Domenik Hixon, Giants – Now that the entire world knows about Plaxico Burress’ basic idiocy, they also know that it is unlikely that he’ll see the field again this season. This opens the door for Hixon, who had a couple of nice weeks early in the season but was a ‘one week wonder’ due to lack of opportunity. Now that he’s had the opportunity for a couple of games, he’s again producing and getting some solid looks from Manning. I actually was at the game this past week and saw firsthand this guy’s moxy. He isn’t afraid to make the tough catch. Look for him to make the most of his opportunity and be a solid producer throughout the fantasy playoffs.
Donald Driver, Packers – Driver has quietly been the Packer’s most consistent receiver the past few weeks. While Jennings has been the one on the roller coaster, Driver has continued to grab his 4-5 catches for medium yardage and a TD thrown in here and there. While his upside is relatively limited, he warrants consideration going forward as he can benefit owners who have been hit with injuries as playoffs begin.
Devin Hester, Bears – He’s not a huge threat yet, but Hester continues to get better at receiver as the season progresses. He’s still a third option for fantasy owners, but he’s moving up in Chicago, becoming almost the team’s most reliable option these days. If Orton can recapture the game he was playing prior to his injury Hester could be the beneficiary, but at the moment that doesn’t really seem to be happening. Upside is pretty nice here.
Mark Clayton, Ravens – As much as I’ve hesitated over the years to say he’s up and coming, his last two weeks have again made things appear as though he’s about to break out in a big way. Baltimore is playing better every week and the offense is finally showing signs that it may be about to catch up with the rest of the league. Clayton’s huge day this past week isn’t likely to be repeated often. However, his solid performance of two weeks ago is more a likelihood each week going forward than it was just a few weeks previous.
John Carlson (TE), Seahawks – With either a touchdown or plenty of yards in most weeks, Carlson is benefiting from the various issues at quarterback the team is having. He has emerged this season as someone the team can count on week in and week out to be the safety outlet the position is designed to be, and he’s producing well. His recent resurgence makes him a valuable commodity going into the fantasy playoff season.
Zach Miller (TE), Raiders – Everyone in the league knows JaMarcus Russell is having a tough go of it, so it is no surprise that Miller has become his favorite target. He isn’t scoring touchdowns on a regular basis, which isn’t a great thing, but he’s getting 40+ yards and 4+ catches a game, so there is opportunity. Probably the most telling stat from his last game is that he was targeted twelve times in the game. With that many balls being thrown your way, you’re usually bound to have a solid game, and when the touchdowns come, they’ll just be a bonus.
Steve Smith, Giants – There was some conventional wisdom that thought Smith would step up and receive more looks with Burress out, but it appears he’s being left in the third back role. This doesn’t portend itself to improved fantasy stats, and his for the most part weren’t that good anyway, so considering the lack of increased looks, this only can be viewed as a slide.
Justin Gage, Titans – After it looked like Gage and the Titan’s passing game was beginning to break out, things have stalled a bit. Gage should have had a monster game against the Lions’ porous pass defense, but had another pathetic outing. For whatever reason, he continues to show flashes of greatness only to follow it up with terribly outings. The Titans will continue to produce, but it would appear the running game has returned as the dominant force for the time being and this only means continued lackluster performances from Gage.
Matt Spaeth (TE), Steelers – After jumping to notice with back to back solid performances, he’s now had two straight weeks of basically nothing. The problem here is obviously consistency, which in theory shouldn’t be a problem when playing for Pittsburgh, however this season hasn’t quite gone to plan that way in the Steel City. Look elsewhere for help these days.
Greg Olsen (TE), Bears – The second year man had been chugging right along while putting up respectable numbers for most of the season until falling on hard times the past couple of outings. It is unclear as to why he’s not having as much success, but it doesn’t help when your QB has a game like he did this week. It would be great to think that this was a one week aberration, but since it has now been two weeks of similar performances, there has to be a downgrade and an element of concern.