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What’s up folks?  Good luck to all of you during the mad rush to the playoffs and may all of your fake players play really well.  There weren’t a whole lot of surprises on the target front this week so what I’m going to do is try to give you some insight into guys I like given their trends and performances over the last few weeks.

Laurent Robinson-I’ve been writing about him a lot over the last few weeks and it’s for good reason.  At this point he should not be available in your league, but if he is, he needs to be given paramount priority.  According to Jerry Jones, Austin is close to returning but he has stressed that they do not want to rush Miles along, stating, “there is a lot of football left.”  With the Giants loss on Monday night, the Cowboys command a comfortable lead in the division and despite Austin’s progress, I would be surprised if he played this weekend, especially given the production of Robinson.  That being said, I really believe that Robinson has carved out a permanent role in this offense regardless of Austin’s health and he has clearly been Romo’s favorite target over the last few weeks.  Some startling stats on Robinson: he has five touchdowns in his last three games, catching 14 passes for 186 yards in that span.  His 12 targets on Sunday were seven more than second best Jason Witten.  Over the last three weeks, Robinson is tied for 8th among NFL receivers with 26 targets and he is averaging the most fantasy points per game over that same span (16.2 standard scoring).  The point is that Robinson is not only putting up WR1 numbers, he is also receiving WR1 opportunities as he consistently leads the team in targets week to week.  Don’t sit this guy until further notice.

Percy Harvin-Harvin was a big part of the struggling Vikings’ offense Sunday, catching all eight of his targets for 95 yards and a score.  He also carried the ball five times for 11 yards.  Harvin has a lot going in his favor: he is healthy; Ponder is relatively productive; the Vikings will almost always play from behind, and perhaps most importantly, AP is likely out, according to NFL Network’s Jason La Canfora, with a high ankle sprain.  I like Harvin a lot this week due to his versatility against a Denver D that can be run on.

Mike Williams (TB)-for all intents and purposes, Mike Williams has had a very disappointing year.  Heralded as a preseason WR1/2 Williams has managed only 52 receptions for 573 yards and three touchdowns on the year.  Williams is also kind of an enigma when it comes to targets vs. production.  He is ninth on the year among WRs in total targets with 98, but he is only ranked 41st in fantasy points per game (6.8), tied with James Jones.  Thankfully for Williams’s owners, his production has recently matched his target opportunities.  Tied for fifth in receiver targets over the last three weeks with 27, Williams is 12th in fantasy points per game, averaging 11 in standard scoring leagues.  He has posted nearly identical stats the last two weeks, catching six passes for 84 yards and a score this week and seven catches for 83 yards and a score last week.  I’m banking on the Williams of new showing up this week against Carolina.

Stevie Johnson-he shot himself in the leg, crashed a jet, and dropped a key fourth quarter pass, but when it was all said and done, Johnson looked like the one we used to know, posting gaudy numbers despite being stranded on Revis Island.  His eight catch, 75 yard and one touch performance on 13 targets was particularly impressive considering the number of missed opportunities he had.  I’m not as high on him as I am the three guys listed above him, but to do what he did against Revis gives me faith that he still has the ability to light up opposing defense.   However, in his two games prior, Johnson managed only four total catches so I’m not a total buyer on Johnson.  Despite his 26 targets over the last three weeks (8th), his fantasy points per ring in at a paltry 5.3.

Avant, Celek, Cooper-the three amigos in Philly have been fantasy relevant even with their team losing and their starting quarterback sidelined.  Avant amassed eight catches for 110 yards and a touch on a magnanimous 14 targets and Celek didn’t do too bad either, catching five of his six targets for 75 yards.  Avant and Celek seem to have really benefitted from Vince Young’s proclivity to pass from the pocket as he is hitting these guys on intermediate routes and checkdowns.  According to the Eagles’ official site, Vick will not play Thursday barring a miracle so Avant and Celek should be in line for more work yet again.  Celek is a bit more appealing than Avant given the lack of competition at his position and I expect Young to lean on him heavily against the stingy, run-stopping defense of the Seattle Seahawks.  I actually like Celek over guys like Olson and Ballard this week.  Maclin is also out for Thursday’s game which means Cooper is in line for yet another start.  He had five targets last week, catching three for 71 yards and I wouldn’t be surprised if he saw seven or eight this week, giving him potential for flex consideration.

Earl Bennett, Johnny Knox-the chemistry Earl exhibited with Cutler seems to be gone with Hanie, as Bennett caught only one of his four targets for five yards. Knox, on the other hand, put up big numbers for the second week in a row, catching four of his team high ten targets for 145 yards and a score.  Over his last two games Knox has been good for seven catches, 244 yards, and two scores.  I’m willing to cut Hanie a bit of slack with it being his first game of the year but it’s hard to argue that Knox is on fire and deserves serious consideration this week against K.C.

 

  1. zandercage says:
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    Hey Matt –

    I recently snatched up Harvin after an owner cut bait. Glad I did.

    I know it’s early in the week, but do you like Harvin, Antonio Brown or Jonathan Stewart this week at Flex?

    I love J. Stews matchup this week vs TB, and Brown is tough to bench. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks!!!

  2. Randy04 says:
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    Do you like Celek over Fred Davis this week? I’m in a must-win situation, so I need to start whoever gives me the best chance! Thanks!

  3. Nick says:
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    Robinson’s been a lifesaver for me since I picked him up. I was lucky to get him in week 9 and haven’t looked back since. That said, I’ve got some overflow in the WR/RB department. How would you rank the following going forward this week (non-PPR, top 2 would be at WR, #3-4 would be my flex players):

    Dwayne Bowe
    Mario Manningham
    Julio Jones
    Laurent Robinson
    Santonio Holmes
    Roy Helu
    Kevin Smith (if he ends up playing Sunday)

  4. anthony says:
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    I need help with my flex this week and my QB.

    Desean beanie percy and santana?
    Leaning toward percy

    Eli or cam? All season I have been going back and forth.

    What do you think? Thanks a lot.

  5. Rocky says:
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    Would you trade Andre Johnson for Miles Austin? I like Johnsons schedule just not sure about the offense, and Austin is always Romo’s favorite target, but there is a risk of him reinjuring himself.

  6. GeorgeWomp says:
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    Hey Matt,

    Great article. Quick question, start 3: Roddy White, Laurent robinson, mike wallace, victor cruz. I’m thinking white, robinson, cruz, because wallace has been getting double coverage.

  7. @Rocky:

    Neither is really money WR at this point. However, Austin ‘was’ Romo’s favorite target. The Dallas Cowboys will get him back in the rotation, but with Robinson there, Austin feels more like a second wide receiver on the team right now. So, by default, Andre Johnson is stronger, but only on the surface…just pray *insert-a-QB-rotation-replacement-here* gets him the ball (Jake the Snake might get injured by actually throwing).

    My money, and it’s not a lot, would be to play Johnson on a week-by-week basis, but only by a hair.

  8. Antonio Romonio says:
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    Non PPR. Start Rivers or Ryan?

  9. ringo says:
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    Any thoughts on Target Monster Greg Little?

  10. Chris says:
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    +0 ppr, pick 2 for this week:

    Garcon @ NE, Knox vs KC, Burleson @ NO, or D Williams (TEN) @ BUF?

    BONUS RD — +.5 ppr, facing the current #6 seed in a winner-gets-in final matchup before the playoffs. Got some tough calls here…

    QB: Palmer @ MIA or V Young @ SEA? I went with Young last week, and it worked, but I have my doubts if there’ll be “garbage” time to rack up big passing yards vs SEA.

    FLEX: McGahee @ MIN or D Williams (CAR) @ TB? Usually a slam dunk for McGahee, but D-Will ran well last week, and TB just got gashed by CJ0K.

    WR: N Washington @ BUF or H Douglas @ HOU? Might be my imagination, but Hasselbeck doesn’t seem to go to Nate much. Also, even if Miles Austin comes back in Week 13, he’s a must play over these 2 guys right?

    Thanks!!

  11. Chris says:
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    Errr… I meant to say “even if Miles Austin comes back in Week 13, LAURENT ROBINSON is a must play over these 2 guys right?”

    Sorry!

  12. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Zandercage-I do like Stewart’s matchup a lot. Is it PPR? If so I like Brown. If not, I may go with J-Stew as he is the goalline back.

  13. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Randy-I like Fred Davis more. The Jets should bring the heat which means that Davis should see a lot of targets. He’s also arguably the primary offensive threat on his team whereas Celek has a lot of talent and touches to compete with.

  14. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Nick-Robinson and Manningham at receiver. Then Helu and Holmes at Flex. Holmes has been dissapointing but I wouldn’t count on Smith staying healthy and Bowe is hurt by Palko. If Smith shows no sign of setback after this week, I would put him in at flex though.

  15. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Anthony-I think you have to go with Cam Newton at QB. I also like Harvin.

  16. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Rocky-I wouldn’t make that trade. Even when Austin was healthy, Robinson got a lot of PT and oftentimes more targets. I’d stand pat for now.

  17. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @George-thanks man. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of those guys. I’d probably start White and Robinson. Cruz may draw Woodson. I think I would bench Cruz but it’s kind of a toss up. I’d second guess myself a bit. It’s a good problem to have however. All those guys are studs.

  18. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Antonio-Ryan at this point unfortunately.

  19. Paul R says:
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    Need a home run this week to make the playoffs (need to win and outscore another team by 38+). Helu or Sproles have a better shot to “go off?” for a big #. Not looking for the more consistent play.

  20. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Ringo-I’ve written about him a lot this year but I’ve left him out simply for the fact that his targets have not really led to much production. He rarely scores touchdowns and really does not rack up a lot of yardage. He’s not a bad flex play in a PPR league but I wouldn’t play him in standard scoring. He’s one of those enigmas.

  21. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Chris-I’d probably go with Garcon and Williams. The QB situation is a tough one. I kind of like both of those guys. I think both games will be much closer than people think. Miami’s defense is a bit better overall but Palmer probably has a greater chance of throwing more touchdown passes with fewer interceptions. Honestly, I’d go with Williams at RB. Washington and Douglas are toss ups. Austin should be played over both. My advice could pan out beautifully or completely backfire! Those are some tough calls. Good luck.

  22. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Chris-yes, Robinson should definately be played over both.

  23. Jones

    jones says:
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    @Paul-I’d have to say that Helu is more likely to go off. He simply does not have nearly as many people to contend with for touches.

  24. Kyle says:
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    Flex (pick 1): Maurice Morris, Antonio Brown, or David Nelson

    TE (pick 1): Jermaine Gresham or Vernon Davis

  25. Mike says:
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    I am in a win now mode and I am considering trading Darren McFadden and Stevie Johnson for Eli Manning, Willis McGahee and Denarious Moore or Johnny Knox (my choice).

    My league gives 4 points for a TD and half a point per reception.

    My current QB is Philip Rivers. My other RBs are Darren Sproles and Cedric Benson. My other WRs are Antonio Brown, Anquan Boldin, Damien Williams, DHB and Nate Burelson.

    #1 – Should I make the trade?

    #2 – If I make the trade should I take Moore or Knox?

  26. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Kyle-Brown and Davis.

  27. Matt says:
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    Which to bench: V.Jackson (@JAX), L.Robinson (@AZ), or McGahee (@MN).

    Vincent Jackson’s inconsistency has me pulling out my hair and I’m beginning to question the wisdom of considering him a weekly must-start.

  28. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Hey jones,

    Do I start Celek or Gresham at tight end this week, week 13?
    Do I start Phillip Rivers, Carson Pamler, or Ryan Fitzpatrick?
    Also, if you had to pick two players to start out of Ryan Matthews, McGhaee, Plaxico, and Andre Johnson who would u start? It can be any two…..

  29. Rocky says:
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    Just traded Antonio Brown and Gates for Mike Wallace. Good trade right? I have Gronk as my starting te.

  30. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Oh yeah it’s a ppr league.

  31. EK says:
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    Pls rank at flex spot for this week (non-PPR):

    L. Moore
    Spiller
    S. Holmes

  32. BOZZ says:
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    Jones:

    Started Spiller last week, but still won. If I can win this week I lock up a bye week which I could use to get Peterson and McFadden healthy. Which two do you like this week out of Lynch, Helu, Spiller, and Gerhart (non-PPR). I’m thinking Helu because of the touches, but I got burned by starting him the week after he had 14 catches.

    Also what do you think of these two defenses: Houston (Falcons are hot, and TJ Yates = 3 and outs) or Eagles.

  33. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Mike-it looks like McFadden will at least miss this Sunday so if you’re in win now mode than by all means make the trade. Moore or Knox it doesn’t matter. I guess I’d go with Moore.

  34. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Matt-I hear you on that. I’ve been obstinate about Rivers this year and regret it too. He is clearly the most inconsistent of the group. The problem with benching him is that his ceiling is incredibly high. He’ll get you thirty or nothing. McGahee doesn’t have a great matchup against the Vikings. I would probably sit Mcgahee but I don’t feel super confident about that advice.

  35. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Frank Rizzo-Gresham and Palmer by a hair. I would definately start Mathews and I’m leaning toward Mcgahee.

  36. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Rocky-that’s a decent trade for you. You are basically trading Brown or Wallace. From a fantasy perspective, Brown has been more productive than Wallace over the last several weeks so I personally would have tried to get a different player but I don’t think you’re losing too much with Gronk at TE.

  37. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Frank Rizzo-PPR makes me want to plug in AJ over McGahee.

  38. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @EK-Holmes, Spillar, Moore

  39. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Bozz-Gerhart got lucky. The guy averaged less than three yards per carry. I would play Lynch and Helu hands down. Shanahan, for whatever it’s worth, said this week that Helu is definitively the starter. His upside if infinitely higher than either Spiller’s or Gerhart’s. Good luck man. Getting a bye with DMC and AP on the bench would be huge.

  40. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Bozz-If you have to choose between the two, Philly D is the much better option. It’s pretty hard for Seattle to score more than 17 points and T-Jax is usually good for a couple of picks. I’d be interested to see who is on the wire however.

  41. Frank Rizzo says:
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    Damn I forget to mention I also have helu.

  42. Frank Rizzo says:
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    So between Andre Johnson, Matthews, McGhaee, Helu and Plax, choose two for ppr……

  43. BOZZ says:
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    Waiver wire is pretty bare for defense: Jacksonville, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Buffalo, St. Louis, Cleveland, Miami, Oakland, Kansas City, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Indianapolis

  44. principal blackman says:
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    Jones,

    I have a sit/start question.
    PPR/Return Yardage league.
    I have to start 3 of
    a. brown, h. nicks, b. marshall, and r. white.

    Thanks.

  45. Ted says:
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    I have a start sit question too!

    1 pt. ppr need two of the following four receivers – Jordy Nelson, Hakeem Nicks, Laurent Robinson and Larry Fitzgerald?

    Thanks a ton!

  46. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Frank-I’d play Helu and Mathews

  47. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Bozz-go with Philly

  48. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @PrincipalBlackman-I would start White, Marshall, and Nicks if he is healthy. They will need to throw it a ton against GB.

  49. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Ted-those are some good options. Nelson and Nicks have been the most inconsistent. Nicks, if healthy, should get plenty of opportunities but has more competition. Nelson could shred the Giants too, however. I would start Robinson and coin flip between Nelson and Fitz. Nelson has a much higher ceiling so if you need a lot of points in this matchup I would go with Nelson. Fitz will probably provide you with the most stability along with Robinson.Fitz is probably a sure 10 points.

  50. Ted says:
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    Thanks for the help!

    I enjoy your column and insight …

    was a football coach myself at one time!

  51. Matt says:
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    @Jones: I neglected to mention that Jacobs is an option. Assuming I stick w/Vincent (I hear the upside aspect of the argument, so I suppose I should stick w/him), would you roll with Jacobs in the flex over McGahee/Robinson?

    We start 2 RB, 2 WR, and 1 RB/WR. I’ve got Jennings locked as WR1, and CJ and MJD @ RB.

    RB MJD
    RB CJ
    RB/WR L. Robinson, McGahee, or Jacobs
    WR Jennings
    WR Vincent Jackson (I hear the upside point)

    Thanks

  52. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Ted-thanks brother. Good luck to you!

  53. Jones

    Jones says:
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    @Matt-I don’t see Jacobs getting a lot of touches this week. I would expect GB to have roughly 14 points by the end of the first or soon after and I envision the Giants going to DJ Ware as a receiving option out of the backfield.

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