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Player Trends Report - Receivers - Week 16
Tim Van Prooyen
December 16, 2008
Quarterbacks  |  Running Backs  |  Receivers
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RISING

James Jones, Packers – Jones has become a bit more active in the passing game over the past few weeks and exploded this week for his best game of the season.  Green Bay is struggling some, but the passing game is fairly decent still.  With his final two games against Chicago, who isn’t exactly a great pass defense, and Detroit, who isn’t exactly a great anything, Jones makes a decent enough pick up and emergency start if you’re in the market for help.

Dennis Northcutt, Jaguars – Usually I wouldn’t be putting Northcutt on here, but there are a couple of reasons, at least for one week, that I think he belongs here.  First, his ‘breakout’ game of the season was this week, with 127 yards and a TD.  Second, last year with the Jags Northcutt finished strong, relatively, and with Matt Jones out for the rest of the year, it could be Northcutt that picks up the slack.  The only problem here lies in the schedule.  Indy is on the docket this week, a nice matchup for the receivers of Jacksonville, but after that Baltimore will visit the Jags, making him a better pick up for this week than for the final week.  However, that information notwithstanding, Northcutt gets a nudge up the ladder this week.

Isaac Bruce, 49ers – Don’t worry about his one catch – twenty yard performance against the Rams a few weeks ago.  Since then Bruce has been on a tear and has gotten pretty comfortable with Shaun Hill, who has been one of the hottest QBs in the league over the past month and a half.  All this points toward a solid outing against Bruce’s former team this week, making Bruce someone to grab if he’s available.

Torry Holt, Rams – After a slow and flat out horrid start to the season, Holt has been at least relatively consistent the past few weeks, though still not living up to his usual standards.  With San Francisco up this week, it is quite possible that Holt could be in for one of, if not his best, day of the season.  At the worst he should be good for five catches and seventy or so yards, and the touchdown possibility is huge.

Greg Olsen (TE), Bears – Just when it looked like the team had forgotten about him, Olsen returned this week to have one of his best performances.  Now the team has a cold night game this week against Green Bay, always a tough game, followed by a road game at Houston, who’s been playing well of late.  Both games will be prime chances for Olsen to continue to move back up the ratings as he’s done the past couple of weeks.  The Bears are struggling again with their deeper passing game, so the tight end will be be looked to quite often.

FALLING

Domenik Hixon, Giants – Hixon has been riding a solid wave since taking over for Plaxico Burress, but that ride hits a big bump this week as the team meets a very good Minnesota defense.  One look at what they did to shut down the Arizona passing game is all you need to know.  The team follows that up with a matchup against another playoff bound team in Carolina, so the next two weeks are likely to be very rough on the Giant receivers in general, with Hixon taking the lion’s share of the hit.

Terrell Owens, Cowboys – Owens has struggled for most of this season even against bad pass defenses.  Now he faces Baltimore’s stifling defense and it would be foolish to think that TO will be able to do much at all this week.  While I don’t usually list top line starters here, it is worth noting that while it is rare to ever ‘sit’ TO…if it was ever arguable that the time had come, that time could be here.  If you have any better matchups, take advantage of them, because holding out hope for TO against the Ravens will likely be a disappointment.

Kevin Boss (TE), Giants – Just when it looked like Boss was about to start making a name for himself, he just about disappeared from the stat sheet.  With one reception in each of the past two games, he has become almost a non-factor.  The Panthers and Vikings are just ahead on the schedule, both with solid enough defenses that Eli and the Giants passing game will be hard pressed to perform well.  This won’t help Boss much, but could work to get him a couple of extra tosses and maybe a touchdown.  Either way, it isn’t likely that Boss will put up anything worth starting for the next couple of weeks.

Dustin Keller (TE), Jets – After averaging seven receptions a week for four straight games in November, December has turned quite cold for Keller, not to mention the Jets.  With five catches for forty-nine yards the past two weeks, Keller has likely disappointed a good number of fantasy owners as the playoffs have gotten underway.  The Jets have struggled over that span, which can’t really help matters.  He’s still viable if you have no better options, but his value has dropped considerably the past couple of weeks, so add that to your considerations. There is a solid chance he’ll finish strong, with closeout games against Seattle and Miami, but with the Jets passing game these days, no one knows what to expect on any given Sunday.

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