Your fantasy football league is a week or two away from the playoffs, and your thinner at wide receiver than the Arizona Cardinals are at quarterback.
I know how you feel, fantasy owners. You need a receiver as badly as Josh Koscheck needs a muzzle. Your guy Mike Sims-Walker has another high ankle sprain. Your dude Mario Manningham is back to being the third banana behind Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks on the New York Giants. And your pal Randy Moss has been turned invisible by Criss Angel.
So when your fantasy world is in chaos and you have no else to turn to, why not bet all your chips on Dallas’ Roy Williams?
No, not him! There has to be a better option at receiver, right? Maybe Washington’s Anthony Armstrong? Maybe Cris Carter leaves broadcasting to return to the field? Maybe Albert Pujols decides to try a different sport this week?
It’s true that Williams is not the only option on fantasy free agent lists, but he is probably the best. If he is still available and you are still in the market for a pass catcher, here is why Williams is worthy of a roster spot, along with a couple other notable receivers.
Roy Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Dallas’ buttery-fingered, drive-killing, game-ruining receiver is averaging 27.8 yards per game and has not scored a touchdown in his last seven contests. These sound like the numbers of someone ready to be shipped to the UFL, not a potential fantasy superstar.
But the fantasy value door has opened wider than Sidney Rice’s wingspan for Williams. With rookie standout Dez Bryant done for the season with a fractured ankle, Williams improves from the No. 3 wide receiver to the No. 2 and is bound to have more passes thrown his direction, especially inside the red zone.
Where Williams has an awkward Oprah Winfrey–David Letterman sort of chemistry with Tony Romo that has not produced positive fantasy results, he does have a history with Jon Kitna. Williams had the best seasons of his career when Kitna was throwing to him during their Detroit Lions days, and while that has not carried over to their Dallas days—since Kitna has become the starter—I think the twosome will start connecting more frequently now that Bryant is out of the picture.
Look for Williams to be solid but not spectacular from here on out. He has never been one to rack up tons of yardage, but his 42 touchdowns in 97 career contests prove he can make plays in the end zone. Williams is probably available in most fantasy leagues and should definitely be a pickup choice if you have a gaping hole at receiver.
Robert Meachem, New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees was thwarted in his attempts to throw deep downfield during the first few weeks of the season by two-deep zone defenses that did not respect the run and kept their safeties 40 yards away. That was the main reason why Meachem—Brees’ favorite big-play threat—was rendered worthless and stat-less in New Orleans’ first four games (six catches for 54 yards).
Meachem is showing up on fantasy radars again, though, after accounting for 211 receiving yards and three touchdowns over the past three weeks. He had at least one 30-yard catch in each of those games, his calling card. Defenses are now forced to give Chris Ivory credit for being a decent runner and game plan for the returned Reggie Bush, which is opening up room for Meachem to roam on fly routes.
Look for Meachem to have a fantasy impact during leagues’ playoff weeks now that he has re-emerged. When he is alive and well in the middle of New Orleans’ potent passing attack, he can do significant damage. Remember that for a five-game stretch during the 2009 campaign, he racked up 346 receiving yards and a half-dozen touchdowns.
Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler’s best bud from Vanderbilt has not turned into the fantasy phenom many thought he could be once the duo re-teamed. Instead, he has been a poor man’s Johnny Knox. But Bennett’s fantasy worth is on an upturn thanks to back-to-back solid Sundays.
Bennett snagged 11 Cutler passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns against Detroit and Philadelphia the past two weekends, so it seems that he is becoming more of a factor in Chicago’s aerial attack. Granted, he did not exactly burn two talented secondaries. Detroit (16th) and Philadelphia (17th) are ranked in the middle of the pass defense rankings.
Look for Bennett to be an up-and-down player the rest of the season. His stats are as inconsistent on a weekly basis as Mel Gibson’s behavior. He cannot be trusted for more than a couple catches and 40 yards per game, but if you need a receiver in the case of a fantasy emergency, sign up Bennett and hope the week you use him is one of the weeks Cutler looks his way early and often.
Run and Shoot
Wesley Snipes is not the only guy who should be heading to prison this week. Randy Moss has stolen money from three NFL teams this season, and he has probably cost millions of fantasy owners millions of dollars.
Moss has now caught five passes in five games with the Tennessee Titans. If Barbara Walters had a special for the "Top 10 Most Fascinating People in Fantasy Football," Moss would have been No. 1 or maybe a spot behind Michael Vick.
All signs point to New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s fantasy value plummeting quicker than President Obama’s popularity among Democrats. Sanchez, who is NOT what you would call a “cold weather quarterback,” will probably play his last four games in freezing conditions. His Jets have two home games against division rivals Miami and Buffalo, and two unbelievably tough road tests at Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Look for the Jets to run the ball a ton, even in 3rd-and-long situations, and if Sanchez is forced to throw a lot, do not be shocked if his numbers look a lot like Derek Anderson’s.
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