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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - WRs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 12
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Danario Alexander v. BAL: I watch an unhealthy amount of football, both college and pro, so it’s pretty unusual for me to have never seen someone play, especially if he hails from a BCS conference and has been in the NFL for several years. Imagine my surprise last Sunday, then, when I realized I’d never actually seen Alexander in action. Here are the thoughts that went through my mind, in order: 1) He’s huge!; 2) He’s good!; 3) What were the Rams thinking?; 4) He’s GIGANTIC! I don’t know why I thought the former Mizzou Tiger was a cookie-cutter receiver (6’0”, 180 pounds, decent speed), but I’m kind of glad it took me so long to be disabused of that notion because I’d probably have fallen for him much earlier. Here’s all you need to know even if, like me, you weren’t aware he’s a freakishly large and gifted receiver: Philip Rivers loves him (21 targets in his first three games of significant action). Go get Alexander and plug him into your lineup posthaste!

Michael Crabtree @ NO: I donít like Alex Smith or Colin Kaepernick this week but not because they wonít put up numbers. To the contrary, one of them will probably exceed expectations. I just donít know which one and neither do you unless your name is Jim Harbaugh. Hereís what we probably do know: Whoever gets the nod is probably going to be looking in Mike Crabtreeís direction a bunch. The Saints offer very little resistance to opposing offenses but are capable of posting explosive totals when they have the football. Thus, whether they want to or not, the Niners are probably going to be forced into more of a shootout-type contest than theyíre probably used to. Crabtree has been excellent his last three outings (173 total yards and four scores) so he could be in line for a special stat line if that type of game does indeed materialize this coming Sunday in the Big Easy. Ignore your temptation to sit the usually pedestrian Niners wideout in Week 12.

Hakeem Nicks

Is Hakeem Nicks finally healthy?

Hakeem Nicks v. GB: Itís been a pretty disappointing campaign for the guy formerly known as Eli Manningís favorite target. That mantle has been passed along to Victor Cruz this season (and most of last) but Nicks did manage to capture some of his old magic in the Week 10 loss at Cincinnati. He was targeted a whopping 14 times and managed to haul in 9 of those passes for 75 yards. It ended up being his second most productive outing of the season and Ė Iím sure the Giants are hoping Ė a potential harbinger for things to come down the stretch. If heís finally, truly healthy, he could be a devilishly good option as we head toward the fantasy playoffs. Donít forget what heís done to the Pack the last two times he faced them: 14 receptions, 253 yards, and four touchdowns. Gulp.

Grab Some Wood

Mike Wallace v. BAL: I led off the Wood-Grabbers portion in Week 11 with Mr. Wallace and I donít see any reason why that wonít work again in Week 12. The quarterback throwing him footballs isnít named Byron Leftwich anymore (now THERE is something to be thankful for), but he isnít named Ben Roethlisberger either. Instead, Wallace plays catch with Charlie Batch this Sunday, the quarterback whoís seemingly been in the league since leather helmets were in vogue. OK, so maybe heís not that old. He is, however, just three years my junior and I still subscribe to the following rule when it comes to NFL field generals: If we could theoretically have been teammates in high school, I donít want you on my fantasy team. I donít want any of your receivers, for that matter, either. Wallace, an elite speed merchant, needs to be paired up with a strong-armed slinger who can buy time in the pocket, qualities Batch conspicuously lacks at this stage of his career. Sit the former Rebel down again in Week 12.

Brandon Lloyd @ NYJ: I was a little less sanguine about Lloydís prospects this season than most, unable to shake the image of Chad Ochocinco wandering regularly and aimlessly downfield, a square peg in New Englandís round hole of an offense. Though it turns out Lloyd is a significantly better fit in the Patsí complicated scheme than his predecessor, he certainly hasnít set the world on fire this season. Tom Terrific and Co. scored 59 points last Sunday and Lloyd, despite plenty of snaps, was a virtual non-factor (four catches, 45 yards, and no scores). More troubling, his targets seem to be tailing off as we get deeper in to the season (33 in his first three games but only 17 in his most recent three). The injury to Gronk gives me pause (might Lloyd reemerge as a consistent threat?) but I think heís too risky to trust at this critical stage of the season. If youíre in need of some more convincing, go take a look at his performance in the first matchup with Rex Ryanís Jets.

Larry Fitzgerald v. STL: You gotta feel sorry for Arizona’s exceptional wideout. Yes, he’s rich beyond his wildest dreams. Yes, he’s the greatest receiver the franchise has ever known (that includes the St. Louis days). No, it isn’t close. Yet, here he is, right smack dab in the middle of his prime, and he’s got Ryan Lindley throwing him the football. Ugh. When you’re pining for John Skelton to return from injury, you know things have taken a serious turn for the worse. Fitzgerald garnered plenty of targets in the Week 11 loss to Atlanta (7) but he only caught one ball for 11 yards. That’s not exactly what you’re looking for in Week 12, the official start of the fantasy stretch run in most leagues. Unless you think Lindley is likely to make huge strides in his first official start, you might wanna consider the once inconceivable: sitting Fitzgerald on your bench when it matters most.

Good luck, folks, and Happy Thanksgiving!