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Joseph Hutchins | Archive | Email
Staff Writer

The Shot Caller's Report - WRs
Your Weekly Guide To Fantasy Lineups: Week 17
Positions: QBs | RBs | WRs

Bye Weeks:

Grab a Helmet

Dez Bryant @ WAS: Too easy, I’m aware, but I’m not sure people comprehend just how insane Bryant’s production has been of late. He’s scored more fantasy points per game than any receiver in the league over his past five contests (21.7). Let’s just get that part out of the way. That includes Calvin Johnson, naturally, who just broke the venerable Jerry Rice’s record for most receiving yards in a season. Bryant has also managed to amass 576 yards over his last five games, a triple-digit average that is the envy of everyone not named Megatron (775) or Andre Johnson (587). Additionally, Bryant has scored a mind-boggling 8 times in his last five games and 10 times in his last seven (hence, the robust 21.7 points/game average). Finally, Bryant has managed to do all this on a mere 44 targets, good for…19th in the league over that span. Wait, what? You mean to tell me he’s been targeted fewer times than Donnie Avery the past five weeks? Donnie Freaking Avery? (Look it up.) You weren’t sitting him down, but now you know precisely how excited you should be to watch him perform this Sunday night.

Demaryius Thomas

Demaryius Thomas is one of Manning's two favorite targets.

Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker v. KC: Thomas has been the more frequently targeted this year, but Decker has been the more frequent visitor to the end zone. Appropriately, just 21.2 fantasy points – or a really average day for the aforementioned Bryant, apparently – separate these two from each other in the wide receiver rankings. Thomas sits 5th and Decker 10th heading into Week 17, meaning they’re easily the most productive combo in the league this year. I can’t say I predicted that, but I did say the following way back in early August: “Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas, two third-year targets, are capable and may, as others have before them, rise from relative anonymity to fantasy glory with Peyton (Manning) at the helm.” Yeah, what he said. Consider the rise to glory complete once these two thoroughbreds finish torching the Chiefs secondary on Sunday afternoon. I’m guessing if you’re still alive, you probably own at least one of them.

James Jones @ MIN: The Pack’s receiving corps has become a veritable M*A*S*H unit of late, but the offense keeps chugging along thanks to the league’s most dangerous pass-hurler and one of its more unsung pass-snatchers, the former San Jose St. Spartan, James Jones. If he was on your radar back in August, you’re clearly clairvoyant (or lying) because he wasn’t on most people’s, rating as Green Bay’s fifth most interesting target behind Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, Jermichael Finley, and Randall Cobb in 12-team PPR leagues (according to ADP data). Care to guess who the most productive fantasy option is in the Pack receiving corps through 16 weeks? OK, so it’s actually Cobb, but only by a nose (6.4 points). Cobb also played in one more game so he and Jones are running virtually neck and neck despite being marginal prospects just a few short months ago. Things change fast in the NFL but no position experiences more volatility than the receiver position does. If you hopped on Jones early, there’s no reason to hop off now.

Grab Some Wood

Denarius Moore or Darrius Heyward-Bey @ SD: I don’t care who Dennis Allen elects to start under center for the Raiders this weekend. His name won’t be Carson Palmer and, for that reason, it’s hard to get terribly excited about the Oakland passing attack. Not that Palmer was terribly exciting to begin with, but he was at least a passable option at the position and even more so during a midseason stretch when he (briefly) led the league in fantasy production. That’s one thing neither Matt Leinart nor Terrelle Pryor will ever do no matter how long they play the position in the NFL. Incidentally, that won’t be much longer for either player unless they show marked improvement (Leinart) or an ability to master basic quarterbacking fundamentals (Pryor). The latter at least has special athletic ability and might be coming of age at precisely the right time, when traditional drop-back passers make way for those with a more versatile skill set. Until Pryor gets a legit chance, though, and some reps…look away.

Roddy White v. TB: White has already missed some practice time this week and that doesn’t auger well for a breakout Week 17 performance, especially since the Falcons have less to play for than any other NFC playoff contender. The Pack can still sew up a first round bye. The Niners and Seahawks are still vying for the NFC West crown. The Cowboys, Redskins, and Giants could all potentially win the NFC East. The Bears and Vikings can still make the dance. Only the Falcons are firmly ensconced in their current playoff position, the number one slot as it turns out. Is there any chance they risk the health of their most potent offensive weapon in a meaningless game against a divisional opponent that may harbor resentment? White might have gotten you this far but he could certainly derail your championship hopes all the same. Be very careful with him.

Vernon Davis v. ARZ: I started 2012 recommending his quarterback for a Week 1 start against the Pack (pat, pat), so it only seems fitting I’d close things down by recommending a sit-down of that quarterback’s favorite target. Much has happened in between, of course, not the least of which is that Alex Smith, the quarterback in question, no longer runs the show in San Fran. Instead, he prowls the Niner sidelines looking glum and disinterested. Whether Smith was unfairly treated or not, the following seems to be true: 1) The Niners are still a legit threat to win it all; and 2) Colin Kaepernick, Smith’s replacement, seems only marginally interested in Davis as a receiver (10 targets his last five games). I doubt you relied too heavily on this poor man’s version of Rob Gronkowski, but in the event he’s still hanging around on your bench, grab him an overcoat and some hand-warmers. You won’t be needing his services the rest of the season. Speaking of which…

Good luck, folks, and thanks for joining me this season!