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Noise: Please forgive Terrell Owens for his rancid fowlness

Brad Evans
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On Wednesday, "Courage," a white turkey from Princeton, North Carolina, will be spared from Ted Washington's(notes) dinner plate in an annual ceremony conducted by the President. After receiving his pardon, the fortunate fowl will be whisked away to Disneyland where he will serve as grand marshal of the Thanksgiving Day parade before establishing permanent residence in Mickey's Frontierland.

The flightless bastard simply doesn't deserve it.

Most analysts unanimously agree he was placed in a situation any average bird could excel in – plentiful feed, ironclad fence, nourishing farming environment and, most importantly, a competent caretaker. Only products from USC come from more nurturing programs.

This year's Most Valueless Turkey, Terrell Owens(notes), unlike the emancipated gobbler, may not possess a fleshy wattle or be surrounded by ideal circumstances, but he's certainly a better candidate for a presidential pardon than the Butterball from NC.

Three weeks ago, fantasy owners were preparing T.O. for a final feast. Butcher knives were sharpened, stuffing was purchased and cooking oil filled the deep fryer. The popular early round pick (ADP: 37.33), who had compiled eight seasons of at least 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns, was nothing more than bench waste for even shallow-minded owners. His ghastly 4.3 points per game average ranked outside the WR top 50.

Strangely, instead of pointing fingers at his quarterback or the coaching staff during that difficult stretch, a more unselfish, religiously centered T.O. replaced the tyrannical version we all were accustomed to. He routinely said the right things after lopsided losses and, for the most part, remained uncharacteristically reserved on the sidelines.

Many blamed Father Time for his underwhelming performance, but, in truth, the 35-year-old wasn't the victim of rapid skills deterioration – he still possesses a Pro Bowl caliber package. Instead the most highly publicized acquisition in Bills history was hampered by Dick Jauron's conservative ideals. Although, from Week 6 on, he was also Fitzpatrick'd, an affliction T.J. Houshmandzadeh(notes) is all too familiar with.

But in Week 10 signs of a Mt. Saint Owens eruption – in a good way – began to surface. Against Tennessee, he surpassed the 80-yard mark for the first time this season. Then last week versus a hapless Jacksonville secondary, the frustrated wideout racked a league-best seven catches for 197 yards and a touchdown. He picked apart soft spots in zone coverage and burned corner Tyron Brackenridge(notes) for a 98-yard bomb, the longest reception in Buffalo and T.O. history (Highlights here). Mike Sims-Walker(notes) wanted the shirt off his back. Devoted fans rejoiced. And the relieved receiver went all Kurt Warner(notes) in post-game.

Unfortunately, many of his owners, who've surely fostered an untrusting attitude, never benefited. Owens is determined to mend those broken relationships. From

Owens remains an integral part of his team's success, yet the Bills playoff aspirations are all but dashed at 3-7. For this reason he just wants to see improvement no matter the outcome.

"It's tough because you want to approach every season with the eye on the prize, and that's the Super Bowl. In order to get there, you have to get wins and make the playoffs. It looks bleak, but we have to finish strong. I feel like I've put that on my shoulders, and want to finish strong no matter what."

The standout wideout's banner numbers over the past two weeks have salvaged a portion of an otherwise forgettable season. Down the stretch he could save even more face.

Here are three reasons why this year's MVT shouldn't be smothered in gravy just yet:

1) Targets. Owens is still getting the damn ball. On the year, he's averaging a very healthy 7.1 targets per game, .1 looks behind Donald Driver(notes) and Vincent Jackson(notes). Skeletor Jauron's replacement, Perry Fewell, has placed an emphasis on feeding his top playmakers. Regardless if Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes) or Trent Edwards(notes) mans the controls, T.O. will remain an integral part of the offense. It's possible he could net close to double-digit targets per contest moving forward.

2) Schedule. Ignoring his date with Darrelle Revis(notes) in Week 13, Owens has a favorable upcoming slate. His Week 12 opponent, Miami, has performed marginally versus the pass for much of the season, allowing the fourth-most 20-yard pass plays. The Chiefs have yielded the sixth-most fantasy points to wideouts this year. Atlanta, who Owens will see in most leagues' fantasy Super Bowl, ranks No. 1 in 20-yard pass plays surrendered. The Falcons have also given up the 10th-most fantasy points to receivers on the season. Also, if your league crazily ends in Week 17, his matchup with Indianapolis is no longer worrisome. The Colts secondary, ravaged by injuries, has allowed the most yards to pass catchers since Week 7.

3) Buffalo's bumbling defense. The Bills have conceded 22.8 points and 366.7 total yards per game to its opponents. Mainly due to their abhorrent run inadequacies, holes have routinely been dug. The shovel will likely be hard at work again in Weeks 12 (vs. Mia), 15 (vs. NE) and, possibly, 17 (vs. Ind) – pending how the Colts finish. Due to the Bills' shortcomings on D, Owens should attract numerous targets and thus scoring opportunities in those potential blowouts making him a dependable No. 3 in 12-team and deeper formats.

Overall, Western New York's most expensive turkey has largely been trapped in a tryptophan-induced coma for much of the season. But if Fitzpatrick can chuck enough lucky shamrocks his direction, the downcast former fantasy superstar could regain some value lost during the most critical time of the virtual season.

Week 12 Fearless Forecast: 5 receptions, 78 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 13 fantasy points

What are your thoughts on T.O.? Who's your top candidate for Most Valueless Turkey? Gravy or cranberry sauce? Deep fry, rotisserie or baked turkey?


Image courtesy of US Presswire

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