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Shocker Special: Bryant ready again to be Bucs' first mate

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

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Each week the Noise will guide desperate, deep-thinking owners into the dark corners of the waiver wire to mine a last-minute diamond. Turn on your helmet light and pack a pickaxe. We're digging for drop-jaw surprises owned in fewer than 10 percent or started in five percent or less of Yahoo! Plus leagues.

What a difference a year can make.

This time last season, Antonio Bryant(notes) was on the precipice of a legendary fantasy playoff run. The journeyman receiver, whose troublemaking background had burned bridges in previous stints with the Cowboys, Browns and Niners, had finally matured mentally, unlocking his beastly talents. Through Week 10 he had already accumulated three 100-yard games and pierced the invisible pool twice. Undoubtedly, he was Jeff Garcia's(notes) most reliable weapon.

But after a career year, Bryant's '09 campaign has been marred by injury. Hampered by persistent knee swelling and pain, a repercussion of August surgery, the downcast wideout has played just six games, netting a per game average nearly half of what he finished with a season ago. But after being mass dropped several weeks ago, there's still time for the popular early-round pick to salvage his season. With Josh Freeman(notes) behind center and the Tampa defense an embarrassment, he should attract ample targets.

Though not quite 100 percent, he reportedly looked good in practice this week. Head Buckaroo Raheem Morris was reportedly very pleased with his progression. From the St. Petersburg Times:

Bryant, who has missed the last two games with a lingering left knee injury that's bothered him since preseason arthroscopic surgery, returned to practice Wednesday. Though Bryant was limited, he impressed Morris.

"He came out there, ran around and looked as good as I've seen him," Morris said.

Several local and national outlets have reported Bryant will be in uniform against the Saints, an enticing matchup. The injury imp has feasted on New Orleans' secondary in recent weeks. Starting corners Jabari Greer(notes) (groin) and Tracy Porter(notes) (knee) are slated for the inactive list while cog Darren Sharper(notes), who was limited in practice all week due to a knee setback, isn't anywhere close to 100 percent.

In a non-bye week, trusting a receiver attempting to stave off the plaguing effects of a multi-week knee injury is the equivalent of risking intestinal turmoil on week-old General Tso's Chicken, but, for the gamblers in attendance, Bryant could reap a Donnie Avery(notes)-like profit. It's not completely unfathomable. Keep in mind, even with all mostly hands healthy, the Saints have surrendered the seventh-most fantasy points to wideouts since Week 6.

For the 45 percent-owned (five percent-started) Bryant, Week 11 could springboard the receiver into another difference-making playoff run.

Week 11 Fearless Forecast: 4 receptions, 58 receiving yards, 1 touchdown, 11 fantasy points

Who is your Week 11 Shocker Special (10% owned, 5% started or less)? Post your pick with projection below?


Each week one lucky aspiring fantasy prognosticator is chosen to go toe-to-toe against the Noise. If you want to be a guest "expert" submit your Week 12 flames, lames (1 QB, 3 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE for each, 16 total) and shocker special (one player at any position) along with a valid email address and your location here no later than 7 PM central time on Thursday. Oh, and please, no long dissertations to justify your picks. All that's required are your player selections and projections. Winners earn a league spot to compete against yours truly next season. Good luck!

Week 11 contestant: Sean from South Brunswick, NJ

QB: Jake Delhomme(notes), Car, 19-30, 250 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 5% started
RB: Fred Jackson(notes), Buf, 15 rushes, 50 yards, 20 receiving yards, 1 TD, 19%
RB: Jason Snelling(notes), Atl, 12 rushes, 60 yards, 14 receiving yards, 1 TD, 11%
RB: Ladell Betts(notes), Was, 20 rushes, 80 yards, 1 TD, 15%
WR: Chris Chambers(notes), KC, 7 catches, 140 yards, 2 TDs, 11%
WR: Davone Bess(notes), Mia, 5 catches, 70 yards, 1 TD, 1%
WR: Steve Breaston(notes), Ari, 4 catches, 60 yards, 1 TD, 42%
TE: Zach Miller, Oak, 4 catches, 45 yards, 1 TD, 21%

QB: Tony Romo(notes), Dal, 20-36, 210 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 77% started
RB: Pierre Thomas(notes), NO, 10 rushes, 40 yards, 0 TDs, 76%
RB: Rashard Mendenhall(notes), Pit, 12 rushes, 50 yards, 0 TDs, 69%
RB: Thomas Jones(notes), NYJ, 20 rushes, 60 yards, 0 TDs, 76%
WR: Miles Austin(notes), Dal, 4 catches, 68 yards, 0 TDs, 83%
WR: Chad Ochocinco(notes), Cin, 5 catches, 65 yards, 0 TDs, 84%
WR: Mike Sims-Walker(notes), Jac, 5 catches, 60 yards, 0 TDs, 71%
TE: Jeremy Shockey(notes), NO, 4 catches, 40 yards, 0 TDs, 62%

Shocker Special: Matthew Stafford(notes), Det, 24-42, 260 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 3%

Week 10 results: Jo from Fond du Lac, WI

Flames (2-7): W - (Jamaal Charles(notes), Sidney Rice(notes)); L - (Joe Flacco(notes), Mike Bells, Knowshon Moreno(notes), Mike Wallace(notes), Braylon Edwards(notes), Dustin Keller(notes))

Lames (1-7): W - (Ryan Grant(notes)); L - (Donovan McNabb(notes), LT, Joseph Addai(notes), Dwayne Bowe(notes), Santonio Holmes(notes), Mike Sims-Walker, Greg Olsen(notes))

Noisers Season: Flames (26-56, 31.7%), Lames (33-38, 46.4%)

Winners: Matthew in Colden, NY, Micah in Shelbyville, TN, Brian in Colorado Springs


Image courtesy of US Presswire

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