1.5 touchdowns to opposing receivers on average.
Pierre Garcon at Oakland
Garcon hasn’t produced the huge touchdown total that fantasy owners anticipated. However, he’s been a consistent performer for owners in PPR leagues. Garcon has averaged 5.3 receptions and 61.7 receiving yards in his past 10 games, including a run of six straight games with at least five receptions. Reggie Wayne draws coverage from Nnamdi Asomugha, leaving Peyton Manning to work the ball in Garcon’s direction more often. He’s been targeted an average of eight times per game this season.
Kenny Britt at Kansas City
Britt returned from an extended absence because of a hamstring injury in Week 14 against the Colts. In these two games, Britt has been targeted a total of 17 times. He caught 10 of those passes and eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the second time this season in the Week 16 win over Houston.
His connection with Kerry Collins was established earlier this season, and I expect the duo to continue their run in Kansas City (241.6 yards and 1.4 touchdowns allowed per game).
Steve Johnson vs. New England
Johnson snapped a three-game scoreless streak with a six-reception, 69-yard performance against the Dolphins. He’s obviously Ryan Fitzpatrick’s first option, having been targeted 120 times this season overall, including eight or more in nine of the past 10 games. Johnson caught five or more passes eight times in this 10-game period. I’m merely looking for opportunities against the Patriots while Fitzpatrick is playing catch up.
Mario Manningham at Green Bay
Manningham shook off a hip injury that threatened his participation in Week 15 to catch eight passes for 113 yards with two touchdowns (he did lose a fumble). He’s caught multiple passes in 11 games this season, though his huge Week 15 performance helped to end a four-game skid.
I anticipate another strong effort in Week 16 against the Packers. Green Bay will seek to contain Hakeem Nicks with Charles Woodson, forcing Eli Manning to look in Manningham’s direction frequently.
Mike Williams at Tampa Bay
Williams posted a strong return to the field in Week 15 with eight receptions for 66 yards against the Falcons. Remember, he’d topped 100 receiving yards in back-to-back games before sustaining his foot injury. Williams is Matt Hasselbeck’s favorite option, having been targeted seven or more times in six consecutive games (four games with at least 13 targets).
The continued struggles of the Seattle defense portend to another big effort and ample opportunities for Williams.
Anthony Armstrong at Jacksonville
Say what you will about Rex Grossman, but he has that Fitzpatrick quality of being willing to launch downfield. Armstrong caught five passes for 100 yards, including a 47-yard reception, in Grossman’s first start against the Cowboys and will continue to see deep ball opportunities. In the past three weeks, Armstrong has averaged five receptions and 75.7 receiving yards. He’s caught a pass of at least 33 yards in seven games this season. Look for Grossman to put the ball up against the Jaguars’ secondary this week.
Blair White at Oakland
White steps back into the third role following the unfortunate injury that befell Austin Collie in Week 15. He’s proven to be a strong contributor in the past, having amassed 21 receptions with three touchdowns (one reception in Week 15) in the past five weeks. Peyton Manning continues to pile up numbers each and every week and those pesky interceptions have been left behind. He’s a strong WR3 option for this week.
Kevin Walter at Denver
The return of Owen Daniels, and those weekly early deficits, has put Walter on the map in recent weeks. In the past three weeks, Walter has caught a total of 16 passes for 169 yards with a touchdown (Week 15). Andre Johnson draws Champ Bailey, and the presence of Owen Daniels clears the middle for Walter. I like his chances for another big week against the struggling Denver pass defense (236.6 passing yards and 1.8 passing touchdowns allowed per game).
Santonio Holmes at Chicago
Holmes was on the radar for a big effort against the Troy Polamalu-less Steelers last week. Alas, he logged just 40 receiving yards on six receptions against his former team. He remains a solid WR2 play given his frequent target count, but the passing game has sputtered in recent weeks (his did drop a sure touchdown). As such, I’m not bullish on a huge performance on the road at Chicago. Holmes has finished five of the past six games with fewer than 80 receiving yards.
Sidney Rice at Philadelphia
Rice was targeted five times in Monday’s blowout loss to Chicago. He registered just two receptions for 23 yards, another disappointing performance to put that breakthrough Week 13 performance further in the rearview mirror (60 yards in Week 14). I would love to get him into the mix, but I just can’t trust Joe Webb against the Philadelphia secondary.
The Eagles have struggled markedly because of injuries this season and cede 2.1 passing touchdowns per game. I just can’t bank on marked improvement from Webb in his second appearance.
Chad Ochocinco vs. San Diego
Coach Marvin Lewis has evidently had enough of “The T.Ocho Show.” Terrell Owens underwent a season-ending surgery on his knee after being limited early in Week 16. Ochocinco was labeled “mopey” by his coach and has been slowed by an ankle injury. He was targeted only three times in the Week 15 win against the Browns.
Ochocinco was already facing a difficult spot against the top-ranked San Diego pass defense. This spat with his coach (Ochocinco wondered on Twitter where the bus went) doesn’t speak well of his prospects for a high target count or for extended playing time in the final two weeks. Andre Caldwell probably warrants more consideration this week.