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Scott Pianowski

Lottery Ticket: Antonio Bryant

Scott Pianowski
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I like blogging about the Tampa Bay offense for some reason. Last week it was the Jeff Garcia situation, today we'll discuss the Buccaneers wideouts, and down the road you can look forward to a sentimental look at the Jerry Eckwood/Kevin House era. All Pirates, all the time.

Joey Galloway is the breadwinner in the Pewter Passing Game these days, of course, but he's off to a stumbling start in 2008. His right foot sprain is serious enough that the Bucs have already ruled him out for Week 3's game at Chicago, at minimum.

Michael Clayton steps into the starting lineup at flanker while Galloway is out, and he's excited about it. "It's a big opportunity," Clayton said. "It's the one that I've been waiting for."

I don't mean to be a killjoy, but Clayton in the starting lineup doesn't make me want to race to the free-agent wire. He's essentially been in the Witness Protection Program since his explosive 2004 debut. The guy you want to pay attention to is on the other side of the field, sliding into Galloway's split end position - Antonio Bryant.

Bryant's career has been checkered in its own way, but it's never been a question of talent with this guy. He busted out as a rookie on a bad Dallas team in 2002 (733 yards, 16.7 YPC). He cobbled together a 69-catch, 1009-yard season in Cleveland three years ago. He made some plays downfield in San Francisco two years back (733 yards, 18.3 per grab) even if he wasn't making friends in the locker room. This guy's got ability, and if you feel the twinge to add a Tampa receiver, he's the guy you should be targeting. Honest.

Bryant hasn't done much of anything in two games this year, of course, and he was held off the score sheet entirely last week (three targets), though Brian Griese missed him on what should have been a long gain in the first half. Back class and pedigree will have to be enough for you on this one. If you're in an 8 or 10-team league, you're free to ignore this news and get on with your day, but anyone playing 12-and-up, find some stash room for this upside guy. I'm signing Bryant to a make-good, short-term contract, and you should, too. He's certainly out there for the grabbing, at just three-percent owned in public leagues entering Wednesday.

I'm off to the rank laboratory; check back in a few hours when they come out of the oven. In the meantime, feel free to break into small groups and discuss your favorite Jon Gruden sound bytes and facial expressions from the early years (you know, back when Oakland had a relevant franchise). Quiet Riot is your soundtrack.

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