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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - WRs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 16
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Antonio Brown

AB posted 96 yards the last time the Steelers faced the Bengals.

Antonio Brown v. CIN: Brown suffered a midseason swoon that was ultimately compounded by an ankle injury which caused him to miss three games (Weeks 10-12). Since his return to action in Week 13, however, he’s been a pretty reliable option for the Pittsburgh passing game, even prior to Big Ben’s return from injury a week later. He’s been targeted about 10 times per contest in his last three outings and has now scored touchdowns in successive games, as well. In other words, his stock is on the uptick at the most propitious time for his owners, when championship hopes are on the line. He seems to have embraced Todd Haley’s revamped scheme more than cohort Mike Wallace has and could prove critical to the Steelers’ playoff chances this Sunday against Cincinnati. Don’t forget he posted a 96-yard effort the first time these two teams met, his highest output of the season to this point.

Lance Moore @ DAL: Unlike Brown, Moore doesn’t always receive a steady diet of targets. He’s certainly featured more often than most #2 receivers, but that’s largely because he plays in a pass-heavy attack and with one of the game’s most prolific passers. Still, there’s always a bit of risk involved with Moore because of this unpredictability of looks. One thing that mitigates that risk in Week 16, I think, is Dallas’ apparent strengths/weaknesses in pass defense. Simply put, they’ve been pretty strong against #1 receivers this year (e.g., Victor Cruz, Vincent Jackson, Torrey Smith, and A.J. Green) but less so against #2 targets (e.g., Riley Cooper, Andrew Hawkins, and the aforementioned Antonio Brown). That leads me to believe their most gifted corner, Brandon Carr, will have success matching up against Marques Colston this Sunday, but that Moore may find success in underneath zone matchups with Dallas’ average to below-average linebackers and safeties. He’s a great #2 or #3 option, depending on the size of your league.

Randall Cobb v. TEN: James Jones hogged the spotlight in the critical Week 15 W over Chicago, but Cobb was certainly no slouch, translating eight targets into six catches and a nifty 115 yards himself. It would be nice to see him targeted in the red zone, yeah, but he’s made more than a few trips to the promised land this season and will definitely get more opportunities to do so in the future, depending on what defenses are willing to give Aaron Rodgers. That’s really what matters, after all, since Rodgers, like his famous predecessor, is a master at taking what’s given first…and then taking more if he’s not satisfied. As things stand now, with Jordy Nelson out and Greg Jennings still rounding into form, Cobb is the Pack’s best option at receiver. I’m not even convinced he’s not their best option when those two fellows return to 100%. Start Cobb with supreme confidence this Sunday against a Tennessee secondary that is improving but far from elite.

Grab Some Wood

Donnie Avery @ KC: I’ve already told you I think Andrew Luck will rebound in a big way this weekend, so it’s logical to assume his receivers are viable plays, as well. Reggie Wayne, despite a horrid Week 15, is obviously a must-start and has been from the word “go” this season. T.Y. Hilton, the promising rook, is orbiting must-start status if he’s not already there after four tremendous efforts in his last five games. Avery, however? Yeah, I’m not sold on him. He’s posted huge totals a couple times this season but has also notched a whole bunch of blah performances along the way. In fact, you could almost say he’s been remarkably reliable in his blah-ness since Hilton started emerging this past month. Save for a five-catch, 91-yard, two-TD outing in Week 13 against Detroit, Avery has managed exactly three catches and anywhere from 31 to 37 yards in every other game since Week 10. If that’s what passes for consistency, I’d prefer a little more volatility.

Michael Crabtree @ SEA: Sunday night’s NFC West showdown may end up looking very NCAA-esque thanks to all the read option currently being used by both teams, a development which should temporarily mollify my stepfather. Russell Wilson employed the sudden schematic shift to exhilarating effect for the Seahawks in Toronto last Sunday, rushing for 92 yards and three touchdowns on a mere nine carries. How’s that for efficiency? Meanwhile, Kaepernick continues to act the dual threat in San Fran, making the usually predictable Niners much more difficult to defend in recent weeks. Where does all this leave the two teams’ respective passing attacks? They’ll be healthy in the long run, I think, but maybe not against these two defenses. There’s no way I’m stepping in front of the Wilson Express at this juncture so it seems safer recommending a sit-down of Mr. Crabtree. He wasn’t very good in the first matchup (six catches for 31 yards) and will obviously draw Richard Sherman, Seattle’s best corner, unless the latter loses his suspension appeal on Friday…in which case, disregard most of what I just said.

Any NY Jets, Minnesota, or Arizona Receiver: How’s that for a comprehensive recommendation?! The reason I don’t like these three receiving corps should be quite evident, I would think: The men throwing them footballs are either unproven, untalented, or both. The same cannot be said for the receivers, necessarily, so they sadly wallow away in fantasy oblivion. I would actually rank Larry Fitzgerald as the league’s second best behind Calvin Johnson if he had anyone with even a modicum of talent throwing him the pigskin. Since he doesn’t, here’s how many receiving yards he’s tallied his last five games: 89. What a monumental waste of talent. I doubt anyone who’s still competing for a fantasy chip regularly uses Fitz or any of these other guys (Jeremy Kerley, Jarius Wright, Andre Roberts, etc.). If you’re even thinking of doing so based on some championship week gut feeling, however…put down the eggnog and back away from the keyboard.

Good luck, folks, and Merry Christmas to you!