Arizona Cardinals at Atlanta Falcons
Which struggling wide receiver will maintain his value heading into next season, Larry Fitzgerald or Julio Jones?
While their production certainly hasn't been bust worthy, it's safe to say that both of these receivers haven't provided the type of production owners were expecting. Being that these were the two unquestioned options behind only Calvin Johnson, anything but a stellar year would prove to be a disappointment. The season has life left in it still, and both of these receivers have the opportunity to impress from here on out and end on a high note. Whoever finishes the season on a better streak will likely be dubbed the second wide receiver option again in 2013.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Do any of the backup runners for either team offer any value?
Sometimes having a spoil of riches does just that - spoil your riches. We know who the starters are and what kind of production to count on from both Doug Martin and DeAngelo Williams. Outside of those runners, though, lays a complete mess of wasted potential. There are several NFL teams who would be glad to take on such talents as LeGarrette Blount, Mike Tolbert, and especially Jonathan Stewart. These backups have been too sporadic in their limited production to be counted on at all at this point. Can any of these backs salvage any semblance of value?
Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys
Can Dez Bryant take the next step and provide a dominant performance?
Here is a game that an elite, secondary receiver would be able to completely blow the roof off of. That begs the question - is Bryant in fact an elite, secondary option? You better believe that if the New York Giants were playing this game and cornerback Joe Haden were to be matched up on Hakeem Nicks all day, we'd be expecting great things from Victor Cruz. Same would be said for a healthy Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. With one of the top corners in the league liking matching up on Miles Austin, Bryant should be able to have an above average game for owners. If not, the frustration level may finally reach a breaking point.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Is Randall Cobb the new No. 1 receiver even with Jordy Nelson back?
Aaron Rodgers has done a great job getting his secondary wide receiver options highly involved in the offense given the various personnel injuries. While Greg Jennings will remain out following his surgery, Nelson will return after fighting through a sprained ankle over the past three weeks. During this time of injury stricken play, Cobb has emerged as one of the best fantasy receiving options in the league. We have to wonder, though, if the return of Nelson will negate a lot of Cobb's value. Is Cobb pure enough of a talent for us to entrust with elite expectations even though Nelson will command targets? There should be plenty to around against the Lions, but we'll have to pay attention to both targets and production here.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
Is Owen Daniels the best fantasy option on the Texans' outside of Arian Foster?
It's very difficult to ignore such a big name as Andre Johnson, but we're getting to the point that history is outweighing the present. The Texans have established two of the biggest factors that negatively impact the passing game, a dominant defense and perhaps the best running game in the league. This is a not a recipe for wide receiver success. As the offense continues to roll over opponents with Arian Foster, they do not need to toss the ball downfield all the time. Instead, they are able to move the ball effectively in shorter, higher completion percentage passes. That would mean that Daniels would be more of a factor than Johnson. Given this latest trend, could Daniels finish significantly higher up the tight end list than Johnson will at his position? Can Johnson show us enough off the play action pass to keep his value up, or is Daniels set to become the more valuable option in Houston?
Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs
Can any wide receiver for the Bengals not named A.J. Green provide consistent fantasy production?
The New Giants forced us to ask one of the most frustrating questions in all of football last week against the Bengals: "How in the heck did that guy get so wide open?" This, of course, is in reference to Green's touchdown in which no secondary member of the Giants was within 20 yards of him. As great as it is to be a Green owner, as a knowledgeable football enthusiast you have to wonder exactly what the defensive coordinators are planning for? Are they not convinced that Green is a superior option? Do they believe that he won't create separation against 1-on-1 coverage? It's perplexing from a standard football point of view but amazing from a Green perspective. One of these defensive coaches is going to smarten up sooner or later. It doesn't take a genius to see that Green deserves constant double coverage, even triple at times.
Defenses should force quarterback Andy Dalton to beat them with his other options. This week, Green will be getting one of the best cornerback-safety duos in the league in the Chiefs' Brandon Flowers and Eric Berry. If there ever was a time that Green would at least be slowed down, this would likely be it here. With Green seeing elite coverage, can either Andrew Hawkins or Muhamed Sanu step it up and produce? Or will Dalton force it Green's way continuing to limit the secondary options? If one of the other options can't do damage in this scenario, they both should be let go from our rosters all together.
New York Jets at St. Louis Rams
Is Steven Jackson back to being a No. 1 runner or was last week a fluke?
The only thing that would possibly make Jackson more frustrating is for him to finally break out against what should have been a complete dumpster fire of a game. Well tough break for us, as that's exactly what happened against the San Francisco 49ers in the always popular tie game last week. Just as Jackson looked down and out he managed to come through with 29 carries for more than 100 yards and a touchdown. It was far-and-away his best game of the season, and it came when most had benched him given the matchup.
Jackson's value is the highest it's been since the preseason as he gets the stumbling, bumbling New York Jets this week. The common sense thought would be that if he could go off for more than 100 against one of the best rush defenses in the league he should be able to completely toast one of the worst. Jackson could finish the season in impressive fashion as he and the rest of the world know he's playing for a big-time contract in 2013.
Back-to-back games of RB1 production would be a godsend for those who used an early pick on the beastly back. Jackson's value can't afford to take another hit, so he needs to answer the call this week to prove he's back to his previous self.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
Can Nick Foles go from not being ranked to perhaps the best pick-up of the year?
If the rookie quarterback can limit his turnovers and get the high tempo offense moving down the field, he could have the starter's job for more than just the next game or two. It's abundantly clear that Philadelphia wants out of both Michael Vick and his main supporter, coach Andy Reid. The team has gone to great lengths to provide premium options for both the coach and quarterback to succeed and have been rewarded with nothing but regret and remorse. If Foles can prove to be even as much as a serviceable option that helps the Eagles to a win or two, the franchise would be hard pressured to sit him in favor of Vick when he's cleared to return.
New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders
Does Denarius Moore's value extend past a WR2 level?
Quarterback Carson Palmer has resurrected from the fantasy graveyard here in 2012. The former Heisman winner is producing numbers at an incredible level, putting him on pace for just less than 5,000 yards passing and 28-29 total touchdowns. Helping Palmer along his way to perhaps his best season as a pro is Moore. The Oakland receiver is on pace for more than 1,000 yards and about nine touchdowns. Those are pretty serious numbers coming from a guy who was likely drafted as a WR4 in most cases.
Moore still seems to be flying under the radar at this point for some inexplicable reason. If you are lucky enough to have him on your roster you best be 100 percent sure he's in your lineup this week against the New Orleans Saints. The New Orleans defense is an opposing passing games' best friend. A big showing here would kick up the heat on Moore's value and reputation. He could be in for one of the biggest value jumps from 2012 to 2013. The Saints are going to score a ton on Oakland, forcing the Raiders offense to go full throttle for four quarters. This game could jump start Moore's value to a possible WR1.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Can Brandon Stokley benefit from having Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker in the same manner he did with Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison?
We've seen this exact formula before. It creates almost an eerie case of déjà vu. The Indianapolis Colts used to run this to absolute perfection for years. You put Peyton Manning under center, you add in two elite receiving options on the outside, sprinkle in a couple of matchup problem tight ends, and let Stokley work the middle of the field almost uncovered. Let's not get too carried away with this idea, though. Stokley's best days are far behind him and he isn't coming up with another 1,000-yard season out of the slot.
That being said, his production is worthy of a WR3 spot if you've suffered through various injuries or just flat out bad drafting. Stokley is currently on pace to reach around 600 yards and seven touchdowns. Most of us don't have the luxury of a weekly set WR3 and need to find potential by exploiting match-ups and hoping for production. The Broncos are up against...